A Good Time With Good Friends

Song: “Wipeout” by The Surfaris

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 3

Quick post this evening as it’s already pretty late. Sorry about that.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. More nightmares (life jackets and tent) and one panic attack that kept me down in the basement for close to an hour so I didn’t disturb J. I think I woke her when I was getting back to bed but she didn’t mention anything today…

So I was dragging pretty badly first thing in the morning. On the upside, however, was that FA had texted me over the weekend and asked if I wanted to do lunch and burritos on Monday. It turns out that both J and DM were also off, so the four of us got together around noon, ate burritos, and had an epic conversation about literally every single topic that exists, with the notable exceptions of what hair product John C. Reilly uses and who would win in a cage fight between Barbabright and Little Miss Brainy.

It was a wonderful visit and really nice to see FA and DM again. J and I hadn’t seen DM for quite a while and it was very nice to catch up with her, too. Plus, the burritos were wonderful and I got to show off my new sewing machine. 🙂

The time flew buy and before we knew it, it was dark outside. DM and FA figured they needed to head out so after a couple more quick chats, they got on their winter gear and headed out.

I had a wonderful time and really appreciate J, FA, and DM coordinating and taking the time out of their days off to get together and hang out. It was really good.

So… the sewer line backed up yesterday. Fortunately we caught it before it backed up past the drain but still, that sucks. We put in a call to the plumbing company we use and waited for almost six hours before we gave up and gave it a shot fixing it ourselves. We have a 25 ft spring steel sewer line cleaner that we’d never used before, and a 50 ft USB waterproof inspection camera. J was very helpful and calming and we went to work, trying to get the line clean but didn’t have any luck – the water was still trapped.

After calling the plumbers again and not hearing anything back, I wound up my courage, asked J if she could help me again, and we went back downstairs and tried it again. I could feel the tip of the snake hitting something, but I wasn’t sure if it was the lip of the transition or whatever was blocking the pipe. So I hulked out a bit and went crazy with the spring steel until suddenly there was a little bit of a gurgle. I sawed away at it again and whoosh – the water disappeared.

All of that to say that after FA and DM left this evening, we went back into the basement, taped the inspection camera to the head of the spring steel snake, and took a look at what was going on. Unfortunately, it only appears that I knocked a hole in what was there – water was still getting through but it was going to block up again pretty easy. After we got everything closed and cleaned up, I put in a call to the plumber again. It was nice it wasn’t an emergency this time and they should be here tomorrow. The good thing is I don’t need them to use their scope thing – that’ll save a hundred bucks or so. It’ll be good to get it cleared up. We used to get the drain checked regularly but have slid over the last couple of years. A good cleaning should be good for another two or three years.

After that, there was some very liberal use of hand sanitizer and soap and water. We hung out for a while upstairs and then decided to head to the basement to watch some more Parks and Recreation. We’re almost done the sixth season – only a few more episodes to go and then we’re into the seventh and final season. The cast is still good but they’re changing so many things that it doesn’t feel like the same show to me. I don’t like it when things change…

The plumber should be by tomorrow at around noon. I need to clear a bit more space for the machine and I need to be able to answer the phone when it rings tomorrow with a number I don’t know. Wish me luck.

Stay safe.

Short Post – J’s Coming Home!

Song: “Liquid Lunch” by Caro Emerald

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 2?

Okay, this is going to be a quick post. I just got a text from J, they just landed! Now it’s just picking up baggage and catching a 20 minute cab and she’s home!

So, my day in quick thoughts… let’s see…

Had some nightmares last night. Ended up falling into a panic attack for one of them which really sucked, but I only lost about an hour and a quarter from that. The rest of the night was a little restless but not too bad.

Did my exercises today. I don’t do them every day now – that experiment where I didn’t do them for a week proved that it’s a useful tool, but I’m not stuck doing it no matter what. I do feel better after I do them, though.

No construction today and it was very quiet out, which was really nice. I like how the snow muffles sounds.

Spent time outside in the car today. Didn’t drive it around at all but I spent my time there, and the stereo system in the car is WAAAY better than the one in the truck (although I’m not complaining, my faithful Ranger is way better than my crappy phone speaker).

Had another good talk with my folks today, we talked about all kinds of stuff. Mom and Dad are very interested in the sewing stuff, which still surprises me. I told my folks that they can certainly come out during the week – they don’t have to wait until a weekend to make a day trip. Of course, winter is going to be the main decider about when people can easily spend two hours on a highway.

Had a nice text chat with J’s aunt. She’s been feeling good over the past two days and is taking advantage of it, going shopping and doing some cleaning around the house. I’m glad she’s feeling well and I hope it keeps up!

Ran a bunch more seams and hems today. I also – for the first time – cut up some nice fabric and made something out of it. I decided to make a beanbag and I was very careful to measure everything out and make sure the nice red felt I picked was straight and at 90 degree angles. My only mistake was putting too much rice in it so when I went to sew it up, the rice forced the material over then I was closing up the last seam and locking it in (you can see the zigzag). I’ll know better next time but I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out. It actually looks like someone measured it before cutting and sewing and cutting the zig-zag edges. Very little waste, too. Here’s a picture of the three beanbags I’ve made so far. From left to right: hand sewn and using t-shirt material, sewn with the machine (eyeballing it) using old denim, and measured and cut to size pieces sewn together with measured and drawn lines using red felt. I’m really pleased with the red bag. The only thing I’m not pleased with is my mistake of putting in too much rice and causing that zig-zag when I was going back and forth to lock the stitch.

Three Bean BagsI had to refill the bobble again today, but I did that AND rethreaded the machine just by going by the arrows and numbers on the machine, and… it totally worked first time! Oh, and speaking of thread, I tried sewing a simple hem in to see whether there was a significant difference between the stitches. So, I sewed a quick run with the machine set at single straight stitch with stitch width set to 4. Then I grabbed the cloth in both hands, took in a breath, and immediately yanked it apart. With the width set to 3, I was still able to snap the stitches, but it took a lot more grunting. Setting the width to 2, it took three tries, each with a progressively redder face, but I finally tore it, but when I looked more carefully, it was the material that tore, not the stitch. Same thing happened with the width set to 1.

Heard an artist on the radio today that I didn’t know anything about. Her name is Caro Emerald and she does music that’s kind of a fusion of 1930s swing, jazz, and more modern electronics. I’ve only been listening to three of her songs so far but I’ve been really enjoying them and will be listening to more of them tomorrow.

Ok, I see the cab pulling into the driveway – gotta go and get into prime hugging position!

Stay safe.

Very Loud Out Today

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I slept better last night and didn’t have any nightmares. The numbers on my CPAP machine were back to normal, too, which was good to see.

I got a text from Dad at about 8:30AM and unfortunately the roads out his way were still pretty bad so he decided not to drive out here today. We got some snow here too so I think he made the right decision. It would’ve been nice to hang out and be silly (we have been known to spend hours watching episodes of The Three Stooges and laughing until we hurt) but we can work out another time to get together in the near future.

I was still feeling pretty foggy and tired so I decided I was going to go back to bed and see if I could get some more sleep. Unfortunately, as soon as I closed my eyes, I could hear motors and clanking outside. I got up and took a peek through the front window and there were trucks and a bucket loader on the street in front of the house. While I watched, a worker put out pylons and taped off the area, blocking the driveway, and two others started to lay out pipe and hose and connected it to a large hydro excavator truck. They ran the pipe into the neighbour’s yard.

My first thought was that the neighbour had a sewer problem, like maybe their sewer line collapsed. For whatever reason, I started to worry that there was a more general sewer problem so I went downstairs and checked the basement. Everything was dry and there weren’t any weird sounds or smells so I grabbed a wrench and opened up the clean-out to make sure sewage wasn’t slowly making its way up the sewer line. Fortunately, everything was fine.

Once they got everything hooked up, they fired up the equipment on the hydro excavator. It was LOUD. Crazy loud, and the sound kept changing slightly. Between the sound, all of the flashing lights, and not having a clue what was going on, I was getting very anxious. I tried camping out in the basement – that helped with the lights and people milling about, but even with ear buds in and ear defenders on it wasn’t enough to block out the noise. I tried grounding and mindfulness and breathing but didn’t have much luck calming down so I went and took some PRNs.

After about half an hour they started to take effect so I went back upstairs, put on some very loud music, and played around with the sewing machine again. I practiced sewing in straight lines and making hems (is that the right way to say that? I spent time doing hemming? I hemified some fabric? Hmm…). I think I’m almost confident enough to try doing something on fabric that didn’t come out of the rag bin. J bought me a package of felt – perhaps I will do something with a piece of it tomorrow.

Sewing Straight Lines

If you cover your right eye and squint, the lines look straight.

The big noise outside shut down at about 11:10AM, leaving only the sounds of workers gabbing and the bucket loader moving around. I was just about to call my parents but they beat me to it – the phone rang as I was reaching to pick it up. We had a good chat and talked about all kinds of stuff. It was good to talk to them and between the chat and the relative quiet outside, I started to feel quite a bit better.

Unfortunately, just after noon the equipment started up again and went on for another three hours. On the upside, I happened to be looking out at the back yard while chasing another ghost and saw three workers in the neighbour’s back yard – one using an implement attached to the pipe and two others wrestling with a roll of cable. So there wasn’t anything wrong with sewer lines or anything like that – they were using the hydro excavation equipment to dig a narrow trench to put in a new permanent cable to replace the temporary one they strung up along the fence a couple of weeks ago. I went outside and unlocked the gate in case they needed to get into our yard. By 3:30PM they were cleaning up. I looked out into the yard and couldn’t see the cable hanging from the fence anymore. I also didn’t see any footprints and the gate was in the same position where I’d left it, so I’m not sure if they even needed to get into the yard. I locked the gate again and that was pretty much it for the noise and weirdness today.

Blargh… I just took 700 words to complain about noisy equipment. If you’ve read this far, I’m sorry – you must be extremely bored.

After things calmed down I watched some more sewing videos and discovered that my machine is capable of doing free motion stitching if I get an embroidery foot for it. The video looked really neat – the person was sewing squiggles into the material and it looked really neat. Probably a very handy thing to have around.

I did some more sewing and then went through my Internet bookmarks and wrote up another videos post. I didn’t realize it had been five months since the last time I did one.

I had a wonderful supper of leftover smokies, rice, and vegetables, and listened to some more music. Just after I finished eating, I got a text from J asking if I wanted to do a video chat. We talked for almost an hour. She had another good day today, learned a lot, and had a lot of luck talking with people from other offices around the world and sharing information. She was surprised at how quickly the week has gone by, and I think that’s great – it’s so much better to get to the last day and wonder where the heck the week went, instead of it being day two and finding yourself wanting to claw your eyes out. This will probably be the last business trip for a while, too, so it’s really good that she’s had the time to have one-on-one chats with her boss and others who are usually just voices over the phone or signatures in an email. The person who picked J up at the airport also offered to drive her back there tomorrow afternoon, which is fantastic.

I have missed J a lot this week but I am happy that she is having such a good time and learning and doing so much while she’s there. I’m really proud of her, too – neither of us are what you’d call social butterflies, but she’s told me story after story of the people she’s met and talked with and learned about, so she’s going a little out of her comfort zone and having a lot of success. I will be very happy when she gets home tomorrow night. If all goes well, she should be getting into the driveway around midnight or shortly after.

After J and I finished chatting, I gave my mother-in-law a call. I’ve probably mentioned this before but she’s a quilter (quiltress?) and has done some pretty amazing stuff, including everything from a throw quilt for the couch, summer and winter quilts for the bed, and quirky, neat quilts for J and I to stay warm under when we watch TV on a cold winter day. I wanted to ask her about that video I saw with the free motion stitching. She told me all about it and very kindly mentioned that with the feed dogs retracted, you have to move the fabric by hand. Since you’re moving it by hand, you have to be able to move it consistently along with the speed of the needle so your stitches are the same size. She agreed that it looks pretty neat but that a ballpark estimate is 100 hours of practice before one would become proficient sewing like that. So, no embroidery foot for me.

We talked for a while about various sewing stuff, like material and the kind of stuff that I’m planning to do with the machine. She also had some helpful suggestions about beanbags and how different kinds of material work. It was a good conversation and I enjoyed the chat. I should give them a call more often!

Shortly after I hung up the phone, my sister called and we also had a good conversation. My youngest nephew is playing hockey and their team has won all four of their games so far and he has scored a goal! I don’t know how my sister and brother-in-law do it – they are always running from one place to another, ferrying kids around or putting on parties or having people over or going out. There is a time each evening for homework and a time for playing video games and a time for reading, and the kids are often seen around the house, nose in a book. That’s pretty neat, considering how many people nowadays seem to throw a tablet or phone at their kids and let them play games all day.

I got a text from FA this morning. She invented a new word: “maintaint”. It means “something that worked better before someone messed with it”. I think an example might be “I don’t trust that garage, every time I take my car to them they maintaint the oil filter”. Tell your friends and spread the word!

The big thing that’s happening tomorrow is J is coming home (woohoo!). Other than that, I need to do my homework (I didn’t do it today (I know, I know (with all the stuff going on I just couldn’t muster the courage/will to go out))) and tidy up the house a bit. Oh, that reminds me – J got some vegetables as a fundraiser for one of her co-worker’s kid’s school. Something musty caught my nose this afternoon while all the weird stuff was going on and I traced it to the bag with the, uh… “liquid potatoes” in it. I’ve never seen potatoes go that bad that quick, so I guess they were already rotten when they were sent out. Too bad, too – that’s five pounds of potatoes that made a dripping, stinky trip to the garbage.

Where was I? Right, tidying up the house a bit before J gets home. Beyond that, I’ll probably be clicking “refresh” on the webpage with her flight information, and holding my cellphone in one hand and the landline in the other until she walks in the door.

I can’t wait to see my sweetie again! 🙂

It’s way past my bedtime and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes pointed in the right direction. If there’s half a sentence wandering around somewhere or some stuff I’ve written doesn’t make any sense, I apologize and will go back over it tomorrow. Just can’t do it right now…

Stay safe.

Videos That Make Me Smile, Part IV

I think that no matter the mood, there’s really no bad time for happy or amusing videos or GIFs. Some days when I’m feeling low I need to remind myself to sit down and watch something enjoyable, and it usually helps cheer me up – at least a bit.

Here are some more videos that I’ve stumbled across that I enjoy. Hopefully you’ll find a couple that you like too!

If you’re interested, here are my other posts like this: PART I, PART II, and PART III.

The Talking Boat

This is an old one that I keep forgetting about and rediscovering. I especially like how he gets louder near the end.

Hysterical bubbles! (original) – laughing baby

I have no idea why the baby finds this so funny or why the dog doesn’t mind the taste of soap, but I wish I laughed that hard more often!

Side by Side of the Simon & Simon intro and parody

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Simon & Simon when it was on TV. It was probably meant for a slightly older audience than me but I thought it was great. Rick’s Power Wagon (with Macho Package) was a great vehicle – almost on the same level as Herbie or even KITT. This is a side-by-side comparison of the original TV intro and a remake starring Adam Scott and Jon Hamm as AJ and Rick. I think it’s really well done.

Bike Trick In Bedroom Breaks TV

Thanks for the help, Mom. You too, dog. Don’t call an ambulance or anything – my spine normally juts out of my calf like that.

Rubber Chickens Harmonizing

Here’s another one that’s made the rounds of the Internet a few times but always makes me smile. I find rubber chickens amusing but it would never have occurred to me to try this if I came across a bin full of them.

Extra: THE DUCK BOMB (MYTHBUSTERS)

I originally thought the previous rubber chicken video was fake or edited to make the unholy scream sound more… unholy. Fortunately, Adam Savage got wind of the original video and decided to try it himself, thereby proving that yes – pressing on a lot of rubber chickens/ducks at the same time makes it sound like someone left the door to Hell open.

Stay safe.

Really Need To Get To Bed

Song: “Keep A Knockin’” by Little Richard

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 3

Not a great sleep again last night but that’s okay. I must’ve been sleeping in a weird position or something because for the first time since I got it, my CPAP machine reported a jump in the number of times it detected me apnea-ing. The numbers are still well below what the doctors want to see but stopping breathing while I sleep can cause all kinds of other problems.

Had an appointment with Dr H today, a followup from the last appointment. Good news is there’s nothing too bad going on. The bad news is I need another round of surgery (sigh). I also mentioned that my pinky finger on my left hand is tingling and numb and weak and she had that all figured out in like 30 seconds. That might need some surgery too. Oh well.

Spoke with my folks today, they got a good amount of snow last night. We got a little bit this afternoon and are expected to get more tonight. Dad may be coming out tomorrow to hang out but he’s going to wait and see how the roads are before he makes up his mind. It would be good if that worked out – I had a good time when he was here last.

J’s day went well again. I’m very pleased that her trip is going so well, she’s learning a lot, and has the time to do breakout sessions with some people so they can share knowledge with each other. But I am VERY much looking forward to her being home safe and sound again. I miss my sweetie.

Watched some YouTube videos of people doing dumb things, and some sewing instruction videos. Fired up the sewing machine and ran a bunch more stitches to get better at making nice, straight, consistent, secure stitches. It’s going pretty well and I’m looking forward to maybe trying to make some other stuff tomorrow. I’ve got tons of old rags and bedsheets, that kind of thing, so there’s lots to practice on.

Aside from Dad potentially coming over, I don’t have much in the way of plans for tomorrow. Some sewing for sure, and I might take it apart to clean it just to learn how. We shall see.

Stay safe.

No Sense Of Time

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 3?

I slept pretty hard for the first part of last night – I don’t remember anything until after 2:47AM. From that point on, though, I didn’t sleep well at all. More nightmares (tent), a panic attack, waking up certain that I’d forgotten to lock the doors or make sure things were okay, and spending time sitting out in the light of the living room, made for kind of a crummy sleep.

My homework went okay. I only did one lap around the block and since the car is blocking the garage, I did my exposure in the car instead of the truck so I could back down the driveway like I’m supposed to. Using the car had a couple of advantages, namely that I didn’t have to open the garage door so I’m not worrying as much about that, that I didn’t have to remember to disconnect and reconnect the battery tender, and the sound system in the car is much better than the one in the truck. But… sitting out there still sucks and I wish I didn’t have to do it.

Spent a lot of time playing with the sewing machine. I’m experimenting with the stitch length and width settings, and I threw caution to the wind and tried out the 1-step buttonhole maker setting. Again, the manual wasn’t great so I found a good video on YouTube and set it up. Here’s my first result:

Sewn Button HoleSo yeah, not great – I think I need to play with the stitch width and length settings, and the material I’m using probably isn’t the best for this stuff. But… it did make something that looks like a buttonhole, and it’s the right size for the button I found! And, realistically, if it doesn’t do a good job, it’s not the end of the world. I don’t anticipate ever actually making buttonholes. Can never be sure though, right?

Played some STO today. I used the earbuds/ear defenders strategy and it worked ok, but a couple of sounds still got through and things in the corner of my eye going on outside kept distracting me (I open a couple of upstairs blinds during the day so I don’t look like a hermit). J suggested that I drag my computer down to the basement room I used on Halloween and leave the blind in that room closed. I think I’m going to try that tomorrow. If I could play for 15 minutes at a time, that would be long enough for me to do maps without having to quit midway through.

Had a good chat with my mom today, we talked about all kinds of stuff. My uncle who just had that surgery again is back at home and doing pretty well. He’s quite uncomfortable but says things are getting better. It’s good he’s out of the hospital and back home – it makes him happier, and he’s less likely to pick up some weird infection. We also talked about my sewing attempts and about our respective machines.

J had a good day today. She spent most of it working with people she usually only communicates with via email or video conference. Tomorrow she is starting in on some supervisory/management classes – things like what to do if one of your subordinates smells bad, team building, that sort of thing. We had another video chat this evening. Neither of us had anything particularly exciting to talk about, and both of us thought that was good. It was great to chat with her – only three more sleeps and she’s home!

It’s supposed to snow around here tonight and tomorrow, I think. I have an appointment with Dr H in the afternoon and I’m not looking forward to it. It shouldn’t take long, though, so I’m hoping to be getting home and back in my comfort zone in less than an hour after I leave. I have to remember to book a cab tomorrow morning.

Aside from my appointment, I’m going to practice more sewing. J bought me a giant spool of thread and there’s already a visible amount less on the spool. I also need to refill my bobble again, so I’ll be getting another opportunity to rethread the machine.

But now, I’m heading to bed. With the time change and getting up so early yesterday, I have no clue what time it is or when I should eat, and I’ve been too lazy to change the clocks unless I’m in a room with them so half the clocks in the house are wrong. Yet another good thing about smartphones, I guess.

Stay safe.

J Is Away…

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I didn’t get much sleep last night – not because of nightmares or the other usual reasons, but because the alarm went off at 3:45 this morning. We had originally thought to set it for 4:15 but it’s good we changed it because the cab we booked arrived at 4:07. One last hug and J was out the door and on her way to the airport.

Like the last business trip she took a couple of months ago, everything worked out great. She had no troubles at the airport, was at the gates with plenty of time to spare, and the same co-worker who picked her up at the airport last time met her today. I wasn’t as nervous about her this time as I was last time, but it was still very good to get a text saying she had made it to the hotel and everything was fine. A while later we did a video chat, which was great – it was wonderful to see her face and hear her voice.

So what did I do today? Well, for a while I tried to take a nap but I didn’t have any luck. I kept hitting that weird boundary where I’d be drifting… drifting… drifting… and then boop – I’m wide awake again. I tried grounding, listening to beach and thunderstorm sounds, and progressive relaxation, but just couldn’t get past that weird threshold. About the fourth or fifth time I got out of bed to chase ghosts, I just gave up and stayed awake, waiting to hear how J was doing.

I hopped onto STO and did some banking and crafting. That took about 15 minutes.

I wandered around on YouTube for a little while and ate leftover pizza. That burned up another… hour? Something like that.

While watching a video of NHL goalies doing stupid things, something occurred to me: my wife is away for a couple of days – more than enough time to make a huge mess and clean it up before she gets home. I have a credit card that’s burning a hole in my wallet. And while I have a couple of appointments this week, most of my time is mine. There was only one thing to do.

I pulled the cover off my sewing machine, sat down, and played with it for HOURS. Ran the bobble empty so I had to go through the instructions again to fill it back up. I’m happy to say that I both filled the bobble and rethreaded the machine properly on my first effort. I spent a lot of time sewing stitches in pieces of rags, kind of like practicing running beads with a welder. Trying to keep the stitches straight and constant and keeping a consistent pressure on the fabric so it wouldn’t bunch up.

Then I played around with stitch length and made myself a piece of reference cloth where the stitches went from 1 on the length dial to 4. Did another reference where I ran 15 different stitches (with the width set at… aw, crap – I changed it back before I wrote it down. Guess I know what I’m going to be doing again tomorrow) just to see how they look. A couple of them I am quite interested in, and I have at least one stretch stitch so it turns out I will be able to make myself that spandex superhero costume. Here are the stitches:

15 Different StitchesI’m particularly fond of the straight stitch (which isn’t in the picture), the thick stitches 2,3, and 4, the zigzag of 15, and the pattern 5 makes. The machine has another 17 stitches I haven’t (intentionally) tried yet. I might go through them tomorrow… maybe try making a button hole.

I also made my first real “thing” – a beanbag:

My First BeanbagYep, two pieces of black denim, held together with black thread, and filled with black beans. Edges cut with a pinking shear with black handles, while I’m wearing a black t-shirt and black pants. Not too bad for a first try. One of the nice things about sewing is that when I hear or smell or see or feel something strange, I can just take my foot off the pedal and stop, then go wandering around the house or look outside to make sure everything is okay. Then it’s just a matter of sitting back down and continuing right where I left off. It’s good.

Which reminds me – J had a fantastic idea for a YouTube channel that I may actually be capable of doing. Yeah, I’ve got to think about that.

Anyway, so my day went pretty well. I miss J terribly already and how her hugs feel and how she leans on me when we watch our shows in the evening. But she’s safe, she’s looking forward to tomorrow, and tomorrow is another day closer to when she gets back. 🙂

Oh, and one last thing – J convinced me last night that I didn’t need to keep all of the pictures that I’ve taken during my rounds of the house over the last few months. I dumped 1473 hot water tank, washer, doors, alarm, locks, keys… pictures for all kinds of things. Felt good to get rid of them, too.

Stay safe.

Yesterday (the 2nd)

Song: “The Auctioneer” by Leroy Van Dyke

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2

Yesterday was a decent day. I didn’t sleep very well again and was pretty tired but the day went not too badly. Unfortunately, it snowed again and some of it stuck around all the way into today. I don’t think it’s going to be too long before we get snow that sticks around until March…

My exercises went reasonably well. The earbud and ear defender system still seems to work pretty well, although I kept catching myself where my thoughts would wander away and do weird stuff because I had almost fallen asleep. Still, I felt better when I was done than when I started, and that’s the whole idea.

I did a bit of tidying around the house before FA came by, and one of the sinks has been draining a little slower than usual so I grabbed a plunger and cleaned it out so it works much better now. I should probably do that to all of the drains once in a while and keep them from slowing up in the first place.

FA arrived around noon and brought burritos and soft drinks (the local burrito place had a deal where you’d get a bottle with each burrito purchase) and we sat down to eat and shoot the breeze. As usual, it was a fun and enjoyable visit. For as long as I’ve known her, FA and I have never run out of things to talk about. One of us always has something we’re geeking out about, and when we’re not talking about that kind of stuff, we talk about pretty much everything else. Chemistry? Check. Law? Check. Cars? Check. Travelling? Check. History? Check. Yep, pretty much anything.

I had a Dr C appointment yesterday at 2PM so unfortunately it was a short visit. FA was nice enough to drop me off at my appointment (thank you!!!) and I headed into the building.

My appointment was difficult again. There are so many things going on in my head that are demanding my attention that it is hard to focus on what Dr C and I are talking about. She could tell that I was anxious and led me through a relaxation/grounding exercise which helped. We are still working on me getting out for my walks and spending time with/in the truck. It’s kind of like ERP but when I’m sitting in the truck, but I’m dealing with a lot more than one thing at a time – all of the things I worry about happening in the house are bothering me at the same time. I also worry that I’ve run over a child or someone’s pet when I back the truck out of the garage. I worry that someone is trying to call on the landline and I can’t hear it because I’m outside (even though I probably wouldn’t be able to answer it anyway). I worry about whether the front door is locked. I worry that animals have made it into the garage and will be trapped in there when I close the door. So many things.

I took a cab home and then put on some music and looked around on the Internet to see what kinds of sewing machine tips and hints and patterns there are out there. It didn’t take long for me to realize two things: one, I don’t yet know enough to understand the tips and hints, and two, most of the free patterns that are out there are not my thing. Too many fancy pants and tops, not enough welder covers and tool bags.

J got home a while later and brought supper – she stopped by a new Indian restaurant that’s pretty much fast food. The meal comes in a tray, and it was delicious. Not too expensive, either. I really like butter chicken and theirs is pretty good!

J started packing for her trip and then we watched some more Parks and Recreation and stayed up way too late talking about stuff. Unfortunately, my medication did its thing and I can’t really remember what we talked about. Hopefully it will come back to me before J asks me about it…

Today (the 3rd), J is getting the rest of her stuff together so she’s ready to head out really early tomorrow morning. It’s pretty much the same trip that she took a couple of months ago so I’m not concerned about her flights or hotel or anything like that. I will miss her tremendously while she’s gone, though, but we will be keeping in touch by text and video chat. And she’ll be back Thursday evening, too!

Stay safe.

Up Too Late Already

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 3?

Despite last night going much better than I’d expected, I didn’t sleep very well at all. More nightmares (lifejackets) and I woke up worrying about things a lot. Despite the lack of sleep and being tired all day, I am still awake and it’s almost 1AM. So, I need to keep this post short so I can get to bed.

Today was alright. I only did one lap around the block today but I spent my time out in the driveway in the truck again. I’m really glad we have that battery tender – I can start the truck up and run the radio for an hour and not need to worry that I’m going to run the battery flat. Of course, I have to remember to hook it back up (and, for that matter, unhook it before I back out of the garage).

I spent a lot of time playing around with the sewing machine today. I tried to follow the instructions on the quick-start sheet and in the manual and I started to get pretty frustrated with everything. So, I gave up on the instructions and went to the Internet and watched some videos. Turns out, the things I was trying (and failing) to thread at impossible angles for over half an hour were actually hooks that, had I known (or been able to see) they weren’t loops of metal, I would’ve been done in less than a minute.

The machine is also very persnickety about where you leave your extra thread. Oh, and when I’m facing a dial that is perpendicular to my line of sight, do not use the phrase “turn the knob toward you”. When I read that, I couldn’t stop wondering whether I was supposed to turn the knob so the top side spun toward me or the bottom side spun toward me.

I’m still getting used to the foot pedal. I don’t want to press it too hard and wreck stuff, but I started out with some of this:

Bad SewingAnd this:

Bad SewingAnd it took a while for me to fish this out of the machine:

Clump Of ThreadI took all of the thread out of the machine and re-threaded it and gave it another try. I ended up with this:

Straight StitchesAnd a nice, strong seam that I couldn’t pull apart by hand:

First Seam!So yes, some progress. I also cut up an old pair of jeans and sewed some denim – even with the regular needle and thread, the machine doesn’t even labour a bit when sewing through four layers of material. I think that’s a good sign.

J and I watched some more Parks and Recreation this evening. J is getting a little nervous about heading out on her trip in a couple of days. I’m sure everything is going to be fine – she was nervous about it last time and it turned out way better than any of us expected!

Got a text from FA this evening – she’s going to be near-ish here tomorrow and was wondering if I wanted to do lunch. I thought that sounded great, but I have a Dr C appointment at 2PM. Still, as long as it’s not inconvenient for FA, a short visit would be great!

Okay, that’s already 400 words more than I was going to type. I’m going to bed. Goodnight.

Stay safe.

And It’s Over…

Song “Ex Lion Tamer” by Wire

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I didn’t sleep nearly as well last night as I did the night before. No nightmares, but I woke up worrying about things a lot. Fortunately, I took my regular set of pictures before I went to bed and they helped quite a bit so I only had to get up and do a lap around the house once. It was very difficult to convince myself to get out of bed this morning – mainly because I knew what was happening this afternoon and evening.

I’ve been clenching my jaw quite a bit lately and today was the second day in a row that I needed to grab something for a headache before I started to feel like I was going to be ill. I’ve got lots on my mind nowadays but I need to remember to take some more breaths here and there.

Spent quite a bit of time on the phone today. My folks called to see what was new and we talked for quite a while. Things are going well and they were getting everything ready for Halloween. My uncle is back home and walking around quite a bit. He’s taking it slow, but I certainly would too if my insides had been taken apart and sewn back together. I find myself repeatedly amazed at the great attitudes that all three of my uncles have. One’s getting abdominal surgery after surgery and is worried about finding more cancer, one is slowly but inexorably losing control of his body, and one can’t seem to get ahead of the infection that keeps taking more and more of his leg. I admire and am proud of them for not just giving up (which would probably be a lot easier than all the physio and tests and specialists they have to do and see).

My sister called right after I got off the phone with my parents. Things are going well there too and the kids were excited about going out trick or treating. Nothing too exciting going on there (which is fine by me), and aside from their insane schedule with hockey and school events and friends and other sports, they don’t have anything planned for the near future.

After I got off the phone I made some room, finished unpacking the sewing machine, gave it a look to see if anything looked wrong, and then figured I’d fire it up. To do anything useful, though, I needed to fill a bobbin up with thread. There is a set of paper instructions but the drawings weren’t entirely clear so I turned to the Internet. Eventually I was pretty confident that I was doing things right. I gently pressed down on the foot pedal. There was movement. A little more, and the machine started winding thread around the bobbin like crazy:

My Dr W appointment was difficult today, mainly because of the usual problems but also because the psych ward in the hospital I go to is going to be shut down, possibly before the end of the year. Dr W and bunch of the staff are heading over to the new location so there may be some familiar faces if I ever end up in there. Unfortunately, there are several nurses who decided to stay at the hospital they’re working in now and they’re transferring to other departments. I really wish everyone all the best and I hope they find enjoyment and satisfaction in their new job, wherever that may lead them. I hope enough of them are still around so if I end up back in the hospital, I don’t have to learn every single person from scratch. I also really hope the recreational and occupational therapists move to the new hospital ward – they did such incredible work while I was there. Amazing stuff. But… this being a big-budget government move, it’s probably going to take eight more months before they can seriously consider starting.

Oh, and we got flu shots from the hospital pharmacy while we were there. Two birds, one stone.

We also talked about Halloween which, at that point, was about two hours away. I had trouble explaining to him exactly what bothers me about Halloween. It’s the sounds and the voices. When I hear them, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I hate it.

On our way home, J suggested we pick something up quickly to eat so I could get myself comfortably hidden in the basement while she handed out the treats and kept watch. I devoured my supper, then brought my laptop down to the laboratory, put earbuds in, put ear defenders on over top, and blasted the sound while I played Star Trek Online. It worked pretty well – I only heard the door a couple of times. Eventually, the kids stopped coming so J shut off the light and came down to see me.

Halloween is done for another year, and I am very grateful for that.

After J had locked the door, we sat down on the couch with the remaining candy and nibbled away at it while we watched some more Parks and Recreation. Then it was time to start heading toward bed, but I decided to do a blog post. I have fallen asleep five or six times now, and I’ve had to go back and edit several parts because hey made absolutely no sense. So… seeing as how I won’t remember writing this tomorrow, it will be a surprise to me to go through it. Hopefully it’s not too bad or confusing.

Tomorrow I plan to cut apart some old rags, get the thread in the sewing machine properly run, and start sewing things together. Wish me luck!

Stay safe.