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I guess there's still some merit to making a couple of entries a year, here.

My mother died on December 3rd.  I last spoke to her on October 17th. I last saw her at the beginning of August.  I truly don't know the date, which sometimes bothers me.

She made a series of "last requests" that I funded for her - a beach house rental and large goodbye party weekend for all her friends, and long weekend at the most expensive/luxe hotel in Santa Cruz, a series of craft purchases for things she wanted to make for people as mementos, or create as decorations for the funeral she wanted.
When we rented the beach house, she started saying that she "hadn't known the plan", and that Will and I weren't planning to ever take her home to her shitty boyfriend's house (not true).  Neither Will or I had suggested that this was our plan, although we both said we would of course rather that she stay anywhere else.  Over the course of the weekend and conversations with several of her friends, she got to be a little more up front about saying that actually she wanted Will and/or I to find someplace else for her and her not to go back (rather than just try to play Will and I off of each other and trick us into making a plan she could then claim she never initiated/wanted).  Her friend Amy was pretty integral in getting her to sit down and come to her senses long enough to make a written plan, which I worked with a social worker to test feasibility for.  She wanted to stay in an RV parked in the driveway of some friends who live in the extended-East-Bay.  Not very practical, as someone who was on compressed air, fell 3-5 times a week, and pissed herself daily.  But I needed a SW to be the one to talk that over with her, because I was a non-starter when it came to saying no and getting her to hear it.
In the end, her friends said no with heavy hearts, and she cut them out of her life without a second thought.  I found a hospice cabin at a Buddhist retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains that would accept her, and I took her there for a meeting with the program directors, where we talked over the rules of the program (volunteer run, very modest rental costs, a volunteer or family member accompanies the "resident" 24/7).  She agreed that she wanted to move in, but wanted it all to be secret from her shitty boyfriend, so Will and I undertook the process of secretly removing a person on hospice from their home, which is exactly as complex as it sounds.
She got to the house and immediately pitched a literal lay-on-the-floor, kick-and-scream fit about there being volunteers in the house.  The program director and co-director had the first of many Serious Conversations with me.  Within six hours, she had started repeatedly calling Eddy (the boyfriend) to say that Will and I had kidnapped her, she didn't know where she was, we had lied to her.  Eddy told her hospice had come to collect everything and wouldn't tell him the new address, and also she needed to come back because the next day was the first of the month and she needed to pay his mortgage.
I tried to approach things in good faith with her, trying to reorient her to the house and the tenant agreement she had signed, etc.  She said the SW had come to her house and told her they were helping her rent an apartment in Santa Cruz and she could split her time between there and Eddy's.  Her social worker had been on leave since before she had an intake meeting, so w/e.

I paid her rent, I bought her groceries, and I spent about 30 hours a week taking shifts at the hospice, with that number increasing as her petulance and general horrid behavior continued to alienate volunteers.  I commuted from deep in the mountains to Palo Alto to work, and through it I would read in the shared narrative journal that she was constantly telling the volunteers that I had kidnapped her, that she didn't want to be there.
In spite of that, she immediately began showing signs of recovery.  She never had a single fall outside of Eddy's house.  She got stronger, her mentation was clearer.  She didn't nod out all the time, and we brought her sedation and narcotic requirements down considerably.  We finally treated the thrush infection that had gotten so bad that she relied on 1mg of sub-lingual morphine to dull the pain enough to eat, and she ate about 30 popsicles a day to numb her throat. (Thrush is a yeast infection of the throat)
After four weeks in the hospice house, she wanted to come off of hospice and see if she had any treatment options, and I wanted to drive my car into a tree every single day.  I was about 6k in debt, I cried for hours every day and night, and my husband was no longer supportive of my helping her.  I couldn't back out of a contract, and I felt intense guilt about the way she was abusing this amazing hospice program, so I felt increasingly isolated and helpless.  Eventually she asked Amy (same one from the party) to come stay for several days with her, which I welcomed - they had a great rapport.  I worked with the program director to create an exemption so that Amy could take all the shifts for several days consecutively, allowing for a prolonged "slumber party", during which time I could work, sleep at home, and try to recover.
Midway through, I got a voicemail at work saying that Mom had "changed the DNR and POA" (I never had POA) and that I was being removed from all HIPAA access, and if she found out I was talking to anyone about her or her health, she would have me reported for HIPAA violations.  It was like that auto insurance commercial - "that's not how any of this works..."
She took herself off of hospice, which disqualified her for the hospice house, and made plans to move out.  Plans that relied on Will and I moving her, of course.  I came to the house that last morning and read the narrative while she slept - days of entries from Amy about all the crimes I had committed against her, the money I had stolen (...?), the fact that I was getting info from her doctors and withholding it from her (never spoke to any of her doctors during her relapse).  Express directions that I was to be removed from all contact with the hospice house, and not to be given any information under any circumstances.  I was clearly not meant to ever read this, or come to the house again.  My name had been removed from every emergency contact sheet, but not my credit card information on the fridge, which she was using to amazon-prime herself things.
She woke up and sobbed, swore that we could both put down all of our anger, that we didn't have to apologize for the things we'd done to each other, and that we could move on from here and just love each other.  I didn't say a word.  She had a lot to say about wanting me to be with Travis, that he and his health were more important and I needed to care for him.  I made quiet, non-affirming noises and started packing and cleaning the cabin.  In 8 weeks there, she had rearranged all the furniture, stained the walls and floor with paint, brought in rats, mice, and ants, and flooded the bathroom til the floors warped.
She said she wanted to take care of herself, and she needed not to have anyone "in the middle" of her medical care.  She said she wanted to do chemo at a facility near my house, so that we could visit all the time.  I said she should do what's most convenient - chemo would take enough out of her.  I reminded her that she couldn't visit Travis' house, because of cross-infection risks.  She said I seemed upset. I demurred.
We packed her up and drove her to the airport.  Her sister arrived from Montana, strung out on meth and swabbing the empty air around her with the tongue in her toothless mouth.  Will handed her the keys, Mom shouted across the airport terminal for Will to give her some weed before we left, and I grabbed Will's hand.

I never saw my mother again.  She texted me a couple of weeks later to ask what venue I had picked for her birthday party - I said I had never offered to throw one for her.  She called me for my birthday, and was bright and solicitous, kind and pretending as though nothing had happened.  She sent me a few narcotized late night texts that I couldn't make any sense of, but responded to as best I could.  The last message I have from her is about a week before she died - "No more fun funn".
Will showed up late at night.  Amy had called to tell him she was dead.  A few weeks later I visited an old friend of hers, who said she had been in the hospital the week before, and they knew she was going in the next couple of days, so they brought Amy down.
Her boyfriend started calling her friends, saying I had stolen all the money for her funeral arrangements, and asking people for money to avoid her being "thrown in a dumpster".  I went to the funeral society and paid for her cremation, and collected her ashes.  Everyone is furious that Will and I have them.
I did my best to assess and deal with her finances, having no access to her banking records.  She cashed out several hundred thousand dollars in retirement accounts in the last three years of her life, spending freely on vacations and material goods.  She seems to have paid most of it to Eddy's mortgage, though.  At least 50k in the last three months of her life.  Between the less than 2k in her remaining bank account, the payments I've made on my credit cards, and the money that her friends donated at her "rememberance", I'm still about 1900 in the hole.  I had to call all of her friends and explain that Eddy was likely to contact them for money, but that as her legal heir, I had claim on her remains, and any money given to him wasn't likely to end up with the mortuary.

I finally have no parents.  It's not exactly as liberating as I thought it would be, in high school, but I have not experienced any sadness.

Tags:

I headed out at about 5pm yesterday to do a bunch of errands, already feeling sleepy and knowing that when I got back from three hours of errands, I had dishes to do, groceries to unload, and dinner to make.  In the interest of completing things, I went and got a large iced coffee.

Haven't slept yet. :|

Got through Walgreens and the farmers market with almost everything I needed - the market is always pretty picked-over on Mondays, so I may need to go to Safeway tomorrow for a few things - and got home to find that the power had browned out at the house from 7-8pm, so Trav had done most of the dishes and a little kitchen tidying in that time, and had energy to assist in dinner prep.  Tonight was a familiar meal - Raspberry Balsamic Chicken with brown rice and pan-seared asparagus, though I tried making the asparagus on the cast iron (a virtuous experiment, as it was omfg delicious).  The rest of the week is almost exclusively New Meals, though.  When I have 4+ days off at a stretch, I've been trying to sit down with a moleskine and make a schedule of meals for each night, chores for each day, and then a grocery/errands list based on both.  When the weather cools down I can hopefully add a little excercise schedule into that, but for now it's "is the neighborhood on SMUD alert for power usage? you can't have both the treadmill and the A/C, and you can't use the treadmill without the AC or you will die."
Anyway, making meal schedules (mostly using my pinterest recipe board) is helping me to branch out into new things, and for the most part they've gone fairly well for at least one of our palettes.

Had another job interview at Stanford last Thursday, this being my third in almost exactly a year.  My first two were within the administrative offices for the branch of pediatric medicine that I work in (intensive care), and I had the strange experience of interviewing with their office manager who all but gave me a job offer before I left each interview, then did a gradual email fadeaway over the course of months.  On both prior occasions, it was she who approached me to ask me to inteview for the positions.  This time I applied outside of my home department, but within my realm of experience (cardiology), and was somewhat relieved at the prospect of not having this particular woman as the gatekeeper.  But, of course, she's taken over admin of this third branch of peds (temporarily?) so is now running three offices.  This was all a surprise to me during the phone screen, but lead to me walking into the interview with a very "meh" approach, since I have no confidence that this woman has ever had any intention of hiring me for anything.  I made good connections with the other two people I interviewed with (sequentially, not as a panel), and if this manager hadn't been involved, I would say I had a good feeling about the experience, but in fact I feel... nothing.
The second interview I had with Stanford was in January, and was for... augh, my dream job.  It was an application to work as a fellowship coordinator admin, so helping to keep the student doctors on track to finish their specialization training in ICU medicine and get them out into the world as attendings.  Working with the fellows is the highlight of the job that I have now, and I have heavy aspirations of using my skills to contribute, in my way, to ~*~the future of medicine~*~ so, just... this would be an amazing job for me, and I KNOW I can do it.  I was invited sight-unseen to interview, the fellowship director said she liked me and wanted me, and that same manager handed me a background-check waiver on my way out the door.  In late May I heard from one of the fellows (all of whom sent in emails of support requesting that I be hired HELLO WARM FEELINGS) that they had hired someone else, some friend of a department head.  I continued to hear from my fellows that she was bad at the job, told them outright that she doesn't like the job, and that she acts as though she's doing them all massive favors to fulfill her job requirements when she does so at all.  Then, of course, she quit on Tuesday morning before my Thursday interview.  I obviously couldn't say anything about it in the interview, but did let it be known to the fellows that I would still LOVE the job and I have NO pride/shame/whatever about being a second choice and they should just maybe mention this to the fellowship director.  We'll see if anything comes of it.

Gonna watch more bad TV and wait for sleep to come.
Travis' sleep mask has a little silicone cushion that conforms to the face and forms the seal that keeps the air inside.  Medical grade silicone, it's the least durable and most expensive replaceable piece of the machine at $55 a pop.  The manufacturer suggests replacing it every two weeks, and insurance fights us tooth and nail once every six months or so when we actually ask for replacement.
Anyway, we're in the lag time now between requesting a new one and getting approved, so the one that is currently attached to the machine is breaking down and doesn't seal correctly, meaning there are exciting squeaks and squeals with every inhale he makes while sleeping.

Which is to say, I've been awake since 3AM and finally gave up the ghost an hour ago and came downstairs.  Ordered some home goods from our wedding registry (a shoe rack and a pepper mill!) though they say you're supposed to wait a year, I'm pretty sure we're in the clear as far as people rushing to use the listings there.  My mother used the B3 registry as a launching point to manically overspend on us for xmas-easter (we delayed celebrations) in a frenetic attempt to reignite communication.  Part of me wonders if I should have returned the stuff and given her money back, in a gesture of I-won't-be-bought/dnw-you, but she makes it INCREDIBLY difficult to be forthright with her about things like that, and it is actually less trouble and smoother sailing to just keep the stuff and let her stew in it silently if she wants to, rather than return it in a confrontational gesture and have her OMG about that.

Briefly:
Her mom died at xmas, this is ostensibly why holidays were delayed, although also I didn't ever want to see her awful face, at that point.
I locked her out of my life after the wedding with the brief exception of the time surrounding gma's death.  I turned off notifs on all forms of messaging from her and would check in once every day or so and see if there was something to respond to.  Any conversation that she turned into something prying/hysterical/rude ended immediately, without explanation (in retrospect, she is very dumb and maybe deserved an explanation of her own actions and their consequences).
We met up around Easter for a gift exchange wherein T, Will and I were lavishly showered with gifts afforded by her having cashed out a notable portion of her retirement (at 61) to live on after she was fired.  She explained that the largesse directed and T&I was a combo wedding/bday/xmas/easter(??), because she had been "distracted".
I visited her a couple of weeks later at her house to help her go over her finances and review her credit reports, because she was highly suspicious of some financial malfeasance surrounding her mom's death and also believed she was going to buy a house as soon as she had some collections paid off?  Had a long day of showing her there are no ghosts in the machine, explaining how credit works, teaching her to stop applying for every Kohl's card she's offered for a discount.  Agreed to see her again in a few weeks when some back-ordered item she had gotten as a bday gift for T arrived.  Thought we left things on okay terms - she clearly wanted more from the relationship than I was ready for, but we spent many civil hours together.
Sent her a mother's day card in the mail in time to arrive by appropriate day.
Texted her on mother's day. Got a hysterical text back about "so surprised to HEAR from someone who doesn't CALL ME THEIR MOTHER"
Reverted to old rules, stopped conversation abruptly rather than engage.
Heard from my mother-in-law that Mom a) friended her on fb, and b) got in touch with her on mother's day to say "you're SO lucky that you got a card, so lucky that they like you... FOR NOW".  I strongly encouraged MIL to unfriend/block, which she did pretty eagerly.
Some ten days after mothers' day I noticed a pending fb message that I hadn't been notified of (forgot to re-engage account settings for her there) dated for several days after the holiday thanking me effusively for the card, saying it was the best mothers' day she could remember ever having from me (REALLY?), it meant so much in the wake of losing her mother, etc. No mention of "maybe I got a little crazy". I did not respond.
One of Will's close friends passed away unexpectedly last week.  Mom immediately messaged me about it, I said I had heard and that I was sorry to hear it. "Well I am SO SORRY to have bothered you for EVEN A SECOND. I am trying so hard to disconnect everywhere because I am UNWANTED.  I thought the boy DYING might have BOTHERED YOU but apparently I was thinking of WILL. SO SORRY." [It is a recognized trope of my mother's that Will is the child with feelings, and I am the cold and intelligent automaton]. omfG, lady. I stopped responding.  She posted on facebook about what a failure she must be that her kids won't speak to her [is Will not speaking to her?] and her "adopted kid" died [drug overdose].  She eventually edited the post to erase all mention of the person she was ostensibly eulogizing intially and revamped her statement to say that she was taking on way too much blame for the way her kids turned out, as all parents do, and that her kids are great.  I heard a lot at work from our mutual friends/former shared co-workers about "is she okay?", pretended I had never seen the post.

Turning 30 this year, at which time I am hoping to shed my parents like a snakeskin. Hoping to come out shiny and healed.
Wait, where was I?

I worked Thanksgiving and the day after.  Not so bad, as the hospital always puts on a bit of a spread for employees, and our unit happens to employ a transport nurse who used to own a restaurant.  He makes a couple of amazing turkeys every year and we have quite a nice table laid out in the conference room.  People worry so much about staff not getting to celebrate the holiday that we often end up with better food than would have been on offer at home.

I came home Friday night and fell into bed pretty rapidly, without taking the melatonin that allows me to stay asleep through T's nightly assault of coughing and kicking.  Realizing this, he elected to sleep on the couch rather than wake me.

At 4AM on Saturday I awoke suddenly and in the worst kind of hell.  Laid awake for the better part of two hours trying not to move because I was sure things would escape my GI system really from either end if I made the slightest motion.  Eventually made a dash to the kitchen to grab a mixing bowl and then off to the bathroom.  Bed to bathroom was pretty much the only distance I covered for the next three days.  No fever, just tremendous GI upset and accompanying symptoms of dehydration. 
"Food poisoning," says I, when T finally wakes up and makes a startled noise upon discovering me.
Normally we segregate pretty militantly when I get sick, as his immunocompromise makes illness a pretty big deal for him.  I was grateful that we chose not to in this instance (because, you know, he didn't eat the thanksgiving spread that I did), because I haven't felt that bad in years, and he was very kind and also trying to figure out how to trick me into the hospital.
"I work at the hospital, darling," I murmured, "I'm not going unless I can actually already see Jesus coming for me."

By Monday I was fighting off the last of the dehydration andsmall gross medical detail warningCollapse )continuing about my life.

Thursday Travis had a job interview early in the day.  I heard him throw up once, through the fog of my sleep, and figured that he was trying to do really diligent airway clearance and triggered his gag reflex (CF has been, let us say, not a selling point in his interview process, and I've finally convinced him to stop telling people about it).  He got home again before I had woken up and crawled back into bed with me.  A few hours later he kicked me out of bed and I moved to the couch, reading and napping and watching House and occasionally coming to check on him.  Warm to the touch, I decided to monitor him a bit more closely.  An hour later I took his temperature.  When the mercury hit 103 with no signs of slowing down, I started putting on pants and throwing hospital supplies into a bag.  104.2, which is a very defensible "we're going to the ER now" temperature, if the person you're talking to is not delirious and unable to recognize a thermometer. Sigh.

Eight and a half hours in a dirty trauma room (seriously, I stole a housekeeping cart and cleaned it while we were in there) later, we were in the IICU, where we stayed for four days, during which I slept at his bedside, woke at 6 AM and walked down the hall to PICU.

Conclusion of small gross misadventureCollapse )  Saturday night I drove from Stanford to PAMF Mt View urgent care, and that was the only time I left the hospital (for another, out patient hospital) for five days.  Monday I went out and got take-out dinner with a co-worker, and Tuesday I left midday in a flurry of "oh shit our rent". 

His FEV1 dropped from 49 to 35, then finally came back up to 39 before we left.  By the time he got a chem panel back, he was hypokalemic, hypocalcemic, had serious fluid electrolyte problems and a crap anion gap.  Because I hadn't had stomach flu, I had norovirus - there was an epidemic among our staff after Thanksgiving. And I gave it to him.

It was a long, shit admission, and we didn't get out for a full week.  He's still on home IVs, but the norovirus has cleared - now it's all the aftereffects of being dehydrated and immobile and unable to do any CPT for a week.

Everyone stood around and said what a good girlfriend I was for not leaving the bedside. How lucky he was to have someone who worked in medicine (and I did tap every favor and connection I had to get him moved from IICU back to pulmonology, because Medicine residents are not as good with CF as they like to imagine they are).  Really, though, how much longer am I going to keep working in ICU and risking this all the time?  How good a partner am I, when I'm the reason he was so sick?
He forgives me, and he'll be okay, but still.  I need to make a change.
Awake at 2:30, tried to get back to sleep for an hour, then gave up and came to internet forever until the alarm goes off.  We mentioned Travis' terrible quality of sleep last time we were in clinic and Doc referred us to sleep medicine for an overnight study, although none of us thinks he has apnea.  Maybe it will help, but I hold little hope.
Either way, I'm deep in the middle of a depressive swing, and sleeping til noon would probably be my M.O. anyway.
Travis still hasn't found a job, hasn't gotten any callbacks, which is difficult for him, and tends to cause him to sort of catastrophize everything, which is difficult for me.

Nothing seems positive when you wake up before three AM on a day when you have to be up at five anyway.

Jan. 17th, 2012

Okay, who authorized this cold weather?? >:|  Starting THE DAY Travis got on the plane, it has been so cold here that I just wear blankets like pants, and quilts as capes.  I had so many grand plans for re-organizing the house while he was gone, but they've come to nothing because it is COLD, and I DO NOT OPERATE in cold.
Most of this would be alright, because we do have indoor heating, except that it is in these like... low register things that are at the base of the walls, all along the walls, throughout the house.  It seems that turning on the thermostat turns them all on, which would be great, except for the ones under the bed, or behind the entertainment center, etc, which may be full of dust and which I cannot access in order to selectively deactivate them HUZZAH.
So, in the choice between being cold and fiery death, being cold is winning.  FOR NOW. >>>:|
This problem will be temporarily solved tomorrow, when Frank comes down for Baking Day.  I forsee myself preheating the oven at, oh, 8AM. >.>

I also got two new bookshelves this week, which I am working into the house floorplan.  The first one is being trialed in the dining room, and the second will replace the one that the boys FUBAR'd during the move into this apartment.  The second one can't actually move into this space just yet, as I have two boxes STILL PACKED from said move blockading the old bookcase in place, and the prospect of getting out from under the blankets long enough to unpack said boxes has been too daunting.  Sigh.

Will is here tonight, hanging out.  Keeping me from getting too lonely.  All of our efforts to do any gaming together were thwarted by PS3 updates, so we listened to SModcast instead.

Okay, so I would try to make a less self-indulgent post, but mostly I feel like my posts for the last few months have been "I SURE LOVE MY BF, HE IS TEH BEST" and while I COULD improve my content by doing a link post, links mean moving fingers out of the blanket-hut in order to use the mouse.  And it is cold out there.  Keyboard fits under blanket.  Keyboard is life.

Night night.
Buh? Urgh.

I was crushed by midterms last week (two Bs and a we'll-see, which I hold little hope for, sadly), and then worked two 12.5s and a 16.5 over the weekend (ugh, 41 hours in three days?).  The house has become a disaster area in the span of a week wherein all I did was launder all the things.  Today is phase one: The Kitchening.  I've cleared out the fridge, emptied and filled the dishwasher and dishrack, almost cleared all the dishes in the house, scrubbed counters, dismantled the stovetop to clean it, and de-greased all the things.  All that's left is re-covering the stovetop reflectors and re-assembling the stove, then the floor.  This will all have to wait, as dishes are still drying, and the reflector pans go in the next dishwashing load.
I have discovered the streak-free-shine additive stuff for dishwashers (you fill the whassit once a month), and it is a beautiful thing.  All is beauty and cleanliness.
Grocery delivery is tonight, so I probably won't get to actually scrub off the fridge shelves.  Might try to do that after the new year, when we deplete our cupboards in preparation for our week in the cabin and the fridge is less full.  I work tomorrow for the holiday, but at some point in the next couple of weeks, there's a giant turkey in the freezer that will need dealing with.  I need a bucket...

Woodchuck is the most troublesome cat.  He has a habit of eating by picking food up and then jerking his head back to propel it into his mouth, but sometimes he... misses?  and flings food onto the floor all around his dish.  It's ridiculous, but also causes problems, we have learned, when he throws the food into the waterfall water thing they have and clogs the works.  We didn't properly realize what a problem this is until it had burnt out the motor, so we switched back to conventional water bowls.
Except he won't drink from a regular water bowl. Noooo, he needs running water, fresh as a mountain stream.  He follows us into the bathroom and jumps either into the sink or the bathtub and waits for us to turn on the water.  This is literally the only time he would drink water, as standing water bowls are clearly for commies (and Clementine).  Since we just finished forking out roughly $800 on fixing kidney problems in this cat, we dealt with this quirk begrudgingly, but since we were both raised in drought-era California, we can't just leave water drizzling all night without thinking about farmers weeping and penguins dying.  So it's a lot of up-and-down and carrying the cat into the bathtub to see if he'll drink some water now, because I'm about to leave for class.
I went in search of a new waterfall fountain (that shit is expensive, and clearly we need some kind of industrial grade one), and lucked out in finding one at Pet Food Express that was on close out.  It's actually one of the really high-end ones (~$75) that was 60% off, and I walked away for like $29.  I set it up today and moved the food dish to the other side of the room to promote general longevity.

Other news... I got Travis a balloon for his birthday (among other things), and he has found no end of joy from clipping the balloon to the cats.  They are baffled, at best.
I have gotten a tremendous jump on giftmas shopping, and have pretty much everyone squared away (Frank! I have bought the calendar! You are warned!), and just need to start on the card list.
The end, I need to get ready for babysitting.
Internet! *clings*

When we moved in to the new place, Travis set up a broadband account with AT&T.  A couple of days later they called and said that since he's on a state insurance plan, he's eligible for a low-income phone line and that they would give him a $5/month write-off for having the line.  A free phone line, and every month our bill is cheaper? Sure.
So they set that up.

Our internet was terrible.  Slow, awful.  If he was gaming on one computer, it could take me ten minutes to load a two minute youtube.  We looked at other places that we could switch to, but no one came even close to matching the deal we get with AT&T, and Travis is notoriously circumspect about monthly expenses (I can often talk him into splurging on day-to-day things, or one-time expenses that will serve us well in the long run, but he's got a strong visual idea of how much his savings shrinks per month while he's in school).  Additionally, Travis is of the understanding that in areas with a high population density (like a 70-unit apt complex), there can be a lot of interference from competing wireless signals that simply causes lag, so we might make an expensive switch and end up with nothing better than what we have, so: we try to tough it out.  Last month we got a bill for about four times our agreed-upon rate, and a notice saying that the high bill is because we owe them back-pay for the last five months.  What?
He calls and finds out that when we agreed to the new phone/'net bundle deal, they opened a new account for that... and never closed the other one.  They just forgot to bill us for it through the on-line bill pay that we set up, so Travis was ignoring the monthly paper statements that came, because a payment was auto-debited each month.
He had the extra account turned off.

And then our internet went dead.  And our modem sees no internet signal anywhere.  I went out and bought a handset (we've never used the household phone line, goodness no), and there's no dial tone. 

AT&T says we have an open account, but they certainly can't help us with anything involving a modem we didn't buy from them.  Unless (unless!) we want to pay them $60 as a one-time fee to get one-time help from the guy who knows something about our brand of modem. 
Why no dial-tone?  We apparently need a small item that no one sells anymore called a DSL filter, before we'd be able to use our home phone line.  Hm.  None at the drug store where I bought the phone, nor at radio shack, nor at the AT&T store (though they would be happy to send me to a distribution center in San Mateo where I can rent this $4 device for the low, low rate of $1/month!).

The modem has a help line!  It's free!
But our warranty ran out last month, and anyway - they don't deal with AT&T lines.


SIGH.
Glowing bandages! Such a cool HAI prevention measure, and combined with the glowing kittens news that was all over the web earlier this week, I'm pretty excited!

American public education isn't great, but at least our leaders don't have to step in and tell us that a phone number can't kill us.

Have we considered that post-mortem barhopping might have been this bloke's last request?

Kaspar?  Is that you?

Holy jesus lord, dinosaur feathers!

True story: we don't give vaccines for funsies

All my ladies!  Double check your birth control pills: Qualitest recalls BC with packaging errors that could lead to unplanned pregnancy

Sesame Street roadshow dedicated to finding ways to help children deal with grief.

Decided to try something new this week with the grocery order, wherein I planned five full meals (for the two-week period between grocery deliveries, which tells you something about my free evenings to cook dinner) and bought ingredients for those, plus general we-can-make-food-in-thirty-minutes-or-less stuff.  The grocery bill was about $40 more than it usually is, but holy christ, we have a fully stocked kitchen.
My mom has bequeathed me her awesome Farberware indoor grill that we had through my childhood.  It's a beast of a machine, and comes with a rotisserie.  I used it last night to grill up some steaks in Szechewan marinade (and one in Caribbean jerk), and made a semi-pre-planned pasta dish on the side (onions, asparagus, heirloom baby toms, bacon, and angel hair tossed in parm and bacon drippings).  Since this was not one of our pre-planned meals (I just threw this shit together!? I'm... a grown up lady?!), it was nice to have a bonus evening of just sitting down to dinner with my love, chit-chatting about our days.  It's nice to have lives that are separate enough that we only really update one another once or twice a day.  He says he misses having me on campus and getting to have lunches together too.  I say this comes from his tendency to talk so freaking much that he needs several hours a day to get it all out.
Also, nights when we sit down for dinner tend to end in sex (possibly because I strip off all the cooking-stained or dishes-damp clothes I was wearing and sit across from him in my undies for forty minutes.  possibly).  Worth it!

Our cats have gotten weirder.  Also: more territorial about their food.  Woodchuck is putting on weight like we told him the starving season is coming.  Clem is still relatively limber, but I think it's because she gets so much exercise with the turbo spinner toy.  All of this will change when the weather cools down, of course, and she grows her two pounds of puffles and stops running around because her stump hurts. :(  In the meantime, she has adopted Travis, and we've developed a ritual wherein he lays on his back, I lay on my side next to him with my head on his chest, and she curls up on his other side so we can both pet her while she licks the salt off of him.  It's pretty cute.

What else? Oh! We got a good deal on gym memberships, so now we both have Bally's cards.  There's one a mile down the road, one right by campus, and one with a pool over near his mom's.  We're trying to set up a regular schedule to go, which I figure will probably look like Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

Whoops, battery low, and I need to go frost these cuppies.  Later, loves.

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