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Plum Blossoms

So, after over two months in the hospital, ICU, and rehab (skilled nursing facility), mom just arrived home. We’re waiting for the cat to figure out she’s here.

She still hasn’t had any of her surgery, but she’s recovered really well.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Mom’s finally moved out of the hospital into rehab, which is great. She’s there to build up strength so that they can do the hernia surgery safely. They will also have to remove her gall bladder, but that is less of a problem at this point. Unfortunately, they can’t do both at once (unless they have to to save pt’s life), since the hernia needs a clean field, and the gallbladder’s considered a dirty surgery (meaning one with lots of chance for infection).

Our friend is house sitting and cat sitting, and since the cat loves him (and will actually show up when he calls), that’s a good thing.

We’re on a trip that mom was supposed to join us on, but obviously couldn’t. We’ll do something later that’s more of a “her” trip, since this was definitely a my thing trip. She probably won’t be cleared for travel for several months, though.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Tree on the Beach

Photo by Thom Bouman.

Mom’s moved to a room on a different floor, so she’s now out of the ICU.

Also, Rick posted a comment yesterday that clarifies what she’s up to:

I was over there yesterday and a couple of times today, and Deirdre’s been over there, too. Cheryl started physical therapy this afternoon. Predictably and as I warned her, it was tough sledding for her. I didn’t get a full account of what they had her do, but it seems to have included her at least standing up for a while if not walking a bit.

One of the nurses was by, as was a social worker, and both separately talked to me about Cheryl’s condition and possible next steps. The nurse seemed to suggest that it’ll probably be a couple of more weeks before Cheryl can be released to the outside skilled nursing facility (SNF). The social worker detailed four SNFs in the surrounding cities we’re likely to be able to choose among, so I got the names of all of those, so we can visit them. She also speculated that Cheryl may be cleared to be transferred to the regular hospital ward and out of the ICU within a few days. The nurse suggested that Cheryl might need to do some substantial amount of physical therapy before she is cleared for the needed hernia surgery, but this sounded a lot like speculation on his part, and really, as with much else, it’s up to the attending physician. Anyway, I do agree it’s sadly unlikely that we’re getting Cheryl home for quite a few more weeks, but the good news is that she is still getting steadily better.

In other good if belated news, Cheryl is now using a CPAP ( = continuous positive airway pressure) machine, borrowed from the hospital, when she sleeps, so that she isn’t continually woken out of REM sleep by brief cessations of breathing (as happens with a small percentage of people). I am told this extra-fancy CPAP machine is technicaly a BiPAP ( = bilevel positive airway pressure) machine, in which both breathing-in and breathing-out pressures are regulated. What I hear is that Cheryl had tried and disliked the regular machine she had at home, and had given up on it and given it to Deirdre after Deirdre had a sleep study concluded that she needed one. Apparently, Cheryl is now sold on (at least) the BiPAP, if not on CPAPs generally, as she now is reporting restful sleep that she’d been unable to get before. So, obviously, she’s really needed one all along.

About CPAPs

About 25 years ago, I dated a doctor for a while. One night we spent together, he said, “did you know you have sleep apnea?”

I didn’t even know what that was, and treatment options were limited back then (even though the CPAP concept was invented in 1980), so I just filed it away and eventually looked it up.

Finally, I’d gotten enough cash to get a sleep study, and the center had a couple months of backlog. My appointment was for the end of November.

My first husband died on November 15th, and the last I saw of him was on a ventilator. The sleep study? I just couldn’t. While a CPAP isn’t a ventilator, it was just too close, and I couldn’t handle it emotionally.

A couple of years later, my dad wound up getting a CPAP and would wax poetic about how much he liked it, but the mask over the mouth still freaked me out. Then I went to Clarion, and could not stay awake. The mental exhaustion on top of everything else was too much. At that time, I wished I’d gotten a CPAP, but obviously I couldn’t in the middle of Clarion.

Then my mom got a CPAP. Tried it. Hated it.

A few months later, our friend Ross mentioned his CPAP, saying he’d been most successful with a nasal interface (aka nasal pillows). That turns out to not hit the same emotional button for me as the mouth interface. I decided to try my mom’s CPAP out.

The first night? Slime city. I’d suffered from chronic sinus problems all my life, and it cleaned everything out. Even though I got very little actual sleep, I sure felt better the next day. The next two nights I also struggled with adapting, but I slept better both nights than I had in years.

Went to my doc, told the tale (including both parents having been diagnosed), and I was pushed to the front of Kaiser’s queue for an at-home sleep study. The resp doc was on vacation the day after I saw him, but he called me from vacation to let me know that I should go in to get a CPAP as soon as humanly possible.

I’ve been on a CPAP ever since, and I’m on my third machine. I no longer have chronic sinus problems. Though I never had serious acid reflux problems, those are also rarer and less severe than they were before the CPAP. (Though that is not universal; some have worse problems on CPAP.)

There have been exactly two downsides for me. First, I’m more prone to nosebleeds than I was before, though consistent use of Ayr Nasal Gel prevents that problem. Second, I have to plan when and where I sleep more. I can’t just catch a nap and expect to be well rested.

Which is a very long way of saying: I’m glad my mom is finally happy using a CPAP, though technically, they’ve put her on a BiPAP (which has different pressures for inhale/exhale). It took me a long time to get there, but I’m glad my mom’s finally on the same page.

Oh, and a weird thing? When we got tested initially, my father, mother, and I all had the exact same air pressure settings.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Mom update

Two weeks and almost two days after the cascade failure, mom is off the ventilator and onto a cannula delivering extra oxygen is all that she’s got now.

It was really nice hearing her speak after so long.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Mom update

She’s down to two IVs: food and pain meds. Still has some of the other meds injected, but they no longer need to be IVs, which is huge progress (she was on at least three heart meds, one of which was pretty toxic but super-critical).

Physically, she was more alert and happily watching HGTV. After several days where she wasn’t seeming to want to do anything, that’s the best news of all.

Tuesday, 5/19 Update

We had a good talk with the nurse.

She’s down to half the dosage she had yesterday on pain meds, so that’s good. I had quite the scare this morning when they tried to call and I accidentally hung up when I fumbled answering the phone.

Turns out they just needed to have firm consent on one item, and even though they have her okay, she’s on strong enough pain meds they can’t assure her consent while she’s on a ventilator.

After I thought about it, I realized it was probably almost always dicey to get consent when one’s in the ICU. Which begs the question: if you are alone and have no known next of kin, what the heck are they supposed to do? That’s a really interesting question.

Anyhow, mom’s had five hours on ventilator assist, so she was breathing on her own for five hours. So they’re rehabbing her, hoping to get her off the antibiotics in a day or two, and once she’s healed from this portion, then they’re going to look at getting her hernia repaired.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Kitesurfing in California

This a continuation of the medical saga that began here.

Where we were as of a couple of hours ago:

  • Mom’s still in the ICU, and probably will be for at least a couple of days more. They’ve been able to keep her stable without surgery, which is good because then she’ll be more likely to survive it.
  • She still needs surgery (and recovery from same) before she can come home—and will need it before they step her down out of the ICU. Otherwise it can happen all over again.
  • Most of her numbers are vastly improved. She’s able to write almost normal size now, so her motor control’s a lot better with the current medication regimen. One of the meds I’ve been on and it makes you shaky.

I’ll add updates to this post rather than to the comments.

How The Cat Is Holding Up

I started writing this post because I wanted to say something about how our cat Tanner is handling it. We got our cat at a local shelter five years ago. Tanner bonded to my mom as her Primary Person, and she’s been just distraught since mom’s gone. Obviously, we don’t smell like mom when we come home, because hospital mom doesn’t smell like Tanner expects.

One of Tanner’s quirks is that during any period of time (and I mean weeks or months), the cat will have only one “spot” in the house. Or no spots in the house. Sometimes that’s my ottoman, but usually it’s mom’s bed. The other thing is that the cat spends most of her time outdoors, even when it’s cold and wet. She doesn’t spend time indoors when we’re not around, typically.

Rick and I (and our friend Duncan) had just gotten home from the hospital and we were calling the cat to get her to come to the back door and come in. After quite a while of that, she decided to show up from inside the house—she’d been in mom’s room all along.

Awwww.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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First, for those of you who don’t know, my mom’s been in the hospital. The short version is that she’d had a gallstone, and that had caused diarrhea and vomiting, and she went to the ER a week ago Tuesday.

They transferred her to a hospital room. A few days ago, it looked like she’d be getting out of the hospital, and they’d do the gallbladder surgery in a few weeks when everything had calmed down.

Then she took a turn for the worse three days ago. Not a huge turn, just a slight detour. She wasn’t getting out of the hospital after all. She’d seemed better the day before yesterday, per Rick, and then somewhat more fragile last night. Not hugely so, just somewhat.

One of the things she’s complained about over the last few days is pain from a hernia that has needed repair. That, as it turns out, has been a huge factor in the cascading crisis.

I got a call at 4 am from the hospital saying they had to transfer her to the ICU. She’d gone into atrial fibrillation, and they needed to stabilize her.

I got another call at 8:30 in the morning. They had her somewhat stabilized, but there was a bigger problem: the hernia’s completely blocked, preventing things draining normally through the gastrointestinal system.

Which means, of course, she vomited up the fluids, got a significant bunch in one lung, which is called aspiration pneumonia. So she’s on 100% oxygen to help with that.

As a complication of all this, she’s also got sepsis, and they need to go in there to fix the hernia.

Except that she’s got one of the classic side effects of atrial fibrillation (and everything else: low blood pressure. They had to put her on two meds to bring her blood pressure up to a workable range.

And anesthesia will lower it. (Okay, this is an oversimplification, but a) I’m not a specialist in this area, and b) I have had two hours of sleep, so that’s as complicated as I can be right now.)

They just get her heart rhythm back to normal with defibrillation (but defib increases risk of stroke), and they think they have her stable enough to do the emergency surgery.

There are also renal failure complications and she may need to be on dialysis, but they can’t do that now because dialysis also lowers the blood pressure.

It’s a big cascade failure and they are doing what they can, but it’s pretty touch and go right now. The heart rhythm improvement is the first positive sign we’ve had since she was admitted to the ICU.

Lessons Learned

My mom had been putting off the hernia repair surgery, and things wouldn’t have gone sideways this far if that had already been done. If you or someone you know have been putting hernia repair off, please show them this.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Deirdre-9th-Grade

My official 9th grade photo.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Collapsed Staircase by Niklas Sjöblom

Collapsed Staircase by Niklas Sjöblom


I’ve been thinking a lot about the missing stair analogy of late. For those who don’t know it, it’s the concept that people learn how to warn other group members of a specific member’s vile behavior. After a while, because “everyone knows,” they become like a missing stair everyone knows to step over. Except everyone’s not an insider.

Growing up in a household with abuse is like that missing stair, except it’s the missing doorknob to go outside, the missing section of the floor between you and the monsters, and the missing stair (which leads to different monsters). You learn pretty quickly what escalates vs. what does not and how best to cope—which doesn’t mean that it’s all good by any stretch of the imagination.

When you get out into life, having routed around the doorknob-floor-and-stair problem all your life, you really don’t know how to deal with the fact that the world is full of people whose houses have fully-functional stairs, doorknobs, and floors. It had never occurred to you that floors should be actual floors. And they think you’re pretty strange for that odd jump you do five stairs below the landing.

Some of the problems out there—that poor bastard is missing a whole roof—are even worse.

Sometimes your coping strategies will get you into more trouble, especially when you interact with people you think get you but are broken in differently horrible ways.

I remember not long after leaving Scientology, I was dealing with all of these missing-stair-like problems unraveling at once. As I described it one day, I felt like I’d teleported suddenly into a different emotional landscape where I was blindfolded, everything was in an unfamiliar place, and all the furniture was pointy.

That shift was permanent, and it took some time to get used to, but I remember the imagery that went along with trying to describe it.

Really, I stopped putting up with missing stairs.

Photo credit: Niklas Sjöblom

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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My mother (Cheryl Morris, who’s commented on my blog before) used to be a social worker. Some of the stories she’s told me are horrifying.

Yesterday morning she pointed out that, in the US, child welfare laws came out of the movements to prevent cruelty to animals, something she was surprised by when she became a social worker. After our conversation, she sent me this link from an SPCA site.

In 1874 when the first case of child abuse was alleged, a horribly graphic case of a young girl beaten, it was the ASPCA that was called to advocate for the child. At the time, children were considered property and there were no laws against their abuse. However, there were animal-protection laws in place and the girl was successfully defended by using the animal protection law, since, her attorney argued, she was an animal. Subsequently, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children rapidly came into existence. The link between violence to children and violence to animals has been studied ever since.

So, there you go.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

Crow Baby

May. 26th, 2014 06:27 pm
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We have a crow fledgling that’s been involved in several adventures where my mom’s gone to protect the little dear.

Crows have a very complex family structure, and our fledgling’s parents are very involved in their baby’s upbringing.

crow baby

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I wouldn’t normally make something like this public, but in order to reach the extended family I want to reach, this is the best way I know, especially since the narrative has been carefully controlled. I know a lot of you who read my blog are writers; you’re welcome to use whatever pieces of this you choose to in your own writing. There’s quite a few novels in this post.

You know me, always the Klingon Diplomat.

Michele,

It’s really time I spoke up, and I’m not going to be as polite as either Rick or my mom.

There are four things you’ve said over the years that have really had staying power, defining your character to me.

“Make My First Million”

I can’t remember exactly what it was that you said you’d do (some sort of vacation, I believe), but you said you’d do it, and I quote, “after I make my first million.”

Now, you’re eight days older than I am, but my numbers brain was off calculating. Gosh, this year was really great, and I made thus-and-so at that job, and this other thing paid pretty well, and what did I make over there—I was trying to calculate whether my lifetime earnings to date were closer to two million or three.

In doing so, I completely missed the meaning of what you said. You didn’t mean you were going to get a job. You didn’t mean you were going to start a company.

You meant your mother had to die so you could inherit.

The horror of that just rattled around in my head for months.

“And sleeping in the room she died.”

Longer excerpt: “And goddammit I hate this cause I miss her every day. And sleeping in the room she died. It’s not all pretty.”

See, here’s the thing. You hired an attorney, went to court so you could stay in your mother’s house and live in the room where your mother died. Faye’s will and trust documents directed the house should be sold upon her death and the proceeds put in your trust. If you met the reasonable constraints, it’s about as much money per year, for the rest of an average life expectancy, that the average American household earns.

But nooooo, you wanted to continue to live there. How dare you whine about it.

Granted, you probably thought five years of free rent sounded pretty awesome. And your son has the epilepsy thing going on, and you argued that the stress of moving would increase his likelihood of seizures, so you wanted to stay in the house.

The thing is, I’m not sure it actually is less stressful. I lived in the house my late husband lived in after he died, and it was far more stressful living there than it was moving on and living in a new place.

There’s also the reasons why it may be stressful for your son to live in that house. You know, the one where he lived with his grandmother and wouldn’t even speak to her—so she disinherited him. Faye showed me, more than once, when he wouldn’t speak to her when she said things like “hello.”

Honestly? That’s on you. He’s a minor, and a teenager, and you failed to stop inexcusable behavior time and time again. Faye could have changed her will at any point between the time she made it in 2009 and the time she died in 2011. To do so, she’d need to have known that the four of you would behave like human beings.

Did I speak to my grandmother after she disinherited me? Yes I did. I wasn’t happy about being disinherited (who would be?), but it was her money to do what she pleased with it.

What the Trust Solved

The trust solved several possible problems, some of which you may not have thought of:

  1. It’s a disincentive to homicide, specifically homicide against you. Since your heirs don’t benefit from your life trust after your death, there’s an incentive to keep you alive. (Rick and I hope you live a long life, to be clear.)
  2. The trust income offers you the capacity to leave your husband if that’s what you choose to do. By being in a trust, there’s no possible disagreement about what assets are yours vs. his. Quite a few times you were ready to leave him. Then, suddenly, you flip around and he’s your soul mate. That made my mother literally facepalm when you said it to her.
  3. The trust’s constraints encourage you to find your voice through career, volunteering, or art. Which, according to the trust accounting last October, you hadn’t been doing. That covered substantively 1-3/4 years after Faye died.

Your Referring to Your Trust in Scare Quotes

Get a clue. Everyone is pretty upset about, well… everything. And may I also say. Lots of it is not about mom dying. People have issues with you! I hate to say it, but clearly it needs to be said. You have offended a lot of the family. Aside from our situation with the ‘Trust’. And before her death.

First of all, since we haven’t seen “everyone” (Rick’s extended family) since Faye died, then it must be you who created those issues, right?

Also: it’s not Rick’s fault that your mother didn’t trust you. He had nothing to do with the creation of the document. Whatever you have put on him is misplaced. You should be angry at you. You should be angry at your husband Mike, who right after the signing, went to go bully Faye saying he “deserved” a share. I don’t even. Honestly, I think Faye had good reasons to structure things the way she did.

Look, I’m not mentioned in Faye’s will or trust documents at all, and I’m not bent out of shape about it. Think about that for a while.

Since all this conversation came about because you asked Rick to take legal action to alter the terms of the life trust your mother’s estate planning created for your benefit, let’s review what the terms of you receiving periodic payments are (quoting verbatim):

(1) The beneficiary is employed full time in an occupation to which she devotes at least 35-40 hour of work per week;
(2) The beneficiary is pursuing a career, which is socially productive on a full time basis, such as a career as an artist or a musician;
(3) The beneficiary has demonstrated independent financial responsibility, including an ability to properly manage money and to provide for herself without the support of trust distributions.
The trustee’s determination of the beneficiary’s financial responsibility, taking into consideration the factors in this section 6.1(b) and any other factors that the trustee may deem appropriate, shall be final and incontestable by any person.

In other words: get a job, where job could be something you could do at home (e.g., painting, writing). Paraphrasing the next section, the trustee’s discretion for special circumstances, the exceptions are: (1) if you’re disabled, even temporarily, and that disability prevents a career; (2) you’re pursuing an educational, scientific, or charitable goal that the trustee thinks is in your best interest; (3) you’re caring for elder or dependent family members other than your spouse. Same trustee determination, “final and incontestable by any person.”

So I hope you’re not asking Rick for help with that.

I’m not sure what you’re asking help with, because you refuse to be clear. But the no-contest provision applied to you is quite harsh:

If Michele Moen Strickland, singularly or in combination with any other person or persons, directly or indirectly does any of the following acts, then the right of MICHELE to take any interest given to her under this Will, or by any other instrument designated in this Section 5.6 as a part of my estate planning documents, shall be void and any gift or other interest in the trust property to which MICHELE would otherwise have been entitled shall pass as if she predeceased me without issue:

It obviously goes on from there, but if you’re asking Rick to help you, you’re working in concert with him. If asked by the judge, Rick would be honest about that.

So what would happen? Rick would then inherit the entirety of your trust.

Basically, it seems like you’re asking your brother to screw you out of your inheritance. Which, for the record, Rick is careful not to do. We know of people like that, ’tain’t us.

The Big Showstopper for Me

So you asked your brother to help you retroactively change the trust.

Then he cornered you about our not being invited to family gatherings at your house, and you said:

If you had called I would have greeted you kindly and just explained that I don’t feel it’s a good idea for you and my husband and your nephews to be together. There is still much healing to do.

So: we’re good enough to ask for help with money/legal, but not good enough to invite over to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter?

Fuck you.

Here’s a note Rick wrote to Isadora in 2010 after you sided with the abuser:

I got over to my mother’s house last night, to ensure that her third quarter estimated tax got paid. While making an offhand remark to Michael Strickland about how I was looking for the Bank of the West filing bin, Strickland blew up emotionally, walked up to 1″ from my face, and spent about 20 minutes yelling various sorts of rather insane personal abuse at me. (This was a blowup out of the blue, but it’s happened on three prior occasions, with him threatening explicit physical violence against me on two of them.)

Michele Strickland telephoned Moraga PD. Meanwhile, I retreated back to the office to complete the tax papers. When they arrived, Michele commenced lying to all parties. First, she lied to the police, claiming my mother was asleep for the night and could not be disturbed. (This was wholly untrue.)

The Stricklands told the police that they as residents wanted me removed from the premises. (I advised the police that the Stricklands are uninvited free-of-charge guests living parasitically off my mother, who has repeatedly asked them to leave, and they have refused to go.) The police attempted to pressure me to depart. I said that, if anyone attempted to make me depart before I completed the tax prep. work, that ‘There will be one hell of a lawsuit’. Eventually, they backed off, and departed.

I completed the tax papers, and took it upstairs to my mother, who of course was awake and waiting. She wrote the cheques, completing the work at just about midnight. I described events downstairs to her, and said my goodbyes.

As I was leaving, Michele Strickland entered my mother’s room and had the gall to lie to my mother: ‘You know, I needed to call the police on Rick.’

That was the last straw for me about Michele Strickland. I’m done having anything to do with her.

If you want to live with someone like your husband, that’s your business. Pity your son is paying the consequences. Under another situation like that, my mother almost called the cops on your husband. Probably she should have, in retrospect.

I’m glad my mother-in-law no longer has to live under those conditions, though I miss her a lot.

I considered saying that in order have my backing on anything you wished to do, you’d have to invite us to family gatherings and behave. All of you.

Fuck that. I’m done.

I’m glad we don’t have the stress of your husband’s misbehavior any more.

In Closing

Your mother (technically, both of your parents since much of the money came from your father’s lawsuit) offered you an amazing gift. That offer’s still open.

Instead of looking at it as an opportunity, you berate it with scare quotes: ‘trust’.

I hope your life is worth the money you seem so set on screwing yourself out of so you can get emotional support for your “poor me” narrative. Me, I’ll golf clap from the sidelines.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Plum Blossoms
We had the plumber in the house yesterday, and had him look at a side issue.

He said our toilets were installed weird, and that they’d continue to leak occasionally until we got new ones. Essentially, they’re mounted too high and they’ve always rocked a bit, so they don’t really seat on the wax seal right, and yada yada yada.

It was decided by His Benevolence that we should get new ones.

You guys are welcome to get two—and also to get WHATEVER you
think best. I plead for no scary Japanese AI-driven waterclosets, but
leave the choice to your joint discretion.

My response:

No washlets with heated seats?

What kind of cruel and inhumane husband are you? :)

To which Rick replied that Scary Japanese AI-Driven Watercloset is his next garage band name.

But then I remember accidentally setting the flush sound on a Japanese hotel room washlet—and the hilarity that ensued when I tried to fix it and hit the wrong buttons. Several of the wrong buttons.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Mom’s accepted an offer (over asking price) on her place. It was on the market for less than a week.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I hadn’t had coffee this morning when I looked out the window in Medford, Oregon and saw snow high on the mountains.

I thought, “Wow, it’s April and there’s still snow?”

When I lived in Vermont, the more obvious answer would have occurred to me: I didn’t notice it last night because the snow fell overnight.

As we began driving south, ascending toward Ashland pass, I was surprised to see snow hitting the windshield. By that time, I’d had two cups of coffee. The snow stuck on the trees, which was really pretty, so I’m glad I got to see it.

After we reached the summit, no snow. :(

We drove south to Yreka, where I found a pretty good drive-through coffee joint. However, not knowing if their coffee was any good, I decided to order a cinnamon latte.

South of Redding, storm clouds loomed. In colder times, they’d be snow clouds. These, however, were the “buckets of water” kind of clouds. It can’t snow in that kind of volume, actually. I have only seen this kind of rain in the tropics before.

We got all the way through the first storm front and most of the way through the second before the hail started.

Then, as we were approaching Vacaville on 505, not only did the rain stop, but we saw our first patch of blue sky all day.

Something was in the road. Something largeish. I slowed down.

I kid you not, a wild turkey crossed the road.

Since the only time I’ve previously encountered wild turkeys on the road, I was coming around a bend and hit them, I’m glad to say that today’s survived quite nicely.

Our next stop was in Vacaville, where we had uninspiring Mexican food.

From there, we proceeded south, then headed west before reaching Vallejo to cross around the top of the bay and go south in Marin. To me, the drive across 37 at the top of the bay is one of the prettiest parts. If you need to get to/from San Francisco to Sacramento on a nice day and you haven’t been that route, try it sometime.

I also love crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, though I don’t do it often. Such an awesome piece of engineering.

Then, around 6 pm, we finally arrived home. Sooooo glad to be home!

During my absence, the wrought iron guys finally brought the stair railing for the back. It looks great.

Oh, and it sounds like my mom may have an offer for her house already.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Got to say, though I’m normally not a Hampton Inn lover (because Hilton Garden Inn has better breakfast), the Hampton Inn in Dupont, Washington is awesome and very modern and trendy.

Had a beautiful day driving from there to Medford, Oregon, where we stayed at a more typical Hampton Inn.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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We’ve left. We’ve left without the single thing I cared about, possession-wise. We left with almost all the things my mom cared most about.

After that, it was a thousand gnats, each of them annoying.

I got some writing done on the ferry. I also wrote some code on the ferry, which means I broke some code on the ferry. I didn’t have time to finish fixing it (as I was re-factoring something), so I was annoyed about that.

Why is it that when you’re land crossing the border between US and Canada returning to the US, and you have a Global Entry card, the people with Canada’s NEXUS cards get priority going through and you don’t? This has annoyed me more than once. Sure, I could get NEXUS, but I started with Global Entry.

Not that that would have affected us today, as it would have been bad form to not have that conversation given the carload of stuff we were bringing back. When we started listing what we had, the guy just wanted to know if we had any food. “A couple of unopened bottles of alcohol, but that’s it.”

“No food?”

“Nope.”

He waved us through. Thank you Mr. Border Guy.

This time, we managed to get to Renton, home of Smoking Monkey Pizza for dinner at same. I love this place. While there, I checked my email. Note from my doctor’s office, probably about the refills I requested at the end of day yesterday.

Yeah, so apparently my new doc completely forgot that conversation we had about why this was working the way it was and what the plan was. And said no to the refill.

This…is going to require an ER visit if it doesn’t get sorted. The symptoms can be life threatening. I’m hoping he remembers the conversation because I may just go to the ER before I run out. Because reasons.

I am just hellaciously pissed off about the whole thing. Yes, I feel the new doc actually does correctly understand the source of the pain, but that doesn’t mean that the other shit that got messed up doesn’t need to be fixed. Nor does it mean that my body magically adopts biochemistry compatible with new doc’s treatment plan. Don’t we wish.

A Couple of Good Things

I fixed the code. It required another 3 minutes. So near to sanity, and yet so far.

We did miss this 6.7 earthquake by leaving Vancouver Island earlier in the day, so there’s that.

Also, my wordcount for the last 7 days is higher than the 7 previous days (I keep daily and running-7-day counts), so that’s good too.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

My usual daily quota right now is around 2,000 words. I budgeted zero words on the two driving days up and near-zero words on the three driving days back on this trip. Nor did I expect normal word counts while I’m up here.

Here’s how many words I wrote on each day of the trip, by day:

  1. 0 (as budgeted)
  2. 0 (as budgeted)
  3. 185 (disappointing)
  4. 298 (disappointing)
  5. 1,160 (a fucking miracle, given we found out the house was a writeoff this day)
  6. 343 (a fucking miracle, having gotten access to the house this day)

Overall, still less than I hoped for, but I’m glad I didn’t let life completely kick me in the ass.

Tomorrow is our first day driving back.

I’m really hoping that one of the childhood heirlooms of mine that still hasn’t been produced can be found and obtained before we leave. It’s an absolutely stupid thing of no commercial value, but it’s such a unique memorabilia piece from my life and so appropriate to this trip, I can’t imagine not having it.

It’s from the trip we took to San Clemente Island one year, when the military mixed up the schedule and accidentally authorized us anchorage at Pyramid Cove at the same time they were shelling the island from a destroyer five miles out. They weren’t missing by much, not even when they went ten or fifteen miles out, so we felt pretty safe exploring the island well away from the target range. So we did. I also remember snorkeling through the kelp beds to get bait for fishing.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

In the mid-80s, my mom and my late stepfather moved up to Vancouver Island. They lived in Port Alberni for a time, then built a house on almost 13 acres of land in Courtenay.

Her former partner’s been living in it as the caretaker. He hasn’t mentioned any maintenance issues. He hasn’t mentioned no running water in the kitchen.

That may be, in part, because this is the kitchen….
Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

O, Canada

Apr. 16th, 2014 09:40 pm
deirdre: (Default)

Mom and I are going to drive up to Canada.

I’ve driven to Seattle before, and I’ve driven from Seattle to Vancouver before. However, the next stage is the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, which I’ve never taken (I’ve always flown).

I’ve also never been to Victoria before, so I’m excited that we’re going there, too, probably on the return. We may have some time for a quick visit on the way up or back, but I’m guessing that our timing is going to pretty much miss anything of interest in Portland. Seattle’s more possible.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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