Categories
Diary

Lost and found

The odd thing about the fire that destroyed my home and all my possessions one year ago today is that when I remember it, I see myself in the third person.

I’m wearing my big navy blue stretch-waist shorts and my oversized, scrubs-channeling light blue shirt, and I’m very annoyed that a loud bang has awakened me from my two or so hours of sleep. It’s the weekend, so I don’t have anywhere to be in the morning, but I’ve always been fond of sleeping and disliked having it interrupted.

So I storm out of the first bedroom Sean and I shared as husband and wife, round the corner to the left and head towards the living room. The noise sounded like it came from outside; I’m assuming for some sleep-addled reason that the air conditioner exploded, and I’m headed for the deck to take a look at it.

Except when I get beyond the entrance hall, I see that the deck is ablaze. And more than that, I see that the flames are licking their way in through an apparently nonexistent deck door.

I’ve thought back to what I did next a million times. A million times I’ve asked myself why I didn’t quickly run to the office and try to grab my purse, camera, and maybe even my computer, which contained nearly all of my memories–or why I didn’t grab my beautiful tea set that I got at Hirashimizu Pottery near Yamagata, since it was right there on the table, or why I didn’t at least pull the scroll with my host sister’s beautiful, award-winning calligraphy–a Chinese poem about spring–off the dining room wall, because that is irreplaceable.

And then I think why, when I ran back to the bedroom shouting at Sean to get his phone and get out of the apartment, didn’t I think to get some clothes from the closet. At least some shoes. A bra would have been nice, so the next day when we woke up at Sean’s parents’ house and realized we had nothing, I could have at least gone out and gotten us something else to wear, rather than sending his parents on that errand.

But danger does strange things to a person. I didn’t think to grab any of that–or my personal documents, my photos, my yearbooks, my scrapbooks, my diaries. And Sean took me literally when I said “Grab your phone”–he left his sunglasses, wallet, wedding ring, pocket knife, and high school class ring all sitting on the battered nightstand that used to be my TV table back in Kentucky.

He did, however, have the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm and to think about putting the fire out. And so while I was concentrating on getting out, he was searching for a hose and finding a fire extinguisher. I didn’t know this, so when I was two flights down and he wasn’t with me and I turned back to see him heading back into the now smoke-filled apartment, I screamed at him, “Get out of there! Get out of there!”

Seeing that there was nothing he could do with all that smoke, he got out of there.

Barefoot, we stood out front, unable to see anything. A few neighbors had gathered, and a fire truck came. Sean left the fire extinguisher next to the fire hydrant and we walked around the building to see what it looked like from the back. We called our parents on our soon-to-be-useless-without-battery-chargers cell phones while we watched our home be decimated by flames.

It was horribly beautiful…and there was the sweet smell of burning wood, which to this day makes me paranoid, takes me back to standing on the other side of the pond and watching my deck collapse onto the decks below it. The fire moved so fast, gutting the living room, eating the roof, and it was then that I first realized that I might have had time to save something. The grass beneath my feet was a cold reminder of my lack of foresight.

Honeymoon pictures, gone. Any photos not on smugmug, gone. All my writing, gone. My thousand-dollar Star Wars collection, gone. All my sweet little souvenirs from Japan, gone. My books–all my books!–gone.

The first shirt I ever bought for Sean, gone. My wedding dress, gone. My childhood dresser, gone. Grandma’s hope chest, gone. My crocheted afghan from Aunt Sally, gone. My beautiful dining room set from Aunt Bev, gone. The Kitchenaid mixer I’d used throughout my teen years, gone. The old mixing bowl from the mixer I’d used through my childhood, gone.

Mom’s beautiful wrought-iron cookbook stand, gone. My huge collection of dishes, gone. The first and only TV I’d ever owned, that Dad had bought me as a surprise one summer, gone. The only copies of film photos from high school, gone. My first matching comforter, pillow sham, and window valance from my childhood bedroom, gone.

Sean’s saxophone, gone. His vintage Nintendo, in pristine condition, gone. His rare artbooks, which we may never find again, gone. Our limited-edition collector’s sets–two of them!–of Macross, gone. The handsome metal briefcase of tools his parents had given him one Christmas, gone. His expensive model kits, which had never even been assembled, gone.

My records from the hospital, and the cute little bean bag doggie Pat and Wolf gave me to cheer me up while I was there, gone. My first porcelain unicorn, which spawned a massive collection during my preteen years, gone.

The seashells my mom’s best friend collected on various beaches, gone. I always admired how she loved culture and travel, and after she passed away I ended up not only with those shells, but with some paintings she’d collected. Gone.

The laptop I’d taken to Japan twice, which still held on its hard drive a reaction essay Sean had never posted anywhere, gone. The video I’d made of myself and my family and never sent to my first best friend Noelle, gone. My collection of fortune cookie fortunes, gone. The book of high school memories I’d painstakingly assembled, gone.

Mom’s old breadbox, gone. My childhood desk, gone. All the silly hats I wore when I was bald, gone. The faux-Tiffany lamp Ben gave me, gone. The beautiful living room furniture from Sean’s Mema, gone. The little glass box with the silk flower in it that I’d admired as a child and which Grandma had given to me when I moved to Georgia, gone.

My tins of expensive green tea, gone. My hatbox full of letters and cards and notes passed in class, dating back to middle school, gone. Our marriage license, gone. The goblets we used at our wedding reception, gone. The cute picture frame given to us by the nice people at Augusta Golf and Gardens, where we got married, gone.

Our first home, gone.

It still hurts. It hurts to lose those reminders of happy memories, those fragments of the lives we’ve led. Human memory is fragile and fallible. I used to go through my old diaries and videos and learn things I’d already forgotten about myself. I won’t have that opportunity ever again.

And yet, things have changed so much in just one year. I’ve found work that is fulfilling on so many levels it’s astounding. Through careful saving and the amazing generosity of our loved ones, we’ve made a new home for ourselves. Now we’re surrounded by things that remind us just how lucky we are.

We’ve had other hardships. Sean was in a car accident that totalled his Corolla, and my car’s brakes went completely out on me while I was driving home one evening. But Sean got a nice, newer car and I’m on the road to getting a brand new one, and in the meantime my brakes have been fixed and are working beautifully. And Sean’s contract at work is up, so now he has to find something else…but we’re viewing this as an opportunity for him to find something great.

Despite everything that’s happened to us in the past year, I still believe we’re lucky. We’re lucky first of all to have been born in a country where we can live how we choose and make our own way and be confident that we’ll have luxuries like electricity and running water. Where two people can afford to own two cars. Where there are so many things to see and do and learn, and if a door closes, there are open windows all over the place. If you have to go through hardship, I recommend doing it in America.

And we’re so lucky to have so many people who love us. It has been amazing this year to be the recipients of so much kindness. It’s wonderful to feel so connected to people, near and far, and to know that the idea of community, of family, hasn’t died, despite of the isolated lives we lead.

There will be more suffering. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but pain is a guarantee.

But so is love, and happiness, and kindness, and truth, and opportunity, and adventure.

I’m excited to see what’s next.

Categories
Diary Photography

Our wedding photos

Sean and me, just married, at Augusta Golf and Gardens

Thankfully, we didn’t lose our wedding pictures in the fire. They were all digital, and Mom had full-size copies. She gave them to me when I visited last, and today I uploaded the full images to my smugmug. Those of you who saw my wedding pictures over on the old Aubrey Family website will find new pictures in the Reception gallery: I’ve uploaded the pictures from the disposable cameras as well as the digital images. Most of them didn’t come out very well, unfortunately, but I do like this one:

Connor taking a picture of me taking a picture with a disposable camera

If you don’t want to wade through all those shots, and instead are interested only in the pictures that I think are good, click here. (Bear in mind that I love them all, but from an artistic point of view only the ones I’ve tagged as “good” make the grade.) If you’d like to nominate a photo to be tagged as “good”, just comment on this post! (I plan eventually to go through all my photos and tag the best ones.)

I’ve also added a “funny” tag to some of these pics. Check it out ;)

Ben with his eyes crossed, holding a sign that says 'Mom says I can't eat between meals, so please don't feed me'.

My baby brother, ladies and gentlemen.

Categories
Diary

I GOT A NEW BIKE!!!!!!

Yesterday I called Outspokin’ to see if they could get me the same bike I had before. As you may recall, I had a Fuji Cambridge that I had named Syuusuke, after Fuji Syuusuke from Prince of Tennis, and I was planning on naming my new bike Fujiyama, or Yama for short.

However.

Brett from Outspokin’ called me back today and said that they didn’t have the exact same bike in stock. The Cambridge I’d had was equipped with extra “touring” features, and the ones they had in the store didn’t have those. He remarked, however, that Trek (an American company, he was careful to point out) has a new line of bikes with the same scooping frame as the Cambridge, and he had a couple in stock with all the features I’d had on Syuusuke. He suggested I come by and check it out, and if I liked it I could go ahead and get one, and if not we could special order a Cambridge.

So I ran off to Outspokin’ immediately (forgetting to clean up my lunch dishes, which apparently caused my in-laws some consternation when they got home) to see the 100.

It looked a lot like the Cambridge, actually. The frame is essentially the same, as are the handlebars and the gearshift. The bell is different, but not bad. (And it does make that lovely ping!, so I can’t complain.) The seat is actually a little bigger and more comfortable.

I took it out for a test drive in the neighborhood behind Outspokin’, and was easily able to ride no-handed, shift gears, turn, and all those other important things. It was fun and comfortable to ride. I rode it back to the store thinking that the only reason to order a Cambridge would be to indulge in nostalgia…and that wouldn’t it be more fair to Syuusuke to not simply replace him with the same model?

And so I decided to get it, and I had the Outspokin’ guys load it up with a headlight, blinking tail light, Trek brand odometer, and water bottle holder (I picked a bottle with the Outspokin’ logo on it. Why not advertise?). I also picked up a bike lock and an air pump. My bike rack and bike helmet were in the car when the apartment burned down, so I didn’t need to replace those. I decided I didn’t need a bike bag just yet either, since my new purse is a backpack. So with that, I’m pretty much set.

Outspokin’ had two of the 100s in stock. One was black with grey/silver features, and one was a purplish blue with white features. Can you guess which one I picked?

my new bike

You were wrong!!!! ;D

Somehow, the black and silver bike really appealed to me. It seemed so elegant…and plus, black goes with anything. Totally psyched, I strapped the tricked-out bike to my car and headed home.

It wasn’t until I was turning onto Cheryl and Reid’s street that I hit upon the perfect name for the bike. Obviously Yama was out–this bike wasn’t a Fuji. I couldn’t think of a name to derive from “Trek”. But then it hit me: the bike is black.

Guess who is revered for his black hair and black eyes?

Shibuya Yuuri

Yuuri it is :D

(Don’t worry. While I may refer to him as “Yuu-chan”, I will not put my bike in a dress!)

Categories
Diary

Moods and favors

I left my laptop on its desk in the bedroom all day today. I, on the other hand, spent my time sitting on the couch, watching TV. I watched Boy Meets World, Kim Possible, Full House, a little of The Price Is Right, Hercules (the Disney movie), and The Batman. Later, Reid very kindly drove me over to Robert and Julia’s house (my former boss and his wife of four days) to pick up a TV and stereo that they decided to give to me and Sean. After very kindly wrestling the items into the back of his massive custom diesel truck, Reid very kindly drove them (and me) to Audrey’s house, as she’d offered to store them for me. (Audrey used to work at Smoak’s, then came to 2go-Box after they closed.)

I keep saying that Reid “very kindly” did these things, not only because it was kind of him to do so, very kind, but also because he didn’t seem to be quite in the mood for it. Sean gets the same way…I call it sulking when Sean does it, but I’m not about to use that kind of word to describe my father-in-law. Suffice it to say that I started to feel very badly about asking him to do it, so I thanked him several times, and of course did my best to help wherever I could.

Ultimately, it worked out okay. We finished our errand and made it home, and Cheryl and Sean appeared shortly with KFC, so Reid didn’t have to cook. Then Reid got to watch his TV for awhile, which I know he likes to do to unwind.

So everything’s okay. It’s just that I am highly sensitive to moods, and typically unable to “fix” a bad one, so I get anxious. Being married to Sean is helping temper that (when he’s in a bad mood, I’ve learned it’s best to just lay low until it blows over), but I have a long way to go.

Now I’m just relaxing, reading, chatting, and pondering getting some ice cream…

Categories
Diary

Excuse me while I employ some profanity

Fuckers.

Stupid fuckers.

So Springhouse told me that when they demoed, they’d look through the rubble for anything salvageable. They also said they’d call and let me know what was going on. I was, as you know, hoping that our computer hard drives might be recovered.

They never called.

So I called today.

Got some new girl I’ve never heard of. The people I know weren’t there. And she told me that the demo had already taken place, that it was done with bulldozers and forklifts, that everything was piled into a dumpster, and that the wreckage “was never touched by human hands”.

Thanks a lot, Springhouse Shithouse.

Categories
Diary

The comfort of home

Thanks to my wonderful mom, I now have a desk for my laptop. It’s one of those rolling, tilting, height-adjustable desks, suitable for computing at a regular chair, or in bed.

Case in point:

lazy computing!

(Also, I got a haircut recently. It doesn’t normally look that doofy, honest. I didn’t bother to do anything to it before I took the picture, because I have no shame.

(That’s not true. Actually, I have a lot of shame. But I also have a weird desire to bear all my flaws publicly…)

So, nice desk, huh? It makes it loads more comfortable for me to be on the computer in the bedroom. Thank you so much, Mom!

Categories
Diary

Guilt

Ever since the fire, I have felt horrible guilt.

I have always been a selfish person. I love for people to give me presents; I love to own things. When I was younger I started to recognize ways in which I could manipulate people into giving me stuff…and I used them. Later in life I decided to stop such behavior, but now I have trouble telling if people are giving me things because they came up with the idea and they wanted to give something to me, or if I have subconsciously manipulated them into it.

There were so many things in the apartment that were precious to other people. Perhaps more precious to them than they were to me. Among them was a bookshelf my mother’s grandfather built by hand. I’d been using it in my bedroom back home, and when I moved here, we brought it along. My mother was surprised to see it when we were unpacking. “I didn’t know you were taking this,” she said. I hadn’t even thought about it. I tried to get her to take it back home with her, but she said for me to keep it.

Now it’s gone.

My grandmother had a hope chest when she was a girl. It was kept hidden away in one of the rooms of her mother’s house; she wasn’t allowed to use it. When she moved out initially, she was living at the Y and didn’t have a place to put it…and when she got married, settled down in a house and started having children, her mother told her she didn’t want the kids to mess it up. Grandma never got to have her hope chest.

When I moved to Georgia, many years after my great-grandmother passed away, Grandma had the hope chest brought to my parents’ house from the farm and gave it to me. Beautiful, heavy, very old, it was sturdy enough to use as a bench, which I did, in the bedroom of our apartment.

Now it’s gone.

My mother lets me go through things in the house to pick out stuff to keep every now and then, so I’ll have a little bit of home even when I’m away. One of those things was an old mug tree that she used to have out on the counter in the kitchen, but which ended up stored away in the pantry to make more space. “Take good care of this,” Mom said wistfully. It was one of her very first pieces of “furniture” in her very first apartment when she moved down to Lexington after nursing school.

Now it’s gone.

When we first got married, my Aunt Bev very generously offered to buy Sean and me either a bed or a dining room table, something that we needed. We had Sean’s futon, so I opted for a table. Aunt Bev asked me to go through the IKEA website and pick something. I did, and decided I didn’t like any of it, and went looking around other stores. Finally I saved pictures from other websites of dining sets I liked, and sent those to her with the question, “Does IKEA have anything like this?” The picture for one of the sets, which cost at least double what I think Bev was expecting to send, had the filename “JCPenney-myfavorite.jpg” (or something similar). Bev wrote back, “Please send me a link to the set from JC Penney. It is a lovely choice.” I sent her a smarmy letter saying I hadn’t intended for her to actually buy one of my examples. But I also sent her the link in that letter…and she bought me that set, despite the price. This incident was the point at which I really started to hate myself for my manipulations.

And now it’s gone.

Cheryl loaned me quite a few Christmas decorations over the years, and I stored them in our hall closet. I had two porcelain Santas, a full set of Christmas dishes, two Santa stocking holders, and two stockings…the original stockings from when Sean was growing up.

Now they’re gone.

There are so many things that now I feel like I shouldn’t have even owned. And they were all destroyed. Why was I so selfish? Why did I want to own all that stuff? Now, thanks to me, none of it exists anymore.

Categories
Diary

Perfect

It’s finally cool enough outside that we can leave the windows open and run the fans instead of the air conditioning. I haven’t seen much in the way of brilliant fall foliage, but hopefully that will change soon.

Life has pretty much settled down here at the Meadows homestead. I’m not freaking out about wanting my own place anymore. I do miss my kitchen and my room and my things, but lately, rather than wanting to go out and get a place right away and fill it up with replacement stuff, I’ve been feeling worried about owning anything new. Worried that something would happen and I would lose all of it, too. It’s made me feel like I don’t want to buy anything expensive or special, or accept any nice things from others. It’s a disconcerting feeling, I expect brought on both by our tragedy and by all the tragedies in the news these days. Part of me feels that heirlooms and valuable items would be safer with someone else. Part of me wonders if anyplace is truly safe.

I did buy myself a set of dry measuring cups today, though. When I saw them in the store initially, I thought they were the same as the ones I used to have, only translucent…but as I wrote the first sentence in this paragraph, I realized where I remembered them from. They’re the same as the ones my mom owns.

I’ll probably buy myself another set, eventually. Back in the apartment, I had three sets: my mom’s old original yellow ones (minus the 2/3 cup measure, which I believe is still in her tub of flour); a blue set I bought at Wal-Mart while I was living in Huntsville; and the nice set I was hoping to replace, beige with little colored dots with the measure stamped on them. I’m not sure where I bought those last ones. I have a habit of shopping at every single grocery store–which one depends on my mood and where I happen to be in town–so I’m not sure I’ll be able to find them again. It would be nice, though.

If you’re wondering what I need dry measuring cups for when I’m living in someone else’s house, someone who cooks and has a kitchen full of cookware, the reason is this: Cheryl doesn’t have any. She uses liquid measuring cups for everything. I think this is cute, because I always use dry measuring cups for everything. It’s like we’re inverse.

Yesterday I got up at around 10, which was early in my book, and I started doing chores. I cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed and dusted. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot now that I’m listing it, but when I was done I felt tired and somewhat lightheaded and nauseated. (I’m wondering if my new thyroid medicine has these side effects.) I decided to make pancakes for everyone, so I tidied up the kitchen and mixed up some batter.

Reid appeared then; he’d been at work since 6. I’d assumed they were both still in bed (that was, of course, where Sean was), so I’d been careful and quiet while I messed around the house, but it turned out neither of them had even been there. Reid didn’t want any pancakes.

I was cooking them for myself when Cheryl got home, burning them horribly in her cast iron skillet. Smoke filled the house. “What happened?” Cheryl asked. She has this tone of voice that combines incredulity and humor, so you know she’s not mad, but you still don’t want to hear it because it means you’ve messed up.

“Just trying to cook,” I said, self-deprecatingly.

“You need oil in that pan,” Cheryl said. I put the second burned pancake on my plate, put some oil in the pan, and started to clean it. I had decided I was pretty much done.

Cheryl pulled out a steel pan and started oiling it for me. Then she stopped. “Steve made ham and black-eyed peas,” she informed me. “Do you want? Or do you want pancakes?”

I was feeling a little overwhelmed at this point. I’d filled the house with smoke and made some crappy-ass pancakes…I didn’t feel like cooking anymore, but I also didn’t feel like socializing. “I don’t care,” I said helplessly. “I just want to eat now.” And I started picking at one of my pancakes, wondering if it was still doughy inside.

“You don’t want to eat those,” she said, wrinkling her nose at my blackened cakes. “Do you? You’re not going to eat those, are you?”

“I guess I don’t really want to,” I half-said, half-mumbled.

“I didn’t think so,” Cheryl said, putting the oiled pan on the burner. She then proceeded to cook the pancakes herself.

“Usually the first one is the one that sticks,” she said. “And if it starts to smoke like that, it means it’s too hot. Take the pan off the eye until it cools some. This pan has a steel bottom, so it stores the heat. You can turn the eye down to low once it’s heated up, and it’ll stay hot.”

“Oh, I see,” I said, feeling stupid. “I’m used to nonstick pans…”

Reid came in briefly while Cheryl was cooking and asked what she was doing. “Making me some edible pancakes,” I said, and he laughed and laughed.

Cooking the pancakes took awhile. I just stood there while the pancakes turned golden and fluffy, feeling useless and trying to keep from crying. My eyes did tear up, and I was very quiet. Finally Cheryl said, “I love you, Heather.”

“I love you too,” I said, and sidled up to her so we could hug. I wasn’t quite able to keep the tears out of my voice. “Thank you.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “You’re just not domesticated.”

I’m just…not domesticated.

I’m pretty sure Cheryl didn’t mean to make me feel like a failure, but you know me, I have to be perfect at everything. “My mom is like the best cook ever,” I said. “I guess it’s just…I guess she did all the cooking and I–”

“You were busy reading,” Cheryl interjected. She was smiling at me.

“And other stuff,” I said, because I felt like reading was a valid excuse, and I didn’t think I really had a valid excuse.

“You’re an intellectual,” Cheryl said. “I didn’t care about reading, and spent all my time cooking and doing household things. But you spent your time reading. You and Sean just need really good jobs–”

“–so we can hire a cook and a maid,” I concluded, somewhat dully.

“Exactly,” Cheryl agreed. “Or you could have your mother-in-law live with you. I’d take care of everything if I didn’t have to work. And you could buy me a Mercedes.”

I managed a laugh. “Sure.”

“Room and board and a Mercedes.”

“That sounds fair.”

I left the conversation feeling strong enough not to cry, but also feeling as though I’d failed my mother. I mean, she is one of the greatest cooks in the world. But I barely made an effort to learn from her. Granted, I seem to have trouble learning without notes to look back on (she had to teach me to make rolls three times, and I really never remembered how to do it until she emailed me the instructions), but I still feel like I should have worked harder to learn how to make basic things. Things like eggs, and pancakes. I feel like I didn’t learn anything about cooking while I lived at home…and I feel like I cast the blame on Mom, which is unfair and untrue. She took every opportunity to teach me; I just didn’t learn.

Cheryl and Reid went next door to eat ham and black-eyed peas with Steve, and I sat alone at the kitchen table and ate the perfect pancakes Cheryl had made for me. They were delicious.

Later, when Sean got up, I used the remaining batter to make pancakes for him. And this time, much to my relief, they turned out…

…perfect.

Categories
Diary Ponderings

Memory

I’m notorious in my family for having a bad memory. I “remember” things that apparently didn’t happen, and I don’t remember a lot of things that did. The first can be attributed to my healthy imagination–I have always made up stories about people or played out scenarios in my head over and over. I’m not sure what causes the latter.

I think it’s because of my “Swiss cheese brain” that I turned into such a compulsive archivist. I logged pretty much every single Internet chat I ever had. Even with people I later blocked. Even if it was just a one or two line conversation.

And I would go back and read logs occasionally, and I was almost always surprised every time I did. I would not remember having the conversation. I would believe it happened, and I would understand my frame of mind, but I wouldn’t remember the conversation itself.

I had a somewhat heated discussion with someone the day before the fire. I’ve thought back on it several times since. It wasn’t a bad conversation, but I expressed my feelings fairly strongly, and I remember having a profound reaction to the person I was talking to. This is the sort of thing you’d think you’d be able to remember.

But of all the chats I’ve had in the past almost ten years now, there are only one or two that I can remember with any clarity…and even then I remember feelings more than substance. I’m going to forget this chat too, I think…I’m going to forget how and why I was so fired up. And now I won’t even have my logs to go back to.

My memory has been a good thing, in a sense. It’s helped me to forgive many people. Things that made me horribly angry in the past are wiped out, so I can move on.

But I’m uncomfortable with that. I’m unhappy that I literally have to forget in order to forgive…and I’m unhappy that I forget so easily in the first place.

Categories
Diary

I just keep thinking of things

Gabe’s got pictures of the new Penny Arcade book up. This only served to remind me that I once owned the original Penny Arcade book–not the $100 one with their signatures, but still, it was the original book! The one that will never be reprinted, because it was published by that company they ended up having legal trouble with (or so I understand).

Sean also had the first Penny Arcade t-shirt, the one that just had character art on the back and “Penny Arcade” written on the front in a handwriting-style font. There was a limited run of that, and you’ll probably never see one again because the art style was totally different back then.

So many things that were rare or irreplacable were destroyed in that stupid fire ;P

Categories
Diary Health

At least she didn’t say I have diabetes.

I got a call from my endocrinologist today. I’d had some bloodwork done to see how my FSH levels are, and to run some more normal tests. Well, the FSH is back up to 40, which means there is pretty much no chance it’ll ever get down to where it’s supposed to be. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that I’m not even worried about it. Maybe I’ve been doing a good job of preparing myself to deal with being infertile. Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by everything else. Who knows.

What I am worried about is the rest of what she said, the part about my cholesterol being high and something being wrong with my thyroid to the point that she wants me on medication. She said that I need to have an appointment with my regular physician concerning my cholesterol as soon as possible. I’m…not actually sure what the deal is, but she’s going to mail me my lab results, which I will promptly fax to my mother.

I’ve quit taking the hormones, because I ran out of them and we were going to have me quit them anyway. If I don’t have a period in eight weeks, I’m supposed to call and tell the endocrinologist so. With my luck, I probably won’t, right?

I have been really stupid about my health since the fire. I haven’t exercised at all, and I’ve been eating like a pig. Plus, I’ve been drinking lots of sodas, including stuff with caffeine. It’s like I flushed all the hard work (well, I guess it wasn’t all that much, but it was still better than nothing) I’ve done over the past who knows how long completely down the toilet.

So, I need to rectify this situation. It is really hard to cook properly when I don’t have access to a full refrigerator and freezer or my own cookware, but you know, I just need to deal with it. And I need to hurry up and get Yama so I can start biking again. Being this unhealthy is simply unacceptable.

Categories
Diary Writing

A lesson learned; or, an exercise in paranoid obsessive-compulsion

Eric Burns reminded me today that National Novel Writing Month is coming. (NaNoWriMo, a truncation worthy of the Japanese language!)

So. Should I do it?

I am really, really upset over losing what little I wrote about Tilya and the Mazarins. I mean, there is an infinitesimal chance that the demo guys will rake through the rubble and pluck out my hard drive, and that my writing will still be on it. But ultimately, it’s probably best to just accept that it’s lost. And the thing is, it didn’t have to be.

I was publishing the book online. It was readily available. It could have been Google-cached, or stored on the Internet Archive.

But I got skittish. I didn’t want the blog to be the “first publication” of the book, because I “might” try to get it published, and people familiar with the publishing world indicated that publishers don’t like sloppy seconds.

In other words, I wanted to protect the publishing rights for something I hadn’t even written yet.

There’s a cliche for that sort of thing, you know. It involves chickens.

If I’d left it public, I’d still have it. And you know, just because I’ve “published” it doesn’t mean a publisher won’t still be interested. There are many people who’ve been published because of their blogs.

What all this is boiling down to is: should I once again attempt a serious writing project, I will do it publicly, on a blog. Rather than bank on something that may or may not happen in the distant future, I will share my work immediately, and get feedback, and ensure that if this house burns down with all my stuff in it, at least what I’ve written will survive.

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Diary

What is up, yo

David went home on Saturday. Sean and I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 8 am and drive him back to Hartsfield-Jackson, which actually wasn’t too big a deal. Drop-offs and pick-ups at the airport are pretty easy. You follow the signs, and there’s convenient parking and a quick “no waiting” area where you can do your business and drive off. We chose the latter and were back on the road in minutes (seconds?). The main issue with the drive was…the drive. I must confess that a good deal of nappage occurred. (Hopefully Sean didn’t fall asleep while he was driving.)

The rest of the weekend has been nice and fairly relaxing. I won’t get into what Sean and I did twice on Saturday, much to our combined delight, except to say that there is physical evidence, and his mother noticed.

:>

I either have a cold, or I am allergic to something. Sean says it’s ragweed season here in beautiful Augusta, Georgia, and that may very well be what it is. All I know is that I’m stopped up, I have on-again/off-again headaches, I blow my nose every hour at least, and there’s intermittent coughing. It’s not abysmally phlegmatic, fortunately, but that may change.

This week I am putting in full time hours to do freelance/contract/what-have-you work for my former boss, Robert. I also threw together an email design for him last week. Freelance jobs are nice because you can pretty much call all the shots yourself. This project is basically data entry, and I’m actually going in to the office to do it, so it’ll be a little different, but not in a bad way. Or so I imagine.

I also have a phone interview this afternoon at 4 pm with a large company that has a base in Evans. The work involves writing, photography, and creating technical drawings. The mean salary for a person of my experience doing this work in Augusta, according to salary.com, is the same as Sean’s salary. Yee! I don’t think the job would be boring, at least not for awhile, and I definitely think it’s challenging enough to keep me busy. The things I would have to watch out for are: 1) being productive; 2) proving that I’m being productive. I didn’t spend enough time doing #2 in my last job. (Wow, that sounds like a constipation problem. Either that or it sounds like I wish I had pooped all over my last job. Hmm, I won’t deny it!)

Strangely, hundreds of strangers have not swooped in and purchased everything off our Things We Lost in the Fire Amazon Wish List. Within the first week, 9 items were purchased, and since then that number has not changed. Either I shot myself in the foot by saying “Don’t buy us stuff, we have no place to put it!” (which is technically true, but we can store things in the neighbor’s spare rooms), or everyone who was going to help out has already done so.

Believe me, I’m not trying to be ungrateful here…we have had a lot of money and gift cards and clothes and other items given to us that we would certainly not otherwise have had, and that have helped us to live relatively normally for the past several homeless weeks. I thank everyone who has helped.

But I don’t know, I guess I am just really missing all my stuff :> I have had three dreams so far about going back into the apartment and finding certain things unharmed. This morning I very unhappily remembered that my first porcelain unicorn, the only one from my collection that I decided to keep forever, is now lost. It was about an inch and a half long, pure white with light brown details and black eyes, and its horn was glued back on from where it’d broken off when I was around 5. My Uncle Steve gave it to me; he’s the one who started (and fostered) my love of unicorns. He gave me plenty of other unicorn items over the years, including stickers, but that little porcelain unicorn was always my favorite.

There’s another item I’ve been thinking wistfully about, and that’s a white mixing bowl that I always used to make brownies. It came from my mother’s ancient stand mixer. I swear that thing was made in the 50s. When my mom finally got her Kitchenaid, she got rid of the old mixer but kept the bowl…and when I moved out, the Kitchenaid and the old mixer bowl came with me, because I loved them and could use them (and because by that point my mother had invested in her Bosch industrial strength grinder/mixer thing and had no use for the Kitchenaid). Now the mixer and the old bowl are gone. And while I can replace the mixer, that bowl was pretty much one of a kind, given its age. (I take some solace in the fact that there was another white bowl, with red spots, that Mom promised me when I was a kid. I never did take it with me, so maybe it’s still in her attic. It’s not the right shape or anything, but it is filled with childhood memories, which is more the point.)

Denied these priceless treasures (there are more, of course, but I don’t have the time to get into them now), my mind has been turning to things I can replace. Why can’t I, for example, have my Kyo Kara Maoh DVDs back now? Or my other movies? Or my Japanese textbooks? And that’s what’s brought me to the fire list, and my ungrateful wondering: where are all the donations?

:>

Woo, that’s all the mental midgetry I have time for this morning. Catch all y’alls later.

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Diary

Short trip

Well, I’ll be heading back to Augusta today. I don’t feel like saying “back home”, because I don’t really have a home. Not even this place–even though I feel perfectly comfortable here, I don’t live here. I don’t have a life here.

I don’t have a life anywhere anymore, it feels like.

But I’m not as depressed as I have been. Things will be better. I just need to be patient and frugal.

Today will be an interesting matter of timing. I need to visit Grandma on my way out of town, then pick David up at the Atlanta airport at 7:30. Hopefully I will time it all so David won’t have to wait. I don’t mind if I’m the one who has to wait. I can always find something to do ;>

Dad’s making me breakfast, and I promised Connor I would come see him this morning, so I’d better get my shower and start packing up.

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Diary

Photos

Today I decided to grab all the photos I can from Mom’s computer. She has copies of many of the photos (digital, at least) that I used to have. The majority of the family photos are here, and some of my other photos (from visits and such) are here too. It’s not everything I lost, but it is quite a bit of stuff.

It’s good that my mom is as nutty about pictures as I am :)