At Least It's Not Zombies

My job at The Big Green Grocery Store does not have a work from home option, so I'm down in the trenches ringing up groceries and explaining that no, we don't have any toilet paper and, no, I don't know when any will be coming in. Those fleeting moments when we do have toilet paper, I have to explain to people that no, they can't have more than two paper products, which includes the paper towels they're also trying to get. This says nothing of the canned soup, canned beans, canned vegetables and other food encased in metal, which also has a maximum of two per household. Which means I have to deal with people being really pissed at me because their opportunity to stock up into next month has been denied.

They've also got me working eight and nine hour shifts, which is about regular for an office job, but in an office job, you can sit down and not deal with quite as many angry people. Admittedly, many people have been understanding and even thanked me for my service. But one turd has a way of tainting everything.

I did meet up with the Gentleman Caller this past week. Normally, we get together at my place, chat for a while, go out to dinner, come home and enjoy each other's company, often with bourbon involved. This time around, he brought ingredients in a cooler bag and cooked dinner. It was quite good. I had to peel all the art supplies off of the table so we could sit and eat, but I kinda needed to do that anyway. He then informed me that he was going into lockdown so it'll be a while before I can see him again.

Sundays have changed over time. Sunday breakfast went first, as my parents decided to take in Masses online, since they're both in their eighties and a high risk group. We met for dinner and compared survival plans. This week, Sunday dinner was cancelled for an indefinite period. I had some of the leftovers from the Gentleman Caller's dinner (he insisted I keep them) and watched the most recent season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (The Gauntlet!) which has a toilet paper joke that is three times as funny under the current circumstances.

I went to the labyrinth today. The library is closed but the labyrinth doesn't even have a gate. I did a little trash pickup and weeding, then walked the path and sat in the center for a little while, contemplating the state of the world. I think I may avail myself of this more often, since hardly anybody goes there (give or take the folks who sometimes nap on the benches). There's definitely enough weeding to be done to keep me occupied for days.

I have a few weekdays off this week, which will probably be spent recovering from the days on. I never lack for things to do at home, so I won't have boredom to worry about. I've grown to envy those folks "trapped" in their domiciles.

So, how are you doing?

Today I took pleasure in frozen strawberries on a stick.

Today I learned Trader Joe's is still open and wine is still cheap there.

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Posted elsewhere, replicated here...

Ever read that children's book Fortunately/Unfortunately? That was my day.

Fortunately, I had a day off.
Unfortunately, they called me and asked me to come in.
Fortunately, they were willing to cut things short so I could go see my friend.
Unfortunately, my friend had to cancel because her kid was sick.
Fortunately that left me time to visit the labyrinth and get groceries.
Unfortunately, I couldn't go home because of a gas main leak that blocked off the entire street.
Fortunately, the grocery store was willing to take back the perishable groceries and refund me.
Unfortunately, my plans to go to the Irish pub in the same complex were thwarted by the fact that the pub is now closed. For good.
Fortunately, the vegan restaurant in the complex was open and I was able to order a black bean burger.
Unfortunately, the black bean burger fell apart in my hands and I had to finish it with a fork.
Fortunately, that was the last of the unfortunatelies.

I went to a posh restaurant with a fancy bar and had some bourbon and lemonade and used the time to catch up on all the submissions for Decatur Scribes, as well as read the comments made on my own work. (I laughed very loudly at some of them.)

I'm home now. Life is good.

Today I took pleasure in a nice, dry cider.

Today I learned what The Select (the posh restaurant) is like.

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The Ring Cycle

Britpoptarts gave it to me. (I'd link to her LJ, but it got hacked and is now a Russian spam factory. At least, I assume it's spam. I can't be sure; I don't understand Russian.) I think it was a birthday present, but it might have been a Christmas present. I do recall that it came in a package with all kinds of cool things, as her presents often do. I fell in love with it immediately and wore it often. I had to wrap the band in electrical tape to keep it from sliding off with every vigorous hand gesture, but once I did that it was secure.

Until it disappeared.

I'd been in the habit of taking it off and tucking it in the wee fifth pocket of my jeans while I washed my hands after using the bathroom. One fine evening I walked out from a shopping trip at The Big Blue Grocery Store (the chain I don't work at) checked my pocket and found no ring there. I frantically retraced my steps, checked the bathroom and found nothing.

I meditated on the fleeting nature of things and let it go. I got the name of the site where Britpoptarts got it, but found that they required a $100 minimum order, so I put together an order and got about fifty bucks into it before asking Big Sister-In-Law if she'd be interested in going in with me so I could get the ring. She looked over the site and declared the styles too "blingy" for her taste. So I procrastinated figuring out another fifty dollars worth of jewelry and left the order in limbo.

Then I went down to St. Augustine Beach with my family, as we traditionally do. It was a little iffy whether or not I'd be able to make it down because I was still recovering from my injuries after the accident, but I made it and was even able to take (sometimes curtailed) long walks up and down the beach. We were taking care of our Catholic business at St. Anastasia's and as we were making our way out of the parking lot, we had to make a sudden stop.

"Hey, what's this?" asked my niece (who for pseudonymous purposes I shall call Anime Niece).

"Oh, my God!" I blurted.

It was the ring. Electrical tape and all.

Anime Niece was a little disappointed that the ring had an owner--she'd been hoping to claim it for herself--but she surrendered it and I put it back on my finger. Got home and took the picture at the start of this entry so I could let Britpoptarts know that I had it back.

I took the ring to Chattacon this past weekend and wore it most of the time. I went to Big Brother's party and spent some quality time with the Gentleman Caller. We went across the footbridge and got a half-dozen donuts at Julie Darling's, with a stop at the Moon Pie General Store, where I picked up a tumbled stone the color of lemonade. Saturday night, there was a room party called Tina's Tavern, heavily advertised with hand-lettered signs all over the convention.

It was right across the hall from where the Gentleman Caller was staying.

Meanwhile, I'd been given a nice little suite on the 13th floor (yes, really) that had a room with a bed on one side and a room with couches on the other and a narrow corridor with a coffee machine in between. The Gentleman Caller went to his room (he had to push people out of the way to do it, as the party was in full swing by then) grabbed some cheese, crackers and a bottle of bourbon and we went up to my room and we sat on the nice couches and he used the city guide magazine thingy as a cutting board and we sipped bourbon and talked about things.

I shifted from my glam outfit (black velvet catsuit, white go-go boots, white wig, white feather boa) into my red satin pajamas and eventually wound down and went to bed. The Gentleman Caller returned to his chambers, as the party across the hall had finally died down.

Sunday morning I randomly ran into him as I was tucking away my luggage into my car and we spent a little time in the consuite as I noshed a generic Pop Tart and drank what was left of the milk. The consuite was equipped with a jukebox with science fiction related tunes, such as Meco's disco rendition of the Star Wars theme, a sonic atrocity that I consider the musical equivalent of The Star Wars Holiday Special. (The Gentleman Caller didn't entirely agree with me, and I'm still not clear on why.)

I texted Big Brother to find out when load out was and he replied that they were doing breakdown then, so I went up to try and earn my keep, since I get my room and membership through Big Brother. I did my part and kept an eye on things upstairs while they packed the truck then met in the lobby with the Gentleman Caller to say a proper goodbye.

"Did you pack your ring?" he asked.

It wasn't on my finger. He recalled seeing me take it off in the living room of the suite and setting it down on the table. We went to the front desk and they called someone in housekeeping to find out if it had been seen. We went upstairs, found that the key still worked and scoured the room for it. Nothing. We left and met with the housekeeping supervisor, who performed a more thorough search and still found nothing.

I began to meditate on the fleeting nature of things.

We found my sunglasses, which I had also left behind, on the housekeeping cart and the supervisor asked the housekeeper if she'd seen a ring in the same room. She shook her head and said she hadn't. The supervisor went as far as to pull on gloves and rummage through the trash bag and--

--she found it. I have no idea how it got there. I suspect gremlins.

I put it on and thanked her profusely. Then thanked her some more. The Gentleman Caller took a picture of her badge so he could thank corporate properly. He forwarded it to me so I could do the same. I may point them to this blog post.

So the ring is back on my finger and I seriously thought I'd never see it again. Miracles do happen in this lifetime.

Today I took pleasure in a big, cold bottle of fruit punch flavored Powerade.

Today I learned many of the musicians who played on Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk ended up playing in David Letterman's band.

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Yes, I'm Better Now

There's a lot to catch up on between now and my last update. Let's see if I can get enough of it down.

I got home around the end of July. I made plans to have a belated birthday party in August, but then my HVAC broke down and needed to be completely replaced, to the tune of $7,500. Mom and Dad fronted me the money, and I will have to pay them back, along with the money I still owe them for the car I got to replace the late, lamented Red the Disco. (I named it Lucky Penny. I'll post a picture next time I'm here.)

September, the graphics card in my MacBook Pro decided to choke and brick my computer. This means I couldn't email any invites, so hopes of a further belated birthday party were dashed. My computer is so old that the Genius Bar won't touch it, so I relied on a place not far from me that does vintage Mac repair. They had to ship the thing out to California and back, but they did get it done and my Mac is now a happy Mac.

October, I finally had the birthday party.

November, I took on National Novel Writing Month. I clocked in at 51,629 words and even managed to wrap it up with a reasonable ending, which I didn't manage to do last year. It was not the easiest of goings, though. I dragged behind where I needed to be for most of it, some days only getting in a few hundred words. However, I also cranked out some more prolific days which pulled my fat out of the fire. (Thanksgiving is a godsend for American NaNoers.) I wasn't as prepared for this one as I was last year and that hindered my wordcount because I'd be stuck on what do to next. I do already have ideas for the next one, so that'll give me a year to work stuff out.

I took the month off from flower drawing, but I'm falling back into the habit quite easily. I've already hit #4,000 this year, so that's one New Year's resolution knocked out. (Don't ask me about the other ones.)

Today I took pleasure in iced and unsweetened rooibos.

Today I learned some helpful things about my vacuum cleaner.

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Day Twenty

I drew flowers today.

This morning, Mom drove me to my place and we harvested the tomato crop and cleaned out the fridge. I figured cleaning out the fridge would entail throwing out the potentially icky bits and leaving it at that. Mom's definition involved wiping down the shelves and absconding with the perishables that were still good. While we were there, I gathered up some things like a pair of loose pants to do physical therapy in, a couple of magazines to read, and my flower supplies.

When I got home, I cleared off the table, spread out my pens and my index cards, and picked up where I'd left off. I fired up an episode of Bill Corbett's Funhouse and went through the rituals--the grass, the stems, the petals outlined, the leaves, the petals filled in, the signature on the front, the number, the date, the signature on the back, the hashtag, the sticker, the time, and the tiny dot on the grid to mark progress.

I drew as if nothing traumatic had happened. I needed no coaxing or reassurance. I simply did what must be done to progress this project of mine.

It felt good to finish. I look forward to doing more tomorrow.

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Day Five

The pain is persistent. The moment the painkiller starts to kick in, I immediately leap through that window of opportunity to hobble my way to the bathroom to shower or just to pee. This sets everything off all over again and I have to wait it out until the next dose.

I am making progress, however. I can travel short distances with just the cane on my own, leaning heavily on it with both hands and taking small steps. I am able to stand on my own two feet, if not walk on them, for long enough to do things like stand and sit and wash my face. As above, the pain is persistent, but it is not as agonizing as it was.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I don't know if I'll be doing anything more than working to get better. And collecting well-wishes from various sources, which are not to be sneezed at.

Today I took pleasure in scarfing down seedless white grapes.

Today I learned what an Ensure tastes like.

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Two Trips to the Emergency Room

This is a modified and expanded letter to my siblings regarding recent events in my existence that I don't feel like coming up with completely new words for.

Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I started having bizarre issues with my vision, first with vision “scrolling” like a bad cathode ray television set and later with double vision. The problems cleared up with a nap and a little time, but I wrote down the address for the nearest urgent care clinic with my insurance company for future reference in the event that they came up again.

Saturday they did. They also came with a lovely side order of balance problems. I called in sick and with the help of a neighbor (since my vision was so shaky I couldn’t read the screen of my phone) I summoned a Lyft and took it to the urgent care center, only to be dropped off near an industrial property several blocks from my destination. I told the driver it didn’t look quite right; he shrugged. I got out of the car (after having told him that I was having vision and balance problems) and he drove off.

My vision was now so bad I couldn’t even read the nice, big letters I’d written the urgent care center address with. I could kind of make it out, but I don't like venturing on things like that without certainty, so I saw someone walking in my direction on the sidewalk and asked if he could help me.

He walked right past me as if I hadn't said anything.

I asked a few more people with the same result--I was not there to them. In desperation, I even said "I'm not asking for money; I'm just asking for help." No effect. I was invisible and inaudible.

I passed by several closed restaurants and even a boarded-up hotel before I finally found a beauty salon where I explained my dilemma and the nice lady behind the counter pointed me in the right direction and assured me it wasn’t far.

It wasn’t far. The street number (which the nice lady confirmed with me) was out on a big sign that you could see from the street. I lurched my way towards it, my destination in sight.

The sidewalk was closed. While I suppose I could have ignored the signs and picked my way around it, as I saw other people doing, I didn’t trust my own balance around such things. Next to the sidewalk was a large tree that was enclosed in brick walls that served as a kind of planter for it.

So I hoisted my way up the wall, crawled past the tree on my hands and knees, and lowered myself back down on the other side. I made my way to the entrance and into the urgent care center. I explained my problem and the woman at the counter said “Sure, just fill out this form.” I explained that I could not, and they settled for having someone ask me all the questions on the forms and pointed to where to sign in the few places it was necessary. I signed from muscle memory.

They got me in an examination room. The doctor asked me to squeeze her fingers and to walk up and down the room. Then she told me that she was calling an ambulance.

One CT scan, one MRI scan (which was rather like being trapped in an avant-garde multi-media installation, to the point that I laughed out loud until the technician barked at me to hold still) and a few more tests and the answer was that it was NOT a stroke, but probably something to do with my recently updated medication regimen. We adjusted medicines accordingly and that took care of that problem.

This past Sunday gave us the new problem. I went to The Big Green Grocery Store to try and get some breakfast supplies and at least some hours for this week that they’d scheduled me for absolutely nothing. And on the way out, I made a left turn out of the complex onto the main road and I got T-boned by an SUV veering into the middle lane. No idea what happened to the other guy because I was too busy having my car pried open to extract me for delivery to an ambulance. I was X-rayed in various places to be sure nothing was broken (nothing was that they could see) and sent on my way with a brief prescription for pain meds and muscle relaxants and some good wishes. Mom and Dad took me in and have been looking after me ever since. Most of my body is relatively pain-free—it’s just this one area around the left buttock that constantly screams with agony. I’ve just started using a cane but still need parental assistance to get places. (My parents are in their eighties and I'll be forty-nine on Friday. This is supposed to be the other way around, isn't it?) My hope is that things will die down enough that I’ll be able to function with the cane alone. It’s only been a couple of days, so we’ll see how things progress.

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Can't . . . stop . . . laughing . . .

The Gentleman Caller dropped this link in my inbox and I'm been snerking about it all day.

You don't have to know who Ian Curtis was to find it entertaining.

Today I took pleasure in finalizing the time for a phone interview tomorrow.

Today I learned that a job site I only vaguely remember signing up for has some pretty dumb ideas about my skills and interests. (I spent part of this morning correcting it. We'll see if it takes.

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Happy New Year! And stuff.

I rang in the New Year at the Red Light Cafe for the Gilded Age Gala, the last hurrah of Speakeasy Electroswing Atlanta for an indefinite period. It was a grand time--lots of glamorous dresses and sharp suits. I'd planned for a glamorous dress, but the weather looked threatening so I resorted to a sharp suit.

Did my second stand-up routine at Cineprov. I heard people laughing, even more than the first time, so I think I did okay. The bit about getting Rickrolled at a mental hospital (a true story, in fact) went over particularly well. The Gentleman Caller was kind enough to hold my phone and record my performance for me and it came out decent. I just have to figure out what I want to do with it. I'd like to see if I can run it through iMovie and bleep out the obscenities so more people I know can watch it without cringing. Or I can just leave it uncut and put it up on YouTube for the world to see.

The location of the Big Green Grocery Store that I've worked at for the past three years closed at the end of December. Oh, worry not, they moved me to another location down the road a ways that I can still get to in a reasonable amount of time. It's easy enough to get into from where I'm driving, a pain to get out of to get home and absolutely impossible to get to from most angles otherwise. Seriously, I don't know how anybody manages to get in there. It's not a significant improvement over the old place beyond being larger. It itches at me in a way that makes the old place look better, and the old place itched me pretty badly.

In other news, I applied for four new jobs today.

I just prepped up another submission to send to my genre writers' group and trimmed out a bit that had been just sitting there, contributing nothing but words, for years. It left an open loop that now feels securely closed.

Went to my doctor for the first time under this insurance policy. I picked her out from the profiles provided and went all the way to a far distant (okay, not that far distant, but not immediately nearby) medical center to see her. I liked her demeanor and she was flattered when I said I'd come all that way just for her. She's set me up for some labs and I'll be getting my first mammogram on Thursday.

Well, that went all over the place, didn't it? One of my New Year's resolutions is to post at least twelve blog posts, so this brings it down to eleven.

Today I took pleasure in a well-made bed.

Today I learned what 19 Crimes Shiraz tastes like. (Meh.)

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So soon? YES!

So I didn't mention in my last entry that I did stand-up comedy for the first time. As in performed it. I hashed out a routine and was the opening act, if you will, for a local movie riffing troupe called Cineprov. The routine was about the very first week of the national broadcast of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and how brain-breakingly weird it is. (King Friday imposes martial law. I'm not making that up. Go on Amazon Prime and see for yourself.) I didn't bring down the house with it, but I'm pretty sure I heard people laughing, so I put together another routine. This one's about the ups and downs (sorry) of having bipolar disorder. It will include the time I got Rickrolled in a mental hospital.

The next step was to go and see the lovely people at Cineprov to ask them if they wouldn't mind an opening act for one of their shows, and the surest way to accomplish that goal is to go to a Cineprov show and ask them directly, which is what I did. This month, the movie was Santa Claus, but was billed as Santa Claus vs. The Devil. It's a Mexican film that was imported and dubbed by a guy named K. Gordon Murray. It does indeed involve Santa Claus in conflict with a devil named Pitch, who has been sent by Lucifer to turn the world's children against Santa. He only manages to turn, like, three bratty boys before he's doused with a fire hose and runs screaming into the night. It's perfect riffing fodder, which is why it's been taken on by both Mystery Science Theater 3000 AND RiffTrax! Cineprov did a great job on it, too. They'd obviously gone over it enough time to point out things like Lupita's lost sibling. Lupita is a poor but virtuous girl who only wants a doll for Christmas and (spoiler alert) gets one from Santa. In one scene, Lupita and her mother are going through the market and Lupita steals a doll, then thinks better of it and puts it back, despite Pitch whispering in her ear to keep it. Lupita's mother has what is presumably a baby wrapped up in her cloak. We can only presume, though, since that baby is neither seen nor heard from again after that scene.

The Gentleman Caller actually saw this movie in a theater when he was a kid. I asked him what he remembered of it; it was mostly Pitch and his red leotard. He snuck in late and sat down next to me at the Cineprov show. When the movie was done, I talked to one of the Cineprov peeps in charge and we set things up for January. (Thursday, January 3rd, 7:30, Plaza Theatre, be there or . . . be somewhere else.) Then I convened next door with the Gentleman Caller for a drink.

I enjoy conversing with the Gentleman Caller, but it is a bit of a lopsided affair. He has a lot to say, he does. But he tells a good story, and he has many good stories to tell. I learned about his life as a larval geekboy and what science fiction fandom was like before and after Star Wars. I told him about the epiphany I gave myself in an office cubicle, when I realized that Medazzaland is actually a damn good album. (There was a roundabout connection between these two threads of thought, I promise.) We went through a couple of drinks and decided to call it a night.

As we left, one of the bartenders/servers there remarked to us that we were the happiest couple in the entire place. He'd been noticing us the whole time, and how happy we were. We said thank you. Then he went on about how it's like that when you find the right person and I think I said something like "Ohhhhhhh, dear."

"We're very good friends," I told the guy, "We're very good friends."

He seemed to take it in stride. We laughed about it, the Gentleman Caller and I, all the way to my car, where we bid each other a thorough goodnight and went on our ways.

Today I took pleasure in a single bite of a delicious brownie.

Today I learned how to order a sandwich in advance from Publix.

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