Friday, February 27, 2015

Aaaaaaaand, I'm back, what'd I miss?!'s The Internet! AT LAST!!! I'm saved!!!!!

I've been without my home computer for a couple days now; last week, my poor, abused desktop began acting a little...weird. It was being kind of sluggish. Throwing the occasional minor error at me "for no reason." And otherwise behaving in a way that made me sit back and think, Uh-oh...WHERE did I put all those system restore disks again...? 

Sure. Enough.

After a couple days of increasingly rebellious behavior, it finally threw in the towel on me for good, entered into an endless ", just kidding, no I'm not! Want me to try to repair this of course you do because that's the ONLY option I'm going to give you! OK!, just kidding, I can't fix this! I'm going to restart now, OK?" cycle and eventually forced me to really get my nerd on and communicate with it only through a command prompt.

Good times.

SO! I've spent the last two days trying to repair a really fried system...and then reinstalling a new system over the top of the hopelessly fried old one...and reinstalling all the software and resetting all the hardware settings and, sometimes I kind of wish I wasn't a "computer" person because @^*@, this stuff is aggravating.

What can I save? What can't I save? Whaddya mean that folder wasn't part of my regular backups?! What the hell, what idiot unchecked it?! Oh. that would have been ME...wonder what I was thinking when I did that...

Things appear to be more or less back in business now; most of my files were recovered with relatively little pain, I've got the bulk of my 'critical' software (like, you know, Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online) (pfffft, email, antivirus, who needs that stuff, focus on the important apps first, right?!) reinstalled or even upgraded in a couple cases, and then had the usual cleaning session that tends to follow on whenever this sort of thing happens.

My computer folders can be a lot like the junk drawer in the kitchen; over time, I've squirreled away things in so many places and then forgotten they were there.

You don't wanna know how many copies I had of the install files for SQL Server, versions 2000 through 2012. Because JUST having them on a CD isn't good enough for me, apparently, I need to ALSO have them copied onto my HARD DRIVE. 

Honestly, I cannot explain this. Any more than I can explain having "My Pictures" and "My Pictures(1)", and "My Pictures_Backup" - all of which contained the same 3.4 gig of photogenic moments in which the Denizens are indistinguishable smeary blurs of action. (This is, of course, the biggest time sink - I think it is completely impossible for me to simply and efficiently "clean up" a photo album, because I end up going, "D'awwwwwwww, I remember when Danger Mouse liked to wear dresses!" or "OMG, it's Mr. Bear! Huh, wonder whatever happened to that ratty old thing..." and so forth.)

At the moment, it's a pretty fast-running, solid machine - a lot like it was the day I so proudly and excitedly unboxed it for the very first time. Before I had loaded, and unloaded, and reloaded so many things onto it - trials of various software programs, video games of all kinds, weird little "here, try this INSTEAD of Microsoft Office, it'll be better because it's NOT Microsoft!" programs my fellow nerds were enthusing about, and so forth.

"Not computer people" are hard on computers in a certain way; they're ignorant of the sorts of things that can cause really big problems, and will innocently do things that really mess them up.

Like powering off during a patch installation because they got impatient, or reading half of the instructions on a website somewhere, going into regedit and oops!

I know better than that.

Which is why when I screw up a box, I do it on an epic scale. And usually haven't a prayer of figuring out what, exactly, it was specifically that I did to cause the explosion.

And then I don't even have the good sense to throw it into the trunk of the car, drive to the near Geek Haven, and throw both the computer and a crap-ton of cash at the nearest person in the store while screaming "FIX IT! FIX IT NOW! MAKE MACHINE GO-GO-GO!"

No indeed. I, the person who caused the huge problem, feel completely qualified to fix the problems I caused. I am a computer person! Feel my nerdly strength! Rawr...!!!

Aaaaaaaaaand, then I spend two days swearing, sweating, arguing with an inert machine, screaming about disks that aren't where I thought they were, backups that weren't done the way I thought they were, oh crap I accidentally reformatted the partition I manually backed everything up to {expletive expletive expletive expletive}!!! and so forth.

BUT, hopefully - I've got it worked out now.

For the most part.

Except for about three thousand security patches and other updates, restoring my email archives, and reinstalling the rest of my various financial, knitting, and other assorted programs. And restoring their backed-up files.

And my music folders.

Oh, geez.

It's going to be a looooooooong weekend, isn't it...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meanwhile in other news…

Man, it was so hard going to work Monday; I spent Saturday dealing with some long-overdue kitchen purging and reorganizing, and Sunday cleaning up this beautiful stretch of back fence.

I stubbornly kept at it until the light was fading, but was still a bit disappointed that this was all the farther I got.

Left side, pretty darned nice, if a little SPARSE with the bark here and there! Right side…eh, let’s not talk about the right side…(it’s the horseradish over there, which right now looks like death and scorched earth, but it’s already starting to green up and before we know it, it’ll be like BAM! enormous horseradish bushes going, “Pfffft, what death? We’re fine, and trying to figure out how we can jump the concrete here and take over that side of the fence, too…!” – it’s really a waste of money to put down good bark or other mulches over there, as the horseradish don’t care and will totally cover that whole side once it gets going.)

I did get four new rhubarb plants into the ground, the frames restrung and peas planted around them, so, you know – it’s hardly like “nothing” got done there.

But it still just…felt like it took a lot longer than it “should” have taken; and man, when I got up the next morning, the aching and pain-ing from all over was just plain epic.

In related news, WHEREAS I cannot handle the aging I have already done, BE IT HEREWITH RESOLVED that any further aging is a NON-STARTER and that HENCEFORTH, my physical aging shall match my mental aging, which means that I am now twenty-three going on eleven thank you very much and here I shall stay, FOREVER.

The End.

In unrelated news…I have started pulling into the driveway, stopping slightly more abruptly than technically necessary, and barking, “Get OUT…of my VAN!” at the Denizens.

Because, like you after you play this music video, this song has been perpetually stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. You’re welcome.

…come along and riiiiiiiide…in my burrito vaaaaaaaaan…!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Get those itty-bitty violins ready…

I had to go to the dentist today, to get the crown replaced on my implant and to get a filling.

I know. My life = so hard. We shall now pause so that everyone can play me a very sad song on their miniature, invisible violins.

{…conducts invisible orchestra…}

Anyway…I don’t know when exactly it was that “going to the dentist” turned into this horrifying experience for me. I know it wasn’t always that way, but at some point between my twenties and, well, now, it seems that my teeth have turned into semi-solid little lumps of pissy nerve endings.

They don’t like cold. Or hot particularly, but cold in particular seems to make them all yowl as if I’m ramming live electrical wires into them.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but, pretty much the entire time that dental things are going on in your mouth, there’s either cold air or cold water being jetted across all your teeth – both the numb ones, and the not so numb ones.

This plus a general sensitivity to cold…is not a particularly pleasant experience, and there isn’t a whole lot that can be done about it. They can warm up the rinsing-water, but the drills that blast cold air are gonna keep blasting cold air.


Then while the new crown was baking (I am still somewhat astounded by the way this works now, where you need a new crown and you go in to the dentist’s office and a couple hours later you walk out with the new, permanent crown in your mouth – see, back in my day, kids, you had to go to the dentist, like, three times, a couple weeks apart each time, to get a new crown…because the first one would always be wrong in some way, OR would snap in half when they tried to install it, so, two more weeks at the lab for a new one to be made…but, I digress), they went whistling onward to the filling.

This is yet another example of the way I can simultaneously know how something is…and yet not quite get how it works. I know that my teeth are much more sensitive now than they were in my twenties.

And I know that in recent years (ahem), the amount of numb-stuff they have to shoot into me before my teeth will actually stop screaming over even very minor work being done on them has doubled or even tripled.

AND YET…it catches me by surprise, every time, when they do their thing, and I’m all, “Yesh, mah dips are numbuh, ish gud…” and then they touch that drill to the tooth and I leap out of that chair like they just stabbed me or something. Yoooooowch!!!

I never see it coming. I always think I’m more than numb enough. So it not only hurts, but it startles me into the bargain.

Every. Single. Time. (<= my Argonian name would She Who Never Learns)

My poor dentist was caught between laughter and irritation this morning; he had to more than triple the amount of numb-stuff before it would “take” enough for him to get the job done in there.

It was kind of funny, though: The first time he started and I went, “{JUMP!}”, he was all, “Oh, gosh, OK…” and he jabbed some more stuff in there and we chatted a bit while it ‘took’ and we were both so confident that it was completely numb, like, there is no way that anything could hurt now, hahahahaha!

And then he touched the drill to that tooth and it was like this little fireworks display went off in my jawbone and I went {!JUMP!} again and he jumped too and we just stared at each other wide-eyed and said, at the same time, “You have got to be kidding me!”

…I may have added, “…what the hell?!” to the end of that, but as nobody actually got that on film, it can never be proven.

Nor can the five minute rant I went on with his assistant while he was rummaging around in his storeroom looking for the super-nerve-nuke’em stuff. (I think he eventually found them under some leftover K-rations.)

But eventually, he got things numbed up and was able to go about his business without me leaping and squirming around, and then I handed over a slightly obscene amount of money and left.

And now the numb-stuff is already starting to wear off.

And damn, am I ever glad I had enough self-knowledge to go ahead and put in for the rest of the day off when we made this appointment a couple weeks ago. The throbbing, aching and general u-g-h factor is clearly going to be getting no less unpleasant for a while here.

I doubt I have much in the way of “productivity” ahead for the rest of the day.

Feh. FEH!, I SAY!

{…conducts invisible orchestra again…}

But, oh well. Considering the alternatives, I still feel like a very lucky person. It’s a temporary inconvenience, some transitory pain – followed by a whole lot of relief, and years of being able to have my steak, and eat it too.

Seems like a pretty good deal to me, all things considered.

…even if I am going to be having carrot soup for dinner tonight in deference to an aching jaw…

…maybe with some dinner rolls…hmm…maybe barely-sweet-ish ones, made with rosemary-infused honey as their sugar-source…


…why am I suddenly feeling like the rolls are dinner, and the soup is the side…?

…still…yeah…I’m…just going to go trim a little rosemary off the bushes in the front of the Den…mmmmmm, rosemary…!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The garden report: January 18, 2015

I stepped out into my realm last weekend to find, predictably…utter anarchy. The Supreme Ruler had, after all, been completely laid up for a full month, and had then had a verrrrrrrrrrry slow return to ‘being mobile’ after that.

Last month we had almost two full weeks of nearly non-stop rain; this naturally led to an explosion of weeds. Plus the construction crews have…not exactly had ‘keeping the yard tidy’ at the top of their priority list, either.

In short, it is an absolute nightmare out there right now.

A view of construction trash through the scaffolding, with weed riot.

Garden bed, now with bonus broken roofing tiles stacked on the sprinkler manifold.

You know what this strawberry bed needs? MORE ROOFING TILES! And also some PLYWOOD!

More weeds and debris…

Aaaaaaaaand, even MORE weeds and debris…

Perhaps we can just take it as-read that the ENTIRE yard is pretty much an enormous cesspool of weeds, machinery that REALLY should have been overwintered somewhere ELSE, masonry that NOBODY remembers putting “there” and yet “there” it is and so forth??

But, in among all the sedition, there were a few loyal subjects. Like the “dead” artichoke plant which suddenly exploded back to life.

If all goes well, we should have artichokes by Easter!

(Although to be more accurate, “the” artichoke plant actually is still dead – these are its children, about five of them, which grew up out of shoots that were just dormant during the drought and heat wave.)

There were some ‘forgotten’ carrots.

And a fair amount of spinach. Very sweet spinach, courtesy of the “light frost” weather.

And one absolutely gorgeous head of lettuce. (Seriously. Delicious.)

It took almost the entire weekend just to collect together the masonry and random wood planks and such from Everywhere, and stack it neatly in the future greenhouse masonry storage unit.

This is one (1) of the shelves. I filled four (4) of them altogether. We have a LOT of bricks, slabs, tiles, lumber of all sorts etc. Almost ALL of it from Freecycle, which is an AMAZING source of Such Things around here.

I cleaned up around the artichokes, dropped a Tree Gator Jr. around it even though right now there is so much moisture in the air that the soil is damp 24/7…and then ringed it with river rocks from all over the yard to further encourage water to stay put.

It seems happier now.

And then I got busy on that big old pile of fill-dirt and the just general trash all over the back 40 (yards).

This. Took. FOREVER.

In related news, I overdid it a little bit last weekend.

And by “a little bit” I mean “rather a lot.”

And I paid for it for quite a few days last week. Man. It was like I had a fish hook caught in my calf or something; my foot started swelling up again, and trying to sleep was like hahahahahaha, good luck with that!


So today when I got back out there to start building the new beds, and I got one lousy bed (mostly) done and then that muscle started going, “Twinge! Twinge! TWINGE!” while my back was going, “Twitch! Twitch-twitch! TWITCH-TWITCH-TWITCH!!” and shooting little electric shocks up and down my other leg, I abandoned my plan to build two beds today and contented myself with just the one.

Dropped some broccoli seed in there, covered it up with plastic to discourage cats and construction crews looking for places to dump their trash, and called it a day.

I have to admit, this is something that I struggle with – identifying the point at which ‘reasonable’ becomes ‘unreasonable,’ and where I should be stopping, and what the consequences of not finishing everything on my list exactly when I wanted to actually are.

I always feel as if not finishing “everything” means that epic disaster is going to befall; like the whole thing is now jinxed and I’m going to have to work twice as hard to catch up the next time I’m out there.

But I seldom actually stop and ask myself what happens if I don’t try to double-down on the effort next time – what happens if it simply takes twice as long to finish.

For some things, it is a bit of a disaster; not harvesting things when they’re ready tends to mean you end up with compost rather than food, not paying bills on time results in late fees, stuff like that.

…but still not, you know, end of life as we know it sorts of consequences.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep that in mind as we stroll leisurely toward the next main growing season, and find a lot more enjoyment out of the process than I’ve had the last couple seasons.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Real life is still so very real

So, today was my first day back to work after my unexpected three-day “vacation” in Resort du Hospitale.

Normally when I’m taking even one day off, there’s a certain amount of ‘putting things to bed’ before I log off before I take off. Just kind of proactively dealing with certain things, giving others the background info they might need in case things go awry, that kind of stuff.

Obviously, I didn’t do any of that. It was supposed to just be a quick, after-work-even appointment with the orthopedic guy; I had absolutely no idea, I never would have guessed, that I’d end up in the hospital for gah’s sake.

Even when I was getting the ultrasound because he was all, “{mutter-mutter-clots}”, I still didn’t honestly think that, you know, there actually would be…anything in there.

I expected the usual fuss-n-bother-and-nothing-comes-of-it. Because that’s what always happens. Except when it doesn’t.

So today basically went like this:

  1. I made my own coffee this morning
    1. Which meant having to go downstairs all by myself like a Big Girl
      1. Illusion of being on the road back to self-reliance: Shattered
      2. It costs me way more than I like to admit to do something as simple as “get downstairs, and then back up again”
      3. Also, I do still need the stupid crutches
        1. Argh!
        2. NOT THAT I’M COUNTING (<= lies!), but, this would be Day 17 since I tore that @^*&2ing muscle
        3. ARGH!
  2. Several people are asking me – rather pointedly – how long this or that is going to take, because, per their email from AHEM, LAST WEEK WEDNESDAY…!
    1. It would be much simpler if I would just own up and say, “Sorry, heh-heh, funny story, actually, see, I was unexpectedly hospitalized last week so I lost a couple days…?”
    2. But I would rather die than have this become common knowledge at work
      1. Well. Maybe not die.
      2. But I’d definitely rather put up with people growling at me about their timelines
  3. AND THEN, I got a call from the nurse advocate at the insurance company
    1. Because the hospital stay was declined
      1. Because the information they got was basically “we admitted her because of reasons”
        1. Attending physician? => blank
        2. Diagnosis/Reason for Incarceration Admission? => blank
        3. Treatment Plan? => blank
        4. Reason for Discharge? => blank
    2. Apparently, “because we admitted her” is not considered a ‘medically necessary’ reason to admit someone to the hospital
      1. Go figure
      2. {bangs head on desk for a while}
  4. That One Guy on the team naturally managed to go charging off in all the wrong directions while I was away
    1. He always does this
    2. ALWAYS
    3. Honestly, his capacity for being Just Completely Wrong seems bottomless
      1. It’s like a gift, really
      2. A dark, dark gift…
    4. And, why the end result of this always seems to boomerang back to me is something I ask myself on pretty much a weekly basis…
  5. THEN, when I’m up to my eyebrows in All The Above, I got a call from the ‘patient something or other’ person – basically the nurse who makes sure you’re behaving yourself when you’ve been discharged
    1. I was asked if I was remembering to do the elebenty-bazillion salutations in the cardinal directions on hourly intervals per release protocol
    2. “…yes…?” <= lies, had only done one (1) round of the salutations, while still in bed that morning
      1. And in only two of the cardinal directions
      2. Bah, humbug!
  6. AND TO CAP IT ALL OFF, RIGHT BEFORE LOGGING OFF FOR THE DAY…I find that the reason something “looks a little wrong” in the thing I was working on a while ago was because I had made a mistake in the code
    1. …one that somebody else discovered…
    2. @^*&@!

So, to sum up:

  1. I quit
  2. I quit
  3. I quit
  4. I quit
  5. I quit
  6. I quit

There. I think that about covers it for tonight.

Tune in next time, when I’ll complain vigorously about the clothes moths (!!!!) that moved in shortly after all the construction began, and which now love to flutter juuuuuuuust out of my reach because I’d swear they know I can’t leap to my feet to squash them…!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What a long, strange trip it was

The orthopedic surgeon we saw Wednesday afternoon confirmed that I had a moderate tear in my gastrocnemius (<= the bigger calf muscle).

Then he sent us for an ultrasound to check for blood clots, because my leg and foot were rather swollen, and had been for a while, and I had not had any particular success with getting that swelling to go away.

And that was how it was that I ended up spending two and a half days in the hospital hooked up to a heparin drip and having blood drawn every 4-6 hours to check for progress (and me with my bordering-on-actual-phobia about needles…you can imagine how well I dealt with this) before My Beloved Physician was able to confirm that I didn’t actually have an actual clot, but rather only alarmingly elevated risk of one.

This is one of the things we love so much about this guy: A lot of doctors would have been more like, “Look, you’re already here and we’re halfway down this path, so, my work here is done. You have another four to seven days in the hospital (!!!) while the warfarin takes over from the heparin, then three months (!!!!!!) of taking the warfarin daily (with daily / every-other-day lab work, I might add), because that’s what we’re doing.”

Instead, I got to just come home with instructions to be very alert about the swelling returning, and with a prescription for a mega-dose of aspirin.

It’s not exactly that I’m furious and want to have stern words with anybody for making me go through all that “for no reason.” There was a reason for it. They saw veins that looked like they were under stress, there were markers in my blood that said, “probably has a clot in there” – I think what they did was the right thing to do.

You don’t fool around with suspected deep vein thrombosis. Having a clot break loose and travel up into your lungs can kill you – I’ve still got an awful lot of Denizen-rearing to do, and I’m kinda curious how it all turns out.

So on the whole, I’d like to, you know, not die of something stupid and miss all that.

Still. It’s a bit…vexing, to spend all that time hooked up to an IV and being stabbed by cheerful, smiling lab folks what felt like every fifteen minutes over and over in the same general area, only to be told a couple days later, “Oh. Never mind. You ‘just’ have a rather elevated risk of clotting from that area. Here. Have a prescription for a mega-aspirin, aaaaaaaand if your foot or leg puffs up like that again and you can’t get the swelling back down quickly? Get your arse to the emergency room, what are you, STUPID or something?!

The crook of my left arm looks like I have a serious drug problem (or like I was attacked by near-sighted vampires mistaking my elbow for my neck or something); plus, of course, the fact that I was on a blood thinner means that I bruise fairly easily, so I have all kinds of beautifully yellowing marks all over me.


I probably have about six to eight weeks of recovery time ahead for this stupid thing altogether before I’ll be back to more or less normal, and a month or two after that where I’ll still need to be a bit circumspect about how much stress I put on the leg; it’s just one of those injuries that take a looooong time to heal.


But, it could be worse. I could have been stuck in the hospital for over a week.

With the convenient, in-house, available 24/7 lab people.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Leisure, or nothing like it

I haven’t done a single chore for six days, y’all. Not so much as rinsing my own dishes.


I have been sitting right here…for the last six straight days…reading…playing video games…watching an endless parade of brain candy flicker past my eyeballs…eating food brought to me by my family…

It’s…it’s…well, it’s miserable. It is exhausting. It is frustrating in the extreme.

SEE…what happened was…a freak laundry accident.

I am being totally serious right now.





…you absolutely can-NOT make this kind of stuff up, people.

SO THERE I WAS, last week Friday, getting a jump on my weekend chores. I’m standing next to my bed folding the clean sheets like a boss and I went to put the latest example of my rather poor sheet-folding skills on top of the pile and…well.

Over the course of less than a second, I thought to myself, “Huh, my left calf feels kinda tight, is it trying to cramp up…?”

And then, pretty much simultaneously, there was a feeling like somebody had snuck up behind me and whacked me, really hard, in the back of the leg with a rather blunt axe; it was like a punch and a cut, if that makes sense?

And, there was this…sound. Not a very nice sound. It sounded like somebody biting into an apple – not a super crisp one, but one of those mealy ones.

I hit the ground like I’d been clubbed, both hands wrapped in a death-grip around my calf, almost before the pain even hit me.

You know those moments when you totally know the reality of a situation almost the instant it arises, but you also just can’t quite believe it has happened so you keep second-guessing yourself?

Yeah. That was my whole entire weekend. Within about five seconds of hitting the floor, I knew exactly what I’d done. There was really no question that what I had here was a classic example of Ye Olde Torn Calf Muscle. The only question left to answer was how bad a tear I’d gotten.

But…it just…didn’t seem possible. This is a pretty strong muscle group (I said to myself). C’mon. How could I POSSIBLY have done REAL DAMAGE to it, JUST by leaning forward to drop a sheet onto a pile?

I had to be mistaken.

But, looks like I wasn’t. When My Beloved Physician started poking at it, he pretty quickly discovered that I’ve got some “weird” deformation in the muscles, and at least one ligament is kind of “floppy” when it should be “springy.”

So now I’m on crutches until further notice, and going for an MRI next week so we can figure out exactly how bad it really is, and I’m in for anywhere from “just” about a month of this “keep off it” nonsense to three months if I really did a number on it.

Well, damn.

Then, because insult loves injury so much…guess what? After four days of zero swelling, and zero bruising, and only very mild pain as long as I kept my carcass parked in my chair?

Yeah. That honeymoon was over. My calf feels like an overfull water balloon, my foot is all puffy, and the pain is starting to become quite annoying.