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Thursday nights are not better for me: the only social outlet I have has been abridged. That’s the way I see it. Thursday nights everyone goes home early because we have to get up in the morning. We are all watching the clock. No one just relaxes into the evening - me in particular: it takes a while for me to get into the groove. Tonight, I got there at 5:45 and we closed up shop by 7:30 – some left much earlier than that. I found myself asking: what was the point? What do I get from such limited interaction?
Given that it has been a week since my review was finally released to me - four days after I was allowed 30 seconds to look at a few pages of it during the review meeting – I sat down at the end of the day to read it and respond. This is my first review since 2013. Yep, 2013. Ten pages to document that no one is happy with the way things have been going. I am trying very hard not to dwell on the fact that it is the “children’s” unhappiness that has finally triggered changes in my workload.
My collection of 100 different colored pens is not enough to allow me to colorize the kitchen plan drawings to help imagine what it will look like in two months. There is no white or cream. And grey isn’t appropriate. It is the color we are trying to avoid. If I had paint, there would be a white. But like watercolors, the markers are translucent. I need to identify a wall paint color that will work with the materials, and the colors in the living room. Yellow and green are the colors we’ve used elsewhere, but maybe not the kitchen.
Comfort knitting. It is a real thing. For me, it is small projects that are straightforward. Not a lot of instructions. But not mindless knitting. Think simple cowls in luscious yarn. So it is finally time to knit the Rhinebeck silk into a cowl – I’ve got the right pattern now. And the Rowan Lima – a cowl pattern that just happens to be named Rhinebeck. I can practice colorwork, and use up stash. My fan and feather purple shawl is also comfort knitting: replacing the shawl destroyed by an ill-behaved dog. Will that be enough to get me though two months?
I woke up in the wee small hours this morning with what I can only describe as bone pain. In my knee. The knee that has been giving me trouble – in that spot on the outside of the knee cap. It really hurt, a slicing, needle sharp pain in the same spot. Repeating with a certain regularity. I don’t think I ever got to sleep. Oddly enough, when I got up, it stopped hurting – poof! This afternoon, my finger began hurting, under my engagement ring. The same slicing, needle sharp pain from my knee. What is going on with me?
I keep telling myself this is the very last time I’ll have two program reviews in the same month. I hope that is actually true. Every time this has happened in the last two years, I think I have a plan so that I’m not absolutely bonkers, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. I will spare us all the rant about trying to train people to do basic communication, summary and synthesis of information. Although to be honest, I think that is worthy of several rants, based on the last three people I’ve been tasked with “bringing along”.
A day without meetings? Really? No, I’m sure that has to be a mistake. Somebody must not have filed the paperwork correctly, there’ll be hell to pay tomorrow. Oh, wait, there’s a meeting. Late afternoon, but there it is, on the calendar and everything. With other people. That’s a relief. I woudn’t want to have a whole day with no meetings. I might actually get shit done. Make progress. Clear out the backlog. Have a chance to breathe, have a cup of tea in the afternoon. Or do some advance planning, maybe get ahead of the curve for a change.
There was an idea, a thought, a remembrance this morning. Of something that was plaguing me during this week that was. Something that was at least a little interesting – something different. Not a rant or boring recitation of events. Now that I’m sitting in front of a computer – albeit with a cat between me and the keyboard (how does the old lady do this?) – can I remember what it was? No, not at all. I’ve not the first bloody clue what it was. Too much has transpired between now and then (this morning) for me to remember much of anything.
This could be my last day of physical therapy. For the forseeable future I mean, I am not naïve enough to think I’ll never need PT again. I’ve already managed a two week stretch without therapy, and I’m doing OK. If I can get through the trip next week and not be miserable, I am hoping that I can just keep moving forward without therapy. I am doing exercises at home and I’ve figured out how to stretch it out when things hurt. If I don’t do anything stupid; if it doesn’t get any worse. If I just. If.. If.
Today was the day to Get. Shit. Done. Errands, laundry, scones, stock up on coffee, and starting to pack up the kitchen. I worked long and hard. My knees hurt by the end of the day. Hell, my pinkies hurt by the end of the day. There’s only one good thing about working this hard: sleeping so soundly. No waking at 4 AM to pee. Or because Miss Leo is walking on my back. Or the moonlight’s too bright. Or whatever it is that wakes me up almost every night. I will certainly sleep very soundly tonight. Even without meds.
I cannot believe that we had this discussion. You do not have to have personal experience with something in order to write about it. What the fuck do you think fiction is? And those detective stories you’re so fond of – have the authors all been detectives, pathologists, or criminals? The entire genre of science fiction? Research, empathy and imagination – those are the tools of writers, not first-hand personal experience. Although in this case, there is some personal experience, in the shape of the friends and lovers she came of age with and a diverse community she still has ties to.
I’m lost in a fog. It was only three weeks ago, but I have absolutely no memory of what happened on this date unless I look at a calendar or hunt through emails or other trails I’ve left on the internet. And yet, I can be fairly certain that not much really happened. Why? Because life has gotten pretty damn simple these days. Work. Home. Knit. Business trips. Sleep. Not much else is happening on a daily basis. Sometimes I’ll bake. But between it being winter, and the regular snow dumps this month, there’s not a lot to do outside.
Another snow dump arrived today, and another day I am desperately working through at home. I look up briefly to see the snow sticking on the north side of the trees in the backyard. The snow is coming down hard, and in massive clumps the size of ping pong balls. Snowbombs. They must be clumps of snowflakes stuck together, like lint in the dryer. After eight inches arrive in a few hours, it is another winter wonderland day that I cannot simply enjoy. Thankfully, this snow is very light – we simply slide the shovel across the driveway to clear it.
There is something about the marble walls and a mid-century architectural aesthetic that triggers a memory, and although I’m walking through the Administration building at NIST, I feel like I’m walking into the old Public Library in the larger city next to my home town. It wasn’t “my” library – but I spent time there. Particularly the summer I worked at the museum, which was upstairs from the library. There is a feeling in this hallway with its light colored stone, polished, reflecting light through the large wall of windows that pulls me back thirty five years ago to that summer.
I spent most of that long ago summer working in the basement, going through the collection: sorting, researching, organizing, documenting and packing up various objects. At lunch, I would often spend time cruising through the library’s stacks, sitting in the main reading room, or looking at all the periodicals that represented the world outside that small town – a world I wanted desperately to see. That was when I started writing down book titles, collecting phrases that I would later piece together into poetry. My desire for an academic / intellectual career was born that summer, a possibility I still pursue.
After buying my house, Friday night dinner by myself at Trio t was a small ritual that both asserted the fact I was financially doing OK, and that I was taking care of myself, even if I spent the weekend working on the house or gardens. It was my pause at the end of the work week. I quickly became a regular: food was very good and not monster portions. The waitresses took good care of me. Dinner last night at Il Pizzico felt like the same ritual – excellent food and service, not fussy. I wish it was near home.
I had reason today to think of Spil and her wedding. Of our initial plan to do an impromptu, low-budget wedding in Central Park: I was in charge of flowers, decorations and the cake. But when her mother – or was it her step-mother? - finally bribed her with the offer to pay for the wedding if it was held in Virgina, the plan changed. Which brought to mind Selma. Google showed me the stark reality - shortly after her wedding, Selma was sold again and from there it declined. And then I was doing my annual online search for her.
Another day of packing up. We’re setting up a makeshift kitchenette workspace in the knitty room. I think going through the experience of not having a real kitchen for weeks is what makes the end result of a kitchen renovation so spectacular. We are lucky – with the toaster oven, camp stove and grills, we are able do a lot more “cooking” than just microwave reheating. Clean up is our issue – there isn’t a full-size bathroom sink anywhere downstairs. So I will make do with the bathtub, a big bucket and the tiny hand sink. Somehow. If my knees hold out.
It was to be expected, if I’d just thought about it. Did they really believe I hadn’t thought about commercialization, the challenges of taking a working prototype and turning it into a money-maker? That I hadn’t thought of other uses for the same software? And I do understand that changing it to do something else will cost even more money than finding a way to make money with what it now does – which is why none of those ideas were on my prime target list. We now have a very short runway, and something needs to bring in the money.
The school district is the polar opposite of our target population: it is affluent, technical and mostly white. But precisely because of that, they understand what we’re trying to do. And they know that their students will be interested. So there was no “sell” necessary, it was just a matter of coming to agreement on terms. And the district does have some potential for turning into a long-term user. Although it does feel like a bit of a sell-out from our original value proposition, I can’t argue with the deal, particularly as we have no other viable options right now.
And so it begins. Despite the impending snowstorm, the kitchen reno kicked off today: the dumpster arrived and the cabinets came down. The cats were clearly a bit freaked out by the noise and dust; they followed us and stayed close, but were not so upset that they just hid. The paint layers revealed behind the refrigerator were not surprising, considering the scarlet that was there when we bought the house, but the vivid blue and the yellow floral – almost gingham – wallpaper behind the cabinets was a bit startling. I can already see how light and bright it will be.
Migraines. I had them. Mom had them. Her mom had them. And now Dad has them? All the tests over the last two weeks didn’t yield anything. The neurologist didn’t have a substantive finding to offer –which is both a good thing, and a bad thing. But he did offer prescription medicines with the goal of blocking the migraines and treating them as needed. It is (presumably) a relief that no physical cause for Dad’s headaches was found, and that everything appears to be normal for a man his age. And now mom has walking pneumonia, she needs to rest.
Tempted by yarn. Feeling the need to treat myself – because Easter, renovation and retrograde all approach – I find myself looking at yarn. Silk. Cashmere. Bluefaced Leicester. Cormo. In greens, teals, blues and purples. The occasional soft pink of spring. I don’t need more yarn. I already have those lovely colors and more in my stash. I should be saving my pennies for that renovation. Or taxes, because who the fuck knows what is going on with taxes this year? I waiver – I put yarn in my shopping cart. I don’t actually buy any of it. One day at a time.
Once I start cleaning, I have a problem stopping: just one more surface. Today, there are no end of surfaces that need cleaning. I am flummoxed, flabbergasted and fuming about the lack of care by our contractor. I know there will be mess and dust. To have to clean the laundry room before I can do laundry was frustrating, but considering it is directly below the kitchen, I begrudgingly get it. But the dust in our bedroom upstairs?! Most of this could have been avoided by actually securing the plastic barrier all the way around. I’ll be cleaning for months.
Does a second blue moon in a calendar month cancel out –just for the day- a Mercury retrograde? This March is truly an odd month, bookended by the full moons, and our lovely snow storms, and a mercury retrograde. I’m honestly expecting this week – and the following two weeks to be an absolute mess. The coming full moon will be on the weekend so hopefully it won’t matter if I wake up at Zero Dark Thirty when the backyard is bright in the moonlight. The full moon is almost always bright enough to wake me unless I close the blinds.
A few warm days has melted the snow and I see a slight wash of color on a few trees. Our willow (is it a willow? Is it a birch? Neither of us can remember, but I think it is a willow) is ever so faintly green. There are trees along the road to work that have a red tinge. It is so faint that you aren’t sure you actually saw it as you drive past. I can see some new green tips of the iris spikes peeking up in the yard. A few daffodils and crocus are in bloom.
The customer really didn’t offer up any response today. Which is better than them yelling at us or completely changing the terms of the project, both of which they’ve done in the past, sometimes in the same meeting. But it is also somewhat unsatisfactory – we have no idea what they’re really thinking. And I found myself asking, what have I really learned from this project? Is there anything I can take away from the experience that is of value? When I think of what we had originally proposed, and potential opportunities from that project, I am heartsick over the loss.
This last week has been a wreck. Between the renovation, work, dad, and –quite literally, the kitchen sink-- I completely fell off the horse. I was doing pretty well there in the middle of the month, but then retrograde hit and I feel absolutely gobsmacked by all the details. Work is almost manageable now that all the presentations are over with. Except for the upcoming trip to Charleston, which is going to be quite the monkey wrench, being gone over the weekend. Oh, and let’s not forget the papers to be written. So yeah, work is not manageable at all.
The news was rather startling – dad at the ER? The doctor’s advice was to go the ER? It seemed rather extreme to me, but the drug cocktail they administered there was even more extreme. Being transported to a real hospital by ambulance was the only reasonable choice after that. I don’t ever remember dad being in the hospital before – but certainly when he had hepatitis he was in the hospital – and I just don’t remember it? The only thing I really remember from that whole episode was my tantrum / fit at Dr. Hunt’s office when they gave me the shot.
This is just like when I go shopping for clothes or shoes: I know exactly what I want but can’t find it anywhere, and nothing that is available is of interest. Except this is about sinks. I finally saw an apron / farmhouse sink in a countertop setting, and now know the look and the fit works well for us. Of course, the one I want to see in person isn’t in stock anywhere – it’s a special order. If the Kohler foundry fire story is true, I may also not be able to get my second choice either. Stupid retrograde.
Should I have read the reviews? Learned about the potential pitfalls? Yes, but.. now I really don’t know where to turn. If I’m not going to get a fireclay sink because they are so fussy, and what if mine arrives damaged in some way?? Do I go with the cast iron version I view as a barely acceptable alternative? There does appear to be an availability issue with Kohler cast iron sinks right now. And then there’s the edge detail we chose for our countertops… it may not work with an apron front sink. Shouldn’t our designer have said something?
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