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It wasn't as hard to write as it waould have been if I had tried to write it before futzing around for two weeks, looking at pictures, picking people's brains, reading stuff, making six or seven false starts. But it wasn't easy, and it will certainly need a lot of attention in the revision.

The next thing is between battles, and the one after that is another battle, worse than the first, and then an I don't know part to cover almost three years of more of the same (honestly, do you expect me to write scene after scene of this? in a book that isn't even about war?) and then the last battle my guy is in, and his capture, and then . . . I'll complain about that part when I get to it.

Some people I was talking about were surprised I needed to know all this stuff to write this.  This surprised me. What if I wrote that a howitzer shell grazed his ear and made him look, when it turns out he'd never survive that?  What if I wrote -- as I nearly did -- that they were carting their large artillery back and forth every day? What of I wrote, I don't know, any number of impossible scenarios? What would I do when people who know better said they couldn't believe the story? Just say "it's fantasy, man, get over yourself?"

Or I suppose I could just go "They battled all day and then it was night and they had conversations."

I think if I had had an ounce of military history buff in me I might have been able to wing it -- though that might have been dangerous, because what you don't know doesn't hurt you nearly as badly as what you think you know that isn't true --  but the fact that I have been resolutely cold about the whole subject for a parrot's lifetime means that I have to have a more humble attitude to this stuff.

on another front, two irreproducible recipes for you:

1. Something sweet with tahini, yogurt, and meyer lemon marmalade
Mix them together in proportions of about three parts plain yogurt, and one part tahini and one part marmalade. Eat. Maybe you could put it in the freezer for a few minutes, but not actually freeze it. The tahini and marmalade are slightly bitter, so it's really good.

2. Something inexplicable with green garbanzos and other vegetables
Lots of olive oil in the pan. A 12-ounce bag of frozen green garbanzos. Roughly equal piles of diced peeled broccoli stems and turnip, green onions, and then some amount of garlic and arugula. Sautee these until they are as tender as you want.  Mix in massive amounts of pesto. You can use any combination of vegetables, and you can also use less olive oil if you are scared of it.

On still another front: just in case I might be capable of forgetting about being allergic to rats, I keep finding old sign of rat in corners I haven't poked into since before the last invasion. When I'm cleaning it up I get the prickles, and the next day I am congested and stupid. It would be worse if I didn't take antihistamine as soon as I see or smell the stuff.
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So apparently I am exploring all the different ways a person can have a magical affinity for trees. The latest story has a couple of guys constructed from willow twigs in order to be servants of black magicians. I have an unfinished one about a person who is more or less a dryad. And there is not-Poland, in which the sister is a botanist with extra tree senses (also the tendency to be a seer, but she says much more cryptic and less-detailed things when the subject is human than when it is tree), and the brother has an uncomfortable attachment to the wooded wetland, and will eventually be rather like the lorax, with respect to the urban forest. And I have written a couple of other stories about zelniks which do not highlight their tree affinity but still.

So I don't know. Most of these are pretty urban stories. The big novel starts out utterly rural but ends up urban. So I could call the arc Trees and the City?

on another front, the degree verification finally came. So as soon as the Dean coughs up Frank's letter, his application to Malta is complete: Ireland is next.

and on yet another front: I heard scrabbling in the walls so I think I have to call on Emma and Jason for help with the rat traps again. I am already cleaning in slow motion, so I better pick up the pace.

One down

Nov. 2nd, 2011 09:03 pm
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But I can't look at it till it's cold.

edit . . . and, I am informed, two more while I was out for less than an hour.

I really wish I did not have to do this every six months.
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Personhead carbonel said in response to my previous post:

"Threat" is all the bad things that could happen to you, from getting a paper cut to being killed by a suicide bomber. You can't change a threat. It exists.

"Risk" is the likelihood of any of those bad things actually happening. There's a lot you can do to affect your risk level, like crossing the street to the lighted side to avoid creepy shapes in the darkness (an example the course was fond of).


I read this and I immediately thought, no, wait, that's the opposite of what we do in the infant environment. You can't strongly influence the risk of babies doing what they do, but you can remove the threat of them getting hurt when they do those things.

And so all day I've been seeing examples of that. And also the original carbonel statement. But mainly my way, really.

Babies will fall down when the begin to crawl and walk. They will chew on things. You can't reduce the likelihood of these things happening. But you can remove the threats involved: you make the environment one where it is safe to fall. Mats and carpets on the floor: low elevations for them to climb on (and fall off of). They'll fall the same number of times (if not more, since you will know they are safe and you won't be rushing to stop them every time they take a wobbly step), but they won't drack open their heads or twist their spines. But they will get bruises and small scratches.

And for the chewing: things that are safe to chew on: no toxic paints, no splinters, no chokeable bits easy to gnaw off: and things that can be effectively cleaned and easily sterilized, and then you do clean and sterilize them. This could probably be expressed either way, as risk abatement or threat abatement. In any case, you're not trying to change the behavior of the child, you're trying to fit the environment to the child's natural behavior.

Now when it comes to babies biting or scratching other babies, we have to work on both ends of the thing. On the one hand, we have to create an environment that lowers the possibility that a child will start to bite or scratch another baby. And on the other hand, you can't remove the possibility completely because these behaviors are outgrowths of really basic reflexes and drives, So you've got to create a situation in which you can respond fast enough to interrupt most of these incidents before the teeth close, and where if the teeth do close on the skin, you can get the bitten child comforted, examined for broken skin, cleaned up, and a cold compress applied to the spot, while also using the opportunity to get the biting kid to understand and empathize with the bitten kid's distress and to feel the age-appropriate level of responsibility for it, And yes, even with the pre-verbal kids we talk about using your words, even though a pre-verbal kid's words might be only NO! or even waah!

In this case the risk is 100% that a given child will bite another child at some time and 100% that they will be bitten at some time, if they are spending their days in the company of a bunch of other babies. The threats we're guarding against are several:

-- that the bite will be severe
-- that the bitten child will be bitten enough to make their experience in the group unpleasantand unhelpful for them
-- that the bitten child will draw from the experience some conclusons about life that don't help them stand up to injustice, or to get along with others, or to feel unafraid most of the time (this may be the same as the second point)
-- that the biting child will draw the wrong conclusions from the event (they could, for example, come to believe that hurting others or frightening others is a legitimate or even the only way to get what they want: they could decide that they are more real in the social world when they are causing a sensation by doing hurtful things: they coudl decide that they are just bad, and there's no point in trying to be good)

But knowing that a child will bite and will be bitten doesn't mean capitulating to biting. We still plan around eliminating biting incidents as if we actually could eliminate all of them. Because planning around preventing biting means paying attention to the developmental needs of babies and how satisfactory their environments are. For example:

Are there enough toys so that the babies can share the shiny? Of course the toy with a baby attached to it is a much, much better toy than the identical lifeless one lying on the ground next to it, but if that toy is there the caregiver has an opportunity to demonstrate that the idle toy will come to life the same way as the one already being played with.

Are there enough interesting things to do so that merely banging on other children doesn't present itself as a more compelling actitivity? If there's a ball to throw with another child, that has more potential fun value than even the most alarming scream you can elicit with a big juicy chomp.

A corollary to this: are there enough safe toys and are the toys safe enough that you can let the babies do whatever they can think of with them ?(within reason. You cannot prevent some child in a group from imagining what it would be like to stack chairs on the table and put a rocking horse on top of the chairs and then try to climb up. So you have to be there to stop them doing that, regardless of how much you don't want to interfere in their initiatives. Also, know that when you stop a determined child from doing this, they will more often than not invent a new horrifying thing to do before you are done unstacking the perilous pile -- or they will go and chomp on their best friend, if you can't head them off first).

Do you have enough responsible adults (or teenaged volunteers to flesh out the numbers, for that matter) that you can head off a child with that particular look in their face? And are they experienced and sensitive enough to recognize that look, or the situations that will bring it on?

Do you have enough predictibility in the day that the children aren't always anxious about what's coming next and worried about when their lunches and their mommies are going to appear?

On the other hand, is there enoujgh novelty in the day that the children aren't flat-out bored?

Are you watching for signs of distress, of boredom, anger, resentment, thirts, sleepiness, hunger, the need to pee or the aftermath of having peed, slimy faces, coughing, stomach upset? Do you have the wherewithal to respond to any of these if you see them coming on?

Do you model problem solving, and interpret the children to each other as accurately (and at the same time as positively ) as possible? So you've intercepted Baby Incisors from savaging Baby's Got a Rocking Horse on the arm, and Baby's Got a Rocking Horse has just noticed they almost got a huge bite from Baby Incisors who's bitten them before, and BGARH bursts out wailing and BI freaks out and lunges for BGARH to thwack them with the huge toy garbage truck they originally dragged over here to show to BGARH before BI got distracted by the shiny rocking horse and the shiny bare arm of BGARH and got intercepted by you, because you're so awesome you saw this coming. What do you do now?

I'm going to skip the bogus multiple choice question and give you an answer (not THE answer, you might do differently depending on the kids, yourself, the environment, etc). You intercept again. You might or might notsay to Baby Incisors that Baby's Got a Rocking Horse doesn't want a garbage truck thwacked on their head, and Baby's Got a Rocking Horse doesn't want to get off the rocking horse and doesn't want to get bitten on their tasty round arm either. But you necessarily say "I see you have a hug shiny garbage truck. Did you want to show it to Baby's Got a Rocking Horse?"

and, you know, whatevger Baby Incisors wanted a minute ago, now they want to show Baby's Got a Rocking Horse the big shiny garbage truck. Or maybe they don't because they suddenly remember how precous the garbage truck is and they're pretty sure anybody else would notice how precious it is and try to take it any from them and theat would be unpleasant so Baby Incisors hides the truck behind themselves and backs away. "Oh well, " you say. "You're not ready to show off your garbage truck. Maybe next time." Either way, the conversation now is about the essential thing, the interaction of these babies, and not about the superficiaal thing, and either way, the babies have something more consequential to grapple with.

And what you've done, you excellent baby caregiver you, is to remove the threat of a bite and a thwack from a situation without much altering the risk. It's still 100% that those two will interact: but you've altered the nature of the interaction so that it is no longer dangerous.

In real life, there may be several iterations of threat removal and conversation starting before you get closure to this. Usually involving Baby's Got a Big Plastic Wrench and Baby's Got a Book That Must Be Read This Very Second or I'll Thwack It on Everyone In Reach as well, or at the very least Baby's Going to Hold On Like an Infant Possum No Matter What. So somewhere in all this one or another of these babies is going to take a hit or something and you'll be doing all the stuff I described up above. But because you're in the middle of all this, you're able to thrust you own arm in and get some of the impact diverted -- again, lessening the threat while not being able to impact the percentage of risk to much degree.

On another front,Emma set eight traps for me and Truffle sprang one. No great damage, and she didn't yelp, but she did look embarrassed.

day 2

Nov. 2nd, 2011 07:14 am
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Have to be at work an hour earlier so I was anxious about being efficient this morning and I did it! 2000+ words (rounded down again) before seven in the morning (I'm not thinking about it much but I believe they are mostly keepers).

Accomplished: sort-of introduced the Duke's family and Yanek's relationship to them. He's more of a cinderella than I thought he would be. I'm particularly happy about the Duchess. I am not sure I got the village celebrations on the right note. I don't want to be romanticizing peasant life, nor writing "The Lower Depths." I just want to get Yanek's attachments and behavior properly expressed.

On another front, I'm trying to figure out how to get the house ultimately sealed from rats. Or do I have to ultimately move? Because I can feel their presence when I walk in the door: the air is thicker inside, and my skin prickles, more in the places where the rats travel. And I can hear them in the walls. Since the young man can't st traps either I have to wait for help (which is coming today), but I think the long range issue is that they will come back if I don't figure out a way to keep them out permanently. Which I thought I had already done.
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First trap, first night set: productive. Rat is so small I thought it was a mouse till I saw the ears.

Later I saw tiny turds behind the washing machine, leading me to think that the port of entry is the hole in the wall that the dryer vent tube goes through. We need to do something to alter the way the dryer vent works anyway because my beautiful new garage occupies the place where the vent used to go. But definitely need a collar around the dryer vent tube.

I feel like there are tiny creatures pricking my skin with extremely sharp little javelins, especially in the face and neck, and upper back and upper arms. This is the presence of rats.

On another front, I got to watch you tube for an hour and a half this morning and call it research. It turns out they make tapans to fit the size of the drummer, even if the drummer is two years old.

Along the way I saw some horrid clips of clearly abused children (you can tell from the bruises, the scars and the facial expression) singing for the camera. The videos are very old, the children are far away and I do not even know what language they are singing in, or where they are: there is nothing I can do about it.

Rats

Oct. 26th, 2011 11:50 pm
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I saw sign of rat today.

Damn it.
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I never thought much about "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," but it seems there really is a historical mystery that it addresses: the town chronicles of Hameln begin in 1384 with the statement "It is a hundred years since our children left."

The next historical bit is a stained glass window created somewhat earler (?), described in various documents dating from before its destruction in 1660, showing a motley piper leading away a band of children dressed in white.

The rats appear to be a separate story welded on to try to make sense of the historical scraps.

One of the more plausible explanations for the note in the town chronicles is that the children were young adults who went East to start new villages. I like this one: it fits in well with the not-Poland story (which I apparently can only think about clearly at folk dance class, which is a good reason to never miss a Friday) on which I have made no progress in a long time but which I am still brewing.

Edit: The Pied Piper's House.

And of course my current war on rats resonates nicely.

I guess dogs aren't getting to the beach because it's close to ten, but I'll take them to Meder Street. No. I'll take them to the beach for ten minutes and then go to Meder Street, because the beach means I'll see my friends too.

also, farmer's mafrket and then to the dump to look at free paint.

tablet!

Jul. 15th, 2011 02:13 pm
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When Emma made the switch from pc to mac, she left her drawing tablet with me. It didn't work so well with paintshop and I was about to throw it away today, feeling wistful about the whole thing, when I remembered I have photoshop now. . . it works! Like a charm! so much better than sketching with a mouse. I still don't have control over the tablet (or photoshop: how do you even get the bucket tool to work with the background color? right-click doesn't do it: shift-click doesn't do it: ctrl-click doesn't do it: alt-click doesn't do it). But it is smooth and produces smooth lines. I can see how this will be very nice to have.

And I didn't spend any moeny to get this new toy. All I did was clean up the corner of the room it was in.

On another front, I was going to use mothballs as a rat repellent on top of the other measures I'm taking, until I read the package (after I had paid for it). Can't use it in open areas.
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I'm not a very good housekeeper at the best of times. Depressed, I'm worse. I'm worse still when I'm not well.

Even though the War on Rats is not over -- and I haven't had Zack clean out the vacuum cleaner for me, so there's still rat cells in the house -- I can feel a tremendous difference. This week I actually have no work, and I have no interviews yet from any of the jobs I applied to last week, and my searches have only turned up one job to apply to this week, so I am moving on from the War on Rats to battling the accumulated dust and filth in the house. Much of it is much worse than I imagined because I've been determinedly not looking at it, but some is not as bad as I thought. I've cleaned the furnace air return filter, which I normally do monthly, but lately have been doing every three months: the computer's insides, which I last cleaned just before I went to Prague: many corners of the living room and "library" (computer/books/comics room between the kitchen and the stairs): and I washed Truffle and Loki, but not the extra dog, who is kind of large for me to haul her around and put her in the tub.

This is mostly running around with the vacuum cleaner, the duster, many towels and various cleaners, but of course it also involves the gas duster (canned air). I use it quite generously for those teeny corners and the keyboard and the insides of the computer, of course. I've decided that it is a justifiable expense. I wish someone would make a version that compresses air as you go, like those old-fashioned seltzer bottles. But that's not because of the expense, it's because I'm squeamish about producing more trash.

So, anyway, I have a little headache from the dust but nothing like how sick I've gotten in the past when I attempted this sort of thing.

The dogs, by the way, get very excited when I vacuum. I can't tell if they are angry, afraid, or happy. They bark a lot and the extra dog keeps leaping at the end of the vacuum hose and maybe trying to bite it? That's what she does with water from a hose, also.

Yesterday I took them to Frederick Street Park and I finally figured out that that stuff in the baby oak tree by the benches is in fact a bunch of communal dog toys, so I through the tennis balls and frisbee for the dogs for almost an hour and afterwards the extra dog would hardly stand for anything. She has some arthritis, which is why I feel badly about her gaining some weight at the beginning of the summer. We are all working on losing a little now.
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I itch all over and I can hear the damned rat bumbling around in my kitchen.  I put the cat's leftover dinner in the fridge.  Oh, and that thing about how when you rub your eyes you make it worse, too.

Off to take antihistamine and sleep.
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So I got the word yesterday. The chance that I might have a job at my place (fewer hours, a cut in pay) is gone. The decision is to hire for a five-hour position with no benefits and also to cut my erstwhile coworkers' hours. I don't know what will happen when they have more than six babies at the beginning of the day. But it's not my job to worry about it anymore.

I have an application to get in today for another job halfway across town (no option to walk to work: well, I could, but it's a forty-minute walk and opening, and I really doubt I'm going to leave the house at six-thirty. Well, I could. Maybe. But I won't count on it, because I know myself). There are attractive things about the job though. It deals with a similar community to the one I've been working with, so the sense of mission is there. It seems to have steadier funding than my current job, so maybe I will finally get to have a job that lasts. The posting was a month old, but it happens that it's still open just for this week!

I decided I can't keep paying six hundred dollars a month for health insurance so I'm going to let the COBRA go. So I called the doctor and said I was losing my insurance and what could I do to lower my medicine costs? And he said: stop the trilipix and the benicar: the simvastatin alone might do the trick, and I could take something called losartan instead of the benicar. Everything else, he said, is necessary, and already as inexpensive as it's going to get. Because of the mandated cut in simvastatin dose my last refill will last two months, so that's good. Also I have more motivation to be conscientious about diet and exercise (this making the forty minute walk at six-thirty in the morning and four in the afternoon more attractive: a part of it would be along the levee, which is nice).

I have to arrange to get the house in shape to get a roommate. I've been saying this for two and a half years, but it's really hard to face, for a number of reasons, one of which is, honestly, shyness: it's hard when I imagine getting a stranger in here and pissing them off with my spacy personality, or even worse, getting an acquaintance in here and pissing them off.

I have to look for more expenses to cut. There aren't many. I had started spending a bit more freely this year, on the grounds that it looked like I had an adequate and permanent job, but "spending freely" means very little in my case. I really don't spend much money.

The good news is Emma set a trap last night and there was no rat and the bait was still there this morning. Maybe we got them all. It's hard to believe, what with there being a whole lagoon out there for the rats to come from.
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Three days three rats. Two traps, and one by dog or cat.
Does this cut work? Maybe you don't want to read about dead rats. )
On another front: I have much better dreams in my own bed.  And by better, I mean more detailed, with richer plots and characterization and setting.  And I remember them better.

On still another front: we're still getting rain.  I think we went two whole weeks without it.  This breaks the seasonal pattern.  The last two? years, the early-winter dry spell was long and scary. Are we moving to a dry winter-wet summer climate?  That would be disastrous for our local plants and animals, who are adapted to a wet winter-dry summer climate.
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No, not healthcare related things at the moment.
TMI to follow: trying an lj-cut in rich text editor because I fail at it in html )

1) My doctor's office called me today to tell me that the FDA has cut the recommended dose for Simvastatin in half, because the old dose was causing muscle deterioration.  I've been on the standard dose for years and years and years. I asked "how would you know if you were getting this muscle deterioration?"

Muscle pain and weakness, she said.

So, I had thought that I was experiencing the various weird muscle cramps and not being as strong as I used to be because of sedentary habits and possibly insufficient potassium (being on diuretics raises your need for potassium).  Of course, I actually still could be, and honestly I've had less of the pain since I started making sure I get more high-potassium foods, and I have had less of the pain since I have been making sure I walk the dogs and work in the garden and stuff.  But, well, it could be part of the picture.  So I'm cutting my pills in half.  The bonus is that I just filled my prescription, so a month's supply of simvastatin will actually be two months' supply this time.  Too bad I can't keep getting the 80s -- next time I buy the drug it will be a 40.

2) Yesterday I had a coughing relapse.  At first I thought it was another wave of the bad cold I had last week.  It probably was, partly, because my nose has never stopped being weird. But I realized part way through the day that I was also having especially bad coughinf fits soon after I ate, and I've been aware that I had drifted into eating way more starchy food and sweets and dairy than I ought to but I was just too lazy to work out what to eat instead (that's why the irreproducible recipes posts last week).  So I figured that at least some of the relapse is due to bad diet.
Then this morning I discovered that (a) I had forgotten and left accessible food on the counter overnight for the first time in a long time and (b) the rat that I thought had left because there was no obvious sign of its presence had not gone, and in fact had gnawed a hole a bit bigger than a ping-pong ball in the hunk of parmesan cheese.  As the day progressed I became convinced that part of my relapse is in fact due to the fact that I have had a rat for two months and I am intensely allergic to rats (and no other thing, though I have some non-allergy sensitivities, obviously).  And I don't know if it's the power of suggestion but my skin is prickling like it always used to when we had pet rats and I keep getting that horrible unsatisfying cough that goes on and on and doesn't dislodge the thickness back there.

Why have I had a rat for two months?  Because I am a wuss.  First I tried to sic the dog and the extra dog on the rat.  Unfortunately, both of them lived in households with pet rodents in their youth, and while Truffle will in fact kill a couple of gophers, voles or wild rats in the field every spring, they both seem to think that a rodent in the house is a scary authority figure they dare not even bark at.  Then I had to go all the way to Capitola to buy a rat trap because where do you buy one in Santa Cruz? (I just thought of a place I will go to tomorrow)  Then I had to work up my courage to set up the rat trap.  And it was even harder because Zack said to put it into a paper bag so I wouldn't have to touch the rat.  And then I got desperate and I finally tried to set the trap and it sprung immediately and then wouldn't reset again for drugs or money.  So no rat trap anymore.

Tomorrow I buy several rat traps of different designs (all in the spring type: no bait, no glue: I want the thing to die as quickly and painlessly as possible.  No catch and release because what would that accomplish?  We're talking about a serious threat to my health here) and I will set them carefully with no extra flourishes but just yummy bait, one at a time.

This condition threatens more than my daily health.  I can't do anything really vigorous while it's in sway because the slightest movement causes a coughing fit and urinary disaster (no, dears, kegels have kept this manageable when I'm not having overwhelming coughing fits, but they don't cure it, and nothing seems to help when I am having these coughing fits except to sit on many layers of folded towels and do lots of laundry).  I can make it through a day of work by spending a lot of time in the bathroom and taking a wide variety of drugs (antihistamine, antacid for the acid reflux component which is there even with the right diet and acid-reducing drugs during the periods when coughing fits are likely to happen, and demulcent/menthol cough drops -- Hall's or Luden's or Ricola, like that).  But I can't dance or run or be embarrassed (yes, dogdamn it, being embarrassed or otherwise emotionally stressed overpowers both my cough control and my bladder when I am in this kind of cycle).

The good thing about this noise is that there appears to be some reason to think I can get back on track, health and activity wise.

(tell me if I managed to get an lj-cut to work?  I had given up on using them because they never seemed to work)
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What I'm mostly doing now is taking crap upstairs and throwing crap out. I like to think I'm not a clothes horse, and I try not to buy crap, but stuff accumulates when you're passive.

I am fortunate to have the attic area to put things into. Since my closet isn't finished yet, I have put three laundry baskets!!! of hangable clothes right inside the attic door, along with a box of hangers. I am also moving some just plain stuff into the attic -- things I don't want to go through, things I know I want to keep but I don't want to access all the time, and four boxes of children's books that will go in a particular shelf that has not been built yet.

I have put my folding clothes into the drawers in the bed that used to be Ted's and into some of the drawers in the wall that used to hold my clothes. I do not understand why, after a year of throwing things away and not buying things, I still apparently have more than I started with. I have subsumed some of Ted's clothes, but not that much!

For example. My underwear, swimclothes, pajamas and socks used to go into two drawers that are smaller together than the one big drawer I have subdivided with plastic boxes. I swear I could close those two drawers. I have culled a bunch more socks, also ironic because for the last year I have been desperately search for socks everyday, and now I find I have too many. Well, I stole all the socks that Emma thinks are too juvenile, so that's explainable. But as for underwear -- I haven't bought any in a long time, and I have been throwing pieces out because they were two worn out and discolored even for me.

Anyway, you can see the (very very dusty) floor in the former kid's room, but I haven't been able to sleep there in a week because I was using the bed for a staging area. The upstairs masttress needs cleaning before I can sleep on it -- not to mention all hundred pounds of it need to be dragged upstairs -- so I've been sleeping (badly) on the couch. It's okay for a nap, but a full night's sleep is not possible since the dog insists on sleeping with me even when it's obviously not possible. I'll have the downstairs bed cleared off for tonight, I think, and sleep a bit better.

I've been sweeping the floors that I expose, and sweeping my room upstairs when I track dirt up there, but everything's still very dusty. And there was a rat skeleton, which I think Truffle found somewhere, so naturally I'm coughing from my stupid reaction to the epithelial tissue. No welts were my hand landed on it though, which is a mercy. (Come to think of it, I never got welts on my hands from the pet rats back in the day -- only my shoulders and arms)

Now I have to go find a steam cleaner to rent, some paint for the walls and for the floor of the closet, replace the wrong hinges I bought, and let's see, dog and cat food too.

I hate the way my throat feels, though.

A Theory

May. 30th, 2009 01:22 pm
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So Zack says he found several rat nests and access points in my bedroom when he opened the walls. And rat turds everywhere. Have I mentioned that when I had an allergy test after my one and only full-on asthma attack, the only thing in the whole battery I responded to was rat epithelial tissue, and I responded plus four: which means immediate hives and itchy respiratory system (I mean I felt it when I breathed, but I didn' have any trouble breathing). They had a fast-acting antihistamine (which I think I should have some of). It's gotten worase over the years. I can't go into small pet stores. I was uncomfortable in Emma's bathroom when she kept her pet mice there.

So, my head thing? Where I can't get out of the present moment and plan and think straight? Where I can't remember what I'm doing, even if I want to do it? I don't follow up on things? For years I've noticed a lightness of head and clarity of mind when I travel. That could be emotional, you know, the new experiences getting me going.

Or it could be that my brain fog and befuddlitude is from a constant low-level exposure to rat epithelial tissue over the last thirty-two years.

July 2017

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