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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Brassieres and Reading Glasses

It seems an odd combination, no?

But here's the thing. I am prone to chronic allergic sinusitis, as anyone who has ever read this blog in February or March is aware (although two years ago it was actual flu). Allergic sinusitis leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Well, the suffering anyway, if not the things in between. Allergic sinusitis comes with sinus pain and pressure (that's where the reading glasses come in; they were painful to put on this morning), as well as often leading (in my case) to viral or bacterial sinusitis, otitis media, bronchitis, and on at least one occasion, actual pneumonia (the last two of which is where the brassiere comes into the narrative; tight bras are uncomfy with bronchitis, et al).

I don't want pneumonia (or any of these things) again, so I stayed the heck away from the doctor's office in this year when the flu is kinda deadly. I have friends in the hospital, friends toughing it out at home refusing to acknowledge that it's flu, and everyone in between. It's my general policy (last year notwithstanding) to treat the symptoms of allergic sinusitis, until and unless I get an earache, wheezing, or fever, and I was damn well going to stick with my herbal teas (I decaffeinated about a week ago) and NyQuil unless I absolutely had to go in. (Yes, I know I was going to the doctor all the time in the year following Laston's death; I was easily panicked. That was an aberration.)

This morning I woke with all three. Not a high fever, thank Google, but sinuses, ears, lungs, dizziness. Called to make an appointment with my doctor. They said, yes, please, do come in; we have masks and hand sanitizer. So I did (though I brought my own mask; I already have them here, so why not?).

This is the first time I've been sick enough to go to the doctor since leaving AT&T, and isn't that interesting? So I discovered  when I got there that when I switched to the Washington State's ACA brand of my insurance company (because I'm no longer on AT&T insurance), they don't cover my regular doctor's office.

Well, expletive.

I have to give serious kudos to the nice woman at the Canyon Park PacMed office, who not only found the information I needed, she wrote it all down for me, including the phone number for the department I need to contact to switch my coverage to one that PacMed can take.

In the meantime, this insurance does cover urgent care and emergency rooms, so off I go to urgent care, where I was seen, well, urgently. They have my chart, because this urgent care is connected to the hospital bracketing our lives; Lee and Lizzy were born there and Laston died there. The doctor comes in, looks at my chart, and smiles at me. "This is not your first rodeo, I see. What can you tell me?" (honestly, I think he was so glad it wasn't flu he just wanted to stick around a bit!)

"Um, well, if I were allowed to prescribe, I'd say that I need antibiotics and prednisone, as much as I hate the side effects..." (the former upsets my stomach and the latter makes me alternately spacey and wired, gives me the munchies, and causes hot flashes). He smiled again and started the exam. Nose, eyes, ears, throat, back, chest, with lots of "mmm," and, "yes." Sticks the Giant Q-Tip of Doom in my nose for a culture.

"Hard to say whether it's actually bacterial until the culture comes back, but your history (he thumbs through the chart) indicate that's a common complication for you. You don't want cough syrup?"

"Nah, cough's not that bad; I can NyQuil it if I need to."

I think this last won him over; he could see I wasn't out to get narcotics, and I do actually know what I'm talking about here. He wrote an Rx for augmentin, one for the thingy so the augmentin doesn't tear up my stomach, and the prednisone.

Oh, and all you coffee or tea lovers? He said in this case, the caffeine (one serving a day, preferably in the morning) might actually help with the sinusitis, because it does to a lesser extent what the prednisone does; it's a vasodilator so it will make me feel less stuffed up. He did suggest I stick with tea until I'm off the antibiotics though, because coffee upsets my stomach.

So, as the wired part of prednisone wears off, I'll wind up here. Besides, I would like to remove my reading glasses now. Tomorrow, except for carting kids to Studio East, I plan on staying home, contacting the insurance folks, and resting up. I clearly need it.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Really Good Week

It has been a great week. <knock wood, salt over shoulder, bite tongue>

I don't have a job yet, but I feel really good about a couple of interviews I had this week; one with a consulting firm and one with a more technical temporary placement agency than the other one I'm affiliated with. So I have a clerical, a technical temporary, and a consulting agency, all working on my behalf. At the consulting place, in addition to seeing what they can do for me with the likes of Amazon, Boeing, etc, they asked me for some more professional writing samples so I can work for them directly on occasion, should they need a substitute when their usual tech writer is not available.

I've said that I would no longer work retail or customer care (aside from volunteering at Studio East and the Girl Scouts as I often do - more on that below) unless the need was dire. But that's not entirely true; my main objections to these sorts of positions are two-fold. One, the hours, as a rule, suck, especially for a single parent. Two - and this is a bit more complicated - if I'm working those kinds of hours, I need to work for an employer than cares about Jenn-the-person more than squeezing every last nickel to death and squeezing their workers to death in the process. There are a few companies - even large-ish ones - that still do this, and those I'd be fine with.

Still and all, I'd prefer writing or editing; I have a degree in Communications for a reason. And my specialization is in Intercultural Communications for a reason; I want to use that.

Preferably better than I did today, while helping Lizzy peddle sell Girl Scout Cookie pre-orders to our neighbors, some of whom speak more Spanish than English. I can work with ¿Quiere comprar bisquetas de las Girl Scouts? (although apparently galletas is used more often than bisquetas these days, or in our area, or both). I floundered a lot with what turned out to be no cobramos el pago hasta entrega. I was trying to say no tiene usted pagar... and there I got stuck. But my neighbors are kind about my efforts, even if their children laugh at me.

Feel free to use Google Translate to figure those out if you don't speak Spanish better than I.

In any case, although tomorrow is the last day for pre-orders, Lizzy has managed to sell just over half her goal before the store sales (which start March 2nd in our council). Be there.

And Abby? Abby got into one of her (and my all-time) favorite plays; she plays Jack's Mother (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame) in Into the Woods at Studio East! This is the role that Tracey Ullman played in the Disney film version of the play, so it's a pretty comic role, at which Abby excels. Rehearsals start Monday February 5th, and (thanks be to the Gods of both Theater (Dionysus) and Cookies (uh... I'm gonna go with Hestia?)), there are only two days of overlap between cookie sales and performances!

So today, with Abby at her dad's, Lizzy and I were busy and had a lot of fun. We got up, had breakfast, did some banking (sold some cookies to a teller), bought her some clothes on clearance, came home, got fresh air and exercise (although my fitbit battery was dead, darn it!) and coping-with-people practice and Spanish language lessons through cookie sales, and then a late lunch at home, did some chores, watched some Disney... and those last two will repeat until bedtime.

You have about 24 hours if you'd still like to order cookies here.

¡Y gracias por apoyar a las Girl Scouts de Western Washington!


Monday, January 29, 2018

The Little Things Redux

Not quite as much fun as this post about the little things.

But similar.

So the big things are taken care of. Rent, mortgage (I rent the land and own the house), utilities, insurance, groceries, even gas. These are all paid up to date as needed. The little things not so much.

I'm out of dishwasher pods (cooking at home to save money uses a lot of dishes, even with the Instant Pot. And my Instant Pot is huge).

Netflix is out until I can pay them, thereby changing my bill cycle to a more reasonable date (like closer to the first of the month). But Abby and I will have to forgo what they lampshaded as the "attractive yet non-threatening racially diverse cast of a CW show," (around 50 seconds into that linked video) until the first or second of the month.

It's cool. We have other viewing options. But it's messing with the flow of our superheroic angst fest.

Lizzy will be fine. She has YouTube videos of kid-friendly folks playing MineCraft and doing DIY projects with their fingernails and It's Okay to Be Smart.

On the other hand, due to a temporary water outage over the weekend, I have started a Facebook page for people who live in my neighborhood. It's more efficient than a phone tree, and when a pipe bursts (we're not sure why, but it's been raining a lot even by Seattle springtime standards, so maybe some support or other was washed away?) it's nice to be able to tell the whole neighborhood. The landlord's office thinks it's a great idea, too, which made me feel good (my mom suggested it, but I implemented).

Some of the little things, both good and bad, are not so little.

I still don't have an answer on my appeal to the Unemployment folks. And apparently it's a slow job day at my temp agency. It's not a federal holiday (though the kids are off school because the first semester ended Friday), so I'm not sure what's up with that. Still applying to all appropriate jobs though.

Abby a) gets to do another work-study program at Studio East (effectively assistant camp counselor for mid-winter break camp), therefore mitigating the cost of b) her tuition to them for Into the Woods (the call backs for which are tonight), assuming she gets in. This was a tough one; 90 kids auditioned for 38-40 roles. We shall see, but in the meantime, Abby's a little bit on tenterhooks. If she doesn't get into the Woods (heaven forfend), it will help pay for other tuition there; the credits don't expire until she ages out.

We love it there.

As anyone who has ever read my blog or my Facebook page knows.

Oh, also, cookies. Digital Cookie is my new best friend. Just click on the link, and you can pay by credit card to buy cookies and have them shipped, buy them and have them delivered by Miz Liz, or donate boxes to Operation Cookie Drop in her name. Plus, the video is super cute.

If you want to order the old-fashioned way, send me an email.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Warning: This post will sound whiny.

And it probably is.

Because it's about a death in the family. Not death itself, but the ways in which death affects the family, even nearly a year and a half later.

So yes, whiny.

Here's the thing; when death is new, the survivors are so caught up in grief - and numb with it - that basic life skills kind of go by the wayside.

I'm not talking about making stupid mistakes at work, though as they only occurred after Laston's death, I'm sure it was a contributing factor. I did it; I'll own it. And I'm not talking about the inability to cope altogether; that's a separate issue that - thank goodness - did not really happen to me for long.

No, here I'm talking about things like sleep, and keeping track of bills and other papers, and comfort behaviors getting out of hand.

These things are getting better.

But I look back when circumstances force the issue and... well, it's not pretty.

I don't know where my social security card is, for instance; the last time I remember seeing it was when I applied for death benefits for the kids. This makes it difficult to get hired (legally) anywhere, and as I don't have a passport and I haven't seen my birth certificate in even longer than my social security card, it'll be a few more days even though I have a job offer at a staffing agency. My mom might have a copy of my birth certificate, but I have a vague recollection of her giving it to me back in the day.

That's really the problem, more than anything else; just about everything is a vague recollection. And since I'm not working, and I'm waiting on an appeal to the denial of unemployment benefits, I'm kind of in limbo.

Then there is sleep. I'm sleeping better than I was. Even Lizzy is sleeping better than she was (though that's not saying much; Lizzy's never been a good sleeper. I'm told this is very common in children with autism, high-functioning or otherwise). I imagine that this is part of the reason for the vagueness of recollection as well; sleep deprivation over the course of two-plus years, that I'm only just in the last couple months coming out of, is not conducive to thinking well.

Comfort habits could be worse, of course. For me, the worst of these is eating. Duh. I wouldn't be on Weight Watchers if I didn't comfort eat. I wouldn't need to. But there are other comfort-y things that are just fine. I've rediscovered a number of old Big Fish Games (mostly Hidden Object), and even a couple of SNES games. Replaying Final Fantasy VI (the PlayStation port) by myself and Super Mario World on SNES with Abby is pretty hilarious stuff as a rule.

And I already own these, so they're free to play, right?

Anyway, the whole point of this blog is to write it out so I no longer feel so whiny.

I have achieved that.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

It's That Time Again!

Last year our song was "Do You Wanna Buy Some Cookies?"

But Frozen is old hat now.  These days Lizzy prefers Moana, Coco, and Trolls, in that order.

So this year, we bring you "You're Welcome!"

Cookie style.

The scansion limps a bit; cookie names do not always fit well into the rhyme scheme.

But starting at midnight (local time), Friday, January 19th, 2018, cookie pre-orders (or Operation Cookie Drop or cash donations if you prefer) are set to go! I'll publish a link to Lizzy's Digital Cookie site sometime tomorrow.

You're welcome.

(And thank you!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Facebook

For the past four days, I have been recounting the Good News and the Bad News on Facebook. Just whatever is happening that day.

It includes things like the head cold Lizzy and I both have (bad) and the Really Good Chili I made (good) in spite of having to concoct my own chili powder (bad). Also, hey, getting fresh air and exercise (good)... the little day-to-day.

Not included are things like continuing joblessness (except anything new that happens, like particularly great connections on LinkedIn (good), or the UI peeps denying my claim (bad)).

The Good outweighs the Bad. And I'm trying to keep it that way, if only in mindset. Mindset is key.

Sorry folks, short post. But you get the idea.