Quarterly update (part 3) — talking about the table and random other stuff

Okay, so what else has been going on?

  • Happy belated birthday to Amy, Mae, Tim, and Ethan! And happy birthday today to Isaac! We really had intended to send cards or something but my life is apparently insane and I can’t get anything done.
  • Congratulations to Dalton on those first steps! So exciting!
  • I’ve taken two classes now on how to use MS Access. I’m trying to learn a new way to keep track of all the information I manage at work and it’s being troublesome. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what I’m doing. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end, but it’s making me go around in circles while I try to figure it out.
  • I’ve donated platelets several times now. The last time went without a hitch and didn’t have any low-pressure problems. The time prior to that, however, was a failure because the pressure was so low I couldn’t even manage to get blood up to the machine to start.
  • On our way back from an appointment for Kay in Atlanta back in May, we stopped to help a woman and her daughter who were stuck on the side of the road with a shredded tire. We learned that we need to keep a better flashlight in the car, that we need a higher jack if we’re going to be able to help people who’ve lost their jack, and that we’d need a better tire iron to get those lug nuts off if they’ve lost that piece of equipment, too. Fortunately, a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped and he had all those things and was able to get the women back on the road again. But we were able to help them stay calm and we learned some valuable lessons for ourselves in the process. One of these days, we’ll figure out which jack to pick up — hopefully before we actually need it again.
  • When Mom and Dad were here, the project that we decided to work on was a skinny little table/shelf that goes behind the sofa and has outlets on it, making it easy to access an outlet, even though the sofa is blocking that whole wall. I got the idea from a blog online that I’m too lazy right now to go find. And we kind of adjusted the idea as we went anyway. When they were here, Dad showed Justin how to run the electric by taking an extension cord and splicing in an outlet. And we cut the wood and stained it. After they left, I sanded the wood and Justin polyurethane it a couple times to give it a nice sheen. I don’t have any in-progress photos and the pictures I have of it in place aren’t super, either. But this is what I’ve got.
Behold! Our table shelf thing.
Behold! Our table shelf thing.

It’s just a little wider than the outlets, of which we’ve got two. One of them is a standard outlet. The other has USB charging slots. We had to order that one from Amazon because no where in town carried them in the nickle color we wanted.

USB charging at the outlet!
USB charging at the outlet!

But a gift card from work and an Amazon order later and we’ve got ourselves a really spiffy outlet.

The rope lights are only temporary.
The rope lights are only temporary.

We would like to have installed actual lights into the table, but they were really expensive, so we held off on that idea for now. In the mean time, we’ve got a rope light that we’d put up the stairs at the other house that didn’t have a home yet, and that’s filling in the gap for now. It’s a subtle light, but nice.

Back-lights behind the sofa
Back-lights behind the sofa

The outlet that’s down behind the sofa has one outlet that’s controlled from a switch at the door and one that’s on all the time. So the outlets are plugged into one and the lights are plugged into the other and it works perfectly!

The table isn’t actually put together all the way yet. The long piece was really torqued and we were having trouble figuring out how to actually install the support beams that we cut in order to give it some structural support. We’d really like to do it right with sunken screws and everything, but we don’t have the money right now to buy the kreg jig we’d like in order to do it right. So for now, it’s tucked back behind the sofa, hopefully getting a little more straight the longer it’s there, and when we’ve got the money for the tool, we’ll take it back down and do the supports. And then when we’ve got more money again, we’ll add a lamp or up-wash lights or something.

For now, though, we’re really happy with how it turned out. I’ve actually got my computer plugged into it right now. And it’s actually stained darker than we would normally go, but it almost perfectly matches the sofa, so I’m tickled at how that worked out.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for paying for all the lumber! And for all the help on figuring out how to put it together!

And that pretty much rounds out the news that I’ve got for the moment. More than what I’ve mentioned and I feel like I’m complaining about my life, which is actually pretty good, I’m just irritated at parts of it at the moment (55 days) and that’s putting a huge grumpy gray cloud over everything. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a while again. I’m not exactly trying to be reclusive or anything. I’m just trying not to be a whiner at everybody. My life is good. I’m just cranky. But things will get better.

Quarterly update (part 2) – talking about my mammogram

Okay, in the last post, I made it through talking about when Justin’s family is leaving and talking about Jessi’s graduation. Today, I’m going to talk about my boobs a lot, so if that makes you uncomfortable, come back another day.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT cancer.

Okay, the Friday before graduation, I had a mammogram. I went in for my yearly physical a few weeks ago and while I was there, I mentioned to my doctor (she’s a PA, but I call her my doctor anyway) that I’d found a lump . . . in the place where lots of women find problematic lumps. (Are we all women reading? I’m not sure. I’ll be delicate-ish.) I was concerned, but not “Oh my gosh I’m going to die of cancer” because it HURT. I mean, it woke me up from a dead sleep like someone had stabbed me in the chest and it had been throbby-achy since then. And from what I’d been reading, if it’s cancer, it doesn’t hurt. So, yea! probably not cancer, but not yea! because it hurt. Anyway, she examined it and said I should get a mammogram to get a better idea of what was going on.

I went through a whole heap of trouble to make sure that the place I went was actually covered by my insurance, and got an appointment to go in. I was covered for a mammogram and an ultrasound and got my pre-authorization for a biopsy, if one was needed. Which we all hoped wouldn’t be necessary.

I won’t go into too much detail about the whole hows of the appointment (if you’re curious, call me and I’ll tell you all about it), but the gist of it is that they did end up doing both the mammogram and the ultrasound because that sucker is about the size of a ping-pong ball, and the mammogram tech, after saying “Oh, gosh! I can feel that!” said that they usually do want to ultrasound something that size, and she was right.

The ultrasound tech, after reassuring me that it’s really not that big compared to other problematic lumps she’s seen, told me that it’s a cyst. I have what’s called fibrocystic breasts, but I already kind of knew that. Back when I was in Toccoa, the doctor I was seeing there was concerned about what the doctor here called “lumpy bumpy breasts” and had me get a mammogram. It came back normal then, too. I just have lumpy boobs. But this is the first time that they actually got all angry and flared up.

So it’s nothing to be terribly concerned about. The doctor who looked over my ultrasound emphasized that I really absolutely must do breast exams every month and this scared me enough that I’m absolutely going to do that. I’ve always been kind of “Eh, it’s been a while, better check.” But I’m going to get regular on those because it was really scary not knowing for sure if I should be more concerned.

I’m still waiting to see if this cyst is going to calm down or if I’m going to need to do something about it. The doctor said that it’s got about 33% chance of staying the same, getting worse, or going away. So now I’m waiting to see if I want to go in and have it drained or if it’ll go away on it’s own.

So yeah. There’s that. Do regular self exams, everybody. They’re important.

Quarterly update (part 1) – talking about Jessi’s graduation

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. There has been a lot going on and large chunks are things that I’m not especially pleased about. I figured “if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” But it’s been long enough that maybe I can chat about things without sounding too whiny.

In mostly random order, but probably mostly from most recent to further back in time:

  • Tomorrow Justin’s grandma flies back to California. She’s been here since the 20th (two weeks) visiting for Jessi’s graduation from her grad program at SCAD. It’s been absolutely wonderful having her in town, even though we didn’t do much that was terribly interesting. I think she appreciated not having any responsibilities and just sitting around and reading and enjoying the moisture in the air compared to the desert. And we appreciated chatting and hanging out.
  • Wendy flies back to Vermont on Wednesday after her two weeks being here, but she’s been staying with Jessi downtown. I haven’t actually seen her much since she’s been spending time helping Jessi pack up and get through all the “You’re done with school! Now face reality!” things. She brought her Bichon, but I’ve hardly seen him at all.
  • Jessi flies out on Thursday to New York City to an internship at MSNBC for three months or so. It’s exciting and terrifying and we’re all very proud of her and hopeful that this excellent opportunity for her is a jumping off to a lot of great adventures.
  • After the three of them are out of town, we’re just left with Kay still here, but we’re counting down the days until she’s leaving and heading off on her own adventure. (57 days.) And then we’ll finally have the house back to ourselves again and I think that’s the way it’s going to stay for a VERY LONG TIME because I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time, most strongly of all that I NEED MY OWN SPACE. And I have very little patience for people who resent responsibilities. And who have very little concern for other people. And make excuses for absolutely everything. And I could rant on this vein for a while. 57 days, people. Fifty. Seven.
  • Jessi’s graduation was on Saturday in downtown Savannah at the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. I tried to take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very clearly. But let me show you a few so you can get an idea of what this was like.
View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015
View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015

This was the view from where we sat at commencement. The people on the floor there? Those are all the graduates. By my count, there are 20 people on each side of the aisle down there and there are 25 rows of seats. That’s 1000 students graduating, give or take. They had two separate ceremonies after lunch for the actual walking across the stage part so that the parents of graduates only had to sit through half of that group. (The person talking on the screen is SCAD president, Paula Wallace.)

Can you identify this man?
Can you identify this man?

This was the commencement speaker. Can you name that face? What about if I give him a prop to help?

Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter
Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter

That’s right. The speaker at the commencement was none other than John Lasseter, creator of Pixar. Animating genius behind Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, Big Hero 6 and many others. He almost made me cry.

At the end, just to show how SCAD likes to end things with style, this is how they closed the event and marched out of the arena.

Going out with a bang!
Going out with a bang!

That’s confetti that’s been blown out of cannons at ceiling height. And a drum line at the front of the room. And in the middle of all that, there are AERIALISTS.

AEIRALISTS
AERIALISTS

Yeah. Seriously. Aerialists. And dozens of white beach balls. Art school, ya’ll. Go figure.

I don’t have any pictures from the other half of the ceremony because my camera just couldn’t handle the level of light and how far away we were sitting to get anything remotely good. But Jessi made it across the stage with excellent poise and as soon as they get around to mailing it to her, she’ll hold her masters degree in Motion Media or something like that.

Now any of you who know me kinda well are looking at those pictures and noticing that there’s a HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT SPACE. Yeah. Let me tell you, I started freaking out about going into that arena about a week before we got there. It wasn’t fun. We had to rush in with the crowd to try to get a good seat, which meant getting right into the press of things and I do not handle that well. Justin got in front of me to lead the way. When we got up the first set of stairs and into the actual building, we then had to make it through the smaller set of doors into the actual arena. And that was when I really started having trouble because I went from being outside to being in a dark, enclosed space with lots of people all around me, all talking loud, with loud music playing over it, and everybody’s pushing forward. I tried really hard to hold it together, looking up at the ceiling and breathing deeply and trying to visualize a happy place while also visualizing me successfully making it up the steps and to my seat, but I just couldn’t quite do it and the tears did start to fall. I probably got some weird looks from people, this blonde white chick staring at the ceiling and crying, but Justin got me through the crowd and to my seat, which was right next to the rail by a stairway (I love that railing with a love that I’ve never had for railings before) and I was able to sit there with my headphones on for a while, listening to podcasts on my phone until the commencement started.

The second event wasn’t quite as crowded and because I’d already gone through it once, it was easier to go in the second time. It still wasn’t great, but I managed it without completely melting down. When we got home much later in the evening, after going out for celebratory dinner with Jessi, I shut myself into the bedroom and listened to classical piano music and read for TWO HOURS before I could handle being around people again. Any people.

It was a rough day. But exciting.

I’ve hit about 1100 words so I think I’ll break this up into parts. I still haven’t talked about my mammogram or the table behind the sofa we made with Mom and Dad. I’m sure there’s other stuff, too. So I’ll break here and put up another one soon.

Stuff & Things

“Stuff & things” is a pretty general answer to the “What have you been up to?” question. In this case, it covers quite a lot.

  • I worked 57 hours this week to try to get a project put together for Monday that I didn’t know was due Monday until Wednesday. And I’m not entirely finished, mostly because I need input from one of my coworkers who said he saved a file but I couldn’t find it and he was out of the office.
  • I got my permanent crown put on my back tooth and it went just fine. While I was there, I asked them to check on my filling, which they’d replaced a week before that, because I couldn’t floss between a couple teeth and it was hurting a lot and rubbing oddly. The rubbing was apparently what was causing the pain and the flossing problem was a bit of the sealant stuck in between my teeth. Now that the filling has been smoothed down a bit, everything feels just fine. And I can floss normally. Interestingly, to me, my new filling is the same color as my teeth, so even though I had all this work done to my teeth, they don’t look any different. In fact, they look better, because the silver filling is gone. It’s also textured like my teeth, instead of mostly flat like it was before. My teeth feel different to my tongue, but they look normal. It’s a little odd.
  • Justin and I are working on running again. I can run 20 minutes solid, but most days, I’m following the Couch to 5k program on my phone. I can run a mile in that 20 minutes, thankfully, but I’m not entirely sure how much further. And the scale is not showing much progress for me losing weight, but I haven’t been tracking my food much, so I’m not entirely surprised. Mostly, it feels good to be able to run at least a little bit again.
  • Spring has officially blossomed all over everything. There are boxes of tissues all over the house, and the trash cans are overflowing with crumpled up discards. I’ve given up on trying to wear my contacts for a while. I’ve gave upon makeup the last couple days, too, since I just rubbed it all off by the end of the day Thursday. We finally broke down and picked up a box of generic Claritin yesterday. Justin is feeling better today, but he hasn’t stepped outside of the house yet today, either. He refuses, on the basis that “there’s pollen out there.” Our street and the apartment complex are completely surrounded by pine trees. I hate pine trees.
  • On Fridays, we’ve been taking our running clothes when we head up to Bluffton for our chiropractic appointments and heading out to the beach to go running before we head home. It makes for a nice change of pace than running around the pond behind our building (0.2 mile each loop) and it’s a nice surface for running on. The added wonderful bonus is that there’s pretty much guaranteed to be wind blowing in off the water, meaning it’s blowing in fresh, clear air from the ocean and there’s not any pollen from all the dreadful trees. It’s quickly becoming a highlight of my week. Once it gets more busy at the beach, and the pollen settles back down, we’ll probably swap to running on a trail in the woods that we used to go running on when we lived in town.
  • This past Friday, it started raining heavily when we were running on the beach. It had been going really well up until then, but I don’t like running in the rain because I don’t like getting water in my eyes (I’d have been better if I’d brought my hat) and I don’t like getting chilled, and it was a chilly rain. And, weirdly, as soon as the rain started, Justin’s allergies kicked up. So we headed back home, and got stuck in traffic when a crash on the only bridge off the island reduced progress to a single lane during the home-going rush. It took us an hour to go what should have taken us 15 minutes.
  • I have not made any progress on the craft I want to make for the kids, for a variety of reasons, none of which are terribly good. I hope to have them done before Mom & Dad get here, though, so they can deliver them when they drive around. Of course, we’ll have to mail the ones to the TN Fritz kids.
  • I’m excited for Mom & Dad to visit! I have to figure out if there’s anything exciting happening in town that day.
  • Tomorrow is our seven year anniversary. We have no idea what we’d like to do to celebrate.
  • We finally bought the part that’s been missing from the bread maker for about 2 years. The little paddle attachment at the bottom got tossed out with a bad loaf of bread. Turns out, they’re only about $10 on Amazon. We’ve had a lot of bread in the last couple weeks. Deliciousness! And since our grocery budget is having to stretch pretty thin, it’s been a cheap way to do some meals.
  • I’ve donated platelets three times now and I’m scheduled to back again on April 18th. It turns out my platelets count is very high and they love having me come in. This last time, I asked to do whole blood at the end, since I’m O neg, and they actually said no. That they’d rather I just do platelets, since my count is so high and I can come in more frequently if I don’t do whole blood. They said they have enough people coming in to donate blood, but not enough for platelets.
  • I actually got an email from the Red Cross regarding my donation on the 27th of February saying that after finding out that there was enough supply locally, my donation was sent up to hospitals in Atlanta. I thought it was cool that they let me know that it had been sent out.
  • After my last donation, last Saturday (21 March), I ended up sleeping most of the day after getting home. It’s not the same type of tired after donating whole blood, but apparently I needed some sleep afterward. I felt fine the next day. As long as that’s the only side effect I get, and my platelets count doesn’t go down below 300k/mcL or something, I’ll keep doing platelets every three weeks or so.
  • There’s a Tractor Supply Co. on our way into Bluffon that opened a few months ago, I think. It’s like a smaller Farm ‘n’ Fleet, if I remember correctly — it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Farm ‘n’ Fleet. I’d heard that they had inexpensive rain boots and I wanted to check if I could find some that were either ankle-high or wide enough to fit over my calves. (Did I ever tell the story about getting stuck in a garden boot at Lowe’s?) They didn’t end up having any that fit great and were in our price range, but they did have a lot of fun other things that reminded us, once again, that we really wish we were country-living folk instead of apartment dwellers. They had a lot of tools and some cute shirts and things. And then they also had chicks. And baby ducks. And Justin just stood there by the ducks while I wandered around the store. It was like when he took me to the San Diego Safari Park and left me at the elephants for a while. Happiest I’ve seen him in ages.

I should go get dinner started. I’ve babbled on enough to make you all bored, I’m sure. 🙂 Justin and Kay are both on their computers, playing games online with people, but not each other. I’m the only true introvert in the house and I’m waiting for my Nook to charge up enough that I can keep on reading everything ever written by Robert Asprin — I’m on book 12 of the M.Y.T.H. Inc. series. But they’re only about 100 – 150 pages each, so that isn’t much of an accomplishment, really.

And I’m babbling again instead of making rice. And dinner’s getting later and later. Time to go! Have a great day!