Monday, November 23, 2020

Just stuff, and oh I'm cancer-free now.

 Well, hey there.  It's been a minute, hasn't it?

Yes, yes it has.

There's not much really to report, the pandemic has taken care of going on exotic vacations or getting together with friends or going out to eat (again, now that lockdown is back upon us because certain IDIOTS can't STAY THE FUCK HOME so that OTHER PEOPLE DON'T GET SICK) or hugging people with whom we do not live or in fact even TOUCHING them or seeing the bottom half of their faces, which, admittedly, wouldn't make such great blog fodder but I think you get what I mean.

While still enjoyable, life just doesn't seem to have those 'big moments' right now, if in fact it really ever has in the last few years.

Well, I did replant the planters on the new front porch, and they look nice with the ornamental cabbage and pansies, so there's that.

My hair continues to grow.  This is 5.5 months after I first noticed there was a little peach fuzz happening up top:

It demands some arranging after showertime, but not much can be done with it as it's so dang springy.  I shall keep trying.

Also, the latest scans and tests indicate that I am CANCER-FREE!  That's pretty big news, right?  Like, ultra-great big news, yes?   No sign of any activity in the original area or the left boob or the abdomen (that the CT scan looked at). Bloodwork and labs are coming back fine, so yeah.  It looks like the months of agonizing chemo and radiation did what they were supposed to do.



I have just discovered something about a family member that has me absolutely SEETHING, but it's not my story to tell.

What is the word for 'angry beyond words'?  There has to be one, and that is what I am.  Sick of the bullshit that fomented the situation.

Tiff out.

Friday, October 09, 2020

The man on the porch


Maybe a hunnert years ago, IDK

There's a fellow out front of the Tiny House right now who looks very troubled.  He seems to be about to saw something off the new porch that he's spent the week adding to the house.

This man is Biff, of course.

He's putting on a new porch because, reasons.  Like:

  • We had to replace the front door because the frame was rotten.  Or 'eaten,' more like.
  • Then it was clear that more of the house was being eaten, so a feller came out to treat the areas where the FUC-ing termites were still noshing, but to do that he needed to drill 17 million holes in the FUC-ing concrete porch in order to douse the sill plate with bug-b-gone, therefore ruining the tile flooring and, of course, any hope of water-tightness of the porch and underlying aforementioned sill plate.
  • Thus, the porch was ripped off of the house because holes and things.  Biff didn't really like it anyhow.
  • One thing leads to another, and in the end it was discovered that more snacking had been done, which meant that the sill plate (I think that's the term) had to be completely replaced on the front of the house, many calculations made as to the proper and correct way to ensure the house didn't in fact fall in on itself while the replacing was being done, and many man-hours spent doing heavy man-things like hauling, and hammer wielding, and toting, and sweating, and eeeeech.
  • Then foundation piers needed to be sunk and poured, drains needed to be placed and arranged to ensure the water flow will henceforth be OUT to the yard instead of IN to the foundation, and subsequently the deck framing needed to be built (that was today) and!
  • Decking needed to be installed so that a ladder could be placed on top to ensure adequate access to the top of the porch roofline which is exposed to the elements and needs to be Tyvek'ed in so that the forecast rains of tomorrow don't soak the insulation and further fuc-  things up. 

Still not entirely certain what the saw was for, I'll admit.


BUT!! As much as all that is to take in, that's not even the guy on the porch of which I intended to speak, it just so happens that Biff is the current guy on the porch, and he's darned cute and a hardworking Summasumpn besides, so he needed a lil' spotlight.

Here ya go, sweetie: 

Bask, Biff, BAAAAAAASK!!

No, the other guy on the porch is one who showed up yesterday evening, about an hour before sunset. 

(cue sounds of clinking spurs and lonesome harmonica wails)

I was a-settin' in my recliner here in the living room of the Tiny House, from which I have a pretty good view of whomever approaches the front door.   Note: This was at a moment during which there WAS no front porch, but rather an impressive construction zone of red clay, concrete piers, and various stages of Something's Happening Here.  NOT a place in which you would expect to ascertain a certain man's head approaching the front door, undeterred by obstacles.

And yet, there he was.  Bespectacled, dark of hair and beard, kind of eye, unsure of what the heck he's gotten himself into, but determined to finish whatever task was at hand.  He approached the front door, appeared to place something against it, then began his retreat.

Out of curiosity, and a faint notion that he did not in fact look like a bomber, I went to the door and opened it to see a small package place on the doorsill.  Recognizing the bag, I shouted to him "Hey, you from the bookstore?" to his retreating back, to which he turned, waved, and answered in the affirmative before continuing his walk back down our street to some unseen conveyance.

Y'all, I think he might have walked all that way back to the store.

It was a lovely evening, after all.  Who could blame him?

And so, this is how we know that, even with the sprawl happening all around us, we do still live in a small town, in which bookstores deliver, sometimes on foot, and almost never with a bomb.

Independent bookstores matter.  Thank you, Page 158 books here in DTWF - we LOVE y'all.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Hair sitch 29 Sep 2020, and domestic products are hard to find.

 This'll be a quickie, more for my memory than anything else.

I've been tracking hair growth since the time it was evident that hair was going to grow again on the ol' noggin' and all other places where hair is supposed to grow (read: ERRWHAR).  The first inklings came back in early June, when lil' bristles started to who up some 10 weeks or so after chemo had finished.

It's been a little over 6 months since chemo finished up, and almost 4 months since I noticed the hair was coming back.

For the curious among you, here's what it looks like today:

Ignore those holes in the wall - they are not from target practice but rather mark where some photos had been hanging before we had to tear the house apart because freaking termites.

Dig those sideburns, y'all.  Out. Of. Hand.

As you might be able to tell, it's coming in a little bit curly. *Ahem*

My hair was curly before it all fell out, but except my hair was much longer and so the curl couldn't have as evident.  It was mostly just really wavy, instead of curly.

So, as things go, this is kind of a fun look, except that the 'wings' on the side of my head are getting a little out of hand.

Also, this is the natural hair color of a 58-year-old lady.  It's so shiny! :)

In the cancer SAHGAH, I go in tomorrow for more lab work, but the scheduled port flush is postponed until November due to a shortage of port needle assemblies available.  I'm really hoping that the labs turn out good enough to schedule a port removal before November.  Fingers crossed all goes well!  Would love to have this holiday season free from Borg-itude.

Speaking of which, I've begun Christmas shopping.  It's harder to avoid products made in China than you might (but maybe not) think.  Just finding sheets NOT made there is quite the treasure hunt.  Not that anyone's getting sheets.  Family, if you're reading this, pretend you didn't see that last part, because you may in fact NOT be getting sheets for Christmas.  But only some of you.  Only three more months to wait to find out!

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

4 p.m. and it's meetin' time.

Always with the yelling, I tell ya.

One of the things that happen after you, as a proud pharmaceutical company employee, have worked with a global team to submit a new drug application, is that you breathe deeply for 20 seconds.

That's it, that's all you get.

Then the 'new project' train starts rolling and you'd best be on it or you're going to get so FAR BEHIND that catching up will quickly become nearly impossible.

Which is why, for the past couple of weeks, it's been awfully, terribly quiet around my desk, with an emphasis on terrible.  After the rush and bubble of the past 18+ months, it's weird to not be chained to my computer working toward the goal line or some OTHER measure of success with some new project.

In other words, I've been breathing easy lately.  It's kind of nice, if a touch boring.

I'm all caught up on training.  I've organized email and deleted THOUSANDS of now-useless messages.  I've moved necessary files into document management systems.  I've jettisoned drafts and saved items that no longer are considered an official copy of anything.  I've even asked coworkers if they need help with anything, such is my desperation.

But not for much longer.

The 'new thing' train is all fueled up, the boilers are about to the right temperature, and the conductor is walking down the platform calling 'all aboard that's coming aboard!' in preparation for the next big journey.

I'm ready.


Too much or just enough for that next videoconference?

So yep, that's what the title of this entry is about.  4 p.m. meetings.  And 8 a.m. meetings.  And pop-up meetings.  We can't do 'walking meetings' right now, obviously, unless it's the kind where a person just stalks around their house on a mobile or wireless headset while in attendance.

Audio, sure, but never EVER with the video on.  Not for me.  No thanks.

I am one of those people that fidgets, BADLY, in most meetings.  I tic, and scratch, and get distracted, and pick my nose, and rub my eyes and am a general visual mess when I'm supposed to be well-poised and paying attention.

No.  None of that.

Plus which, I haven't yet figured out a good 'lewk' for video calls for me.  I'm sure it would involve wearing actual clothing and maybe makeup to put a little life into my sallow mug.  That's just too tall a bridge to cross!  At least I still don't have to comb my hair or worry about a style right now, so that's good, but the rest of it is just too much.  Nobody needs to see me that bad.

And yet, there are people who ALWAYS have their video on.  ALL WAYS.  I do not understand them.  I hope that you, dear reader, are not one of them.  If you are, please tell me why so I can learn from your mysterious ways.

Tiff out.

Friday, September 18, 2020

We were going to put in a new front door anyhow

The new door.  Siding goes back on next.

Yesterday I alluded to the fact that, once again, our house has been visited by a scourge of termites.  This may or may not be the proper terminology for a bunch of frigging homewreckers, but to me it's apt and I'm not going to go scrounging for the correct terminology.  This isn't science, no need to be so pedantic.

They had visited a couple of years ago, having snacked mightily on our living room floor.  We were going to be working in that room anyhow, refinishing what we thought were the original 100+-YO hardwoods, but had a concern about a certain springiness to the floor that seemed 'a little much.'

That's what happens when termites eat your floor.  It gets springy.  In a dangerous way, might I add.

So, we initiated a relationship with a pest control company to come on out and treat the house, then inspect yearly to ensure they're not on a reunion tour.  Worked well for us for several years.

The tech came out in June this year and declared the house free of any termite activity, but unfortunately he wasn't able to look behind the front door frame. *Ahem*

Sometime around the June timeframe we started to notice the door was getting really hard to close.  Seemed to be 'sticking' at the top, like it was not aligned correctly with the frame.  Maybe it was the heat?  Hmmm.  Adjustments were made, but they didn't last long.  Biff tried to reposition the hinges, but wasn't able to, because the door frame was the approximate consistency of DUST and weren't no screw gonna hold fast to nothin'.

So, OK, SOMETHING was going on.  We, obviously, were not thinking termites just yet, as we'd been assured there was no sign of them just a few months ago.

We got a new door to replace the old one, just for fun and because we wanted to rid ourselves of a few hundred (many few hundreds) of bucks on one we both really like (I was not a huge fan of the old door).  Biff put a couple of coast of Candy Apple red paint on it (love me a red front door) and got ready to hang it yesterday.

Once the old door came off, the problem was evident.  Termites.  Frigging termites.

Y'all, I nearly went out and bought a flamethrower.  

Instead, we called the pest company, secured a time for bug eradication for this morning ('no, I will NOT wait until next Tuesday for a tech to come out - there's NO FRONT DOOR ON MY HOUSE'), and Biff plywooded up the door opening like we were preparing for a hurricane.

Which, you know, we were (hello Sally [not Stella, like I said yesterday]), but boarding up the door would have been rather an overkill for what was largely a rain event.

Get a call this morning from the pest control folks, saying the tech that was supposed to come today called out sick (turns out he'd been contact traced to a COVID victim - yikes!) and the earliest they can come out now Tuesday.

Well, no.  I put Biff on the horn to them and through his charm and no-nonsense conversational approach the company found a guy to come out pretty much right away.  The tech was a nice guy, did the work quickly, and left us with some of the nuclear-grade bug stuff in case the stupid effing termites happen to show up again.

Also, there will be another tech coming tomorrow to re-inspect the crawlspace and treat down there too.

So, on this temperate September Friday Biff has spent hours putting up the new door.  Seriously, it's like 6+ hours just to get the door in properly, and that's with 2 guys on the job!  Fussy work, that door installation.

The pot is slightly sweetened though, because he will actually get paid for the work he did putting in the door, as the pest control folks would normally pay for a team to come out and address the carpentry and access issues that resulted from the termite buffet.  So, Biff was truly 'working for himself' today, which is a nice bonus when it could have just been a lost day.

And that is how we got a new front door.

It didn't need to be that complicated.  Honestly, 2020, when will you let up?

Tiff out.