Five Things Make A Post
1) I've moved house, which is why I've not been visible for the past couple of weeks. The new place is a bit more expensive than the previous one, but it comes with a lot more basic amenities, including things like a roof that doesn't leak, doors which fit their frames, decent insulation, air-conditioning and heating (both of which are relatively essential in an Australian context these days), and a dishwasher in the kitchen. We're currently in the unpackening stage, and probably will be for a few more weeks at least, if not months.
2) Subsequent to 1) above, may I actively dis-recommend iinet as an internet service provider to anyone living in Australia? They have been less than helpful and less than useful in the process of the move, and I suspect I'm going to have to argue things back and forth with them to get some billing issues sorted out (such as them charging me for another month of service at our previous address, even when I gave them two weeks notice of the move occurring during the previous billing period). They have not been helpful, they have not been friendly, they have not been particularly cooperative, and I'm just about done with them. 0 out of 10, would not recommend to anyone, not even my worst enemy.
3) Due to issues related with 2) above, we haven't had working internet for about a week and a half. I'm currently in catch-up mode, and I'll find out what's happened in the rest of the world as I go along. I'm reasonably certain the world hasn't ended (I'm sure I would have noticed if that had happened) but if people want to pass on bits of news to me, I'm not going to turn them down.
4) One of the things I'm attempting to do now we've moved to the new place is build a gardening habit. At the moment, it consists of five minutes work in the garden each day (timed on my phone), which at present is mostly about removing weeds from the front garden area. Which at least means the amount of weeds in the garden is going down slowly. I have Plans for one particular corner of the (minuscule) back garden area, but I'm going to wait until we have the house in vague order first, then hire it done, because these Plans involve a lot of set-up, and I know from extensive past experience I am not good at setting things up, although I am fairly good at maintaining them once I get the required habits built.
(I should note: the gardens, both front and back, are largely sand. Either black sand, because this is Perth and black sand is pretty much the default for most of the city, or yellow brickie's sand, because reasonably recent building site, and therefore covered in the stuff. Easy to dig, desperately hungry and thirsty).
5) As a result of extensive hand-washing and use of hand sanitiser, I'm now discovering I need to use hand cream more often. I would welcome recommendations from readers for a brand of hand cream which is a) not too expensive (I'm not paying more than about $10 at most for a 100mL tube, and probably lower than that would be preferable); b) not too heavy - I want something comparatively light and easily absorbed (for comparison - we have some sorbolene cream in the house which I don't use on my hands because it is too heavy, and leaves them feeling greasy; this is a sensory thing for me, so I'm likely to bounce off things good and hard if they're too heavy); and c) reasonably readily available in Australia?
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What I've been up to lately
So, if you've seen my previous entry, you will have seen it mentions carpal tunnel syndrome. Here's the basics.
Back at the end of March, just before the country went full lockdown and everything went crazy, I noticed when I was working away at work, my left hand was feeling a bit ... burny. Like, if you've ever put Deep Heat or Icy-Hot or something mentholated like that onto skin where there's no underlying muscle problems, that's what it felt like. First time I felt it, I wrote it off as minor fuss and bother. But then it persisted. So I called my GP, who sent me off to get ultrasound scans of my wrists, on the suspicion it was carpal tunnel syndrome.
Well, the scans came back normal. Mostly normal, anyway - I have bifurcated medial nerves on both hands (or in other words, instead of having one nerve laying alongside the vein in the carpal tunnel, the nerve is split in two, and lies on either side of the vein) but this is apparently a pretty normal human variation, nothing to be concerned about. I switched to an ergonomic keyboard, which made it easier to type for longer before the burny feeling came back, and carried on.
Then last Tuesday, I overdid things, and wound up with my hands actually hurting me, and with a complete lack of grip strength on my left side (couldn't hold a tablet PC for longer than about a half a minute before my strength gave out). I had a minor breakdown (oh gods, crippled for life!!!!1!) and called my GP back. He referred me to an OT who is a hand / arm specialist, and I saw her today. Described all my symptoms, she did a bit of an exam, and the diagnosis is an overuse injury (caused by the fact I type pretty constantly for work; my main hobby is creative writing which I also type for; and then I socialise online by... typing some more). So I have to rest things.
I've been given a splint, and I have to rest my hands, massage the hand and forearm on a daily basis, and take breaks from typing every hour. Heat pack on the hand and forearm if I start feeling pain / discomfort. Come back in two weeks for a follow-up appointment.
So, this is why I have largely been maintaining radio silence for most of the past month and a half. And will be continuing to do so for the next however long, until either my hands heal up, or I wind up getting speech-to-text software.
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So There Went My Productivity...
A bit of background here: my old "main" laptop, Orac, has been a faithful companion. However, I purchased him in about 2011 or thereabouts, and he's getting on for a bit of electronic hardware. Recently he had the electronic equivalent of a stroke - started needing to check the hard drive every time he booted each morning, and went from taking about five minutes to boot to taking something like fifteen. It was time for a replacement.
So I went looking around. Now, Orac is a laptop with a fairly large screen, but even so, this is not a huge amount of screen real estate, so I decided to get a proper desktop machine this time around (I want a screen I can actually read without needing to pull out a magnifying glass for fine print). Which led me to the all-in-one machines, and to the Dell webpage, where they were having a 20% off sale a couple of weeks back.
Say hi to "Slave" (because I'm keeping the Blake's 7 naming trend going, but since this is a lower end machine, it's certainly not Zen). Slave has a 24" screen, which is a real shock after years of working on Orac's 17". All of a sudden I can see more than four tiles across in the file manager, and my Scrivener workspace is so much bigger.
Of course, I'm dealing with the standard problems which come with things like getting a new machine set up - namely the software install two-step, and the whole fun business of transferring over a bunch of bookmarks which are stored on the hard drive of one machine to the hard drive of a different machine (I swear, one of these days, I'm just going to give up and do a quick & dirty P2P nyetwork with a bit of Cat5 from the old machine to the new one and copy things over holus bolus), as well as setting things up and configuring them so they make sense again. Which has eaten seriously into my plans for the day (which originally started with things like "finish up a couple of assessments so I can at least go at my gaming on Saturday with a clear conscience").
One thing I'm learning today: my old-fashioned mindset where I don't trust a hard drive I can't physically access to hit with a hammer is not helpful when it comes to migrating PCs these days. In order to be able to physically migrate files, you have to know where they are (and what they look like) - Firefox doesn't come with a nice, neatly labelled file saying "bookmarks", and Thunderbird doesn't seem to have anything politely labelled "email archives" either. Plus it looks like Yahoo isn't going to accept me using POP mail any more (damn it) which on the one hand means I always have a backup of the files on their server... but on the other hand, means if they decide to take away the server, I lose all my email. Mumble.
Oh well, new schmick toy, nice big screen. Just got to download the Steam client and give it a reboot, and we should be home and hosed.
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Sorry This Is So Delayed...
Let's just say things have been a bit chaotic over here at Chez Meg, and leave it at that. Instead, I give you the five things I have learned this week that I didn't previously know:
1) 26 hours worth of study commitments counts as sufficient to serve as a 25 hour work-for-the-dole commitment (well, I knew that one previously, but I hadn't been certain whether it was the case under the current system. After all, there's a whole bunch of new ministers in place, and you can never tell whether they're going to try and prove how tough they are by kicking the unemployed harder or not).
2) It costs almost as much to have two pairs of jeans altered so they're not dragging in the dirt when I wear them as it did to buy them in the first place ($47.80 vs $50).
3) I have lost my ability to view medical and surgical procedures on human beings without getting squicked.
4) A Brekky Hero Roll costs 5c more at the Hungry Jacks in Gosnells than it does at the Hungry Jacks in Ascot.
5) The Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital has free parking for 4 hours at a stretch, which is very useful if you have to take someone into Emergency there for a non-urgent procedure.
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Update - 04 NOV 2017
Okay, state of the Meg. (under the cut, because there's a lot of teal deer in there).
( See below )
So anyway, I aten't dead, I'm finally finished (pretty much) with uni for the year, and if anyone in the Perth metro area wants to visit (or have me visit them), drop me a line and let me know!
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Wild Weather Strikes Again
The place we're renting at present came with two massive old Cape Lilac trees, one out the front, one out the back. You'll note the past tense there. This is because during some high winds (about 60 km/h) on Saturday night, half the back tree snapped off, and fell downhill (fortunately all into our garden, not onto the neighbour's place). So we now have one-and-a-half massive Cape Lilac trees.
We've reported it to the real estate agents/property managers, and I'm going to be giving them a phone call on Monday to see whether we can get firstly a tradesperson or similar to come out and deal with the task of removing the half-a-fscking tree from the back garden so we can get at the washing line again, and secondly a tree surgeon to have a look at the remaining half-a-tree which is still standing and recommend whether it can be left alone (doubt it!); whether it needs to be trimmed or lopped (so if it does fall over it won't cause major structural damage to the neighbour's house, the house we're in, or the car parked in the driveway); or whether the blasted thing is so unstable there's no chance of it remaining up safely, and it needs to come down completely.
After clearing a few branches away from where the clothesline access was, we've discovered the clothesline frame has been bent down and forward to the point where the poor thing ain't usable (I would not be wanting to try and straighten out the gorgeous gentle curve the support strut has been bent into, quite frankly - the thing is so old I think it would snap instead). So we have to report that to the real-estate people as well. It also took one tile from the roof of the lean-to shed which contains the laundry and the exterior toilet. Given the size of the blasted thing, I'm almost surprised by the amount of damage it *didn't* do - if it had fallen directly to the right (facing toward the back fence) the blasted thing could have taken out the entire wash-house in a single thump, but instead it fell to the lower right, which means it clipped a single tile from the wash-house lean-to (and given we don't use the exterior toilet anyway, a leaky roof there isn't really an issue) and mostly hit the clothesline.
But either way, I get to call the real-estate people and find out what's going to be happening. I sent a couple of emails through their web-page over the course of the weekend to let them know the state of play; I'll be following up by phone today to see how fast we can get things moving. I may just mention that the longer they delay on this, the greater the chance the passionfruit vine I planted last year is going to regard the whole lot of fallen lumber as fair game for growing into!
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A Sort of Apology.
I feel I owe everyone who's read anything I've written for the past week or so a rather profound and massive apology. Unfortunately, the best you're getting at the moment is an explanation.
( Lengthy stuff under fold )
So, apologies for the rather frequent brainos I've been having over the past week. I will try to do better, but first I need to get my brain back...
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Update on the Washing Machine
The nice man from the washing machine repair firm found he had time enough after finishing his last job of Tuesday to come out and deal with our washing machine yesterday evening, about 4-ish. Which means we now have a working washing machine again. No idea why it wasn't working, but apparently unplugging all the leads inside the machine and plugging them all back in again seemed to do the trick, so I suspect what happened is it essentially shook something out of contact. For a nearly twenty year old machine (we got it when we were in Canbrrra, so it's heading on for "old enough to vote") it's doing quite well.
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Update 27 MAY 2017
This week everything happened at once.
I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).
For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.
This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).
We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.
I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.
Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.
Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?
 The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.
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State of the Meg Update
A few things have been happening lately.
To start with, Steve and I have moved house. We are now living in East Victoria Park, rather than Yangebup, having done most of the actual "heavy lifting" part of the move over the past week or so - officially, we've been moved in for a week (picked up the keys and signed the lease on the 22nd of this month), practically, we'll be here for a week come Monday (movers did the furniture shifting and such on the Monday morning).
The house we've moved into is an older place - I suspect it was built around the 1950s or 1960s as a worker's cottage, and it doesn't look as though it's been substantially renovated or upgraded since about the 1970s, when someone upgraded the kitchen and bathroom (to add an internal toilet, a bath/shower combination, and put in new benchtops/door fronts in the kitchen). Since then, the place has, I gather, been pretty constantly rented out, generally to students. The suspicion from the real estate agent is that the owners are waiting for the market to improve sufficiently, and then they're going to sell the place to a developer, who will put a bulldozer through the house and build at least three units, probably more, on the block.
(My guess is they have to wait for someone in their family to die off before they can sell, since quite frankly if that were going to be the case, they would have taken advantage of the last boom cycle in the local real-estate market).
The rent is $35 per week lower than the (subsidised) rent we were paying on the last place, and it looks it. External laundry space, an outside toilet, crumbling brickwork on the back steps down to the laundry, crumbling brickwork on the back steps down to the clothes line, and the entire place is pretty much over-run by oxalis (soursob). I have an interesting few months of garden work in front of me (starting with killing off the existing weed cover using the poor man's glyphosate - boiling water).
To add to the fun of the move, I wound up coming down with 'flu at the beginning of the final week in the Yangebup place (just what you need when you're moving house, right?). So I'm recovering from that while I continue with the whole business of unpacking and putting things away.
Steve is starting study at Curtin University (which is the reason we've moved - so he's closer to uni, and doesn't have to travel such a long distance for classes and such). I'm currently contemplating doing the same (he's studying full-time, I'm considering part-time), although for me the planned starting date would be first semester next year at the absolute earliest. As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no point in me contemplating study as a way of improving my employability (as a mentally ill, middle-aged woman who isn't particularly pretty, I have all the employability of a me-sized piece of granite as far as the average Australian employer is concerned), so if I do study, I'm going to do a course which is something I'm actually interested in.
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Unending Domestic Upheaval and Horrible Weather
So in the ongoing saga of things going wrong that require workmen, the latest instalment is that part of the ceiling of our garage came loose and fell in. As in, the plasterboard ceiling and attached cornices basically dropped about 2 feet in one corner, breaking the plasterboard, and pretty much putting the structural integrity of the rest of the ceiling at risk (according to the workman who came around yesterday to have a look at the extent of the problem - he was expecting maybe a 2 inch drop, apparently). This means we're getting more workmen in today, arriving at about 8.30am.
Fortunately, my being up and dressed to deal with them is not going to be a problem, mostly because for the past few days we've had stinking hot humid weather (high thirties, low forties C and humid with it), and last night I doubt it got much below about 30C. There was a bit of rain at about 4.30am here (I know this because I spent a ruddy awful night tossing and turning trying to keep cool and get some sleep and I was awake at the time) but it wasn't much more than the humidity finally reaching the point of "well, bugger" and condensing out of sheer inertia. Big splats of raindrops, but not enough to seriously wet the paving. We spent most of yesterday with the air-conditioner on, and a fair chunk of the day before, and today is currently looking like more of the same, so it looks like our next power bill (due around the beginning of February) is going to be a hefty one.
I wound up getting up at about 5.30am after a night of attempting fitfully to sleep, so I'm well and truly awake by now, and I've just let the nice man from the ceiling repair firm in to start working (at 8am). They're talking about having to come in tomorrow as well, to finish sanding things down. Yay.
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Update on The Washing Machine
We were in luck on Thursday, and managed to get hold of a repairman who came out and fixed all the various problems with our machine. Now, said machine is about 15 years old (I know we got it while we were living in Canbrrra, and brought it back with us when we moved back here) so I wasn't surprised that some of the problems turned out to be purely about age and wear.
So, the reason the machine was spraying water all over the floor was the water valve for the drum had a perished diaphragm. One replacement later, and I have a laundry floor which stays dry (although it still needs cleaning). The reason the drum wasn't turning was that the brushes on the motor which turned it had worn down to about 1/3 their original length. Replaced them, and the motor works fine. The other thing he fixed was the dodgy powder dispenser drawer, which had stopped working months ago. Turns out that one was because we'd inadvertently left one of the transit spacers for the machine (which are supposed to stop the drum from moving about too much while it's in transit for moves) in place after the last move, and that had been banging up against the edge of the tray, and snapped off a crucial little plastic dooverlacky that triggered the machine to recognise the powder drawer was shut or some such. So he replaced that with a bit of putty, and after we waited about 24 hours for it to cure properly (or in other words, no washing on Friday, what a pity, oh my) the whole thing appears to be working just fine.
So we're in a position to get another few years of use out of our fifteen year old machine, and we'll use that to save up a bit more money toward the cost of a new one.
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An Overdue Update
Since the beginning of November (or thereabouts) I've been undergoing one of my periodic mood downswings. Which is why things have dropped off somewhat. Essentially, I've been spending just about every day for the past forty days waking up, realising I'm not dead (and cursing when I realise this, because it's been a massive disappointment at times) and working my way through life as though I'm walking through chest-high treacle in a cold climate. On top of this, I've had an impromptu rent inspection (sprung on us with about 7 days verbal notice - the real-estate agent decided to take advantage of an opportunity and get a look at the place to make sure we're not destroying the joint) which has necessitated cleaning the place to inspection-ready standards, and also a minor meltdown over my partner hiring someone to get the windows done. Currently I have a knee-rug to assemble before Saturday (7x9, I have 4 of the 7 strips already joined up; I'm finishing assembling the final one of the remaining 3 this morning. Then it's just tidying up ends, which is long and fiddly and takes forever; joining them to the main rug; and making a border for the whole thing) as a Christmas present for my father-in-law, as well as a batch or two of biscuits for my mother-in-law.
Fortunately, I managed to beg off going to my parents' place for the evening meal on Christmas day (I've been doing a lot of therapy lately, which has stirred up one heck of a lot of unresolved anger at the 'rents) and will instead be just knocking it down to a quick trip to drop off their presents and pick up ours. But that means at least another two or three batches of biscuits to bake next week (in time for Christmas) to cover my parents, my brother, and my two nieces; not to mention a quick plunge into the joys of the local shopping mall at Christmas time in order to purchase something fancy to pack them all into.
All of this while, as mentioned previously, feeling as though I'm doing everything through chest-high treacle in the middle of winter.
To add to all of this, the depression makes me as irritable as all get-out, so I currently have a temper shorter than a wet cowpat, and a fuse which is best measured in micrometres. I've been taking care of myself by avoiding the political news and the political blogs as much as possible, as well as walking away from a lot of stuff that I'd otherwise be wading into.
So, that's why I've been fairly quiet (for me) this past month or so.
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I Love My Fsckin' ISP...
... and it appears my ISP loves fsckin' me, too.
Our (phone and) internet connection went out on Thursday afternoon (around 12 noon to 1pm). Given our nyetwork at home tends to be somewhat picky about matters of temperature, and also given Thursday was a fairly sultry and humid day, I figured the most likely problem was that one out of the modem or the router had decided to throw up their little hands in horror at the heat, and collapse. It's happened before, and Himself keeps them in a cupboard without much air circulation in the hottest room in the house (his bedroom). So I opened the cupboard, and being unable to reach the silly things (they're up on a shelf) I decided to wait for Himself to get home.
Once he got home, he did a few diagnostics, determined the problem wasn't with the router or the modem, and also determined (by the highly technical expedient of picking up the phone) that we didn't have a dial tone. So, pick up the phone and call up our ISP.
We're using iinet in WA. Just so's people know.
( Saga below the fold ) we now have temporary internets.
And himself is no longer twitching and shaking... as much. The connection is via Orac, so he has to figure out a way of getting Orac and his PC to talk to one another (and share the internet connection nicely). But that's minor stuff.
I have no fewer than four copies of the iinet technical support customer satisfaction survey in my inbox (I'm tempted to forward them on to Himself so he can have the joy of replying to them).
Oh, and I've worked out an update for that lovely quote by Susan Ertz: "Millions long for immortality who don't know how to cope with an internet outage."
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So, it's about half four in the morning, I've been awake since about ten to three, and I've just had another mini-meltdown because each time I think I've realised all the packing I have to do and how much stuff I have to fit and how little space I have to fit it into, there turns out to be another fractal level of it I've forgotten. Things like "how do I fit an entire wardrobe's worth of clothing into one suitcase"? Admittedly, it's a large suitcase. But it's still only the one suitcase, and I have to try and fit clothing which currently fills a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a couple of storage tubs into it.
Plus there's the whole question of "what do I do with the contents of the pantry?" I suspect most of it will have to be thrown out (because there's no way known to mankind I'm going to be able to fit all of it into the pantries of either my mother or Steve's mother) and I'm not sure how much of it can be given to various food banks, or even how to get into contact with those food banks to find out whether they take donations.
There's so much needs doing, and so little time and so few spoons for me to be doing it with.
Well, it's half five now, and I've decided to do some dishes (I want pancakes for breakfast, so I have to wash the frypan and some cutlery).
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The State of Things 07 APR 2013
So, just a bit of an update to let everyone who's interested (and anyone who's reading this) know where we're standing at present.
* Our car has just returned from having two CV joints and the muffler replaced (courtesy of Steve's parents, who heard about the problems and offered to pay for the work to be done by the mechanic they've been using for years).
* We have to be out of our current rental accommodation by Monday 15 APR 2013 at the absolute latest. We've asked about getting the lease extended by a week, but apparently the owners have contractors coming in to do things pretty much immediately after that, so we were turned down.
* We had an application in with a real estate agent to rent a 2-bedroom flatlet in Mandurah (Silver Sands area) at $200 per week. We heard back from them regarding whether our application has been successful yesterday - it hadn't.
* On Monday (08 APR 2013), we're heading down with Steve's parents to visit some friends of theirs who have access to some storage space in Yunderup. If it looks okay, we've then got somewhere to store all our excess furniture and goods.
* On Friday (12 APR 2013), we're getting a removalist to move our gear out of our current location in Parmelia. Current destination for us is the caravan at my parents place for a week or so, and then the downstairs rooms of Steve's parents place.
* We'll have to spend at least the week from 12 APR to 22 APR 2013 staying either in my parents' caravan, or in a motel room, because Steve's folks are expecting one of their sons and their grandson to visit for that week from NSW.
* The plan at present is that Steve's folks are planning to do a bit of a tour of various friends and rellies during the winter (sort of doing the grey nomad thing, only in a bit more comfort, from what I can tell) and they'll use us as house-sitters during the meanwhile.
* We're still both on the dole. Steve's looking for work. So am I, officially (although given I can only do about three days a week at most before the stress starts getting to me, unofficially I'm pretty damn certain I really should be looking into the various hoops I'd need to jump through for Disability Support Pension to see whether I'd be able to get it).
* I've wound up withdrawing from study (again!) because while I thought at the beginning of the semester that I'd be able to cope with everything, it turns out that I'm not. I would have had a major essay due about a week from now, and I really wasn't coping with keeping up with things for that, so rather than try and fail (which the uni tends to get a bit icky about) I decided to just withdraw. My withdrawal was after the HECS census date, so I'll still be paying for this attempt at the unit. To be deadly honest, I couldn't give a monkey's. With regard to paying off HECS, it's a case of first I need a job, then I need a job which is going to be paying me more than the HECS repayment threshold for three days a week, and then I'll start worrying about the size of the debt I have to pay off.
* In the meantime, we're in the process of packing things up, handing on the excess to the Salvos or the Sammies, and either selling or Freecycling the stuff which is in good enough nick to get rid of. If anyone in the Perth area has a whole heap of packing boxes they want to get rid of, we're on the lookout for them, since it's pretty clear we're not going to be able to fit our entire household into the boxes we have even after thinning things out. Contact me by email (megpie71 at yahoo dot com dot au) if you're able to offer 'em.
* Either way, from about 12 APR 2013 until we have a fixed abode again, don't expect to be hearing from me - 'net access is going to be patchy at best, I suspect. I have plans to drop in to the nearest Centrelink to wherever we wind up on Monday 15th and use their self-service facilities to make my fortnightly income report (because hey, they've got them handy), as well as bringing them up to date with either our new address, or the best available postal address for us.
 Good Samaritan Industries - a charity group which provides a lot of jobs for the intellectually less abled in the WA region. They do a lot of work reprocessing second hand clothing.
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A Minor Accomplishment
I got around to clearing through the pile of discarded clothing which has been accumulating for the past six or so years today. Basically, it was a process of going through, and sorting into two possible piles. One was the "Salvos/Sammies" pile - the stuff which was basically in good nick, but had wound up on the discard pile because it either didn't fit, didn't suit, or wasn't quite 100%. For example, one shirt on there used to have a pattern of studs stuck onto the collar area, but most of them have come off in the wash. The garment is still structurally intact, and someone who's willing to replace the beading or whatever could probably salvage it and get a number of years of use out of it. I haven't the skills or the interest, so out it went.
The other pile was the stuff which I'd been reluctant to throw out because even though there were things like gaping holes in the front, the rest of the cloth was still sound, and I might be able to make something useful out of it. Problem is, my interest in crafting in the past few years has petered out to around zero (and it was never that high in the first place) so the likelihood of me actually doing so is minimal. I'm not going to be making a rag rug out of old pairs of jeans, so today I decided "stop kidding yourself" and chucked the whole damn lot of them into the bin. Two laundry-basket loads of stuff which should have been chucked out bit by bit years ago.
(For those who read the last entry, it's the "malign Buddha" pile of clothes I've just tackled. So that's that anxiety dealt with, anyway).
Also on the "chuck out" pile were two freebie backpacks which I'd used to bits (one lasted about a year before the bottom wore through; the second had the top rip off after about the first six to eight weeks).
Incidentally - I found a bag of clothes which must have moved over with us from Canbrrra, and hadn't been unpacked since. So that's been unpacked, and most of the contents are in the washbasket, waiting for next week's washing round. I gain two vests, a couple of nice shirts, and a couple of flannies I hadn't seen in years.
The stuff for the second-hand shops all fits into one green reusable shopping bag. The original pile of stuff occupied a sixty litre plastic box, and couple of piles in other locations as well. I'm sure there's a lesson in that, but I'm not interested in learning it right now.
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I'm F I N E...
... and we all know that stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, right? Right.
What's stressing me out 15 MAR 2013
* Have to go to Centrelink and hand in paperwork - don't want to deal with bureaucratic bullshit
* Scared we're not going to be able to get enough money from Centrelink between the witholdings for the debt and everything else to afford food and rent simultaneously.
* Scared this is going to count against us when we're looking for accommodation
* Deadline for accommodation is coming up faster and faster
* Behind on assignments
* Haven't been taking meds, because taking meds falls off the bottom of the list very early on when I'm even vaguely stressed
* Don't have enough meds to last more than about a fortnight
* Getting more meds would entail going back to the doctors and I haven't been since about mid-December
* Don't want to go back to the doctor and have to explain why I haven't been taking meds, why I haven't been back to see them since December, and why I didn't book that blasted ultrasound
* Don't want to have to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining why the hell I don't like making phone calls (eg to book appointments for a thyroid ultrasound) because I know it sounds insane and stupid and idiotic and pointless.
* Don't want to have to damn well get back on the medication-go-round for the depression because I know it won't work more than temporarily.
* Haven't done anywhere near enough work on my assignments and study for uni
* Haven't done anything about looking for new accommodation since about Monday
* Haven't been keeping up with the housework
* Feel like I need to be keeping up with all of these things and I haven't got the energy or inclination
* Didn't eat anything yesterday apart from that sandwich and the spring rolls and the coffee
* Don't want to be scolded for not having eaten
* Don't want to cook
* Suspect my period is starting
* Nerve in my right shoulder/upper arm/forearm is trapped *again* and it's giving me gyp
* Scared I'm breaking down again
* Don't want to be homeless, and really can't see how we're going to avoid that at this point
* Steve doesn't seem to understand any of this, so I'm getting next to no support, and what support I'm getting isn't really the useful stuff
* Feel isolated and crazy.
* If I go to the doctors to talk about not taking the meds, they tell me to take the meds, and when I explain I'd like to but my brain isn't processing the request properly they tell me to get Steve to remind me, except Steve doesn't seem to take his OWN meds regularly so why the merry hell would he be willing to nag me about mine, never mind my typical reaction to nagging is to run screaming in the other direction. So how this is supposed to help is beyond me.
* There's so much to be done with regards to packing and decluttering and clearing things out and all the rest and I have no idea how to deal with it all.
* I don't know whether there's a clothing reprocessing group (like Salvos or Sammies) which is likely to take the stuff which is piled up in the spare room - all the shirts and clothes I've worn through over the years - and be able to salvage the usable cloth from them, and I don't want to just chuck everything in the bin because there's still something that someone could use in there I'm sure and I don't want to waste it. So it sits there and doesn't get dealt with and sits there and reproaches me because I'm a bad housekeeper and I'm lousy at being useful and it's just THERE squatting in the corner like some kind of malign Buddha.
* Don't know whether the djembe and the bodhran would be resellable (presume they would) and don't know what a reasonable price to ask is, so I'm scared of over-asking and getting no offers, or under-asking and having people laugh at me, and if I just say "make me an offer" I'm going to look like a fool.
* Don't think we can afford to live on foodsicles and takeaway much longer (if indeed we can now) and quite honestly that's all I feel like eating because cooking means I have to cook and clean and shop and function and I'm not functioning and it's all too bloody hard and why can't Steve do some of this?
* I know I'm dropping my bundle, and I feel useless because of it, because I should be able to HANDLE THIS, DAMN IT. But I can't and I can't even make it an amusing post to put up on Dreamwidth because who wants to see me exploding into a billion pieces ... again?
* I haven't done anything for HaT since about the end of January, and the rate I'm going I probably won't do anything for them any time soon and I feel like I'm letting people down when I do that.
* I have no idea where to start with dealing with any of this. (Well, okay, I tell a minor lie - and I'm a horrible person for that, I know - I've taken my meds for today, and I've taken a couple of neurofen to deal with the pain of the pinched nerve). It's all just there and it needs to be dealt with and I desperately need to do some washing today because I have one pair of clean underwear to my name and and and and ... and I just want to go back to bed and hide.
* But I can't go back to bed and hide because I have to go to Centrelink today to hand in paperwork and I don't want to because I don't want to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit, and we're back where I started the list, time to go round again.
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Falling off the edge of the world... again
Okay, so Christmas day was the start of a rather lengthy heatwave for us here in Perth WA - we've been experiencing temperatures over 38C (the old 100F) every day since 25 December, and they're not expected to go down until the 2nd of January next year. Yay.
I'm coping fine. I'm back to my standard "hot weather" pattern of waking up at around about dawn each day to deal with the business of closing up the blinds on the laundry doorway, and opening the front and side doors so that the cool night air can circulate through the house before the day starts to heat up. Then I dress in a very light voile sarong (and not much else) and spend the day sitting in front of the computer or the XBox with the water cooler going. Unfortunately, our water cooler is a fairly old model (it came west with us from Canbrrra) and it's given up on the water-cooling bit - the various cloth bits drape down into the reservoir, but they aren't wicking anything up any more. So these days it's just a very fancy fan. Still works fine in conjunction with a squirty bottle of water, though. Mist self down with squirty bottle, sit in front of the fan, and I cool off very nicely.
However, our nice neat replacement server decided it wasn't having with all this hot weather. It started sulking on Wednesday night, and when I tried to reboot it on Thursday morning, it gave us the standard "my hardware isn't playing nice" disgruntled beeps. Memory problems. Himself tried fiddling about with the RAM, but it didn't help; he suspected either the RAM wasn't working at all, or there might have been a problem with the motherboard.
So, today he went out and got another server for us (rather than spend hours chasing around in 40C temperatures to try and find a computer parts specialist who had the right bits to replace all this stuff) - or rather, he purchased a second-hand PC from someone who was getting rid of an old box, and set that up to do the Internet thing.
With any luck, we're back on the 'net...
(Late news: new box will not boot without a keyboard. BIOS fiddlery undertaken.)
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Domestic Upheaval (variety: "Hopefully Temporary")
I'm typing this from my bed rather than my desk. My desk is currently in pieces in the spare room. The kitchen table is out under the back verandah. The kitchen chairs, the fridge, and the freezer are in the lounge. The TV is in my partner's room, and the Xbox and the PS2 are in the lounge, hidden behind the chairs, the large couch, and under a half ton of other junk.
All in all, there isn't much of the house which is actually liveable at the moment.
The reason we're all at sixes and sevens here is that we're having new lino (linoleum, or equivalent thereof) laid in our house today. I'm somewhat ambivalent about the whole mess, to be honest. On the one hand, the existing lino is curling up at all the edges, and has several large rips and tears, not to mention nasty stretched patches, making it pretty much unsanitary to be living with. It'll be nice to have it replaced with something a bit better. On the other hand, we've just spent a weekend hauling every damn piece of furniture off the lino (which turns out to encompass about three-quarters of the living area of the house, as well as the kitchen and the laundry), which included taking everything out of one cupboard, unpacking several lots of shelves, re-arranging a lot of Himself's den, and removing all the contents of my desk. Having the desk fall to pieces when we tried to move it was just the final straw.
I can foresee the rest of the week being spent in piecemeal replacement of everything along the way, while I try and fit in whole heaps of Java programming around the edges. Goody goody goody.
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