Swedish finally found my food

I got a call from the hospital yesterday evening saying they finally found my food, and do I want these bowls or what. They didn’t say where they called FROM specifically so I just called the switchboard. I guess I wouldn’t want to identify myself if I worked for them either.

I got bounced to security after getting looped back to the switchboard four times because there was a “code grey.” I had to look this up: Combative Person. I’m guessing it was a patient, and I feel you, girl.

Security did not know where my bowls are. “Did you try registration? Try registration.” Click. Ok.

I was just thinking about The Olde Thymes when you would have to call a large institution using a list of numbers in a book, which you would keep open in front of you, because you knew your first few tries would be unsuccessful. Sometimes a nice person would give you a secret number that was not in the book. Now people just ring off because you can just incorrectly guess the next number yourself using the internet.

I tried registration. “Not here…what room were you in?”

“I have no idea, but it was the 11th floor.”

“Ok, I’ll transfer you.”

Well, there they were, sitting in a sink I guess. It was nice of them not to find my soup and then to pour it out.

“It did not look so fresh,” the lady said. I imagine not. So now I come get my bowls or they will get rid of them, like tomorrow.

My sister has gone back to work and I’m rolling solo today. Yesterday we went to see the cherry blossoms at UW, which I haven’t done in eons because I’ve been so wrapped up in working my way through my apprenticeship. She said she gets really rocked a few days after the drive ends and she was really feeling it. We’ve been hanging out watching movies and eating our weight in mochi and muscats, but I just wanted to lay in bed after walking around campus and so did she. So I sent her home at noon.

PEAK BLOSSOM. Citizens are advised to freak the fuck out.

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I wanted to do a cute picture of the dogs among the trees but I couldn’t summon the energy to bend down, since they are short and the trees are tall. You’ll have to believe me that they were there. We met a couple of cute two-year-olds and one could say “Cavalier” as clear as day because she has one in her life named Simon. It was pretty impressive. Lots of people were pointing at the dogs and talking to us, as people in public do.

“I don’t think I could have a dog!” my sister said. “Too much attention!”

“You get used to it,” I said. “It’s mostly when they’re puppies.”

I worry about my sister, sometimes, because she reminds me of myself ten years ago. When she’s on, she’s social, and when she’s not working, she’s not interested. I thought it was a family trait because I got increasingly unsocial to the point of somewhat phobic as time went on. My grandmother was isolated because of her health and attitude about the world, and had no friends for years at a time. My mother seemed to be an extrovert, liked people and was attracted to them, but had some truly antisocial behaviors. She had severe misophonia, which would trigger behavior like mocking people in public, which was excruciating. Especially if you were trapped in a restaurant booth with her and the people she was mocking were across the way. And there were no other diners!

I’ve got a long way to go in general, both mentally and physically. I know I’m severely kneecapped in some areas of my life, and doing ok in others. I know I’ve said this so many times, but the thing that has helped about a billion percent is nutrition. All those little tics, the impatience, the anxiety, are almost down to nothing. Insomnia is over unless I truly do something stupid like take a massive nap or drink too much wine for restful sleep. I’m more mentally resilient–less of a hair-trigger temper (which usually didn’t come out, so the rage was just inside me bouncing around), less likely to take offense at anything anyone says offhandedly or not. I can tell myself that people mean well, and if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t realize that muting all the little microaggressions that were mostly self-inflicted would positively impact my relationships.

I know when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, but I wish I could time travel and find my grandparents in the 40s and say, “Hey, you know this better living through science shit? It’s not for us. Have some veggies and a multivitamin.” Ha ha, if only.

Today I hung my mason bee house on the back porch, facing the morning sun. It is very small and light. It felt great to swing a hammer! Sometimes I have a little disconnect between my actual skills now and what I can do at home. I looked at the nail and the porch post, and said, “Ok, self, don’t fuck this up.” I used to hammer nails in crookedly in all damn time.

I used to hit my thumb: OW OW OW fifteen minute break followed by a snack and a nap! Now I still hit myself, and give myself blood blisters, but I just tell myself it doesn’t bother me and I move on, because I realized it doesn’t actually hurt that bad if you think about pain in a certain way, as just a sensation or feedback from your body. If the feeling doesn’t come back in fifteen minutes or I feel blood pooling I will take my glove off and look. It turns out I was born to be an oaf, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

I took the cocoons out of my fridge where they’ve been residing for the past few weeks.

Bee cocoons come in a little box and look kind of like bees that have been wrapped up by a spider. You put them on top of the inside of the bee house in their box.

The kit also came with clay that you turn into mud and leave nearby so they can seal their tubes after laying eggs. I’m leaving it out now in case some native bees show up and want to get in on this hotel action. Now I just have to wait 2-4 weeks for the cocoons to open. THAT’S FOREVER.

I’ll post more pictures when they’re flying and when they make more cocoons midsummer. I read that ten mason bees can pollinate one fruit tree, and they like hazelnuts, which we have three of. Yeah!

A little health update: everything is feeling better daily. I’m six days out and sleeping on both of my sides. A weird thing is waking up with Death Flavor in my mouth, which I’m told is anesthesia working its way out, still. How about it works its way out of my elbows or something instead of my mouth? It is also making me want to eat what I want to eat, and not reasonable homecooked meals. So there’s a lot of juice and cheese happening, because nothing else tastes good.

Peeing is a magical experience now. I go, and then I have the sensation of not having to go anymore. I had the feeling of constantly low-grade (or high-grade) having to go for years. What is kind of odd now is how my bladder feels. I was at the blossoms yesterday and just sort of felt vaguely uncomfortable and off, and then I was like…you know what…I better see if I have to pee. I did. What? I don’t know either.

I took a shower yesterday and had another new feeling: a normal vulva instead of one with a uterus that was trying to later days out of it. Have you had a baby come out of your business? Do you remember that feeling of pressure? Every time I stood up I was basically crowning, ahaHAHAHAHAHA *uncontrollable sobbing*. There is so much less pressure on my pelvic floor I just feel light now. Next time someone takes me out, I’m going to get thank you cards and write my surgeons. I knew this would be life-changing, but I didn’t know it would be like, 96 pt font flashing LIFE-CHANGING.

I’m a little achy around where my uterus was (kind of like negative space menstrual cramps) and definitely super tired. Also sad that my medical glue is coming off my incisions already because it’s kind of this gross blue which is neat because I’m glued together! and I figure it’s good to have them covered. I had a dream that tea was coming out of my incision holes like I was a cartoon. My brain also keeps reminding me, “There’s nothing but a vagina now, ISN’T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD?” Go be amazed somewhere else, brain.

Narcolepsian Candidate, Asshole Digest v. 1

A For Effort

Last month I was at school for my first welding week, which I was super jazzed about. I couldn’t wait to learn welding! I liked brazing last summer, so I thought I would like welding too. Oh man, I really did. We welded all morning. I was terrible, but I looked around and most of my classmates were too. My favorite person in class, who is my homework buddy, had perfect welds since he was an underwater welder for years.

At lunch I ate in my car like I usually do, to take a break from being indoors with fragrances and the smells in the lunchroom. I don’t eat heavy on school weeks, since I’m not burning as many calories. We reconvened in the classroom for some PowerPoints on welding and I started to feel really unnaturally sleepy. My ears were ringing and I felt drunk–anaphylaxis. I knew my brain was shutting down.

I wasn’t thinking clearly and couldn’t decide what to do. School is very strict about being there and participation, which I get. I thought if I could lay down for an hour and sleep I would be ok again, but I knew that wasn’t compatible with getting through the afternoon. I was kind of propping my head up with my elbow and my teacher was giving me shit about falling asleep (“SJ do you know you snore?”).

I decided to wake myself up a little (this never works) by going to the bathroom and splashing cold water on my face. I would only be gone for a minute–perfect. I staggered out of the classroom and to the loo. I looked shitfaced–red cheeks, red eyes, couldn’t focus my gaze. As I threw the paper towel away I decided to sit down on floor for just a second. The tiles looked so cool…

I woke up to my classmate and a third year asking me questions.

“The EMTs are on the way, SJ. What’s going on? What are your symptoms?” Get this–my classmate is a former nurse and was completely collected.

The EMTs came and asked me a ton of questions. They got some kind of heart monitor on me and saw that my blood pressure was skipping from the 80s to the 100s rapidly. They checked my oxygen levels and they were normal. I was relieved about this–I’ve always wondered if there’s a component of airway blockage happening that I don’t know about when I go to sleep. I was slurring a little as I was answering their questions.

So, long story long, school doesn’t want me welding anymore. And now my classmates know to check on me if I look too sleepy, because I’m probably mast cell drunk out of my mind. I can recover from almost anything if I can sleep for an hour in a safe space. There are masks that are kind of like SCUBA for welding that may help, but they start around $1500. It’s a big investment to make in something that might not work.

I talked to my homework buddy about this because he was worried about me. He said, “It’s too bad we started with stick welding, because that’s the dirtiest kind of welding and makes me sick too.” He has a special respirator that fits under his welding mask. My respirator does not.

For now I’m in welding limbo. I think I’m going to have to find a way to weld on my own so I can come back to school and prove I can do it safely if I want to do it there.

Relevant Experience

Not too long ago, I would scoff at the old tradies I worked with who would sleep through every movie. There was a lot of “Yeah, I saw the first fifteen minutes of that, it was pretty good.” Right now I’m doing the same. I have seen the opening shot of The Orville for the last three weeks in a row. We call it The Slipper Show because the spaceship is silly looking. I see the space slipper and it’s Queen of Hearts time for me on the rug. Good night.

I kind of have an excuse right now–I’ve been transferred to the shop. It’s basically like Eminem’s job in 8 Mile, except Seattle strip club lighting levels instead of Portland, and no wall jobs or brooding.

Time to make the fuckin doughnuts

It’s making me somewhat to seriously ill most days. I leave with a headache that lasts until I go to sleep. Some nights I crawl into bed before dinner, shaking and feverish from welding fumes, and then I get up and do it again. I blow black metal dust and smoke out of my nose all the way home. I know I’m not the only one who gets sick, but it’s not a good place for me. I cannot believe people make careers out of it in my trade.

It’s kind of good news/bad news that I hustle so hard in the field. It’s really slow right now, and my work style has kept me from being laid off (yay) but my reward now is being sick most days. I’ve been told I might go to week on/week off, which means I can collect unemployment when I’m not working. I’ve been noodling around with crochet again now that I have more time.

D for Effort

I went out twice in one week last week, holy shit! I finally saw Morrissey live, and it was everything I expected and more. He didn’t cancel, which I know he is notorious for because of his health and his whatnot. I got gassed out by the fog machine and felt pretty drunk by the time I got home.

A couple of days later I saw John Hodgeman on his book tour. I was excited that he was “in conversation” with John Roderick. The website said something about him doing readings and answering questions. I was dragged along to see him about nine years ago, and thought Hodgeman was pretty terrible live, and I was completely uninterested in his books because I’m not into fake humorous facts. His supporting players–incredible. Sean Nelson and John Roderick were rocking out on some hardcore early-80s Billy Joel, which set me off on a five-year Billy Joel jag.

I thought the Hodge would be better live after nine years, and I also am a fan of advice, so I like his podcast now a lot. I like that he’s written a midlife contemplative-y memoir, so I was into this. Well, he was jumping up and down and jamming his hand down the back pocket of his terrible pants like a ADHD kid giving a book report.

Roderick was gently trying to get him to sit down and put his mic on–it was kind of cringy. They did one song, and it was terrible, and Hodge was just not focused. I bought two books so I could get the silly badge they were giving away and in the end I didn’t want to wait in line to get it. I don’t have enough time to appreciate things as Kaufman-esque anymore. In summary: I’m glad there was no fog machine, and I probably should just find a way to see John Roderick live.

Somehow it Makes Sense to Juxtapose Autumnal Pictures of Things Being Ripped Out of the Ground with This News

THIS WAS THE SUMMER I took over the front bed. I promised Pete I would last winter. 2017, baby. It was going to be my year. We would make the front yard more attractive and lower maintenance in terms of weeds (read: wood chips and flowering shrubs ahoy). We’re trying to divide church and state a little more because I have a bad habit of seeing an open space and needing to fill it with flowers, and Pete says “HAY THAT WAS GOING TO BE PUMPKINS.”

YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK YOUR PUMPKINS. COSMOS, BITCHES. Just kidding. I like pumpkins, I just don’t want to wait three years for them. Then he comes through and pulls or steps on a bunch of sunflower seedlings I’ve stealth planted by announcing loudly that I am planting sunflowers and marking the space.

So the front yard is supposed to be flower and fruit tree town. Typical me typical me I’m doing black/purple, white, and dark green–goth garden. I had to leave the original roses even though they are off-scheme because they’re nice and tolerate the front yard and neglect very well. I think other than the clematis, they may be all that’s left of the original front yard.

I solemnly swear I will leave the vegetable garden alone and stop sneaking in four o’clocks, which are fucking magical. I am killing part of the grass next to it to make a dedicated herb bed. In five years I hope there will be no grass left in the backyard or front! I am taking home sheet metal trash to create underground grass barriers.

These pictures are from about a month ago before the leaves started to turn, but when it was getting cool and rainy. Perfect transplanting weather.

Digging up blueberries and razzleberries

Part of making the front yard flowery involved transplanting the berry bushes, which were overcrowded and overwhelming the now-toddler persimmon tree we planted a while ago.

Long shot of how order segues inelegantly into chaos

Raspberry bare rooted

I decided to move the blueberries into some of the remaining open space in the back, for ease of picking. Plus this spot gets some really nice light from about ten to four.

The raspberries in the former chicken pen.

A thing I have not told you is that after ten-plus years of keeping chickens, I rehomed them all in the late spring. They went to a tinner friend who has a compound in the middle of nowhere (his shop has about the same square footage as my house). His wife was excited about gently used, free, grown chickens and just likes eggs and the hobby like I did. I felt very good about letting go of this extra demand on our time and energy, especially as we are making the yard nicer and want to use all the space without the rampaging claws and beaks.

Since this picture was taken, Pete has demo’d the coops as well.

A naked space ready for smaller shrubs and flowers, and a persimmon that can breathe now.

Also I transitioned my summer pots into fall pots. This year I decided to only buy things that I will transfer into the front yard, including the pansies, which last all summer and beyond, and appear on salads all summer. Some of the grasses will make a little skirt around the persimmon tree.

And here I come to the end without telling you my hard news. How do I say this? My uterus is falling out. It’s been on the drop for a while now, like since high school. Slow and low/this situation blows. It’s really uncomfortable now. I am in consults this month to get a hysterectomy. They are considering some kind of mesh to hold my urethra in place as well if needed, which I’m probably going to have to pass on, since historically I don’t seem to do well with plastic in my body. (See: IUD dramz and temporary crown. Also I used to stick pens in my mouth until about ten years ago, gross, I know, until I realized the plastic was making my tongue and mouth tingle. Eep.) My ovaries will be left in, which is good. I’m going to try to schedule surgery for around Xmas this year. I am scared that the surgery will make me massively degranulate, and sad that there are no pain meds I can take, much like with carpal tunnel surgery.

Early uterine prolapse can be one of the indicators for Ehlers-Danlos, which is interesting. I don’t have circus trick joints like other members of my family, but the baby box is falling out. Cool times. As a plumber I met recently said, after volunteering that she had a hysterectomy: “They took out the nursery, but left the playpen. Best decision I ever made! Ha!”

I got drunk the other night and bought this shirt. I am still figuring out my feelings. The end.

Ruminant butts/black and white butts

Yesterday Strudel and my sister and I all had the day off and we went to Northwest Trek, which was pretty awesome. It’s like a mini zoo/habitat that you can take a tram tour through. We saw mountain goats, elk, moose, bison, small cats, wolves, and otters munching on fish, beavers scratching themselves, and more.

I spy a lady moose butt

We saw the allergist and Strudel has just started Ketotifen, which I am SO EXCITED ABOUT. It’s pretty much the gold standard for mast cell stabilizers as well as being an H1 blocker, and works for a lot of people. Naturally it needs to be compounded…we can’t just go get it at a normal pharmacy and it has to be $200 a bottle. I am looking forward to the letter from my insurance companies telling me why they can’t pay for it. The allergist advised us to keep her on Zyrtec, Zantac, and quercetin as well.

Strudel’s knee is out again so we rented a wheelchair and rolled her around all day. It was still good to get out of the house. I thought back to when I was in tech and I would take their school holidays off and we would do something fun. It’s nice to do some of that again, even though I was given the day off due to slowdowns. Gotta make the best of it.