Saturday, March 15, 2014

Less stuff, more cats

Two weeks later, the whole leak incident is finally wrapped up. I appreciate that the property manager took care of everything, though I still think that entering a suite without giving notice is objectively out of line. Leaving a job incomplete for days and a bunch of janitorial clutter in a corner of my apartment doesn't constitute sufficient notice, even if it is obvious that they'll need to enter in order to finish. Or maybe I'm just holding a grudge from last week when somebody actually unlocked my door while I was inside—without even knocking!—in the early evening. This is why I keep the door chained 100% of the time.

The last step was steam-cleaning all the carpets with what I assume was a concoction of toothpaste and mystery water collected during the leak itself (I was hoping most of the ants would get steam-cleaned too, but I've found some malingering still). They did give me express notice of that, mainly because they needed me to "can you please move everything off the floor :)". Moving as much as possible into the bathroom and kitchen (possession tetris yet again) has left things pretty tidy everywhere else, which makes me think it's a good opportunity to get rid of stuff.

And maybe get a cat. I wanted this one, but today's daily search indicates that she's not at the SPCA anymore:
The floor doesn't feel like the beach anymore, so that's a definite plus.

P.S. I optimized my dictionary recently, which you might have noticed since I keep linking to it.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Million Things That Make Me Uneasy

I seem to be on some kind of roll here, so why not continue with the theme?

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

There probably are indeed at least half a million things that bug me. People who stand on the bus without hanging onto anything, for example (you just know they're going to blunder into you at the next unexpected halt). People who walk at anything less than a brisk stride (if they're in front of me). Little annoying human habits that drive me into a raging [wind]fury.

Because I endeavour to be a halfway-decent human, I keep my fury hidden as best I can until it subsides on its own. Sure, sometimes when random strangers are in close proximity I have to actively, repeatedly, inwardly tell myself don't knock them over, just don't do it—but that's a different conversation.

But there are even more things that are more than minor annoyances. Things that awaken a deep dread or terror. Things that make me sit in the pouring rain for 40 minutes rather than board a bus that might be uncomfortably crowded. And all these million things used to keep me at a well-maintained level of unease, which came to be increasingly broken by peaks of anxiety that set my heart racing in an infuriatingly unexpected and uncontrollable way.

Losing control over your emotions is a terrifying thing, and if those emotions end up affecting the way you can function in the world, then you are in a losing position indeed. I think it's shocking for everyone when that tipping point is reached and the most apparently sedate person lashes out—and perhaps most shocking to the person it's coming from. That's when I know it's time to get off the island for a few days.

When it comes down to it, the list of Things That Bug Me is actually pretty short; I could elaborate on a lot of the points, but I think most things are encompassed by the following (in no particular order):
  1. other people's opinions
  2. the word "whinging"
  3. the guy upstairs
  4. other pedestrians who obstruct my own pedestering
  5. close-mindedness
  6. unnecessary noise
  7. beards
  8. invasive landlords
  9. mayonnaise
  10. when people believe that their likes/dislikes are objectively good/bad
And yes, negativity too. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Ten Plagues of My Apartment

I hate to break stride, especially since I've been in the middle of writing another angryrant, but maybe a little comic relief is in order (even if it's a dark sort of humour).

Thursday morning I awoke to a mysterious dripping sound, which I reported later, from work, to whoever was in charge of the building in the manager's absence. When I got home, I saw that he had helpfully placed a 5-gallon pail beneath the drip, which freed up the container I had originally put there so that I could use it under a second leak.

The paint on the wall developed an impressive blister as water welled up between it and the drywall, and worked its way downward alarmingly quickly. Luckily it burst itself before it got halfway to the floor, and the carpet sponged everything up very neatly.

I did speak to the actual building manager on my lunchbreak next day; she explained that they had had to open up the walls and take up the carpet. I was a little afraid of what I might find at home that evening, but it had not devolved into too sorry a state:
The walls are much more intact than I was led to believe. The billowing carpet is a little unsettling, but the workers barely pried into my belongings while relocating everything into random other locations. If I squint slightly and look at the fans out of the corner of my eye, they almost seem slightly soothing, which is fortunate since they need to be on 24/7 until Monday.

Between the noise, the bits of plaster all over, the gaping holes in the wall, the wintry industrial-grade breeze, the heap of furniture and other possessions tetrised into the living room, and the unrelated problem of ants everywhere, my apartment is really not a hospitable place at the moment.

On the other hand, the guy I reported the leak to in the first place noticed the ants "all over the kitchen counters" so they'll invite an exterminator to the party. I'll be glad to have that cleared up, though I'm not sure I believe it was as infested as that. I'm the one who squashes ants all day, after all, and I've never seen more than 5 on the counter at once, which I don't classify as "all over."

The silveriest lining is that the drone of the fan drowns out the guy upstairs, who acquired an electric guitar several months ago. While he demonstrates a complete lack of musical understanding (i.e. he thinks that the louder he amplifies it, the more it qualifies as music), I have to commend him for practicing constantly in an effort to perfect his technique. I've recreated a sample of his playing, and would be happy to provide a transcription if anybody is interested:

Back to the apartment invasion: I figured that they would probably also notice that the new "low-flow" toilet (which they recently installed as part of a building-wide conversion) runs 100% of the time, and would want to extend the invasion by another week or two to fix that. So, I finally took the 2 minutes necessary to glance into the tank and fix it myself, which on retrospect would have eliminated the annoying filling sound for the past few months, but also increased the amount of electric guitar audible in my suite. Life in this apartment is such a paradox.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February Day Rant

UH OH, a holiday celebrating families. Rant time.

Today was the second annual Family Day statutory holiday in BC (why we are different from the rest of the country is beyond me). This morning I was in line at the coffee shop near my house, and the fellow in front of me struck up a fairly one-sided conversation (because anyone who thinks I want to participate in social interaction when I'm not in customer-service-mode is gravely mistaken). In the midst of similarly bizarre utterances: "What do you think about having a holiday today? Do you like it? I guess nobody complains about a holiday."

No indeed. In truth, though, this holiday rankles with me. In fact, it's a pretty uninclusive week for those of us who are muddling through life on our own.

It isn't that I'm necessarily envious of what other people have that I don't. Maybe someday I'll find a very special guy, and we will mutually tolerate each other to a high degree. I hope so. But in the meantime, I'm happily single; I do what I want, go where I want, and these days focus on doing what makes me happy. I surround myself with fantastic friends, and have enjoyed as fulfilled a life as I could hope for (and of course still going strong).

But family (that is, the lack thereof) has started to become a thorn in my side. Here's a brief tour of the damage:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Less Bread, More Taxes

Usually my January resolutions for the year to come involve some sort of halfhearted attempt to "eat more healthily." It's a nice ideal and I support the theory behind it. The only problem is that usually that's as far as it goes, with me. Just an ideal that I can feel good about having.

But not this year!

In recent years, every time I go home to visit my family for Christmas or other vacations, I am always surprisingly migraine-free. This winter I took an entire pharmacy with me, medications for sinus congestion, anti-nausea, pain, emergency triptans. I didn't use a single one.

At first I thought maybe it was my parents' new air purifier that made the difference, and resolved to get one for myself. But then, while researching this year's annual healthy-diet-resolution, I started to become suspicious that I had overlooked something rather simple. My sister-in-law has celiac, and because the whole family congregates at holidays, all the edibles are largely gluten-free.

Not having an actual doctor, I consulted my friend Reddit, who usually supplies the kind of anecdotal evidence that is actually useful. Sure enough, things that people have noticed improvement in when eliminating gluten: migraines, chronic sinusitis, nausea, depression, moodiness, lethargy, tiredness. You know, me.

It was worth a try, and within just a couple days my sinusitis was totally gone and hasn't returned. Migraines aren't a daily threat anymore. I'm not queasy 100% of the time anymore. I don't need daily naps after work, and I don't need to spend my Saturdays huddled in bed cradling an ice pack under my head. Just hoping this is actually the solution I've been looking for.

Too Much Information

2013. And I thought the year before had been a rollercoaster. Looking back, 2013 had some pretty ridiculous highs and lows, and both ends of the spectrum ended up changing the course of my life.

But right now, I'm only going to talk about the lows. Right now is going to be a truthful glimpse into my mind. I'd turn back if I were you.


December was Christmas month, as is frequently the case. I headed back to Saskatchewan for a snowy holiday, skilfully evading the storms that delayed the whole country's travel plans like a seasoned mariner navigating fjords (or something; don't expect a good ocean-related simile from me, I only recently learned to not despise the sea). I spent Christmas Day flying, but that turned out to be a pretty great day to travel.

I have mixed feelings about Christmas. I love seeing my family and being on the farm, but I always struggle with a host of more unpleasant emotions that usually culminate in an impressive cocktail featuring guilt and inadequacy. But this has been an annual tradition for some time, and I've learned to take it on the chin. Whatever that means.

December was otherwise uneventful. The calm before the storm.

Edit: tired of this monthly post thing. not going to happen anymore.