28 February 2008

Project #1: Writing Nook

First, let me apologize for the title of this project. For some inexplicable reason, I despise the word 'nook' (it invariably makes me think of a really annoying real estate agent) and I would not use it to describe this project except that I cannot seem to think of anything better. Gah!

Second, I've been thinking about doing this for a while now. I have my desk and 'my' chair in the living room, but as writing space neither of these really work. The desk usually has work stuff, bills or kid toys all over it. The chair is often buried in laundry, for one thing, and I can see the TV out of the corner of my eye when I sit in it, for another. Plus, I don't have any of my research notes or books within reach there. By far, the biggest problem, however, is that both the desk and the chair are right in the middle of Chaos Central (a.k.a., the living room), and nobody really buys the mommy-isn't-really-here-right-now thing.

I need someplace (relatively) quiet. I need someplace private. I need someplace where I can close the damn door.

In other words, I need an office.

But I'm not going to get one. Not in this house.

In this house the only way I get that kind of peace and quiet is sitting on my bed in my bedroom, which doesn't last very long because I usually end up falling asleep.

The best I can hope for is a Writing Nook, which shall be henceforth known as Project #1.

******************************

DESCRIPTION: Create a place to write out of the horrific pile of crap in the corner of my bedroom.

BEFORE:


DETAILS:

  1. Get rid of uneeded baby changing table. I have somebody who wants this, but she won't need it until April and doesn't have a vehicle capable of moving it. I'm going to try and convince her to take it early and offer to move it for her, if she does.

    1. Uncover baby changing table.
    2. See if LE will take changing table early.
    3. Move the sucker OUT OF MY HOUSE.

  2. Clean out the potential space. As you can see, it's a bit unusable at the moment.
    1. Take old baby clothes to Goodwill.
    2. Give maternity clothes to KV and/or sell on eBay.
    3. Go through out-of-season clothes; put tote in garage.

  3. Rearrange bedroom furniture. Possibly. This may be as simple as moving my bureau (a.k.a. 'chest of drawers' or 'dresser' to you non-New Englanders) to the spot where the changing table was, but ideally, I'd like to be closer to the only window in the room. Not sure that's possible given the size of the room. I'll have to play with graph paper on that one. Another issue will be convincing The Husband that anything needs to change at all. He can be remarkably resistant to change, if the rationale behind it is not sufficiently justified, logically explained and submitted in triplicate, in advance, for his consideration. But have no fear - if I have to, I'll sic his mother on him to get my way.

  4. Acquire furniture and accessories. At a minimum, I'd like to have a couple of bookcases and a place to sit that is not the floor.
    1. Determine needs - consider:
      1. Storage of current projects and how to keep kids out of them
      2. Number of books (these will include: writing reference, To Be Read pile, research pile)
      3. Writing materials (paper, pens, pencils, lap desk, power for laptop) and storage thereof
    2. Determine budget
    3. Purchase items

  5. The fun part - Set everything up!


******************************


I think that's it. For now. I'll update/edit this post if/when I think of other aspects of the project and will post progress reports regularly. Or as soon as I've made any actual progress.

Whichever comes first.

Projects

New Post Category: I have decided to make myself accountable for the things I want to get done around the house by posting each project and its associated details here. Sort of an online To Do list.

Boring for you, perhaps, but if my list of tasks is right there in front of me, I tend to get it done.

It works for work-work:

So I figured why not give it a try. I can add progress photos and strike off completed items. It'll be like motivation sorta.

I'll post the first project later today.

22 February 2008

Oh. So THIS is the ER, huh?

ER. As in Emergency Room. As in the REAL Emergency Room. As in that's where I spent last evening with The Husband and poor, little Ms. Baby.

It was just a bit surreal.

And scary. Yeah, it was definitely scary.

Although I have to say, the scariest part was before we ever left the house.

Ms. Baby had been vomiting every 2-8 minutes for 7 hours straight - that's not the scary part, that's the gross part - and her pediatrician said if she seemed at all lethargic (she did) that we should just go ahead and take her to the ER. That was the scary part - being whacked over the head with 'YES, something really is very wrong with your baby'.

I went sort of numb. Then I was on autopilot: pack the diaper bag, grab extra washclothes and towels for Ms. Baby to puke in, check that my insurance card was in my wallet. We're only a 2 minute drive from the hospital, so the next thing I knew I was hustling through raindrops, filling out an intake form and trying to find a place to sit down (it was pretty busy).

And then we sat. And sat. And the novelty of where we were wore off pretty quickly.

I mean, I don't know what I was expecting. The sound of ambulance sirens? Gurneys rushing through the automatic doors? Blood spurting all over the place? More excitement, I guess. As it turned out, there were just a lot of people like us: there because they had sick kids or were sick themselves.

Naturally, Ms. Baby's bouts of vomiting began slowing down as soon as we got there - she only puked twice in the waiting room in the hour that we were there - and by the time they put us in a treatment room, she was getting all happy and wanting to play. Which made me feel really stupid for bringing her in. Obviously, she was going to be fine - what were thinking?

I figured the doctors and nurses would see this immediately, roll their eyes and admonish us for taking up their valuable time and bed space.

Nothing of the sort happened, of course.

Quite the contrary. The waiting room nurse who first assessed us was sweet and attentive to Ms. Baby, even though she was clearly very busy. The ER doc was wonderful - sympathetic and reassuring. And the nurse we had in our treatment room, John, was simply fantastic.

So other than the needle they had to stick in Ms. Baby's arm (she was very tough about it, actually), it was not nearly as traumatic an experience as I was bracing myself for. They gave Ms. Baby a couple hundred milliters of IV fluids and something to stop the vomiting, then made sure she could keep some water down and sent us home.

And that was it.

I suppose, based on my previous experiences with hospitals (i.e., labor and delivery) and with things being wrong with my baby (i.e., Monsieur Helmet), the back of my mind was all revved up for the Making of a Big Decision (i.e., Episiotomy! - Yes or No? Helmet or Deformed Head - your choice!).

But there was none to be made. At least, not by me. Not last night.

And I'm thankful for that.

21 February 2008

Mozy??

Anybody know anything about Mozy??

Mozy provides a backup service - i.e., they store all your important documents (for a fee, of course) and has just started offering a discount to faculty, staff and students of Fabulous, Private University if we sign up for a 1 or 2 year contract.

I've never heard of them, but it seems like a good deal. I was going to buy an external hard drive and all that jazz, but this seems worlds easier. And cheaper (and cheaper is always good, right?).


Worth it? Anyone know?

Alternatively, does anyone know how to pronounce it?

17 February 2008

On Motion Sickness

(Or: QUIT IT - That Funky-Motion Camera Thing is NOT COOL )

First, let me say this: I get motion sickness really easily. Really easily.

I cannot sit in the back seat of a car without keeping a constant watch out the front window. I cannot sit in the back of a bus. I can't even sit sideways on a bus (Some of the shuttle buses at Fabulous Private University are set up like this. When I see them coming, I walk instead).

And if you didn't think any of the above qualifies me as motion sickness impaired: there are certain TV shows that I cannot watch because they do this funky thing with the camera where they jerk it all over the place. The camera people, apparently, think they're really clever. It makes me puke.

Now The Husband - who does NOT get motion sickness (like, ever, as far as I can tell) - thinks this makes me certifiably insane. (He also thinks this means his mother, my mother and his sisters are certifiably insane. Right. Clearly. It's just us. All of us. But I'm not griping about him. Today.)

"That just isn't possible," he says. "It's all in your head."

Of course, it's all in my frikkin' head! It's called the inner ear, buddy!

And when the inner ear gets confused and can't figure out which way is up, it makes the inner stomach feel quesy. It does this so that the owner of said stomach will sit down and STOP MOVING until the inner ear can get its bearings and establish which way IS up.

However. When you're sitting still on your couch and watching TV - and you're already Not Moving - what the fuck are you supposed to do?

Your choices are pretty much limited to going into another room or turning the Idiot Box off. Either way you are no longer watching the program that thought it was so goddamn clever by jerking the fucking camera all over the place, spinning the image and otherwise doing its best to pass itself off as the Vomit Comet.

Not only that, but the program has just lost a viewer and, perhaps more important, probably managed to PISS OFF a (now former) viewer.

That is the situation with me, my Idiot Box and the Shiny, New Kitchen Gadgetry program I wanted to watch this afternoon while Ms. Baby took her nap on my chest. She's been sick, so this was going to be a welcome break that might, possibly, have lead to a much-needed nap for me, too.

Instead, after 10 minutes of watching rapid-fire images of a clown kitchen and trying NOT to watch a spinning image of a really cool island sink, I found myself growing increasingly nauseated. I actually reached the point where I had to get up - ever so carefully, so as to not wake the oblivious Ms. Baby - and lay her down in her crib and run to the bathroom.

I got lucky. Ms. Baby remained asleep, despite her hasty change of location, and I didn't actually puke, but GRRRRRRAHHHHH!

There are very, very few things worth watching on the Idiot Box, and my general rule is to discourage others from turning it on and to ignore it when it is. But Shiny, New Kitchen Gadgetry programs are one the exceptions I make. I don't make plans to watch them, but if I happen across them, I really enjoy them -- EXCEPT WHEN THEY MAKE ME WANT TO PUKE.

So my question for the makers of the Shiny, New Kitchen Gadgetry programs: WHY??!?? Seriously: the clever camera jerk-age does not make the Shiny, New Kitchen Gadgetry you're showing any shinier or newer, so what the fuck is the point??

14 February 2008

For My Loves

Heart-Shaped Pancakes. Just cuz'.

03 February 2008

Steek, meet Novel

I just cut 130,000 words from Novel #1.

One hundred and thirty thousand words. That I wrote. Deemed useless and gone.

I'm starting over with the plot. Right from square one.

It's like taking a pair of scissors to a sweater you just finished knitting and methodically shredding it because you've realized it's not so much a sweater as it is a huge, misshapen, unraveling mess.

Now usually with a huge, misshapen mess of a sweater, you just rip out what you've knit and start over. Or stuff the misbegotten thing in a plastic bag, shove it into the back of a dark closet and try to forget it ever existed.

Sometimes, thought, you actually plan on taking scissors to a sweater. It's called steeking, an intentional scissors-to-sweater technique used in the construction of Norweigian and Fair Isle sweaters. The steek is a well planned thing - its edges are sutured off long before the scissors appear (well, usually). After the deed is done, new stitches are picked up along the rough edges and the sweater continues on from there. Sleeves might be added on or a placket with button holes might take shape. The end result, when steeking is carefully planned and you know what you're doing, are stunning.

So. I'm hoping that my application of scissors to Novel #1 will turn out to be more like steeking, and instead of the unraveling mess it currently is, Novel #1 will turn into something, if not stunning, then... better.

The story is now down below 80K, which if nothing else, is a much more managable size for me. I'll probably have to cut more before I'm done with my shears. In fact, I know I will. There's no other cure, I'm afraid. There are too many tangents, too many characters who hijacked center stage, and I'm not a good enough writer, yet, to sort them all out all at once. So it's back to square one and they'll be sorted out one at a time. The intent is to knit them all back together eventually, but for now I'm going to concentrate on picking up stitches along the rough edges I have left.

Here's hoping I know what I'm doing ...