To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Another incident from last year: I was snakebit. But not by a venomous snake.

R called me one day to the lanai to see that a 3-ft snake had gotten in and was frantically throwing itself against the screen, trying to get out. It was a hot day and the snake was fairly distressed.

I leaned over the snake to see what kind it was. It calmed down just a bit in my shadow, making me think of the end of "Life and Death of a Western Gladiator," which I read in high school and evidently scarred me for life stuck with me.

"Go back in the house with your bare feet!" R said.

"I'm not going back in the house with my bare feet!" I said.

There are four kinds of poisonous snakes that live in North America: copperheads, rattlesnakes, and water moccasins, which are all pit vipers, and coral snakes. Coral snakes have color bands, which this snake did not. No rattle, no real pattern to its coloration which was pretty much black. The snake could still have been a moccasin, but I looked at the snake's head and it did not appear to me to be the head of a viper.

So R used the pool net to kind of hold the snake in place while I picked it up. I meant to pick it up right behind the head, and thought I did, but while I was carrying it to the door it wiggled forward and started striking, and biting the crap out of my hand. Seriously, blood appeared. Also, I could see the inside of its mouth, which was white.

Another name for water moccasins is "cottonmouths".

I wondered if I had exhibited an error in judgment. Vipers' bites are not always envenomed, I told myself, especially if they are not hunting. But this snake probably was hunting, hence its entering the lanai. If the snake was a viper, and its bite was venomous, my hand would have started swelling and hurting right away. As I walked to the door, enduring the indignant striking and biting, and opened the door to toss the snake out onto the grass, I was asking myself, "Does my hand hurt?" And it never did.

Understand that all of this took place in a matter of seconds.

When I told my friend Kristina about this, she asked if I had told R of my concern about the snake possibly being a moccasin after all. "No," I said, "because I thought I might need him later." For some reason she found this really funny.

R was concerned about infection, and as we know, reptiles can carry salmonella and possibly some other unpleasant microorganisms, so I washed my bites really well with antibacterial soap. And then went to the wonderful internet to figure out what kind of snake I had. It was most likely a black racer. I imagined it scurrying away in the grass, thinking about its narrow escape and convinced that only its brave attack saved it because I certainly would have eaten it otherwise.

I guess next time I'll take the time to fetch my gardening gloves.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

F and I had a nice phone convo last night, among other things, comparing our synesthesia. She must have gotten it from me but we are backwards from each other.

If I am in a darkened room, if I hear a sharp noise I concurrently perceive a flash of light. When that first started happening I thought that I must have flinched and scrunched my eyelids against my eyes; or that a light bulb had blown somewhere. Eventually I figured out what was happening. The other night I was lying in bed thinking about something and I saw a bright blue rectangle with kind of a grid pattern. What had happened was that the humidifier was sucking air in like it periodically does, with a kind of whap and then a snoring sound.

F says that when the car in front of her signals a turn, she "hears" it before she realizes that she is seeing it.

So she perceives lights as sound, and I perceive sound as lights.

F also strongly associates numbers with colors - numbers that are the "wrong" color make her uncomfortable - and actually with personalities. I remember that one day when she was very small she told me that numbers were people to her; 4 is a little girl and 7 is her mommy, for instance. And one day we were going somewhere in the car and she was looking out the window and she abruptly said, "There are three words that bother me. Spoon. Police. [Third word I can't remember]"

"Those words bother you?"

"Yes." And she went back to looking out the window.

I think these things are on the synesthesia spectrum somehow, but I can't totally figure out how.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I authored an entire MSDS today, all sixteen sections of it. Had previously spent many hours looking up stuff because even though I had MSDSs from the suppliers for all of the raw materials going into the product, I like to go back to primary sources and not risk copying somebody else's mistakes or unwarranted assumptions. But holy cow, what a task. When I finished I told my boss I felt like I'd birthed a baby.

"Congratulations!" he said.

Have a whole bunch more to go - actually the rest of them will mostly be review, but there's the aforementioned going back to sources process, so it's still going to be something. But the rest will be easier.

I even drew the HMIS thing and the NFPA diamond in Word, using Shapes, so that I can copy them to future MSDSs and just change the numbers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mrs. Who is glad to see me back, and I am too.

I've missed my blog but somehow I guess I just got overwhelmed last year. When the headhunter called in December 2010 to tell me that I had that job offer I couldn't even speak for a minute. It was almost as if I had been holding my breath for too long. I didn't realize how stressed I had been for so long and I had to stop talking about everything for a while.

But last year was a good year for us, R spending most of it unemployed notwithstanding. We didn't have a lot of wiggle room but we were paying our bills and not going into debt or anything. Was very nice to buy this house. I've felt for a long time like I was holding onto this town with claws on all four feet, and we finally feel that we really live here (knock wood).

One thing we did last year was to pull up the carpet in one of the two carpeted bedrooms. It was old, stained, and smelly, and we were glad to see it go. We put down Home Depot's surprisingly attractive and ridiculously easy vinyl flooring in there, and painted, but then we had to stop for a bit because $$$. Today we went through all of the drawers and things in the bedroom, identified a lot of stuff to throw away or give away and sorted the rest nicely into plastic boxes, and then moved the bedroom furniture into that empty room. It's a small room but it looks a lot bigger than I thought it would with that furniture in there.

When we were in Memphis, we had a house that was built in 1920, during the Victorian Revival. I like that style - hardwood floors, high ceilings with crown molding, glass doorknobs - and had some antique furniture to match. Concurrently with this, I developed - and F along with me as she got old enough - an interest in Queen Victoria and her many children and grandchildren as they spread out across Europe and married into the ruling families. We have lots of books about these people; F just gave me a book about Princess Beatrice, Q. Victoria's youngest, for Christmas. And I gave her a framed poster print of a very nice portrait of QV last year, but it's still here b/c there's not room in her apartment with all of her posters and things.

So that portrait went into that front room, and now the Eastlake-style furniture, and that room will be the guest room. And we're going to add some book space, probably wall-mounted bookshelves, for all of the history books that we have for the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

And the master bedroom is about to get painted, and the carpet taken up there (and that will be the last of it,) and new flooring, and new bedroom furniture. Am kind of excited.

Here's the new guest room:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I am amazing, F says. And indeed I am.

Because I ordered this set of glow-in-the-dark neon lizards and had it shipped to her.

F has two cats, and one of them, Tomato, loves to bring toys to people for them to throw and her to fetch. At some point in the past year or two I gave F's cats a couple of these lizards. Turtle liked them well enough but Tomato was completely enthralled. F kept finding them in the water dish, in the litter box, all kinds of places, but Tomato especially liked having them hurled far away so she could run and fetch. She loved them so much that they went to pieces. Saturday when I was at F's place Tomato brought me one little dismembered paw and dropped it for me to throw.

"Isn't that the saddest thing?" F said.

So now Tomato is very happy and I have justified my existence.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Beautiful weather this weekend. R and I went downtown to the lake we like to go to, walked around some, and fed the swans, storks, ibises, ducks, geese, and seagulls some stale bread. There were lots of turtles out enjoying the sun too. I had a shirt with sleeves on, and jeans, and got a little overheated. Love the weather here.

I went to Kissimmee yesterday to make some soup for F, who is getting over a cold. Will go back this coming weekend because she is looking at buying a house, and wants us to look at some with her. It's probably a good time to buy a house b/c it doesn't look like housing prices are going any lower, and the ones she's looking at are very reasonably priced, so if she should have to sell in a few years for any reason she shouldn't be stuck. But F plans to stick around at her workplace if she can; she had a promotion in 2011, and even though sometimes the things that happen there drive her nuts, she seems suited to them, and they to her.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Okay, another high point from last year: R's new job.

R went on so many interviews last year, it was ridiculous. A lot of the jobs he would have been perfect for, but, alas. I don't know how much of it might have been just the number of people who apply for every job, and he might have been second choice at a lot of them, but when you're on his end of it it gets pretty depressing.

So sometime in October or November he went over to the hospital to sign up as a volunteer. He needed to get out of the house, see other people, accomplish some things; I appreciated the heck out of my dinner being ready for me when I got home from work, and things of that nature, and told him so repeatedly, but after a while that's just not enough.

They had to do a background check and a credit check, and some time went by that we didn't hear anything. Then the week before Thanksgiving, I think, they scheduled him for volunteer orientation and his first day.

The same week, a staffing agency that had run across his resume on Careerbuilder called and scheduled an interview.

"You know what's going to happen," I said. And it did. They interviewed him, then sent him over to the employer for an interview, and he was hired on the spot.

So that was that. Timing is a funny thing, huh.

...Due to his hours, I still usually find my dinner ready when I get home.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I suppose that in pursuit of catching up my memoir here I should talk about a few highlights of the past year.

Here's one: Molly fell or jumped into the swimming pool. I was in the house and heard a loud splash. My immediate thought: "There is nothing out there that should splash." I ran out knowing what I would find, and sure enough, there was little Molly in the pool, paddling like a champ, but saucer-eyed and looking totally freaked. I saw her try to throw her paw up on the side but she couldn't reach. Started hollering for R but then I thought, what am I yelling for, and just jumped in, clothes, shoes, and all. He had run out there by then and went in about the same time I did. I got to her (in the deep end, of course, and swimming away from me in confusion,) and lifted her out. She whirled around, uttered one hiss at the pool, and ran into the house and under the bed. R got out and helped me out, we dripped on the laminate flooring all the way to the bedroom, and we toweled off and changed clothes. Then I walked back out onto the wet floor barefooted and - wham! I get how people break their hips when they fall. Due to having very recently fallen at Home Depot when I rounded the corner and stepped on a spill, and fallen at home when I opened the door from the garage and didn't see the step up, and raised up under the orange tree in the back yard and bloodied my head, I found myself yelling "No! No!" as I lay on the floor and R had to come and help me up once again.

Damn cat.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

OK, I guess after one year and a couple of weeks I ought to re-activate this thing.

We're still here, still in the house we bought, and I am still in the job I started in December 2010. R was out of work for 11 months but he has a job now too. And F is still in her spot, and thinking about buying a house.

Can't talk about politics right now because it's too irritating but I hope the country has a great 2012 with the economy improving all the way.