Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Stairmaster Incident

I'm pretty sure I'm currently "on ignore" so I thought I'd tell the Stairmaster story.  It's okay to ignore me, but... I remember the last person that deliberately ignored me. He did it to punish me, and make me give in to his demands.  It was the distance that made me finally lose interest in an unhealthy relationship.  He didn't get what he wanted, and he shoved me away when the intent was to keep me under his boot.  So I was better off.

I suppose that's how you tell the difference between someone who cares and someone who just wants to control.  It hurts. Always does.  There's no way to prepare for it.

I spent five minutes on the new Stairmaster at the gym.  I was dying.  I knew it was going to be tough, so I was just hoping to stay on five minutes. 

When the five minutes were up, I couldn't figure out how to get down, so I decided to ride the stairs down and hop off just before they turned under.  

And that would have been fine, except that when my feet hit the floor, both of my fatigued knees buckled and I landed on my butt, flat on the floor.  As if that weren't enough, going back I commanded lots of attention by falling back into the bike behind me, with a loud clang.  

Everybody looked.  Fortunately, I really did land on my very cushioned rear and it didn't hurt, but it was very embarrassing.  

Whirlwind in My Head

My mind is aswirl this morning.  Fortunately, it's not to the maelstrom point yet, but whirlwind is an apt description. I've got too much on my mind, none of which I can quite put aside.  If you stick with me, I promise there's a funny Stairmaster story coming up.  

There's that continual issue of people who turn their noses up at me as I pass, who have nothing to do with me until they want something, and then they expect me to be on call fulfilling their demands.  I'm an accessory to them -- a servant waiting for the ring of their bell to spring into living existence.  Sorry folks, I don't live for the slight praise you give when I fulfill your whims.  As a colleague of mine advises, "If you've got the money, I've got the time."  Maybe. 

It's getting to where I don't have the time for various reasons. Christmas is approaching, I have gifts to complete and gather, Medical procedures to do over, and I'm feeling myself inexplicably fatigued just by going through my daily routines.   Oh, and there are a few things I do for myself that I will NOT compromise on.  People want you to just "do this one quick thing for me" that eats away at your time like acid, and then they don't care that you have no time for yourself.  In their eyes, you'd better get it all done without disturbing your service to them.  

They'll get over it when I say no.  They have no choice.  When someone who has had nothing to do with you for twenty years wants you to cancel your plans (because YES, I do have holiday parties to attend, even though I don't splash all my business on Facebook) to do some special last-minute, time-consuming project, it's not surprising that I can't stretch extra hours into the day for them.  If I'm not already part of your life, why would you think that a few flattering words would motivate me to do work for you?  I truly do not understand these people.  And you know, it's so many people treating me that way.  I'm not an on-call demo person who figures out your machinery and then comes to give you free personal lessons, before, during, and after your active snubbing of me.  How about if you pay me $25 per hour as a consultation fee, up front?  Plus expenses.  I mean, you don't call me your friend, so you might as well consider me hired help.  Treat me that way with cash up front then.  Otherwise, I can't even consider making time for you.  My time is worth money.  I could be sleeping.  

If we were friends, sure, I'll consider helping you out if I could, but you need to get over that "she's single and has nothing better to do with her time, so I'm doing her a FAVOR by keeping her busy when she's not at work" misunderstanding about me.  I know who my friends are.  There aren't that many.  They spend time with me, do things with me that occasionally I want to do and they don't, and they don't invite me along just so that I can carry their bags, babysit their children, and defray their costs. They don't spend their free time being judgmental of me or blabbing every personal thing I tell them to whomever they like. This might be why I don't confide in some people anymore.

You don't have to worry.... I have plenty of things to do in my spare time.  I have home repairs and improvements to do.  I paint.  Sometimes I crochet and rarely I knit.  (Confession: I don't really enjoy knitting.  By the time I finish a small project, I'm far past the point of enjoyment on the project.  If I give you something I knitted, you should feel honored.) I make things.  I make a lot of things for people who are dismissive of all the time and materials I used in thinking about and executing a gift that I made for them.  I'm especially mindful of the ones who deliberately destroy that gift in my presence, just to show that they can.  I write.  I write to purge myself of negative feelings that just make me unwell.  I write because I have always wanted to write entertaining stories and I wasn't ever given an opportunity to act anything out.  I paint, when I'm not too disheartened by that situation.  More feelings of being an inconvenience.  I'm taking baby steps to being able to paint at home.  I have an easel.  Glass for a palette.  I'm lacking confidence.  My gut tells me that what I need to do is simply to paint more.  

And I sleep.  Sometimes I sleep because I can't face being conscious anymore, and sometimes I'm just so exhausted in mind and body that I can't stay awake. Sleep deprivation is ten times worse for me now than it was five years ago.  Though I'm not currently being pulled under by a quicksand of depression, it does feel like my feet are mired in a thick nightmarish tar that won't let me lift my feet completely free before they're pulled back down into the muck.  A few weeks ago I had to take diazepam before an MRI and it felt like I was wearing lead boots.  Then it felt like I was made of lead from the waist down.  That's what walking through my day often feels like - no spring in my step and feet of lead as i trudge. (refer to A Knight's Tale for the best description of trudging.)

Today, as yesterday, I'm sitting in my dark bedroom during daylight for yet another hour after waking.  (Thus is hour three, btw.) Am I wasting time? Well, not right at the moment, because I am writing.  Even the worst writing serves a purpose if it purges some darkness from your soul.  Okay, purges some darkness from your heart... Is that less pretentious?  

Of course, I'm sitting here listing to the wind tear through my property and thinking that I need to go buy a sheet of Advantech and replace my crawl space doors today while it's not bone-chillingly cold.   It's not that I've ever been taught anything about carpentry, but I'm intelligent, curious, and starting to understand that there's a lot I can do if I just give it a shot, even though it's out of the domain of things at women are "allowed" to do in this misogynistic world that proclaims equality for all.  

I don't want to think about all that will entail, though.   It's always a bigger job once you get started, and I know I have to consider the following tasks: measuring the door opening (which mysteriously reeks of mildew that literally clings to my hands beyond three washings), going to Lowes to buy Advantech.  Getting the sheet cut down so that it will fit in my car. Trimming it to size with my jigsaw once I get it home.  (Because that's all I have) Painting it with exterior grade paint. Mounting it on new hinges.  Attaching a new door latch.  Hoping there are no cats trapped under the house.  Repeat for the other door. I'm sure that there will be complications and challenges. There always are. Home repair never goes as easily as you hope it will.   (My house was added on to, hence two separate crawl spaces.). I could sit around just complaining that my house needs repairs.  Or I can take the steps toward accomplishing those repairs, which means learning, spending my time on unpleasant tasks, and getting a lot of splinters in my hands, then proudly completing the task only to have critical people tell me what I did wrong.  Well, up yours since you neither guided, advised, nor helped when it was needed.  I may be a genius, but knowledge comes from a place other than thin air and solitude.  

Where does knowledge / inspiration spring from, for me? (I pair the words, because after I'm inspired, I seek knowledge.  Then I learn.  And then I accomplish. )  Gadgety type stuff : seeing some material and wondering what I can do with it.  If I had time, funds, and enough understanding, I might invent a few things beyond the ideas I've held onto for years.  I just fixed my car with Sugru.  And some keys.  And a broken knife handle.  And Iphone cords.  And other things yet to come.  Yeah, roll your eyes at my geekiness, but you're the one who wanted to keep reading.  Inspiration from Pinterest.  The Internet.  Books I've had for a while.  Etsy. Instructables.   

Success with one project leads me to a slightly manic pursuit of success with similar materials. "I must make ALL the things out of wood! Mwahaha!"   I built an end-of-cabinet cutting board holder.  It made me happy so I made some underbed drawers. Then I hung several pieces of white pegboard in my studio. I leapfrog to the next idea, and hopefully, I have the time to complete that idea.  Coming up are crate-style shelves for my bedroom and another underbed drawer, plus a serving tray.  More pegboard, but in the kitchen to counteract the meager cabinet space and nonexistent counter space.  My kitchen has less working space than a camper - no kidding.  I've been inspired by my dad's woodworking magazines since I was a kid.  Books, my own magazines, TV shows... But if it wasn't for the Internet, I would really have a hard time learning about new things in a timely manner.  

I know that I'm being a big disappointment to someone right now, but if I'm not being honest about how I'm feeling, I'd just be puppetting myself, putting on an act to please someone.  I've found that being fake leads to resentment because I can't be myself, and myself isn't enough.  Should I only exist to make others happy?  Is being a fake version of myself acceptable? Because I've gotta tell you, some things about me will NEVER change.  I will always be short, yet shun high heels for the sake of my feet.  I will never want blonde hair.  I will never pretend to be stupid. I will always have wide hips, because that's bone structure.  I will always have small hands, which aren't pretty, but they're skilled.  I will always cringe at the rampant poor grammar I see from people who should know better.  I may have an uncontrollable need to point out the error.  I will not put myself out there because I have been too badly hurt in the past and I'm not sure I've recovered from it, or forgiven.  I can't forget.  I won't mind if you ask me about my kids and I have to respond that I don't have any.  You don't have to run away, embarrassed that you asked about a painful subject. I wanted a houseful of my own children. But I will get angry if you tell me how lucky I am to be unable to have kids, bombard me with your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, complaining yet bragging simultaneously.  If one of them died, would you like for me to tell you how "lucky" you are to have one less annoying descendant in your life?  You could just change the subject.  Or I could. But don't shun me by running away and never speaking to me again.  I'm just one of those people who didn't get that gift from God.  

Sometimes I wish I could project what I'm feeling onto someone else, so they would understand what the smile and attempt at an easygoing attitude is covering.  Some people just don't understand the danger of a hot stove until they burn themselves on it. I don't need dreams that I'm expected to drive over crumbling bridges to tell me that I'm worrying about upheaval, destruction, and death. (I got out of my car and refused to drive across that bridge.)  I don't need to dream about bizarre body changes that aren't really happening to know that I'm afraid of changes I can't stop and I wish would get to the finish already.  (I actively sought out the means to undo that change in my dream.) Still, I'm having those dreams and they certainly aren't comforting.  Neither are the reasons I'm having those dreams -- purely biological, I'm sure. Next time maybe I'll remember to change the dream to suit me, instead of scare me.  

I spent a large part of yesterday making handmade Christmas gifts.  I don't know if they will be appreciated. Does it even matter anymore? Isn't the point to give and let others make snarky comments behind your back while they toss it in the trash, or the yard sale box?  It's why I've stopped making many gifts.  That and the sheer cost of the materials.  Sure, I'll spend $80 on the materials for your blanket, and then spend the next three months making it, and sure, I'll be glad to add another foot to YOURS (it's only another $20) and another month to make it...  No problem.  I live to serve and spend my grocery money on you.  Oh of COURSE you'll take good care of it.  Yeah.  That "treating it like its a cheap dollar store rag" thing hurts me.  I don't use cheap materials.  I really need to just make myself some cheerful holiday sweatshirts.  (Then would come the "You could sell those and make a lot of money!" Comments that never come with "I'll spread the word for you" or "Of course I'll be glad to pay for mine -- we're friends, aren't we?" ;) 

Once I had a friend ask me to paint a full-wall wraparound mural for her baby's nursery.  I calculated what the charge should be ($1000) and told her it would normally cost $1000 for that much labor, expertise, and materials, but I would do it for $250.  It would be floor to ceiling mural work, with me painting the entire wall, after I prepped it.  She balked.  Having had no problem charging me full price for scrapbooking materials every time I came for a "party", she had a problem with paying $250 for four walls of custom decorative painting.  (The running rate for plain paint on the walls was $400 at the time.). She said that because we were friends, I should do it for free, for "word-of-mouth". I told her that was the cost of the labor and materials.  She'd need to at least pay for paint.  No dice.  She wanted a free mural.  Well, needless to say, she chose to drop our friendship after that.  She barely even responded when I said hi to her, and wouldn't speak first.  Now she just glares if I do see her.  The bright spot was that I didn't feel obligated to spend money at her house once a month after that.  It turns out that I can do a much nicer job on scrapbooks with Photoshop.  Yes, I know I could hire myself out to make digital scrapbooks, but again, people want free labor for that.  Everybody wants designer results for yard sale prices.  This is why we can't have nice things.

I have a multitude of valuable skills that nobody wants to pay for, but everybody wants to benefit from.   Lol. 

I know this post won't make me popular with anyone, but let's face it -- nobody is ringing my phone off the hook as it is, and probably won't know how to find me when they want something again, and I don't care as much as I thought I did.





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Magnesium Result

I started taking a magnesium supplement on Monday.  Monday night, I slept so well that I felt like I'd been anesthetized.  I didn't wake up groggy, though my body did try to wake me up exactly one hour early in honor of Daylight Saving Time's change in the clock.  Yeahhh, get with it body, we are on a new schedule.

It was such a solid, heavy quality night's sleep that it felt like a warm darkness tangibly snuggling my whole body.  

Now it could be the sudden boost in magnesium, which helps calm the nerves and allows for healthier sleep.  I honestly thought it was due to the glass of red wine and 5 mg of melatonin, with my thunderstorm recording playing.  It could have been a fluke.

Except that last night I slept very well too, with all the same factors. :). I don't care what it was -- I'm grateful for the restful sleep.  That's the way it's supposed to feel, by golly!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lowes Employees Fear Pinterest

Last week's carpentry project was a wood drawer / box, to be used under my bed for storing my shoes.  You know how it is... You have sneakers for running and exercising (though running shoes really should be reserved for running only...), sneakers for just wearing around for comfort, so as not to wear out the running shoes, and old running shoes that became the yard-mowing shoes.  I think it's time to cycle them down and give myself a newer pair of yard mowing shoes, eh? And maybe stash a pair in my car for emergencies.  

Still, I'm left with a queen sized bed, under which the only thing tha comfortably fits is my Yorkie. It's his favorite hiding place.  It's always been a shame that space couldn't be utilized for proper storage, because the clearance on the sides is only 5 1/2 inches.  I couldn't find plastic underbed boxes to fit.  

I decided to build one. Okay, maybe three, if it all worked out.  :D

I sketched out my plans, made allowances for actual lumber dimensions, and went to Lowes with my shopping list on my phone.  

One thing on the list was a countersink bit.  I had decided to find my way in woodworking without spending $200 per project, as a lot of newbies do.  I'm limited to buying one basic tool each time I make something, and in this way, I'll eventually have some useful tools, learning to use one new thing each time.  The countersink bit was needed in order to prevent my wood from splitting, primarily, and secondarily to sink the screw heads neatly below the surface.  It makes sanding over those screws easier.  

I think I spent $63 for this one drawer.  Hahaha!  But if you throw in a drink from the cooler, and a set of countersink bits for $20 (cheaper by the set, and I would have bought the wrong one anyway), I didn't do too badly.  I also had some leftover lumber to use for other projects. Yay.

I did fine picking out 1x4s, though they had some really crummy ones in the pile and I had to dig a bit in order to find boards that were straight, not cupped, and not full of knots.  It was a pain.  Then I needed to find good quality plywood for the bases. I wanted 1/4 inch plywood, but I would have had to buy a $20 small piece per drawer, leaving a lot of waste.  

The lumber department manager convinced me to get a full sheet of plywood to save money and avoid waste, soI had him cut it for me in 25"x28" bases for three drawers, and cut the remainder in half to fit my car.  

The first sheet he pulled off and started to take to the saw was covered in so much glue that there was barely any wood visible.  He didn't seem to care until I called him on it and asked him to get another sheet that was of better quality.  I thought that for nearly $30, I deserved a piece of good quality wood, right?  Glue blobs? PLEASE!  I'm a novice, but I'm not that stupid.  

He also tried to convince me to use a really floppy piece of cheesy paneling for the base.  Then I started to suspect that he was either being spiteful of a woman carpenter, or just freaking clueless himself.  Maybe he had no vision about how a finished underbed drawer should function.  

He asked what I was making, and after I told him, he looked back with a weary expression and said, "This isn't a Pinterest project, is it?"  I said no, and asked him why.  He said that a lot of people come in having seen something on Pinterest, and expecting him to tell them how to make it.  Men and women.  I laughed and said that its my own design.  Hmm... That might have been worse. ;). I considered having him cut the boards, too, but then thought I'd rather do that myself.  Good thing I did...

The next day I measured and cut the sides, using my knee to hold the wood and my concrete steps...  Okay, I was planning to buy the recommended Workmate, but the Men of Lowes stated they hadn't sold those for a year and they didn't sell well anyway.  Here's what I think: newbie woodworkers like me either don't know about those small portable workbenches and how helpful they can be, or the ones purchased there are large workbenches for people with workshops, and they are experienced woodworkers.  

I've got a carport.  Lol. I need a portable workbench that I can store away when I'm not using it.   And how would a lass like me know about a portable workbench, when there are none to be seen in a local store?  I'd not heard of them before I saw mention of them in a book.  Fortunately, I did have a helper to hold things steady for me while I was drilling countersink holes for my screws.  

But I was on my knees on the concrete a lot, and it would have been helpful to have an elevated bench with clamps. I believe I could have worked a lot faster and avoided getting all achy on the cold, damp concrete.  Would have been nice!  

When it was time to attach the bottom, I realized that the wood wasn't cut square.  It was off nearly 1/4" on opposite corners, yet the sides I had cut and screwed together were perfectly square.  

As it turns out, Mr. "I'm the department manager and I've worked here ten years" isn't very proficient at using a panel saw. According to my brother, panel saws should be really accurate... In the hands of a proficient cutter.  I find it almost funny that I could have done a better job cutting my own plywood with a jigsaw, if only I'd been able to haul it home in one piece.  Maybe the inaccuracy of his cuts explains why he gave me a $10 discount on the whole sheet of plywood.  I wonder what it would have been on the unpaintable and covered in glue sheet he tried to pawn off on me first.  (Clueless, or malicious?)

Well, I made it work on that one piece, and sort of planed down the splintered edges of his cuts and the overhangs.  I wish I'd had a square and a workbench to use and repaired his messy cuts.  He ripped through the wood when he should have slowed down the saw to cut more smoothly.  All the edges of the cuts were splintered.  Doesn't he understand the nature of plywood??

Hopefully, the other two drawer bases I had him cut won't be too hard to correct.  I may not make three full drawers anyway.  Maybe two, and a smaller third.  

Unfortunately, the thick base means that my casters won't work, and I have to attach furniture slides under the drawers.  Or not.  But they might make it easier to use the drawers. I also have to paint and attach handles, but I think I'll hold off on that until I get the other drawers built.

My first drawer isn't perfect.  The bottom is a bit off square and it's heavy due to the thicker-than-I-wanted base, but I was limited by what was available and not wanting to waste wood with only one usable cut from a 4x 4 sheet.  Most of the pieces were 4x2 pieces and wouldn't work anyway.  

But hey... I made it to hide under the bed anyway, so it doesn't have to be perfect.  :D



Needsum Magnesium

At some point in the past year I read about magnesium deficiency causing metabolism problems and decided to start taking vitamins again.  Then I noticed that my vitamins, listed as "complete", contained no magnesium whatsoever.  Because I was juicing a lot of kale at the time, I forgot all about that.  After all, green leafy veggies are loaded with the mineral.  

My migraines are getting worse, so I read the articles that I find, and last night I found one that mentioned a correlation between magnesium deficiency and migraines.  It also said that migraines with aura (mine are called scintillating scotoma) double the risk of stroke.  Add that to my mother's strokes, and I may be in trouble.    

But another few interesting things: magnesium deficiency, IBS, and migraines.  It's all about the nerves.  Furthermore, the more migraines you have, the more likely it is that you'll develop fibromyalgia.  A third of migraine suffers get fibromyalgia because the constant migraine pain overactivates pain responses. Well, I have been hurting all over for a while, but I thought it was just aging.  Maybe those nerves are on edge all the time.  I wouldn't say fibro at this point, but maybe I am hurting a lot more than I used to.  I guess I'd better keep the Imitrex handy.

Maybe that's why the pain from my "irritated femoral nerve" has worsened.  In my imagination, it's like the Colorado River carving it's way through an easier riverbed for transporting agony.  My nervous system is deteriorating.  *sigh*

I was diagnosed a few years ago with IBS, but it manifests primarily in intense abdominal pain and swelling.  (At least I don't have to deal with the other two major symptoms often, though I think I have them more often than a normal person.) The pain feels like broken glass is moving through my digestive tract, and honestly, it makes me want to stop eating altogether sometimes.  I deal with it most days, so no comments about my swollen belly, ok? :)

Yesterday I looked for multivitamins with magnesium again, and couldn't find any. :(. I guess I'll just have to get a standalone supplement to get the recommended 600 mg per day that is reportedly the right amount to avoid migraines and IBS symptoms.  

So that gives me more vitamins to add to my hypochondriac-esque pill dispenser box.  It only holds vitamins, I promise.  It's one of those 1 week am & pm ones, so I just fill it with a two week supply.  I feel better if I remember my vitamins, and the box is just a timesaver.  If I open several bottles every morning, it takes me forever, and I tend to spill them.  :). Before coffee.  This way I just open one little box and I'm done. 

So I'm not a hypochondriac (the pain is real) and I try not to take painkillers because I don't want to get hooked on them.  There's also the problem of OTC drugs causing rebound headaches.  So that's bad.  :). 

Trying to make one doctor hear that all this is connected is difficult.  They all want to hear one symptom per office visit charge, and come back for another charge if you have another symptom.  They've largely forgotten that the point of being a doctor is to heal, not to rack up co-payments.  I don't mind paying fees for proper treatment, but I know when I'm being obviously hustled.  It makes me less likely to seek medical treatment when I need it.

I'm hoping for the day when medical science goes Star Trek and they can just scan people to find all the interrelated health problems and fix them with a few buttons pressed. :)  Though I suppose that would mean that hundreds of parties might not profit from my illness.  As you do?