Still feeling like crap, but at least all of the coughing means that I'm actually getting air...

But, I wanted to write about last week.  A friend was traveling out of Chicago by train for just over a week, and rather than pay to have her car sit idle in an expensive downtown parking garage she asked if I'd like to use it for the week and then just pick her up at the station when she got back. Now, I've lived in Chicago for more than 20 years without owning a car, though I do the occasional rental and am a member of a car-sharing service for bulky errands.  But this was my first experience with regular commuting by car.

A few things I noticed right away:

  • I have no idea how long it takes to drive anywhere.  Programmed by public transit, in my head somehow Arlington Heights, Wheeling, and Naperville are all the same place - they have hotels there that I get to by going downtown, getting on a Metra train for half an hour, and then take a shuttle the last bit.

  • Driving a Smart Car on a regular basis really redefines your sense of what constitutes a "big enough parking place".  I was never very good at parallel parking - it wasn't part of Drivers Ed and NJ has parking lots everywhere so it wasn't really an issue.  But with this little thing, I got really good at taking those little leftover spots on the end of the block, or those half-plowed ones at the mall.

  • There is a surprising amount of interior room for a car that looks more like you put it on than get into it.  I managed to fit 5 IKEA bags full of warehouse club groceries plus a case of toilet paper into it, though there wasn't much room to spare.  Trunk Tetris FTW.

  • Joining the 21st Century was kind of cool.  I was able to plug my phone in to an outlet in the glove box, turn on navigation, and the car told me where to go.  I love living in the future!

I also found that I quickly got out of the habit of wearing hats and gloves.  Wasn't outside long enough to need them and they just become more crap to tote around.  Same thing with my bag - I ditched the backpack for a week in favor of a smaller tote that was easier to toss in the passenger seat.

I found that going from my home in Rogers Park to the office in Roscoe Village in the morning it was slightly faster to take Damen, but coming home if I got out on time at 5 Western was the better bet.  I was usually able to find parking within a block of my home, and easily about  block from the office on Belmont.  (Belmont has timed parking restrictions so I usually just put the car on Melrose and left it for the day).

Comparing times, when I take the bus I walk out the door at about 7:38 and between busses and the last 3 block walk (if there isn't a bus around) I get to work at 8:30.  Driving, I was really only able to get 12 more minutes, as there was still the need to walk to the car, get around the one-way streets and onto the right road.  So time-wise it wasn't a great savings.  It was nice to have the ability to get to places that are less accessible by public transit, but the up-side just wasn't that much of a swing for me.

Throughout the week, I noticed a LOT of people stopping to look at the car.  I think partly because it's pretty distinctive and people were impressed with where it could park, but of course it may have also been the "Don't blame me - I voted for Dead Bob" bumpersticker...

I did find that I missed my commuting time on the bus - that's when I do a bit of reading or listen to an audiobook, or check my e-mail and generally chill and sort of mentally "check out".  You can't do that when you're driving.

I started the week with a pretty full tank, drove out to Schaumburg and around one day, hauled heavy stuff another, and went to Niles once but other than that I did mostly in-city driving.  That took me down to about 1/4 tank, which I filled back up for just over $27 at Sams Club prices of around $3.86/gal.  So it's very efficient but also has a tiny tiny gas tank.

I think that if I had the means to have a car this one might suit my needs,  It's utterly unsuited to more than 2 people or any kind of family setting.  But if it was just me (and Winslet) it would work just fine.  I've been considering (once the housing situations stabilizes) looking into getting an electric scooter or moped for the commute, but for my lifestyle at this point a car really doesn't make sense.

Haven't been posting much

My health has been pretty awful for a while.  I've been in a full-on asthma flare since before Capricon, and then developed allergic reactions to 2 of the new medications we tried.  It's uncomfortable to breathe, I'm coughing a lot, and I'm constantly short of breath.  Really all I've felt up to is working, lying on the couch, and sleeping.  Been on prednisone for a week now with no real improvement.  I still need the nebulizer 3x a day plus I wake up at night with symptoms that need my rescue inhaler on top of that.

So I've not had anything of substance to say, and I've been doing my short-span whining on Facebook.

I'm in touch with my doctor through all of this, but we're just running out of options for treatment that are effective.

I love Fandom!

windy steampunk
I am totally behind the concept of "authors doing goofy things for charity donations".  First I know of was Jim Hines recreating the poses of female characters on book covers hich has now raised over $15k fo Aicardi Syndrome.

Now, yesterday, the Acts of Whimsy fundraiser (to enable author and cancer patient Jay Lake to get a full genetic sequencing) went over $30k in under 24 hours!

So far we as a community have "won":Collapse )

Holidays with bunnies

Since my family is rather scattered, I tend to get a lot of my holiday gifts shipped. Often my relatives don't bother to have them wrapped. My mom did. Of course, that was the one that Winslet "opened" all on her own.  She chewed a hole in the box, pulled off the ribbon, and knocked it off the chair onto the floor where it opened.

The ironic part? It was cord covers that I asked for to do some bunnyproofing..... 

And to add insult to injury, I came home from work as usual but noticed that she didn't come running for her salad like usual.  I started looking around, getting more worried by the minute, until I heard a rustling noise from my bedroom.  The bedroom that is on the other side of a 36
" X-pen gate (still fastened).   Discovered that she had nibbled off the toes of my favorite new boots - which had been placed in there specifically to keep her away from them.  The noise I had heard was her chowing down on the handle of my laundry bag.. 

I'm beginning to think longingly of a new furry hat!

progress report


Its been an eventful last couple of months.

I started working full-time as of October 1.  I really enjoy my job - my boss really needed a "me" - he comes from the construction end of property management and I come from the paperwork side of things.  That plus my condo board experience means that I can be a big help to him in seeing that his business grows without bits falling off around the edges.  The pay is fine but more importantly, he thanks me at least once a week.  I'm supported, valued, and appreciated - that's about ideal in my books.

I was approved for bankruptcy on October 22nd.  The half hour before the trustee hearing was the most anxious I have ever been, but the hearing itself took all of 3 minutes, including making sure that my name was being pronounced correctly for the recorder and a but of banter as to whether Winslet qualifies as an asset or a liability.  See, I wanted to be very thorough when I did my household inventory so I listed her as a misc asset with a value of her adoption fee.  I got the paperwork back for signature with her listed as One (1) rabbit - pet - no value except to owner.  I didn't tell her that because I didn't want to hurt her feelings...

Then my boss announced that he's moving to SW Michigan!  He and his wife were planning on something like this in a year or so - they have young kids and want to live in a more suburban setting with room to run and better schools.  They lucked in on an amazing deal on a foreclosure on 5 acres in their target area with good schools, and he felt that since I'm on board and so much of our stuff is in the cloud, they could move up their timetable.  He plans to come in to Chicago 2-3 days a week for meetings and such, and is going to try and buy out one of his rental tenants early (March-ish) and set up a pied-à-terre.  I suggested that since the point of renting an actual office was to get the work life away from the family life, and now the family life was moving, why pay the extra for a second space when I could work just as easily from a desk in the apartment.  So some things are still up in the air as far as what and when, but it's pretty daunting to realize that he's basically handing the day-to-day operation of his business to me after less than a month of full-time work!  But it's exciting too.

Windycon went well - The theme was Zombies, so I set up a workshop on Friday where people could bring in old clothes and distress them with fake blood, mud, grass stains, tears and claw marks, etc.  AT least 5 people made their outfits on Friday and then wore them on the catwalk on Saturday, which is EXACTLY what I want to have happen.  Two women were really nervous backstage, and then they took their turn on stage, sat down, looked at each other and said "Can we do that again?".  :)  The beginning sewing panel also seemed to go well, and my Stage Blood Cookoff was not only well-attended but I managed to squick out a nurse and a vet!  

I finally have medical overage again!  It's through the state's IPXP.  My boss is paying for it.  I had to have no coverage at all for 6 months and be denied for private insurance, and now I have free preventative care, a $500 deductible, and 20% copay on prescriptions.  I was able to fill 4 of my meds for 90 days for only $32 last night - I nearly cried with relief at the pharmacy window.  I had a full physical including pap, bloodwork, pee test, mammogram referral and re-ups on all of my scripts for free.  You have no idea how much that is a huge weight off my shoulders.  

Winslet went through a territorial pooping phase after we sent Izzy/irving back to Red Door.  She wanted it known in no uncertain terms that this is HER home TYVM, and no icky boybunnies are welcome.  She calmed down after a few weeks, and has started nibbling random things again.  She even figured out how to get into my bedroom while I was at Windycon.  I'be not looked for all the damage but while the featherbed seems to have survived unscathed the duvet was a bit nibbled as was a nightshirt and a vest that was on the floor.

So all things considered, I'm pretty relieved for now.

KingPierre is gone

pet the bunny

daystarclarion's Pierre just passed away in her arms.  He had been losing weight, and was in kidney failure.  He was not in pain.

Some of us who have only met here and now follow each other on Facebook as well were remarking that he was among the last of the Greatest Generation of Bunnyowners Buns. MoeMoe, The Phooka, Pepper, and now Pierre - all gone.

*sad face*

OK - I have to get this off my chest.

fuck short chick

(crossposted from y Facebook page)

When you go to the polls this fall, PLEASE don't write in a fictional character.

All that means is more work for the overtired judges of election.

At least in Illinois, those votes are not even reported from the precinct. But any ballots with write-ins have to be individually examined by at least two of the election judges (one from each main party) to see if they are legitimate pre-registered write-in candidate. Whether or not it's a legit. write-in vote, they then have to be recorded on 5 separate forms, and sealed in a special envelope - ALL of which have to be hand-signed by all of the judges at the polling place. These people have already been at the polling place since 5AM and they REALLY want to go home now.

THEN the reporting boxes from that polling get special stickers so they are set aside at the receiving station so that the boxes can be individually opened by paid teams of sworn judges to review the write-in ballots AGAIN.

That's a fuckton of work that you, the taxpayers, end up footing the bill for, because some asshole wanted to vote for Donald Duck.

So just don't

Winslet vs the Apple Chips Bag


Izzy/Irving has to go back to Red Door


Earlier this week, when I was relocating his pen, he got around me and ran into the kitchen.  He and Winslet interacted pretty well for a little while, so I let them, but I took my eyes off them for a second and a really bad fight broke out.

During the week, I had to wrap his pen in paper in an attempt to :out of sight out of mind:, but both were trying to chew through the barrier - him to get out and play, and her in to attack the interloper.  He's soo cheerful that he hops up to anyone aproaching the pen, looking for attention, pettins, and treats - even when the thing on the other side is a grumpy bitey ladybun.  Things weren't calming with time - they seemed to be escalating.

Then last night, while he was having Out Time, he figured out that he could jump the 34" barrier I had in the hall, and Winslet was on the other side.  Another viscious fight all up and down the hallway, with clumps of fur flying on both sides and I had trouble separating them.   I realized that if he can clear a 34" blind barrier it was only a matter of time before he figured out how to get out of a 36" pen, and that I wasn't going to be able to keep him safe long enough for them to work things out, and I'd never forgive myself if he got out while I was at work and one of them got seriously hurt.

So to protect Irrepresible Irving from his own doofiness and placate my Attack Bun, I took him back to Red Door this morning.  They already have a date lined up for him.  I'll miss him terribly, and I can't help feeling that if I had only dome something different or earlier or better they could have worked things out. But at this point, this was really the only option.


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March 2013


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