Happy mommy day, moms.

If you just so happen to be a mom, or a future mom, today, this is probably one of the most important days we’ll pass through this year. Enjoy it, and try not to work too hard–that’s why you have kids. If you’re not a mom or expectant mom, or even if you are, take yours out to breakfast or something. Now. Do it right now. She’ll thank you. Particularly if you pay for it. For everyone else, happy Sunday. Have a pint or two for me–I’ll be busy paying for mom’s breakfast. And loving every minute of it.

In which mom becomes this year’s April fools casualty.

I’m the family geek. Which, really, has its positives as well as its rather irritating negatives. And sometimes, it’s neither positive nor negative–just six or seven different kinds of hillarious. Take Friday morning, for example. We’re sitting down for breakfast, and mom brought up an announcement by Google that said they were officially changing their name to Topeka. The announcement, apparently, made headlines.

I didn’t quite have the heart, even after I’d managed to stop laughing, to tell her she’d just been had a day late. But, eventually, I did. She still thought, at least for a few minutes anyway, that it was actually going to be their official name as of–conveniently–April first, the poor girl. In thirty seconds, I summarized the background for Google’s latest of April fool’s jokes. Then got treated to a rare event–I do believe she actually looked like she’d just been handed a 3-dollar bill for a minute.

I’ve been trying for 26 years to pull one over on my mother. Google did it in 24 hours. And all it had to do was make the news. Now, if I’d just waited a day or two longer before breaking the bad news to her… nah, that would be *too* mean. Maybe next year.

The nephew, in pictures!

Because I keep threatening to do this and never get around to it, I now get around to it. I don’t have many pictures of him yet, but thankfully he’ll be around for ages, so that’ll change in plenty of time. He’s just over 6 months old now, and growing like a freakin’ weed. Here’s a comparison.

Jess was up in December for Christmas, and got to spend a little time with him. You may or may not be able to see her in this picture, but she’s there. Mostly, she’s distracting him while mom snaps his mug. You kind of had to be there. Warning: cute overload.

That was at 3 months old. He blew up in the 2 months since then–here’s the same kid in February. Freaking scary the difference. Gotta love me.

And, because my family has its extreme random moments, here’s the same 5-month-old, in gangsta form. Hey, if you knew his father, you’d catch on. If you know his father, be afraid for his kid. That's one gangsta baby!

Appologies in advance of the images are a little difficult to view or anything. They were taken on a cell phone, and I may or may not have stuck them up here properly. Still, there’s the familial snap fest. There will probably be more. If there are, they will probably be here. And probably, hopefully, slightly less broken.

Also: You hotlink the images and not ask me, I break your fingers. Or at least stare you down angrily. You have been warned.

Sometimes, family outings are awesomeness.

I hadn’t planned to do a whole lot yesterday, with the exception of posting the very little info I managed to get my hands on regarding Ontario’s, shall we say, ripping off of an entire class of tax payer. But, as often tends to happen, plans came up and told me otherwise. So, instead I wrote those posts the day before, and took advantage of yesterday to go out for breakfast with mom, my aunt and uncle, and my cousin Stephen’s daughter–they were apparently babysitting her, unbeknownst to us when we dropped the invite. Which ended up working out for the better, since I had a sneaking suspicion breakfast with these particular people would translate to a morning spent doing very little.

I was right, and it did exactly that. Fortunately seeing the baby served to counter the otherwise boredom. She’s approaching 2, and I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve actually seen her–which, naturally, explained why she pretty much had absolutely no idea who I was. Then again, when you’re still measuring your life in months as opposed to years, it happens.

Breakfast took up a fair bit of the morning, followed by a run to Wall Mart where we once again ran into them. Which, as often happens, meant we spent 3/4 of the time there browsing/talking/generally being bored before we finally managed to pick up the two things we’d intended to go there for. The rest of the morning, and a goodly chunk of the afternoon, was taken up with a visit to my grandparents, who I also don’t get to see a whole lot of recently–and, again, we were followed there by my aunt and uncle which meant our visit ended up being longer than we’d planned. Fortunately, the cute factor made it semi-entertaining–which is more than I can say for a lot of visits there. I came back here, intent to grab a power nap and ended up grabbing a bout of unconsciousness instead.

All in all, a semi-productive, not quite lazy, but still non-boring enough to be somewhat noteworthy day. Plus, time spent with a kid not yet old enough to make you want to curse the existence of kids everywhere. Epic win by default. And now, I attempt to invent a Monday. God help me.

Best. Week. Ever.

Some of you already know Jessica was up here for the week, having escaped back to Rochester this past Sunday. Mostly, we had her up here because we could, but a small part of it had to do with the fact it was the week of St. Patrick’s day. Naturally nothing overly spectacular was planned, but there was still fun to be had.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much written off, on account of she just got here Saturday and well, needed all the rest she could get. Monday meant time well wasted with the family–we killed part of the afternoon over at mom’s, which has become pretty much routine for me anyway. We got to spend some quality time with my nephew at the same time, which is never a bad thing. I still need to post pictures up here–somebody needs to prevent me from forgetting. Or I need to stop being lazy, whichever. Tuesday was more of the same, except minus the nephew and plus a much needed trip to what passes for a grocery store in Petawawa.

Wednesday was when the party really got started. We got together for food and booze with mom, my aunt and uncle. A few beers and a couple vodka and cokes later, and we weren’t quite feeling it. So we came back to the apartment afterwards and picked up where we left off. There was music, the occasional slow dancing, we decided to pick right around that point to start fiddling with Gold Wave–because learning to edit audio is the thing to do when you’re buzzed. And, of course, there was interesting/amusing/entertaining conversation to be had. Although, it’s very likely it was only really interesting/amusing/entertaining to us, but oh well. We threw on Minority Report (2002), seeing as I hadn’t seen it and she liked the general description of the movie. And I’m considering seeing it again just because it’s on the computer now.

Thursday was our recovery day. We slept in fairly late, got up, and took it easy all day. Neither of us were hung over, but we weren’t about to pick up where we left off the night before either. We’d save that for Friday. And, naturally, we did just that. On Friday we cracked open what was left of the vodka, finished most of it, and I introduced her to 50 First Dates (2004). Because really, no Adam Sandler fan can make a claim of being just that without having seen that movie.

Saturday we took her into town so I could show her one of my favourite things about living where there isn’t really a whole lot of anything–the local pizza place, who’s quality I’ve not been able to match anywhere else. She took the opportunity to pick herself up a book as well–not knowing it was abridged, which still cost her damn near $40. I’ll be making an attempt to exchange that particular novel tonight hopefully. Then, because I kept saying I would, I took her to the local Mexican restaurant, the Santa Fe. As usual, I skipped dessert. Needless to say, the only thing we were considering doing when we got back was flaking out, relaxing, thinking about packing her up to leave on Sunday, then going to sleep. So we did.

Sunday was departure day. We got her packed and ready to go by 10, more or less. And we were gone by 11. Her bus didn’t pull away until 2:30, but we had no idea what to expect trafic-wise, and Ottawa has a nasty little habbit of always being worse than we plan for. Not an issue if I’m living in Ottawa. A huge issue if I’m just visiting temporarily. We did manage to get to the station just fine, though, and she got off with no problem whatsoever–at least until she got to Toronto, but that’s a whole other rant for another time and probably on her blog. I went to mom’s for supper, then back here to keep an ear to the ground and make sure she got to Rochester in one piece. She did, and after that point, it became pretty much back to business as usual for both of us. But, we did manage to learn something halfway interesting–again, probably only to us–in the process. The next time we do this, we really aught to not make it another 3 months from now. A week is just too little time to catch up.

A weekend well spent, I dare say.

Things have a nasty little habbit of happening here on 30 seconds’ notice. That kind of happened on Friday. Mom was in a fair bit of pain, and ended up going to Ottawa to get herself checked out Friday morning. There’s speculation that it may or may not be something similar to what she was dealing with in January. If it is, it’s nowhere near as severe so it can be left to either heal on its own or be delt with in a month or two if it’s not getting any better or worse. That left us free yesterday, and her particularly pain free, to spend some quality time with my nephew.

His parents were in Ottawa for their own reasons–I suspect it had a lot to do with a shopping trip and a stop off at the casino, so he belonged to us for the day. He’s almost 6 months old now, and you might argue he looks more like a 9-month-old or older. Already he’s fitting into clothes etc for up to 12 months in some cases. So yeah, spending time with him pretty much took care of the majority of the day. And, yes, was exhausting as hell–but I’ll take it.

It of course meant today was an easy day, with the only thing worth going out for being a trip to the Santa Fe Restaurant for supper–if you’re in the Pembroke area and do not stop in to this restaurant, you’re ripping yourself off. Just sayin’. They do everything from prime rib to Italian to yes, Mexican. Costs a little more than most places, but you’ll probably not be ordering dessert. Or breakfast the next morning. I’ve been home for 2 hours and I’m still stuffed.

There will be nephew pictures posted up here at some point. Most likely, later tonight. As for right now, there’s a hockey game on, caffinated things in the fridge, optionally alcoholic things to be put in said caffinated things, and a laptop that still needs to be tweeked just a little tiny bit. And I need to explode. Excuse me while I go do that.

Hockey. It’s in the family.

The Leafs being up 4 nothing in the second against Ottawa reminded me, I’m a lot closer to the game than I often times realize. Just how close, though? If we’re all connected by at most 6 degrees of separation as I’ve been told, I’m connected by 2. My cousin plays for a AA level minor league team, the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces. They recently managed the semi-finals at the International Silver Stick tournament. I heard a rumor, though my google skills do not appear to prove it, that he may have also been called up to the Ottawa 67’s at one point. Growing up, I always wondered what it’d be like to actually have a relative in the NHL–even if I haven’t personally seen that relative since before he could walk. Now, I might just get a chance to know. Just here’s hoping he doesn’t become a Senator.

Life has decided I can’t do laundry.

Unless I’d like to devote half my small amount of spending money to cab fair, laundromat fairs and replacing half the supplies I don’t get back from the said laundromat, apparently. At the beginning of the year, I discovered this building’s dryers rather suck when it comes to actually, you know, drying. But in order to find that out, it required I first take 25 minutes to convince it that it wanted to take my money. After a long conversation that involved the temporary use of my mail key to complete payment, and actually force the thing to accept my money, I discovered I’d of been better off not bothering. Getting my clothes roughly equivalent to dry would cost just about twice what it cost me to wash the things. Instead, after having a very short conversation with the landlord, I decided my parents wanted to see me more often anyway. Now they had a reason.

And, because technological screw-ups always happen in at least twos, while not hearing back from the landlord on the building’s machines, my parents’ washing machine decided to take a permanent vacation. So now it’s temporarily laundromat or nothing for all of us, at least until their replacements get there–fortunately it shouldn’t be more than 3 days. Or, in corporate speak, whenever they get around to it. They say bad things happen in threes. well, I just ran out of laundry things to go break. Any guesses what’s next?

The mommy update, part 2.

Insanity has been the last few days, otherwise I might have remembered to post this Sunday or Monday. Maybe. Mom made it through the surgery just fine as expected, and came home Sunday night. The only problem was she didn’t know what exactly was done to her–the surgeon had apparently decided not to leave notes for anyone else so they could tell her the semi-important details. Like, for instance, what she was supposed to do for post-op care. Or, even more fun, whether or not she had stiches. She was ordered to do the generic things–take it easy, no heavy lifting, all that good stuff–for about a week or two, just in case. Somewhere between then and now, she decided she didn’t have stiches–she’s had that operation done before, so would know if stiches were in or not. So, obviously feelilng much better and much less sore than she’d expected, she was off to Ottawa today for another appointment to get some kind of funkyness removed from her hand. Her good luck ran out right about then–she is now the proud owner of hand stiches, and the proud recipient of a temporary handycap. So, I go back over to the mommy house tonight, just as soon as my ride shows up, and babysit for a day or two. Fortunately, when I left on Monday I left my stuff there, so packing only meant throwing clothes on. It’s only supposed to be for about 24 hours, but knowing how she works I may only be over there for 12. But, at least this time we know what they did. That’s always helpful.

The mommy update, plus the first job application of 2010.

As of about 11:30 last night, mom’s surgery was done with and she was doing well. Actually, in my father’s words she was going back to her room and straight to bed. Which, to me, means she’s just fine. They’ll find out today exactly what they found/did/things and when it is she’ll be going home. Again, though, they’ll probably end up releasing her today unless there’s some major funkyness going on. Not that the last 3 days haven’t been some major funkyness, but hey, everyone’s definition’s a little different.

In lighter news, and news more relevant to me specificly, my first job application of 2010 was finally filed last night. It wasn’t anything overly earth shattering. Another customer service job with Rogers Communications, our equivalent of Comcast and AT&T combined. I’ve applied with them several dozen times already, although the last time they actually thought about getting me in for an interview, so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’m keeping my eye out and hoping like hel Ottawa gets a few more tech jobs. What with all the office closures and massive layoffs in the last year or two–Dell, the local outsourcing office of Sytel, and more recently the layoffs and eventual bankrupsy of Nortel–they could use a few dozen. HP has an office there, but if you’re not bilingual you’re not qualified, so we’ll just pretend like they don’t. In the meantime, it’s quarter past 5 and I should be sleeping. Will I? Hmmm. My money’s on probably not. Hello again, screwy schedule.

Officially the longest day trip in history.

There’s a very good, and very logical, reason why it is I never bother to do something as simple as make plans. Something almost always manages to show up to make things work significantly less than well. Like two days ago for example. The original plan, that is the plan we walked to the car with in our heads that morning, was to take a trip to Ottawa for dad’s doctor’s appointment, then maybe grab a little lunch and head home. After we finished with dad’s appointment, the plan changed to maybe grab lunch, then swing by Costco and then home. And by the time we got to the point where we’d have to make up our minds, the plan became a trip to the casino, then Costco, then home. We managed the trip to the casino.

Just about the time we were ready to make our way to the car to head to Costco–we even already had our jackets on and everything, mom started feeling this extreme sharp pain. Now, her pain threshold’s nearly as high as mine, so when it’s bad enough that she can barely move nevermind talk, it’d probably drive most people to either scream or break things. She could barely do either when we started for the car. We very nearly called an ambulance, except we were in Quebec and none of us could speak french overly well. We got her to the emergency room of one of the hospitals in Ottawa. And then the waiting started. And continued. And kept on continuing.

By 8:30, she’d managed only to get as far as urgent care. She’d been triaged, and… that’s about where it stopped. When I finally left at about quarter to 9, she was still sitting there. I headed to Trish’s place to grab a few hours sleep, banking on them not doing much with her overnight. Dad stuck around, banking on not getting much sleep overnight. We were both right.

At 3:00 yesterday morning, they finally got around to admitting her. They were operating on the same suspicion she was–it was a result of some kind of infection, which was producing rather painful levels of swelling. They ran bloodwork, which seemed to confirm it. Then she got to wait some more for them to get around to doing the ultrasound. That happened at about 9 yesterday morning. By then, they’d had her hooked up to an IV for antibiotics and were talking about the likelyhood of a DNC to try and remove any of the remaining swelling or scar tissue that might have been hanging around causing her additional problems. She was pain free, and we suspect infection free, when I dropped in to see her last night on the way here to dog sit and get things ready to mom sit. They hadn’t done the surgery yet, but they still had her on the antibiotics.

I got back here at about midnight, by which time it was pretty much decided she’d be going into surgery at some point today. I, along with pretty much the rest of our family, kept close to the phone for any kind of semi-significant change to the current situation.

At roughly 7:00 or so tonight, that change happened. I got the call first from my grandmother, and then from my dad, letting me know they were taking her into surgery. Apparently, the operation itself takes less time than the prep and recovery do, so we figure they’ll be able to release her before midnight tonight. Whether or not they will is another story entirely, but they’ll be able to. At the absolute latest, barring any random and unforeseen complications, she’ll be home tomorrow. As of right now, though, I have a fairly huge house and two overly affectionate dogs to myself. Anyone want an overly affectionate dog?

When layoffs hit home.

In 2008, the Dell office in Ottawa I was working at shut down, giving its employees a bit over a month’s notice. In early to mid 2009, my father’s job with a transport company went from under him as the company itself ended up being bought up. On Friday, my mother was informed as of the moment she was told, she no longer had a job at the local hardware store. And today, I got to learn my uncle, who’d been working at a local vehicle repair shop for at least the last year or two, also no longer has a job. All of these signs the recovery we’re being told is heading our way isn’t actually here yet. fortunately, there’ll always be a demand for mechanics, for technicians of a computer and otherwise variety, for truck drivers–my father’s already found himself a better job than he had. But when of all places, losses start to hit a small-ish city like Pembroke, you know there’s problems. And at times like this, I’m reminded of something I’ve said more than a few times, even before the recession. Economics suck. Plain and simple. And sometimes, they like to remind you they do.

Let’s have this conversation again. Not.

Sometimes, my mother and I have the strangest and most irritating conversations known to man. We had one such conversation that left me very much scratching my head in all sorts of confusion during a coffee run that got cut short yesterday morning. Within walking distance of my apartment, there’s a Tim Hortons location. I haven’t been here and organized enough yet to actually figure out how to get there from here without getting myself killed. But, it’s still been on my plans to do so. I brought that up with the mother over coffee at the said Tim Hortons location, initially on our way to maybe accomplish other tasks–although at the moment, it escapes me just what those other tasks might have been.

The thing to remember about my mother, and sometimes even I forget this, is she’s overly paranoid. She’s not quite at the level where she’ll wrap her house in something with some degree of protective coating or something at the slightest hint of a viral outbreak in town, but she’s reached the level where she gets a little jittery when I contemplate doing something as adventurous as taking the city bus in Ottawa. She gets a little anxious when I consider taking one of my cross-border trips–although she’d never admit it without some arm twisting.

So, when I mentioned in passing maybe getting around to actually figuring out how to get from A to B, I could tell right off it was defensive mom to the rescue. I thought she’d want to do her usual playing 20 questions about how I planned to do that, who I’d call, and would I be reachable in the process–she’s big on insisting I be available, even when it’s rather inconvenient for me to do so. Instead, and without blinking, she very calmly, and very casually suggested I should first investigate getting a guide dog before doing so. When I asked why she thought so, her answer just about floored me. Apparently, the dog will know if a car’s trying to cross in front of me, or is stopped in my way, and physically prevent me from crossing in that particular area. Because, you know, I wouldn’t be able to tell judging by the sound of the extremely not quiet engine that there was a quickly moving object about to take my face off were I to step into the street right about now.

Now, I have nothing against people who currently have, or have had, guide dogs. Clearly, it works for you. Or at least, at one time it did. It doesn’t for me. My reasoning is actually quite detailed, and will probably get an entry of its own up here at some point, but suffice it to say I get along far better by way of the cane than I would by way of the guide dog. And, in fact, am probably more likely to actually pay attention to things, simply because I won’t have much of a choice. Really though, I prefer that method of travel and am used to it, it hasn’t broken on me yet, so I don’t particularly feel the need to go messing with it. It’s not like one of my computers, or other pieces of recently tinkered with technology–I don’t particularly favour playing around with it until something goes sideways.

My mother knows this, and yet still she decided I needed a guide dog before learning a route to a coffee shop in a relatively small town. Ignoring the fact I’ve navigated Canada’s capital by way of the cane for a year and a half and nothing on my person shattered or otherwise stopped functioning. I think I can manage to maneuver my way a block and a half or whatever it is to fill my coffee needs without killing myself.

Needless to say, she was reminded of why I haven’t bothered and don’t plan to bother with getting a guide dog. And, as conversations like that often do, it kind of ended at about that point. I still don’t think she quite gets it, and she probably won’t. But I don’t generally like to overcomplicate things, really. For the kind of thing I was talking about, just in passing initially, a guide dog would definitely be overcomplicating things. I’ll probably go ahead and arange to figure out where I’m going and how to get where I need to be. She’ll probably have her miniature freakout session. Things will be just as they’ve always been. And I’ll hope to God we don’t have that particular conversation for a while. Once would be enough for me, thanks.

New years day, done our way.

And in this case, our way involves all manner of creative thinggies that started last night. We took off from here at about 5 or so, and I proceeded to complete my own personal challenge to stay up since the morning before until past the official welcoming of the new year last night. My parents were having a sort of new years eve dinner, so we went over for that. It went a lot better than I actually expected it to, though largely because things have gotten a lot less dramatic in recent years. Mom made her usual spagheti and garlic bread, we hung out and talked, and then killed the rest of the night watching movies. At some point I’ll stop being an unmotivated slob and start posting movie reviews, but it’s probably not going to be today.

Today was spent mostly sleeping and recovering from the last two days. Then, the parents wanted to get together for a new years day dinner. Usually, it involves some kind of meat and potatoes at their place, but this year they felt like going out. Neither Jess nor myself were in much of a Chinese food mood, but that’s what the majority wanted so that’s what we got. It wasn’t all in all too terrible, just not something we were immediately looking forward to. Still, we enjoyed ourselves, not to mention filled ourselves to near busting. Now, the trick is to attempt to find something resembling a decent movie on TV, and try not to do the food coma thing. And to keep up with certain blogging traditions I’m trying to start up over here–those are next. The last few days were tiring, but definitely fun. I’d do them again if I could. Maybe this time next year, perhaps. And, possibly, with a few more people.

Christmas in the valley.

Occasionally, I’ll share a little something from my music collection, or something I find online, that may or may not have some actual connection to me and/or my family. In this case, it’s a video that was actually uploaded, not by me, to Youtube in 2006. Personally, I think it’s an alright video, and the song is one which almost always gets played around December in my house. Wayne Rostad’s Christmas In the Valley, which–if you exclude the whole part about the cattle and all that–kind of describes some of the atmosphere around the Pembroke area, at least where our family’s concerned. It really is a whole lot simpler time when December hits. And I think this captures that simplisity. Not bad, for a song that was originally recorded probably before I was born. So, here, have a video. Assuming this works properly.

Christmas shopping, round 2.

Not unlike my last attempt at Christmas shopping, the trip overall resulted in one mall, store, and small kiosk after another. But, I managed to accomplish more than I expected with this trip–though, certainly not everything I planned. I scratched off Christmas gifts for my father, as well as Jessica. And, of course, because it’s very easy to pick up on things mom’s contemplating getting for herself, I came away with a crap ton of ideas for her–which, the plan is, to attempt to pick up before I leave for Rochester on Friday. At that point, I will have actually, for perhaps the second time in my life, accomplished the task of getting my shopping done before December even gets here. That almost never happens–a trait I come by honestly from my dad, who this year will likely be again cruising the stores looking for one last gift idea on December 24th. All that leaves me to do after that is come back on the 23rd, and enjoy Christmas, hopefully being accompanied by Jessica. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could find something to complain about with that. Now, if we could just get December to show up a little bit sooner.

Christmas shopping is a sport for the insane.

Not unlike any other kind of shopping, should you happen to live somewhere like, say, Ottawa. But in this case, it’s even more so. I’ve been spending the better part of the last couple days trying to do exactly that. I’ve been getting suggestions and ideas for christmas gifts for most members of my family, and actually picking things up for a few of them. It hasn’t gotten December quality insane yet, but it’s come awefully close a time or two. So far, I’ve managed gifts for my brother and sister-in-law, a gift for my nephew, and a couple things for Jessica. This week will be even more insane as I manage, somehow, to do anything and everything under the bloody sun. I have Christmas shopping to finish, gifts to aquire, wrap, and appropriately hide, and last minute arangements to make for Jess’s grad gift in a couple weeks–all before my Friday departure. And in the process of doing all this, I have a sneaking suspicion I’m about to come to a potentially very startling realization. If this were to happen more than once a year, there’d be a lot fewer beds in the local psych ward. Possibly not a bad thing. Possibly.

How’d I get here?

I keep threatening to do that post about what the hell happened to me since the last time I was actively blogging (Um, LJ-ing, perhaps?). Well, consider this my attempt at doing so. I’ll warn you in advance there will probably be things that get missed–it *has* been about 4 months, after all.

For starters, there were more than a few trips across the Canada/US border between myself and Jessica, who’s rarely updated LJ is over here for anyone who doesn’t already read her. Things in that department I don’t think can get much better. Well, beyond the elimination of the border but eh, that’s coming. Beyond that, I’ve been doing a lot more experimentation with Gentoo, my for the moment linux distribution of choice. I’d messed around very briefly with Debian and Ubuntu, but couldn’t get quite what I wanted out of those distributions. That, plus I rather like a challenge and Gentoo definitely provides that. I kept an old HP laptop around for the purposes of experimentation–and, actually, it was the same laptop I did most of my blogging on in the old days–so I can break it 6 ways from Sunday and not really be set back more than a couple hours’ tinkering. Works perfectly fine for me. In addition to that, I’ve been continuing to pound pavement in hopes of landing me a job. Not an easy thing to do when every day the unemployment line gets longer, but we manage. This in between trips to catch up with family, because… well, you know, they don’t tend to like it when you avoid them for long stretches at a time.

Then there was the move. I’d spent the last year and a half or so on employment insurance while I looked for work, thus enabling to keep my rather nice–even if I do say so myself–apartment in Ottawa’s west end. Not having found anything though, it became necessary for me to find somewhere else to call home lest I end up going very broke very quickly. So, on October 23rd, everything I own and a few things I forgot I owned got stuffed into one box or another, and carted an hour and a half away to this, a basement apartment who’s upstairs neighbour has perhaps one of the creakiest floors I’ve heard in my life. Now, I’m still looking for work, still finding time to do a little geeking, and still–at least, as of about 2 weeks from yesterday–making trips across the border when I have the time, money and transportation. Not a whole lot has changed, save for my mailing address–which I’m still finding things that didn’t get the notification of that change–and the fact some things in life just plain aren’t as convenient as they were a month ago. But, win some, lose some. That be life.

Once I have the space in this apartment, and everything I’ll immediately need to do so out of boxes and set up, I plan to get back into tweeking the laptop and making things work just that much better. And, with a little luck and a small miracle, it might result in me accidentally coming up on a skill or three I can put in a resume. Never hurts to say you can do something, particularly when that something didn’t require you shell out money you don’t have for a college/university education. Of course, if I don’t get that out of it, then maybe I’ll just have a computer I can use should I ever decide to wipe windows off this one. Either way, I can’t find a down side here.

Well, that’s the summer and part of spring in a nutshell. Not very exciting, just… chaotic, really. Semi-organized chaos, but still. And if this is any indication, the next couple months don’t plan to be any different. Which, surprisingly, is how I like it. Can’t very well go researching new and somewhat impressive things to buy if you don’t have time to, after all.

last weekend, the past week, and what happens when I have free time.

As anyone who follows my twitter feed will probably already know, last weekend went actually quite well with myself and Jessica (samari76). She arived safely on Friday, and we spent the majority of that day just hanging around the apartment, talking. she ended up being a little more tired than she thought she’d be, so she caught a couple hours’ sleep while I came out here to finish up with checking email and the like. We ended up just relaxing and enjoying ourselves for the rest of that evening. I threw together a little something for supper, and we just sort of talked and did a little listening to music. Saturday we slept in a little, and took our time getting to that point most people would call awake. Again, there was more just hanging out, and talking. We ended up ordering out for supper, after which we got into a bottle of lemmon rum I’d picked up a couple days before leaving Pembroke.

It was actually before we started drinking, though, when we got a call that my grandpa had been taken to the Ottawa hospital; he was having issues with his apendix and they weren’t sure if it would require surgery or not. We stayed up most of the night waiting for news, but after being told my parents were enroute to Ottawa just behind him to make sure he was being looked after, we hadn’t heard anything. Trish IMed me at that point to say she hadn’t heard anything new, really, either. We ended up aranging to get together for breakfast the next day, since we’d not hung out in a while anyway and Jess was looking forward to seeing her again. Well, that, plus since we were waiting for information it made more sense to all be in one place when it came in. We ended up going to bed about 4:00 that morning, getting up again at an impressive 9:00. Cabbing it over there, we hung out with Trish, her husband and both her brothers for much of the morning. She made an awesome breakfast, which kind of reminded me a little of something you’d be able to order from any decent restaurant on Jessica’s side of the border. Family started to trickle in shortly after, and we learned he wasn’t actually going to get the surgery right yet; they wanted to see if they couldn’t treat it with antibiotics first, which kind of makes sense to me. I mean, the guy *is* in his 80’s. No sense in putting him through a surgery that may or may not be required. We got to see a goodly portion of my family, though. And Jess got to meet a few people we couldn’t get around to visiting the last time we were both in that neighbourhood. We all sat around and talked, the older guys watching nascar on TV and everyone with something better to do just generally conversating/trying not to hear it. They ordered pizza and wings, some of which we both helped ourselves to (Hey, breakfast was good, but it’s pizza and wings. Come on.). We spent the rest of the day just sort of hanging out. After everyone left, Trish, her husband, both brothers, plus myself and Jessica decided to go and check out one of the local carnivals in town that weekend. We got there just in time for it to start packing up, of course, but at least Jess got to get a brief look at some of what goes on around here this time of year. We didn’t get home until about 9:00 or so, and stayed up for a bit longer just generally talking and the like.

Monday was a very low key day; we didn’t even get dressed until that evening. we just enjoyed our last day together for a while, and recovered sort of from the day before. I took Jess to the bus station that night, and she made it across the border all in one piece, luggage and all. As for me, I went back home and did that thing where I fall into bed until 6 or 7 the next morning. I spent the rest of the week going through my usual routine; looking for work, not finding much, talking to Jess, and occasionally cursing technology. I did eventually finally hear that my grandpa was back home and doing well, the antibiotics seeming to be working thus far, so that was one less thing on my list of things to be paying attention to.

One thing I did finally get around to this week, that I’d been threatening to do before, is installing Gentoo linux on the formerly retired laptop. It actually didn’t take too long when you break it down to time spent actually working on the system; the longest part of it all was the waiting for things to compile. I had it installed and running by yesterday morning, and talking by yesterday afternoon after I learned I missed a step in building the kernel so had to do that all over again. Lovely. I got that fixed up though, and it behaves beautifully now. I ended up playing around with Speakup, one of the screenreading packages available for linux, a bit yesterday and again this morning. Now, I’m waiting for the various Gnome packages to install, including its screenreader, so I can have a little bit of a look at that. Judging by the sheer number of packages that are needing instalation, and the fact they all need to be compiled, this could take a while. In the meantime, I have free time on my hands that I’m sure I’ll put to good use ordering groceries. Or sleeping. Or something. I may or may not have missed something in my update. If I did, I’m sure Jess will remind me… she’s good like that. As for now, though, I’m so gone it’s not funny.

Do they not follow the rules by now…?

My cousin IMs me, completely at random. Not with a hello, not with how’s it going or have you heard anything about the job yet, but with fix my computer. Um, say that in my other ear? IM exerpt editted for readability only, because his spelling is absolutely made of epic fail.

him: i got a question about my computer  
me: call the manufacturer.  
him: thanks  
me: np. lol  
him: i would buy a new one but they cost money  
me: heh.  
him: i would get a new one but they cost $$$$  
me: yeah.  
him: do you know how to set it back to factory setting   
him: or wipe it  
me: it depends on the model. i’ve never actually done it myself, since the factory settings are usually what i’m trying to get the hell away from  
him: ok  
him: its running slower then hell and it keeps crashing saying hard were problem   
me: then whiping it probably won’t be a whole lot of help. call the manufacturer.  
him: i’ll go there on monday and see how much $ it will cost  
him: thanks 

Dood. *Not* tech support for $company. Your computer was made by $company. $company knows how to reset the bloody thing. $company has the ability to replace whatever component is fried or frying. And, $company has people who get paid to listen to you whine in that unreadable way you do. Why the hell are you asking me? Thank you for wasting 10 minutes of time I could have been spending doing anything else. No love, your irate older cousin.

PS: You had to know I was going to tell you to call $company anyway. I’ve been saying that since you got the damn machine. You, sir, fail at life.

uuuuuggggg, motherling made me siiiiiick.

Energy is at a premium right now, so this will be a short one. The interview went relatively well. They’d already filled one of the positions they were hiring for (figures it’d be the one that pays more), but I was able to stick my name on the list for the second. Yes, it’s downtown and pays a little less, and yes it’s for the *other* evil empire, but… eh. It’s a paycheck that doesn’t come from the government. *And* it’s a permanent position (not bad for a temp agency). Which means said paycheck doesn’t necessarily have a time limit. I’d of just liked to get my foot in the door with the other one at the same time. Ah well, can’t have everything. But I can sure whine about not having everything.

My trip to Pembroke didn’t leave me completely emptyhanded, though. I came back with some kind of congesty coughy hacky thing. Mom and I both ended up with it, though we haven’t a clue where from (I blame her just on basic principle). I’m hoping I’m over it in the next couple days, though. I’d hate for a possible interview next week to be slightly made a tad more irritating than it needs to be by this damn thing. It’s kicking mom’s ass pretty good though. After dropping me off here post-interview, she headed it up back home. Where she promptly passed out on the coutch. She called me at a bit after 5 or so… or maybe it was 6… eh, one of those, anyway. And, I imagine, she probably went back to sleep not long after that. Which is what certain individuals say I should do, but… eh. I’m home now. Back to the keeping of odd hours. Plus, I’m kind of expecting groceries to come knocking. Even if they are about half an hour past when they were supposed to be here. So instead, I shall go attempt to find my lung. I think I left it in the bedroom…

Outings and lazyness abound.

After an earlier than expected wake-up call by a couple of extremely hyper dogs (7:00 AM is not the time to be climbing on the unemployed, just FYI), mom and I had to do a bit of running around. We took one of said dogs, he who shall continue to be known as dust mop, into the vet this morning for his yearly checkup and whatnot. Turns out nothing was wrong with him that we didn’t already know about. We had to do a bit more rambling after that, which involved a stop at a little cafe I didn’t know was in the area for coffee. Then we headed it up back home to put our feet up for a bit; mom was starting to get a little on the tired side and she still has to work today. The staying home didn’t last all that long, as aunt Holly called wanting to know if we wanted to do coffee. Instead, we decided we’d do lunch instead. That killed about an hour and a half, then aunt Holly had to run off to work and mom had to get ready to do the same. Now, I’m kinda kickin it around the place watching a TNG episode and seeing what kinds of trouble I can cause online. Nothing’s jumping out at me yet, but the night’s still young. Methinks the rest of the evening’s gonna be spent being several different kinds of lazy. It may or may not involve random conversations with certain people; it depends on how late and how wasted some of those certain people wind up getting. For right now, though? I’ve been trying to write this entry since 2:00 and it’s only now being finished. So I am going to go rade the fridge for caffinated things and call it an evening. Like the man said, I’ll be back.

I just keep coming back.

It’s been a pretty close to uneventful week this week, both on a personal front and, as per usual, on an employment front. Still looking, still applying, still not getting people calling. So I pretty well decided today is the day of escape. I’m spending the weekend (well, plus tonight) at the parents’ place, and will probably wind up going back to Ottawa somewhere in the neighbourhood of Monday-ish. Mom and aunt Holly dropped by this morning, at about 11:00 or so. Almost exactly when I expected to see them. What I didn’t know they planned on doing, however, was coming back to Pembroke via the casino. I had absolutely no money for casinoing, and really wasn’t in a casino mood today to begin with. Probably because of the afore mentioned lack of money. But, apparently, they had their hearts set on going. So mom gave me $10 and it was donated in an hour. Of course, then aunt Holly was all in a panic because she might not make it back to Pembroke in time for her to go to work. Dear family: I love ya, but you fail epically at this whole planning and organization thing.

We ended up making it though, even if she was 15 minutes late for work and pretty well had to be dropped off there. Which probably didn’t sit all that well with her either, but she’ll get over it. Mom and I came back here, where I was promptly damn near run over by dogs. I pesterred them for a bit while she went to pick something up for supper. Queen dramatus persona decided to drop by for a bit while we were eating, and sort of stuck to us until aunt Holly was off work. Then she went to pick her up, dropped her back here, and promptly fucked off back home. We all sat around talking for a bit, then drove her back home so she could do what she needed to before bed, seeing as she’d been up and on the road since 7:30–see, Jessica (samari76), I knew even if they left at 7:00 or so like they planned they wouldn’t get to my place before noonish. And now I’m sitting here, hoping this computer doesn’t go sideways while I go through email and bother folks on LJ.

I did have an interesting time though with getting to know Gina (nightdrake) beyond the realm of LJ, being that she’s staying at jessica’s place at least until Sunday or so. I had a few conversations both over IM and over the phone with her, which kind of alternated from amusing to downright hillarious. They both seem quite comfortable together, minus the fact methinks 13-hour days are starting to catch up with one of them. I did suggest a long weekend should be taken at some point so that the favour can be returned, and she at least seemed to consider it, so we’ll see what happens in that regard.

As for now, though, I should probably go attempt to rejoin the land of the halfway living. I may or may not be back at the computer later, and MSN, at least, will probably be up if I am. Right now it’s still signed in from home if it’s signed in at all, so folks IMing me there just aren’t gonna get an answer. Sorry. Anyone looking to get a hold of me on AIM or Yahoo, stick to MSN. This computer may catch fire if I install those two. I shall return, at some point. And anyone I am owing comments to will receive their comments. Maybe.

On random bits of lazy, and whatever else shows up.

I actually managed to sleep in today, for like the first time since I got here… got up at about 9:30, give or take. Or, rather, got woken up at 9:30 by my father’s dust mop deciding to stick its tongue as far up my nose as it could possibly go *(). Rolled out of bed a couple minutes later, and the thing decided now that I was up and mobile, he’d go back to sleep. Bastard. I did some more looking for work, and absolutely no applying for such things today. For the right now, the currently available selection of jobs in my field that I haven’t already applied for rather blows huge. Now, the plan is pretty much to stick around here and see what happens, I think. Mom and dad went to the bank to sort out mortgage stuff while I was sleeping, and according to them it’s minus too damn cold out again (**), so the likelyhood of me doing, like, anything that involves leaving the house today is, well, yeah. Not happening. Or at least not happening sober. If I’m drunk enough, I won’t notice or care that my various extremeties are a minute and a half from freezing off. Not that I had anything that I needed to leave the house to do at this particular moment, but minor details.

Unrelated, but that’s the theme of the month today, I’ve been playing an online baseball game for the last couple months, Sim Dynastysilly-singer), they have your stupid freakin’ Redsocks. Not that they’re doing any better in the league I’m in (***) than they did in real life in those days, but ah well. A craptastical team’s a craptastical team, in any reality. Speaking of reality, I guess I aught to get back to mine. Maybe see if we’re actually doing anything today that requires I be semi-coherent and involved.

(*) A dog that size should be trained not to lick. Tiny tongues are lethal as hell.
(**) -26 last I heard. Before anything resembling a wind chill. Mother nature, please to be dying in a grease fire.
(***) The rules for the game are based on those from 1950 or so, including the use of a pitcher in the batting order as opposed to a designated hitter. None of the players though are supposed to be historically accurate; it *is* after all, still a game. Sorry, but the only Babe Ruth I’ve seen is a right fielder who couldn’t hit to save his life.

I are here.

Well, it’s official. I can, in fact, go from nothing to all kinds of something in just a couple days. I’m sitting in Pembroke right now, where I’ve been since this past Friday, because… well… I really can’t think of a very good reason, other than because the mother thing picked up asking me when I was coming down on average once every 2 or 3 days. Well, that, plus no bus service in Ottawa means I’d need cab fair to get me from here to there, and being unemployed, that’s a little bit scarce. So I said screw it, and came here. Bright side, though, the bus strike is in fact over. Down side? I still don’t expect to see a bus on the road until this coming Friday at the earliest. And neither does anyone else I’ve talked to.

I fired off about a dozen more applications over the last week or so, including 3 yesterday; the most in a single day for me in… a couple months. That has to say something. Still haven’t received any kind of feedback for the applications I submitted during the actual week, but such would be life.

It’s actually been semi-decent outside this weekend. Warm enough that I was about to take my father’s dust mop of a dog out for a good 15 minutes or so without him freezing to death. So I got him nice and tired out, and now he’s by the sounds of it found himself somewhere in the living room to pass out. Probably in behind my mother’s knees or something, as usual. Anyway, the randomness stops here. I had nothing of any real substance to offer, but that’s never stopped me before.

PS: Anyone trying to IM me, I’m not home. I’m not signed into IM over here, and probably won’t be. Sorry. Gonna have to settle for phone/text/email. You’ll live.