Sep. 24th, 2017 03:25 pm
vanillafluffy: (Leopard print)
My goodness, it HAS been a while since I updated. I think I was just coming down with the Con Crud the last time I posted...I literally spent a week and a half doing nothing but sleeping 18-20 hours a day...the other few hours I spent lying very, very still and trying not to cough.* However, while I don't shake things off as easily as I did a few years ago, this was nowhere near as bad as last winter's cough (which was NOT the same as a cold--I DO know the difference!). I still tire easily, but I'm not trying to lose a lung day in and day out.

I managed to make it to the appointment with my ophthalmologist, where I got a new glasses scrip (though god only knows when I'll be able to afford a new pair!) and news that all is well. Found out that I had misinterpreted something he'd said about taking aspirin, which he says is perfectly okay. Good to know, since I've been taking them, and relevant in light of my OTHER doctor visit.

Last week, I met my new cardiologist...back in May, my old cardio said she was moving from the hospital-based office she had to private practice--except when I contacted the number she gave me, that had fallen through. They referred me back to her old practice, which collectively shrugged. So I made an appointment with someone else there (at least they have my records, right?) and hoped for thee best. Alas, I strongly dislike that someone else. I'm already on aspirin, but she wants to put me on Coumadin, and she's being very pushy about it. Look, I'm on enough goddamned pills, alright? And something that I need to have additional lab work done on every time I turn around? I think it's time to start looking for another cardiologist.

I haven't been writing, but hopefully that will change now that I no longer have to do the high jump to get into the office. Friday, GK brought over a neighbor of hers and we finally got the shelf up in my room. AND they brought my dresser in from the porch. Doing that required massive effort on my part--I had to completely shift the living room furniture around so they could get the dresser through there and down the hall. That took me hours and hours over the course of several days. (The dresser, sadly, is still resolutely brown--I never did get it painted, and the drawers are still out on the porch--but at least it's where it needs to be.)

It seems strange to walk down the hall and see a shelf full of stuff up there--but it's very nice to have my hat boxes off the breakfast bar! That's all still a work in progress as far as styling it goes--getting it out of the living room was just the beginning--but it'll get there.

Meanwhile, I need to focus on the living room, because Lambie Pie gets here in just over a week. She's coming out for Balloon Fiesta, staying with GK, mostly, but we're going to have at least one night of her over here for a slumber party, which I'm really looking forward to, because GK is the only person I've had to talk to, and she's not always satisfactory. Sometimes she's what I need to talk about....

Anyway, that was my September. Love to all!


* My birthday was dismal. I tried to do too much on too little sleep and ended up very cross. All I did was go to Target for free Starbucks and to spend the GC I'd gotten for Christmas on a new shower curtain--it still isn't up yet--and then over to Jason's Deli for a baked potato (which lasted me til Tuesday, because I was still at the barely eating stage), and waiting in the car while GK ran into Walmart for something she needed. That was it! Then I got home and slept for six hours. But next weekend we're going to see the new Kingsman movie, which I've been anticipating eagerly for months.


The Ick

Sep. 6th, 2017 02:11 am
vanillafluffy: (Tribute candle)
There's just one thing I really loathe about living alone--being sick. Not only is there no one to offer tea and sympathy, I have to forage for food (liquids, a fresh supply of tissues...) and deal with any other crises.

Last Wednesday's scratchy throat morphed into Lungs From Hell, accompanied by Sleeping For Vast Epochs of Time. 18-20 hours a day, the brief waking interludes were for water and potty trips; otherwise I just lay very still and tried not to provoke a fresh round of coughing. Monday was the worst; I lay down around 8:30, rolled over a few times and poof! It was Tuesday.

I'm feeling a trifle more lucid tonight--had actual solid food for the first time in days!--but of course it hasn't finished fucking with me yet: I've lost my voice.

It's always something. But hey, it could be worse, I could be in Florida, prepping for Irmageddon.

Love to all.
vanillafluffy: (Film festival)
The weekend went mostly pretty well. I kept repeating, Next year it will be different, because hopefully the surgery will have happened and I'll be a hundred pounds lighter. That will make EVERYTHING easier, from sharing a room with GK (She says I'm too big to share a bed with now) to just getting around--I went across the street for lunch with LL on Saturday, but there were assorted stores I'd've liked to visit within a block or two, but simply hadn't the energy--to say nothing of just getting around the hotel.

Anyway, the king-size bed on the 15th floor was glorious. My own bed is a cheap double with too little padding between the springs and my ass...stretching out on a memory-foam topped acre of softness (with multiple marshmallow pillows) was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I SKIPPED the costume contest on Saturday night, went upstairs, enjoyed a few hours of cable TV (including Independence Day 2) and was OUT by midnight. Slept til 9 a.m., which ought to be some indication of its comfort and my tiredness.

But that was Saturday night. Friday night was the first auction...I hate auctions. I'm perpetually outbid by people with greater disposable incomes than I have. Still, I persist. Friday, my lone $2 score was a box of office supplies, including a clipboard that fit into my tote bag and was handy to rest my notebook on during panels. Plus a pair of scissors, a couple sticky-note pads, a stapler, etc. Worth $2.

Saturday was awesome by virtue of a panel, "70 minutes with CJ Cherryh". It began with her reading to us the first chapter from Alliance Rising, which is a prequel to Downbelow Station, her Hugo-winning novel. It comes out next year, and I'm going to start saving my pennies NOW, because it sounds incredible. When she threw open the floor to questions, I got my hand up and asked, "You mentioned Finity--does that mean we're going to see the Neiharts again, and maybe meet The Old Man as a young man?" Because Finity's End is one of my favorites of hers, so I was absolutely delighted when she smiled and answered, "Bingo!". Somehow, I managed not to squee loudly, but I did clap quietly.

Sunday featured Afternoon Tea, an event I attended and enjoyed last year. This year, I knew to sign up early so afterward I could join the second auction already in progress. Afternoon Tea was another Next year it will be different moment, because while I was well-dressed (and certainly made more of an effort than many of the attendees!), I think elegance will be a lot easier to pull off as a size 14/16*. I had a pretty long dress, but my bra rode up under the low-cut back, which was less than flattering, and the elastic of the chin strap on my purple chapeau dug into my chins something wicked.

I got some books and munchies at the second auction--there were intact cartons of nosh from the Con Hospitality Suite--spent a total of $20, not too bad. I spent double that at the art show, where I got two pix. One is a sketch of a delicious Greek God-type. The other is PhotoShopped, two bulldogs dressed as artillery gunners and posed beside a steam-powered cannon.

GK was making noises about how she was too busy to take me home, so I ended up spending Sunday night in one of the spare beds in the bedroom of the Con Suite. She'd had her own room, too, but had access to the Con Suite because she was managing the after party, quaintly referred to as the Dead Dog Party. It sounds like a political movement, doesn't it?! Anyway, it gave me a third night for the price of two.

Don't get me wrong--I had, over all, a good time. But my god, it was wearing! I actually managed to be up and at 'em three mornings in a row...Sunday, between the auction and the Dead Dog, I hauled my stuff into the Con Suite bedroom and died, by which I mean I stretched out on the (comfortable double) bed and power-napped for an hour and a half. Which meant I was up all night. Nodded off again for a bit from 6-9.

I got home around 11. Had a snack, took my meds, went to bed and slept til 7 p.m.. When I got up, I had 90% of a loaded baked potato from Jason's Deli, across the street from the hotel. I turned on the oven, twice-baked it for 25 minutes and murdered it. SO GOOD. Read for a while. Had my evening meds. Played on my Nook for a bit. Fell asleep by midnight, since Colbert was a rerun, and slept til 6:30.

Today I have a little more energy, but I think I may have picked up a bug, as my tonsils are grumbling, and I know what that means. Ah, well. At least I have plenty to read if I have to take to my bed. Love to all!

* That's only a scientific wild-ass guess. It depends on when the surgery happens. Late January to late August of next year? Depending on my starting weight, I *think* I'd be down under 230 by then, and the last time I weighed that (1989), I was in 16s and the occasional 14, depending on how it was cut over the hips.

vanillafluffy: (Writing)
It's that time of year again--Bubonicon is upon us. ABQ's oldest sci-fi convention...literary sci-fi, although there will be a TARDIS replica and at least one Klingon wandering around.

This is Year 49, and I am super excited, because after several weeks of on-again, off-again, it's confirmed: CJ Cherryh is going to be our guest of honor. As someone who's been a fan of hers for ages, I've been looking forward to this weekend vociferously for more than a year.

Last year, I shared a room with GK--after all, I was still out in South Valley, which is too far to commute reasonably. The invitation was not extended this year...she suggested I use Lyft. Uh, no. Next year, maybe, but this year, I've got my own room at the Marriott. Considering how extremely limited my income is, I figure this is going to be a one-shot, but fuck it, it'll be worth it to be right there, to be able to wake up, dress and go downstairs for 9 a.m. panels.

I have SO MANY questions for CJ (I probably ought to write them down, lest I be too awe-struck to think coherently in her presence.)--a lot of it is behind-the-scenes, "How does this work?" stuff...I shan't mention fan-fic, though, unless she brings it up first. I have ideas I'd like to explore, but I've seen that done badly and don't want to sully the source material.

I'm also looking forward to the auctions, possibly the tea party (I have a super dress with a hat to match, but the scheduling is problematic.) and a great many of the panels. So many, in fact, that I'm not sure when I'll have time for meals. I managed to get a room with a fridge--theoretically, anyway--so I'll take some pre-made sandwiches with me to tide me over.

Have I mentioned I'm excited?! Love to all!

vanillafluffy: (Likes/Loves)
Friday didn't go as I'd hoped. Vintage Market Days turned out to be a glorified craft show--a lot of things distressed or made to look old--the percentage of actual old stuff...well, let's just say it was a small percentage. There was almost no furniture, and the one piece that I sort of liked...I didn't like that much. Way over budget!

I made one purchase, NOT out of my savings. I popped $12 on a horse picture I fell in love with, a lovely sorrel (red-gold coat with a blond mane and tail) wearing some snazzy tack with tooled leather and conchos. That acquisition inspired me to get busy in the office this evening and hang it, along with five other horse pics I have--and then, I dug into the box that held my childhood horse figurines...I thinned the herd, so to speak, before my move--I could name some of the absent beasties--but the survivors are massed on a bookcase at right angles to the pics. I also have a big PBN landscape of horses that needs to go up, but I'm pleased with tonight's progress, and happy to see my old friends.

The one thing I didn't get (that I REALLY wanted) was an old bouncy horse--the kind that comes on springs in a big metal frame, except this one had been liberated. I've been wanting to get one for a few years, with plans to convert it into a gaily painted carousel-type pony. "Where are you going to PUT it?" inquired killjoy GK. "On the porch with a light inside it," I told her loftily. It would certainly make a dramatic accent piece, wouldn't it? I just couldn't make myself cough up $35 for it. Not because I don't think it's a reasonable price, but because my past, in the form of some old student loans, has caught up to me--they're garnishing part of my benefits; my so-called discretionary income has disappeared, so as much as I'd love to have fun creating a painted pony, it's not a priority. Durable goods like a table or a credenza, yes. Major expenditures for artsy fun projects, not so much.

After browsing the market for a couple hours, we left, and GK wanted to go to a nearby antiques mall she'd discovered on line--she's suddenly developed an attraction to late mid-century, since the place she's now renting, in her words, looks like the 70's threw up in there. (She says that like it's a bad thing.)

The antiques mall was excruciating, in the sense of, "Why do I have to have so much taste and so little money?", as well as, "If I'd held on to this, that and the other--and got rid of half what's left!--I'd be rich...or at least have more of a cushion.". There was indeed some delicious mid-century stuff, and I managed not to do more than whimper aloud, even at the plethora of Pyrex. (When I say Pyrex, I'm talking about the pretty colored stuff made prior to the 80's, when they started making clear exclusively.) I have a modest collection--at least compared to some of the collectors who post on Pinterest--with pieces of various patterns; I don't have a matched set of anything, but none of it cost more than a few bucks, either.

The clear Pyrex that just got donated went with other surplus kitchenware and the cast-off clothes from my last closet winnowing. I kept one really nice clear serving dish with a lid, but that's pretty much it. The clothes that left...I looked at the spring-summer weight stuff and asked myself if I was going to wear it in the next eight weeks (by mid-October, summer is going to be drawing to a close, if not over outright), and if not, get rid of it, because by next spring, it'll be too big, since I've mentally scheduled the surgery for late January. I have ample winter clothes, and by spring, I'll be ready for all new everything. At least, new thrifted.

Came home utterly worn out, since I'd only had a couple hours sleep beforehand. My natural preference runs along the lines of a second-shift schedule, where I go to bed around daybreak and sleep until noon. Curse the world that insists on scheduling life with mornings.... Slept until about 8 p.m., and got up and have been wide-awake ever since.

Love to all.

vanillafluffy: (Housework)
Today's the day I was supposed to get the side-to-side shelf in my bedroom. Supposed to. Still not a thing, because as per usual, GK hadn't scheduled enough time, was huffy and impatient and blamed me for not having adequate tools or parts. Tore a nice hole in the wall when one of the anchors gave way...and by then she was shrieking that she only had six minutes before she had to go. Abandon ship--or shelf, as the case may be.

I'm disappointed about the shelf, because I've been busting my ass working on my room. All the wardrobe boxes are gone. My hanging clothes are all hanged. I've gotten rid of a bunch. My linens are somewhat organized. I've even put up artwork and my full-length mirror, because I'm damn tired of feeling like I'm camping out in my own bedroom. It would be really nice to have the millinery all squared away and NOT on top of the breakfast bar.

Tomorrow, we're going to something called The Vintage Market, which is apparently an upscale traveling flea market. I'm keeping my eyes out for a decent kitchen table (primarily), something with a smaller footprint than the card table I've been using, IF such a thing can be had for under $100. That s my nest egg...hoarded cash, some of it from last Christmas. It represents staunch self-denial--so many times I wanted to say "Fuck it" and order a pizza--but I resisted.

I'm operating on two hours sleep and need to crash, otherwise I'd catch you up on all the other news. Maybe tomorrow. Love to all.

vanillafluffy: (Housework)
And lo! Today much laundry hath happened. First in was my white quilted comforter--which is white again, huzzah! My bed shall be a far cleanlier place tonight than it has been for some little while. Scarcely had I completed that task when I began to collect more soiled items from the nether reaches of mine closet to the depths of various cardboard chests. Thence did a second load commence!

E'en so, I was not yet satisfied with the fruits of mine labors. I breached the final gigantic packing box of doom. I can now testify that I do not anticipate needing any hangers at any time in the foreseeable future. I thought I was pretty well set even before GK brought me a bagful last Saturday night. Upon opening Boxilla, I discovered another carton of them, in addition to the ones already on the coats and jackets toward the bottom of the box.

First of all, I know even if I hang up every single garment I currently possess, I'll have more than enough. Now, subtract the stuff I'm going to get rid of, and subtract the things that will be going into drawers as soon as I have a dresser--people are going to be getting hangers as Christmas gifts, at this rate--!

I rediscovered things I'd forgotten I own, like my buttery suede blazer...I can lose 30 pounds by mid-October, right? I adore that blazer, and would really like a chance to wear it before winter sets in. Sometimes the looming prospect of surgery feels like a neon light flashing LAST CHANCE. Yes, it offers the prospect of vastly changing my life for the better; however, I also see a lot of things I love going bye-bye--not just favorite clothes, either. From all the talk at the doctor's office about behavior modification and timing what I drink, how much and when, and what I eat--ditto, also what I can and can't eat, it's downright horrifying. Beef once a month or less? Four eggs a week? No bread? No carbonated beverages, ever? Just shoot me now. GK wonders why I'm so adamant about January as a surgery date--if she thinks I'm going to sentence myself to life without a square meal before the holidays, she's out of her fucking mind. By a year from December, I'll be down a century or so and have coping mechanisms in place. Right now? Ho, ho, ho--what did I do with that recipe for gingerbread--?

But today I'm being "good". Chilled grapes are a tasty treat on a warm afternoon, and I can throw veggies into my stir-fried rice and they're innocuous enough. I will do this thing, damn it.

And now to fling load #2 in the dryer and get all the crap off the end of my bed....

vanillafluffy: (Default)
Today's exercise has consisted of assembling all my tools in one place--at least all the ones I can find. This involves moving and bending and lifting and has my back grumbling, but it's done. I have a decorative white chest GK gave me, a flat-bottomed tote with multiple pockets and compartments that was a long-ago gift from AI, and a plain old cardboard box with the overflow. I've moved them all to the big bookcase in the far corner of the living room. (It also houses things like my adult coloring books and coloring supplies and my scrapbooks. The top shelf is currently my Frank Lloyd Wright shrine.)

That isn't a long-term solution, I know, but at least they're all in one place and I can find them. It gives me a chance to get things sorted and eventually organized. What I'd like to do, once I have the dresser done and off the porch, is to replace it with something that will serve as a workbench/place to keep my tools, some kind of credenza or another dresser. I've gotten used to having that nice, flat surface as I come in the door where I can set down bags and bring them inside in relays. The good thing about having drawers and/or compartments is, not leaving anything in plain sight to attract thieves. ABQ, alas, has an awful crime rate.

Yesterday, GK promised that while Mr. GK is out of town in a couple weeks, she'll come by and we'll get the shelf up in my bedroom. Yay, I can get the hats and hatboxes off the breakfast bar! In order to make maneuvering in the bedroom as easy as possible, I need to get the damn clothes boxes out of there. That will make room for the dresser, too, which really will make my life easier!

At the moment/since I've been here, my closet has been full of a bunch of stuff hung up that really ought to be folded in a drawer but isn't, simply because I've HAD no drawers. My dryer is literally a foot deep with a pile of whatever, and I need to do laundry, but first I need to clear off the top of the washer. Hang all that, hang the stuff in the damn boxes...either that, or bale it into the empty plastic bins for now. I know it's a process, I know it isn't going to happen overnight, I know it's going to take effort on my part, I know it'll be worth it...when it's done.

Meh. Time for nosh.

vanillafluffy: (Default)
This afternoon, I had my first appointment with the nutritionist at the bariatric surgeon's office. It didn't help that she was a slender young thing, by which I mean, I've weighed over 200 pounds since before she was born (No lie, she's somewhere on the sunny side of 35...and did I mention she's tiny?).

But she's a nice kid, and didn't badger me, and...well, I managed to gain about ten pounds since I went in for my intake interview last month, so when she asked me to set a goal for this month, I said losing the weight I put on this month. (A lot of which is calves and ankles are a barometer of how much I'm retaining.) I pledged to drink 64 oz of water every day, consume at least 2 servings of fruits and vegetables, and pay careful attention to portion sizes, with an eye to reducing overall consumption. *sigh*

Meaning after the appointment, I got GK to drop me at the store (got a Lyft home) and dropped $52 on groceries, mostly produce (fucking pricey!) and a few peripheral things like salad dressings and olive oil cooking spray--and nut juice (If it doesn't come from a mammal or a coconut, it ain't milk!).

The surgeon/his staff are all about plant-based diets. Me, not so much. But what the hell, I have to lose 10% of my body weight before the surgery (and I suspect it'll be last month's weight that they go by), so if that's what I have to go along with to get there--!

He isn't the only bariatric surgeon in town, but he's got the most experience/best reputation, so even though I'm having to jump through 500% more hoops than Medicare requires in his program, I'm unwillingly willing to do it because you get what you pay for. In this case, I figure my chances of a) not dying, or b) not having complications are better with him, so I'll do what I have to to get that far.'s not like he can repossess my stomach, right?

Meanwhile, GK, who is still in red-hot moving mode, has thinned out her closet, leaving only clothes in black, red and blue, making me the recipient of several lovely frocks (and one absolutely hideous one, but one item out of seven isn't bad) and a couple tops and a skirt.

I wasn't lying when I told the nutritionist that I want this surgery for my health. It's true: I want to get off all these damn meds, and I'd like to be able to go places and do things without running out of steam 20 minutes in, but most of all, I'd like to be able to wear drop-dead clothes without looking ridiculous. (I want a killer leather jacket and/or coat--maybe with some wicked knee-high boots. I've been looking in every thrift shop I've been in, but forget being cute in leather at anything over size 16.)

According to the BMI chart in the notebook I was given on my previous visit, the high end of my "normal" weight is around 165. I can't even--! The last time I weighed that was for about six minutes back in 1973, and I wasn't full grown yet. Honestly, I'd be perfectly thrilled with anything reliably under 200. My imagination boggles violently at the idea of 35 pounds (or more) less than that...but it could happen.

I go back again next month, date to be determined. Between now and then, I get to live on salad, work my way through my pantry--I can't afford to just toss it all, regardless of its nutritional deficiencies--and try to simulate enthusiasm for the whole process. Zippety-fucking-doo-dah.

vanillafluffy: (Film festival)
The Mummy. Evy and Jonathan Carnahan, pre-series. Christmas fluff. 752 words.

vanillafluffy: (Housework)
Despite the fact that my ankles have puffed up like a Clydesdale's, I've actually been feeling downright perky lately. I've made progress--not dramatic, unless you're me and you know what was where before I started, but I've shuffled things around and run across stuff with glad cries of, "THAT'S where that went!".

One thing I did that makes me happy is, I got everything off the couch and tossed a spread over it, because its upholstery is rather grubby (I'm at least the second owner). The spread...there's a story there. My mom was in the habit, when putting together a bedroom, of getting everything Sears had to offer in that print. Dad's bed was done in a Southwestern pottery-looking print, black and brown on a beige background. Probably because my dad didn't go for all the extras--and it was Florida--the bedspread in this pattern stayed in its original folds in its original packaging (Mom passed in '76, Dad in '85). Sunday evening, I shook it out and threw it in the dryer with a couple wet dishtowels. It's crease-free and looks good.

I need to go through all the boxes on various bookcases--god only knows what I'll find! Tonight the biggest bookcase in the living room yielded a box with, among other things, my good scissors, three bottles of generic Immodium (two are new in box), a milk-glass vase, duct tape, a kit for drilling holes and a wall thermometer.

The kitchen is looking better, but I'm dragging my feet--I know I have to get rid of a lot more stuff. I keep reminding myself that I just don't have room--and unless I win the lottery, this is it. This is the end of the line, and it's more important for me to be comfortable and not tripping over things than to have a bunch of stuff which, as much as I may love it, is packed away in boxes and never used or even displayed.

Yes, I down-sized what I thought was an awful lot when I left Florida, but I'm in a place that's less than half the size of what I'm used to. There are two closets in the entire house, and one of them has to house my wardrobe. The long-term plan is that that's going to be my linen closet. And then, I look at my linens the same way I'm looking at my over-supply of tchotchkes and wondering why I'm saving them. I could probably cut way back on them, too--how many tablecloths/napkins/place-mats/dresser scarves/chenille throws does one middle-aged woman need?

The bottom line is, I don't have any kids to pass any of it down to, and I've read that the younger generation doesn't value the old, the vintage, the antique...When I'm gone, GK will organize an estate sale (or get someone, she knows everybody in town, I think), they'll come in and sell it off without knowing or caring about any of the stories behind my treasures. She'll pocket the money, and that's that!

I had so many grand plans before reality, in the form of this shoe-box, set in. And, like I said, short of winning the lottery, I'm stuck with this place for my own personal forever. It's better than it was when I got here, even if there are things that didn't happen (new hardware in the kitchen, changing out light fixtures, bathroom still not painted etc.). I may feel like I'm camping in my bedroom--piles of boxes and no proper dresser--but after living in an actual tent for fifteen months, really, it could be worse.

Honestly I'd sell my own grandmother to be able to remodel that kitchen.

Eh, I'm babbling. I've been bustling around in spurts all day, and now I'm yawning and thinking of bed. Tomorrow is another day....

Love to all--!

vanillafluffy: (Default)
As it turned out, the swamp cooler--henceforth to be referred to as "Swamp Thing"--was nowhere near as plug-and-play as we thought. I mentioned to GK a few days after firing it up that it only blew hot air and was very disappointing.

She and a neighbor got up on the roof and investigated--for starters, there's a filter inside it that was completely clogged. Had to try two before we got one that fit. Also had to replace tubing.

fired it up again yesterday after that was attended to, and holy wow! Swamp Thing works so well that I've had to turn it WAY down, because really, it doesn't need to be 75 in here with gale force winds!

I'm certainly not complaining, though--especially when I remember all those muggy Florida summers when ALL I could do was sweat.
vanillafluffy: (Default)
On Thursday, GK came over in the afternoon for our much-awaited (by me, anyway) spell of DIY. She was late (what else is new?) and couldn't stay long, but we did get a few things done, most notably fixing the backs of the bookcases on the porch to stabilize them so I can actually USE them. Also some monkeying with light fixtures...GK managed to kill the light under the ceiling fan in the living room, ho ho. Apparently, her jinx extends beyond electronics.

We were going to put up the shelf in my bedroom, but she finally realized that, as I'd been telling her, the board we had was too short and much too narrow.

She and a neighbor who stepped over did some preliminary scouting of the swamp cooler on the roof--it also needed parts replaced. She got ahold of the former owner and made arrangements for him to come over today to work on it.

Yesterday--Friday--a miracle occurred. Namely, after six months of wanting to, I finally got to Home Depot. We got a proper-sized board for the bedroom project, parts for the swamp cooler--well, she handled that part. I took the bit in my teeth and got paint for the dresser, some TSP to bathe it with first (yes, I have latex gloves), and hardware to mount the pegboard in my kitchen. (Again, much thanks, PWCorgigirl!)

From there, we ran over to Restore--GK wanted to see if she could find a replacement light kit for the ceiling fan, which we think she did--haven't tried to install it yet--and I scored an elaborate bookcase by the same Danish manufacturer as the other three bookcases on the porch. When I say elaborate, I mean the others are basic bookcases with horizontal shelves. The new one is in three parts: the base is a cabinet with sliding doors, wider than the shelves above, which are different widths, and some of them have vertical pigeon-holes. On top, there's a piece of curved molding concealing a light fixture. It doesn't work, but I don't care. It looks badass.

Getting the badassness up against the back wall of the porch required getting A LOT of crap off the porch/out of the way. Guess who got to do that? Luckily, most of it was plastic bins, and most of them were fairly light (like the one crammed with yarn).

The invasion started at 8 this morning. The seller was here early, GK was late. But hey, they got the darn swamp cooler working, yay! Having never had one before, except the dinky window unit at LL's last year, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. It puts out, y'all. Enough to slam the front door if it happens to be open at the time. I quickly discovered that Grandma Sis's old flatiron placed against the door-frame keeps it open just enough to provide a good breeze through the porch if the windows are cracked. I turned off the box fan in my room this afternoon and took a nap (needed after my early morning!) and was comfortable, IE, I didn't wake in a puddle of perspiration.

I've been tidying up out on the porch, planning tentatively to start work on the dresser tomorrow. There are certainly enough projects for me to do! There's the dresser, the pegboard, oh, and doing something about the boxes lining the wall in the bedroom where the dresser is supposed to go. Not to mention general housework and the continued struggle to conquer boxes. Of which there are a lot fewer--I've been passing them along to GK for her move--but there's still more stuff than space.

So that's what I've been doing. Making haphazard progress, but progress nonetheless.

Love to all....

vanillafluffy: (Tribute candle)
Earlier this evening, there was a BOOM significantly louder than the pop pop pop of fireworks. Sounds like they blew something up, I jokingly remarked to myself. Looked out my bedroom window to see A LOT of black smoke. Dashed to the living room window (not blocked by crappy trailer next door)--flames were clearly visible just over the wall of our park, less than 50 yards away. I swiftly went and packed the essentials--meds, devices and their cords, "good" jewelry...(not necessarily in that order), though they had it contained by the time I was assembled. I'm leaving it packed overnight, because these yahoos are still at it. Yikes.
vanillafluffy: (Default)
I spent much of today going balls-to-the-wall in my office. It's needed it, and things reached the point of, "If I don't make room in the office, I can't shift things in from elsewhere.".

I got the big carton of artwork liberated from the corner it was jammed into. Discovered, to my dismay, that the picture frame I'd intended to put a vintage photo of ABQ into was in fact, not nearly big enough. (It was given to me by LL, whose father took it, and it's a city view from about 50 years ago.) So the next time I get to Wally World, in addition to hardware, I need to see if they have any of the Mainstay frames that match the ones I already have, but larger.

There is still a lot of organizing to be done. I have two smallish bookcases heaped with notebooks and zines and boxes and whatnot, and that's to say nothing of the cartons on the floor, and in the living room, the porch and possibly the big shed.

But--little by little, it's getting better. I need to fling the junk, and box up the dross for GK's yard sale at the end of this month.

My ulterior motive for working in here was to get to where I could put up some art, at least the stuff that's already framed. I ran out of steam before I got that far, but at least now I can get to the walls. That doesn't work so well when there are umpteen boxes in the way!

I haven't eaten since breakfast--before noon!--so I'm going to go scare up a snack before Colbert. Love and a safe and happy 4th to all!

vanillafluffy: (Default)
Calling it the Master Suite or even the Master Bedroom would be silly, since it's the ONLY bedroom, and it certainly isn't a suite! The actual room space is about 10'x10', with a closet along one wall and only one window (on the wall opposite the closet). The door, as you enter, is on the far right side of the room. The window is on the right-hand wall, and the wall opposite the door is the back wall of the trailer, which is where the head of my bed is.

The whole thing is painted white, except the interior of the closet, which is aqua blue--GK's idea, but I'm good with it.

My original plan was for a black and white's been modified a bit, but at this point, that's what it looks like. I have a set of black and white lattice curtains on the window--blackout curtains, because there's a lamppost outside that's like a full moon every night--not exactly restful! Add to that white sheets and comforter, a black and white body pillow and a white nightstand.

Plan A: A shelf running from side to side above the bed for my hats and hatboxes to live on. White shelf, white brackets, the hats and boxes have enough color.

Plan B: The opposite wall (the wall with the door) is going to be a wallpapered accent wall. I already have the paper--I've had it for more than a decade, in fact. (Good thing I *didn't* paper the hall bath in Florida, huh?) The print is overlapping postcards, the old-fashioned hand-tinted kind. The colors are mostly pastels, which quite a bit of aqua blue, and I have a stack of frames (which I've had nearly as long) with scalloped edges reminiscent of the deckled edges of some of the postcards. Are you surprised to hear that I also have a few vintage postcards to put in them? Also on that wall, above the black dresser (once I get it painted), is a mirror with a scalloped white frame.

Plan C: I have white brackets to hang over the closet opening. I still need a pole and curtains. A length of PVC would probably work, if capped with decorative finials as a grace note. I may see what World Market has in the way of bottle stoppers...there's one less than a mile down the road.

Plan D: D is for dresser. It was one of the first things I got, and has been living on my porch since December. It's currently dark brown, is going to be black, and when I get a chance, I'm going to get a tester of metallic antique gold to accent the rosettes on it. Black and gold are classic, and I have a few old gold frames that will probably live on the other walls with more artwork.

Plans E-Z: Moving shit around, basically. I've had my scale in the bathroom, but it takes up a lot of real estate. It's either going to end up next to the dresser or maybe in the far corner by the closet. I need to greatly reduce my jewelry hoard...I don't wear much of it, partly because it's all such a jumble...and do something to organize it, like hang the necklaces on a pegboard and the pins on a canvas or pillow or the like. (Honestly, my jewelry is 80% brooches and necklaces...a dozen rings, maybe, few pairs of earrings, even fewer bracelets.)

By winter, I hope to have a rug or two underfoot on either side of the bed. A for warmth, and B for traction. Tile floors, even linoleum ones, can be slick underfoot. I have one area rug that may work, if I can get it shampooed. One for the other side and I'm set.

I don't see it happening this summer, but by next year, I'd like a ceiling fan in there, WITH a light fixture. Although, there's an IKEA light fixture that I adore and would happy trade for a ceiling fan. Most of the light fixtures in this place are the most godawful ubiquitous things: a single bulb sticking out of the ceiling with a round globe around it. I LOATHE them. The one from IKEA is playful and looks like a giant dandelion puff. *

As you can tell, I have big ideas!

* Giant is right--22" inches isn't the total, it's just the diameter of the fixture. The cord is another 4'---no way in hell it would fit in my scant 7' ceilings without concussing me!
vanillafluffy: (Default)
Last night, GK and I made arrangements to get together this afternoon after she got through running her kids around. On our agenda were assorted errands:

Give her my cans to take in for recycling
Exchange sundry items we had for each other
Get documents notarized at the bank
Get my cash for the upcoming month
Go to Walmart so I could pickup my prescriptions (and snag groceries)

The cans were easy enough--I had three full trash bags ready to go, loaded them up, and I'll get cash from her after she's turned them in. I had FIVE great big moving boxes for her--just get them the fuck out of my house, I don't care! I'm so glad to have them gone! They were taking up acres of space, and I don't have acres to spare. She also passed along a pair of decorative baskets and a hat I've been coveting ever since she first got it. (It's brown velvet, and she's phased brown out of her wardrobe in favor of black.)

It wasn't an unqualified success; the credit union refused to notarize the document (power of attorney for GK) because they had qualms about some of the boilerplate in it causing them liability issues for them. *Did* get the cash while we were there, but will have to go elsewhere in search of a notary.

Of course, by the time we got to Walmart, she had one eye on the clock and was (metaphorically, if not literally) tapping her foot. There was a 15 minute wait at the pharmacy, which is catty-corner from the groceries...I grabbed about four things--I'll have to shop over the weekend--got in line behind some dame who apparently had two of everything in the store (I just typed "some damn", which was how I was feeling by then)...the whole thing was redeemed only by the gal in line behind me, who loved my dress.

Said dress is a GK hand-me-down, purple and beige. It needs a brooch at the neckline for modesty, which is why GK can't wear it--she's quite a bit bustier than I am (even though I'm about 55 pounds heavier), and her cups runneth over. If it was just a case of it being tight, though, she wouldn't let that stop her. (Meow--but it's true. Sometimes, I don't think she quite gets the concept of FIT.) I wasn't able to wear it for a while, because of my 40-pound weight gain--I knew it looked shrink-wrapped--I'm really pleased it fits again.

I've been tinkering with hanging artwork--I meant to get more picture-hanging hardware at Walmart, but there was no time for that today!--and digging things out of boxes, and hooray hooray, I've been working on displaying things in the corner cabinet. Mind you, while the living room looks somewhat improved, my office is between knee-deep and hip-deep. But at least I got the gigantic box out of here!

I think that's about it. My back is killing me; I'm going to lie down for a bit. Love to all....

vanillafluffy: (Housework)
Mostly I've been working in the living room, but because I *Squirrel!* easily, I've tiptoed through other spaces as well. I've managed to lug all the boxes of books to the porch, although I've yet to deal with the bulk of them out there. That's cleared up enough room inside to shift the ottoman around...once I've emptied the plastic bins full of glassware, I plan to slide said ottoman under the window in lieu of a window seat.

After price comparisons, I picked up curtain rod brackets at Walmart. That's another project looming in the near future. It's the kind of thing I could do, WHEN the bins are out of there. (I know GK has talked about coming over for a DIY day, but I'm NOT holding my breath.)

I've been working my way toward the far corner, where the shiny "new" corner cabinet stands. At this point, all it's holding is the TV antenna receiver on top. The interior doesn't even have the shelves in it yet. It isn't very big, being a shallow triangle, so I'm going to have to get rid of more stuff. (I've thought about getting a proper china cabinet, but I can't think of how to work it into this shoe-box.)

The next time I get to the hardware store (insert sardonic laughter here), I need to pick up tile cement and grout...that sweet little tile-topped end table of mine got fucked up by the abominable movers...thankfully, no tiles were actually shattered, but they all detached from the base. Now I have to sand off the old grout, re-adhere them, and re-grout. Although I think before I do all that, I'll repaint the table itself. Much as I like pieces with character, it would look odd with new grout and beat-up, chipped paint.

Another thing I'm keen to do is put up more artwork. The walls look so damn naked! What I plan to do, as soon as there's a bit more space in the living room, is to get ALL of my artwork in one place and decide what's going where and what's going away.

My office is going to be pretty much wall-to-wall--memorabilia and pop culture, mostly--the living room has a decided southwestern vibe, although I'm trying to interject some Frank Lloyd Wright. There's a window cling-film (faux stained glass) available in FLW prints, AND I have a couple smallish prints, a set of coasters AND a coffee table book. (Still working on a coffee table.) My bedroom...that's a post unto itself, but I have a couple pieces that won't be too distracting.

We've been blessed with several days of reasonable temperatures, ala 90-ish, which has allowed me to get so much done. At least, I feel like it's a lot--certainly better than sitting in front of the fan moaning. I'm also sleeping at odd hours, sort of a split-shift--6AM to 11, then 4 or 5 PM til 8 or so.

Ah well. Time to go fling things in the kitchen. Love to all.

vanillafluffy: (Housework)
I've been up since about 2 yesterday afternoon...the heat has my sleep schedule thoroughly skewed. Yesterday was the first time all week we haven't had triple digit temps--it was ONLY 90F--and once the sun went down, I got a fair amount done.

Water takes time, but given how much liquid I'm sucking down, it's a must. So I went back and forth between the living room and the kitchen every few minutes to pour filtered water into the jug and refill the filter-pitcher.

Laundry! I did two loads. First was bedding and towels--it was TIME (and forgot soap, so I had to redo them). Then a general purpose load of clothes that were lying around the bedroom, because there's nothing worse for an incipient heat rash than a less-than-fresh bra.

I even felt energetic enough that around 3 AM I was tweaking the living room. Nothing huge--little by little, I'm moving all the inside cartons of books out to the porch. That's a work in progress. I also hung up a painting SS passed on after her parents' estate sale--a southwestern still-life of a pottery bowl and some chili peppers on a Native blanket. I placed a small table under it--it's probably the oldest family piece I have left at this point, a little Victorian spool table that came from my great-aunts in Miami--just a little vignette-to-be.

I tried to go to sleep on my nice fresh linens, but nope, it wasn't happening. So around 6:30, I got dressed--good news, things fit again!--and got a Lyft to Walmart.

Grr, their EBT system was down, so I had to USE THE DEBIT CARD. This is not good. Definitely too much month at the end of the money. I know there's money there, but I'm afraid I'm over budget for the month and GK is going to have kitten fits.

She texted me last night about coming over to watch the season premiere of Preacher, O frabjuous day, calloo, callay!, so we'll have to carve out a few minutes to discuss finances. I'm sure there's some way to creatively move money around to fund it. brain is fixing to shut down, but here's hoping the weather stays decent for a while longer.

Love to all!

vanillafluffy: (Default)
We've been getting triple digit temps, which could be worse: for the most part, humidity is under 10%. Too bad this park doesn't have a pool, but at least here the tap water actually reaches a refreshing level of coolth. (Unlike Florida, where "Doesn't it get any colder than this?!" is as good as it gets.)

I've managed to kill off both my plants, the rosemary and the zebra plant. Too hot on the porch, and I neglected to water them for 48 hours; they wilted like they'd been sauteed. *sigh* And it's just as well I didn't go crazy planting my yard--there's so much shade, with the trees leafed out that I don't know what I'd put there. What I really want is a glider so I can relax out there in the afternoon/evening. GK is keeping an eye out, but mostly she's busy with moving.

The place she's moving to is *definitely* the smallest place I've seen her in, but the location is superior--I can take the local bus from across the street to about a half-block from her new house, so I'm psyched.

The last time we were running around doing stuff, she announced that in July, she wants to take one day and dedicate it to doing home repair/improvement stuff here, which startled (and delighted) me, because I have quite a list of stuff, believe me. I'll let you know if/when that gets off the ground.

Also upcoming, a tattoo convention at one of the casinos. I want to go as much for educational reasons as actually getting ink (may or may not be able to afford any, for one thing). But I *do* have my Hawaii 5-O tattoo AU work in progress, and I'd like to refine the technical details, because it's been literally a couple decades since I spent any time in a shop.

And then there's the little matter of surgery. My cardiologist is adamant that I MUST lose weight. And while the water pills have helped me shed what I put on at the beginning of the year, I could drop another century and still be considered obese (just not mega-morbidly, like I am now. BMI of 47, folks. That's not good.). So GK and I have been to two "infomercials" for the doctors currently doing bariatric surgery in the ABQ area, and I have an actual follow-up appointment with the one I preferred.

There's a whole process to it, so the surgery itself wouldn't happen until some time around January--but I've come to the conclusion that it's pretty much the only thing I haven't tried. And although some people may call it a "shortcut", or "the easy way", I regard it as the only way I'm likely to live to see 66--which isn't exactly ancient. Here's my math: I'm turning 57 in a few weeks. My brother died at 54, my mom at 55. I'm on borrowed time, and that's an awful feeling. (Why 66? Because if I make it to my birthday that year, I'll get to see the 100th Oscars, which ought to be amazing...presuming, of course, that we don't suffer the zombie apocalypse, or get nuked back to the Stone Age.)

Anyway, that's what's going on in my life. How are you all? Much love!


Hello, all

Jun. 5th, 2017 12:11 am
vanillafluffy: (Default)
I know, it's been a while since I posted. May had its moments. GK and I caught Machete as a midnight show, which was fun. We delivered Mother's Day flowers, which I enjoy because I make a few bucks AND I get out of the house for a while.

And the chevre grande, we went up to Santa Fe to the Jean Cocteau Cinema, a little movie house privately owned by George RR Martin (of Game of Thrones fame). Thirty years ago, George wrote for TV, and the event we attended was a table-reading of an unproduced script by George for Max Headroom...with a special guest appearance by none other than Matt Frewer, reading Max. (Funny, funny guy--and he very sweetly signed the cover of my Director's Cut of Watchmen, score!) I also had a few words with George ("Thank you, Mr. Martin--this was a lovely evening!") No, I didn't call him George to his face.

George's former assistant is a staple on the NM sci-fi scene, and she and GK are tight. I wouldn't go so far as to say she and I are buddies, but I'm fairly sure she at least has me sorted as GK's sister. She's his former assistant because she was hired away from him to work for the two writers who comprise James SA Corey (The Expanse). Everybody knows everybody, or so it seems--even the ones we haven't met yet.

The house...I'm stuck doing what I can single-handedly, because once again, GK's rental is being foreclosed out from under her. That's going to have her occupied this month, then July is Can't Stop the Serenity (a Firefly event), then she and the family are going to Nebraska to see the eclipse, and then it'll be time for Bubonicon (literary sci-fi con). So I figure it's going to be September at the earliest before she has any time to spare to help with any of the things she's promised to. Considering it's starting to get rather warm, that's not a total crisis...I just wish I could bloody FIND THINGS and wasn't SURROUNDED BY BOXES.

GK has some of the worst luck (which she doesn't believe in)--this is the second time she's had a landlord screw the pooch on her--that's what happened with the house she was in before I went back to Florida. And remember I mentioned how she bumped me from her trip to Denver a couple months ago, and ended up having major car trouble? Well, she half-invited me to Phoenix ComiCon over Memorial Day weekend, changed her mind, and had more car trouble. If it's a coincidence, it's a darned ironic one.

My cardiologist has bumped my beta blocker up yet again--I'm pretty sure I'm at the max dose--which I loathe. My pharmacist says it's important that I take it at the same time every day, twice a day, so I have alarms set for 10:30 AM and PM, seven days a week. The trouble is, I'm supposed to take it with food, and there are a lot of mornings I just gulp the pills when the alarm goes off and start snoozing again. I think that may by why I'm having some digestive side-effects. Not to mention, what do they mean, "with food"? How MUCH food? A package of peanut butter crackers? A slice of toast? A bowl of cereal? An omelette? Seriously, give me a hint here. But she swears that's the best treatment for me, and I adore her, so I'll soldier on.

Speaking of cooking, I've gotten used to the gas stove--at least to the point where I'm not constantly worried that I'm going to set myself on fire. I'll give it points for getting things nice and crispy. Fried eggs are exquisite and hard-boiling them takes a fraction of the time it did with my electric range. The oven renders tater tots tan and crunchy, egg rolls, ditto, and frozen pizza that's better than I ever thought frozen could be. My only quibble--the broiler is disappointing. Oh well.

There's probably more that I can't think of off the top of my head. Latest writing is at AO3, also Vanillafluffy. Nothing huge. Ongoing Hawaii 5-O, MCU, mostly fairly short stuff.

Oh, hey--on that subject, I'm trying to write an ORIGINAL story, and I need to bounce a few ideas. I have a locked briefcase that's discovered in an abandoned house. It would have been there for 30+ years. The contents would be valuable, and worth killing over. Cash or drugs seems too easy. Gemstones, jewelry, some kind of small, portable art treasure? I don't think blood diamonds were a Thing back in the 1980s. Or maybe it's something that wouldn't necessarily seem like much at face value. (There is however, going to be all kinds of intrigue and mayhem ensuing from its discovery, so something more interesting than Mother Smith's Prize-Winning Pickle Recipe from the Jackson County Fair is warranted.) Suggestions?

Love to all.

vanillafluffy: (Default)
It just keeps getting better--if, by "better" you mean epic levels of suckage.

Last night, I managed to take a chunk out of the side of my foot. I didn't feel a thing, thanks to the peripheral neuropathy, and only noticed what I'd done when I realized I was bleeding all over the bathroom floor. Aspirin regimen? Thank you, Dr. B.--my blood is indeed well-thinned.

I managed to drop my phone and crack the already has issues. This didn't help. And because it's three generations old, there's really not a lot I can do about it, especially without help (IE, going to a repair facility, because I'm NOT NOT NOT letting GK near it, not after she killed my Nook trying to fix the battery). It's a minor crack up in one corner, but it makes me anxious anyway, because I'm afraid it's The Beginning Of The End.

Remember the biz with my meds yesterday? Well, since I was supposed to have a different doctor's appointment today, and I'd never gotten a confirmation number from the insurance-transport people, I figured I'd better CALL them and see what was what. I set an alarm for 8 a.m. and rang them up..."No, we don't show anything for you in the system, you're listed as 'Inactive'." Grrr. So I canceled the appointment, which truth be told, I wasn't feeling up for anyway.

Couldn't got back to sleep. Got up. Had breakfast. Napped for a couple hours, did laundry between crying jags. Lately I start crying at everything and nothing.

I'm so eternally frustrated; I'm stuck here, GK acts like I'm asking for a kidney every time I need to go shopping or to pick up a scrip...I knew when I came back here that I wouldn't see her as often as when we were living together, and when I was out in the Valley, I was resigned to sightings being few and far between. But here? Six miles is NOT the dark side of the moon, I figured two or three times a week was reasonable--but apparently *she* thinks otherwise. Yes, I thought I'd be taking buses, and until I got sick, I *was* walking back and forth to Walmart. Now, though, I'm not doing that well, and I need some help. Which, when I get it is scant and grudging. And then she starts asking if I've called X about Y, and what have I found out about Z, and I stare blankly at her and she goes off. She calls it "being proactive", I call it, "If it's such a big ddamn deal, why don't you do it?"--and sometimes she does, but there's no discernable pattern--it's like being gas-lighted sometimes, I swear to god.

Then there's this place, which is...disappointing it the kindest word for it. Remember how happy I was about my shiny new linoleum tiles? I should know by now, you get what you pay for. (I was so pleased that I actually liked a pattern that was "just" 69 cents!) Well, they're shit. They don't adhere well, the edges and corners ride up and they're brittle, so they chip--I'm pretty sure one of those rough edges is what tore up my foot--and while I can replace the chipped tiles, there's absolutely no way I can tear them all out and start over. That, plus all the boxes, and the mess on the porch, and all the projects that GK keeps saying we're going to do--AT THE SAME TIME that she's telling me Thursdays and Fridays are the only days when she may have time for me...and the kids have summer school...and she may be moving again....

In the middle of crying, I keep sobbing, "I want to go home!". Part of me is homesick for my old place, although by now, I would've ended up on the street because I was out of money and people to borrow from. And I miss Mb and SBJB something rotten. But really, it isn't so much Florida I miss. I own this place, but it doesn't feel like home, it's that simple. It's a goddamned shoebox crammed with boxes and sheets on the windows and the walls are closing in. And the only people who have my back is you guys, it feels like, and while your love and support are crucial, I would sell my grandmother for someone to hug on a regular basis.

So there you have it. A perfect shitstorm, a tornado of turds, a hurricane of guano.

Hope your lives are better....

vanillafluffy: (Justified -- Raylan smile)
"Mind telling me about that fella in your bathtub?" Raylan says, quickly closing the door behind him.

Dittany Crowe beams at him. "That's just Albert. Don't worry, Marshal, he's harmless."

"Really? He didn't look too happy to see me."

"Well sure, on account of, that there is his bathroom and he isn't used to strangers just barging in on him."

"Give him my apologies. Tell him I was looking for your cousin, Cletus," Raylan pushes his hat back and gazes at the door. "Have you two been together long?"

"About a year. Last time I was down in Florida visiting my folks, I went out for a walk, and I saw Albert and it was love at first sight."

Raylan nods. The more he sees of the Crowe family, the more inclined he is to believe most anything. It seems like not so long ago that he had Dewey Crowe pegged as the nuttiest pile of squirrel poop he'd ever seen, but Dittany just might take the prize.

"I couldn't help myself," she's saying. "He was just so little and awkward and cute, flopping back and forth. So I brought him home and gave him a good dinner and we've been together ever since."

"Does your landlord know about him?"

Luray waves her hand airily. "Landlord wouldn't care. Albert's a gentleman," she says. "You act like he's gonna poop on the carpet or tear up the vertical blinds. He's perfectly happy just the way he is."

"If you say so. If Cletus drops by, ask him to give me a call. He's not in trouble, I just I need to ask him about his old cellmate, Danny Rugg."

"I'll do that."

"Take care, Dittany," he says as he heads out the door--because a gal keeping a two-foot long alligator in her bathtub needs to be very, very careful indeed.

vanillafluffy: (Florida oranges)
I've been writing for prompts all day. Filled two, fairly long, considering I'm writing and posting from my phone. The first one is dark AF. It's an AU--basically, Everybody Dies. The second one is dark comedy

#1. any, any, waking up to find everyone he/she loved was dead and with no memory of what happened
The Martian:

Preachauthor's choice, any, beware the persuasive (especially when they are bored)er

God, I wish I had wifi. This is really cramping my style.

vanillafluffy: (Florida oranges)
All I knew about the house I bought for the cost of its delinquent taxes was what I could see on Google maps. It was a couple miles outside a small Florida town--rural, on a couple quiet acres. The county property assessor’s listing said my new house (built in 1936) was 1168 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath, and it was in my price range.

Perfect, right? After chalking up twenty years in the Air Force, I’d gone as far up the promotion ladder as I could. I was tired of seeing suck-ups getting ahead of me, tired of knowing nothing was going to change, in short, I was ready to retire. I’d dropped a chunk of savings on the house, and budgeted another whack for repairs and living expenses while I got the place fixed. Then I’d see what kind of job I could scare up to pay the bills, because I’m another twenty away from collecting my pension.

Driving toward the house from the road, I halfway expected dinosaurs to come charging through the overgrowth. The wild foliage scraped the sides of my vintage Dodge Coronet, and I winced at the insult to the glossy black paint. No one had been out there in years, by the looks of it.

The house itself was a stucco cube surrounded by giant hibiscus bushes. The windows were shuttered, what the locals call hurricane shutters, probably rusted in place...getting them open was going to be the first thing on my to-do list, or I’d be stuck in a hot, humid cave. I was prepared to do some roughing it, but there were limits. I was thinking along the lines of an air-mattress in one of the bedrooms, not pitching my tent in the freaking jungle because the house was so bad.

Of course, I didn’t have a key. I could have probably forced the door open, but I might end up needing a new one if I did that. First, I strolled around the house looking to see if anyone left a spare under a convenient rock. After all, this was the kind of small town where people could get away with trusting crap like that.

Well, what do you know--it wasn’t under a rock, just tucked inside a big conch shell beside the back porch. There’s a stroke of luck.

There was a can of WD-40 in the trunk of the Dodge along with the rest of my tools, including a ginormous flashlight with the camping gear. I sprayed the lubricant on the lock of the front door, gave it a minute to work, then coaxed the key to turn the protesting tumblers.

The door swung open.

Sweeping the beam of my torch around the living room to the left of the front door revealed furniture--I didn’t expect that, although the upholstery looked like mice had been at it, and the rest looked old-fashioned. Probably not even antique--just old. Hideous flowered curtains framed the shuttered windows.

A doorway at the far end of the room led to a dining room, and that was where things got interesting. More old wooden furniture filled the space: a full china cabinet, a buffet, and of course, a table surrounded by chairs. The whole thing was suitable for big family dinners to be immortalized by Norman Rockwell.

One of the chairs was pulled away from the table, another had toppled onto its side. On the floor beside it...I moved closer, playing the light over the object to make sure it was what I thought it was: a skeleton, sprawled face-down on the stained carpet, finger-bones still wrapped around a gun.

The bones were picked clean, there was no lingering smell--the whole house was musty from being closed up, but I know what dead bodies smell like. So whoever the guy was, he’d been there for a long time. Even knowing that, my pulse was thumping faster than usual as I straightened up and moved in the direction the dead man was pointing.

There was another doorway in line with the first, this one leading into the kitchen. From my earlier recon, I knew there was a backdoor, and on this side of it was another skeleton. This skull had a silver dollar-sized hole in the back of it.

Studying the two bodies relative to each other, I reconstructed how it went down.

They had been sitting around the dining table, when First Skeleton was popped by Second Skeleton. Closer examination revealed Second had an automatic tucked into the back of his trousers, and I’d bet if I could run tests on the fabric, it would show that the gun had been fired shortly before being put there. No doubt after shooting his confederate, Second had been making tracks out of there.

Looking closely at the dried blood stains on the dining room carpet, I could tell that First had dragged himself from where he’d fallen to the doorway of the kitchen, where he’d gotten off a shot at Second and taken him down.

I shook my head. After all, isn’t the first lesson in Crime Dramas 101, “Make sure the guy you shot is actually dead.”? This illustrated why that was so important.

What had the dispute been about? My guess was it had something to do with the locked briefcase Second was slumped over.

I could have called the cops. I probably should have called the cops. The thing is, if I did that, my peaceful retirement would go to hell before it even started. The officials would come in and turn my new house into a crime scene. I’d probably end up having to camp out on my own property for days, or even worse, shell out money I had budgeted elsewhere on a hotel. When news of the bodies got out, everybody in town would connect me with a double murder that probably happened when I was in diapers, and I wasn’t ready to deal with that kind of shit.

Instead, I double-bagged the bones and their guns in a couple heavy-duty trash bags--I’d brought cleaning supplies with me, knowing the house would need some work--wearing rubber gloves for the whole process, naturally. They could go out with the trash, and once they made it to the landfill, no one would be the wiser. If anyone missed either of these low-lifes, I imagine they’ve long since given up on hearing from them.

The house is coming along nicely. I’ve got the shutters opened, bringing light into rooms long dark. A rented dumpster holds the chewed-up sofa, over-stuffed chairs, mattresses. Every scrap of carpet is in there, along with the ugly floral curtains. I’ve scrubbed the messed-up linoleum in the kitchen, but plan to replace it with basic vinyl tiles.

I only get a couple channels on TV, because I haven’t gotten around to getting cable yet, but that’s okay. I work on the house during the day, and at night I’ve been systematically trying to unlock the briefcase. With literally a million possible combinations, I figure it’ll keep me busy for a while. So far, I’m up to 102,030. Yes, I suppose I could break it open, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, you never know--it might be booby-trapped.

I’ll get it open one of these days, and then we’ll see what was worth killing for. If it’s drugs, I figure I’ll flush them. That’s not my thing. On the other hand, if it’s cash?

My retirement will be a lot more comfortable, since my home will have paid for itself.

vanillafluffy: (Retro rocketship)
Minor spoilers for a book/movie subplot.

A Dream of Autumn

Chris Beck is not superstitious. He doesn't believe in luck; thorough prep and hard work, that's been his philosophy throughout med school, the Air Force and astronaut training. So when they get the news that Mark Watney is alive, he's impressed, aware of how much easier it would have been to die than go on. Later, when the Ares 3 crew gets personal messages from him, he looks at the words "Tell Johanssen how you feel about her.", and reckons that if there's anyone in the history of the world who knows about regrets and if-onlys, it's the lone man on the red planet.

The thing is, there are rules against fraternization. Fool around? Commander Lewis would shove him out of the airlock. There's monitoring everywhere, he can't just walk up to her and say, "Hey Beth, I can't take you out for dinner and a movie, but maybe we could hold hands during a briefing or something." Jesus, he might as well just space himself.

He has to be circumspect. That means being hyper-aware of camera angles and locations of all the audio pickups. Chris gets his hands on one of the whiteboards and a dry erase marker. He'll write it down; as long as he doesn't brandish it at the camera, he can wipe his words and there's no incriminating evidence.

Johanssen makes it easy for him. He's heading for his bunk to contemplate the wording of his declaration as she's drifting the same way. She smiles and says, "I'm so glad they decided to let Mark contact us. It was good to hear from him."

"Yeah, he's a great guy," Chris says lamely. He gives her a little nod and they drift to where there's a semi-dead zone of surveillance. "I'll bet he's got a list a mile long of things he wants to do when he gets back."

They both know it's a huge 'if', but it gives Beck a chance to write: I WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW I REALLY LIKE YOU.

"I've got a list like that," she says as he turns it her way. She stares at it and finishes, "I guess we all do."

Under that: I'M SERIOUS, JO.

In fifth grade, he gave Lisa Kincaid a really nice Valentine's card when everyone else was swapping cheap Power Ranger and Hot Wheels shit. And then he'd forgotten to sign it. Crappy planning, Beck, he says to himself.

Johanssen makes an imperious gesture. Tamely, he hands over the whiteboard and marker, and imagines what she's writing. Probably warning him to keep his distance or she'll report him.

"I'm looking forward to a real bed," she says as she writes. "Something that's wide enough to roll over in."


Chris blinks. He knows without a doubt that he's blushing. "Really?" he manages.

She pulls out a scrap of microfiber cloth from one of her pockets and wiped the words away. "I'm also looking forward to a bubble bath," She's writing again, "and an evening on the couch with a pizza and all the episodes of 'Mysteries at the Museum' I've missed.


He can feel the big, stupid grin on his face as he reads her message.

"What do you want you do?" She asks, as if it's part of the casual conversation they've been carrying on for NASA's benefit. He reclaims the whiteboard.

"I miss weather. I'd like to go for a walk in the rain."


Johanssen nods, smiling. "What about an autumn afternoon, when the sky is big and blue and the leaves are all colors and the breezes swirl them around in little whirlwinds." That's possibly the longest non-work related thing she's ever said to him.

It's such a clear image, he pictures them strolling hand-in-hand through the vivid landscape, laughing and kicking at piles of leaves.

"Ducks honking overhead as they head south for the winter," Chris surprises himself by adding.

"Of course, on Earth right now, it's currently July." Johanssen yawns. "I'll see you later, I need to crash.

"Sweet dreams," he says, wiping the board clean and continuing to his own bunk. It won't be this autumn, he thinks, but next year? Maybe. They've admitted their feelings, that's the first step.

More than anything, he hopes Watney makes it. He wants to shake the guy's hand, buy him drinks and thank him. Chris Beck knows he wouldn't have taken the risk without his prompting. Sometimes a guy can get lucky by being spontaneous.
vanillafluffy: (Rose keyboard)
Title: Matched Set
Authored by: [ profile] vanillafluffy
Pairing/spoilers: Gen
Rating/Work-safeness: Gen. PG-ish
Summary: Will would never have let his brother join Outcome – but he wasn’t there. Backstory happens.

Matched Set )

From a prompt:

vanillafluffy: (Macrame)
Title: Surprise Party
Authored by: [ profile] vanillafluffy
Pairing/spoilers: William Brandt/Victor VonDoom, William Brandt/Ethan Hunt
Work-safeness?Warnings: NSFW, slash, non-con, orgasm denial
Summary: When Ethan insists it's his turn to seduce the rich guy, that's not how Brandt expected to spend his birthday. Especially when it all goes south. They can keep the card and presents, he'll settle for them coming to get him. Right. Now.
Notes: Victor VonDoom showed up because he was the first one who came to mind when I thought of "evil international rich guy"--and because the idea of Julian McMahon snarking and smirking his way through this scene was too delicious not to write. Hope you enjoyed it!

Surprise Party )

From a prompt:



vanillafluffy: (Default)

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