Monday, December 31, 2018

Holy Poot

Well... we finished with Christmas, finally. Beautiful Wife's side of the family left town Saturday, after something like a full century of being here. Century? Maybe it was just a week. Whatever. That actually went really well, it was just exhausting. And I don't think any of us ended up with the plague, though it was touch-and-go for a couple of days in there. Then on Sunday, we did Christmas for my side of the family over at my brother's family's new house, so my side of the family was covered as well. And once again: good, but it probably would have been more enjoyable if we were all less completely exhausted.

It's New Year's Eve today, so naturally I'm at work. (I could have taken it off, but I honestly didn't realize we didn't get it as a holiday.) So, y'know, no rest for the wicked. Or the IT department, though I suppose that's much the same thing. I do have tomorrow off, at least, and it sounds like we're going to have the weekly Dungeons & Dragons game even though it's New Year's Day (or National Hangover Day, as I like to think of it). But I keep wanting to be able to take a few days off and just stop - and I kept thinking that would happen sometime during the holidays, but it never did.

Still... if I can make it through this week, I did take the first three days of next week off. That's when the boys go back to school, and this will help me get them back on track (and free up my Beautiful Wife to do some last-minute preparation for her next semester). Maybe I can finally get some emotional-recovery time in there, too.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Missed Connections: Just a Little Thing

You were the cool older boy, already in middle school and very much doing your own thing. I came in with your cousins, but of course you didn't want anything to do with me. You didn't seem to see me at all, in fact. I don't really blame you. I know I'm not the easiest to have around. But I don't think I can live without you.

Your cousins are on antibiotics now. My time is limited. So come back, please. Make contact. Let me nest in your throat and lungs and sinuses, creep into your guts and spread through your bloodstream. I know it won't be comfortable for you, but it's the only way I can keep going.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Yeah, no.

Still nothing. I have to be at work, I have to make sure the workflow is working as intended, but it's quiet and I'm taking advantage of the lack of distractions. If I could get that outside of work, it'd be really helpful.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


I've got nothing. Christmas went well, but it has drained me dry. Family is still in town, but I'm back at work, and I'm going to be behind on... everything... including the bit where we do the other side of the family just before New Year's.

The boys, at least, are happy.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wait, Christmas is WHEN???

I just looked up and realized that Christmas is this coming Tuesday. How the HELL did that happen? I have watch Die Hard. I have to watch Rare Exports. I have to find presents... okay, got that part covered, actually.

Still... holy hell. Where did the year go? Where did December go? How can the days be sooooo looooooonnnnng and the months so short?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Music: Bad Bad News and also? It's the most ugh time of the year

Leon Bridges:

...I figured I'd put the music up here first.

It's nearly Christmas time. It's also the end of the semester, my wife is both wildly sick and trying to finish grading. (Like, she's so stuffy she can't breathe, she can't breathe so she's not getting enough sleep, she's got an infected finger that actually swelled up to the point of turning purple before she started putting an antibiotic cream on it. Now it's just half again its usual size and very, very red... which is actually a huge improvement.) But today is graduation and they've confirmed her seat like five times already, so she (feels she) has to attend.

...Which means that I'm the one who's going to end up calling the doctor for her, and seeing if her mother can pick up the boys after school (and if not, then doing it myself). It also means that I'm probably missing D'n'D again tonight.

The holiday season had actually been going pretty well this year, up until probably the middle of last week. Now it's... well, it's still not as bad as it's been some years, but it's definitely trying to collapse into the sort of horribleness we usually expect.

I hope the rest of you are all doing vastly better than this.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Weekends Aren't Long Enough

So, Firstborn had a school trip to Six Flags this weekend. Beautiful Wife went along as a volunteer/chaperone. Last year, I purchased tickets separately for myself and Secondborn, but Secondborn is still recovering from a tummy bug that tore through us last week and decided to stay home. I'm still not sure whether or not I'm disappointed about that, but I think it was a wise decision.

I think we've shaken off the tummy bug, but the entire family's still at least partly sick, in a probably-allergies, can't-breathe-through-our-noses sort of way. And getting everybody out of bed, fed, and out the door this morning seems to have used up most of my energy. Still, there's a solid day of work that needs to be done, and I'd better get started.

Weekends, as Secondborn has repeatedly insisted, are not long enough.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Music: Long Way Down

Robert DeLong:

Today's Advice: Don't get sick

Especially, don't get any sort of tummy bug. And if you do, make sure you don't pass it to your younger child. And if you do, make sure you and your beautiful wife don't have a bunch of meetings scheduled that you can't easily cancel.

I will note that this year has been a lot easier on us than any number of previous years in terms of people being horrifyingly sick, though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Horoscope: Holiday Edition

This holiday season, give your guests what they really want: the flesh of their enemies, lightly seared in a nice soy-based sauce, with mixed vegetables and a spicy aioli dipping sauce.

The kids are about to be off from school. Take your heart and hide it, but be careful. Don't just put it in a jar or an animal. Hide it in layers. It needs to be hidden in a thing inside a thing inside another thing, or they'll find it. I'd specify, but -- they can read, too, you know?

So many relatives. So many humans making a claim on your bloodline. All because your daughter fell in love centuries ago, and bore a child. This isn't going anywhere useful, and if you let them persist then in a few years they're going to band together and take your magic for their own.

It's time.

Family activities are all well and good, but the dance won't come together if you don't feed them the elixir first. Mix it into the queso, the dressing for the salad, and the barbecue sauce. That should get everybody, but just to be sure make sure you dose the chocolate sauce as well.

This is a bad year for family gatherings, or for trying to heal that breach with the estranged branch of your family. Don't send any invitations, and leave town now. Otherwise you won't live past St. Stephen's Day.

The thing in the basement is hungry. It wants to share the season with you. It wants presents. Your entire extended family is coming over, and you know what their politics are like. Won't you make it happy this year?

This is the season for mending bridges and bringing people together. All together, their bodies writhing and twisting into a single colossal abomination ready to spread its tainted madness throughout the world, until it has absorbed every last individual being into one great collective mass. Get started.

Your plans at last come to fruition. Your holiday outlook is a formerly grand estate populated by nothing but the moldering corpses of those who thought they were untouchable.

It's your immediate family, and blood is thicker than water. Rip them apart, sparing only the ones who leap to help you with claws bared. Carnage is the only way to claim command of the pride and so show your worth. The throne awaits.

Those experiments you've been doing are illegal and immoral, but at least they're not *boring*. If your family stumbles on them during the holidays, make them part of your study. You'll thank yourself later.

Forget the visitors. Forget the guests. Focus only on the strange song that calls to you from the dark places between the stars. Let those strange verses fill your mind and guide your eyes... and your hands. Burn it all down afterwards to cover your tracks, as you seek the next revelation.

This year, why not consider an island getaway? Bring your friends and family down to the shore. Let them treat with us, and trade their seed for our strange treasures. Let the bloodlines mingle, and the town become isolated and strange. It's easiest this way.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Status Update plus Music: She Cries Your Name

It's been a busy weekend and I'm weirdly off-schedule and strung out, but that's kind of par for this time of year. The boys are about to be finished with school, Beautiful Wife is eyeballs-deep in finishing her grading for the semester, and I'm wishing I'd put in for some time off. (I am putting in for some time off in January when the boys go back to school, though.)

We went to go see the trains down at Northpark Mall on Saturday, and that was fun -- at least, the trains themselves were fun. I love all the little details in the landscapes, all the funny little Easter eggs that get put in the models. (I'd have some pictures to share, but I gave Secondborn my phone to play with on the ride down, and he left it in the car, so... no pictures.) Traffic was insane, parking was even crazier, and we timed it poorly enough that we wound up missing Firstborn's music lesson. Oh, and Beautiful Wife decided to come with us, which to my mind kind of defeated the purpose of the exercise (which was to give her some time with the house all to herself, because grading). Still, I think we handled it pretty well, it was just a lot more stressful than it should have been.

I still recommend seeing the trains if you're in the area, just not on a Saturday afternoon.

I'm so not ready to start this week, but here we are so here we go. I hope the rest of you feel more combobulated than I do.

Now, here's Beth Orton with a rather haunting little number:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The sum of my life's wisdom

The sum of my life's wisdom, compiled:
  1. "I hope to God I'm making the right decision under the circumstances, but who the hell really knows?" is a succinct summary of the entire experience of being an adult.
  2. A big part of being a parent is never having time to just go hide in a hole and freak out.
  3. Parenting always comes back to the poop. It never really *stops* being about the poop, especially with pets. There is no escaping the poop.
  4. Frying pans without fires are few and far between. (I might have stolen that last one.)
This... this is the legacy and the lore that I will share with my children, and my children's children.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Pet Health Update

So, the vet looked the cat Astrophe over and declared that as far as she could see, his only real problem was that he was constipated. He's been given some fluids and an enema. (If I have to know that, you do too.) We're basically supposed to keep him hydrated and dose him regularly with a little bit of Miralax.

So I did make the right call, which is a profound relief.

Also? Once again, parenting is all about the poop.

Pet Health Problems

I hate making decisions about elderly animals, and I especially hate that I find myself in a position where I have to weigh money along with love and even morality. (You should take the previous sentence as a trigger warning.)

Our one remaining cat is an elderly black-and-white tuxedo-kitty named Astrophe. I originally found him as a half-grown kitten under a bush in east Texas. He's been with us through two apartments, moving to a house, the arrival of Firstborn and then Secondborn, and their entire childhoods. (Firstborn, at the time of this writing, is twelve; Secondborn is eight. They are very attached to the cat.) He is sometimes an annoying kitty, as he's prone to meowing loudly in the middle of the night for reasons the rest of us can only occasionally decipher, but he's also very affectionate.

For about the last year, he's been showing his age: he doesn't move as fast as he used to, his legs don't always support him the way they used to, he sometimes has trouble pooping, and he's taken to a diet of easy-to-digest-for-older-cats kibble balanced with semi-liquid foods (gravy, bisque, and something labelled "wet cat treats"). When you hold him, he's all skin and bones, with only fur for padding.

And as of yesterday morning, he's also leaking. Specifically, he's leaking some kind of fluid from his butt. It looks watery, but with some blood in it. A bit of looking on Google suggests that it's probably an issue with his anal glands, which might be relatively simple to fix or might require anything from antibiotics up to surgery.

If it's surgery, or even expensive antibiotics, we can't afford it. If it's something else, or if he has other health issues as well, then... we very probably can't afford it.

Unfortunately, I need to be at work today and my beautiful wife is teaching classes and trying to wrap up grading for her semester, which means the only way to get the cat looked over immediately is to drop him off. The cat hasn't been out of our house in at least three years; leaving him at the vet is probably going to freak him out. But I don't want to wait until Saturday; waiting could easily turn a simple problem into a major issue -- plus, the vet would have less time to look at him on Saturday, even if we could squeeze an appointment in.

So, despite some serious misgivings, I've dropped the cat at the veterinary clinic and asked the vet to call me once she's had a chance to look him over and has some idea of what we may want to do next. I have no idea if that's the right decision, and I hate that feeling. And I hate the fact that Can we afford to have him treated? is such a big concern, even though the immediate follow-up question is Even if we can, are we sure we should?

It may very well be that we'll end up putting him down. He's a very elderly cat, and it might be kinder to him. But we'll have to see what the vet thinks, and if it does come to that we'll schedule it for a time when we can be there with him. And in the meantime I'll just keep reminding myself that I'm making the best choices I can with the information and resources I have, and that sometimes all you can do is try to find the less-bad outcome.

This would all be a lot easier if I could put Astrophe on my insurance alongside the boys.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Music: MainFrame

I'm going to be tied up with a software upgrade (on a test system, thankfully) all day, so in honor of my pain I'm going to share this song from the "Earworm" mission in the Claptastic Voyage DLC for Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel.

Sorry/Not Sorry.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Dallas World Aquarium

It's the beginning of December. Beautiful Wife is busy grading, and has thereby discovered her mutant power of being surrounded by spikes of spirit energy that stab anybody who gets too close or otherwise attracts her attention. She needs time -- and solitude -- so she can make some progress, but the campus is closed on Sundays and there aren't a lot of other places to go. What to do?

Well, for my part, the answer was "bundle both boys into the car and flee the house!" Only we needed to stay fled for, I don't know, at least five hours. Twelve would be preferable. So... where to go?

Yesterday's solution was the Dallas World Aquarium. The boys have been there before, but it's an amazing place to walk around and there's always something you didn't notice before. (Secondborn: "Look! I found a secret door!" ...Which the staff uses to access the cages, but yeah: pretty cool. Not nearly as funny as having a manta ray swim up behind him in the Great Glass Underwater Tunnel and scare him right off the ledge, but pretty cool.) (Firstborn, meanwhile, wandered around pointing things out to anyone who got in range like some sort of miniature museum guide: "Look! The vampire bats are cuddling while they hang from the ceiling. They're soooo cuuuute! Cuddle-bats! Look! Right up there!")

So, y'know, it went pretty well. And it did keep us out for a good five and a half hours, though some of that was travel time.

Anyway, next Saturday I'm taking them to the Dallas Zoo if the weather holds. I'm going to see if I can gather my father on the way, and if any of you who live nearby want to join us, well... drop me a line, we'll make an outing of it. (The comments here work fine, or if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you can send a message that way.) Being the crowd-averse person I am, I'll be aiming to get there when it opens at 9:00 a.m. so we can get started before it really fills up. (Or maybe, if the dark gods favor me, it won't fill up.)

Onward and upwards! Nothing but good times ahead!