Eccentric Flower:201110/It Hasnt Gotten Less Crazy

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It Hasn't Gotten Less Crazy

I bet you thought I was going to miss October entirely.

My job, which I love, nonetheless continues to threaten to destroy me. The biggest remaining project in the mass of projects connected to all our system changes is very big and very messy. So big and so messy that even though I know what to do, the sheer volume of little details (and sometimes big details) that must be worked out is daunting me. This, plus all the yelling and screaming about other things, means I'm about two weeks behind where I should be, with almost no forward progress to speak of. This doesn't make the task any less daunting. And now, in addition to the task itself that I don't especially want to face, there's the guilt and stress of being two weeks behind, not to mention all the other projects that are piling up behind this roadblock, waiting.

On the other hand, I've been really enjoying playing Rift again the last week or so, as opposed to just going through the motions so I can talk to Mel for an hour or two.

The cats are very difficult. They are incredibly curious about everything we do, but they're also scared of us. This back and forth is making us nuts. They want to watch us and follow us, but we can't touch them except in exceptional circumstances. We did manage to close off their inaccessible cave/hiding place in the basement, which pissed them off but they've recovered from that. Their newest exploit is to spend vast lengths of time staring at the oven. They're convinced this is the motherlode of food and we're hoarding a Strategic Chicken Reserve in there.

Our old upright freezer in the basement gave up the ghost and we lost something like $100 of very good meat products from Lisa and Frank. Not only is this a very sad thing, but it also means that we somehow must get that marvel of 1950's design out of the narrow exits to the basement somehow and get a new one in. And we must do this before the first real snowfall, because once we have the first real snowfall, some parts of our life essentially grind to a halt. We don't see the back yard or open the back basement door at all from about December through April.

Speaking of which, we're supposed to get a non-real snowfall this weekend. I'm not ready for winter yet. I'm not. I only switched to closed shoes earlier this week, and my toes only stopped blistering and bleeding today.

I asked my doctor for Ambien the last time I got my cholesterol prescription refilled. I was very leery of it - I've heard many horror stories about, you know, people sleep-driving while under the influence of it and things like that - and it took me weeks to actually try one. The first time I took one, I guess it worked okay, because I remember absolutely nothing from about half an hour after I went to bed until about six-thirty in the morning when I woke up with a start. I could have been dead during that time. The house could have burned down. The second time I took it it took a little longer to kick in and I woke up about five-thirty, which still left a little too much time of fidgety, fifteen-minutes-of-full-sleep-at-a-time process at the end of the night. The third time I took it it did nothing. It was exactly like what my non-Ambien norm has become: An hour or two of reasonably solid sleep at the front of the night, then the uncomfortable, sleep-in-fifteen-minute-fits fidget cycle for the rest of the night.

Last night, or was it the night before, I gave in and shamefully poured myself a dose of Nyquil. Nyquil pretty much makes me sleep like a rock. But it's probably even worse to be taking for sleep on a regular basis than Ambien is. Back to the drawing board.

I thought, up until two days ago, that I was actually going to go through with my semi-serious plan to start rewriting one of my novels on November 1. (Do not say that word. I will come hit you with a hammer if you say that word. Besides, I wasn't planning on writing a novel; I already did that. Two and two-thirds times.) But with the ten-ton weight of this work project which will continue to destroy me until at least mid-November, and three weeks of stuff at least already queued up after that, I simply cannot see at what point I will have the energy at night to actually work on fiction. Dreaming up fiction - coming up with the ideas and the settings and the whimsy - doesn't take the same part of my brain that's getting exhausted every day. But dreaming up fiction is the easy part, and is only five percent or less of the job. Actually constructing fiction - making a house which is structurally sound - demands exactly the same part of my brain as programming, or planning programming - the "let us figure out the best/most efficient/most interesting way to set forth a specific chain of events in a sensible order" - and that part is getting completely depleted every day.

The calendar does not look good for fiction anywhere before the start of the spring semester. By then I'm sure the impulse will have gone dormant again. I write this as if you care deeply. Don't let that bother you.

It's okay here. The food is good, the work is interesting, the creatures are colorful, the recreation is fine. But there's not much sleep. And the stress levels really could stand some cuts.

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You are describing classic feral cat behavior. If they were very young when you got them, they may adapt, but it will take a long time. The older ones are so set in their notions, they don't really get socialized, in the sense we think of as pets. I don't know how long you are willing to wait, but they don't seem to be fulfilling the function you had in mind, which is to become a part of the family. A purring cat in your lap would do much to reduce your stress. Tip-toeing around these two isn't helping you relax. Sounds heartless to suggest returning them, but it might be your only alternative. I hope not. They are beautiful cats.

Oh, and "that word" sets my teeth to grinding. I find the whole idea that one can sit down one fine month and write a novel to be an insult to actual serious novelists everywhere. A jump start? Maybe, but how many actually succeed?

-- 17:17, 30 October 2011 (GMT)


Oh, we'd never return them. This is their home now; they're used to it, if not to us. Sending them someplace else, let alone back to the shelter, wouldn't be fair to them.

One thing we have been considering, although it's not an idea either of us is wild about, is getting a third cat, one that's already well-socialized, to act as an example. Several people who have worked with semi-feral cats say this actually works - but we'll need to be a lot more desperate to do it, because two cats is plenty.

-- 22:16, 30 October 2011 (GMT)


Oooo, interesting idea. I'd have been scared that the ferals would harm the new one, but if others have vetted this, it sounds like a good idea. If nothing else, you'd have at least one lap cat. 8-)

-- 23:37, 30 October 2011 (GMT)


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