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I grew up in a union house. My dad was a chief steward in the CWA (local 7750). I remember there being one strike (and the threat of others) when I was growing up. Looking at the CWA history, I’m pretty sure this is what I remember:

1986: Post Divestiture Bargaining

1986 presented CWA with its first negotiations with the post-divestiture telephone industry. Twelve years after CWA had achieved national bargaining, the union was forced back to the old multiple table way of bargaining. CWA had to bargain not only with AT&T, but with the independent RBOCs and their subsidiaries. National bargaining had been replaced by 48 different bargaining tables.

In the AT&T negotiations, the company attempted to take back health care benefits, lower clerical wages, and eliminate cost of living adjustments obtained in earlier contracts. CWA had no choice but to strike. The strike lasted 26 days and AT&T agreed to provide wage and employment security improvements and retain the health care benefits intact. Although the negotiations with the RBOCs were also difficult, they were less contentious than those with AT&T. Strikes were necessary against some of these operating companies, but none lasted more than a few days.

So I was five going on six at the time. Needless to say, my memories aren’t that sharp or specific. But things I do remember?

  • Going with my dad to where the everyone met and getting food for our house. Also getting my fingernails and toenails painted because I was wearing sandals. I’m pretty sure this is from the strike, but don’t quote me.
  • Learning what “scabs” are, and that they’re bad. Well, of course they’re bad, I thought. Scabs are pretty gross, and you pick them off and flick them away, and then whats underneath is all gross and oozy. Why would you want to be like a scab?
  • My parents not wanting to buy things or spend money because they didn’t know how long the strike would last.
  • Having a play picket line with my older brother outside our house, because we saw dad with his sign for the picket line. My brother had a sign on a stick. I had a little sandwich board sign made with poster board and string.

That’s honestly it. When you’re that young, things don’t impact you the same way. And I think my parents worked hard to make sure we didn’t really know what the financial situation was like… because you try to keep your kids out of those worries until they’re too big to hide.

I was a member of the CWA for the just shy of six years that I worked for AT&T, later. There was one time when we had a strike vote–I voted yes, but at the time a lot of my coworkers argued with me, because they thought the union was pointless and what they were going after wasn’t worth a strike. I had my doubts at the time (I was young and stupid and that’s a whole other blog post – and I also didn’t have much of a strike fund saved up, so that was scary too) but I was glad about being union later when I needed my rep to sit in a couple meetings between me and my supervisor. And I was weirdly glad that because of the union, I knew when my job was on the layoff chopping block, because I was low on the seniority list. I’d rather get let go for that than because I didn’t suck up to my boss sufficiently.

Anyway.

This post brought to you by me taking a break from writing about the Ludlow Massacre and feeling angry. And because the WGA West has asked its membership for strike authorization and I’m already seeing people (who aren’t writers) bitching about it because they don’t want their TV shows interrupted when the world is a fiery political hell pit.

People don’t strike because it’s fun. It disrupts your life in ways you can’t imagine and can fuck you over financially even if you win in the end. People strike because the companies never stop trying to push workers further down the hole. Because it’s the only way the workers have to defend themselves from a line getting crossed. So I’m sorry if it inconveniences you, but the writers (or communications workers, or electricians, or truckers, or grocery store workers or…) aren’t the ones you should bitch at. The bosses trying to kill them by inches are.

It’s not greedy to want a decent life for yourself and your loved ones, and it’s not out of line to want your labor (and writing is labor, fuck off) to be respected. If you already have that good of a life, don’t shit on people trying to get to that level. And if you don’t have what they do, why the fuck are you shitting on them for wanting better, and why aren’t you fighting for better for yourself?

In 1886, during the Great Southwest Railroad Strike, Jay Gould (owner of the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific Railroads) famously said: “I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.”

Whose side are you on?

Originally published at Alex Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Let me start with a geology story. I promise, there’s a point to this.

When I was a geologist at the research company, I had a core come in. There was a ten foot section of it that I didn’t know how to describe. It was fine-grained, filled with burrows. So far so good. But the mineralogy was… puzzling. Not enough dolomite to be described as a dolostone, not enough clay to be described as a mudrock, not enough quartz sand and silt to be described as some kind of sandstone or siltstone. It sat basically at the nexus of all possible rock types for that environment and was definitively none of them. In absolute frustration, I dubbed it “shit rock” and wrote all my reports and captions accordingly.

Of course, this is a business. I couldn’t actually turn in reports to the client with the term “shit rock” used. So I had a long talk with my boss. The problem with geology, he explained, is that everything we work on is a continuum. So there will always be something that falls in that liminal state where you’re not quite sure what it is, and even if you wanted to do battle with the rest of the community to coin a new term, you’d just be replacing one borderland with two. You can write definitions all day that will define 99.999% of all the rocks out there, but then some son of a bitch is going to come in with the 0.001% case because there are a lot of rocks on Earth, and one in a million things happen more often then any of us can grasp.

There will always be rocks that defy easy classification. You eventually just have to dip your toe into the art rather than science and describe it how you feel fits best – and then be ready to defend your decision.

Which comes to me. A little while ago on Twitter, I said:

And then while I was taking a shower, because all my most important thinking happens in the shower or when I’m supposed to be trying to fall asleep, I realized that it was an empty thing to say without the rest of this post.

I’ve been nibbling at the edges of this for a while, trying to figure things out. But maybe it’s the scientist in me, I don’t like committing to anything unless I’m absolutely certain – and the thing about life is that absolute certainty is in shorter supply than most people would like to believe. Because what if I’m wrong? How do I defend something that I’m still figuring out? But I don’t feel like I have the luxury of wibbling quietly into the night any more.

Because you see, in this way, gender’s got something in common with geology. Everything works on a continuum. You will always find cases that defy classification, and no matter how frustrating that is, they don’t go away. And that is part of the beauty of the world, trust me.

So how do I define myself? Queer, for certain. Sometimes it’s easier to tell people what a rock – or yourself – isn’t than what it is. I’m not female. I don’t quite think I’m male either, but I’d have to give it a good few years try out before I could say for certain. Fuck knows, it’s taken me something like 34 years to figure out the “not female” bit, but GOD it has been a relief since I reached that conclusion. So my big request here is to please use a gender-neutral pronoun (they) if possible. Or if you just can’t make that work in your brain, because I know the verb conjugation gives people mental cramp at times, masculine (he).

And please, call me Alex. It started out as… not a joke, precisely, when I came up with my pen name. But it’s grown on me, like a much more comfortable skin.

But there’s a point to this, and it’s not just me sitting at my keyboard and crying. I’ve been doing that too often in the last forty-eight hours.

When I was a baby queer growing up surrounded by kids and adults who thought “smear the queer” was a perfectly acceptable name for a game that involved throwing balls at other people so hard it gave them bruises (and I was one of those kids, because at the time I didn’t know better), it was invaluable to me when I started seeing LGBT people openly be themselves. It told me that there were more options that I knew, that maybe I didn’t have to keep trying to jam myself into a mold I didn’t fit, and I could be happy.

Since the election yesterday, there’s already been countless stories of racism, sexism, and homophobia being flung at people with renewed abandon. I live in a place where it’s relatively safe – swing state turned pretty reliably blue state Colorado, in the Denver-Boulder area – to be out. So I think that I need to be as out as possible even if I’m not entirely happy with my R-squared values, because now more than ever it’s important to make it known that we exist. That we will not go away. That people who are like me, who live in environments where they are not safe, are not alone even if they can only hold that truth silently in their heart.

Sometimes, merely living, existing, is an act of defiance, denying the narrative that we are fictional, or merely confused, or unhappy, or intrinsically broken.

Let this be my act of defiance. Let this be the first of many.

– Alex

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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My birthday is coming up, as is Christmas. As usual, putting this here for ease of reference for people close enough to me to want to throw a gift tied to a brick through my window.

Everyone else, carry on, nothing to see here.

In order of how desperately I need the thing:

  1. 2.5″ metal collar stays (eg: these, though I’m not sure what the length is here)
  2. Doc Martens For Life, black mens size 7 (my original black Docs are falling apart)
  3. Rockport cap toe oxfords, black, size 7 1/2 (current pair also falling apart)
  4. iTunes gift cards / send me books on Audible so I have things to listen to while I drive all over Denver for work
  5. Starbucks gift cards since I seem to be haunting Starbucks a lot during my breaks
  6. Subscription to Vanity Fair
  7. Subscription to Teen Vogue
  8. Pocket watch chain
  9. NOOK Glowlight Plus
  10. Sunbreaker T-shirt, size mens large
  11. Travel (tea) mug 
  12. Blue Yeti Microphone
  13. CycleOps Magneto | Leveling Block

Originally published at Alex Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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I look away for five minutes, and suddenly it’s been almost a month since I posted anything in my blog. Well, hi guys. I’m still alive. To be honest, I can’t say I’m having that much fun with it, though.

Basically, I’m deep in the pit of home renovation hell. Every time I walk into my house, I swear to god that more things are wrong with it. I spent three hours today sanding shitty paint off a windowsill. Why? Because I’ve lost my goddamn mind. At least that’s my assumption. My house is a disaster area that has exactly 33% of a floor, and the rest is composed of broken 1970s tile, tack strips, killz sealer, and chthonic evil.

I’m also, since we’re being honest here (just between you and me, right?) a giant ball of stress because my inbox is full of emails letting me now that my qualifications as a geologist are great and I should feel totally proud of myself, but I’m not in the top pool of candidates, so fuck off. This is what happens when the industry a lot of geologists depend on is in a bust cycle. It sucks. I’m on my last three weeks of unemployment, so if you hear a high-pitched noise emanating from the vicinity of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, it’s just the sound of my skyrocketing blood pressure.

That said, I’ve still got my health. I’ll be in Dallas this coming weekend for FenCon, and on the way back I’ll be picking up my cats and bringing them back to Denver, finally. I have great, amazing, supportive friends. Friends who still love me even after helping me install ceiling fans or moving closet door tracks. Friends who buy me stress tacos when I tell them that I’m really thinking about just setting my house on fire and riding my bike to Mexico, because that sounds like an excellent alternative to having to spackle another fucking wall.

I love you guys. Really and truly. I don’t know why the hell any of you are friends with me any more, but I appreciate it.

I’m going to try to have some things to say in the new future (about certain problems I’ve noticed while scrounging for freelance work, about the joys of double-paned windows), but it kind of depends on how much more of my soul my house eats as to when that’ll be. Normal service should resume around the beginning of October, since that’s when there will be floor in my house again and I can get my furniture out of hock.

In the meantime, if you see a wild-eyed, spackle-covered ginger wandering the roads near you, don’t be afraid. Just give me a beer and point me back towards home. It’ll be okay.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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As of yesterday, I no longer have a job. I wish I could say this is because I’ve spontaneously become independently wealthy, but that’s not the case. I worked in the petroleum industry, and all you have to do is take a look at the per-barrel price of oil over the last year to understand why I’m suddenly without employment.

I’m doing my best to be positive about this. I’m not in a bad place financially, I’ve been unemployed before and I know what I need to do. And I’m going to take this as an opportunity to move back to Colorado and start my life back up there. So hey, you don’t have to listen to me bitch about how I’m Not The Target Audience for Texas any more, and that’s a good thing too. It’s a chance to move into a new phase of life and career, it just would have been kind of nice if I’d taken the leap myself instead of being, you know, pushed.

And this is why I’m writing this blog post. I need your help. Like I said, financial situation isn’t dire, this isn’t an emergency plea, but I also no longer have an income as such. If you like what I do as a writer, please consider supporting me via Patreon, or tip me to the tune of a coffee:
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I’m going to have a lot more time to write now, so if there’s stuff you’d like to see on the Patreon other than my incoherent movie notes, I’m very open to suggestions. I have netflix, a will to live blog, and an unending well of sarcasm.

Beyond that, I’m really looking to pick up freelance work. Obviously I’ve mostly written short stories, but I’ve also got a little screenwriting under my belt (including a year worth of courses at the UCLA extension) and am looking to pick up some more experience there. I can write reviews, and I promise I can adhere to house style just fine and refrain from dropping f-bombs as necessary. If you hear about anyone [who PAYS] looking for writers, please tell me.

I am also still applying for geoscience jobs, though those are hard to come by right now because there are a lot of geologists like me out of work. If you live in Colorado and hear about any jobs, please let me know so I can apply. I can even do field geology or mud logging, I’m totally fine with those things.

This is honestly pretty scary for me, and asking for help like this isn’t something I wanted to do. I’m really sad to have lost a job that I frankly loved (and coworkers that I adored), but I’m going to do my best to keep a positive attitude and move forward. Thank you, everyone. <3

(PS: Adorable cat gifs appreciated as well.)

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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It’s that time of year when people are asking about wish lists and stuff, so here it is.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Now that the cat is out of the bag, there are some more kind of nitty-gritty things about divorce that I want to talk about, because I think they’re dumb or annoying or just kind of funny.

It’s okay that we’re okay.

While we were going through the whole process, we kept having these weird conversations, just randomly. Mostly in the car, since thats when our housemate isn’t around. Where one of us would just say something like, “We’re not arguing about anything. I feel like there’s something wrong with us.”

Mike and I never did much arguing before, but there is this mental image you get of divorce, where there is shouting and tears and throwing things perhaps. There was a little crying while we were figuring things out. There’s always crying when something ends, just because endings are always sad even when they lead into new beginnings. But there weren’t hard feelings. There wasn’t shouting. And it felt… kind of weird that there weren’t, in a way. Like we were somehow doing it wrong.

We had a lot of conversations that started like this, going in both directions:

“Are you still okay?” “I’m okay.” “Why does it feel weird that we’re both okay?”

It’s okay that we didn’t want to argue. It’s okay that there are no hard feelings. (In fact, it’s better that there are no hard feelings!) It’s okay that we’re okay. I figure not a lot of people get to be in this position, but it’s a place that exists. And if you find yourself in that place, don’t feel weird about it.

And everyone, I know it’s super weird when someone tells you they’ve gotten divorced, and you’re not sure how to respond. And it’s probably even weirder when the people in question are both happy and okay with everything. It feels weird to congratulate people on something society in general says is a terrible thing.

But hey, you can always congratulate us on the fact that we’re still BFFs. We don’t feel like us getting divorced was a bad thing. We don’t want anyone else to feel that way either.

It’s way easier to get married than divorced

The more I think about this, the more it annoys me, to be honest. Like, I get that there are certain things that make getting divorced way more complicated than getting married; the division of property, and heaven help you if you have kids. (And I’m glad we didn’t have kids, because that’s a whole other set of people who you really have to put first… but anyway.) But it is just materially much more difficult to get divorced than married.

When Mike and I got married, we went to the DMV to get the license, didn’t have to wait at all, paid $30 and answered a few questions (eg: are you brother and sister?) and that was it. Then all we had to do was sign the thing with witnesses and there you go. Married. If you don’t count the big party we threw for signing our piece of paper, getting married was cheaper than dinner and a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. We also didn’t even have to even be residents of Colorado.

Filing for divorce was exponentially harder. And I mean that in a literal sense as well; we had to pay nearly ten times as much just to file the paperwork. (Now if we’d gotten married in Houston, we would have had to bay $71 for the license, which is around 1/4 of the divorce filing fee.) We had to have lived in Texas for at least six months and Houston for at least three, thankfully not a problem for us. And then there was a sixty day waiting period, between when we filed the original petition and when we could even go before the judge to get the final decree approved.

Like I said, I get that a lot of that has to do with just the legal messiness of untangling property, which is why you need to drag a judge into things. I even get keeping the judge in the uncontested divorce loop and wanting their approval on the final decree, because they’re there to make sure someone doesn’t get totally fucked because of a mistake or malicious design.

But a sixty day waiting period? Why isn’t there a sixty day waiting period for marriages? Even states that have “cooling off” periods for wedding licenses, they’re nothing like sixty freaking days.

This is not to say my marriage to Mike was some kind of mistake and we wouldn’t have done it if we’d had to wait two months. At that point, we’d been living together for over five years. I’m just saying that making people wait the same amount for a marriage as they have to wait for a divorce just seems a lot more fair. And it also feels really wrong to me, to make it super easy to get married, to the point that you can quite literally get married on a whim in many states, and then make it difficult and much more expensive and humiliating to end a marriage.

Anyone who is against no-fault divorce is either severely misguided or downright evil.

Considering Texas’s hyper conservative reputation, it might come as a surprise that it’s a no-fault divorce state. (Actually, according to Wikipedia, the whole US has been no fault since 2010, which is cool.) But that meant when I went before the judge and asked for a divorce, the reason I provided was quite literally:

My marriage to my spouse has become insupportable because of a discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship.

Which basically means “this marriage isn’t working out for reasons that aren’t anyone’s fault, please let us out.” And that is so. Incredibly. Important. For Mike and I, this was precisely the reason for our divorce. We’d grown to a place where we just didn’t feel that way about each other any more and no longer wanted to be married.

I don’t want to get too melodramatic here, but this is important. We’re  still incredibly good friends because we were able to decide that we didn’t want to be married any more, and then the state accepted that as a reason. This meant that neither of us felt trapped. Neither of us got put in a position where we could resent the other person. This allowed us to end that part of our relationship on incredibly good, cooperative, friendly terms.

If no-fault divorce wasn’t allowed, we would have needed a reason like abuse (not gonna happen) or adultery. And even when you’re both on the same side, being legally forced to blame someone for something that really requires no blame… I don’t think that would have felt very good for either of us. It wouldn’t have been fair. Sometimes things happen that aren’t anyone’s fault. There’s enough baggage on the entire word of divorce without the state forcing you to point the finger at someone and legally shame them.

I want to point this out because I remember in Colorado, political ads for certain candidates expounding upon the evils of no-fault divorce. There’s ongoing backlash and a definite sector of people in this country who would like to get rid of this kind of divorce, and their reasoning is total bullshit. Divorce is already difficult enough. Legally forcing Mike and I to remain married would not have caused us to somehow start loving each other in that way again. But it would have been a great way to destroy our friendship.

Everyone expects you to want to have nothing to do with each other any more.

I guess maybe because that’s the way it most commonly goes? But it’s been kind of weird in that respect. We actually ended up paying a lawyer to write up our final decree for us even just because if you download the form and want to fill it out yourself, there’s an assumption that everything is going to belong to either one person or the other. We wanted to keep one of our bank accounts jointly owned (so we could pay rent and bills out of it since we’re still housemates) and also keep the house we own at 50/50 while not having to just sell it and split it. They don’t make that easy to figure out.

And yes, we’re still housemates. We’re BFFs. We’re just really relieved to be sleeping in separate rooms. I know it’s kind of weird considering how these things normally go, but it’s worked for us.

My ties are incredibly powerful.

They tell you to dress nice for court. So I did, which included one of my power ties. I needed the confidence boost, man. Going in front of a judge is a nerve-wracking thing even if you have no-fault on your side. During my time at court, I got mistaken for a lawyer countless times (I guess only lawyers wear ties?) and caused several people some severe gender confusion.

It kind of made my day.

(Bonus: I was on crutches the entire time.)

Cake

Because yes, there was divorce cake. It was not as awesome as the wedding cake.

Like we murdered a fairy on top.

Yes. A funfetti cake. That’s right.

wpid-wp-1409675529754.jpegBut it was our divorce cake, and it was good.

 

 

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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I tend to be very careful, out here on the internet, about when and how I speak about my personal life. Ridiculous bitching about my period? Sure, why not. Navel-gazing about weight and body image? Sure. But all of those things are about me. When it comes to the people in my life and how I relate to them, I am ferociously protective of their privacy. Their lives are not for me to talk about.

I’m going to make an exception here, with Mike’s permission. Because I think this is important.

This is about failure.

I’ve never dealt well with failure. In university, the first time I ever failed an exam, it resulted in a near-hysterical crying jag because I was certain my academic career was over and I was completely without worth as a human being. I am not someone who fails with grace.

This is about divorce.

Last week, on August 26, a judge granted Mike and I a divorce. This will come as a surprise to pretty much everyone, because we chose to not talk about it publicly until everything was finalized. A lot of that was because, in our opinion, our relationship and its workings (or not-workings) were no one’s business but ours. We decided together to get married, and we decided together to end that marriage. But I think a lot of it was also because the word divorce carries a lot of highly dramatic emotional baggage.

I think nearly everyone in America knows someone who’s been touched by a really horrible divorce. Growing up, I had a lot of friends with divorced parents, in a myriad of different arrangements. And there’s also the image of divorce in the media, where it’s largely this dramatic thing that involves screaming arguments, and crying, and throwing dishes, and trying desperately to hurt someone else over stuff.

The specter of failure was what made things the most difficult as Mike and I talked and talked and ultimately came to the conclusion that this chapter of our lives was at an end. I kept thinking over and over, that because I couldn’t find a way to fix this, to fix me, I had not only failed myself, I had failed our friends, our families, and worst of all, I had failed Mike, who is still my best friend in the world.

I haven’t failed Mike. Mike didn’t fail me. And I don’t want to hear anyone characterizing our relationship, our marriage, our divorce, that way. There is this is this societal meme that deems divorce a failure of marriage, a failure of a relationship. As if finding someone compatible with you, who will grow and change as you grow and change and always maintain that same compatibility, is a simple and easy prospect that defaults in success. As if finding a single person who can ceaselessly put up with your shit (and the shit they have to put up with grows and changes too) and still love you just as much until one of you dies is the norm.

Maybe divorce sometimes is about failure. But I don’t think that’s the only potential meaning. It can also be just about ending. Failure is only one way of a multitude for something to end. And if I’d allowed myself to think about it that way, this process might have been a little less agonizing.

Mike and I have taken care of each other and supported each other through a lot of good times and bad times.We’ve shared our lives. But the thing about life is that it changes you, inevitably. The day you stop changing is truly the day you’ve ceased to live, even if you don’t get around to dying for a while after. And for nearly a decade, the changes life wrought on us kept us on the same path, and it was good.

You don’t really have control over how life is going to work that magic on you. And at some point we stopped growing together and started growing apart. That’s not anyone’s fault. That’s life. Mike isn’t the same person I married four years ago, let alone the same person I started dating five years before that. I’m not the same person he married. And if you gave it to us to do over again today, we’d say thanks, but no. But let’s have some cake anyway. Cake’s always good.

We’re not a failure. Our relationship is not a failure. Because we made each other stronger, better people. We loved and supported each other through thick and thin until we reached a place in our lives where we couldn’t support each other in that same way any more. It’s time to continue loving and supporting each other in a different way.

And you know what? That’s okay. We walked along the same path for close to ten years. But now it’s time for those paths to diverge.

When I think of it that way, in terms of the fullness of our lives and the way’s we’ve grown, I can’t really call our relationship, our marriage anything but a success. We are both greater, stronger people than we were when we started. And if it’s going to end, then let it end. Holding on to something that is no longer supporting either of us would be the real failure.

There are a lot of people in the world. A lot of people. I feel lucky every time I meet someone with whom I can connect on an intimate level of any kind. Maybe there is someone (heck, ten someones, fifty, one hundred!) who will by some miracle of statistics be that perfect one for me, who will always match me and be matched by me. I don’t know if I will ever meet that person, and I won’t know if I’ve met them until I’m on my deathbed. And that’s okay.

I am incredibly lucky to have met Mike. We have been best friends for nearly ten years now, and for a bit less than that we were more. Mike has been an amazing, integral part of my journey to where I stand now. He has made me who I am today. And he has had the courageous soul and boundless generosity of spirit necessary to keep cheering me along on my own path, just as I’ve been cheering him along on his. Even as those paths have taken us farther and farther apart.

We haven’t failed. Because wherever we end up, we will still love each other.

Friends til the end.

 

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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I had surgery again today. Yay me. To get a bone spur shaved off of my left big toe and get the joint cleaned up. (Old kung fu injury, blah blah.) I’m looking forward to being able to run again once I’m done with the PT.

Though for now I’m sitting on the couch, wishing I could take this damn dressing off because I swear it’s making things hurt worse. I’ve got my foot propped up on a mound of pillows. I also only really woke up at 2130 even though my surgery was at 0800. If you follow me on Twitter you know I was all over the place this morning before crapping out. And incoherent.

Basically, fun with anesthesia.

I didn’t do the greatest with the anesthesia when I had my shoulder scoped. But it wasn’t too bad. I had (I think) something like a panic attack when I first came out, so they put me under again. After that I was fine. But I also had a nerve block done that time, so I think they didn’t put me on so many painkillers. Once I was out of the hospital if I remember right I went to Jack’n’Grill and had something both greasy and spicy and was fine.

Well, this time I elected to not go for the nerve block. I wasn’t offered one originally, so I assumed it wasn’t needed. Then the anesthesiologist came back and told me another anesthesiologist had texted her to suggest she do a nerve block. But hey, it was only a toe. She didn’t seem to think I needed one before, right? Just more pain medication during anesthesia, with pepcid so I wouldn’t get so sick.

Next time someone offers me a nerve block, I’m saying yes. Hell, I’m asking for one.

It’s not a pain issue. It’s a being incoherent and vomiting every time I stood up issue. Finally after 12 hours I seem to have gotten out of that, thank goodness. I’ve had two bagels and they’re sitting okay. In a bit of pain but not too bad. Have to use crutches to get around right now though.

I don’t think I had a panic attack this time. But instead when I woke up, I was paranoid. I kept telling the nurse that I needed to leave and go for a walk. My legs wanted to move and I couldn’t hold still. Then I realized that the surgeon put a tracking device in my big toe and I needed to get out now or they wouldn’t let me. Good thing the nurse and Mike wouldn’t allow me to get up And then even worse, I knew that the doctors were reptoids and I needed to escape.

I’m not even joking. It’s weird and hilarious now, but at the time I was convinced that my doctors were aliens and they were going to do terrible things to me.

It wore off quickly, though. Then it was just fatigue, dizziness, and vomiting. So if I was tweeting/texting with you and I suddenly disappeared, sorry. I kept falling asleep. They’ve got me on vicodin this time instead of oxycodone so hopefully that will not make me randomly throw up as well. Just makes me sleepy. I think I’ll jut be sleepy all weekend. Loki was a sweet boy and kept me company all day in bed, and now Tengu has figured out how to dock on my lip even though I’m laying out across the couch instead of sitting properly. The kitties are being such helpers. And Mike and Kathy have been great, too. I feel super guilty having to ask them to carry everything for me and making me sandwiches and stuff. (I made my own sandwich around 2200, to prove I could, but now I’ll let them feel useful. That’s totally why.

I have to call in the morning to set up my followup with the doctor (I have to keep the dressing on until then god I think it’s crushing my foot) and I think I’ll ask what I got put on for the anesthesia. I really don’t want to ever go back to a drug planet where I believe in reptoids.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

 

 

The weirdest thing happened to me today. I went clothes shopping, and it didn’t end in an internal whirlwind of self-loathing and depression. In fact I… had a good time. I. Had a good time. Shopping for clothes. No really. Do you understand how bizarre and inconceivable this is?

I approached the trip with my normal sense of dread. I needed to get some nice work pants, and pants are historically one of those things guaranteed to make me feel like shit. Because, you know. If you’re fat, you are banished to the plus-sized section (if the store even has one!) or a specialty store. And frankly, for me to try to find pants that I like isn’t easy to begin with. I want pockets, damnit. I basically just want men’s pants that will fit over my generous ass and I don’t know why I can’t have that.

The last time I went to Lane Bryant, I actually was too small for most of the clothes, so I figured I would try Nordstrom and just see if they had anything that even fit me. I asked the clerk for size 18 pants, and she said they didn’t sell anything bigger than a 16. Uh oh. Sinking feeling. But she said I should try, so… okay. We picked up every pair of 16s we could find and I went to try them on.

I had to ask for about half of them in a size 14 instead. This is something that has never happened to me. Ever. I haven’t been able to wear “regular” clothes since I was in high school. And suddenly… I can go anywhere, and be able to find something that might fit. I still can’t quite mentally grasp that.

It’s amazing what a little thing like that can do. Even when you don’t actually like any of the choices available, just knowing that you could wear it if you wanted to is huge. And it does kind of confirm how I’ve always felt plus-sized women are treated, like we’re unwanted as customers and treated as shameful. That made shopping an incredibly shitty experience for me before, particularly since I never liked many of the looks that got put together for larger women at stores like Lane Bryant. Argh.

Anyway, suddenly discovering I could wear size 16 pants kind of made my day. Then finding size 16 pants with pockets at Brooks Brothers continued to make my day.

But the thing that really made my day/week/month?

imageI’ve suddenly begun to love clothes because I’ve found a way to dress that makes me feel good. I feel confident and playful and happy. And phase two has been ties. I love ties, and I now have shirts that will work well with them. I don’t want to borrow my husband’s ties. I want my own. So also at Brooks Brothers, I talked to one of the sales associates and had him help me figure out colors.

That was fun. Hella fun. The poor guy was a bit stumped. Apparently they don’t get many redheads coming in to that store. He eventually had to pull over one of the other sales associates, and then we spent the next twenty minutes holding up various ties while the guys decided if they looked good with my hair and skin or not. It was magical and hilarious.

I’m excited. About wearing clothes. Write this day on the calendar.

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.

katsu: (Default)

[pe2-image src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/--Y3JmfNhSa8/UR7EMmHr5SI/AAAAAAAAKwk/998WMwLxqEA/s144-c/2013-02-15%25252011.24.38.jpg" href="https://picasaweb.google.com/104914909709893493346/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCLryga_w-LbXeg#5845325087043740962" caption="2013-02-15 11.24.38.jpg" type="image" alt="2013-02-15 11.24.38.jpg" ]

 Which is close to the same view as this:

[pe2-image src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-5snIc_WEP9c/URXql05HloI/AAAAAAAAKu8/mQEi1HQsKaE/s144-c/2013-02-08%25252023.18.56.jpg" href="https://picasaweb.google.com/104914909709893493346/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCLryga_w-LbXeg#5842834027157362306" caption="2013-02-08 23.18.56.jpg" type="image" alt="2013-02-08 23.18.56.jpg" ]

 So yes. On Thursday a trio of nice men (Marco, Francisco, and Greg) came to my house and took everything away. It’ll be delivered down in Houston on the 24th or 25th. And it only took them about two and a half hours to load, since everything was packed already.

It’s really weird to only be going back to my house to clean things. I’m finally starting to really have the point driven home… we’re moving. We’re leaving Colorado. I’m still trying not to think about it too much, to be honest, since I still have my thesis defense waiting ahead. But we’re living with my parents for now (it only took two days for the cats to stop freaking out about being in a new house so that’s good) and we’ll be driving down to Houston next week to get Mike set up there before I fly back to Denver.

And then I’m just here for a few more weeks before I stuff the cats into another car and do the drive again. (Yeah, wish me luck with that. Hoo boy.)

This is weird. I’ve lived in Colorado basically all my life, or at least all my life that I can remember. It’s weird to be leaving.

Originally published at katsudon.net. You can comment here or there.

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Tetsugawa Katsuhiro

September 2017

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