Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Yes, I'm up very late and had breakfast for dinner. It was delicious, despite the potatoes being the size of kindling.
Monday, January 30, 2017
For example, last night, in amongst the laceweight cotton-linen recycled yarn that the moths apparently found delicious, I spotted a dark blue, naugahyde, zippered case. Inside was the pride of my crochet hook collection, misplaced years ago, that included both my ivory hook (brought back from Africa by my great aunt Stella in the '60s along with a zebra-skin handbag) and my lignum hook. The lignum (Lignum vitae, a wood of extraordinary density and strength) hook was a gift from the woodturner I worked for five or six years ago, and I'd been idly wondering where it was.
Now, what to crochet with it?
Sunday, January 29, 2017
I was hoping for proper snowboots, but they were out of the budget, so I came home with some long-sleeved thermal shirts that will fit nicely into my winter-into-spring wardrobe. It's nice to feel appreciated, especially in this line of work, where we can't go back to a site and point at what we did, because if we've done our jobs right, there's nothing left. My new shirts are something of a monument to that job, and I like them all the more for it.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Back in September I went to a conference for people in the preservation trades. Because the fee to attend was out of my budget, I volunteered to teach a workshop on glazing windows, which got me in for free. I love demonstrating my various skills, and I wanted to network with other preservationists, so it seemed like a good fit.
It was the biggest shitshow I've ever had the displeasure of attending.
The professional organization that runs the event has been doing it for 20 years, so you'd think they'd have at least the basics covered, but that wasn't the case. Simple things like a street address for the venue, whether meals would be provided, and the schedule of events, were incomplete, incorrect, or not published at all. One of the other demonstrators had to stand at the gate handing out photocopies of her workshop description because the workshop coordinator had forgotten to put it in the official info packet. Of the first dozen people to sign in on the first day, half of them didn't get nametags because they either hadn't been printed or hadn't made it to the check-in table. I missed the first part of a workshop because the location had changed without notice. I ended up cleaning up the food tent in the mornings because nobody had stayed behind the night before to pick up trash or make sure things weren't left on tables.
A little perspective: between 4-H, historical reenactment, sheep and wool festivals, and renfaires, I've participated in a LOT of volunteer-run events. I've helped out with everything from bake sales run by third-graders to multi-weekend fairs that see ten thousand paying patrons through the gates. This conference was, by far, the most disorganized, confusing, poorly-run event of them all.
The worst part was the attitude of the people running it. Any time I suggested an improvement or asked why something wasn't done, I was met with, "well, it's your first time at this conference, so you don't know how it works," and/or, "join a committee if you want to make it better." So... you belittle me, invalidate my experience, and then expect me to bust my ass to make up for your incompetence? Not a chance.
For a group of so-called professionals, their conference was the most unprofessional event I've ever attended. I am so very thankful that I don't have to go to another one.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Pretty lath is a good thing. This is accordion lath, made from wide, thin boards that are then partially split and stretched to create gaps for the plaster to squish through to hold it on the wall (keys). The architect in charge of the renovation was so excited by this discovery that he's making the lath a design element in the new master bedroom.
Finding old wallpaper is a good thing, too. This was the third layer on the plaster (first and second I only found tiny remnants of in a few places, and their designs were so subtle as to be lost to my phone's camera), and it was only once I took off the crown moulding that I found it -- they'd cut it at the edge of the moulding and taken it off the walls before adding more recent wallpaper, so it only exists in this strip around the top of the room, and now, not even that.
Things that make me giggle are also good. This is short for "demolish," not for "demo-licious," as my work-addled brain would have me believe.
It's finally time to rest, without worrying about the alarm going off at 5am. Thank gods.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
My job today was to strip plaster off the walls in one of the bedrooms. We'll strip the lath once we get our mega-vacuum on site, because nobody wants to expose the blown fiberglass insulation until the vac is set up to contain it.
Monday, January 23, 2017
As long as I keep moving and keep my mind running after solutions to unrelated problems, I can almost hold it together. The moment I have nothing else demanding my attention, though, I fall to pieces. Bedtime is the worst. The gap between turning off the computer and picking up the book on the nightstand, that time filled with the mindless transition from activity to rest, is fraught with pain. Another day has passed, the wound is still open, and there's less hope of resolution than there was the day before. Let sleep come quickly, to outrun the headache that follows so much crying.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
I forgot how chatty my clients are, though, so I got home an hour later than planned because the post-installation cuppa-and-convo went on for a bit. Not that I'm complaining. These folks have been exceptionally patient, and are lovely folks to sit and chat with, so it was a nice way to wind down from the anxiety.
I'll be away for a few days, and might not be around reliable wi-fi for part of it, so don't panic if you don't hear from me until Monday.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I need a nap and some cookies.
Monday, January 16, 2017
The answer: It doesn't. Guess what's moved from the sewing room to a much brighter, spacious spot in the upstairs hall? As a result, the sewing room is slightly less crowded, which helps the workflow considerably. Now to choose which unfinished project to work on first...
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
Bring yarn home, ball it up, swatch, figure out pattern, over the course of a year or so knit something like 5K stitches in bloody moss stitch because texture is pretty.
At the halfway point, start having second thoughts.
Suddenly realize yarn doesn't want to be a hooded mantle anymore. It wants to be a sweatervest.
Frog the mantle, re-ball the yarn, figure out pattern, cast on for vest.
The front's finished. Let's see if I can get through the back, assembly, ribbing, and blocking without it changing its mind again.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The original plan was to install Part 2 before Christmas, install Part 3 by the end of January. I had difficulty keeping to this plan, which eventually led to me getting two extensions, and I spent most of the last two weeks stressed out of my gourd trying to get Part 2 done by the end of last week so I could install them over the weekend. Turns out the client was out of town with relatives, and has now scheduled the installation for next week.
This is, one would think, great for me. Except that the reprieve gave me an excuse to take a day or two off to get over the insane levels of stress, and... I can't seem to get back to work. This creates a problem for Part 3, which is now going to run into February, except I need that last payment for February's rent.
This is why I'm shutting down the business as soon as this job is done. Without a boss expecting me to be at work every day, I have great difficulty mustering the motivation to pick up my tools. So now it's a matter of getting Part 2 ready to install (a day's work), getting started on Part 3, figuring out a way to make the rent, and looking for a full-time job sooner rather than later, all while drowning in the depression and suicidal ideation that comes with failing at something I ought to have been able to do.
Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Thursday, January 5, 2017
On today's job, a log cabin in the woods, I was pulling up subflooring and found the remains of a rabbit that a stray cat (who we'd seen bolting from the crawlspace as we started work) had been eating.
Sometimes "treasure" has a rather loose definition.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
"I know, lovie, but I'm busy right now."
"I'm doing the work that makes the money to buy the cat food. It's important."
"Yes, darling, you're important, too, but this needs to be done before I can cuddle with you."
"I know, I'm not happy about it, either, but that's the way life goes."
"I'll be done as soon as I can, sweetie, you've got to be patient."
"Please go curl up with your sister for a while. This will take as long as it takes, and you complaining about it isn't going to change that."
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
In other news, I finally, more than a month after completing the training, got my OSHA-10 card in the mail. I officially know how to be safe on construction sites. Now if I could just get my boss to understand why that's important, it might actually do some good.
Quitting Facebook was a necessary, though difficult move. I wasted hours every day playing games and refreshing my news feed to see new posts, when I should've been working. And while I've been more productive since walking away from it, I do miss the social aspect of it. I find myself feeling even more isolated than I was (the superficiality of much of Facebook's content was a contributing factor in my decision to quit), and that's making my already-severe depression worse.
A little over three years ago, my father passed away. His death was unexpected in some ways, drawn out in others, and hit me much harder than I ever thought it would. I lost an important person, but I also lost my sense of home -- there is no longer a safe place for me to retreat to when my health issues overwhelm me. The fact that they're overwhelming me now, and have been at dangerous levels for over a year, has me worried that I'll break under the pressure. So far I've managed to limp along, making ends meet despite increasingly frequent bad days, but I don't know how much longer that's going to work.
I ought to be working today. I have a window restoration project that the client is expecting me to install this weekend, and the schedule is very tight. So when I returned from this morning's errands and couldn't find any "spoons" at all, no motivation to do anything productive, it triggered a panic attack, which has completely sidelined me. Knowing I have a certain amount of work that absolutely needs to be done today, and not feeling able to pick up the tools and do it, is maddening and scary. I've already pushed back the target date for this project twice, and I can't bear to disappoint the clients again, which means I'll have to take a day off from my other job to make it work, which then means choosing which already-overdue bill doesn't get paid.
Thanks to this same worsening depression a few months back, I've screwed myself out of being able to get health insurance again this year (didn't send in the appropriate forms or make the necessary phone call to get an extension before the deadline), so there's no hope of going back to therapy any time soon. I try to find something positive to focus on and everything comes with a qualification; I have a roof over my head for now, they haven't turned off my electricity yet, there's food in the fridge for another week.
I wish I had something to look forward to, some stability or security that would allow me to feel reasonably competent. Without that, I'm feeling more than a little lost.