October 2007

Tromped around Umstead park this morning with a buddy of mine, looking for birds. The birds, alas, were mostly hiding today–either we’re not looking in the right place, or it was just a slow day for ’em–but it was a pleasant morning anyway. Birding in company is much more enjoyable. You can both stand around with your respective field guides open, going “Pine warbler, do you think?” “Maybe, or could be a first year magnolia…?” and bask in the warm glow of a faintly absurd hobby shared.  (Poor bastard. New to birding, and got hit with fall warblers right off the bat. It’s a cruel world.)

The weather was cool, if humid, there was a low hanging mist over the forest for part of the morning, and the sun rising behind it was a flat white disk, no brighter than a sheet of paper. (I love atmospheric effects that allow you to look at the sun. It feels like you’re cheating the laws of childhood somehow, like competing in the hundred yard dash-with-scissors.)

A mostly lazy day other than that. Got some writing done on Nurk 2. I do not know yet if there will BE a Nurk 2, but there certainly won’t be if I don’t write it, so I’m putting it together slowly but surely. Got another week of buffer done on Digger in the last few days, which is a vast relief. Putting the comic on hiatus galled me deeply.

Ten days until I take possession of my apartment, two weeks until I move in, at best estimate. I’m very ready, but I’ll miss Deb anyway.  Also, the contents of Deb’s fridge.  Her husband is a very picky eater. Deb’s been able to buy a much broader variety of food during my stay, content in the knowledge that if he doesn’t eat it, the resident starving artist probably will. “Sure, I’ll eat quiche. Yes, and rosemary ham. And the lemon chicken breast, sure. Yeah, I can probably take that coffee ice cream off your hands. Mango cheesecake? Oh, twist my arm….”

It’s a good thing the Effexor is damping my appetite, or I’d have gained back all that weight already. Going back to the frozen food aisle of Trader Joe’s, and the traditional Ursula Bachelor Fridge (contents: iced tea, jar of pesto, package of pasta, lonely stick of butter) will be a hard transition. Maybe I can find a single’s cooking class around here somewhere.

Stroke of Luck

My apartment complex called me today to inform me that my apartment would not be available by the date I was supposed to move in, and would this other apartment, same price, be acceptable instead?

I stifled a groan, but agreed to look at it. It was on the ground floor–more convenient for moving, arguably, but a little less secure for a single female living alone. Still, the neighborhood is fine, and while Deb has been an absolute prince, I have no desire to live in her guest bedroom forever. So I hoofed it out over there, and to my great good fortune, the gentleman working on cleaning it was there and had no objections to me poking my head in and looking around.

Heh heh heh.

Apparently this was a wheelchair accessible apartment back in the day. While the towel and closet bars are thus lower than I’d normally use, it ALSO has a double wide kitchen and bathroom–and believe me, in a wee little apartment, that makes a BIG difference. Two people could actually work in the kitchen without having to be Very Very Good Friends, and I can fit some kind of storage unit in the bathroom.

Better yet, while the patio will likely be full shade again (*sigh*)  it will also overlook the woods instead of the parking lot. And that’s a much better view, particularly for a birder.

I shall offer gummi coke bottles to Ganesh. Things are looking up.

Better Living Through Chemistry, Update

So as of today, I’ve been on Effexor for three and a half weeks. Three weeks is the time it’s supposed to take to take effect–I actually started to notice a distinct lightening of mood after two. I feel better, my blog posts, as many have commented, sound much more normal, and my friends and family tell me that I sound a great deal better. And I’m painting again, and doing Digger, and whipped off a bunch of model sheets for a game company, and am generally productive after a fashion.

More importantly, I feel like ME again. And crimony, you never really appreciate yourself until you’re gone. More and more, I feel like if I can just get back into an apartment and get settled in, the last few months will be like a bad dream, and I’ll be…well, older and wiser and a little more considerate of my own limits, but back into Life As I Know It.

I’ve been lucky so far–I was expecting to have to go through several drugs, but this one seems to be doing pretty well so far. All the major side effects have passed off–my appetite is still notably surpressed, but food no longer tastes like cardboard, and after about eight hours, I DO feel something akin to hunger, so I’m in no danger of wasting away. Obviously I could still acquire some new side-effects, but so far, so good.

The major thing I’m keeping an eye out for is irrational happiness or total calm, either of which would be a little too much of a good thing. The tricky bit, of course, is that you have to use your brain to watch your brain. Still, this is where my misspent youth may actually be coming in handy. Do enough drugs, and you develop that little internal monitor who keeps track of how high you are (i.e. “Can I hold a conversation with my parents? Can I talk to the police? Can I go outside? Can I get off the couch?”) and who whispers, in times of strain, “It’s not real. You’re high. Would you do this sober?”  and generally keeps you from freaking out or doing anything stupid.

It’s a handy thing to have, that experience of being an unreliable narrator. I am wary of trusting it completely–mucking about with seratonin levels is a much more subtle thing than merely dumping a load of psychedelics on the ‘ol neurotransmitters–but all the same, despite occasionally heroic doses of mind-altering drugs in my youth, I never once freaked out severely or had a particularly bad trip, nor did I do anything particularly detrimental to myself or others under the influence….thanks largely to that internal monitor. (I don’t doubt at all that there are levels of drugs where that voice is completely drowned out, but I never got there.) So I feel–if not completely confident, at least optimistic that I’ll be able to tell if the meds start to work a little TOO well, which appears to be the major concern now that they’ve definitely proved that they work at all.

And pff, either way I should be off ’em come February or so. And that’s a good thing. I am hoping that the meds will serve more to remind me how to be me again than anything else, and so far, so good.

So today I got a bikini wax.

I had no burning reason to get one, mind you, I don’t swim and have no immediate plans for anybody to be viewing said area.  Still, there I was at the salon getting my hair color touched up, and I hadn’t brought a book, so I had time to kill while the color set. What the hell, I thought. Never had it done before. Let’s give it a try.

I tell ya, my scientific curiousity gets me in more trouble than my heart and my hormones combined.

Now, I expected it would hurt. And this didn’t particularly worry me. I have a mental image of myself as a dreadful wuss, but I know rationally that it’s inaccurate, the proof of which is tattooed around my bicep. You can’t get a tattoo that thick across the underarm without a fairly significant pain tolerance, and my survival of multiple root canals is also an argument for the defense. I may whine, I may bitch, I certainly twitch–okay, I squirm like a gaffed eel–but generally I’m tougher than I look. Or think I am.

Still, hot wax on the nethers. So I was all steeled up for unprecedented agony and…

…you know, it barely hurt.

“That’s it?”

“Well, it hurts more if you want a full Brazilian, but yeah.”

I was astonished. It wasn’t bad. Not nearly as painful as an eyebrow wax, hardly even as bad as a leg wax, and nothing like as bad as an underarm wax. The closer to the middle, the more nerve endings, for obvious reasons, but really not bad at all.

And then the wax got out of hand and started sticking to everything and not coming up. At all. There are things you prefer not to have happen to your southern climes, and lukewarm wax adhering with great tenacity to individual hairs is among them. I gazed at the ceiling and contemplated the madness that had led me here. I don’t even own a bikini, for god’s sake.

It still didn’t hurt much, it was just…messy. She kept apologizing. “It’s usually not this–come on–damnit–usually not this bad–oh, hell…” More wax. More wax not coming up. “Come ON! Really, I don’t know what’s wrong with the wax today…” I hung on tenaciously–if you keep the skin taut, removal is much less painful–and wondered vaguely whether not having to wield a razor around the delicate hinge of my thighs was really worth it.

“Look,” she said finally, having successfully dehaired the appropriate areas, “I’m just gonna put corn starch on it so it won’t stick to things, and it’ll all come off in the shower.”

“Right,” I said dubiously, eyeing the end result. On the one hand, my bikini line was as smooth as…well, as a badly plucked chicken, at the moment, granted all the aggravated hair follicles, but presumably those would settle down in a day or two.

On the other hand, it kinda looked like I’d been committing unnatural acts in a wax museum.

Oh, well. It did all come off in the shower, thankfully. We’ll see whether I am sufficiently amused by the novelty to risk the wrath of the House of Wax again…

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