What I’ve been doing

Moving downstairs turned out to be a lot more strenuous and involved than even I expected. I still have tons of stuff to sort out. Well, it seems like tons of stuff to me. The major things are done, though, at least on my side. The roommate still has his giant collection of scholarly books and opera dvds and so on to finish sorting, and he can’t finish until certain things are done to the apartment, and the landlord is dragging his feet a bit. I don’t believe the upstairs has been rented yet, but on the up side the landlord said I did a good job cleaning up! I wasn’t too happy with my efforts, but really the place needs a team of professional cleaners, and things like floor-sanding and replacing that isn’t in our control.

On the writing front, I haven’t done much. I’ve been working on and off on a scifi thing for some years now, and decided that key elements have to be rewritten. It won’t disrupt the general structure that much, but the first draft of chapters one and half of two will need significant reworking. Let’s just say some of the setups and tropes I drew on that I thought were just fine now seem stale and clichéd, at the very least. For one thing, having my MC be able to bring a musical instrument, albeit a small, portable one (a viola, basically) across light years from space, and that voyage on prison ships where he was usually in stass, was unrealistic beyond the boundaries of science fiction. (It’s not some sort of virtual creation, it’s a real viola made of wood. My Used Future dystopian government would not by any means let a prisoner they were sending into exile across the galaxy take such a frivolous item with him.)

I’ve also been working out in my head a story or series of story set in a kind of alternate Earth though not really, where there are different countries and empires, and the level of technology sort of corresponds to the Victorian period (with a bit of steampunk for pretty, and also airships! for pretty), and one where wars and political intrigue and inequality is not unknown, but one where so far the scourge of colonial adventuring and conquest hasn’t destroyed large swathes of the population. However, into this other-Earth a disruptive, and as it turns out alien element will be introduced: one that aims to start yet another war of conquest and destruction and looting. Only things don’t go as planned… for one thing, medical science is more advanced than was true for our own history, because the history of this world did not produce situations and modes of thought that caused ancient medical knowledge to be lost here for a long time. (For one thing, none of the religions of this world produced the sort of mindset that called women who knew of healing herbs and so on “witches.”)

Anyway, that’s some of what I’ve been doing.

A New Home

Part of the radio silence around here is due to the fact that my roommate and I were offered the opportunity to move to one of the downstairs apartments in this place. Like the other units in this old Victorian (there are six in total) it’s old and wacky and has weird nooks and crannies. Unlike the one we’re leaving, it’s a one-bedroom (and I’ve got the bedroom!), but unlike the one we’re leaving my bedroom isn’t also a pass-through to other parts of the apartment (my former bedroom had three doors, one to the bathroom — which had another entrance from my roommate’s bedroom at least — and also the only entrance to the sun porch which is where we store(d) all sorts of needed things).

Anyway, this place is just different, but it has some things we like better about it. One, almost a whole wall of built-in shelves in the front room (the roommate has about a thousand books); two, the kitchen is awesome; three, I get a real bedroom, and the closets are better. The roommate has claimed the “dining room” as a bedroom etc., and it has two closets with good shelving. Also we have a proper back porch so we can sit outside and get some fresh air, instead of a useless sunroom with a weird sloping floor and windows you can’t see out of if you’re sitting down, and can’t open anyway because they don’t have screens.

I had to get rid of some things, but I love getting rid of things. I made up for it by purchasing this awesome teacher’s desk made of solid wood. Unfortunately it was an inch too wide to fit through the weird tiny hallway to my room, so it’s in this alcove between the dining room and the kitchen. That will be my official “office.” Well, half mine — some of the roommate’s furniture has to be squeezed in there.

The place came with an air-conditioner in the “dining” room, and I wonder if it’s powerful enough to cool down the whole place. I’m not sure, as it’s just a window unit, but we have two others. (I bought one of my neighbor’s units when she moved out and it’s been so cold this year that it’s still on the floor of my old room! Go figure.)

There is the usual lack of outlets, and the fun of finding out how things work (some of them don’t, like the shower — either I’m stupid, or it’s got some sort of problem that needs to be fixed because the thing that I thought switched the shower on did nothing; and the toilet runs). And there is bringing the cat to the new place — she is freaked out, of course, because  now she has to smell a bunch of new stuff and figure out where the enemies are and find new hiding places and so on. She hates moving, like all cats.

As usual I’m at that point where “okay, I like the way everything looks right now” and then realizing I have ten thousand more things to move. Technically I wasn’t going to actually be moving anything because I said I’d clean the old apartment, but of course I had to move things — I couldn’t just sit there. So I’ve been up and down the stairs five hundred times, and my feet and legs hate me.

That’s all I can think of to write now. Stay tuned for more exciting news about my life.

PSA: PSEUDOEPHEDRINE IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION

FOLKS. THE DECONGESTANT KNOWN AS PSEUDOEPHEDRINE, WHICH IS REGULATED DUE TO ITS USE IN ILLEGAL METHAMPHETAMINE PRODUCTION, IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION. IT IS USED TO TREAT SOME OF THE POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS OF ALLERGIES, NAMELY, CONGESTION OF THE NASAL PASSAGES. IT CANNOT TREAT THINGS LIKE ITCHING, SNEEZING, OR HIVES. IT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE ACTUAL THING CAUSING YOUR SYMPTOMS, WHICH IS PRODUCTION OF HISTAMINES IN YOUR BODY DUE TO IT RESPONDING TO THINGS LIKE DANDER, POLLEN, DUST, AND SO ON.

BUT WHAT, SCREAMING BLOGGER LADY, IS THE STUFF THAT I NEED TO TAKE FOR MY ALLERGIES, AND WHY BY ALL THE GODS DO I HAVE TO SHOW MY ID AND SIGN FOR IT AND BE PUT ON A NATIONAL REGISTER AND BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL AND (QUESTIONER IS DROWNED OUT BY “THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER” RISING TO A CRESCENDO BUT THAT’S OKAY AS THE SCREAMING LADY BLOGGER IS ACTUALLY JUST TYPING). WELL, OKAY, CONFUSED PERSON WITH THE RED NOSE AND THE PILE OF USED TISSUES AND THE WEB-BROWSER OPEN TO THE RIGHT-WING WEBSITE COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW MEDICINES THAT “RIP OUT THE LINING OF THE UTERUS” (AND ALL THOSE LITTLE DEAD BABIES THAT GET STUCK IN THERE I GUESS) ARE OKAY TO JUST BUY OFF THE SHELF BUT POOR ALLERGY SUFFERERS ARE FORCED TO SIGN THEIR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS AWAY BECAUSE DRUG WARS (ONLY WE BETTER NOT STOP THE DRUG WARS BECAUSE REASONS)), OKAY, HERE’S THE BIG SECRET OF WHAT REALLY WORKS ON YOUR ALLERGIES. ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO YOUR SEATS? DO YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE AND MAYBE SOME SMELLING SALTS OR BRANDY NEARBY?

(Maybe you shouldn’t bother with the brandy, though — alcohol can cause swelling of the nasal passages.)

ANYWAY, HERE IT IS, THE MAGICAL MYSTERY SUBSTANCE THAT ACTUALLY TREATS YOUR ALLERGIES: IT’S CALLED… ANTIHISTAMINES.

And antihistamines are not regulated.

Though maybe they should be, as just 25 mg of diphenhydramine (the ingredient in Benadryl and many other over-the-counter antihistamines) can make you feel as zonked as if you’d downed a liter of vodka. Another common OTC antihistamine, chlorpheniramine maleate, has the same effect. There are some that purport to be “non-drowsy” but imho they’re only “somewhat less drowsy-making.” How do I know this? I’ve fucking tried them all. With and WITHOUT decongestants, which I will repeat are only used to treat the congestive aspects of allergic attacks.

Now children, I am coming to the reason you have to show ID and so on when you go to buy your pack of Claritin-D. It’s because of that “D” in there, which simply stands for “decongestant,” and indicates that one of the two OTC decongestants have been added to the allergy medication. Do I have to tell you to read the fucking ingredients on any meds you buy? Of course I do, this is America, we don’t read instructions or directions, we just blindly reach for the package that has the biggest, shiniest promise that it will Make Us Feel Better on the package, or else we take the same thing our mother gave us when we were ten years old and caught cold, because Mommy! Or some shit.

Anyway, you’re there with the card that says “Claritin-D” and filling out a form and feeling all humiliated because Rush Limbaugh says that’s how you should feel about having to show ID (which you don’t mind showing ten times a day for other things, but this is your Health and Physical Comfort! Mommy!), and you see a teenager girl ahead of you walk up, ask for a package of One-Step, pay, and leave without filling out anything, and you are filled with envy and rage! And I’m prepared to feel sorry, as I know that being filled with envy and rage hurts, but then you go home and get on the computer and babble on Twitter about how it’s not fair that you have to show ID for your allergy meds but birth control is being handed out like candy and all my pity evaporates.

Here’s the thing. There are two OTC decongestants that you take in pill form, and only one is regulated. There is pseudoephedrine, which is the bad meth-making one, which is regulated, and there is phenylephrine, which is not. By my own trials pseudoephedrine is the more effective one, though the other one works okay. And you know what? It’s not good to take too many decongestants anyway. You will get what is known as “rebound congestion” which is even worse congestion. That happened to me. I thought I was just having a really bad allergy time, but actually I had been stupid and been taking Sudafed for several weeks. I had to stop cold turkey, which means, yes, I had a stopped up head for about two miserable weeks. But you know what? I was able to keep on taking the antihistamine, which I just bought without the decongestant in it. You can do that you know. But it requires actually looking at all the different brands on the shelf and even (ulp!) reading the list of ingredients.

Teal deer, you’re all idiots, I’m sick of ignorant Americans taking their stupid automatic “I know what I know the hell with the facts” and going out in the world and saying stupid shit that messes everything up. Thanks to ignoramuses like this and the people who feed off them like Rush Limbaugh, everyone thinks now that women who take birth control medication are all sluts (I take the Pill to regulate my period so I won’t bleed to death, is that OKAY????) and that the Slut Army is persecuting poor, allergy-riddled victims by elbowing them out of the way so they can get their Slut Pills. Personally, as a Slut Pill user and an allergy sufferer, I hope you all choke on your own snot, but I’ll restrain my murderous rage in order to HELP you to a better, brighter tomorrow where you won’t have to show your driver’s license for this one damn thing:

Don’t just buy “Claritin-D” or “Wal-Phed” or any “allergy medication” that is hidden behind the counter so Meth Mike can’t get his hands on it. Buy a pack of Claritin (or any other antihistamine) ONLY. Make sure (read the fucking ingredients! Turn over the box! Look at the sides! They’re on there, usually under the heading “ingredients”) that the package ONLY has an antihistamine as an active ingredient. If you don’t know what an antihistamine is actually called, do a little fucking research. It’s called the fucking internet. Call your fucking doctor. Or fuck, ask the fucking pharmacist at the goddamn drugstore. You’re THERE ALREADY, aren’t you?

And as for decongestants… actually treating your allergic symptoms should bring quite a bit of relief. Try something non-medicated, like holding your head over a steaming cup of herbal tea. (I almost wrote “go boil your head” but I’m trying to dial back the rage here, I really am.) Take a hot shower. Or if you really must take something, take a decongestant whose ingredient (read them! I swear to God if I don’t see you turn that package over and look at the ingredient list I will fucking ki… dialing back the rage, dialing back, deep breath…) is “phenylephrine.” And don’t drink any booze, booze will make you feel worse.

Or if you really, really want to get that sweet, sweet blocked-nasal-passage-blasting pseudoeffie, then just deal with having to sign for it. If it still shirts you off, then, I don’t know, maybe you could look for ways to make this something less of a shit society so people won’t feel the need to get blasted on weird chemicals cooked up in a shed. You could do that instead of raging about girls and women taking control of their own bodies and lives. How about it?