Birthday Dinner #2

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Tonight we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Haymaker, for some comfort food on Moms’ tab I had a Cuban pressed burger – think Cuban sandwich, with a burger in it – with sweet potato waffle fries on the side, and my wife had the Oregoner – oven-roasted turkey breast and applewood-smoked ham with honey mustard, sliced apples and Tillamook cheddar cheese – and coleslaw. We split an order of poutine for an appetizer. Our server’s name was Savannah and she was great fun. We had a blast. Thanks Mom!

And because I really can’t remember much of what happened today, that’s about all I have to say for the day.

Whiteout

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Earlier tonight, we experienced a sudden squall. After threatening to rain for some time, it finally started, and within seconds, it was raining and hailing so hard I couldn’t see the tree across the parking lot from the apartment. It was an absolutely devastating storm that only lasted maybe five minutes before dissipating, but it was hard enough to leave a couple of hail dings on the hood of the car. We were lucky, there were other vehicles that looked to have more damage than we had.

The scariest part of this storm is that Stormy Cat was outside at the time, and we couldn’t call him back home. We tried three times, but he was left to fend for himself, and we were left to worry.

My wife actually broke down and cried over it. I tried reassuring her that he was fine, that he always seemed to dodge the worst of any rainstorm that we experienced, and I was fairly confident that he was someplace safe, hiding from the rain and hail. But deep down, I was sick with worry too.

About 45 minutes after the storm had passed, sure enough, we saw him on the balcony, and we let him in. He was fairly wet, his paws were muddy, but he seemed fine. He came in, stayed for about an hour and a half, got mostly dry, then went back outside for a while.

That didn’t last. He was outside maybe fifteen minutes before he was back at the door, wanting in. As I write this, he’s on our bed, probably continuing to groom himself in a dry, safe location.

This is one of the reasons that I wish we could be a little more insistent that he stay indoors. He could be hit by a car, he could get in another fight with the neighborhood cats, he could get hurt by a hailstorm. If we weren’t pretty convinced that litter box training him would be a long and messy endeavor, we’d keep him inside for good. But unfortunately we are liable for damage to the apartment while we’re here, and we’d like to get our security deposit back when it’s time to move. (That won’t be for another couple of years at least.)

Moving is another thing that worries me. If we move, and he goes to another apartment complex with us, I’m worried that he’ll get lost and not find his new home if we let him roam as he does here, and the same litter box concern of keeping him inside will follow us anywhere we go. Perhaps the only way of making sure is to slowly, over time, convert him to being an indoor kitty while we’re here and eating the security deposit. That unnerves me, however. I pride myself on keeping a fairly clean and neat home, and cleaning up kitty accidents would be problematic without a steam cleaner. We’ve experienced the issue of kitty accidents with other cats that we’ve owned, and we’d both prefer not to have a repeat of the circumstances.

For now, I think we’re mostly content with the situation we’re in – one indoor cat, one indoor/outdoor cat. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Productivity

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Today’s been rather busy, comparatively speaking.

My to-do list usually has about three or four items on it. Sometimes I have to artificially create something to do in order to give me that check box on my checklist. Sometimes household chores line up to where I’m doing a few of them on the same day and I don’t need to find things to do.

Today’s checklist has twenty items, and I’m tired.

I’ve still managed to achieve what will be full marks on the checklist today, so today’s been very well balanced between my usual stuff and stuff specific for today. And there’s been some time to just sit back and relax at the end of the day.

To be fair, most of these items are things that didn’t take too long to complete, so I only spent a few hours on that part of my day. But usually my to-do list is filled with things that only take a few minutes to do, so it’s a comparison between a few hours and 30 minutes. (Remember that a lot of things are daily to-do items and are therefore each separate check marks on my checklist.)

It’s been a good day. But I hope tomorrow’s not as hectic.

An Indoors Kind of Day

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The newest addition to our home is Stormy Cat, a former semi-feral stray that we befriended over a period of a couple of years. He’s gone from running away from us on sight to meowing in order to be let inside. He still spends most of his day outside and away from the apartment, but in the evening he usually makes at least one appearance inside the place, if not more than that. (He’s still finicky about when he wants to be inside and when he wants to be outside.)

Today he started coming in early, around mid-morning. He’s now on his fifth trip inside today and he’s actually spent more time inside than he has outside, and the vast majority of the time he’s spent outside has been on our balcony, being as close to me as he can (my usual spot on the couch is next to the window that he sits or lies down beside). I don’t know what’s caused the uptick in his inside time, but we’re not complaining. We’ve spent lots of time giving him scritches and snuggles on the bed. He usually will lie down at the foot of the bed on my side, but if someone lies down he almost immediately walks up near their face to demand to be pet – and if we’re both on the bed he almost always walks up between us so we can both pet him.

If you’d have told me three years ago when we first moved in that the scared cat that ran into the storm drain (hence his name) whenever he saw us that he’d be on our bed demanding attention from us, I would have thought you were crazy. It never fails to amaze me just how far he’s come in trusting us. He’s not only quite affectionate but fairly chatty, and it’s adorable to listen to him meow for someone to come pet him. (Not quite as adorable as actually petting him, though!)

I’m so glad we adopted him.

Lazy Saturday

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My wife and I just wrapped our Saturday evening radio show. Tonight we did the soundtracks for Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians Vol. 2, along with five songs that didn’t quite make the cut for the first movie. It was a fun time and our audience kept peppering our IRC channel with lines from the first movie (we have a very strict no-spoilers policy around the station and its various means of communication, and as long as Vol. 2 is in theaters it’s under that policy – so no one quoted Vol. 2).

Outside of that, it’s been a very uneventful day here at home. I’ve kept up with my daily checklist well enough, but otherwise it’s been spent on Facebook and playing games.

Sometimes those are the best kinds of days.

Socksurday and Other Random Musings

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Here’s a random selection of the things that are going through my mind tonight.


Yesterday was a big day in the household, for reasons other than my first meeting with my new psychiatrist. Three years ago yesterday, my wife and I were up early and getting an unusually fast start to the morning. I think it was fueled by not having anything in the house for breakfast or being out of coffee or some other emergency, but I can’t imagine any other reason we’d be up and wanting to go to the store at 6:30 in the morning. Anyway, we opened the door and this little tuxedo kitten with no collar was standing right on the other side of it. It hesitated for just a brief moment and then walked right into the apartment. The place was very sparsely furnished at that point in time, so there was a lot of space for it to roam around and explore while we pet it and took pictures of it. Eventually we decided we needed to get to the store and do our shopping, so we reluctantly showed the little kitten the door and we each went on our separate way. A few hours later, we were in the apartment and noticed that the kitten had come back, so we let it back in for a while. We’d had the forethought of getting some very basic supplies while at the store – a couple of plastic salsa/guacamole bowls to serve as food and water dish, a disposable litter pan, a small bag of kitten food – just in case the kitten came back, so we kept her inside for a good while, and later that afternoon we opened the door and she zipped back outside. It had taken me about five minutes to get attached so I was very concerned that the poor thing would get hit by a car, or get lost, or worst of all picked up by someone else wanting a new pet, so I was pretty upset that the kitten had gotten outside again. Fast forward to the late evening, and I saw the kitten on the balcony yet again. I let it in and went to wake my wife – the cat came back! – and I was practically in tears I was so happy. I went right then and there to go get a cheap collar for the little thing, and after a trip to the vet to get it – her, we found out – checked for a chip and an extensive attempt to try and find where it came from we formally adopted Two Socks, and she’s been our cat ever since.

It was sometime during that first day that it was decided “if it comes back, we shall name it Two Socks,” just like in Dances With Wolves, one of my favorite movies. The cat is black except for her back feet, her chest and belly and chin, and a couple of patches between some of her front toes on both paws that are white. The name was kind of a no-brainer and it’s stuck. The picture above is the second photo we ever took of the cat. It has not been retouched in any way; that is precisely how the camera captured her.

It’s been a happy three years with Two Socks, and much more recently her new brother Stormy Cat. They bring such joy to our lives and my wife and I are both very happy that they picked us.


After tonight, I can never again say that I’ve never taken Zoloft.


My wife and I have a radio show tomorrow evening. We’re leaning towards a theme that we’re keeping secret for now, but it should be a good show that all will enjoy.


The apartment smells like bacon tonight. We cook two packs at a time in the oven and then refrigerate the cooked bacon to simply heat in the microwave in the mornings. It makes things so much easier and quicker for us than cooking as we go.


Today I braved a trip out of the house to go put gas in the car, pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy, and head to the store. I stayed in the car at the gas station, we went through the drive-through at the pharmacy, but I got out of the car and went into the grocery store, something that I generally try to avoid doing. Things got a little dicey at times in the store, but I made it through well enough. Yet another instance of getting out of my comfort zone and facing my anxieties.


Picked up another game on Steam today. It’s called Reigns and it’s a little indie decision making game. You’re the ruler of a kingdom and you are faced with a series of decisions that can either positively or negatively affect your church, your populace, your military, your treasury, or any combination of the four. Each either/or decision gives you a preview of what will be affected by that choice, and whether it will be a small or large effect – but it doesn’t tell you if it will be a positive or negative effect. Each decision represents one year in your reign. You start with the meters on all four areas partially full, and each level goes up and down according to your decisions, but if any of them completely empty, your reign is over and you die. It’s a challenging little game, and each game treats you as the successor monarch to the previous game, so the years pass by cumulatively from the starting point. Games last just a few minutes, the graphics are pretty primitive, and the game tracks things like how many of the different people you’ve met overall, how many of the different manners of death you’ve had, and a series of objectives and whether you’ve achieved them or not. The game was only a few dollars and it takes up next to no room on the hard drive, but it’s a fun little diversion and worth the money.


The knee that I injured during my trip to North Carolina last month is starting to bother me in a new way. After a few days, it would only bother me if I torqued my knee to either side – which it does while sitting in a car, most notably. I have to limp that off over a few minutes. Today it started hurting whenever I’d put weight on it – not badly, it felt more like localized pressure on my kneecap pushing it to the outside of my body – but noticeable, and it’s got me looking up orthopedists on my insurance plans for a call come Monday morning. I really don’t want to take a chance on having done some real damage to my knee.

Medicate Me

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Just like yesterday was a big day in therapy, today was a big day in medication management. I met my new psychiatrist today. We had a good session, I talked both about how I got to the point that I’m at and also my more recent successes over my anxiety. He pointed out that my anxiety seems to be more social, with the exception of driving, and that makes sense. It’s not the laundry room that causes panic, it’s the thought that I might be in there with a stranger who’ll judge me. It’s not the store itself that I have a hard time with, it’s the people that fill it. With the exception of my issue with driving, almost every one of my anxieties can be traced back to being in a social situation. So we’re going with a diagnosis of social anxiety rather than generalized anxiety disorder.

He also took me off the medication that I was taking for anxiety, at least, on a regular basis. He explained that the effects of the medication in question only last about four hours, so it’s not designed to be used as a preventative. He likened it to taking Tylenol to keep you from getting a headache. He also mentioned that long-term use of that medication seems to have a tie to dementia, something that runs in my family and that I would prefer to avoid if at all possible. So I’m now only taking that medication when I actively feel anxious.

In its place, he put me on a new-to-me antidepressant that’s indicated for anxiety maintenance. As is typical with antidepressants, I’m starting with half the target dose for a week and then ramping up to the full dose after that. I hope that it’s going to help with the anxiety. Because of how I was taking it, I never really felt anything from my current anxiety medication, and I hope that this changes once the medication has been in my system for about a month.

I’m due back in his office in five weeks – four weeks after the full dose has started. We’ll take it from there and see where we go.

And I’d like to close by pointing out that seeing a male psychiatrist is a huge step for me because of my PTSD. I got a bad case of dry mouth because of the anxiety of being in his office and my blood pressure reflected my nervousness. I hope that gets easier as time goes on.