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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
09 April 2019 @ 02:44 pm
I was at Not the IRS this morning (9am-1pm) basically to catch walk-in clients. I got two.

The first I sat down, asked a couple questions, and said, "You need to see Office Uncle. He's the guy who specializes in handling people in your particular tax situation. Let me schedule you an appointment with him." So that was quick and painless.

(The situation, btw, is "graduate student in the US on a non-resident visa". We get a lot of that in Ithaca, because Cornell. Some of them are very simple, but once you add in any complicating detail, things can get very messy very fast. Hence Office Uncle's specialization.)

The second client, on the other hand, was a TRIP. She brought in six W2 forms, and as I typed them up, proceeded to tell me, in a very loud voice, how she'd quit every single one of those jobs because either they made her work with underage alcoholic drug addicts, they refused to let her organize appropriate safety procedures, or both. (I have, shall we say, my own opinions about why she can't hold a job.) She also told me a number of confused stories about her parents and the zero population movement, how she should have been a twin but wasn't because [train roars past], how she got a stress fracture in a large bone but she would say no more because [train roars past], how we were both people and the computer isn't a person and isn't that remarkable, and so on.

I am actually pretty good at navigating that sort of conversation for short periods, particularly in a structured encounter -- which a tax prep interview is -- so we ended with her thinking I'm the bees' knees and very happy to return next year. But wow, that sure was something.

She's going on my list of most notable client encounters, right up there with some of my old smoke shop customers. Still not as out there as the man who told me he'd cured his girlfriend's diabetes by giving her a diet of foods balanced from all seven continents, and wanted a coffee blend similarly balanced, but I don't think anyone's ever going to top that level of disconnect from reality. (Coffee doesn't even grow in Europe! The climate is all wrong! *headdesk*)

-----

I think I will now take a short nap (just half an hour or so) before moving on through my to-do list for the day. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
08 April 2019 @ 08:23 pm
Today I worked a full day at the rental office, wherein my one achievement was to create a spreadsheet of all the 2019-20 tenants who still need to send in one specific form. It's organized by apartment, with their email addresses included so I can send them reminder emails later this week, with as-yet-blank columns to record the dates of each round of reminders. I even helpfully listed all the as-yet-unrented apartments so I won't have to backfill them later. (My guiding principle is that a bit more effort now means A LOT LESS effort later on. Also I just like things to be organized, damnit.)

I also read a bit.

That's pretty much it. I don't really have the energy for anything else.

And now I am going to bed. Because oh god I'm tired.

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
07 April 2019 @ 07:46 pm
Summary of my day:

1. Did not go to church; slept in late instead, on account of still being exhausted from illness.

2. Worked at Not the IRS from 2-5pm. Had one client.

3. Bought juice and NyQuil at the grocery store before catching a bus back into town.

4. Continued to read my latest book.

5. Made desultory preparations for doing laundry, but decided not to actually do laundry today on account of still being exhausted from illness.

6. Took recycling to curb for pickup.

7. Got halfway through weekly changing of linens before putting the rest off for tomorrow on account of still being exhausted from illness.

...

If you are sensing a theme here, you are probably right. And now I am going to bed, because see above. *wry*

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
06 April 2019 @ 07:51 pm
Health report: improving! I slept like utter shit for the first half of last night -- that weird stage where you're no longer so sick you can sleep through anything, but still too sick to sleep normally. Also deep gunk-filled coughs when I happened to lean my torso at the wrong angle, since my lungs were trying to dislodge all the mucus that had run down that way over the past few days. UGH, BODIES, WHY. But then I think something cleared up a bit and I slept very well from about 3am to 8am, for which I am very thankful.

Today I sounded pretty awful (see above in re: gunk in my chest, ugh) but have been feeling much better and more mentally coherent, albeit still generally exhausted. Also despite the occasional coughing, my throat is no longer singing an interminable chorus of "pain, pain, pain!" at me, which is nice. (My throat does not like having a never-ending stream of mucus running down it. I can't imagine why.)

Words report: good! I have not only continued reading my latest book project, I managed to write something for the first time in about a week. The break was partly due to general frustration, but then also to being too sick to think. I think it was helpful. Sometimes it's just a good idea to stop banging one's head against a wall and go do something else for a few days.

Work report: very slow! Which is not surprising, since this weekend is the tail end of Cornell's spring break. I am sure things will pick back up on Monday. But today I met my new coworker, who I will give a nickname in due time. She seems nice and generally competent.

I also got to enjoy Mom boss's new keyboard (with visible markings on the keys!) and new office chair (that isn't falling apart and doesn't threaten to tip me head over heels if I lean back a bit too fast!), which, to be sure, are minor pleasures in the grand scheme of things, but I like to savor the small pleasures as well as the great. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
[personal profile] pilfered_words said: Black Jewels, Wilhelmina Benedict, The Company of Strangers. (575 words)

Prompt number 4 is still fighting me, so have prompt number 5 instead. *wry*

---------------------------------------------
For Everything Which Is Yes
---------------------------------------------

"You know I love you, but--"

Karla cuts Wilhelmina off mid-sentence. "That's a terrible way to start a conversation. Try again."

Wilhelmina snarls and brandishes a hairbrush as Karla limps into the bedchamber that would normally belong to the Glacian Consort, if such a male existed. She's still not sure whether it was sensible to accept these rooms, or whether she should have insisted that they wait until after Karla's Court had grown used to her presence to make such a blatant declaration. But Karla has never been one for caution.

"Fine. I don't want to wear this dress, I don't want to make myself pretty, and I don't want to go down to dinner so your entire Court can judge us."

Karla plucks the hairbrush from Wilhelmina's hands and tugs her down so they're seated side by side on the decadently soft bed. "Then don't. I have other people who can play politics. You don't need to be one of them." She runs the brush through Wilhelmina's hair once, twice, and then begins to separate it into dozens of sections, each held separate by a droplet of power.

Wilhelmina fidgets for a moment, then relaxes into the firm direction of Karla's fingers. "I refuse to put more weight on your shoulders instead of helping you carry what's already there. But I hate people staring at me. I hate strangers."

"I don't believe in strangers," Karla says as her fingers rapidly bring Wilhelmina's hair into order, weaving braids in and around each other in some pattern known only to herself. "There are just friends and enemies I haven't gotten to know yet."

Her words, however frivolous, always have the full force of her personality behind them. But Wilhelmina has learned that force isn't necessarily the same as threat, and in any case, it's good to practice sharpening her claws in safety so she won't forget them when it matters.

So she says, "That's hair-splitting. The definition of a stranger is a person you don't know yet."

"Ah, but the difference is that when you consider a faceless person you don't know, that person could be anyone and anything. Their shadow could grow and stretch into all kinds of horrors while you worry about how to deal with them and what they'll think of you." Karla stabs a trio of gold hairpins into the net of braids she's created, then calls in another handful and ponders where to apply them. "Whereas if you consider a potential friend or enemy, it's all very clear and straightforward. Be yourself. If they like you, make friends. If they don't, ignore them. And if they make trouble, destroy them. See? Simple."

The hairstyle is anything but simple, judging by how long it took Karla to construct, but it does look deceptively effortless until you realize exactly how many tiny braids loop in and around each other to create the glittering spiderweb effect. Wilhelmina is certain Karla's philosophy has similar layers if she cares to pick them apart.

Instead, she smiles and says, "I think I can manage ignoring people and even wreaking a small amount of vengeance, but I may need some pointers on making friends. I'll just have to stay pinned to your side all night, hang on your every word, and study your expressions as carefully as possible. One should always learn from the best."

"Flatterer," Karla says.

"Kiss kiss," Wilhelmina returns, and suits her actions to her words.

---------------------------------------------

End of Ficlet

---------------------------------------------

If no one else is going to write me Karla/Wilhelmina, I guess I will just write it myself!

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
I thought I had stashed two doses of NyQuil in my tote bag on Wednesday night, but apparently I only formed the intention and then forgot to actually carry through. So when I got to work today and it was time for my next dose, there was nothing in my bag.

*headdesk*

Fortunately one of the local Collegetown convenience stores had some NyQuil in stock, so I bought a four-dose box (which is a complete ripoff in terms of price, btw) and have gamely suffered through the day. I even successfully rented a studio!

I have permission from Mom Boss to close early, however, and I am going to take her up on that because I just want to fall into bed and sleep for thirteen hours in a row.

UGH.

(Look, I would love to use cold medicines other than NyQuil, but that's the only one that actually does diddly-squat to mitigate my symptoms. Other than old-formula Dimetapp, that is, but IIRC the FDA first diluted that to the point of ridiculousness and then banned it altogether. I am sure there were valid safety concerns involved, but mostly I'm sad because goddamn that weird purple syrup was effective.)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
04 April 2019 @ 07:45 pm
My alarm went off this morning and I rolled over in bed and my body said NOPE. :(

So I called in sick and went back to sleep for another four hours. Then I got up, showered, and puttered around for two and a half hours after which I fell back into bed for three hours or so. Then I got up again and decided to take a walk into town both for general health reasons -- fresh air and exercise and the psychological high of movement and seeing running water and maintaining a pretense of routine -- and to pick up a library book I had on hold since the next time I could get to the library is Monday evening.

I intend to go back to bed around 9pm, which will make a grand total of, uh... six and a half hours spent awake during a 24-hour day. Ugh. Being sick is exhausting.

I also blew some brainpower on helping Mom figure out exact times and dates for airplane tickets for my June vacation (but she did the actual ordering because I'm not sure I should be trusted to navigate financial stuff at the moment), and then I... may have just been gently recruited to run for my church's Board of Trustees? I mean, I said up-front that there's a strong possibility I may move to Minnesota next year, but even so. I think I also promised to attend the Board meeting this coming Tuesday evening. I am... pretty sure? that my Not the IRS schedule allows that?

Um.

Yeah, definitely time to read innocuous fanfic and then hit the sack.

-----

Tangentially, I have little song I sing to myself when I'm sick, and on other useful occasions. It goes to the tune of "On top of Spaghetti" (which I guess itself is the tune of "On top of Old Smokey"? but whatever), and the words are as follows:

The human body
Is totally gross
It's badly designed, dear
And hopelessly gross.

So when your own body
Does something gross
Just remind yourself, dear
That dead's worse than gross.


Repeat as necessary. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
03 April 2019 @ 01:14 pm
Yesterday morning I woke up feeling fine. By the time I left work at 1pm, I was getting a little sniffly and had the start of a sore throat. By 6pm, despite having taken a four-hour nap, I had a full-blown knock-me-flat cold.

And then at midnight I woke up to go to the bathroom and discovered my period had started. Which I knew was probably going to happen -- I had it marked on my calendar and everything -- and somehow I'd still forgotten.

*headdesk*

So today I am exhausted, my nose and ears are clogged shut, I have no voice, and I have cramps and general overheated unpleasant feelings in my abdomen.

Also I have to work at Not the IRS from 4 to 9pm. I don't think there's anyone who can cover if I call in sick.

...

I'm going to take another nap and then hope VERY LOUDLY that I don't get any walk-in clients.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I am going back to sleep.

---------------

ETA, 10pm: I got about one hour of (very welcome) sleep, and slogged successfully through work despite having two clients. I also bought a few groceries before clocking in, and have now finished dinner and intend to, once again, collapse into bed and return to sleep.

Good night!

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
01 April 2019 @ 08:59 pm
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in February and March of 2019. Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.

The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us, by Bee Wilson
-----thoughtsCollapse )

Dreadful Company, by Vivian Shaw
-----thoughtsCollapse )

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik
-----thoughtsCollapse )

The Raven Tower, by Ann Leckie
-----thoughtsCollapse )

-----

And now onward to April!

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
Stuff done today:

1. Went to church, which is something I almost always intend to do on Sundays but only succeed in doing about 1/3 of the time, most often when I have some specific reason for being there other than "I feel like it would be a good thing to do." Today's reason was to catch a ride to somewhere else after the service and use the church as our meeting point, but I am glad I went for the service instead of just showing up afterwards, because one of our members graduated from divinity school last year and next week we get to vote on whether to ordain her so she can step into ministry at another congregation. Today she gave one half of the sermon, and I was very proud for her.

2. Went to a champagne and waffle brunch hosted by two congregation members, to which I'd purchased a seat at the service auction in November. I've attended this once or twice before, and it's always been lovely. It's also set at a point in the year when I generally feel that I have earned a lovely brunch. :)

3. Did some general household chores, like boiling eggs, changing my linens, writing my to-do lists for the next week, taking recycling out to the porch bins, and so on.

4. Phone call with Susan. :)

5. Phone call with Cat. :)

6. Started reading a new book.

7. Earned my gold-level Daily Dipper badge from Audible, meaning that I have listened to at least a couple minutes of some audio "book" for 90 days in a row. I got an Audible account for slightly random reasons last fall, and have been using it mostly to listen to Great Courses series, with occasional ventures into other nonfiction projects. (I find these much less frustrating than audio fiction recordings -- the lecture series in particular are good because they're not a person reading a written text but a person just kind of talking like people do, albeit in a structured fashion.) Audible achievement badges annoy me a little because they're such an obvious bit of gamification intended to hook people into trying to earn them all, but damn if they're not effective. I am actually slightly disappointed that they don't seem to have a platinum level beyond gold to reach for, because I would totally aim for that if it were an option. *wry*

(This is similar to my reaction to a lot of audiovisual media, which is that I can see exactly how my emotional strings are being pulled and it pisses me off how obvious the techniques are... and yet it still works and I get all gooshy or cry or whatever. It's disconcerting to have my own emotional reactions hijacked out from under me, especially since knowing how the trick works doesn't stop its effectiveness.)

-----

And now I think I shall go to bed. :)

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