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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Busy November: NaNoWriMo, Warlords of Draenor, et al.

Well, hell. So, November has been our busiest of the year, I think. So much is going on, not the least of which is that Blizzard decided to crash NaNoWriMo with the release of the Warlords of Draenor expac. Why they had to do this, I have no idea. October 13th or December 13th and it would have been fine, but they picked November 13th! So, I'm now trying to figure out how I'm going to work and play Warlords, and be productive, and right now it's not looking pretty.

Will I keep doing it? Yup. I am finishing NaNoWriMo this year if it kills me--especially since I'm so happy with the project I'm working on right now. Since Warlords is so laggy right now, being productive may be just as easily said as done. I'm currently waiting for my server to come back up and have a 20 minute wait. There are 1,200 people ahead of me in the queue. It's easy to see how I could be using this time to do something productive.

Instead, I'm using it for blogging. Which is, if I'm being honest, procrastination. I enjoy it, but I could be writing. Could being the operative word, right there.

But NaNoWriMo and Warlords of Draenor aren't the only things going on this month. Matt broke his foot, so there were doctor appoints. There's therapy. Matt is going to a scotch tasting/class thing in Fort Worth tomorrow night and I'm going to tag along, maybe get some Christmas shopping in while he enjoys his scotch. Next week, we're going to Dallas House of Blues for a Suicide Girls burlesque show--I got Matt tickets as part of his birthday present last month. Thanksgiving is coming up.

On top of all of that, Matt has worked 18 or the last 19 days. Oh, and did I mention he's averaging 10 hours a day? Yeah, he's busy and thank God that he loves his job, because it would be a lot if he hated it. We're blessed in that, at least.

So, like everyone else, we're super busy right now. I'm still writing, I'm sitting at a little over 21,000 words toward my 50,000 word goal. That means, sadly, that I'm actually behind. I think, though, that I can catch up. I'm looking forward to finding out. For now, though, I'm going to go see where I am in the queue and try to get back onto Warlords. It's release day, so I'm thinking if they fixed some of the bugs I may just play today and get some writing done... erm, later. Yeah, later. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day... Please Vote!!

Today in midterm election day in the US. If you're registered (and I hope everyone over the age of 18 is registered) please exercise your constitutional right and vote. Even if you live somewhere that's been heavily redistricted, even if you feel like your vote doesn't really matter because you're the minority party in your state. Vote anyway.

Here in Texas we've recently become subject to some pretty ugly, discriminatory voter ID laws. It's a system I don't agree with, for many reasons, but mostly because it discourages and/or prevents minority voters from casting their ballots.

So please, if you're able and willing, go and cast your ballot if you can. Many people died, including many women not that long ago, so we could do just that. It only takes about 20 minutes (at least that's what it took here this morning). You do have a say in who controls your government, all you have to do is choose to exercise your right to do so.

This soapbox has been brought to you by the letters V, O, T, & E! ;)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Writing & NaNoWriMo

So, I haven't been talking much about it and there's not a word count meter anywhere--because, you know, self-sabotage--but I've been writing regularly for the first time in... well, probably ever. At least since I finished my masters thesis. I'm actually working, at least part time, writing. Which is a dream come true, really, but can also be pretty daunting and exhausting.

I mean, anyone who writes knows one of the first obstacle is always self-doubt, at least it is for me. I worry that my ideas suck, that my plots are transparent, my characters stiff or flat, my writing stilted. I'm my own worst critic. So, trying to do this with regularity is an exercise in getting out of my own way.

But you know what? I am doing it. I'm letting myself write. I'm managing to tell myself to shut the hell up when I have doubts and just write. And it feels so amazing.

It also feels very much like I'm being stung by 1000 bees in the place where my anxiety lives. Maybe that doesn't make sense, but that's the best I can do. Writing regularly is making me feel pretty anxious that, maybe, I'm doing something stupid and wasting time. That I should be working for someone else during those hours when I'm writing.

But, I'm not going to give in to that little voice trying to tell me I suck. I'm not going to let my anxiety consume me on this one thing. It can have everything else, this is mine.

So, since I have been writing regularly, I decided that this year I'm also going to do NaNoWriMo again. And, I'm going to win it. Which I say all the time, but this year stand a reasonable chance to succeed at because writing is starting to become a habit. It's starting to be what I do.

I started something new, as is the tradition for NaNoWriMo--and because what I've been working on feels a bit like bashing my head against a brick wall--and so far it's going well. Today is day three, I didn't work at all on day one, and I'm still at about 7,250 words. That's pretty damn good for three days work.

And best of all, I'm pretty proud of what I'm working on. Which, I'm not going to be able to tell you about. I told Matt (quite against my better judgment) and he launched into a very long explanation about how I could change this, change that, make this and that better. He almost derailed me with his "ideas." Some of which, I might take, others not so much.

Now, I just have to keep on keeping on. Keep on staying out of my way. But, I'm doing it so far. I'm working at a steady pace on a good project. I'm energized and feel like I'm finally in the right place at the right time. Thank the Lord for a supportive man who believes in me more than I believe in myself... even when he does try to derail me with his ideas.

I'm finally doing the one thing I've always wanted to do but didn't have the time, drive, or courage to keep up with. I'm writing!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Irrational & Improbable

I have always been a little bit prone to fits of... let's call it imagination. In addition to having the same dream since I was five years old (so, let's see, 31 years now), I tend to worry overmuch about things that're either completely irrational or which I cannot possibly begin to control. Rather than those things being small or tangential they tend to be pretty serious.

Sometime during my teen years, I began to worry over and fear axe murderers. More than that, I was completely consumed with a fascination about them, even though I could freely acknowledge that I was horribly afraid I'd be axe murdered--and, frankly, still am. Though it makes no sense, I'm captivated with stories about such people as Lizzie Borden or situations as the Villisca Axe Murderers. While most people are afraid to drown or be burned to death, my greatest fear about dying unnaturally revolves around being chopped up with a hatchet.

For a while, the fear was so extreme that I couldn't even watch movies where this sort of scenario plays out. Matt once tricked me into watching a cheesy Sylvester Stallone action flick, Cobra, about a cop surviving and tracking down an axe murdering cult. For days, I was plagued with dreams about being hacked up while I was still alive.

Even now, at night, when I'm laying in my bed alone listening to the house settle I worry about this completely improbable scenario. While I should be worrying about being robbed, raped, or shot to death, I'm worrying that someone with an axe might break in and chop me up. There's just something so visceral about the idea of being hacked at, over and over, with a sharp (or not so sharp) tool that makes my skin crawl. A scenario my somewhat vivid imagination plays through with or without my consent.

It's ridiculous, and fascinating, and my friends sometimes take the opportunity to poke fun at this particularly foolish quirk. Even Matt finds humor in it, though he understands how serious a problem this really is for me. Perhaps making light of it will make it better, but it doesn't seem to work. Not really. And the truth is that even I can find humor in the absurdity of the idea. That doesn't make it less a fear. Still, everyone agrees that the probability of me, or anyone else, being axe killed in the USA in the 21st century is slim.

So this morning, while browsing my Facebook feed, I was particularly horrified to learn that some nut job a man attacked several cops in Queens with a hatchet. Every single fear I have about being axe murdered came screaming back into my conscious mind. The attacked cops were both hurt, the one struck in the head still in critical condition, and the hatchet wielding attacker is dead. While this man could hardly be considered an axe murderer, the act of attacking someone with an axe is nonetheless too terrible.

It's always this way with my fears and anxieties. When I begin to believe these scenarios are improbable and, therefore, so too are others of my anxieties when something happens to prove my irrational fears rational. Every single time this happens all of my fears are renewed. Everything comes back and are not only renewed but fortified. I'm starting to understand, and perhaps accept, that these sorts of anxieties will always be a part of my life. They're not actually going anywhere, even as I try to master them.

At this point, I just hope self-fulfilling prophesy isn't a real thing--or at least doesn't act on these sorts of improbabilities. Otherwise, I'm in some pretty serious trouble.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Pain in the Foot is a Pain in the Ass*

So, Matt managed to do something to hurt his foot. We're not sure what, yet, but after a week of walking on it, he decided he should go to the doctor. The thing is, our doctor is both out of town and quite difficult to get in to see. So, I made him an appointment with a local doctor (same medical group--Cross Timbers Health Clinic) and then changed his primary care doctor so that he could be seen. Since he's not completely fond of his previous doctor, he was fine with the change, especially so since he seems to like his new doctor.

They saw him a week ago today, he had an X-ray (We had to do out of town for that, too) last Friday, and we still haven't heard about what's wrong with his foot. They think he might have a stress fracture, so the fact that they haven't gotten back to us yet is pretty annoying. He works on his feet and can't take time off, so he's been wrapping it with ace bandage and self-adhesive wrap (which seems to be helping some).

But the fact that we still haven't heard anything isn't the worst part. Not by far, actually, because the experience we had with their office staff was absolutely the worst customer experience I've ever had. The girls who work the front desk in that office are rude to the point of being abusive. While the doctor was awesome and so were all the nurses, the office ladies made the experience atrocious.

When we arrived (15 minutes before appointment time, at 2:15) they were immediately rude to my husband. She abruptly demanded his insurance information, which is okay except that our cards have the wrong primary listed for Matt because I had just changed it. Then she shoved a clipboard at him so he could fill out the very long sign-in sheet (SOP for this clinic) and told him she was going to have to call to confirm his primary doctor because we were negligent in bringing her a confirmation number proving we had changed it.

When I assured her we had changed it, she said, "We'll see," and then told me she would confirm it. Okay, I'm sure people have lied about it before, that's fine. So we sit and wait while he appointment time comes and goes. The girl is on the phone with BCBS the whole time, but she's yelling at them telling them she's been on the phone with them for 45 minutes. This is a lie, we had only been there 30 minutes at this point. We hadn't even been out of the house for 45 minutes. 

Another ten minutes passes before she slams the window open and demands (loudly) that I give her my information because I'm the insurance holder and he's technically my dependent. I give her my birthdate and then wait at the window while she yells at some more people at BCBS. In the mean time, while we were waiting, I had called BCBS myself to confirm that his PCP had been changed. I got on and off the phone with them in less than 10 minutes, yet this girl had been on the phone with them for what she claimed, by this point, had been an hour (while we had only been there 45 minutes). 

While she's talking to BCBS the other desk girl turns to me and tells me Matt'll just have to reschedule because it's been 15 minutes past our appointment time. Okay, remember we had arrived 15 minutes early. Also, it had actually been 30 minutes past his appointment time. I told them it wasn't happening, that it was their fault it had taken so long, not ours. Which is true, they were the ones being so rude to BCBS that they couldn't get anywhere.

After another five minutes the first girl gets her confirmation number, slams the phone down, and says "NOW it's changed." I informed her again that I had changed it the day before. She flat out calls me a liar, then tells me if I was telling the truth I should have come with a confirmation number (how was I supposed to know that?!), and then she literally slams the window in my face WHILE I'M TALKING to her.

Aside from the fact that I'm pretty sure some office girl can't actually change our PCP without our authorization, BCBS had confirmed to me that it had previously been changed. All of this over a damn confirmation number. Now I'm not sure what I should do about it. It's been eating at me for a week, I feel like I should say something, because we're not the only people she was abusive with. I just don't know who to talk to, especially since the office manager there in that office was sitting around giggling with these girls when we were leaving. Clearly, complaining to her about it isn't going to do any damn good.

I've considered writing to the board of directors at that clinic group, the head of which is my primary doctor, but I don't know how far that's going to get either. I feel like complaining would be pointless. So this girl just gets away with treating patients, who're often there because they're not feeling well already, like total shit. 

Thankfully, we've gotten Matt's new insurance cards (BCBS sent us FOUR of them, for whatever reason) so this shouldn't be a problem again. Finger's crossed. The one thing I know for sure is that when open enrollment comes I'm changing our insurance plan so I can go back to my old doctor, whom I absolutely love. But now Matt's saying that he wants to find a plan that both his new doctor and my old doctor take. Which, honestly, I find pretty annoying considering the treatment we've gotten from these people. 

I mean, aside from the fact that they're nasty rude, we still haven't heard anything about his foot. Thankfully, they gave us a referral to an orthopedist, which he'll see tomorrow. Hopefully they'll get something done and be nice about it!

* Matt's been making this joke for a week, so he'd be amused I used it as a title.