erynn: Gaelic merman image (Sarasvati)
2013-08-31 10:36 pm
Entry tags:

A few things get done

Today was my bill-paying day. I dealt with it before the first for once because the VA check came in Friday. Laundry got done. I had a very quick email exchange with the consulate that cleared up a misunderstanding I had (very minor, a misreading on my part regarding the amount of the filing fee). I sent an email to my brother asking him a couple of questions, though I won't hear back from him for at least a week. I also bought a round trip plane ticket for San Francisco so that I can go to the consulate for my appointment and sent the itinerary to [livejournal.com profile] lwood so she knows when I'll need to be fetched and dispatched. I'll check in with her tomorrow to make sure she got the information. I posted the list of bookshelves for sale to the SeaPagan list and got a note back from a couple of my friends in Everett. I emailed them back but should probably text them tomorrow to see if they got the email. Craigslist ads were renewed for the stuff I currently have listed for sale.

I'm not going to be buying my ticket for Italy until late next week, after I'm sure that BECU has had time to show my account balances before I spend that much money. I know ultimately it doesn't actually make huge amounts of difference there, but still, I will feel better with a larger number on their paperwork. This is why I've been selling all my stuff, so I can afford these expenses.

I've asked [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor for her friend's email address so we can coordinate about project Impress Italian Bureaucrats. It'll be easier to do this with all three of us in email than in text I think. I need to get some passport style photos of myself for the application but I can't do that until I have dealt with the green hair. I'm about due for a hair cut anyway, and that will remove a fair bit of the green, though I don't want to cut it so short that all the green is gone, as that would probably be too short for my October appointment.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor took me out to do the grocery shopping this evening. I was dizzy enough that when I tried to put the grocery bags in the trunk, I though the car was moving. Definitely a very weird sensation, because I knew it was parked and motionless. Very disconcerting. All is well, though, and everything got done that needed doing today.

Tomorrow, Irish class and dealing with more paperwork. Slow progress is still progress. Keep breathing.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Seshat)
2013-08-31 01:12 am

Some significant movement

Today I got a lot done, starting with making my appointment with the consulate.

I'll be meeting with the visa applications office on October 9th, a Wednesday, at 11:15am. I talked to [livejournal.com profile] lwood and she will make sure I get picked up at the airport, hauled around, and taken to the appointment in time. ([livejournal.com profile] finnchuill, I do intend to at least visit briefly if I'm able while I'm down there.) I will be going down the day before the appointment and returning the day after. This is between the Sherlock Seattle con and SteamCon. I didn't want to put it off until toward the end of the month, as [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's birthday falls right around then and my brother has a deadline we're working toward.

I talked with my brother on skype for a bit and hammered out some details with him; he needs to make sure my appointment is before November 1st, when his contract with the AF active reserves expires so that it shows best for our financial purposes. Between the two of us, we don't quite hit the $50,000 figure I was quoted in a consulate email, but perhaps with his already being in residence and offering me a place to stay, what we do have will suffice.

As soon as I get a plane ticket (I need to talk with a travel agent to make sure I get a ticket that can be cancelled if the visa is rejected), I can give him the travel date for his letter of invitation form, but I expect it will be around mid-December. I figure if I give it 60-ish days, that should be reasonably sufficient. He's heading off to Austria in the morning for a week for a huge motorcycle rally and will get back to me with more details when he gets home again. We should be able to wrap up the letter of invitation bit by the the middle of the week after he gets home. I am going to ask him to post me the document as well as send me a PDF as I don't want to have them say "you need the original" when I get there, and not be able to provide it.

The contractor came and finished up the bathroom in a few hours, starting a little after noon. The place still smells a bit chemical in here, after the primer and paint. I had to air the place out with both doors and all the windows open for a while today. It'll be a couple of days before it smells normal, more than likely.

I spoke on the phone with BECU; they called me after our email exchange to get specific details about what I need. They apparently have a standard immigration form letter that they can fill out and notarize for me that should meet the consulate's requirements, and can also provide a letter stating that I am a member of the credit union in good standing. The notarized letter costs $18.

Now I have to locate a CPA who can deal with the other bits of this for the second "letter of reference" and to explain in writing why my income is not taxed and that I do not have to file tax returns. I've sent a couple of online inquiries to different offices but not received any response. I suspect I'll have to either bite the bullet and phone someone, or actually walk into an office with papers in hand and ask if they can provide what I need. I should get BECU's letters by late next week and will be able to take them with me when I talk to a CPA to demonstrate what I need. Do any of you local peeps know one that you would recommend?

I did some further research on overseas health insurance and have found something that more than satisfies the consulate's requirements for under $200 a month, so I will get that together closer to the appointment so I can take the documentation with me. This is a better deal, from what I can tell, than one of the places someone suggested to me earlier. They seem to cover more stuff. I am going to fill out the VA document to enroll in their Foreign Medical Program and have them mail the authorization to me c/o my brother at his APO box so that if it takes a while to process, it will get to me anyway.

An email was sent to the regional USDA veterinary office to inquire about vets in the Everett and Seattle area who are qualified to do the paperwork for the DoDC+3 when it becomes necessary. I don't expect a response before the middle of next week due to the holiday. The EU compliant ID chip arrived in today's post. I'll need to make an appointment to have him chipped and redo his rabies vaccine. He needs his nails clipped, too.

I emailed the consulate about the type of plane ticket I need and apparently someone was at their desk because less than half an hour later I received my answer - I need a one-way ticket if I am applying for a residence visa. I sent back an email thanking them for their prompt response. I think this "one question per email" thing is probably the best way to go, given they can provide a one-sentence response and it only takes a minute for them to do it. Seems far more likely to actually get a useful response with this method. Currently, mid-December one-way Seattle to Venice tickets start at just under $900 on a few of the online discount sites. Other sites start at $1200 and go up from there.

Because I made the consulate appointment today, I spent a lot of the day in kind of a panic. I called mom and talked with her for a while to let her know what's going on. She sounded a lot better and said the bronchitis had cleared up, much to her relief. Al's doing better as well, so things are going pretty well at her end of the world. I passed my brother's greetings on to her, as I'd told him I was going to call her when I was done texting with him.

I did go with [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor to the party this evening. There were dancers and fire dancing, and there was music. It did help get me out of my stressed out state. I discovered that dark chocolate flavored red wine and blueberry lavender muffins are a godlike combination that must be tasted to be believed. I rode home with [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson because he was ready to go when I was, and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor was going to stay and play a couple more songs. A couple of dancers from Olympia had just arrived as we were leaving.

I have a road opener candle going on my mantle at the moment. Any and all bureaucracy-smoothing, gate-opening magic/juju will be gratefully welcomed. All good thoughts are appreciated.

*runs screaming into the distance*

This weekend: bill-paying, laundry, more preparation of emails, and further evil plotting and planning.

Next week: Wednesday is shrinkage and Geordie arrives for an overnight visit.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (AAAAAIIIGHH!)
2013-08-30 12:48 am

In which traffic is horrifying

Today was the last day for this session of the spirituality group at the VA. We have a two week break, then back to it for another 10 or 12 weeks. I'd been keeping an eye on twitter while I checked my email in the morning. WSDOT was putting up alerts about a really bad accident right around the West Seattle Bridge that had traffic backed up for about 11 miles. Armed with that information, [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I left early and went down 99 and around up behind Capitol Hill, but we still arrived about 40 minutes late for my appointment. It took two hours to drive what usually takes only about 45 minutes. There were accidents everywhere along the roads today. I have no idea what was going on, unless people were so messed up by the rain today.

As we were driving south, I got a call from another realtor, who wanted to bring people by. I told her to go ahead and do that. I mentioned the dog in his crate and said I wouldn't be home until evening.

After the VA, we went over to Travelers. I hadn't seen Leon or Allen in a while, and it was good to talk with them. Leon was really sweet to me, and I had a lovely thali before we headed up to the hill. Traffic was still a mess, even northbound (when we were done at Travelers, apparently southbound I-5 was backed up nearly to Lynnwood), so we stopped by Edge to say hi. I hadn't been in there in quite some time, and hadn't actually seen Robert in even longer, as he hadn't been in the last time I visited. He hadn't been aware of my dizziness, or that I was trying to move to Italy, so we talked about that and I picked up some road opener stuff to do a ritual to help move things along through the inevitable bureaucratic tangle.

When I got home, I dropped into skype to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] random_nexus and schmooze about a fic she's working on, then I talked to [livejournal.com profile] lwood for a while. Most of the people I talk to seem to think that my potential move to Italy is a done deal, even though I have tried to be really clear that this is just something I am trying to do. People are all asking me if I've already moved back to Seattle when they see me, not realizing that I can't do that unless and until the condo sells. I can't always remember who I've told what, so I end up having to tell the sordid tale over and over. I worry that I'm being too repetitive or too needy or too something. My friends all tell me that I'm not being burdensome about the whole thing, and I am being assured on a fairly frequent basis that I am loved and appreciated, which is making this whole stressful thing much easier to deal with. I'm still not entirely certain why I haven't collapsed in a whimpering heap yet.

Tomorrow about noon, the contractors are coming by to finish up the bathroom with some texturing and a coat of paint. I'm not sure how long that will take. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor says there is a party at Michael's place tomorrow evening and that she needs to be there by 6pm. There will be music (their band is playing), and firespinners. We'd have to leave by 5-ish, I imagine. If the painting is done by then (I am pretty sure it will be, but can't be certain until I talk to the contractors), then I'll be happy to go. There may be a hot tub involved...

Her friend Kent says he will help me with the whole "impress the Italian bureaucrats" fashion project. I'm to come up with a budget and he will haul me around and get me into clothes that will be less alterna-goth-steampunk and more mainstream, while still being reasonably comfortable for me as a human being. We shall see how that goes.

Geordie wasn't able to come down today due to a scheduling kerfuffle but, considering the traffic misery, that was probably for the best. He had hoped to come down Saturday with a friend who is driving to Seattle, but there's not enough room in the car. Instead, he'll be coming down next Wednesday and I'll probably pop on the bus and meet him down in Everett. The 510 does run from the park & ride here to the Everett central depot (it's one stop away), so we can hop back on the bus and have maybe a 15-20 minute walk back from the park & ride to my place once I meet him at the Greyhound. I'm hoping it doesn't rain, as at that hour of the night it's going to be a while between busses and we'll have to be waiting outside.

Today was frustrating and tiring, though more for [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor than for me, given she was driving. Still, we got through the chaos. Tomorrow I have emails to write that I didn't get to today.

Breathe.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (tree of life)
2013-08-29 12:12 am

And more things done

Sent out some necessary emails today. The credit union says it can provide one of the letters I need for the visa application, all I have to do is tell them what the consulate wants. Once I figure out exactly what I need to pull from my documentation I can send it to them and see if they can make heads or tails of it. They offered to either mail it to me or to fax it to the consulate, but I need them to send it to me, as it all has to come in as one packet with the visa application.

The people who inquired about the bookshelf last night came today and picked it up. They said it was perfect for what they needed and would fit pretty much exactly into the space they had for it.

Another realtor came by with a couple of clients this evening to look at the place. They were only a few minutes away, so I took a couple of minutes to clean up then took the DoDC+3 out for a short walk to wait for them to come and go. It wasn't necessarily brightly sunny most of the day, but it was warm enough, and pleasant to sit out on the bench at the top of the lot for a little while.

I've listed both an electric coffee grinder that some of my friends have used when visiting, and a hand-painted Thai tea set in the shape of an elephant for sale on craigslist today. So many things that need to go.

Geordie won't make it down tomorrow. He'll probably be here Wednesday next week instead. Things came up for him at the last minute that made tomorrow impractical. I should be able to swing next Wednesday somehow. I might have to take a taxi down to get him, given Wednesday both [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson are in Seattle in the evening teaching Irish, but we shall see what can be done. I'll email them both and see if we can arrange something.

I haven't emailed the consulate with any of my other questions yet, but I did a hell of a lot of stuff today, so I don't feel too badly about it. I'm making progress, even when it's hard and I'm tired.

Tomorrow, group at the VA.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Lynx looking)
2013-08-28 12:18 am

waterfowl and the linear arrangement thereof

Today's tit squish went quickly and easily. We were in and out and back home quite quickly; [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor ended up driving instead of [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson, as he wasn't feeling too well today.

I got email back from the consulate about the problem with the scheduling website. I'm now able to log in and will be able to make an appointment. They are available starting in October, though I still have to wait to hear back from the sib before I can actually make an appointment. I also have a couple more questions to ask the consulate visa office, though I will now be asking them one per email in the hope that their short answers will actually have something to do with the question I'm asking. They were quite timely in responding to the query about the scheduling website, though, so that does make me feel a bit better.

I got absolute zero sleep last night. I drank tea with caffeine too late in the day and it kept me from being able to get to sleep at all, though I did rest at least for a couple of hours. I'm hoping to get a little bit tonight.

Later this evening, I got hauled over to McMenamin's for a little dinner. Usually we'd have gone to the AFK, but we felt like trying something else out instead. I had a nice baked mac & cheese made with four cheeses, and a quite nice pomegranate cider. The cider was a little drier than I prefer, but not to the point of tasting off to me, and there was a hint of pomegranate flavor to it on the edge of my tongue that was really quite tasty.

I have an inquiry about the first bookshelf I listed on craigslist. Someone wants to come by tomorrow about 1:30 to get it and to look at some of the ones in the garage to see if they will want any of those, as well. The more stuff I can get out of my garage, the better. As I get stuff out of there, it means I'll have less to worry about moving when the condo sells, or when I leave for Italy, whichever comes first.

Papers got printed out today for the dog's veterinary certificate. I have to email the USDA vet in Tukwila to ask a couple of questions about the forms and how they are supposed to be dealt with. The instructions that came with the packet are mostly clear, but I like to be certain what I'm dealing with when filling out paperwork that will determine whether or not I'll be able to put the dog on the plane when it comes time to move him.

When [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I were sitting waiting for my tit squish, we talked about figuring out what kind of thing I should wear to the consulate for the appointment. She hit upon one of her friends, who works at a fancy menswear place and has a degree in fashion design or some such. He apparently would be quite happy to help me deal with this sort of quandary. It's just such a different thing than what I usually have to deal with that having some input from somebody with a clue would be really helpful for me.

Looking at the website for the visa application appointment really hit me today. There's a tightness and a hard ball of anxiety in my chest because looking at their calendar suddenly made all of this feel very real. It's no longer in the realm of the abstract, where I'm just collecting pieces of paper. It's a situation where I can see actual dates ahead of me where things have to be finished, deadlines, and a sense that I actually have to do something if I want this to happen. It's not that I didn't feel like things were happening before, but this gives it a certain concrete existence for me, where it felt more theoretical before.

Of course, on the website there was yet a third variant of the list of things needed. This one was slightly more specific, thankfully. And it said that only one person can go to the appointment, so even if the sib were to come to hold my hand through the whole thing, he couldn't go in with me. That'll save us some money, anyway, not buying a plane ticket for him.

The waterfowl begin to align. As long as it isn't the stars doing so, raising great Cthulhu from his aeons-long slumber beneath the waves in R'lyeh, we're probably okay.

I sleep now.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (The Pupulator)
2013-08-27 12:10 am

Dealing with the DoDC+3

Today I got royalties from Immanion (YAY!) and heard from Mary that the remainder of what she owes me for the books she bought is headed my way. I emailed the contractor to ask about scheduling painting the repaired bathroom ceiling.

I also contacted VA neurology about the MRI and spoke with one of the nurses on the phone. The results returned normal, as I was expecting. This was a relief, but it still leaves me not knowing what's really going on. They are going to set me up a follow-up appointment.

Geordie emailed and says that he can't come tomorrow, but could he come Thursday and head back home Friday. I told him that would be fine with me.

Sadly, I didn't get to the queer Pagan meetup down in Seattle. Neither [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor nor [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson were feeling well enough, though we did get down to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, where they were meeting with Patrick about a project they are all working on together. I picked up another Italian language study book and a small book of readings in Italian and English in facing page translations, dated from the 13th to the 20th century so as to work on reading comprehension outside of textbook exercises.

I talked to Patrick about my concerns regarding the DoDC+3 and being at my brother's place in Italy with all the animals that are there on the property. He offered to take care of the pupulator for me while I am looking for my own place in Italy. Once I've found it, I can come back to Seattle to collect him and probably will be able to deal with shipping my stuff from storage at the same time. So I spent some time this evening looking for regulations about international travel for pets from the US to Italy, ordered a packet of the required forms, and an EU compatible microchip that a vet can inject. The chip he already has isn't EU compatible; most chips installed in the US are not, unless they're specifically requested. With Patrick offering to take care of Chris for a couple of months while I'm getting myself settled, that takes a huge weight off my mind. I was honestly concerned that I might have to give him up if I couldn't deal with the risk of having him on a farm with a bunch of other animals.

Today I also listed one of my bookshelves and the baker's rack on craigslist. We'll see if there is any interest.

Tomorrow: tit squish.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (autumn maple leaves)
2013-08-26 12:49 am

Quiet at home

Today mostly consisted of some cooking (I roasted a chicken) and Irish class. There was a little dishwashing, and a lot of online researchy stuff for Italy, but not a lot of physical activity.

Mostly right now I'm feeling a bit downhearted. It's not serious, just the current limbo, and concerns about dealing with the DoDC+3 in Italy. My brother lives in a tiny apartment on a farm with a bunch of other animals and I'm really concerned about how my poor little guy is going to deal with that. I worry that I might have to give him up, though my brother says it's okay to bring him. I would hate to bring Chris over and then have something go badly wrong when I get there, considering how aggressive he is around other animals.

Tomorrow I might go down to Seattle for the queer Pagan meetup. It sounds like [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson are up for it, and there might be a stop at Galway Traders.

Right now, though, I just want to curl up in a little stress ball in a corner somewhere. Not useful.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy pooped)
2013-08-24 11:45 pm

A list

Too tired for an entry thus a list:

The bathroom ceiling is done except the painting. That should happen by next Saturday latest. I was not looking forward to three Saturdays in a row when I had to get up at 8am so tomorrow I'm emailing the contractor's office to see if I can get an afternoon at some point.

Three boxes of glassware and teaware packed and taken out to the garage.

Went to the birthday part of one of [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's bandmates and had a lovely time at what is apparently one of Seattle's hottest nightclubs, though it didn't seem very interesting to me. I suppose I'm too much of a weirdo for a place like that.

Tomorrow: Irish class.

Now: collapse.

Next week: Tuesday = tit squish. Thursday = last day of group, then two weeks off. I think Geordie is supposed to come visit briefly next week as well, to pick up his books.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (red knot)
2013-08-23 09:59 pm

Of busses and bureaucracy

The visit from [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht didn't happen due to circumstances beyond anyone's control. That meant I didn't have to haul myself out of bed earlier than I'd wanted to, though I do rather wish I could have seen my friend at least in passing.

Instead, I dealt with a few things here then took the bus to downtown Seattle, where I did a fair bit of walking, and a bunch of elevator-riding at the federal building. I got a letter from the VA (actually three identical letters, because the amount I am getting didn't change until this January, for the first time in several years) stating the amount of my monthly benefit. I was a little puzzled by the building directory and went to the wrong IRS office the first time but found my way to the proper place eventually.

The IRS provided me with official stamped letters saying that I did not file tax returns for past years and providing information on social security, but their note didn't include the VA benefits, so having everything together is good. I suspect I am still going to have to go to an accountant and have them type up a quick letter citing the federal tax code that states I don't have to pay taxes (basically I don't want the Italian consulate thinking I'm not paying taxes because I don't feel like it, but to realize that I do not legally have to file a return because I have no taxable income). I think that would probably go over better than a letter just from me stating why I had no tax returns.

After dealing with the offices in the federal building, I wandered down toward the main Metro office and replaced my old photo ID bus pass for the disabled rate for a new orca card that pays the proper amount for the disabled rate and also has a photo ID on it. This one I can add money to online so that I don't have to go somewhere to buy a bus pass every month. Seems quite a bit more convenient, though it does have a chip that tracks your public transit use when paid with the card, so for people who value privacy, maybe not the best choice. Anyway, it's taken care of and now I won't have to sling cash in exact change if I take the bus anywhere.

I've got the contractor coming tomorrow to finish dealing with the bathroom ceiling. There's another person coming to view the condo tomorrow about noon. I got a call while I was down in Seattle from someone who wanted to see the place. I said I wasn't home, but that he could stop by and have a look. He paused for a minute and said "I need a realtor for that, don't I?" Yeah, buddy, you need a realtor to use the lock box. I guess I had thought he was one calling to bring a client by, but no. It's not that I'm unwilling to have my realtor entertain an offer from someone without a realtor, but I don't really want somebody in my place without a realtor with them if I'm not going to be hovering over them making sure nobody's making off with the laptop.

While I was downtown, I stopped and grabbed a little Thai food for a late lunch. It had been a while and I was feeling a bit of a peanut sauce craving. I took the bus home again and by the time I got back, I was feeling pretty exhausted. I spent some time sorting through the papers I'd been given today and putting them in order for the visa application, so that each year's papers are clipped together in separate little piles.

The consulate wants "original" papers from the credit union regarding my accounts, which I suspect means I can't just print my statement record from online. I have no idea if they want something with a signature on it or what, but I will try sometime next week to go and speak to someone at the BECU down at 99 and 112th. I find myself frequently wishing I had some guidance on this rather than just some confusingly-worded requirements from the consulate's email. I'm also still awaiting a response from my brother to my email. I'm guessing he's been busy at work for the most part.

Because I have to be up to let the contractor in at 9am, I'm going to try crawling off and getting some sleep. My head is kind of achy and I'm tired from everything I was doing today. So many things to do and not nearly enough spoons for all of them. feh.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Orpheus I see...)
2013-08-23 01:32 am

Another day, another VA visit

I called and left a voice message for the neurology clinic asking about the MRI. No response yet.

Group was today, and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor took me down to Seattle for it. I had two different people come to see the place today. I emailed my realtor, who said that I could in fact sell the place from anywhere, and that I could have one of the people in his office have a power of attorney to sell the place for me if I preferred. I emailed my brother to ask him about some details.

I'm trying to figure out how long in advance I would need to make an appointment at the San Francisco consulate. They have a website for making appointments and I've registered for it but haven't got the confirmation email back from them yet.

I've been having trouble with incoming mail on the phone today, and this evening with out going mail on the desktop. I'm not sure what all is going on, but it's making things slightly difficult. Whatever it is will probably clear itself up by tomorrow.

Winged ants have been invading again for the past couple of days. It's that time of year but I'm not entirely certain where they're coming from. I've lined the outside of the lanai door with diatomaceous earth and tucked a little under the edges of the floor molding near the door where I've seen a few of them lurking. We'll see if that stops the incursion.

I'm supposed to have [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht drop by briefly tomorrow, probably sometime between 10:30 and 11am to pick up a couple of things. I am going to try to get down to Seattle tomorrow myself, on the bus, to go to the VA regional office for some papers that I need toward the visa application. I'm hoping I feel up to dealing with it, though I'm really not right now. At least the 510 goes directly downtown within a few blocks of the federal building. I just am feeling brain burnt tonight and part of me can't cope with the idea of getting on the bus tomorrow to deal with a bureaucracy.

When I got back from Seattle today, I finally baked the beets and made a big batch of borscht and gave a large bowl to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor to take home. We'd stopped for Indian food on the way home, then walked over to Central Market from there because there were a few things that I needed that I couldn't get at the Safeway down the street here.

Before I left today I also hauled a couple more things I'm getting rid of out to the garage. So, stuff accomplished today: moved things to the garage, called neurology, group, grocery shopping, email to my brother, email exchange with my realtor, initial inquiry toward a consulate appointment, two people seeing the condo, attempting to deal with ants, cooking.

No wonder I'm tired.

Oh, also, Storm sent me a note saying that people have reviewed my ogam book over on Smashwords. Yay for people saying nice things about my work!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
2013-08-21 10:02 pm
Entry tags:

Tired and cranky

I had a reasonably good day today, but I'm tired and cranky and didn't really get much of anything done beyond talking to my shrink. Due to issues with construction at the VA (they are planning on putting in a parking garage, which means there will be zero staff parking there until it is done), Tracy will be doing more work from home once construction starts, which means she's going to have to cut back on her office hours with patients. I would still be able to see her once a month, but she doesn't have time for twice a month once all that starts.

I've been doing some thinking about various issues and need to talk with my brother and a few other people before I say much else, as I'm uncertain whether the thought would be practical or not. I wasn't up to composing an email to him this evening but maybe tomorrow or Friday.

I'm feeling slightly headachey, I have group tomorrow, and there are supposed to be people here to take a quick look around tomorrow about 1pm, so I will need to be ready to be out of here for a little while by then, before I head down to Seattle.

While [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson was driving me to the VA today, we had the windows open. At one point, around Lake Union, somebody in the car in the next lane called over, asking if the traffic was always like this. It was a little slow, as it usually is at that time of day. I told him yes. He was surprised. "At two o'clock?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. His car had BC plates and he said he was going to Portland, and asked how far the traffic before the traffic would thin out. I told him that it should clear out just south of downtown and would probably be okay from there to Tacoma. I didn't say that there would probably also be a bit of a slowdown around Olympia, nor did I have the heart to tell him that the traffic was actually a little better than usual, as the slowdown that usually happens right around Northgate didn't show until about the 75th street exit.

This is why I usually leave about 10am if I am going to Portland. Rush hour goes until about 9:30 or so, and after noon traffic starts heating up again. There's a window there of a couple of hours where it's not quite so egregious, and it takes from about 10am to 2pm to get to [livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab's in Oregon City from my place in Everett. If I leave at pretty much any other time of day, instead of four hours, it might take five or more. Go go gadget Seattle traffic.

And now I'm going to try curling up for a bit with a book until I pass out. With any luck, I might get a little rest tonight.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Ganesha)
2013-08-20 11:58 pm

A potential turn for the positive

The contractor came in to do another examination of the bathroom ceiling today. The water in the insulation was, apparently, the result of a tub overflow very shortly before the ceiling was opened up. One of the people upstairs was home - she said there hadn't been an overflow, but she's not the only one who lives there so she may not have known about it. There is no mold in the ceiling of my bathroom. No running of water in the upstairs bathtub, sink, or toilet produced any dripping water. There was no water in the plastic that had been put up Saturday. None of the woodwork inside the ceiling was wet. All is well, and repairs will continue as anticipated, so this was very good news.

Someone came by to see the place today, and I have an appointment for somebody to come on Thursday at 1pm to have a look as well. No idea if there is any actual interest, but things are progressing. While waiting for the realtor and client to come and go today, I took the DoDC+3 outside up to the dog area and sat in the sun on one of the benches for a while, just soaking up the sun.

I got my brother on Skype today for a little while. We talked about the idea of him coming to the consulate with me, which he says he's willing to do if it won't interfere with his work, so that shouldn't be a problem. He doesn't think it would be too necessary, though he agrees that modifying how I look temporarily will probably help. The largest thing that he may be able to do for me involves dealing with the money end of things. He's got quite a bit saved up from when he was in Baghdad a year and a half or so ago; it might be enough to deal with the monetary requirements the consulate wants fulfilled. He needs to ask some questions to find out how it has to be arranged so as to work best for us, and if we can do this before early next year it would be for the best, as his current Active Reserve contract ends around the end of the year; he's going to have to wait again before he can sign up with them, and the economy over there is no better than it is here, so he'll be living on that money while he tries to find work.

That said, if I can sell this place and get through the visa application process reasonably quickly, I'll be able to help him out once I get there, given that I have an actual substantial monthly income that isn't going away. I was grateful and relieved, because it's that monetary aspect that concerns me most about this process.

I did some more work on my Italian language online, sorted a little more of the kitchen stuff, and hauled the sorted items out to the garage until I can figure out how to deal with it.

Today I also called mom and talked with her for a little while. She's got bronchitis again but is dealing with it. Her husband's diabetes complications are ongoing, but they are dealing with it as best they can. The herb that I'd mentioned to her as being recommended by my neurologist for migraines has apparently (possibly in combination with the co-q-10 she has been taking) resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of her migraines. She usually has 15 or more of them in a month. This month, her grand total of migraines was ONE. She is thrilled and hopes that this continues.

I have not had any particular success with the herb so far, but I will see about adding the co-q-10 to the regime and find out of that will help at all. It's gawdawful expensive in the stores around here, but apparently you can get it a lot more cheaply online. I'll have to look into it. The past few days I have been headachey again and, though it wasn't too bad, I did have a headache again today for a while. This one was more transient than the usual migraines, more like just the combination of stress and fibromyalgia that sometimes hits me and leaves me with pain in my head.

Once again I am left feeling like I did very little today, but actually got a fair bit accomplished. It's strange how so much of the progress in my life right now comes in what feels like nearly invisible increments.

Tomorrow, shrinkage. Tonight, deal with the dishes before I crash. Limbo is uncomfortable, but I have to live in this and muddle through as best I can.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
2013-08-19 11:42 pm

Of headaches and other stuff

I spent most of the day today with a headache again, of the mild but spike-in-the-eye variety. I emailed my brother and will wait for his response, whenever that happens to be. It's not urgent as I haven't even had anyone come see the place after the first day.

The hide-a-bed couch got sold and hauled away today, then I shifted where the little day bed is in the room so things were easier for me to reach from it. I did a little Italian study online, though I didn't get far with it, mostly due to headache-induced lack of focus. Money got deposited in the credit union from the sale of the bicycle and the couch just a few minutes ago, when [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor came by to pick up some basmati rice and help me run the errand.

Beyond that, there was the start of some sorting through kitchen stuff. I went through one of the lower cabinets and one of the upper ones and sorted through stuff. I'm starting a small collection of things that need to be sold or given away. They are currently sitting on the kitchen counter but I'll be moving them to the living room bookshelf until I put a box together to carry stuff out to the garage. That'll probably be tomorrow, when I'll do more sorting.

Right now, probably because of the headache, I'm feeling a bit tired and down. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a clearer day for me.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Holmes & Watson)
2013-08-18 11:45 pm

A place for the con, yay!

Thanks to the wonderful and awesome [livejournal.com profile] stolen_tea and his roommate, I have now got a place to stay on the hill within walking distance of the con! I really appreciate it, and thank you both for your willingness to give me a little space and make my life a bit easier!

Irish class went pretty well for me today, which was a pleasant change from how things have been lately, what with the exhaustion and my inability to focus much. I spent a fair bit of the day considering more stuff for the visa application and thinking about what to say in my letter to my brother. Beyond that, I didn't do much. It was nice to have a day where I wasn't really doing anything physical, or too emotionally draining. I'm thinking my next project for thinning things out will be going through the glassware in my cabinets - I have about a bazillion vases and really only use a couple of them regularly, so I need to sort them and put the ones I'm not keeping out in the garage for sale or some other method of disposal.

Dealing with the kitchen cabinets is going to be a bit of a challenge. It's not that there are a lot of them, but deciding what I need to keep and what to get rid of is going to be a bit of a challenge. Some things I've used a lot, but not very recently. I'm not entirely certain if I should get rid of them or not, though I will probably err more toward the "get rid of" end of the equation. If I'm in a studio or a small one bedroom in Capitol Hill, I'm unlikely to be inviting ten people over and making a whole turkey dinner again anytime soon. That narrows down the amount of stuff I actually need to keep.

Then there's the "yes, I'm keeping these, but should I pack them or should I leave them out because I might need them again before I have to move?" issue. You wouldn't think sorting through kitchenware would be such a complicated issue.

Anyway, exhaustion. It is eating my brain. As are the insomnigrackles. I need to slay a few and try to get some sleep.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (10 ceirt)
2013-08-18 01:35 am

In which things are not quite as they seem

The contractor arrived this morning right about 9am, when he was supposed to. There is a big hole in the bathroom ceiling, all plastic tarped over so that the room is usable. Contrary to what the initial guy from their company had said, the leak upstairs is current and not good. The insulation in the ceiling was soaked, not "bone dry" as previously reported. I can only conclude that the probe the guy was using was not working at all for some reason. At any rate, yes, they are definitely going to fix it, but they have to also go in to the place above me and fix the leak in the bathtub in that unit that has been causing this damage. The contractor will be back again next Saturday, but might also have time earlier this coming week to come in and work on it. He said he would keep me posted if he was able to come earlier. The project should be done by the end of next Saturday if all goes according to plan.

I'm not entirely certain everything will go according to plan but, regardless, I don't have to pay for the repairs so I'm okay with the situation. The contractor will probably tell me more next time I talk to him.

Today I sold the cargo bike! A couple came up from Seattle and had a look, reinflated the tires for a test-ride around the parking lot, and declared it a good enough deal that they didn't even try to haggle on the price. Finally, success! I knew I was pricing it reasonably and that it was only a matter of finding the right buyer. Apparently somebody down in the Seattle area is selling something similar for $900, so they saved several hundred by driving up to Everett and buying from me.

Through the suggestion of an online thread, I found a link for a form for what appears to be the invitation letter my brother needs to send. It looks like a thing that will have to be filled out when I actually have an appointment with the consulate, as it has an expected arrival date blank to fill out. It also apparently declares that he would be responsible for me for time eternal or something like that, if it's accepted. He knows I wouldn't be a financial burden on him because I have enough to take care of myself quite well over there, so with any luck he won't have any issues with the document.

I am beginning to wonder if the possibility of getting my brother over here to go to the consulate with me for my appointment (when it happens) might be a good idea, as several people noted that the consular employees tend to be more inclined to talk to "the man of the family," if you will. I don't have a male traveling with me, obviously, but if my brother is going to invite/sponsor me over there, then perhaps having him at the appointment with me, as well as his paperwork, might be useful. It certainly couldn't hurt that he would be able to talk with them in Italian and he'd have a better understanding of the generalities of the system than I do. Anyway, I sent him the link for the form and asked him to check in with his friend at the town hall to see what comments she had about it and what to say on it if this is indeed the proper form. I'll email him later and ask him about the possibility of coming over for a couple of weeks while we get that worked out, once I'm ready and have an appointment.

Another box got packed and hauled out to the garage today. I sorted through the box of photos and photo albums and reduced the volume considerably, getting rid of duplicates, blurry photos, over/underexposures, extraneous pics that no longer have meaning, and the like. I think I cut the volume of actual photographs down by more than half, which was a very good thing. The actual process was a bit emotionally rough, as going through the photos dredged up a lot of memories, some of which were not the best.

A note to my friends on Capitol Hill - the Sherlock Seattle con is coming up the weekend of October 4-6, to be held at the Broadway Performance Hall at SCCC. Is there any chance one of you might be willing to let me crash at your place on a couch or something the nights of the 4th and 5th so that I can walk to the con and not have to cadge a ride down and back every day? I'd be happy to buy you dinner or something in return. I'm quiet and pretty self-contained, and I'll be at the con probably until late-ish in the evening, so I wouldn't be cutting into your personal space all that much, I hope. Even if all you have is floorspace, I can bring my backpacking air mattress (tiny but really effective) and a sleeping bag to sleep on for two nights. Anyway, if you're willing, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (05 nin)
2013-08-17 01:53 am

Today's accomplishments

I finally got a call from the contractor about the bathroom. They will be here tomorrow morning at 9am, then again next Saturday morning at 9. They will do the ceiling and the bit of wall that need to be replaced, and then they will paint everything, and it won't cost me a penny, as the HOA takes care of this kind of thing. While I am not keen on being up and dressed by 9am for the contractors, at least it will be done in the next eight days. Armed with that information, I updated the realtor and got an acknowledgement back from the office.

I wrote to my correspondent who'd been to Italy (let's call her S for the sake of ease) and talked more about specifics and answered her questions. Composing the email took me an hour or so. This evening late she wrote back with more thoughts and advice, including information on which airlines have good reputations dealing with pets, and which (Air Italia, she is looking at you) are likely to leave you entirely and permanently petless. I hadn't known quite where to start looking for this information, so I was very grateful to hear about this.

From what she says, it would probably be a good idea when presenting my visa application to have the facial piercings removed for the day and get them put back in once I'm out of the consulate, and to over-dye my hair to my natural color, so as to present a somewhat more conservative (or at least mundane) appearance for the sake of the bureaucrats who will be in charge of my ability to get to Italy. While I am not keen on hiding who I am, I'm also reasonably practical. A little thing like a temporary removal of jewelry and a likewise temporary change in hair color is harmless and can be restored very quickly.

S also noted that there is a possibility that, since my money comes from federal government disability pensions, the consulate might not be quite so strict about the $50,000 requirement, which is looking more and more like it is "$50,000 in your accounts right now" rather than "have you had a total of at least $50,000 in your accounts over the past six months." Anyway, regardless of their requirement, it won't hurt to prepare with everything else they require and hope that this is not a non-negotiable issue.

I spent a goodly chunk of the rest of the day reading the blog of a woman who went with her husband and three kids to Italy for a year, living in Umbria. They had some difficulties and their first attempt was turned down; they reapplied at a different consulate after a relocation to a different state, apparently, and were eventually granted a visa. Now that's a blog I have been learning a lot of stuff from, both in regards to how and why their attempts failed, how they succeeded, and how they dealt with the bureaucracy. They also took two cats to Italy with them. I think they have recently returned to the US, but I haven't read their most recent entries yet and am not sure exactly when they got back. It might have been last month or earlier this month.

My next door neighbor got back from Costa Rica last night, where she'd been for the last week. I was out with the DoDC+3 when she got back, so I helped her haul her bags back into her place. I saw her this evening out with Tater (the dog of one of our neighbors) and she was on the phone. I waved and she came over to tell me that her little dog Rinnie had died today of a serious acute diabetic episode. What a horrible thing to have happen when you come home from vacation. A horrible thing to have happen ever, for that matter. It's so hard when you know it's coming, and something sudden like that is such a shock. I feel so awful for her, particularly as I'd nearly lost Chris a couple of years back after Steamcon when the veterinary boarding screwed up and he broke all those ribs. You've had this great holiday and suddenly everything just goes bad, and there's nothing that can be done about it. I would have given her a hug, but Tater and Chris sometimes are okay together and sometimes get snippy, and I didn't want to have a sudden dog fight break out in the middle of a hug. She said that was okay, she'd get one from me later.

I walked over to see [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor shortly afterwards, as I'd forgotten to give her something last night, and I was feeling very downhearted after hearing Sally's sad news. I figured she would want to know, and I rather needed a hug myself.

I'm still waiting to hear from Geordie, who should be back in Vancouver now after his year in Spain. I have a box of books waiting for him. He's probably going to sleep for a week.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Orpheus I see...)
2013-08-16 01:28 am
Entry tags:

Loreena and unexpected checks

So today was group at the VA. We have two more weeks, I think, before this series is over, then a week or two break and back to it. I woke way too early today, but at least got some email and stuff out of the way before I had to leave for Seattle for the day.

[livejournal.com profile] ingvisson came by to pick me up and we were off. After group, we hied ourselves over to Woodland Park Zoo for the Loreena McKennitt concert; I had never been to the zoo, or to Woodland Park, but I would like to go to actually see the critters at some point. Apparently one of their giraffes just had a baby recently. All six feet of it. Yikes.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and her friends had got there much earlier than we did. I hadn't realized gates opened at 5pm or I would have skipped the travel office this week. She met us at the gate with my ticket and then took us over to where everyone was sitting. The concert was nice. It had been drizzling earlier in the day, but the rain held off for the music, which was very pleasant. I was kind of not in a great mood, though, and the zoo apparently has a height restriction for folding chairs - they can't be any taller than two feet. Which meant that partway through the concert they came and told me and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor that we had to fold ours up. Which left me with horribly creaking hips and feeling crampy sitting on a nearly nothing chair that was probably not even as good as sitting on the ground. During the intermission I hauled my chair down to the handicapped accessible area and set up there, where she joined me, because I was not going to be able to take another 45 minutes all cramped up like that.

My mood got slightly better when I was no longer in agony, unsurprisingly.

In the mail today, I got a royalty check for my poetry book. It was a whole $8.98. I was amused but pleased. Actual royalties from poetry! I am a professional, hear me roar! The mail also brought the annual balancing of the books for the escrow account attached to my mortgage. This meant I got a much more substantial check than I was expecting, which got immediately tossed into my savings account. I also got the last payment on Garuda from [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson, which also went into savings. That account is looking fairly healthy, but I have a ways to go yet to deal with the financial numbers that the Italian consulate seems to want to see according to their list of requirements they sent me a while back. They said something about wanting to see $50,000 over a six month period in all of my various financial accounts combined. I'm not sure how I'm going to accomplish that. I'd contemplate a loan to be paid back in full pretty much immediately after the visa application was approved, but I would have nothing to use for any security on a loan, without a car or a house. Anyway, I can but try.

I got an email back from a gal who had moved to Italy and had to come back due to timing issues. She said the financial stuff might be the hardest hurdle, but also that there was likely to be a fair bit of sexist asshattery against middle aged women attempting to move to Italy from the middle aged men who are generally the ones approving or denying the visas at the consulates. She said she took her very pretty young adult daughter with her the second time she went to the consulate (Houston) and got far better treatment than the first time, when she'd gone alone to make some inquiries. I am hoping that I will have a different experience, but I can't say as I'm expecting to. It's not like I have a hot young daughter to distract the bureaucrat with. *headdesk*

She says she's heard this kind of thing about most of the consulates, and that apparently different consulates have different sets of requirements. Houston apparently didn't require a criminal records check? Wow. Anyway, I just got the email from her this evening and I'm going to email her back tomorrow with some further questions; she's been very helpful and supportive in her response to my initial email.

And now, Tired Erynn is going to crawl off and attempt to get sleeps.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Writy enochian keyboard)
2013-08-13 10:13 pm
Entry tags:

And more boxes

I hauled in a box of stuff from the garage today, and dealt with the one in the cabinet under one of the living room bookshelves. I sorted through other things in the cabinets as well. I've packed another box of things and taken it out to the garage, rearranged the contents of the bookshelves, and now there's only one of the tall one that still has things on it in the living room. I'm not able to haul the empty one out to the garage myself, but it's ready to go when I have some assistance with it.

Tomorrow morning at 10am the contractor will be in to deal with the heater in the living room. That shouldn't take too long. Nobody showed up or emailed about the couch. So it goes.

My brain woke me at 9:45 this morning and now it's dragging me down into the primordial ooze. I did a little cooking this evening, and made myself a peach cobbler. It's very tasty. It's probably cool enough to stuff into the fridge now, as I'm considering just crashing early tonight. I have to be up around 9am to be sure I'm showered and dressed before the contractor gets here tomorrow.

I've been too exhausted lately to even throw a sentence together in the story I'm working on. It's been probably almost three weeks now since I've written anything that wasn't an email or a blog post. My brain feels encrusted in sludge.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Earth: where I keep my stuff!)
2013-08-13 12:18 am
Entry tags:

Sorting. And more sorting.

I sorted the tool basket and part of the laundry closet, and the junk drawer in the kitchen. Things are pared down a bit. Also a little stuff from the cabinets in the living room bookshelves. I sold the KitchenAid mixer today, so more money went into the moving fund. The couch might go tomorrow; I'm more optimistic about this one than the last inquiries.

Laundry got done. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor took me over to the credit union to deposit some cash. A mammogram was scheduled, and the heater in the living room will be replaced Wednesday morning at 10am.

The day bed is a little harder than I usually like, but easier on me than sleeping on the floor, so that's good. The DoDC+3 has been sleeping on the couch in the bedroom, what with the tiny space we'd have to share. I may end up putting a couple of pillows on the floor for him once the couch is out of there, if he doesn't want to sleep on the bed with me, it being so small.

Still doing more research on living in Italy and all that. Consensus among the people I'm talking with on the Fodors travel forum is that I'm preparing pretty well and have been thinking it all through pretty thoroughly. I know I have a ton of things to learn, but I'm definitely willing to ask questions and follow up with research and discussion.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Northwest forest)
2013-08-11 11:46 pm
Entry tags:

A somewhat slower day

I did a little bit of stuff around the house today and hauled one thing out to the garage, but mostly I was waiting for Qi and Dana to drop the day bed by. They did so about 3pm, I think, and I spent some time after that putting it together so I'll have a place to sleep tonight. It'll be more comfortable than the air mattress on the floor, thankfully. It'll also be easier to get the couch out around it, if someone buys it.

Irish class was a little easier on me this week than last, as I wasn't feeling well and had been really really stressed with all the cleaning and packing that had to be done. I still feel like I'm doing miserably badly at it, but I'm making an effort at least.

I got a note back from someone I'd contacted about replacing the burnt out heater from the living room. He's going to order the unit for me and get back to me about when he can come over and replace it, then that'll be another item checked off my list of stuff to do for the condo sale. The installation itself is really only a matter of turning off the circuit breaker, wiring the thing in, and reinstalling the grill over it, then turning the power back on. It shouldn't take more than about 15 minutes; this should cost me a little under $300. I should also hear back from the HOA's contractor about the bathroom repairs this week.

Thursday is group at the VA, then the Loreena McKinnett concert. It will be at the zoo, with festival seating, so I'll be bringing the camp chairs and some blankets, as well as my jacket, for when evening falls and it gets colder out.

I'm going to call my neurology doc this week and ask about the MRI results. The tech said they'd be ready to look at later that afternoon, but I don't know how long it will take for the images to get through the system and to the docs for examination. Anyway, can't hurt to ask.