the_gneech: (Default)
So, last week was a challenge. >.> Messed up sleep, a cat-in-crisis (Lady) dropped in our lap, job hunt frustration, and a general lack of fucks to give led to me basically chucking everything out the window (everything I could chuck, anyhow) and playing video games. (Other than Overwatch, because that particular game is often the opposite of relaxing.)

However, I only let myself do that with the promise that I would be back to work on Monday and get things done that need to be done. So step one is: organize! Thus, the Too Much To Do List for the next two weeks:

  1. Do some kind of workout.

  2. Take a shower and get dressed.

  3. Issue six page nine

  4. Job applications

  5. Blacktigr commission

  6. Overwatch competitive stream/Mastering Mercy vid

  7. Mooncat Timey-Wimey badge

  8. LKCMSL Timey-Wimey badge

  9. Graveyard Greg IBMBA commish (NOTE: send bill for this)

  10. PTBAF panel agenda

  11. Print for AC: button restocks, Best Bodies Contest flyer, Timey-Wimey badges

  12. BtA YouTube banner

  13. BtA Patreon banner

  14. Read books for Rainbow Awards

Right ho. Time to get started.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero asleep)

Three Good Things For Today

  • Spent most of the day feeling really upbeat and happy.

  • Finished pencilling two pages of Suburban Jungle.

  • Did my weekly cat rescue volunteer shift.

Three Goals For Tomorrow

  • Shade said pages. Bonus points for coloring one, double bonus points for coloring two.

  • Start prepping for Furthe'More.

  • DailyBurn in the morning.

Good night world, have an awesome tomorrow.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero asleep)
Well I didn't finish any of my goals from yesterday, alas, but that's not to say I didn't make any progress.

Three Good Things For Today

  1. Taught myself a new shading technique that I hope will give my art a more polished look. Needs practice, of course, but I made a good start!

  2. Updated my financial records for the year. So far I've made about as much in 2014 as I would have made in about six weeks at my previous job... but I've got a lot more to show for it! Also arranged for repair of hall tree.

  3. Got to spend time with lots of kitties as we did our volunteer work for Fancy Cats Rescue Team tonight, including getting to see our faves, Ruby and Damien.

  4. Bonus Good Thing! Started a Pinterest account. No idea how it works or what I'm going to do with it yet, but that will come with time, I imagine.

Three Goals for Tomorrow

  1. Finish dat cover!

  2. Do the whole URL update thing.

  3. Make some progress on getting the house ready for sale.

Time permitting, I'd like to get some MMO and #TwitterPonies time in too, but that will be subject to the whims of fate.

And now... BED. *thud* zzzzzzzz...

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (me am writing!)
It's been very much a week.

Sunday, we moved Mom into her assisted living apartment, which was a huge step for both her well-being and ours. We've spent a lot of time in the days since then ferrying things that didn't get transferred in the move or grabbing things she needs (like a shower curtain), but that will gradually settle down and we can start working on the whole "clean out her house and get it sold" thing. She's been remarkably willing to discard stuff she used to hoard, I can only guess that's a side effect of the stroke. Much of her short- and medium-term memory has been scrambled, including her attachment to many objects. In the time she's been in the assisted living place, she's been chatting with folks, seeing the in-house movies and the like, and she seems to be doing all right; we'll be keeping an eye on her, tho.

While we had the U-Haul, we also brought home the stuff we'd put into storage, since the house is off the market and that's $180/mo we didn't need to be spending. We still need to bring home our stuff from [ profile] hantamouse's place, so he can have his third bedroom back, but that'll probably be done a carload at a time as weekend visits permit.

Finally, yesterday, Sweetums and Inkyboy were handed off to their new adoptive mum, who took them off to their forever home. I won't lie, it was a wrench. Over the six weeks they'd been with us, we came to love those kittens fiercely, even with their wrestling matches on our bed at 4 a.m. and the way they behaved like piranhas at feeding time. Unfortunately, they would not stay kittens forever, and we knew from the beginning there was no way we could sustain keeping five adult cats in the house. My allergies are in a constant state of Red Alert as it is, and kittens grow really, really fast. Compare:

The kittens when we rescued them, ~8 weeks old.

The kittens yesterday, the last "family video," ~13 weeks old. The bed that all three of them are rolling around in the first video, and the cat tree that only two fit into in the second video, are roughly the same diameter. By February, when it's time for them to get fixed, they will be as large as Buddha.

So now, with three of the four adopted into loving homes, our kitten adventure is done. Inkygirl is staying with us as part of the family at Casa de Lion; she spent the night curled up in the crook of my elbow, eager for somewhere to snuggle without her brothers to keep her warm. Like her uncles Buddha and Dasher, we will take very good care of her. <3

In other news, it hasn't been easy, but I'm still just under par with NaNoWriMo. And I was right: there was no way I'd have been able to do this while working a day job. Between family and kittens and all the other stuff life throws at you, no way. My respect and admiration for people who manage to write and hold down a job is boundless. Even my own previous work, running a webcomic (and occasionally two) while holding down a job, seems impossible to me now. How the hell did I pull that off, and for so long? My mind reels at the prospect.

Anyway. :)

Today, if all goes well, I will reach par and pass it; that's my goal, anyhow. I also need to take care of some stuff around the house and make some calls to cancel utility accounts my mom no longer needs, and of course keep the cats fed and cared for.

This is the new normal. And so far, I like it. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (me am writing!)
Beginning of the fourth full week of my strange new life; things are still strange and new. After an initial flurry of pre-writing on the Michael Macbeth story, I put that aside to wait for NaNoWriMo (I'm finally doing it this year, aww yeah!) and have spent the rest of the time working on commissions when I wasn't taking care of kittens/my mom/house stuff.

For the first few weeks, what I really missed more than anything, was Starbucks. When I was freaking out about the shutdown, and the kittens, and so forth, one morning we went over to Starbucks and I had my once-common morning selection of grande skim no-whip white mocha and ham & egg sandwich, and I was like a junkie getting his fix. Stress melted away, I was suffused with a quiet calm, and I was ready to face the world.

Why this reaction? I don't know. It wasn't caffeine withdrawal, I've got plenty of the stuff at home. It was something about the ritual, the going-and-getting-it, the "I want this and can have some" aspect, maybe. A previous counselor I had once told me, "When you repress, you depress," and I wonder if maybe the fact that we were trying to not spend any money at all (because none was coming in), while "Starbucks breakfast" used to be something I could readily choose to have, may have created a repression effect.

In the time since then, I've struck a better balance. We've spent less than half of what we used to on food this month and for the most part we've not lost out on enjoyment and we're probably getting better nutrition. And I've made a point of letting myself have Starbucks trips once or twice a week, which seems to help my mental health.

The Kittens

The Inky Twins riding my shoulders
The kittens are all thriving; they're now roughly double the size they were when we rescued them. They're losing that ungainly fling-your-paws-in-the-air bounce-run-sideways awkwardness and looking more like miniature cats. A co-worker of Laurie's has expressed the desire to adopt Sweetums, and is pondering taking Inkyboy along (since we mentioned that the two of them are quite attached to each other). We have decided to keep Inkygirl ourselves, as she is less dependent on the others and seems to like riding my shoulder so much. We love them all and it will be rough to let them go, but as long as they are getting a good home with people who will love them, it'll be okay.

People have been amazingly generous to us regarding the kittens. The veterinary office gave us special pricing on their initial health check and flea removal, and in the time since then have also given us a $100 credit towards future treatments. Other folks have given us food or cash to defray some of our costs, and Fancy Cats loaned us a large cage which we have put to good use at feeding time. Laurie and I were prepared to pay whatever was necessary, but thanks to everyone's generosity our own outlay has been very manageable.

Life Stuff

We're working on getting my mom into assisted living by the end of this week or shortly thereafter; she's eager and excited to be somewhere she'll be able to meet a lot of people and not be moping around the house by herself all day, and we're eager to have her somewhere that will take care of so much of the stuff she can't handle herself any more. Once she's moved, the new big family project will be getting all the stuff in her house sorted, stored, distributed, or disposed of, so we can sell her house. That will pay for several years of assisted living, and get rid of a lot of expenses.

Our own house, sadly, is not moving at all. Once the shutdown hit, even the people who would call for an appointment and then not show up stopped appearing. I expect we're going to have to just pull it off the market and eat a lot of macaroni until spring. We'll be all right, it'll just chew up our savings more than we'd like. On the other hand, we'd be a lot more comfortable for six months with our stuff back in our house and not having to worry about keeping it "show-ready." We'll probably figure out what to do about that this week.

Anyway, that's enough nattering for now. Time to get to work!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (me am writing!)
In my new role as work-at-home-writer-guy, I have generally been very meticulous about getting up in the morning, shower, dress, etc., and treating it like an actual job sort of job. But today, I'm slouchin' it. Pulled on jeans over sleeping clothes, no shoes, hair a mess, shave badly needed. Why? Because I can. Wahahahahaa!

The other great thing about this new life? Second breakfast. I never liked the whole "breakfast at eight, lunch at noon, dinner at six, hungry in-between" lifestyle anyhow. Second breakfast at eleven and smaller lunch? Much more pleasant.

Now we just get the money thing worked out, and I'll be set. ;)


Dasher is still not quite himself today, but he's better than he was yesterday. He had appetite for his breakfast this morning, and he ran around and played some, so he seems to be doing better. Still keeping an eye on him, tho.

All kittens seem to be operating within normal accepted parameters. Interesting tidbit: Now that Fluffs is out of the picture, Inkygirl has gone from being quiet and submissive, to being the queen of the litter. She's not super-aggressive or hostile or anything, just way more assertive than she was before, while Sweets and Inkyboy seem happy to let her have the lead.

So on the whole, things are looking okay in this part of the world today. Time to get some writing done!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero asleep)
Came home from 1-2 hr outing for mom care to find Dasher listless and low appetite, after having been troublemaker all day. Not obviously "unwell," but definitely not himself. Going to keep an eye on him, if still like this in a.m. will take him to the vet.

Would take up drinking if I could afford it. -.-

the_gneech: (Alex Spaz)
October has been... unexpected.

The first week of self-employed life was spent almost entirely not doing any of things I'm theoretically employing myself to do. What is was spent doing instead was taking care of mom and rescuing kittens, with a side of going to the last appointments w/ counselors and chiros we'll be able to afford for a bit, because shenanigans in the House of Reprehensibles. Right now all funds are being conserved for mortgage, with occasional dispensations for food and kitten care.

Speaking of kittens, Fluffy got adopted by someone at the vet's office! So he's got a good home now and we're down to three kittens, which has taken a bit of edge off the overwhelmingness of them. Buddha and Dasher are comfortable enough with them that the kittens pretty much have run of the house, although we still put them to bed in the library at night so we can

I should probably apologize for the vehemence in ranting on that subject last week; my mind hasn't changed (except for the factual errors, which I have owned up to since), but it didn't help anything to snarl about it like that. The one-two (three-four) punches of already being stressed and concerned about finances, followed by the shutdown, followed by the kittens, all of which dolloped in the thick gravy of taking care of an elderly parent pushed me beyond my normal tolerance for legislative dumbfuckery and I regret my various digital outbursts.

This past week was a little better, if only because I finally started doing some of the actual work that I left the rat race to do. I finished one commission and I've made some serious headway on a second, as well as doing a lot of groundlaying work for the new Michael Macbeth novel, all of which pleases me.

However, cabin fever is definitely starting to be a thing. I love [ profile] lythandra and the cats, but sometimes, especially at night after I stop working, I start feeling like the world is collapsing into nothing but the studio I work in. I feel very isolated, much more than I would expect given what an introvert I tend to be. I need people to "talk to," even if I prefer that talk to be in the form of text, but the problem is that it can't just be any talk. It has to have some kind of depth to it, or I end up feeling like it wasn't worth the effort... and let's face it, how easy is it to have deep conversations all the time?

This has always been true of me, it's just becoming more pronounced now that I don't even have the relatively banal interactions of saying hello to the person in the next cubicle over. This is one reason why I wanted to get a laptop to take to Starbucks/B&N/whatever and go work from time to time. Being among people, even if I don't actually interact with them beyond ordering my mocha, is still likely to help. It's just that for most of the past two weeks, even getting out that much has not really been feasible.

There is a bright spot, however, in that I'm having a party of sorts today. Really it's a glorified cookout with the usual gaming group plus a few extras, but it's still more people than I've been around so far this month and I'm hoping we'll have a lot of fun. (I'm also hoping that at least one copy of Card Against Humanity makes it to the house. I need to get myself a copy of that at some point.) With the incessant rains we've had all week, it's not exactly "cookout weather," but it's about the people, not the food. :)

-The Gneech


the_gneech: (Alex Spaz)
All tests come back confirming healthy, happy kittens with no bugs. ^.^

We spoke to folks at Fancy Cats today, who loaned us a cage (which will come in very handy for Cat Acclimation Time) and said that we could bring the kittens in to events once they'd had 2/3 distemper shots. Assuming they get the first on Monday, that means the first time they could go to a showing would be October 19th.

Meanwhile, the kittens' pics and story will go up on the Fancy Cats site, and it's entirely possible they will be adopted long before then.

While we were at the Fancy Cats event, we met a gorgeous Abyssinian who glommed onto us and was like, "Take me home!" Alas, we couldn't, but he was a beautiful boy.

With the help of the cage, tonight we had Family Dinner, in which Buddha and Dasher, each in one of their carriers, ate while facing the kittens, who were all eating in their cage. There was a bit of hissing (mostly from Dasher), but mostly curiosity. I expect they will acclimate fairly quickly.

So, progress on one front at least. I have also had an allergist recommended, which is a good thing because in less than a week, at the current rate, I will have severe bronchitis, and I'd like to avoid that.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Cramer Crap)
So, the first week of the rest of my life has not gone anywhere near like what I expected. In fact, it's largely been a giant not-so-hot mess, triggered mostly by the government shutdown.

I was prepared for a certain amount of stress, around the issue of the house not moving. I was not prepared for the House republicans to shove a potato into the tailpipe of the car of state in what I can only see as a seditious attempt to thwart what is the by-the-book established law of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "Obamacare"). The unbelievable gall of those self-same republicans to then claim that "Obama isn't willing to negotiate" and that "they didn't want the shutdown" is disgusting. There's lying, and then there's just being insulting.

You don't negotiate with someone trying to burn down your house. The best summary I've seen of things so far goes like this:

"We want to burn down your house."


"Can we burn down the garage?"


"How about just the attic?"


"Well let's talk about the parts of your house we can burn down."



The shutdown is being orchestrated by a small handful of zealots who don't care who they hurt (and from their press, apparently don't believe they're actually hurting people) to score points. They're doing this, of course, because they cannot get Obamacare by any legitimate means. All 500 babillion attempts they made to strike the law were non-starters. With the entire appratchik of Fox News, right-wing radio pundits, and the old media smear machine, they can't seem to convince the country that "poor people being able to get healthcare" is a bad thing.

Here's where we get to how this impacts [ profile] lythandra and me specifically: the contractor where she works (and I did until Monday) cannot bill 90% of its clients during the shutdown. This comes on the heel of one government agency already not paying the company millions of dollars it legally owes because apparently the contract officer is barking mad and just doesn't want to.

So, when the shutdown happened, the contractor said, "Unpaid leave for everypony! YOU get unpaid leave, and YOU get unpaid leave..."

So where we had been expecting our income to get halved, it instead got obliterated completely. :P

We are hopeful that if and when the rest of congress comes to its senses and fixes the mess, the contractor will get up to speed and pay Laurie what it owes her. But there's no guarantee of that.

So on Wednesday, while going on a walk for a little exercise and to relieve some stress, Laurie and I came upon a couple in the park, who were joined by a Herndon policeman, all of whom were attempting to rescue three kittens from a tree (with a fourth kitten on the ground nearby). This was not an easily-climbable tree (as the man of the couple discovered, getting a fractured elbow in the process), and the kittens were quite high up (roughly 8' and 16', respectively)... but there was no sign of any mother. The cop managed to get the lowest kitten down, and Laurie and I volunteered to take the kittens back to our house and return with a ladder to get the other two.

The woman of the couple had apparently been out performing her profession of part-time dog-walker when the kitten on the ground had basically come running to her meowing in distress, and led her to the tree with the others. That a kitten would approach a person leading a dog shows you the level of desperation the poor kitties had reached.

We put the first two kittens (provisionally named Sweetie and Inky) into the library, which we had already set up as a cat quarantine zone for showing the house, then returned to the park as quickly as we could with a ladder. The cop, being the youngest and fittest of the bunch, climbed up the ladder, with me close behind to hold things steady and act as kitten-catcher, and retrieved the other two (which for lack of better names were called Fluffy and Other-Inky). We then gave our contact info to the couple and brought the other two kittens home.

Unfortunately, we discovered after the fact that the kittens all had a quite severe flea infestation, especially Fluffy, whose long hair gave the little bastards lots of hiding places. So we were up until the Whee! hours on Wednesday night transferring the kittens to the downstairs bathroom (no rug) and shampooing the heck out of them. I will never forget the sight of swarms of fleas climbing all over the kittens' faces to escape drowning as we submerged their bodies into the warm water of the sink. :( It was horrifying.

So yesterday we took the kittens to our local vet (fortunately just a few blocks away) where they got thorough examinations, claws trimmed, and flea-removal treatment. Upon hearing that the kittens were rescues, the vet office very kindly charged us for a "new litter examination" (even though the kittens are probably about 8 weeks old) instead of charging us examinations for each individual cat as they normally would. It turns out that one of the black cats is female, but the other three are all males. So their names have been provisionally been altered to Fluffs, Sweetums (or Sweets), Inkyboy, and Inkygirl.

Today we need to flea-bomb the library just to make sure, so we can move the kittens back up there. (It's a much homier space than the downstairs bathroom.) We also need to start looking into working with Fancy Cats or someone similar to find good homes.

I also need to actually do some, y'know, writing, Laurie and I both need to do some job-hunting (sigh), and I've got to call my mom and sister about getting mom's assisted living arrangements made. It's already Friday, and I have accomplished precious little in my plans. Cripes, how did I ever live with a full-time job? And how am I gonna keep living without one?

-The Gneech

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