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I’ll keep this pretty short, since I’m at work. (Lot of good that does anybody, anyway. I’m fighting a cold, and I can feel that it’s a losing battle. So I’m kind of useless. My ears are actively painful, they’re so stuffy. And I took Mucinex this morning, to help make/keep my bronchi clear–great idea, except now I can’t safely take my cold medincine–it has guaifenesin [did I seriously get that spelling right on the first try? I was typing random vowels by the end of the word] in it, too, so I’d be all overdosed if I took it. I may cut today a little shorter than is really proper and go to a drug store for pseudophedrinesque medication.)

I do have a real bed, on which I got decent sleep, which is great. It didn’t come until after 9pm last night–and then bringing it up and putting it together took over an hour–because I had yet another emergency vet visit. This one was arguably unnecessary–I pulled out the offending feather, which was unspeakably traumatic for me (far more than for the bird, who just let out one high-pitched sound and was ready to go on with life), and if I’d waited 5 minutes or so, or managed to hold her still enough that I could apply styptic powder, the bleeding would have stopped on its own. But because she did still seem to be bleeding, and other vets had led me to believe that feather out == instantaneous end to bleeding, I panicked. So the vet was able to confirm that there was a clot of some sort, urged me to come back if Phoebe started bleeding again, and started to send me away, only I had left my wallet at work. So I had to go back by work, with the birds in the car, to get my wallet, to call the vet and give them my credit card number. Good times. (I offered to leave the birds, go get the wallet, and come back, so the birds wouldn’t have to sit in a cold car, but the receptionist seemed afraid I’d abandon them. She made me fill out a promissory note. As though I’d abandon my pets of more than 10 and more than 3 years, respectively, over $60. Who really does that? Really?)

“How,” you might ask, “did Phoebe break a blood feather during daylight hours? I thought that was a night fright thing.” Yeah, I dunno; she has super powers, I guess. I came in; dropped my stuff; opened the birds’ cages; went to the bathroom; puttered around for a minute or two, lighting candles in a couple of rooms (so, a total of less than 5 minutes of unwatched bird time); and then came in and saw that there was a big drop of blood on the floor. I thought it was Grace, at first, because she had a feather that was super out of whack, but that was a full-grown feather, as far as I can tell. (It nearly matches Francis’s similar wacky feather.) No, it was Phoebe. I have no idea what she did, but later examination of the cage shows that she definitely, for-sure didn’t do it until after I let her out. All the blood is outside. But it’s everywhere–on 3 walls, on the ceiling, and, like I said, on the floor. I have no idea what happened, though it looks like maybe she slipped off the outside of the cage and just caught a wing feather the wrong way, on the way down. Totally unpreventable, except by keeping her in all the time, which is cruel. :/

So I guess I should buy some hydrogen peroxide while I’m buying cold medicine, today. Nothing better for removing human blood (look, I’m accident prone, OK? Phoebe takes after her person-mom… and takes it a lot further)–and I’d guess it’ll work fine for bird blood, too.

I set up “Emergency Vet” in the GPS, so I won’t have to look it up again next time.

I’m feeling all tired and spazzy, though. I think this is going to be a short work day, and I’ll make up the hours next week, when I can think straight.

Thanks to the wonders of Craigslist and my so-far amazing luck at finding awesome people in Anchorage, I’m going to have a bed tomorrow night. Yes, an actual honest-to-goodness mattress, boxspring, and frame. It was a guest bed, so not heavily used. And the frame’s pretty freaking cool, I think: it was handmade from small logs. It’s super sturdy and very Alaskan looking. (Not that “Alaskan looking” was a requirement, but it’s a nice bonus.)

Not only that, but the couple selling it are bringing it to me. Plus, they’re throwing in sheets and a comforter. They’re moving from a house to a triplex–and expecting a baby (yes, I’m guessing/hoping only one of them is doing any heavy lifting)–so they’re selling a whole bunch of furniture. I may end up picking up a sofa and loveseat (or one of the two) from them, as well as a plant table. They have good taste in furniture, a big vehicle, and no cats, so this seems like a potentially fantastic match. (They do have a dog, but she’s super cute [yes, irrelevant, I know] and didn’t bring on any heavy allergies or anything.) Plus, I don’t know, I feel good about buying furniture from a couple that’s going to have a baby–it helps me, in that I get furniture, and it helps them, in that they have less stuff to worry about moving and more cash to use for setting up the new place and baby stuff.

And they’re so super nice. I kind of want to be best friends with them. Seriously.

I don’t think I can really impress upon you what a difference a real sleeping surface is going to make to my quality of life; it will be every bit as big as the air filter–which drowns out my upstairs neighbor so nicely–possibly more. I admit, I’ve been kind of edgy, these past few days–I didn’t get into my character well on Saturday (though I still had fun), I didn’t accomplish what I’d hoped to on Sunday, and I’ve felt groggy and socially inept all work week. I’m just exhausted, and it’s catching up with me. I hope to be on track by Friday.

Tired or not, I made lunch for my department (that sounds like a big job, but there are only four of us) on Monday, and that seemed to go over well–either they’re very polite, or they like my cooking. :) I’m still learning how to do all the pieces of my job; I’ve gotten to the point where I feel a little overwhelmed, but it’s probably just surprising that it’s taken this long. I feel like I’ve learned a whole ton of stuff, and I know there’s at least another ton more. It’s sort of like going up one of those hills that look like they’re about to crest in just a few more feet, only they keep failing to do so; I felt like I was doing really well, until I realized I had so much further to go, I guess? Like the hill, it’s not really a bad thing; one climbs a hill for the challenge/view, and I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t want to learn all of this stuff. Once I know all of it, I’m just going to go off and learn other, possibly-relevant-but-possibly-not stuff–there’s no need to rush, really.

I found out that the Alaska Bird Club meets kind of close to where I work, on the first Tuesday of the month. I think I may stop in. For some reason, they have a blurb on their website about amateur radio operators, which I think is cool, but I’m really hoping they want volunteers to work with the birds. I don’t need to adopt more of them, but I would enjoy helping to socialize the ones that are waiting for homes, you know? So that’s a potential activity.

One of the librarians I like hanging out with after work (not that I’ve hung out with any and not enjoyed it!) is getting her tonsils taken out. So she’s out of commission for a little while. But I’m hoping she’ll be feeling way better and up to carving pumpkins next week–if anyone else wants in, let me know, and bring a chair. :)

As far as other holiday goodness, I have my Halloween costume all picked out, and I’m thinking of putting a sign up on my balcony, with some sort of bell-pull or something that trick-or-treaters can use to ask for candy without coming into the building–I already have Halloween decorations on my inside door, for in-building kids. I’m really hoping some kind of fun Halloween night party/activity will pop up, so I can go show off my costume!

The birds are doing great. (My coworkers are so sweet. They ask about them and listen while I go on and on like a crazy bird lady!) I’ve got a smaller-than-ideal cage set up for Phoebe, during the day, so she and Grace can’t fight, but I let them sleep in the same cage together at night; I am going to look into a big, two-sided flight cage or something for them, longer term, but this works OK for the time being. And they’re all up on tables, off the floor, to avoid drafts, though they have a ladder for floor access when I’m around. Their wing feathers and Phoebe’s tail are starting to grow in, so I remain nervous about night frights and blood feather problems. Then again, given how much light I’m leaving on, how much calmer they’re getting, and the fact that I never turn off their radio, I’m really hopeful that we’re past the bi-weekly vet visits, now. I’ve got vitamins in their water, to help them grow in the healthiest feathers they can. So, fingers crossed, things should be good on the bird front. I may get one more lamp, to make sure they’re super well lit through the winter. But, yeah, happy explorer-birds.

I’ve been working for a week and a half, now, and that’s going very well (though, since it’s library-related, I put most of my commentary on that–all of one post, so far–into the other blog). I like my job and am getting more and more confident that I’ll be qualified to do it within a reasonable timeframe. ;) I like my coworkers, my office, and my 3.6 mile commute. OK, I don’t really like the commute, except that it’s fairly short and low-traffic. And it can be arranged so that there are three coffee stands between home and work, if needed, plus the Starbucks on the first floor of the library.

I still haven’t decided what kind of tires to get for the winter. Normal winter tread? Studded? Dunno. There’s a tiny hill right by my apartment building; other than that, my drive to work and the grocery store and downtown and my gamer buddies’ houses: all flat. I could theoretically turn right and go down the hill, instead of trying to fight my way up it, when it’s icy. Not safe, but not risking back-sliding when, inevitably, the light turns red as I start to crest the hill. On the other hand, I think I have to go up a little hill if I go in the other direction, too, so … I dunno. What are the chances of ice storms two winters in a row, right? … Right?

The other big moving-related concern, besides my ever-increasing worry that maybe Dale will get up here and not find work, is … going to sound kind of stupid, I suppose. But I’m fed up with my stupid modular couch thing; it is not a proper sleeping surface for weeks on end. I’d put a random couch-surfer on it with very little guilt, and I’d … uh, I’d probably have to find more padding, to give it to a friend who’d come to visit, honestly. It’s pretty terrible. So I need a bed. Now, do I assume Dale’s going to get here and we’re going to move out of this one-bedroom apartment in short order (a not-unwise plan, given three birds, a chinchilla, and two people, though I think it hinges on how quickly he’s employed)–and therefore get a somewhat smaller, not-uncomfortable bed, ideally from Craigslist, expecting it to become a guest bed? (In which case, how on earth do I move it? Sure, sure, some rope and a tarp and the luggage carriers, for transport, but how to get it into the building? The modular couch thing was a laugh and a half to get in here, let me tell you. And, while I know more people now, I don’t feel like I’ve earned “help me move heavy stuff” karma with any of them, wonderful though they all are.) Or do I assume we’re going to stick out this lease and therefore get a bed that’s suitable for the long term? That’ll be expensive, because I really want a king- or queen-size foam mattress–both because they feel awesome and also because they’re less allergenic–but at least big burly people will bring it to my apartment, that way. And I won’t have to scramble to get a better one when Dale gets here.

The only other furniture I’m looking to acquire, in the near future, is a comfortable chair or loveseat for reading. (Believe it or not, the modular couch thing also fails at being comfortable seating, at least for long periods. I guess I know now why it was cheaper than an air mattress.) That’s also no fun, as far as moving it, so it’s very much on hold right now.

That’s probably enough obsessing over details/complaining about my sleeping situation for one post.

People who follow this blog from outside Anchorage might be interested to know that the “termination dust” (snow on the mountains) pretty much all melted. It’s been in the 40s and 50s, mostly, in town, though it dipped down below freezing a couple of nights. This is the longest and best autumn I can remember, no kidding. There are some really beautiful red and orange bushes, and there are still a few yellow leaves left on the trees. The shortening of the days is starting to get noticeable. It’s dark well before 7:30, when it was light past 8 a couple of weeks ago; and it was pretty dark, driving in between 8:30 and 9:30am, for the past few days, I thought. Then again, there’s been some gloomy weather, with thick fog in the morning and clouds all day, so maybe it’s secretly lighter than it looks?

Other-other news: Those of you who are Facebook and Twitter friends will already know this, but Dale and I announced that we’re engaged! The wedding (that term is used loosely, given how low-key we’re planning to go; it’ll be a doily-free event, possibly even shoes-optional) will happen in October 2010, 2011, or 2012, on the east coast. It’s conceivable we’ll do something smallish in Alaska, too–an excuse to throw a party? Why, yes.

There were other things I might have added–mostly about hanging out with people, as well as coming home and crashing after work, both of which I’ve done a fair bit of–but that’s a good place to stop. I really believe blog posts shouldn’t exceed 1000 words, anyway. ;) (This one does not, by 116 or so.)

Just kidding with the title. It’s 1:40 in the morning, and I’m supposed to be asleep, getting all rested and ready to go for my first day of work, which I know is going to be busy and full of things to learn. But I just can’t sleep. My “bed” is even less comfortable tonight than usual, if you’ll believe that–or I’m just more antsy, what with all the thoughts jumbling around in my head and worry about the birds (I swear I’m not really a crazy bird lady–Phoebe is a special needs bird, I think, and we never got three of them with the idea of one of us living alone with them; somehow, three birds and a chinchilla between two people seems so much easier than three birds with one person, for whatever reason, maybe because we’ve never had neighbors who stomp around at odd hours, or maybe just because Dale’s a better pet-parent than I am, I don’t know). I’ve been trying to sleep for hours, with no luck; my heart’s racing, and, even though I’m desperately tired, sleep just isn’t coming.

So I figured I’d blog. Though I didn’t mean to spend quite that much space complaining about lack of sleep–sorry.

Before I get to today’s drama, I think I’ll go ahead and write about a couple of nice things that happened. On Friday I visited work to start decorating my office and find out what time to show up tomorrow; I have a key and a code, and I exist in some of the University systems, so that’s very cool. Soon I’ll have my faculty ID and email address and such. (Side note, which might make its own post in my library blog: it’s weird and cool and humbling and did I mention weird to be faculty–even junior faculty. Given how much time I’ve spent in higher education, but never going for a PhD, it’s maybe weirder for me than you’d think.)

After visiting my library, I visited the public library, to return an audiobook and feed ducks. How clever of Anchorage to put two of my favorite things in one place! Saves on fuel. After sharing the last of my three day old buckwheat pancakes–which ducks do like, very much, by the way–I walked around the pond, with a ducky escort. I met some nice people with cute dogs. I watched the remote controlled airplane and sailboats, and when I got to the folks controlling the boats, they offered to let me try. It was pretty fun; there was so little wind that catching any felt like a major accomplishment. And after a while, I felt like I understood the basics. They meet at 5:30 every Friday; I may stop by again before the pond freezes over.

I got some pictures of the boats, the pond, and the building with the public library in it. Also, the mountains–this was a few hours after I was raving about how pretty they were to Dale, so the light had changed. But they’re still quite pretty, I think.

Yesterday I met up with my gaming group to play our first session of Call of Cthulhu. It was pretty excellent; I feel like I’m playing the Scully to everyone else’s Mulder, at times, but I am having lots of fun and hopefully adding to others’ fun, as well. It seems like it’s going to be a great game!

While we were playing, a small moose walked through the yard. I saw his legs, but that’s all, because it was dark and he was a bit uphill and poorly lit. I was a little disappointed that my first wild moose sighting wasn’t a full and proper view, but not to worry: on my drive home, I saw another moose. Driving toward it, I thought it was a male moose with a rack, but no, she just had really big ears. I slowed down almost to a stop, to look at her–she was in the median–and she looked at me. It was good. I’ve seen a wild moose, now!

And today… I had meant to spend my last day before work really finishing up the apartment, as well as spending time with the birds, since I was out for more hours than they’re even supposed to be awake, yesterday. And I did make a fair bit of progress on the apartment, so that it looks OK. Pretty much everything’s unpacked, anyway, until I pick up a shelf for the [copious number of] boardgames. But I didn’t have quite as much time for that as I’d expected, because, when I uncovered them this morning, I found that one of the birds (Phoebe) had serious broken blood feathers (again, this time wing and tail). The emergency vet (there’s only one in town that even takes birds, and they don’t have a bird vet all the time–their non bird vet does deal OK with blood feathers, though) wasn’t picking up the phone, so I decided to try taking care of her myself, mistakenly thinking it was just the wing. I will spare you the details, except to say that, despite steeling myself and putting some good effort and styptic powder into fixing her, the tail was beyond my skill, and we ended up driving to the emergency vet, anyway. A couple hours later, we were back home–Phoebe sans any tail feathers (the vet thinks if they all grow in at once, they stand a chance)–and she’s spent most of the day being really quiet and sleepy. I saw her drink, but she barely ate, even apple, which she loves–probably, with the blood loss and anesthetic, she feels extra awful. I don’t think she can take another night fright/broken feather, and I just don’t know what else to do to prevent it; I’ve already got the kitchen light on for them all night, in addition to their more standard night light. I guess I’ll leave the radio on quietly, to make my neighbors’ noises less of a shock. I can turn off the air filter in my room, so I can keep an ear open and catch frights early, but then I won’t sleep so well, either (not that I am, as it is). I’m just kind of at a loss.

Anyway, I feel distinctly more sleepy now than I did when I sat down, so I think it’s time to try again.

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October 2009