• Of Cars and Clots

    So, somewhere in the last couple months, Matt’s car did what old cars that sat in Michigan for a long time do and pooped out. I wish I could say that this little car debacle had been resolved by now, but alas. SUPPOSEDLY, Matt is going to take the car for a second opinion somewhere, after he ‘knocks some rust’ off of it, because northerners believe that southerners “just can’t handle rust”, and this is why the car place doesn’t want to work on it. 
    I mean, maybe it’s salvageable. But I have a feeling that when we get it to the next place, they’re going to do a long whistle and either refuse to work on it, or quote us something that isn’t worth it.

    The theoretical reason that Matt’s car hasn’t gone for a second opinion is MY car. I took it in for an oil change, and they came back and told me that the tires weren’t in good shape. Since we were planning on taking a trip up to Michigan, that’s not a gamble I really wanted to make. So we got the tires done. Then the car started making this noise. So we took the car back, and they said it was the rotors. Soooo we got the rotors done, because I hate weird noises. 

    It wasn’t the rotors. It’s still making the noise. I was pretty excited about that. (The sarcasm is dripping off that like honey) Because the car is like a small child and WONT MAKE THE NOISE FOR PROFESSIONALS, we’re having a heckuva time getting it diagnosed. Matt’s dad has given us several benign reasons for the noise existing, and that’s great except that logic stops at my brain and doesn’t get through to anxiety brain. So, see above about how Matt’s car isn’t really driveable and my car is making noise, but it’s the only car, so there you go. I’m currently working on a theory that the air conditioner makes it worse. What that means, no idea. 

    But anyway, we went to Michigan, and long story short, I brought back the worst souvenir - a blood clot in my leg. 

    It’s not a serious blood clot (dvt), it’s a superficial thrombolitis or ... svt. Something. Anyway, it means it’s in a vein that won’t kill me, just make me uncomfortable. That’s where I’ve been for the last two weeks. It’s MOSTLY better at this point. I can still feel it in my thigh a bit, and if I stand for too long or sit in a regular chair, my ankle starts to swell up. It’s really swell. (Get it?) I’m debating whether I should go to the doctor and ask for blood thinners to clear the rest of this up, but because of our insurance, it’ll be $130 to ask that question. I’m really dreading the ER bill. I mean, I could kiss our hsa at this point, but I’m so afraid that the stupid blood clot is going to drain it dry. 

    Matt and I also both had birthdays in May, and then there’s just normal life stuff, like dragging the fluffs to the vet, so when all was said and done, that’s why there wasn’t much of anything here. 

    But here, I’ll give you a cat picture before I go. That makes up for it, right?

    He’s a very photogenic cat. 

  • A Writing Analogy

    I didn’t mean to go dark for so long. The last month and a half though has been a lot. But I’ll leave that for another time. 

    I’ve been dabbling a bit in writing again. Don’t get all excited, I’m not going to be on the bestseller list any time soon. I’m just doing it for my enjoyment, which is still better than nothing. 

    But I had a little epiphany yesterday that I wanted to share. It’s really obvious, but my brain finally framed the concept in a way that makes sense. See, people talk about not trying to make the first draft of anything good. You’re trying to get it all down, and then you can go back and fix it. 

    Well, mild perfectionist that I am, I don’t -want- to go back and fix it. I want to get it right on the first try. (Duh)

    But see, I’ve also been painting more lately. (By ‘more’, I really mean ‘more than never’, so don’t get excited about that either) When I paint, I’ll either sketch something out and throw down some loose colors at first, or I’ll just do some sort of background color. I don’t worry about the detail, because first I just have to get the basic idea. I’ll go back and add more color, more depth, and then really zoom in on the details last. 

    So why on earth do I expect that I should write things down with complete detail and perfection on the first pass? 

    As I said, it’s pretty obvious, but the painting metaphor really hit my brain the right way. 

  • The Honor of Your Sandwich Is Requested

    Vizzi would like my sandwich. He doesn't want to eat my sandwich, he only wants to lick it. I don't really want a soggy cat licked sandwich, so we're at an impasse. 

    So I gave him a piece of bread to get him to back off a bit. Little pieces of bread aren't as fun to lick as entire slices, so this bribery was insufficient. 



    Someone just came to visit me, so I assume the above is his rendition of the story. I'll let you decide who is right. 

  • Pollen season

    My car isn’t even parked directly under any trees. The picture doesn’t do the pollen justice. 

  • Cats in Cardboard

    It became obvious that we needed to get rid of the beloved cardboard house we bought for the cats before Christmas. I taped it up several times to keep it together, but even the corrugated scratcher pieces had worn out. You could see where Vizzi sat on it, as it was the only part not scratched. I’ve been looking for another house for months now, and haven’t found a good replacement. So, I kinda gave up. This triangle had a hole in it and I’ve noticed that the cats like to scratch vertically, so I thought they’d be as happy with this as anything. 

    They are, in fact, happy with it, even when it gets knocked over. 

    I think this was the moment Aeris realized that she had made a grave mistake. 

    Between this and the plethora of cardboard boxes that come through this house, I think they’ll be content for a while. Maybe by then I’ll be able to track down another house for them. (HINT HINT TARGET)

  • Airline Tycoon 2

    I tried playing the original Airline Tycoon and got stuck very early on. Apparently back in 2013 I decided to give Airline Tycoon 2 a shot. You know. Sort of.

    I'm going to be honest. I just can't get the hang of this game. I tried playing the tutorial a bit, and I understand it -better- this time around, and I got flights off the ground (yay!), but this game just hits me with too much, too fast. 

    Once I got to the point where I had bought a plane, fixed it up, hired employees, got a route, and got it in there air ... I was pooped. There so many statistics to keep an eye on. Fuel, maintenance, employee satisfaction, employee competence, how much each route is profitable, whether your customers are happy and that's just the tip of the iceberg. SO MANY NUMBERS.







    I (think?) I wanted to try it because I love sims, so I thought surely, airplanes would be cool too. And to be fair, they might be, if the numbers and 8,000 things to keep track of were simplified. Just a bit. I mean, because I was on easy mode. 

    So this game is getting uninstalled. I just can't. If I didn't have so many other games, maybe I'd try and plod through it, but life is too short to be incredibly frustrated, or to play games with that many numbers involved. 

  • Sweet dreams sasspants

    This little sasspants. 

    I mean, I think there was a time when she wasn’t part of our family, but I can’t imagine how that is, because it seems like she’s always been here. 

  • Age of Empires II

    Next up on my much-neglected but not-quite-forgotten Steam Project is Age of Empires II.

    Age of Empires is a real time strategy game, which, to put it in layman's terms means incredibly stressful war game. 

    I kid. Sort of.

    The first thing I noticed when I started playing the tutorial is that it reminded me of Warcraft III, a game Matt and his friends used to play pretty frequently. Once I understood that, I got the hang of the game a lot faster.

    You collect resources, train up troops, attack your opponents. That's the basic gist. Whereas Warcraft is skinned as Orcs and Elves and Humans, Age of Empires is history based. William Wallace, Joan of Arc, etc.

    I'm not saying that I'm good at this game. Part of the problem is that the real time aspect stresses me out. I'm not particularly good at managing resources when something is attacking me. I panic, and then it's all downhill from there. (In general. I did manage to keep my cool during tutorial mode at least)

    The other, more glaring issue, is that I'm not really much of an antagonist. I don't really want to go around and conquer people. If I could build farms and research technology and do everything BUT the fighting, that would be my kind of game. 

    But since that's not how these games work, I just tend not to be very good at them. See point number one - stresses me out. 

    That said, I did enjoy as much of AOE II as I played. I'm going to come back to it, maybe finish tutorial mode (I have two battles left), and see if I can take on another mini campaign. I don't think I'll be conquering any civilizations any time soon, but I might improve my skill a little bit.

  • Practically Rapunzel

    Tilt your head, because I don’t feel like fixing this, haha. 

    I think the last time my hair was this long was the summer of 2013. Right before I cut it all off for a pixie cut. 

    Nothing against the pixie cut, but I don’t think I’ll be doing anything quite so drastic anytime soon. I’m kinda digging the longer locks, now that I’m better about doing something with them.

    (Sometimes, anyway.)

  • That Time I Accidentally Predicted The Future

    Several years ago (this was a year or two we moved to Virginia, I think) I was worldbuilding for a story. 

    I'm not saying that I accidentally predicted some things, but I kinda did.

    The EU Collapsed, USA pushed nasa into something non-sensical (Space FOOOORCE)? 

    Our government is run by CEOs. Huh. News is all entertainment and sensationalist.

    Ah yes. But we're pretending that everything still functions the same.

    Well that's just a touch familiar.

  • Snuggle sasspants

    I remember, not so long ago, when this cat didn’t want to be touched very much. When getting to pet her entire back was a success. 

    I remember when she didn’t dare hop up and sit on the couch with us, and how the first time she did, we sat SO still, because we didn’t want to startle her.

    I remember when she wouldn’t sit on our laps, and when she started to, she’d creep very slowly, and then relax one muscle at a time until she was comfortable. The process took about an hour, so by the time she was comfortable, you really weren’t.

    She snuggles on me most nights. Apparently she also snuggles on me during the day sometimes, too. 

    Not sure how we got here with this girl, but I’m happy. 

  • The kids turn two

    Yesterday Buttercup and Vizzi turned two years old, which I can’t believe. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that they looked like this:

    How did they get so big, so fluffy, and so sweet? 

    Look at that handsome fluff boy. He should be the next Bachelor. None of the girls would be leaving the show willingly with him there. Granted, we’d have to pry him out of the back room to MEET the girls, but I digress. Still better than Colton. 

    And this beautiful Buttercup. How can you not love this majestic creature? She KNOWS how pretty she is, and she KNOWS how sweet her meows are, and she uses both like weapons. Works every time. Okay, maybe not every time. If that were the case, I’d never eat anything, because this girl would steal it all. 

    Not to be outdone, Aeris and Gwen got into a fight. Or, more accurately, Gwen jumped up onto the bed, crashed into Aeris, and started smacking. She lost that fight. I’m not surprised.

    We saw blood around her eye after the spat, so we packed her up and went straight to the emergency vet. Eyes just aren’t something to mess around with.

    Thankfully, it turned out to be scratches around her eye and not ON her eye, but she’s still not feeling terrific.

    Today she had an appointment with the vet for a thyroid test, which came back well for her. I’m very glad for that, because it already feels like we go through ear gel in a blink. I’m hoping that little sass will be feeling better in a day or two and I’ll see more of her again. Right now, she’s hunkered down in my office. I go and visit her every once in a while, but I’m also trying to give her space to rest. 

    Never a dull moment with the Smyczyncats.

  • Toothless Sasspants

    It’s been four years since this sass had her teeth removed.

    I was really scared for her at the time, because I didn’t know what it would mean for her. 

    Really, it’s meant nothing but good things for her. She hasn’t had any recurring inflammation, so we haven’t had to do steroid shots, she’ll eat whatever she pleases, and she isn’t in pain. 

    The most commonly asked question I get about her is, “Does she only eat wet food?”

    No. I wish I could get her to eat more wet food, but she’d rather toss kibble down her gullet and be done. She gets a fancy feast broth packet every night when everyone else gets their wet food, but she won’t eat the meat. She’ll ‘humor’ me for a while if I try to get her to eat something else, but as soon as she thinks it’s a pattern, she’ll stop. 

    Just for the record, you don’t need teeth to be the sassiest bossy pants in the house.