Well … crap.

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I can’t get into a lot of detail, despite my wanting to vent, because of course putting anything out on social media of any sort can look bad, and so on, but …

Due to mismanagement of the parent corporation who owned my place of employment for the last … five? … years, and due to other factors, the school I have enjoyed working at for almost (one month shy) eight years has closed its doors.

This is truly sad. The school was good, we were accredited, which none of the other schools owned by the corporation in question were (and was at least part of the reason we were purchased). The students who were there are in a bad way … I am not sure if their loans are to be forgiven or not, and the time spent at the school will be for naught, as far as school credit goes. They will basically have to start over at whatever school they go to, if they choose to go to another school.

All the instructors, staff, etc. are also screwed. I get to go in for a “town hall” meeting tomorrow at noon, will grab a couple things out of my drawer, but it’s over. Unhappy is not strong enough. There is anger, but I can’t really lash out the way I’d like. So instead I will just calmly take the books off the shelf (already done, actually) and move them to the garage. Get rid of the business cards. Get rid of other stuff. Just backed up the memory stick that has all my course plans, syllabi, assignments, etc, and took it off the key ring so I can turn in the keys tomorrow, with my badge.

Will figure out where the unemployment office is, and go see them soon. I had started polishing the resume during the break, because the writing was on the wall, but I really hoped that just maybe we’d get sold (that was the plan). That didn’t happen (for reasons again I can’t really say here …). I can’t even work up tears right now. I’m upset … but … well, Shit. That’s about all I can say.

Yesterday was my birthday. Happy f’ing birthday, you’re unemployed!


Aging … well, the alternative is worse …

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So, more evidence I’m aging (besides having to have a colonoscopy, prostate cancer, looking in the mirror and seeing my hair thinning out and my beard turning white …): AARP membership.

I have actually been a member since 2007, but not a big deal. However, I gave in today and decided to stop re-upping every year, and just wrote a check for a five year membership.

Since my 58th birthday is next Saturday, what the heck? I am already getting senior discounts at the local grocery store (without them asking). I might as well just give in. I should start flashing my AARP membership card everywhere we go and see what kind of a discount I get (if any), but that’s just not the way my brain works. :)

Have been purging books, and my niece (Rose — David’s daughter) mentioned she’d LOVE To get the ones I’m getting rid of (mostly SF/Fantasy – she has similar tastes). SO, in the garage are four boxes of books that are nearly ready to go. I think I need to get some proper strapping tape (fiber) — the standard packing tape (cellophane) doesn’t seem to be strong enough for books. Bleah. I was going to get them to the post awful today, but not feeling it, since I need to re-tape the boxes and all that. BUT … sometime next week, maybe Friday since I don’t work that day. Using the Post Awful because they apparently still do Media Mail, which is a lot cheaper than other options, and these are all books (which are HEAVY), so …

There’s been some weird stuff work-wise (don’t want to say much — legal and moral issues on that end), so I sat down and re-did my resume from one I paid a professional to do many years ago. That one is weird. The person claimed to be a Word expert, but he relied way too much on tabs and weird formatting to get things to work. I simplified the updated version. It’s two pages, and if not careful could kick over to three. Have to be careful with that. The new version looks a little cleaner though, and is more up to date. I am hoping I don’t need it. Would love to retire in … 7 years or so from my current job. I don’t know if that will be possible, but we’ll see. The issues I’m concerned with are not personal (my boss and I get along great, I have a lot of respect at my job, I love the job itself most days, etc.). BUT … there’s a possibility I may be job hunting. Hope not.

Mostly I’m getting into the head-space of prep for next quarter, which starts Monday. Dealing with courses two evenings that go until 10 at night — gonna be weird. BUT, there you go. Well, need to go do some things like get lunch food and all that. But this afternoon is probably going to be me flaking out watching something on the tube or up here streaming off Amazon Prime, as the spouse probably has more exchequery stuff to do (always … sigh).

Colonoscopy Follow-Up 3

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Whatta week it’s been.

To sum up, the worst part of all this was the waiting, and the not eating, and then drinking the emetic that was required to make sure my colon was as clean as possible. The drink really was not bad the first glass or two. But 2 liters later and it was nasty. The next morning I had to try to drink another 2 liters. That didn’t happen, but I did drink what I could. Bleah.

Wednesday morning (it’s Friday as I write this), got picked up by my friend Rich Templeman (Richard of Alder Tree in the SCA), who took me to the hospital, and we had the type of conversation you expect from Rat — sometimes serious, sometimes goofy, always engaging. He was pretty cool about the whole thing.

Went in, did the prep work, got stabbed for the IV (twice, I have the marks on my arm to prove it still …). When I finally got wheeled into the procedure room, they turned on the medications after positioning me, and … I don’t remember a thing until I woke up in recovery. Got the report that basically said they found a benign polyp which was removed and sent to be diagnosed, but they believe is that it is harmless.

Came home (let my spouse know all was well), ate and slept a lot (after-effects of the sedative), very relieved. Hopefully I won’t have to do that again for awhile, but still …

Whew. All that fuss for that. On the plus side, it wasn’t that bad, and my friends on Facebook rallied to tell me so — something that really helped. I posted a big thank you over there last night.

Here’s the thing: the “panic” reaction I got from my doctor really unnerved me. I understand, there’s blood in my stool (an annual test that is done at home, you mail it back to them in the proper containers, etc.). This might mean something bad. It would be nice if I wasn’t freaked out by the doctor’s reaction. “This is important, you have to come in and do the colonoscopy right away!” etc.

It is important: if this is cancer related (which is the big concern), then once that is determined, a course of action needs to be planned, etc. However, as it turns out, most of the time it is what I had — a polyp (or multiples, I guess, some people are really lucky in this area) that is benign, but should be removed. Can we not panic? Can we take this more slowly and not freak out the patient who already has prostate cancer and really doesn’t want to find out he’s got something else as well?

I went into a bit of an emotional shut-down — I didn’t want to really talk about it, which concerned my wife. I don’t do that kind of thing intentionally, but sometimes it is easier for me to just bury my fear a bit, and not worry at it. I went into “handle this like an adult” mode, and just didn’t talk about it more than I had to. My wife didn’t appreciate that a lot, although she understands. Still …

Moving along:

Yesterday I got a LOT of work done on my courses starting next week, had to populate (or re-populate in one case) a couple of courses in an online LMS so that the students can jump in and start working with things. New assignments, new details on how things work, etc.I have two sections of one of the courses, so on Monday I will put in the copy request for the second section … make the appropriate changes Tuesday morning, and et voila! done. I will probably revisit them both today and double-check a few things, and go over the other courses in the OTHER software I’m using one more time, just to make sure I have those covered.

This morning I started looking at a new project — decided to do an “addendum” to my last book (published a couple years ago). The idea is to focus on the changes in the software, of which there have been many, but not to go over material that hasn’t changed since the previous book was published. As I have been looking at it this morning I started feeling daunted — it’s big no matter what I do. A lot of programmers have come to rely on my books, as they are the only (English version, anyway) books on dBASE out there right now. Kind of sad that no one else has done anything along these lines, a different take would be nice. :) Oh well.

And another huge project is slowly (oh so slowly) getting started — a revamp of the (SCA) West Kingdom History — an attempt to turn it into a CMS (Content Management System). The difficulty is none of the “canned” freeware CMS applications out there really have the flexibility I need. So … write one from scratch. How hard can this be? (Er … spoke too soon, right?) The hardest part is one of the folk who volunteered to help, has lots of experience with CMS code, but … it’s been over a year since we started talking and … nothing. Trying to find someone else … this is frustrating. Oh well.

Ramble, ramble, ramble …

And my wife is not having a great time still. The SCA auditor came and went last week, my wife got a “laundry list” she needs to look at/work on, but overall the auditor was pretty happy with things. She has a finished version of the “Domesday Report” (the report that goes to the IRS via the SCA Excehquer). However, now she has to do first quarter reports. And get moving on Second quarter … and …

And her job is busy like always. She has an implementation tonight (FRIDAY?) … sigh. I can’t wait for her to be done with the exchequer job, I really want us to have a life again. We don’t get out and see people much, we seldom make the movies, most of our socializing is at the SCA events we make it to. Bleah. Never again. She’s said so herself … she has no interest in doing this job again, or worse, the SCA Exchequer job (which the auditor asked about). Nope.

Well, suppose I ought to try to be productive today. Or not. Maybe I’ll just watch some “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for awhile …

Colonoscopy Follow-up 2

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Later, same day …

Finally got an appointment for Wednesday. Tomorrow after 9:30 (am) no food until after the procedure is done. Yike! I have to get a kit from the pharmacy tomorrow … yipee. Another trip to Kaiser (just went this morning for my PSA blood draw, going tomorrow for this, and Wednesday for the actual Colonoscopy).

Found out some of my friends are generous with their time, and willing to help out. That’s nice. So … tomorrow’s gonna be a VERY difficult day. No food, and then in the evening I have to start taking this CoLyte stuff. All I get is that and water … I can have some clear liquid, apple juice, ginger ale, that kind of thing, but very limited. Nothing red, purple or orange apparently (sheesh). No alcohol. And then Wednesday itself.

Not happy about it, but if I do have a problem that can be dealt with early because of this, I suppose it’s worth it. I really hope they find nothing at all. But there’s no way to know.

Probably not too likely to write much until Thursday or later. It’ll be over, I can eat again after the procedure (and most likely will) want to! Bleah. So not looking forward to any of this.

Colonoscopy Follow-up 1

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Found out yesterday (yes, they called me on a Sunday) that the Colonoscopy requires sedation, which means I can’t just drive down there, have it done, and drive home.

Problem: My darling spouse doesn’t drive. Facebook to the rescue! I posted a “I don’t normally need to do this, but …” request out there, and got a couple of offers (one from a pair of friends who live down Santa Cruz way, which is a LONG HAUL to come to Walnut Creek and so on …; two from more local folk …). Whew. So today I have to make the appointment and let the volunteers know when it is, and we’ll go from there.

Sheesh. On the other hand, mentioned it to a couple of friends who were over yesterday evening, and one of them has had a colonoscopy and said the sedation is important, and that they ask if you want to watch (on a monitor) or just sleep through it … think I’ll do the latter. I don’t really want to see my insides.

This is a weird week. Trying to get a lot done:

  1. PSA Blood Draw (Prostate Cancer, check to see how active it is) — today
  2. DMV — have to go in and get photo and such for new license (sigh) — today
  3. In-Service for school … — today
  4. Eye Exam (haven’t done it for a couple years, it’s time, although vision seems okay) — tomorrow
  5. Dental exam/cleaning — tomorrow
  6. Work on stuff for next quarter (some done, but three classes (two sections of one) I have some work to do … — this week
  7. Watch more “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” because I decided to catch up on a show a lot of friends enjoyed, but I never got into … — whenever I can slip it in
  8. Oh, and the Colonoscopy …  — later this week
  9. AND I’m starting a new edition of my dBASE Book (enhancements to the software, not a complete overhaul, so it’s more of an addendum type of book). — In and around everything else …

Busy much? Well, yeah. This on top of all the other things that I do …

Suppose I ought to go trim my beard a bit so it looks good for the DMV photo … just felt like dumping a bit more out here.

Seriously? A colonoscopy? ARGH.

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Okay, getting old is a pain, but … (see what I did there? Unintentional humor …)

I got an email from the hospital after having done the usual annual check for blood in my stool, which came back “NEGATIVE” … (and their freaking website is broken so I can’t log in and double-check). This told me everything’s okay.

Got a phone call (followed by another from my doctor) from a nurse telling me it came back Positive, and that I need to get a colonoscopy. AAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

Not happy. Not happy. Not happy.

Now of course, this could be something minor, but … the last time I had a biopsy, I came back positive for prostate cancer. To date it has been behaving itself, and is not a huge concern. However, I am not having great luck with this shit.

So, this is me venting a bit.

On other fronts, well … things have been crazy as always. The quarter ended at school, not a huge amount of drama, but some. Nothing worth writing home about. Feeling mostly okay about plans for next quarter … except for the schedule (two evening classes?? Seriously? I hate teaching evenings! And one of them STARTS at 8:00pm!). Sigh. Oh well. I understand the reasoning, I still don’t like working evenings. To my mindset a full-time white-collar job is five days a week, starts in the morning, ends in the late afternoon/early evening … that’s it. Done. Sigh. That’s my preference, too. Oh well. I have a job that I’m good at, and enjoy, so …

And the Attorney General for California is making life a living hell for the folk trying to sell (and theoretically buy, and we’ve been told there are several potential buyers) Heald from CCI. So Heald is going on the offensive and trying to get people to push back at the AG … we’ll see how that goes. I really love this job, but if she has her way, Heald will be shut down, which means I’m out of a job that I really like (as are another 1,000 people …).

SCA-Wise: CJ is being wiped out by the exchequer job she’s doing. Combined with her regular (paying) job, she has no life (which means WE have no life) outside of this. We sometimes get to an SCA event and get to see people. But we don’t do a lot else. There is a person from the SCA Exchequer office (corporate) coming to spend the night at our place, audit the books tomorrow, and then fly back out again in the evening. And Sunday is the Kingdom Officer’s meeting which CJ has to be at (we’re hosting it at our townhouse “clubhouse” building, and she’s an officer …) … no down-time. Next weekend there MIGHT be some downtime if people leave us alone. Maybe we can try to get out and see some friends, or a movie, or both … that would be nice.

Not feeling very positive right now, the whole “C” word thing is now hanging over my head again. I haven’t said anything publicly (Facebook) because what’s the point? I don’t know anything either way, but still … shit. Just … shit.

Bleah. Think I’ll take a nap or something.

SCA Madness, End of Quarter …

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Last weekend was West Kingdom Crown Tourney, and yesterday was Principality of the Mists Coronet Tourney. Good grief. We hotelled Crown (at Woodland) so we could be there for meetings and such. We day-tripped Coronet (at Tres Pinos), because, well, we could, and no need to hotel it.

I ended up ‘live blogging’ the tournies on the appropriate Facebook pages, which was amusing, albeit a bit weird. Made me pay attention to the tourney … I posted the actual fighters in the last few rounds for each tourney, but otherwise it was some basic “Second Round is starting.” type things. Interestingly, the folk who couldn’t attend the event for whatever reason (in both cases) really appreciated the posts. Got lots of “thank yous” for it. In today’s digital world things get interesting sometimes.

Other than that, it was just fun to get out and see people. Of course at Crown, Carolyn (who is Kingdom Exchequer — treasurer) was busy most of the day on Saturday. Yesterday she got to hang out because she wasn’t responsible for anything.

I guess the reason I have taken to live-blogging the tourney is that it gives me something to do and feel like I’m contributing. Not being an officer (at least whose job occurs at events) means that there isn’t a lot for me to do at these events these days. Yeah, I could wander and chat with people, and often do. Saw lots of folk, didn’t talk to too many for long, because they were busy, such is life. Have a few folk I’d love to spend more time with, but …

One of our friends has taken to doing Coronets, and our (former) apprentices Juan and Rose had coronets made by him. I am going to sit down at some point with CJ and try to design something relatively period, but with elements that say “me”. My current coronet is heavy and pretty plain. It’s okay, and I am not sorry I purchased it. But I am wanting something a little lighter and something more “me”. Cathyn’s work is really good, and he’s local, a friend, and CJ says she’ll pay for it. That never hurts. Photos when it happens (some day).

I think the frustration these days is that we don’t get much social life except at SCA events, because my wife’s job is demanding, and the Exchequer position is really demanding (she’s still working on the end-of-year report, and next Friday/Saturday one of the SCA exchequer deputies is coming and staying overnight so she can audit the books …). We don’t even get to the movie theater often. And my work schedule (see below) is weirder and weirder. I’m working evenings two nights a week, because of things happening at the school … so those two evenings are out for hanging with folk.

School/Work: End of the quarter is coming up. Next week is Finals. This quarter I’ve been working Tuesdays/Thursdays to 8:00 p.m. Gad. What’s more fun is next quarter I’m working Mondays and Wednesdays until 10:00 p.m. Sheesh. I am not going to be going in to work at 6am for the next quarter, it’s silly. My first class on M/W is 10:45am. I have weird breaks … Tuesdays and Thursdays my first class is at 1:00 p.m.. Schedule gets stranger and stranger. Part of it is that we have fewer students than we did a year ago — this is partially because the economy is better, which is great for the overall economy, not so great for us. There’s also the CCI issue, which I really hope goes away soon. I can’t talk about it really, so that’s all I’ll say. I know very little about details anyway, but …

Because of all this, we have fewer adjunct instructors who usually do evening courses. It’s going to be a long weird quarter. I will be getting up to take my wife to the BART station on Tuesday/Thursday morning, but coming back home to collapse (not sure I’ll crawl into bed, but …) a bit.

At least I have books and schedules and all that, I know the courses I’m teaching, and so on.

Other than that, we’re trundling along, life isn’t horrible, just weird. I cannot wait until CJ gives up the Exchequer job (June of next year …). Gah. It’ll be nice to have our lives back.

So, today is Easter. Picked up a couple things just because it’s nice. We have one chocolate rabbit each, and some Cadbury mini-eggs (which will be harder to get next year, as Nestles claims they’re not going to import anything from Cadbury anymore). Had a late breakfast. It’s raining in the north bay (with some snow apparently), and this small storm is going to work through to the south bay before dissipating. Tuesday there is supposed to be a bigger storm. It appears we’ve had some rain, just looked out the window. The ground is wet — didn’t hear it. None of this is enough to deal with the drought we’re having. Sigh. Okay, now I can hear the rain …

Oh well. Felt like rambling a bit so here we are. Was going to try to be productive, but not sure what to focus on this morning. Sigh.