Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check It Out!

I now have a tentative idea of what my monthly income will be once I move to Houston. As a result, I was able to begin apartment hunting today, if only virtually.

I emailed an apartment location company recommended to me by my sister, via one of her friends. I told them what I'm looking for and the areas in which I'm looking, and continued to look online.

A few minutes on led me to another property locator that specializes in 4-plexes, duplexes, etc. It allows you to look at the different properties, and then request more info. I thought it was pretty cool.

Then, after submitting the list of apartments I would like information about, I received an email that definitely qualified for a "Too Long: Didn't Read" response. If printed out, it would be 4 pages long.

Seriously, who the hell is going to read through 4 pages of snarky commentary? The people who wrote it pretty much say, "We run this website as a business, but we might choose not to get back to you because, meh..."

And I quote:

Obviously we cannot help 10 or 15 or 20 people a day--which means that it is inevitable that many prospective clients are going to fall through the cracks. We try hard to get back to everyone, we try hard to return every email and phone call, but we're people, not machines.

Not "a few prospective clients" but "many prospective clients."

They then go on to insinuate that their users are morons if they overlook a piece of info in the property listings but include it in the "what I'm looking for" section. I, for example, said that I would prefer a washer & dryer in the unit, but I put a couple of apartments on the list that didn't have them just because they were uh-mazing and had a laundry room in the building.

We'll see if that brands me as a moron.

It never ceases to amaze me how people who run a business seem to have no concept of whether or not their "auto-response" or their work emails are going to hurt their image. I tend to take the approach that, no matter how annoyed I might get or how frustrated I am, it's always best to be nice to someone, to try not to sound arch or holier-than-thou, because that person might be impressed with my service and decide that they want to work with me again.

On the off-chance that I receive a response from these guys, we'll see if they merit a repeat performance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's Goin' On?

Cue the Marvin Gaye.

Ahhhhhh. That's better.

I've been on a veritable roller coaster of ups and downs, recently. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, but two of my doctors forbade me from flying to San Antonio and then driving to Laredo for the wedding. I can't say I blame them, as I was unable to drive myself for more than 30 minutes without needing to rest.

So that was a down.

But then, because I couldn't stay home by myself, I went to Houston with my parents for my 10 month old niece's dedication ceremony.

That was a definite Up.

But then, what with the organ music during the service and the lights in the sanctuary, I had a bad migraine attack.

Down again.

But then I went home and took some pain medicine and rested and ate some of the best biscuits known to mankind, courtesy of my sister, and I was Up again. Okay, really, I was "high", not "Up" but that's semantics.

My headache got worse during the drive home to Dallas, and I went to the emergency room, expecting to enter the hospital for in-patient care.

Down down down down. Down-be-doobie down down down down down.

And then I had a panic attack at the idea of being stuck in an uncomfortable hospital bed for three days, hooked up to machines, so I checked myself out of the hospital. Oddly enough, I consider that an "Up."

And today, I'm trying to get into the UT Southwestern Pain Management Clinic so I can begin treatment with them, there. UT has another teaching hospital in Houston, so I could just jump from the Dallas clinic to the Houston clinic. This has to be all squared away with my neurologist and my other pain doctor (who I'll have to stop seeing, I think). But hopefully that will happen today.

Trying to keep things on the up and up around here...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going from Bad to Worse

Today was aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks.

My migraines have ramped up in the past two days, and I had to leave the office early today. I did not, however, just climb into bed and pull the pillow over my head (well, not for very long). We have a deadline tomorrow afternoon, consarnit, and I'm not going to be the reason we miss that deadline!

I've figured out that bright light can trigger a new migraine or worsen one I already have. The fact that the office in which I work is brilliantly lit by fluorescent lights at all hours of the day does nothing to help, either. Even if I arrive at work migraine-free, by the time I've been there one hour, I have a migraine.


I was discussing this with my sainted mother a couple of days ago (Sunday?) and she mentioned that one of her students wears special glasses at school because the lights bother him. So, today, while I waited for my Photoshop files to process, and for my SketchUp shadows to render, I researched glasses that are specifically made for migraineurs and migraineuses, such as myself.

As soon as I buy a pair of glasses for the purpose, I will be seeing life through rose-colored glasses. The most successful type of lens has a special coating, developed by the Moran Eye Center in Utah, and they'll coat almost any type of glasses for $35.

That's pretty darned cheap, and they can do a light coating or a very thick coating.

I'll have to buy glasses, though, because I don't want to put it on my prescription glasses.

I'm blind as a bat, so I really should be able to maneuver using echolocation, by now, but I guess I'm slow to evolve. Heh.

It appears that the problem most migraineurs have with photophobia (lit. fear of light but in medical terms just sensitivity to light) is caused by blue-green light, and so, by adding this special rosy pink coating, those wavelengths are cancelled out.

Fascinating, I think.

Or, I could buy ready-made glasses, specifically designed for the fashion-savvy migraineuse. This is what all the chicest migraineuses will be wearing this summer:
I don't know about the pret-a-porter migraine shades, though. I don't want people to think I'm so cool that I can wear sunglasses all day. I'm afraid they'll feel inferior and it will lead to a drop in efficiency.

You might be wondering how it's possible that I'm on the computer at home, since light hurts my eyes so much, right now. Simple answer: Flux.

Not as in "flux capacitor" but as in "a computer program that alters the appearance of your screen to cancel out the bluish light so your body recognizes that it's nighttime." My BIL introduced the program to me, and it's helped with eyestrain (and migraines!) immensely.

Link to get it yourself:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

For the past week, I've been borderline incapacitated by migraines, and that's my excuse for not posting in a long while.

I had three consecutive days of pure migraine hell, and then one of a morning-only migraine that I finally vanquished with copious amounts of caffeine and two doses of migraine medicine. Since caffeine tablets give me heart palpitations (scary!) I stuck with soda and the mucky coffee provided by the office. I've found that three shots of "French Vanilla coffee creamer" help immensely with the bitter taste.

My doctor switched my migraine medicine almost a month ago, hoping to see an improvement from the two migraines I was having per week.

How I long for the two-per-week days!

On a happier note, I can now do something I haven't been physically capable of doing since last June: I can walk in high heels again.

Little victories, people. Little victories.

I haven't rushed out and bought new heels, though, because I have plenty already that are sitting unworn in their matching plastic boxes from Mecca (a.k.a. The Container Store). I'm enjoying walking around in them again, and - specifically - being 6'-0" tall again.

When I worked for my current employer during my first go-round (2007-2008), I wore heels almost everyday, ranging in heel height from 3-1/2" to 5". The first time I wore flats, my boss was confused, because he just thought I was 6'-0" tall.

Like any other victory (other than, say, winning the lottery) I had to work to be able to wear stilettos again. I started out in wedge-heels, then moved up to stilettos. It was difficult, the first couple of days, because my calves and my abdominal muscles weren't used to working that way, but now it's back to what it was once before: effortless.

Little victories.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hither and Thither

I did something yesterday that I hardly ever do: I went to Marshall's. As in, the discount clothing store. I'll occasionally go to the factory outlet mall up in Allen, but I rarely venture into Marshall's.

I'll gladly go into Neiman's Last Call Clearance Stores and sift through racks of sequined miniskirts - which I never need right then but usually end up "needing" at some point a few months later, when I kick myself for not buying them - and black silk harem pants, which, again, I want but do not buy.

But I do not go to places such as Marshall's very often. As I've grown increasingly frustrated with my search for halfway decently priced clothes that don't make me look like Frumpmaster 5000, however, I've begun to expand my hunting grounds.

So, although I went to Marshall's and tried on 15 things, I only brought one home with me: a black and white striped t-shirt dress that I can wear with a black cardigan and heels to work or with flats for play.

I've been thinking a lot recently about the clothes I gravitate to in magazines (versus those that I find in stores and can afford) and I think I know what draws me to certain clothes rather than to others: proportions.

Just as my body is somewhat oddly proportioned - that short torso creates problems with boned strapless dresses; narrow ribcage + square shoulders = what the hell size am I supposed to buy in shirts? - I like my clothes and accessories to be "off." This is possibly the reason I have a fixation on over-sized purses and chunky bracelets to dangle from my rather small wrists.

Granted, I also like bracelets because they're shiny, and I'm a bit of a magpie. A recent refrain in conversation with my mom is (from me) "That would be awesome gilded."

And, okay, insofar as purses are concerned, there's also the fact that, if ever evicted from an apartment, I could live in one of my out-sized handbags.

Except the suede one, because it would be ruined in the rain.

But seriously, also, there's the proportion thing. It's the best I can come up with, right now.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the Road Again

I spent the weekend in Houston, visiting my niece.

My sister and brother-in-law also happened to be there.

Fortunately, on this visit, my niece - who can pull herself up into a standing position now! - did not vent her giddiness at my attention by throwing up a belly-full of formula on me. I appreciated the non-gesture.

Saturday night, my BIL barbecued ribs, and I successfully tackled the better part of a rack single-handed. My sister made one of her amazing salads - and chocolate lava cakes with a scoop of Hank's ice cream - and we enjoyed sitting outside in the cool evening breeze.

How much for ONE rib?

I also made out like a bandit, wardrobe-wise.

My sister bestowed two arm-loads of clothes upon me, including a drop-dead gorgeous jacket by Ellen Tracy. I promised to give it a good and loving home and have ordered special hangers for it, accordingly. It is time, I think, to cull the worn-out clothes from my own closet to make room for the ones my sister gave me, something I have not done in a while because I had to keep everything lest some catastrophic clothing plague hit the area and deprive me of the less hardy items that hadn't been around as long.

I had fully intended to come home, straighten up my apartment, and head out for the grocery store to stock up on foodstuffs for the week. Upon arriving at home, though, yesterday's migraine and last night's sleeplessness caught up with me.

I decided to just clean out all the old food from my refrigerator and to make a grocery list.

That's all I have the energy to accomplish, post-apartment-tidying.

I have no idea what I will eat for dinner, as I did not manage to sneak the remaining rack of ribs into my purse as planned.

Curses, foiled again!