Monday, October 14, 2013

scattered updates

We finally called the plumber about the bathtub draining slowly! It turns out the pipes underneath are installed backwards. We're trying to decide whether to spend a little money replacing the pipes, or a lot more money and effort re-doing the bathrooms entirely (they're gross and awkward, and need to be replaced). I don't see us really wanting to deal with a bathroom remodel in the coming year, but I've been surprised before. (By "us" I guess I mean "Anna," since she'd be managing the project.)

The specialist doctors reached a dead end with me! Suboptimal, but it's nice to have some resolution. Instead, I talked to my GP about a semi-plausible theory I had about fatigue and neurotransmitters, and got him to prescribe a psychoactive drug, which...helped me feel better after just a couple days, much to everyone's surprise. Over the past few years I've had a lot of variation from week to week, but after 3 weeks it's safe to say I've been feeling and (mostly) sleeping better--I've gone running a few times and recovered the way I used to. Today I could swear I felt almost rested, though that's not historically a familiar feeling.

Anyway, yay for drugs! Who knows why they work.

The new job is okay. I work with smart, nice people, and I'm learning stuff, and that's really the baseline. I don't know that it's lighting me up, impression is that because of the split between the SF and Palo Alto offices, there's a limit to the magnitude and kind of impact I can have--for example, I don't feel like I can help guide the engineering culture from down here. And since I joined, I've been working alone on a bunch of stuff that no one else seems to care about. It's possible it's critically important and everyone just has every confidence I'll get it done in a reasonable amount of time, but since no one really asks, that feels like a bit of a leap.

But who can tell? I easily get crabby about work, especially in the absence of feedback and context. It's a good place to learn things and find my feet again--to say nothing of paying my mortgage--so in that respect it's working out well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

damp signs and moist portents

We have tacitly declared Fruit Bankruptcy: the remaining pluots and figs are falling and rotting on the pavement, to be shoveled into the compost bin...sometime. Whenever. Too much fruit. The apples don't taste good and we don't like pomegranates, anyway. This was the learning year, where we were just discovering even what trees we have; we'll prep for next year with tree pruning, removal, replacement, and some kind of fruit-preservation scheme. Fruitpocalypse 2013: NEVER FORGET.

As much as we were overwhelmed by fruit, our attention was suddenly diverted last week by an unusual and mighty rainstorm. On the bright side, water does not, in fact, puddle inside the garage, exactly, instead being partly absorbed by the wall, and mostly flowing out into the driveway!

On the other hand, as we sat in the living room enjoying the weather, we heard a sudden crashing of sheets of water on the front porch, and discovered a section of gutter which no longer inclines towards the downspout (maybe due to the house settling?), instead just overflowing over a section of the eaves. There's another section of gutter in back which has no downspout, not even a place to attach one, and unsurprisingly that gutter just overflows in place, running down the kitchen window and the side of the house.

All of which is still better than the kitchen pipes that were leaking out the wall and over the foundation when we bought the place, so I think we have a good sense of perspective.

We talk and think about the house more than we actually work on it, I think. If you can imagine a fictional VW minibus that looks sketchy, and you can tinker with endlessly, but it actually runs reliably (I said this was fiction), that's sort of our house.

(True story: my brother bought a VW bus once. Twice it broke down on the way home from the seller's house. Eventually he bought something like an old Honda Civic that was easy to fix and chugged along until dying years later, at long last, north of 300,000 miles.)

So the rainy-season fixes have been re-prioritized. In moderation, of course: the roof is blessedly new, but every window needs to be replaced. There are lots of windows! And windows are expensive. And ours are funky dimensions. We'll see how that goes.