dglenn: Perrine (fluffy silver tabby) yawning, animated (yawn2)
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Felt like a zombie much of the past few days, except while sneezing. Dunno whether zombies sneeze, but it just felt like a kinda unzombieish thing. Do zombies sneeze? Felt somewhat better part of yesterday, but no stamina. Slept a lot Tuesday, was so out of it Wednesday that on Thursday I couldn't remember having taken out the trash (but deduced from empty garbage can that I must have). Now have been awake all night despite feeling groggy the whole time; hoping to manage a few hours but not completely screw my chances of sleeping properly tonight or making it to a rehearsal this evening. (Gonna prioritize sleep over rehearsal if it comes to that.)

I'd thought that the zombification was either the randomness of fibromyalgia or a reaction to a medication change, but then I drank something cold and it made two spots high up on either side of my throat hurt, and it finally dawned on me that the extreme sleeping and disorientation might result from a virus or something instead. Throat's feeling better now.

The past two mornings Perrine and I have heard this bird, which apparently hangs out in the vines clinging to the house outside the office, but I haven't spotted it yet. Standing in the office, it sounds as though the bird is inside the wall. [This recording was made (on a digital pocket dictation-grade recorder using only it's wee built-in mic) standing in the office with all the windows closed -- I've got other clips, but the ones leaning out a window have way, way more background noise; you can hear other bird species, but what would otherwise be background hiss is, alas, in the foreground on those, even when individual cars can't be distinguished. (Peak birdsong time seems to also be peak morning traffic-noise time.) I did apply a little noise reduction in Audacity, which introduced a little more squeak on the highest pitch and other more subtle artifacts, but this is pretty close to what my naked ears heard.] The sound does seem to be coming through the wall more than through a window, and there's a dense clump of vine in the right spot. Leaning out the 3rd-floor back window, my ears give me the same location, just softer due to increased distance ... leaning out the window I can also hear others of the same species on the other side of the house just west of mine, and two or four doors east of my house as well. (All three that I've heard so far seem to be in the gaps between alternating pairs of houses[1]).

When I played back yesterday's recordings to edit them today, Perrine's ears moved when she heard the tweeting and chirping birds, but her whole head and then her whole body moved to try to find this bird when I got to the recordings that included it. She stared at the window (I guess she knows that whatever directional hearing tells her is the source of the sound, birds are found outside windows ... or the fan I've got blowing into a computer (because its CPU fan croaked) and echoes in the bedroom are enough to confuse her ears. She wound up stalking out to find another window to look out of for the bird. She's really interested in this one.

She's also, of course, interested in any that she can actually see. I'd wondered whether her frequently begging me to turn the water on in the bathroom was because she was thirsty or bored, and I think I have an answer, because she's been asking for that a lot less since the couple of days warm enough to open the bathroom window for a few hours and let her watch the birds on the porch roof and the tree in the back yard[2]. thumbnail link to photo pf Perrine watching birds Now she's asking me to open the window again. Somewhere after the bathroom sink, where I can't see it (so probably after the drainpipe enters the bathroom floor) there is a leak that spills out onto that roof (I only see it when water is going down the sink drain, not when I run the shower[3] or flush the toilet), and birds come to sip from that when it's not soapy, and this week to splash around and bathe in it, as well. While I'm not thrilled about having a mysterious leak, I do agree with Perrine that the bird-attracting aspect of it is nice. Watching her hunch down and tense up, ears and whiskers forward ... well, even though I know that what I'm observing are the instincts of a killer (and a pretty effective species of killers at that), there's still something adorable about it that gives my heart happy melting sensations. And I like watching the birds myself. Unfortunately the fixed security screen cuts down on contrast and sharpness when I shoot photos through it, but oh well.

I should have a trash can with a lid for outside soon. The neighbourhood association put something in the most recent newsletter about having arranged a deal for a discount on garbage bins at a local hardware store (as in small, eighbourhood store, not the nearest big-box store), and mentioned additional assistance for residents hard up for cash. I emailed saying, "yes, please," and they're giing me one, with the neighbourhood logo and my house number stenciled on it. To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to using it (being too broke to afford a new one made a handy excuse) but I know that I ought to. It's less an aesthetic issue than a rat-control one, and the neighbourhood association and the city both seem to be making a new push for closed cans. Interestingly, the rats don't seem to be interested in my garbage even when I see them tearing open other folks' trash -- I don't know whether that has to do with my being a vegetarian, or what -- but if we were ever to reach 100%-except-for-Glenn trash-can law compliance, I'm sure the rats would go after my trash bags as the only ones available.

Using a sturdy can with a tight lid has been the law longer than I've been here, and I did try to comply at first, even though failing to dash right out to scoop up the empty trash can and drag it back inside within the first few minutes after the garbage was collected usually meant somebody else's trash would get dumped in my garbage can before I could bring it back in. I had to paint my house number on the can because it got swiped a coupe of times and the wind took it a few more times. But then somebody stole the lid, and shortly after that I got an expensive ticket for not having a lid. Since I never quite had the spare cash for a new one, I went back to just putting my trash out in bags, canless, like most of my block has been doing, and since the bags don't have my house number on them, I haven't gotten any more tickets. (Perverse incentive, eh?) So soon I'll be Doing The Right Thing again, but it's going to be a PITA...

I usually only have one kitchen-size bag of trash (pickup is twice a week, though there's talk of cutting it to once), and carrying that out through the narrow and cluttered path through my house isn't too bad. Most outdoor garbage cans are larger, and more effort to get through the house. (Even if I move the guitars out of the front hallway, that hall will still be narrow enough to be annoying, if the trash can I'm getting is the same size as the old metal one.) And I've been told that we're not allowed to store them in front of the house, so I can't just tuck it next to the steps and move it to the curb and back on trash days (I has this idea of chaining it in place and putting a lock on it, and removing those on tradh days) -- I'll need to carry it the entire length of the house to put it on the back porch ... which means rearranging the kitchen, because right now there's no way to get something that size to the back door; and it means twice as many trips carrying a bulky can than I've been making with a usually 2/3-full bag, 'cause I have to bring it back; and I don't know how often I'l be carrying it back in not-empty because a sneaky neighbour or (more likely) some pedestrian or motorist passing through decides to refill my garbage can after the garbage collectors empty it (things might have changed, but the pattern a few years ago when I was using a metal trash can was that there were very few days when I managed to get the can back still empty, and sometimes it was so full there was no room left for my own trash!). It's a much larger increase in the amount of effort involved in taking out the garbage than it sounds like, especially on days when my body isn't working well. But the city (like, uh, most cities, AFAIK) does have a rat problem. And the city is making noises about stepping up enforcement of trash fines. Bleah.

Speaking of fines -- I got a letter (addressed to my mother, the property owner) saying I've got a few weeks to get the window frames on the front of the house replaced. Aiieeee! No idea what that'll cost, or whether Mom can afford it (I certainly can't), or what permits are needed (according to the letter, I have to apply for permission to do city-mandated work!!). Now I do need new windows (I didn't think the frames needed replacing but the sashes certainly do -- I've mentioned that they're falling apart, letting the glass shift, and letting cold air in (mostly plugged with caulk now...)), and would love to have something more energy-efficient, but I'd really hoped to do it at a time financially convenient for me or Mom, not on a tight deadline. (*worry*) Mom hasn't answered the email I sent her about this yet. They're threatening $500/day fines if we miss the deadline. I wonder whether there's some sort of city home-improvement grant that I qualify for ... er, except that it's probably my mother who would need to qualify.

And y'know, I've blathered on this long and only hit one of the topics that I've been meaning to write about these past few days when I've been too zombified to think long enough. Whoops. Well, if I have enough alertness today, maybe later. We'll see.


[1] The 3-story front of each house shares walls with neighbours on either side; the 2-story back of each house shares a wall with one neighbour and has a space on the other side, thus:


wee diagram ofalternating mirror-image rowhouse footprints

The red splotches represent where the bird calls sound like they're coming from, except that the leftmost (easternmost -- north is down (sorry)) may be two doors farther away, as I'm not getting as certain an idea of the distance for that one.

[2] The tree that I at first thought was just a rather tall weed with a woody stem that I should get around to cutting down sooner or later ... until I didn't look out back for a couple months straight and when I looked again it turned out to have become a tree.

[3] Which I still need to get around to repairing so I can go back to using the tap in the tub to turn the hot water on and off, instead of using the service cutoff next to the floor and having to prop a bucket under a leaky fitting when the hot water is running. Still waiting for an enough-spoons day to take it apart and run out to a hardware store with the hose that has a leaky fitting, and say, "do y'all have one of these?"

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