Getting-things-wrong week

The insomnia thing is back.

This past year, it's been a big relief that, for the most part, despite all the awful things going on, I've been sleeping okay. There've certainly been bad nights, but between NyQuil and earplugs things mostly haven't been so bad.

But last night I was too sleepy to keep my eyes open by around 10:30 pm (which is early for me), so I went to bed, and then I tossed and turned for two or three hours. I would normally get up and read or work if that happened, but in this case I couldn't do that, because I still couldn't keep my eyes open. I tried playing my usual go-to-sleep music but that didn't help. Somehow NyQuil didn't occur to me. Eventually I did sleep, but woke up too early. I'm not quite as exhausted tonight, but I'm really hoping last night was just a fluke.

(Aside: ever since the Loud Car Guy saga, the sound of revving engines had made me ridiculously tense; even when it's relatively quiet and far away, it feels to me like a personal attack. I would have hoped that this would go away; it's been over two years since I moved and got out of that situation. But I still get tense about it. Possibly because there's still the machinery-at-5-a.m. problem outside my window; I'm trying once again to train myself to sleep without earplugs, and it's working reasonably well, but at some point I may still give in and get soundproof windows. Anyway, for whatever reason, it's become a completely involuntary reaction; at work every couple of days some truck making a delivery revs its engines and my shoulders immediately tense up. No good.)

It's been a weirdly stressful week in some ways, including a certain pattern of things looking like they were going wrong and then going right, or vice versa.

That pattern actually started two weeks ago, when the Britannica people sent me the 2005 version instead of the 2006 version I'd ordered. It took three extra days to get here, too, due to mysterious DHL problems. I called to ask for a replacement, and the customer service guy seemed convinced that I was out to rip off Britannica--his first thought was that I had ordered the wrong thing, and then after he checked my order he told me he would send me an empty box and I could return the 2005 one and only then would they send me the 2006 one. Three days later, with no sign of the box, I called again and insisted on speaking to a manager, who humored me in a mildly sarcastic kind of way (way overdoing it on the be-nice-to-the-customer tone) but did tell me that the customer service guy I had previously talked with had actually sent me the 2006 version (along with a return box), even though he'd claimed he wasn't going to. And sure enough, a day or two later the 2006 version showed up, although there was no obvious way to return the box it came in. Not only that, but around that time I also got a very pleasant response to the customer-service email I had sent them; it ~only~ took them five business days (plus a weekend) to respond to an email.

So then this past Monday my poi order arrived from Home of Poi. I was very pleased--except that instead of the purple fluffy poi I had ordered, there was a pair of bright pink fluffy poi. I dropped an email to their customer service people, and got a note back a day or two later saying they would send me a purple set and I didn't even have to return the pink ones. So that was nice of them.

Lola and I went to Ikea on Monday evening. I hate going to Ikea, but I wanted to get another bookcase, because until I get another bookcase I won't have enough space to put my father's books on shelves, and until I do that I won't know where I want all my bookcases to end up, and until I make that decision Kam won't be able to secure my bookcases to the wall in case of earthquake, and until she does that Kam will be tense about my bookcases. (Btw, I got a note from Kam the other day; she's in Burma, and will be in Bangkok in a couple days.) So I figured I'd tag along on Lola's Ikea trip and pick up a bookcase. But after an hour and a quarter or so of Ikea-ing (thankfully, the store was largely empty; weekday evenings turn out to be a good time to go there), we reached the place to pick up the bookcases, and discovered they were all out of them. Sigh. They'll have more in a week and a half, but I don't know if I can bring myself to brave Ikea again that soon. Though this time I would skip the rest of the store and go straight to the bookcase storage section.

But L and I did get a chance to sit and talk for a while afterward, which we haven't done in some time. That was good. And she gave me a backrub--my back was hurting for a couple of weeks, and though Arthur's backrub last Friday night seems to have gotten rid of the last of the pain, I was still tense. So that was really nice. But something, I don't know, maybe the partial release of tension, maybe talking with her about family stuff, maybe just tiredness, led to my having a bit of a meltdown/failure to cope. But only a minor one. And L was very comforting; much appreciated.

Tuesday I got email from a New York Times reporter, saying that she was writing about Ambien and had seen that I had written about being thankful for Ambien and Starbucks and wanted to know if I was interested in talking with her about it. Followed by another note from her three minutes later, after she'd realized that that journal entry was about my father's sudden death; she apologized for the intrusion and said to disregard her previous note. (I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how I got Ambien on such short notice at the time; on looking back at some of those early-2005 entries, I see that I had gotten the Ambien because I was really sick in February and couldn't sleep, and luckily I still had some when things fell apart in March.)

So then on Wednesday I got email from someone associated with the Pierce College Foundation. Back in late December, I had made a substantial donation to Peter's memorial fund (for providing math textbooks to disadvantaged students)--a portion of my share of the life insurance. The Pierce person was writing to tell me that they hadn't yet received a check from the company that was handling their online donations, and that said check was now a month overdue, and that said company's email address, phone number, and physical address were all defunct, and that Pierce was therefore worried. I freaked out a little. I called the online-donation company's parent company, and talked to a customer-service person there, and he told me they would call me back. And then an hour later I got another email from Pierce saying that they had just received the check and everything was now fine.

So I'm glad that all of these things have worked out in the end, but I could do with a little less rollercoastering.

I haven't had the emotional energy to reply to several emails that need replying to (sorry, all), some of which I promised replies to a week ago. I'm also way behind on magazine stuff--not as far behind as I've been on some past occasions, but definitely dropping the ball on some important stuff. (In particular, I apologize to the two or three of you who've responded to my editing suggestions but who I haven't gotten back to yet.)

On the plus side, the weather here has been gorgeous lately, sunny and warm. I walked across the corporate campus on the way back from a meeting a couple days ago and the moment I stepped into the sunlight I started grinning uncontrollably. Of course, that was moments before I called someone who turned out to be having a much more distressing day than I'd expected. Still, the sun has been really nice, and now that my back's not hurting, I've been biking to work again.

Also, work has been going much better these past couple weeks than it's gone in a long time; more specifically, I've been pretty productive lately, getting a lot of chapters and documents out for review, and getting back a lot of good and useful review comments, and learning a lot about JavaDoc, which I've been hearing about for years but never actually used before. So that's all good. I'm still hoping to finish up both of my projects soon (I really ought to have been done with both of them a couple months ago) and take some unpaid leave.

And on that note, I think it's about time for bed. I'll try and deal with various things that need addressing in the morning.

One Response to “Getting-things-wrong week”

  1. dugan


    About your insomnia, and your back pain, and whatever else ails you, you might want to take a look at Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) at His manual is a free download, and his DVDs are cheap and come with express permission to copy up to 100 times.

    Love your website, thanks. I’m feeling especially interested in video clips right now. Any hints on navigating around in your archives to find them?

    Thank you.

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