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Today Miss Cactus introduced me to the pawpaw (Asimina triloba), the largest native North American fruit. They are apparently one of the rare temperate members of the Annonaceae, or custard apple, family; most of the related species are tropical. She has a pawpaw tree growing wild in her new backyard, and therefore has more fruit than she really knows what to do with right now. (Pawpaws don't keep or transport terribly well.)

The outside of a pawpaw fruit is sort of leathery yellow-green-brown with lots of brown spots. The inside is creamy yellow with huge black seeds, easily removed. The texture is a bit like avocado crossed with banana, ranging from relatively firm to very mooshy/squishy, and the flavor is... hmm... kind of like banana-pear with a hint of lemon, maybe? Or mango-guava-banana? Hard to describe, anyway. It's very sweet and gets cloying rather quickly; one fruit would probably be most people's limit.

It turns out that I am mildly allergic to raw pawpaws, but not terribly so -- a single Benadryl tablet was enough to mitigate the reaction, and I didn't start getting excessive phlegm/throat-closing issues until I'd eaten nearly a whole palm-sized fruit.

I don't particularly need to eat another pawpaw ever again, but I hear they make pretty good ice cream (which I would readily believe) and they can be subbed into almost any recipe in place of banana. Miss Cactus said she used a bunch in a banana bread recipe this week and it turned out well, so. :)
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I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)
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So my work day started with two tenants coming in to say they'd locked themselves out of their bathroom, continued through twenty million leases to process, and ended with another tenant coming in literally one minute before closing to say they thought they had to fill out a form, maybe...? which was actually three forms, one of which I had to generate specially and then highlight the relevant sections because nobody ever fills it out correctly otherwise. *headdesk*

I mean, at least I will get paid for the extra twenty minutes I stayed? But holy gods, argh argh and above all, argh.

(The bathroom, incidentally, was an easy fix. All it takes is a judiciously applied paperclip! But I had to go apply the fix in person because apparently tenants are bad at comprehending verbal explanations at 9am when they really need to pee. (To be fair, I probably would be as well.))

...

On the bright side, I got a two-hour tax continuing education course finished before Mom Boss dumped the never-ending leases on me, so that's something.

cat fight

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:03 pm
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I heard the most godawful noises coming from outside my window around 9:30pm, whereupon I went outside and discovered Wilson (my diagonal neighbors' cat) in a standoff on the porch railing with an unfamiliar tailless, all-black cat.

Wilson then dived off the railing and under Upstairs Neighbor E's bicycle, where he proceded to make continuous upset noises while the stranger prowled silently along the railing and scented my windowframe.

I attempted to see if Wilson wanted rescue, but he swiped at me. Then I attempted to shoo the stranger cat away, but it swiped at me in turn.

Wilson was very polite about the swiping -- soft paws, no claws. The stranger made me bleed in seven places.

I went inside to clean and disinfect my wounds, after which I returned to see if Wilson was feeling any better/safer. The stranger cat was gone, but Wilson was still on edge, and swiped at me even though I approached very slowly and never got within two feet of him. So I went back inside again and applied a bandaid to the one cut that hadn't stopped bleeding.

When I returned to the porch a third time, Wilson was once again feeling relaxed. He came into the foyer as I opened the door, meowed in greeting, and asked for petting. So I scratched behind his ears for a couple minutes, before he decided it was time to head upstairs and find his people.

I've heard similar noises from the porch occasionally over the past month, and now I wonder if this is an ongoing conflict between Wilson and the stranger...
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I had my one-month followup appointment this morning.

We are upping my Celexa dose from 20mg to 30mg per day, with another followup appointment in early November, to see if that helps get me past the motivation/executive dysfunction issues. I also have the phone number of a local mental health organization, which should either be able to provide some therapy or direct me to someone with openings if I want to troubleshoot my coping strategies.

And I got a flu shot while I was at the office, because my insurance covers it and why not. :)

I'll pick up the new prescription tomorrow when I do my grocery run. Hopefully this time there won't be as many (or even any?) weird side-effects, since it's just a dosage increase instead of throwing a completely new and weird chemical at my body.
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I have my one-month followup appointment on Thursday, and... we will probably end up changing something, though I'm not sure what.

You see, since the weird side-effects leveled out, when things click, they are really clicking -- by which I mean, when I enjoy something it's in full technicolor rather than faded pastels -- and even when I'm floating the world is back in color rather than grayscale. But I am still drifting/floating and unable to get a stable grip on things for more than a day at a time. In fact, some of my depression-compensating behaviors have gotten worse, which I think is a reaction to knowing that when I get that connection/click to work, my ability to enjoy stuff is now working correctly, so it's like my pleasure-seeking drive is overcharged.

Unfortunately my compensating behaviors are mostly stuff like obsessive reading rather than dealing with necessary life tasks, and obsessive reading tends to screw up my sleep schedule which really does not help anything, so... something has to give.

*sigh*

Hopefully my nurse practitioner will have some advice.
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1. Yuletide nominations close in 6 hours. Get yours in!

I nominated the following fandoms:

-The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay - Ammar ibn Khairan, Jehane bet Ishak, Rodrigo Belmonte, Miranda Belmonte (this is my perennial request that never gets filled, dammit)

-Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire - Rocalisa Qox-Skolia, Jaibriol Qox III, Kelricson Garlin Valdoria Skolia, Dyhianna "Dehya" Selei (because I still want a story about Lisi)

-Daredevil (Comics) - Karen Page, Elektra Natchios, Kirsten McDuffie, Rebecca Blake (because even though I got two awesome stories about ladies in a previous Yuletide, I always want more)

I'm sure I will be able to find some other fandoms of my heart if I feel like making additional prompts, but those were the three I wanted to make absolutely sure were there, and contained the characters I want to request.

2. I have completed the hiring process for Not the IRS. Yay! (Also my base pay-rate is up from last year. Double yay!) Now I just need to complete my continuing education requirements, and take the test to jump up a level in the internal skill classification scheme. I mean, I have been doing level two and three returns since my first year -- they are not especially hard -- but the computer's auto-matching system doesn't suggest me as an option for anyone over level one, and also level two employees get a minor bonus per completed return in the totally-not-a-commission compensation scheme whereas level one employees get nothing. Hence test.

3. The rental company's renewal and switch period ended on Wednesday, and open rentals began Thursday morning. This week has been kind of crazy with tours -- I have not talked so much per day in months -- and we had people start lining up outside the office at 8:45am Wednesday morning. (We rent on a first-come first-serve basis, and lease commitments/payments must be completed in person.)

My paycheck this week was almost literally twice the usual, because I got a huge commission fee -- this happens when somebody I took on a tour rents an apartment I showed them, so opening day presumably went well. :D I also got an unspecified supplemental payment which may be a general "congrats on working here for a full year" bonus. Or maybe not; there was no explanation on the paystub. *hands* I was very surprised when I checked my bank balance this morning, but pleasantly so, and my budget will now be much less stressful over the next couple months. I might even be able to donate a little to charity!
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1. We have started apartment tours at the rental office: Wednesday was the first day, with three scheduled tours. (We do not have model apartments, so our tours go to occupied units and we therefore schedule them in advance so as to provide tenants with a day's warning.) Nobody showed up for the first tour, which was amusing since we have received phone and email inquiries about two-bedroom units. The second tour, for a four-bedroom unit, got about twelve people, and the third tour (a six-bedroom unit) got so many people we had to split into two groups when taking them in to the actual apartment. That is par for the course at this time of year -- the multi-person units go fastest because there are fewer of them, and some are much more desirable than others.

2. I had my appointment this morning and left with a one-month prescription for a Celexa generic (20mg dose per pill), which I picked up this afternoon while buying groceries. I will start taking the pills tonight with dinner. The nurse practitioner will call me to check up in two weeks, and we will do an in-person followup in a month. (That is not actually scheduled yet since the medical group hadn't created her schedule that far in advance -- she is apparently a newish hire so they haven't set a fixed pattern for her yet -- but the office will call me to set a date once they know her availability.)

3. This evening, pushing forward with my surge of "oh god please motivation again soon???" I FINALLY put in my Not the IRS applications -- one as a tax preparer and one as a receptionist -- so that process is now in motion.

4. Oh! And I got my official acceptance letter from TC3 a few days ago. So now I need to call the admissions office to see if there are any additional hoops I need to jump through, or if I can skip directly to setting up an appointment with a student success adviser to discuss the quickest way to complete an AA degree, because yay trained monkey papers. *wry*
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Tomorrow (Friday) is going to be Cook All The Things day.

If you are feeling charitable and have a moment, poke me sometime in the afternoon (Eastern Daylight Time) to make sure I actually get started on the work?

(By 'all the things' I mean a batch of that fancy Persian chicken and rice thing because I have another squash I need to use up, plus grilled beef and steamed broccoli because reasons, plus maybe some noodles to have on hand as easy starch, plus leftover scraps to package up as meal additives for Dottie. This is going to eat my whole afternoon and evening, most likely, as I am not an efficient cook.)
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1. Tomorrow is annual employee evaluation day at the rental company. I escaped this circus last year since I'd only just been hired and there was no point in evaluating me after less than two weeks of work, but now I have to go downtown and have a fifteen-minute meeting/interview with our local manager, whom I have met all of... uh... twice, maybe? Possibly three times. Anyway, he is making us all fill out evaluation sheets about the other people we work with, and I am really bad at this kind of feedback, okay? Tell me how to do my actual job, and I will do it. But do not ask me to pretend I am in management and do management evaluations for you! *twitches, bites nails*

2. Tonight while we were out for the evening walk, Dottie surprised and attempted to chase not one but TWO skunks. Both times I was able to yank her away before the skunk in question sprayed more than a tiny warning trickle of stink, but seriously, what the hell dog, skunks are the LAST animal you want to tangle with. (...Unless the other animal is a porcupine. In which case, go with the skunk. But generally speaking, back the hell off and leave the skunk alone.)

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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