Thursday, January 30, 2014

A last gasp

I may recant this later.

In the middle of the month I took an interview with an engineering company, one that has been in my sights for 5 years.  Late in the day a week after the meeting I received the negative news.  A second interview and any notion of that job was off the books.  The news contributed to January being a three year low in my mood.  With the previous low point being in the Yukon, where to myself I had nicknamed my room mate, blunt object, not because he was dull or stupid, but because I occasionally thought about applying one to his head.  There are reasons why I need to stay out of geology.  On that interview day as I struggled to drag my sleep deprived body out of bed, while strongly considering the alternative, I pondered.  Was this the last  best chance.

Not the last chance for a job, but the last gasp, of a failing plan.  A plan hatched 5 years ago on the back of some second hand ambition, held loosely together by reason.  I had staggered up to the gates of a citadel and met with their emissary, I failed their test yet passed my own.  It had been my goal to interview with those bigger players for some time, I have had a few brushes with near success, now it is a good time to refocus my efforts.

Upon closer inspection, I have no choice.  While I have by and large not burned bridges, I have enough spite to do so now.  9 Years in an industry that failed to embrace, and industry that will consume those that do embrace it and has little room for those who don't.  Simmering at the back of my head is the question of why I have I avoided networking, and so much of the other smart things, I know to do to get work.  At least part of it is, my bitter will show.  The known leaves a bad taste in my mouth, one that will not escape notice.

So the reoccurring question of what to do comes back.  My default answer is I don't know.  It will remain so, however this time around I will seek the means to try more things.  It has been suggested that I take on temp work, in my current professional and personal tail spin this might be the best thing I can do.  This week has included effort to retool my wordy and technical resume into something lacking neither of those qualities and  still retaining facts that will get me in the door.

So I am open to suggestions, and if you need a spare set of hands, to smash open rocks, not get chopped up by choppers, or stack one box on top of another I could be of use.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Things I want.


The theme of my writing at least since last spring, and perhaps even before, but I have been too lazy to check, has centred on the uncertainty in my goals.  In short I never settled on a clear career path, and those I have followed have fallen short, at their worst causing harm to my mental health.  It is reasonable to assume that I will have similar issues in the future, if the next job is too much like the last it will tired quickly.  So during a brisk walk past the port through the fog and smog, I tried to talk myself into having vision.  I failed.  The ideas I do have I don't know how to turn into money, and jobs I can imagine I can't imagine sustaining.  The thinking was not all wasted, and after an extended period of simply ignoring the problem it was good to give myself a pep talk.  So then what did I come up with.

1: I currently can't conceive of a job that I am confident I would like and enjoy/endure for a long period.  My limited experience and even more limited imagination in this department make sure of that.

2: More often than not I am a singleton.  It is my default habit to pursue most actives solo, and I seldom think to invite other people into what I am doing.  By extension, I seldom ask for help.

3:  The degree of isolation implicit in point two compounds point one.  That is in the absence of new inputs, dialog and advice, I will not have new ideas.  This is especially important in areas of employment and career where my imagination fails.  And if it is one thing I have learned in watching others is there have been a great many notions that I found literally unthinkable.

4: This train of thought leads me to one of my least favourite buzzwords in life, networking.  Because I cannot ask let alone answer the questions that might help get me unstuck and or employed, I may just have to admit I need to get out more and pick peoples brains.

5:  Though generally agreed by my friends and instructors and occasionally coworkers as a intelligent person with a reasonably quick brain, I am hard pressed to define my employable qualities. This is compounded by the majority of my jobs being junior and or short term.  I have a mishmash of skills form tangentially connected jobs that I have difficulty bundling into a concise description.   The value or transferability of the following is questionable.   The ability to break rock with an economy of force, to accurately eyeball the sizes of things between 0.5m and 1mm.  Clumsy coding in Visual basic, making middling quality maps, using a compass, working safely near and in helicopters.

6: Whoring myself out to industry is good money if I can get it, but.  The but being, the industries I have worked in are full of climate change denial and other difficult to tolerate regressive mentalities, long term exposure to such things leads to friction and I suspect not do my mental health any favours.   So the continuing trend of trying to get out of junior mining and other directly exploitive industries continues.

7: Less a product of todays walk and more a general complaint.  My attention span sucks, Facebook and the internet have made it worse.  I want what little focus I had back.  The desire to log off and find a quite place to think and write is persistent.  But I must be mindful that much of the noise comes from inside and changing the space may not fix things.  What I do want, and must practice is thinking bigger thoughts.  Careless web browsing can lead you to content free Buzzfeed lists, where despite multiple megabytes in gifs they have not matched the value of 1000 words of content.  Similarly BusinessInsider will gladly masterbate your existing biases in a comforting 800 words. To reason with any depth or quality more time must be spent on more substantive content and its digestion.

While ambition is not my strong point I can aspire to somethings, many would be much easier with a steady supply of money, but are also worthy of it in their own right.  I want to learn to be handy.  To be able to build a book case that could be proudly in the main room not tucked away in the closet, for reasons unclear to me I would like to build a bed frame.  I therefore desire a modest collection of power tools.  I would like to build a bicycle wheel, and after that a bike from the fame up without outside help. Moving farther into the realm of day dream, a wood fired outdoor oven.  I also would like to garden, and if I could live for longer I would garden trees.

It is tough being a hobbit in a human's body. I only have the appetite for one breakfast and the world wants me to live fast.  I want the world to slow down.  In all likely hood I will be forced to take the first job offer made because, there are so few, and I will struggle with staying productive and comfortable, especially after the initial buzz wears off.  So what is your vote, what should I do when grow up.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Things that have been on my mind


I guess its a bit redundant to call a blog post that, anything written here is by default stuff that has crossed my mind, however today is about stuff that has been festering.  But first the news.

Before Christmas, I was contacted by two agents who had found my resume online and had gained enough interest in me to call.  One was for a Calgary based oil company, the other a Burnaby office of an engineering firm.  From a purely technical perspective I was quite well qualified for them.  On Monday of this week an email was received from informing that the position had been filled.  This was not a huge surprise or disappointment.  The Burnaby opportunity went better, I was called in for an interview.  Dressing sharp and showing up the encouraged ten minutes early I gave it my best shot.  It could have gone better, I had woken up sometime after 3am and tossed and turned the rest of the night.  For that long hour I acted rested and alert.

Now for the things that have been on my mind.  Which I hope I can extract because that opening paragraph distracted me.   Vancouver, do I want to live here.  Yes it is beautiful, I have friends here, and things are generally pretty good. Yet I want some things this place can't offer.  Proper white winters with satisfying cold snaps, a home closer to the wilds, a chance for silence and dark skies.  Yet I know this countries towns and cities so poorly that I cannot think of a goldilocks town that has the right size and climate.  I have a small sampling of places that clearly not right.

Ambition and I get along like oil and water, if you don't shake us we separate.  I am not a natural go getter,  money is a convenient tool but its not hungered for, the same is for status or stuff.  Knowledge is a different matter, and during my undergrad most classmates, friends and instructors thought I would likely go into academics.  It nearly happened a couple times, certainly my interest in less practical science and facts favored it, but my fidgety restless brain had enough and by the end of undergrad wanted a new thing.

It is not only that I lack ambitious plans, or for that matter a plan, it is also that when saddled with the extra responsibility I buckle.  Those few times when I have ran with a full plate at full speed always left asking, when can I stop.  Those sprints have even been fun at times, but never have I said I wanted to keep running,.I lack the tools to keep sane at full speed.

Yet treading water as I am now is also doing me no favours.  After the emotional roller coaster that was disappearance and convalescence of my cat I started to try to take looking for work seriously.  This was quickly met with the expected discovery that jobs matching my currently advertised skill set and experience were few and far between.  A situation made worse by most of advertised jobs being far more IT oriented than I had and business applying for, add in the feeling that my last job with it's endless mouse clicking had made me dumber did not encourage me.  In that ecochamber of my brain it did not take long for the message to mutate from there few jobs, to there are no jobs for me.   Periodic bad moods have followed.  By my estimation this tuesday was one of the worst, it was slightly better than how I felt after three weeks in the Yukon back in 2011.

Since at least 2008, when I got laid off from my first serious gig, I have been asking how do I get from here to there.  Initially here, was defined as someone who was good at finding shiny minerals in heavy green rock, looking at a compass to make sure the drill was pointing the right way, and occasionally entrusted with the authority to stop the drill.  There was a nebulous collection of environmental science jobs that looked like they could work with my degree and were not looking for shiny minerals. After some stops and starts I got as far as not looking for the shiny myself, I just drew treasure maps pointing to the shiny.  The Burnaby job was one of those targets.  Yet some of the jobs I believe I want sit as a intellectual compulsion, that I feel I should want then because it is something I could have done when I first graduated, there is no real interest, a feeling I have had since 2009.

So where does that leave me now.  Not in a terrible spot, but not in a great spot either.  I still can't conceive of what most job descriptions I read entail in terms of the work done, and so I can't be sure how to tailor my resume to get attention. At least I do know one thing, the current distribution of my resume is able to get me interviews for jobs it was written for, which makes it a technical success.

 How I define here differs with each there I am trying to reach, only I don't know where I want to end up.  In a break with tradition I have developed a low simmering anger.  Too much of my reading has been about the ruined economy folks my age and younger are facing. Still more of my reading the damage being done or planned to be done through the oil industry and its endless rape.  That shit cake gets a thin icing of hope as read about the reemergence of bicycle culture and other green solutions that are not simply green paint.

And now I have spent the most productive hours of my day ranting  about my state of mind rather than trying to improve my situation. Typical, but considering how low I have been in recent weeks, a good investment.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I am afraid of my Novel


I keep trying to think of why I stopped working on the Novel. Yes, there was a case of too much too fast last spring. There was the play time that was the summer of 2013, followed by cat crisis, and the try to get back in the real world mode, which I am still struggling with, most of these are excuses and don't reflect on my motivations.

The project sits at 60,000 words of a first draft.  The target was set to be nearer 80,000 words.  Given time and energy this would not really take all that long, the core story elements are there it is the fine details and characterization that are needed to go on top of the plot that need applied.  None of this is news to me.  I know what needs written I know how it ends and I even know I would enjoy the process if only I could force myself to grind away at it again.  Yet I am seemingly afraid of ending the first draft, and I am not sure why.  Do I fear a poverty of imagination.  Am I afraid that this is the only story I have write, I know this false, I have other ideas just as old and a few newer ones hovering in the background.  Yet I doddle.  Or do I fear the more justifiable state.  Do I worry that it will suck me in and swallow my life for months at end.  

As near as I can tell the answer is both.  It is irrational, but I do worry about a shortage of ideas.  Yet I know that the best solution to that is not to hoard them but to cultivate them.  Yes I will run out of ideas if I only think about the ones I currently have, but my life keeps happening, I keep reading, it only takes a few moments of reflection and sentiment to find a new nugget.  These days I read a great many things about both the environment and the economy.  I have screaming in the back of my brain incomplete angry left leaning green pushing rants, because I want people ask and try to answer the question the 9th incarnation of the Dr put forward.  "What if we make it."  Yet these rants stagnate because I am so ignorant of many of the pieces that I don't know where to go beyond the thesis.  

The point is there are things to write, things that can be made big.  I should not fear the end of the first stage of a project.  Yet I do.  The rewrite sits in the back of my brain waiting to get out, its own set of massive changes, a whole cloth reweave of the tale.  It sits waiting, for me to give it the months of focus needed to rip things apart and add new substance.

Perhaps it is just that, I fear that lonely and hard commitment.  When I dug deep and worked every day I was different.  I could never fully escape it, social events would cost focus or sleep.  Time spent away required time spent getting focus back relearning where I left off.  And it was hard, with no prospect of getting easier.  I can't split my attention between writing and other things well.  

So I sit like a broody hen without any eggs, all cluck and no chicks not fully ready  take on the full load yet not able to give up on the idea.  I regularly flirt with the idea of packing up and moving to a smaller place with a slower pace of life, to submerge myself in a warm bath of isolation. Yet I don't know if this would help at all, a transporter beam would be the best, an instant relocation to a place away from things.  Would that help I don't know.  I do know that taking writing and rewriting a novel seriously redefines normal life and that can be disquieting. 

This post is brought to you by the first 2/3rds of An Astronaut's Guide to Live on Earth.    Which I started yesterday evening.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

What I think about after a bad night's sleep


When the work first ran dry last spring, my first idea was not to write a novel, that took a week to ferment before I found the idea worth taking on.  No my first notion stemmed from having read too many bike blogs. I had started falling in love with the new(old) gadget of the cargo bike. The day dream was to sink a bunch of my capital into one and go about town moving stuff not big enough for a car but too big for a normal bike.  I even had a bike in mind but as is typical for me I had idea but none of the smaller ideas I needed to hold it up, let alone the willingness sink so much money into things.

This week has seen me short on sleep. I had an interview on Tuesday I await news from that.  I was lucky to even make it there without looking like a drooling idiot.  Thanks to having woken up some time between 3 and 4 in the morning and never regaining sleep.  I gave the best I had, no word on whether it was anywhere near enough.  Of the jobs I have interviewed for it was the one I was most qualified for, this is both a good and a bad thing.  Good because I have a chance at getting it bad because I am not sure how much I want it.

The sunk cost fallacy comes to mind whenever I think about the work I have done and the work I am seeking.  The flawed logic is, I have done this work before, therefore I am qualified, therefore I want more of this work.  Yes I want work, and yes I am more likely to apply for jobs similar to what I had taken on, because I have a chance.  Yet I doubt my own seriousness.  These days I doubt most things about myself.

It is worse on days when I have slept badly but it does not go away on the good days.  The self doubt and dread, the lack of vision, the struggle to plan out a day with more than three points on a checklist.  It gets worse as I spend more time away from the working world.  There is of course the shame of being out of work which only gets worse over time, yet it feels like that is the least of my emotions.  Perhaps because I never get there.  No I skip over that one and head straight for the bottom, where my urge to hide in a quiet dark corner starts to dominate.  So much of what I find myself doing is trying to keep myself out of that corner.  It works most days of the week.

I get out of the warm dark corner, but I don't leave the room.  It gets harder to do the hard things that will make life better, maintaining a better mood is much of what I do.  Earlier this morning I made a facebook status it read. Today I am tired and bitter.  Several comments were made to it, my final comment was my good moods are thin and brittle.

Good moods thin and brittle.  I have been using that language internally for some time.  It is sneaky, a slow inversion of my internal dialog, where usually the negative has the exceptional qualities.

So what happened to the bike schlepping idea, I asked how would I get customers, I answered I don't know and got scared away.

So now I wait for news if I get the second interview.  If I do I might write something shorter, cheerful and less rambling but for today this is my thought process.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All Grown up. (no not me)

 Greetings. I am revisiting the Big Kids table.  A mythical world where  policy discussions start with a science primer.

This is not an exercise in rigorous science based writing.  This is an opinion piece, where hopefully I am not grossly wrong and that my opinions can at least stand up to a visit to wikiwikipedia.  That said lets get started.

At time of writing much of North America is experiencing a cold snap.  Currently it is raining in Vancouver.   This cold snap has caused the adult children in the pundit class to declare global warming a hoax or that it is over.  Meanwhile various branches of government in various places are trying to pass off natural gas as a clean and or sustainable fuel.  Deeper into the internet people stare at this century's end with a morbid fascination. Wondering if 4 degrees or more of warming is something we should encourage just so we can see what happens next.
Yet at the same time resist branding any current event, as non attributable.  Even the green and left leaning media climate change is spoken of in the future tense, which worries me.

So what I delve into a fiction where direct denialism and willful ignorance are unwelcome and politics has a tutor.

You are here to have a real conversation about climate change, to discuss the far reaching problems that the world faces, and the tough solutions you are looking for.  You show up at the fancy resort surrounded riot police and encased in a thin film of protesters.  Aides with laptops and tablets buzz around. You mingle with other men in suits.  A very well dressed man whom you know to belong to the fossil fuel lobby (I mean burning stuff lobby), is chatting with a equally well dressed man from A think tank parroting media conglomerate.

You hear Think Tank say, "Well it's -10F in St Louis, I guess we should not worry about Global warming." His accent is very american and his teeth are too shiny. Global warming comes across in the same tone as his distant relations may have said 'Those People' when speaking of an undesired ethnic group.   The Burning stuff lobbyist agrees. Think tank is on script.

The first event of the conference is about to start, you follow Think Tank, and Burning Stuff into the lecture hall.  Michael Mann, is giving a climate science primer.  You take notes there will be a test later.  Failing will cost you your vote. Think Tank attempts disprove the speaker, his points are tired and have been debunked thousands of times before.  You and the rest of the attendants give Think Tank dirty looks. After the third disruption several heavy set men in far cheaper suits escort Mr. Think Tank out of the hall, his job is done.

You and your colleagues pass the science primer tests, and are admitted to the conference with full voting privileges.  You see the Canadian and Australian delegations in a heated argument with the referees.  From the published test scores you know they abstained from answering the climate science questions, and have lost their vote.  Both delegations argue that they are too important to the world economy to kept out of the debate.

The referee calmly informs them that we are not here to have a debate but to actively seek solutions to well defined problems. And if they would kindly review the literature and demonstrate a working knowledge of the material they would be most welcome. You think to yourself if they wanted to sit at the grownups' table they should follow the rules.

The Canadian delegation turns to leave. As they do so a once well known environmental researcher makes eye contact with you and shrugs defeatedly, her handler quickly steers her back into the hurd.
Above is a little fantasy, in a world where science and politics have the close ties they should have.  It centers on the belief that we should be working from agreed upon facts not debating those which have already been proven false.  Politics like engineering should work with current but not necessarily bleeding edge knowledge. That knowledge base should be updated regularly .

To prove ourselves smarter than Yeast we have to address the very real issues facing the environment and the societies and animals that live in it. In this day and age it appears unethical to make policy not informed by up to date research.  I want to know we are smarter than yes, and currently we are showing signs of not being so.

Yeast one of our oldest companions, the secrete behind many drinks and foods. Yeast, a single celled life form that will if given the chance poison itself in its own Carbon Dioxide waste, a fate we have the ability to create for ourselves.  A scientific note, I don't believe we will drive the carbon Dioxide concentration up to the 2% or so it takes for gas exchange in human lungs to be compromised.  We don't have to we only need to warm things enough to remove the foundation our civilization is built on. Destroying the world is not on the agenda, destroying our world is.   So lets go back to my day dream.

Taking a closer look at what might be on the agenda for a this mythical conference. Or lets be frank, what my eco-socialist biases want there to be on the agenda. This is my fantasy after all.

Energy, its not just about burning stuff any more.  Global and regional power solutions.

Advanced nuclear power, Because sometimes you just really need a lot of megawatts and you don't have the room to do it any other way.

Don't like nukes, don't have enough light, wind , water to make traditional renewables work, consider investing in space based solar. Its like Wifi for electricity, FROM SPACE.

Don't let the foreigners take all the best beaches, a guild to the post modern fishing village, now with Wifi.

Biofuels and synthesized petroleum, because sometime you still need to burn stuff to get the job done.  Here is how you can do  with the least cost and mess.

Natural gas, its still stuff you burn. Don't trust the PR.

Low car urban design.  Building so you don't miss your car.

Learn to be happy through non consumption. Often being green is as simple as doing nothing.

That's all I can think of for now. This has as often is the case came out quite differently from what I planned to write.  Which goes to show I should plan better.

The NSA key words for today are. Sponge Bob Square Pants, Urey Teller mechanism, and Anton Knows about the gadget.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Not Again


2013 was not a great year for me.  It made me think, it gave me too much time to think in since not much happened. I thought about the past a lot.  My history with work bounced around my head.  The jobs I have hated, the jobs that half worked, the gaps between.  It is the gaps that I have on my mind today, and have had on my mind for sometime.  My professional history seems to be a series of entry level technical jobs whose upstream career options were either unattractive or have remained unavailable.  I have been bitter about my jobs before and that is not where I am going today.  Today is about the other bittering agent in my life, unemployment.

In some ways my professional life exists as a negative, as much defined by the what is not there.  Layoffs and the very slow claws back to employment are not new things for me. In this respect 2013 was too much like 2008 and 2009.  Yet 2013 was worse.  Previously several things had remained untested, and I believed I could safely return to a line of work that has since precipitated a burnout.  As I start to search out jobs a nearly identical list of alternatives to geology work enter my mind. I applied with roughly the same success as I had back then.  It is all I can think of, because at least it touches on what I know.

And that's a lot of my troubles, I focus on what I know, because I can't reliably call in on who I know.  Largely because I don't know many people, especially in the professional world.  Every employment resource I have seen since I was 21 has barked endlessly it's not what you know it's who you know. This message has led to the desire to throat punch the people delivering it.  

It is not that they are wrong, the Canadian job market is a series of nested old boys clubs.  No the problem is I hate the process, and can't even say I like the people.  The process an endless series of phone calls or emails towing the line between a sales pitch and begging. Any source of advice starts to feel like a used car salesman. No matter how well I try to play that game I always get results through dumb luck, or craigslist. Or so it feels.

And this brings me to what has made 2013 such a downer year, and why I delayed the job search from the beginning.  It feels as though there is no return on investment.  The networking done in 2009 was just enough to land me a practicum in 2010, I had just enough leads left in the geology world to land me a job that spring.  Those resources did not carry forward.  No for me each time it feels as though I am starting anew.  There is this sinking feeling that despite nine and a half years of off and on professional employment I am no more employable than when I started.

It is only a feeling, the list of interviews, and recruiter enquiries this session hint at the opening up of a better class of job, but I don't have one yet.  My fear, and what has drags down my mood to the point that on bad days I will hid in the bed at midday and cry to myself, is that I will have to do it all over again.   It is not  a fear failing time around, but that the job will  fail again.  That I will have another job that dies after two years because the money behind it walks away.  The fear that I will not escape this cycle. The fear that at 36 or 37 I will be dropped again because I am only employable at boom times. Only to have to do this all over again.  And again.   The fear that I have already had the highest salary I will ever have, or that the knowledge base I gain at a job will not be enough to gain the next one.

Now that I have stopped shaking I can work on this next paragraph.   The low points in 2013, grew out of this fear, and fleas. These worries are grounded in truth.  None of which was helped by my cat's running away, or her long convalescence and all the stresses and stressors that came with that.  This is why I started writing, I did not want to face a reality where the work I did before gained me no advantage.  This job search loomed, the very idea dragged me down, so I wrote.   I occasionally flung resumes at the internet like a monkey flings feces, but with worse aim, and far less enthusiasm.   Currently nothing has really stuck.

Now I should try to keep my head up for 2014.

Also since I am hosting this on Google's blogger, which uses US based servers. Happy New Year NSA.  Do you think if I use the words, Yellow cake, centrifuge, device, and physics package, that you could drive my this blog's traffic up. K thanks bye.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Brain has Fleas


Anyone that knows me and quite a few that don't know my cat is lucky to be alive, and I am very happy about that.  To recap, she was gone for five and half weeks and given up for dead. Once she rescued and accessed she had lost her tail, broke her pelvis, and dislocated her hip.  It would later be revealed that she took a bite to the shoulder that developed into an abscess. Somewhere in her adventures, or during her hiding in her deathly hallow she picked up fleas.

Fleas could be expected from an adventure like that.  This neighbourhood is full of dirty corners, wild animals, and wild people. Soon after her rescue she was treated and showed no signs of active infestation when I took her home.  The treatment was never designed to be a once off, and was intended to be coordinated with careful management of the environment, none of which I knew in the first month I had her home.

Not understanding the first thing about the problem I made several errors.  that extended the life of the problem. I failed to get a second dose of the topical treatment before they emerged.  So I started treatment again only after having seen fresh evidence of the fleas.  And at that time I underestimated the need for environmental management, and so I had failed to give things the deep cleaning needed. This was all happening during a period I was particularly depressed by the prospect of searching for work.  The war effort was partly held back by a lack of the proper tools, at the start my vacuum cleaner could barely get the cat hair off of half a foot of carpet let alone the couch.  In any case the fleas came back a second time.

 Now a bit about the enemy. Fleas are tough.  The adults may stretch to 3 millimetres but their small size is to their advantage, they can hide in places I couldn't image cleaning.  But the adults are only the top 5% of the population the remainder being eggs, larvae and pupae.  The eggs and little white points they'll slide right off the fur into the environment, they are impervious to most forms of chemical warfare and are plentiful.  You can kill the larvae but they can slip into many deep corners.  The pupae share the egg's near indestructible nature.  So I am faced with a foe who at two stages of its life is near impossible to kill, looks like dust and dander, and could be anywhere. I learned this during the second outbreak. This outbreak occurred after she had gained the strength and mobility needed to gain the run of the houses, including keeping my feet warm at night.

So one morning I awoke to my kitty scratching too much, and with that scratching the black specks that are flea feces.  She was exiled from the bedroom at that moment, and I started an OCD cleaning process.  That morning started the process of my brain getting fleas.

After I shooed her out of the bedroom I changed the sheets, and started the process of washing all the things.  During that morning I found the carcass of an adult flea in my bedding.  My bed and bedroom felt instantly unclean, and over time so did I.  It did not matter that I cleaned myself, my cloths and my bedding regularly, I could never be sure they were gone.  I took to worrying about every minor itch, any millimeter sized grit that found its way onto my bed, dander is treated with suspicion.  Questionable and large debris were interrogated with my 10X or 30X hand lens, always to answer of inconclusive.

I updated my vacuum cleaner during the height of this paranoia.  The tool I started out with was never up to the task of clearing up behind two hair mammals in a carpeted apartment. It has helped, both on the physical front with its ability to clear more dust from a greater depth, things felt cleaner the instant I started using it.  Even with multiple washings, vacuumings, dustings, and an absence of hear evidence of their return I still worry.

On a bad day of which there are plenty, when mood is down, and my housekeeping falling with it I will question every iche, distrust all the crumbs.  If such a bad day occurs near the time I should change my sheets I will sleep badly, a process that starts with checking the pillows for suspicious dander, as I continually fear that I have become a host.  I am getting better, on nights when I am over tired I may still pull out the hand lens and head lamp to check on questionable grit.

In the end I can understand why traumatized cats will groom themselves bald after having fleas.  Don't let your pet or your brain get fleas.