I shall start by announcing that I am writing this on a sunny morning in California, on a patio, by a fountain, surrounded by six kinds of brightly coloured birds I can’t identify. If either of my two former faithful readers are still out there, then, Hello! you are probably quite surprised to read this, and I am quite surprised to be here, so I suppose some background is in order.
First off, yes, I have totally resurrected a moribund blog to be all, ‘Hey dudes, I am in CALIFORNIA, how strange and awesome is that?’ – so for anyone who hasn’t happened into this backwater of the internet before, yes, I am that sad.
So, 2011. Last updated in April, almost a year ago! When I was undergoing round four of Project Frankenstein, and (I see from my last, incoherent attempt at telling the story of that) down with every crappy virus known to man. To be fair, things were a bit too much for me at the time, which is what comes of having a job description bigger than I am, combined with trying to study three hours every day, keeping house for a pair of forrin evangelicals I shall call The Tweedles, (of which more later) and attempting to live as a subsistence farmer. In a city.
Things actually became more complicated shortly after that.
Back in April 2011, I got interviewed for a couple of papers regarding Operation Frankenstein, which I carefully avoided either mentioning by name or alluding at all to the ‘mad scientist’ angle I used to approach it, because I didn’t want to come across to the world as, well, mad. So in theory, there are two different ‘me’s’: Beshemoth, who witters endless crap on the internet about her life; and the person with said life, who was interviewed by the papers. I imagine anyone with a slight amount of nous could put the two together in under half an hour, but as long as I never succeed at anything in life ever (looking good so far!) it doesn’t matter, right?
And with these famous last words, let us move on. One of the papers made (or said they made) a large donation to a local kids’ charity on my behalf, hurrah, I help bring kids into the world and also to afford to live in it; and the other one paid me a sum handsome enough to fund a weekend’s blacksmithing. Yes, blacksmithing. Am I not called Beshemoth? Do I not have buns of steel and abs of other ferrous metals and shoulders broad enough to go through doors sideways and am totally capable of hammering bits of metal together in scorching conditions all day?
… no, it turns out. Because I have been ill for months and not gone to fightclub. And been working like a dog due to…
The Boss’s Retirement
We haven’t actually had a boss since the last boss suddenly left in October 2011. While I was abroad on a long weekend; and her last act before the door closed behind her was to increase my workload by fifty percent in my absence. Since she was not replaced, I had nobody to complain to about this, and just had to suck it up, work like a dog and get ill lots.
However, we did have an Uberboss. So it came to pass that, one morning in May, a mere hour after I was walking to work through the sunlight and feeling uncharacteristically calm and happy and thinking I was just getting to grips with Doing Far Too Much, she came a-calling. ‘I need a favour,’ she said. ‘Dr Hurricane and Newbie are fighting, and I do not need this as the last thing on my record before I leave. What I do need someone to Take One For the Team and work for Dr Hurricane. And that would be you.’
‘Okay!’ I said stupidly, despite the thought of working for Dr Hurricane again filling me with dread. ‘For I am willing and eager to help! Just promise me this will be instead of some of my workload, right? For I already work for Dr Anonymous and Dr Pleasant and the Nurse and the Physio and that’s roughly four times more people than normal, so it already takes five and a half days a week to do my job! I mean, Dr Hurricane as well would mean eight and a half days a week and that is just crazy talk!’
‘Of course that will not happen,’ said the Uberboss.
Of course it happened.
The Uberboss dealt nobly and forthrightly with the situation all summer, by ignoring all my emails telling her I was cracking up. (Although she did pass down word that, from now on, I would be doing the equivalent of nine and a half days’ work a week). I in turn nobly and forthrightly dealt with the situation by actually cracking up and needing a fortnight’s sanity leave in August.
I was somewhat helped in this by the fact that my GP had been a junior with Dr Hurricane, an experience that had obviously left its mark, for as soon as I mentioned her name, he sprang to the computer and offered to sign me off for life, if I so wished. (Ironically, Dr Hurricane had been uncharacteristically well-behaved and pleasant this time around, go figure.)
A fortnight of chilling was probably exactly what I needed; sadly, it wasn’t really what I got. Because by that time, things had degenerated somewhat with…
My happy clappy friendly lovely Latvian Evangelical tenants. Yay! They were so polite and considerate, and so was I, so we were all desperately cleaning everything the instant we so much as touched it and walking on eggshells round each other. This is not a situation that can continue indefinitely, even without the added consideration of Very Different Lifestyles. Not so much on the surface, admittedly; the wife ran round cooking and ironing for the husband, and since that and her job took all her time and knackered her out, I ran round cleaning up after the both of them, and since that and my job took all my time and knackered me out, we were all very quiet and never went out partying… But. I didn’t think they’d take too kindly to the paganism and the painting of nudes, so I knocked all that on the head for the rest of the year – not so big a deal, because I barely had time for it, but there’s a difference between not doing perfectly legal things in your own home because you’re too busy, and not doing things in your own home because you feel you can’t. Also, I found it ironic that, in my eyes, their very traditional relationship translated as, ‘wow, you guys have a 24/7 D/s lifestyle, that is seriously hardcore!’; while I had suspicions that if I ever found time to briefly take part in the local fetish scene, they would flip.
Eventually something gave; namely, the husband pitched seamlessly from ‘oh my god, you are so amazing, you can make wine and shelves and grow food and bake and everything!‘ to some rather far-out passive-aggressive sulking and muttering whenever we had a conversation lasting more than twenty seconds. Sadly, this coincided with the massive hike in my workload, so I dealt with the situation nobly and forthrightly by avoiding him and hiding in my room lots; where I reflected that this is always how I deal with passive-aggressive tenants, and while I’m laudably avoiding the ‘aggressive’ part myself, there is far too much of the ‘passive’ there.
Plus, they really loved showering. Really, really loved it. They literally spent at least four hours a day tag-teaming it in the bathroom; two in the morning (I had to get up hella early to get showered), and two in the evening, with maybe an hour’s light showering between work and dinner, schedule permitting. I wouldn’t have minded so much – hell, I used to landlord for seven people, and we only had one bathroom then as well, so I’m used to it – except that over the course of six months, I had to redecorate the bathroom twice because of the damp-damage, and replace the toilet seat three times. So I spent my fortnight’s insanity leave covered in anti-damp paint and trying to fit a ‘no showering for fourteen hours after application’ schedule round a ‘two hours of showering, every eight hours on the nose‘ schedule. I ended up getting up at three in the morning to apply paint, on more than one occasion. The husband’s sudden inability to understand English whenever I tried to explain about the repairs was truly a thing to behold. Indeed, by December, I had discovered that if I inadvertently delayed him from getting to the shower by as much as two minutes, then the next morning he would retaliate by locking himself in the bathroom from the minute my alarm-clock went off to the minute I left for work. And then, he would go back to bed.
In the meantime, I had no free weekends any more, because…
Beshemoth Gets Naked A Boyfriend Shocker
I know, I know. I had sworn off relationships until I had the time and money available to devote to a Chap of Suitable Calibre (why would a Chap of Calibre settle for less?) However, in May I made an attempt to take part in the local fetish scene, by joining a forum where, within seven whole minutes of posting my first ‘hello’ message, I promptly got asked to come pose for some erotica.
I didn’t feel any nude pics with me in them would actually be classed as erotica, but since I still intend to draw erotica (at some nebulous point around 2015 when I’ve dealt with the backlog of other projects), and for this I will need models, and I try to make a rule of never asking anyone to do what I wouldn’t do myself, and you only live once (and so does your reputation and all that)… Anyway, I said yes, resolved to conceal the matter entirely from the Tweedles, and was promptly informed via the grapevine that perhaps this photographer might be a bit dodgy.
Fortunately a mate, who was the one who passed me this information, very kindly fixed me up with hair and make-up and Chaperoning, and also arranged for one of her mates to wait in a pub round the corner in case Muscle was also required. Better safe than sorry, right? (Especially under conditions practically designed for everyone, forever, to be all, ‘WELL, if you hadn’t been a SLAG…’)
(Also, surely anyone who ever voices such a sentiment is morally obliged never to take any enjoyment from the sight of a photo of even a semi-clothed person ever again?)
So, the game of ‘spot the pre-emptive defensive reaction’ over, let’s move swiftly on. Happily, the photographer did not try anything at all and was eminently professional (at least, in the face of overwhelming numbers) – and while he didn’t seem very happy with my performance or the pics, he did ask me, dammit, and I told him up front I was no model. I myself was tremendously chuffed with the pics, as I came out looking like “Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Conan the Barbarian XXX: Conan in Chains”. I realise this is not what you’re supposed to be tremendously chuffed about, but screw it.
(Oh also, I got invited to my first ever Medieval Midsummer Feast, only a couple of weeks beforehand, it was mead all round and Medieval song and twenty-six courses of gluttony ending in a three-foot basilisk being brought in, and there I met a lovely lassie who showed me some of her nude pics and they were all very green-man-esque and awesome. I know there’s about a million different viewpoints on erotica and porn and nudity and art and where all the lines should be drawn, and I’ve probably just fallen headfirst into the morass, so I would love to be able to say something succinct and profound here about, ‘Porn is everywhere, and pics of female bodies are used to sell pretty much everything; ironically, have one nude photo taken of yourself for shits and giggles and no commerce whatsoever, and that is Beyond The Pale,’ …but I doubt I can pull it off (fnar). Plus, that doesn’t take into account all the peeps who are, ‘but I have problems with every aspect of this’ and peeps who are all, ‘I have problems with NO aspects of this’, and… yeah. Your mileage on this one absolutely will vary. Moving swiftly on.)
After the photoshoot we said goodbye to the photographer and went to the pub, where some of my mate’s mates turned up, as did some of my mates, and a small party broke out. There I met a lovely and very kind chap, who was kind to other people as well as me (bonus points!) and who escorted me about all night, even unto the dancefloor to dance to a Gun song he didn’t even like. As I was still wearing six-inch spike heels, I promptly wiped out in a puddle of beer someone had spilled, and hit the ground so hard this poor wee onlooker was traumatised and thought I was dead. (In other universes, where I landed an inch to the left, on the corner of a brick step, with my temple, I am!) In a bid to look Hard (‘cool’ being out the window at this point), I heroically got up and continued dancing, and then made out with my dance-partner all night to thank him for being kind to everyone in sight.
The next day, he came over to my mate’s bit – tragically, we were drinking cocktails in our pyjamas in the back garden at the time. This is one of those things you are really Not Supposed To Do In Front Of Potential Beaus. However, we arranged a proper First Date the next Friday, to which he showed up with a magnum of Posh Plonk and the biggest bouquet I have seen in my entire life – seriously, I could have hidden behind it. I realised immediately that I was out of my depth, so the next day I made him dig up my potato harvest, in order to introduce him to the semi-pauperdom that is my life. Surprisingly, he came back afterwards, and we have been going out ever since.
It was only some weeks later that I realised this was the guy who was ‘hired’ to be our Muscle. Also, by a rather spurious coincidence, I had already been given tickets to go see Alice Cooper with him before we even met. It must be Fate. And if so, Fate is setting me up for one hell of a fall, because it is he who has paid for my ticket to California. He is funny and charming and kind to all sorts of people and encourages me in my trying to do art/ writing/ engineering instead of secretarying, and in short does not want me to perform as some sort of handmaiden, despite making more money than I can shake a stick at – being a secretary and all, this doesn’t have to be much money – (indeed, there was a ‘hilarious’ incident back in October where I tried to split up with him because I was financially unable to keep up and didn’t want to gold-dig, and we shall gloss over it and move swiftly on). And he is not on the patio with me right now, because he is at work. Awww.
If this was some sort of film or fairy tale, there would be some touching music and a fade to credits at this point. Awwww. Sadly, I fear real life has less of the ‘rags to riches’ and more of the ‘rise and (rather spectacular) fall’, so I will now say for the record: I saw it coming! So there!
So, summary of 2011: got tenants, got sick, got overworked, got bloke (due to a series of choices that lots of people may consider morally dubious, too!) Did blacksmithing – feck, I see I haven’t even said owt about that. Or about the trip to Alnwick Castle to see Harry Potter and Hagrid remove a man’s bra by magic, or about the progress with the homebrew, or Christmas. or… ah, another time.
Enter 2012: workload still hovering around ‘implausible’ – my fortnight’s insanity leave was followed by a full-on formal grievance procedure, at which nothing at all was changed; however, in the interim, Dr Pleasant had read over my letter of grievance, agreed things were ridiculous and took his workload to see someone else. Ironically, Dr Anonymous and Dr Hurricane both promptly doubled their weekly load of patients, so I am still putting in just as much work.
For some reason, I am coping rather better just now – I can only assume I have become more Awesome, because I can think of nothing else to account for it. Although possibly it could be that the Tweedles moved out on January 1st (new year, new start!) And I am heartily relieved. They weren’t bad people, and were in fact an order of magnitude better than what I went through last time – but I’ve come to the conclusion that true compatibility in house-mates may be even rarer than true compatibility in partners. (With whom, at some point, one presumably has to share living space! Like on this holiday! Eek! It’s a wonder any relationships work at all!)
So I’ve taken the opportunity to get all the DIY done, and enjoy the peace. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I am looking seriously into trying to get some part-time cash in from ‘art’ rather than rent the room out again. Who knows, maybe having to hustle to survive will help me overcome my natural reluctance to badger people for money. I’ve made a great start by, er, blowing a wad of cash on a laptop that can actually process high-res scans (I’ve spent the last few months sporadically cranking out a Celtic-illumination-style alphabet featuring a knight chasing a dragon through the alphabet, who knows, if I can learn to use GIMP and colour it in, perhaps I could put it on mugs. Hahaha.)
In the meantime, there is the studying, always the studying, I see my boyfriend on weekends and fair play to him, for he is self-employed and has a work schedule that puts mine to shame. I have returned to Fightclub, where I can once again exchange punches with lassies half my age (erk), the Allittlement is about to need some high-intensity maintenance…
and that’s Himself bursting in the door to tell me we’re going for lunch. Woo!