zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Things that don't seem like an excellent idea #1: Rubbing a cut on your knuckle as you go to empty your chemical toilet in the communal tank. I don't think it came into contact with anything more problematic than the basically-clean exterior of my own tank. I rubbed hand sanitiser into it until it stung while I was there, and when I got home washed it thoroughly and slathered with more hand sanitiser and then Dettol antiseptic cream. No signs of gangrene yet.

--

In my previous post I meant to wax more philosophical on the progression from the early day or few of relying on our own stocks of water; then a week or so of queuing for water; then boiling all water, and now six and a half weeks later being able to wash an open cut in it straight from the tap.

(Still to come: not needing to conserve it for the sake of the sewage system; and not needing to have it chlorinated anymore. Not sure which will happen first.)

...I don't have much philosophical to say about it. Just that it's fascinating to watch the regaining of civilisation. When I see people on Twitter complaining about how we haven't fixed all our roads yet (apparently Japan has or something? I know they've fixed some roads super-rapidly, but all of them to brand-new? I'm sceptical); or people in the news complaining that a hotel and Civil Defense are conspiring to keep them from retrieving their NZ$27,000 engagement ring (the building's yellow-stickered! that means it's safe for the public to wander through in search of a ring, right?!) I can only assume that either they're really really really tired, which is perfectly understandable, or that they don't have a clue just how bad the earthquake hit us.

And when it's a Tweep who lives out of town, or, well, the $27,000 engagement ring speaks for itself -- I find myself favouring one of these possibilities over the other.

The thing is, lots of things broke. People have fixed a lot of things. And it's not anyone's fault, nor even government's, that the huge lot of things that have been fixed remains almost overwhelmingly outnumbered by the lots of things that broke. There's a whole scaling issue here, folks! <flail>

I think I shall walk to my parents' this evening instead of busing bussing going by bus; see if it loosens up some of these rocks in my back.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Updated Wordpress on my church website and was reminded yet again that doing this always destroys the tweaks I've made to the banner html and css. Fixed them, yet again, and this time saved copies to my computer.

Watched The Princess Bride with my friend last night. I love that movie, I just wish I could turn off the part of my brain that keeps noting that Buttercup doesn't get to do anything except be pretty and helpless (mostly helpless).

The Orbiter bus route (which wends around the suburbs instead of going through town) has been doing a crescent since it restarted after the quake, but today for the first time it completed the circle again. I came back from my friends' that way. It didn't look too bad (occasional dairies in need of demolition aside) - of course, because it was the fact that things were much fixed that allowed the bus back there - but you could see all the patches in the roads, and there was a point where the speed limit was reduced first to 30kph then to 10kph.

It's raining. Our wastewater system is hyper fragile at the moment. If oxygen levels at the thingy plant reach a certain level the whole city will get covered with sewage fog or something.

So I got home and first thing I noticed after the purple windowsills (not taking photos right now, it's raining and also daylight saving ended so it's dark) was a package in my mailbox, containing sachets of chemicals for chemical toilets. Have lodged a question with the city council's twitter folk about whether one can mix'n'match these with the original liquid chemicals we were delivered. In the meantime I opened the bag to pull out the instructions which were obscured by the sachets, and thus was enabled to read the line about not getting the sachets wet until they're in the toilet lest they dissolve prematurely -- just as a drop of rainwater from the lip of the bag rolled inside.

Hopefully they're not like Gremlins, and will survive a single drop.

Anyway, living alone I do actually have plenty of liquid chemicals to last me a good while yet.

Apparently the mobile library is visiting this neighbourhood twice a week now. This a) is awesome b) reminds me that I've got upwards of 50 books I was going to bookcross in the library's absence. Oh well, it's still absent 5 days a week.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Taking the bus is tiring. I think it's not so much that it takes anywhere from 2-4 times as long as usual; I think it's mostly that it's really hard to resist looking out the window and seeing the ruins of used bookstores (bricks and books comingled), and of churches (open-air pews and curtains flapping in the frame of a stained-glass window), and of houses.

If you live in anything resembling an earthquake zone, resist the temptation of firewalls. A firewall seems like such a good idea at the time, but it's really really not. Not if you want four walls.

Some houses and walls remain standing thanks to hastily-erected wood-frame buttressing.

Army tanks in full camo continue to crawl our streets. Yesterday on Moorhouse I saw a couple handing a bunch of flowers to a soldier. I smiled. Then I realised that the flowers were lilies and were more likely intended to be taken to somewhere like the CTV building. Cut for stout hearts )

On campus a hastily erected sign says "City bus". I learned in due course that this meant a bus belonging to the city, not a bus going to the city; in fact the only bus-belonging-to-the-city that passes there is one of the few that never goes to the city at all. Communicated this to some minions of the Progressive Restart folk so hopefully it will wend its way up the chain and get something done about it before things are back to normal.

Not the new normal. The new normal changes every few hours. The eventual normal, I guess.

I got enough energy to call the plumber; he'll contact me again next week. Shower pressure seemed normal today. I don't understand that shower; never have, really, it's just I know what settings worked in the old normal.

Last night I smeared toothpaste on my toothbrush and then noticed a drip fall from the tap: I'd wet the toothbrush under the tap instead of with kettle water. I stared at it for a while but was too tired to boil it then and there, so just rinsed it with the kettle water and went on. If I get gastro I know who to blame.

The Fraction Liquefaction video made me smile the other day. (Warning: May not be comprehensible to those outside ChCh/NZ.) This morning I watched it again and it made me so cheerful I cried. Cried properly for the first time. My eyes have leaked before, sometimes heavily, and occasionally I've managed a half-hearted sob but until now that's as far as my energy's extended. So having a proper cry was fantastic; albeit poorly timed, because then I had to rush off to catch my bus.

We drove over the bridge on Moorhouse, newly repaired. It felt disconcertingly vertiginous.

They had counsellors at work today. The original plan was for them to be in offices for us to visit, but one seemed to have got bored waiting for someone to turn up because he came out and wandered the workrooms instead. He seemed satisfied when I told him that I'm okay with not being okay: that is, it's rather evident that I'm an utter mess at the moment and happy as I was feeling this morning there was never any way I'd be able to get through a conversation with him without my eyes leaking, but there's no point attempting to fix it with sympathy or counselling or sleeping pills(1) because there's nothing to fix, really; it would be more worrisome if I wasn't feeling crappy. Been here before in September and I know how it goes: I just need rest and time.

(1) I mention sleeping pills not because I've been sleeping badly (I'm not) but because the doctor spontaneously offered them to me when I went to my regular checkup the other day. I declined but accepted the offer of a flu jab instead. Flu jabs are like breath mints: if someone offers you one and you're not allergic you should always accept it.

Today I also talked to my manager about next week's timetable; sounds like it can be arranged so I can go in for longer chunks of time (possibly less often, that doesn't matter to me so much) so I don't keep spending more time travelling than on campus. --Though a later email doesn't take this conversation into account. Meh, no doubt the situation will change a couple times more over the weekend.

Picked up my asthma medication from a pharmacy nearby that I never knew existed because I always went to the one in the mall.

On the sewerage system:
"The first task was to flush silt out of all pipes, which was expected to take up to four months, before assessing the damage and beginning repairs." [Source: The Press]

The sounds of the earthquake - I love how she says "Ooh, there's a big earthquake" in approximately the same tones as one might say, "Ooh, it's started raining". Of course then the earthquake keeps going, so, yeah.

The house keeps making little #eqnz wobbles today. I don't understand. Ken Ring didn't say anything about 1st April!

My back door is going through a phase in which the lock actually works as intended. (When it doesn't work as intended it still works, it's just when you unlock it it stays locked so you mustn't pull it shut behind you unless you've got your keys with you. Of course since the earthquake you have to make some effort to pull it shut behind you anyway so that's all good.)
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Had a lovely relaxing day/night with friends and their baby, who did an impressive projectile vomit all over my clothes. Just felt a bit guilty about putting said clothes through my friends' washing machine and wasting water, though they assure me they're on a separate water system there. Anyway, nice and relaxing and then mid-afternoon Monday I went to catch the bus home and got a cellphone call from my painter to say the supply pipe to one of my outdoor taps had burst bigtimes so he'd called in a plumber to look and put in temporary repairs (which arrangement I ratified verbally and most gratefully) but there might be no water overnight. I said no problem, I've got about 12 litres stored in the pantry again anyway on the "Disasters: they can always get worse" principle.

(The pipe was apparently heavily rusted. The earthquake may or may not have exacerbated the problem. I suppose I can try passing the cost on to EQC and see what they say. The bill, while not insignificant, won't break the bank otherwise.)

Since I was doing shopping on the way home and buses remain highly irregular both painter and plumber were long gone by the time I got there (a bit exhausted from the long ride and irritated from a fellow passenger determined to complain about slow buses rather than be grateful that we have buses at all, or at least just read a book while waiting as I'd been doing before he interrupted to complain at me). The bill left for me was quite emphatic, with all-caps and everything, that this was a temporary repair only and the pipe needs proper replacing as soon as possible. But water still worked, once it had run rusty-orange and cleared again, so that was good.

Also when my sister came to spend the night she brought 3 litres of actual drinking water, which my mother had fetched from somewhere without contaminated water.

The water pressure was a bit dodgy though, so I wasn't overly surprised when I attempted to take a shower this morning and found there wasn't enough pressure for the shower to work. (It's an electric system, heats the water as it comes through, so presumably doesn't work unless there's sufficient water to heat; certainly this seems a wise failsafe.)

Had various things to do today and worse yet, various buses to catch to do them. I ended up just not going to choir tonight because I'd barely got home when I'd have had to leave -- the last bus crawled horribly slowly around Moorhouse and Fitzgerald. Plus and also I've been tired to the edge of tears all afternoon so holding them back through choir too, especially knowing I've got another long day tomorrow, would be too much. I could probably have made a bit of time to call the plumber from work, but right now it's actually far easier to just revert to earthquake mode and have sponge baths.

After all, it's not like I need to even fill the tank in the toilet--

[Interlude: in which she remembers that it's time to empty the toilet, and goes for a walk while there's still a smidgeon of light left outside. Cut for those incurious to the workings of chemical toilets. )]

--and I have plenty of clean clothes and dishes so could last a while on my pantry water. However the painters, judging by how they moved some stuff out of a sink I rarely use, seem like they do need water more than I, so I guess tomorrow I'll phone the plumber and see if he's available to finish the job.

I have a mug of fresh water at my feet (segueing on from a quarter-mug of wine. I rarely drink wine even at meals but today's the third day in the last half-year when I've got home and decided that it would be appropriate to swallow some wine. I think it's more for the gesture than anything else) which Boots is expressing interest in. This isn't proof that her waterbowl needs refilling, as she expresses interest in most things I eat or drink, but it reminds me that it does in fact need refilling. And that our tapwater is currently chlorinated. Fortunately the kettle is full of cold boiled-the-heck-out-of water, and if you don't think chlorine is part of heck then you haven't heard the reaction of 350,000 ChurChurians to the news that our precious aquifer water is to be so tainted. (Gastro bug, meh. Chlorine, NO, THEY BE STEALING OUR WATERS!)

<holds head a bit>

Days like today are why I bought chocolate and pizza at the supermarket the other-- No, wait, yesterday.

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