December 8, when I went out at 3:20 PM, after the rain had stopped, marked the first time when I wore the ski jacket this cold season, so it was nice to have all those pockets again. And since I went to Obor, I stopped at that Library location again and finally, finally found it open! I was listening to the radio, however, expecting to just be asked for the pass and told to wait at the door, so when the librarian said something I had to ask her to wait, turn it off and then ask her to repeat herself, at which point I finally heard that she was saying that if had a certificate I could come in, so I showed it to her and did just that, then told her what book I was looking for. When I also mentioned that it had always been closed when I had been there before, she said I could have called, but that’s obviously not going to happen. Either way, she grabbed the book and handed it to me and I could continue on my way.
The next stop was Kaufland, for the cat food that was on sale, finding the large bags and getting four, which was why not finding those medium ones at Mega Image had been a very good thing. Then I checked the expiring things and grabbed a few, and also some yogurt. One of the expiring things scanned at full price at the self-checkout, however, so I had to call an employee to help, things going fine after that… Though once I got out and checked the receipt I noticed that the listed full price for the most expensive expiring thing, some caramelized walnuts with cinnamon, was much lower than the one on the label, resulting in a discount of less than 30% instead of the listed 50%, the current price being the listed one. Admittedly, hadn’t searched for the product at the shelf to see how much the full price really was.
Then I went to Carrefour, put the purchases in a cabinet, peed, washed my hands and got some expiring bread for dad and eggs. The eggs weren’t discounted, but we were out, so I again checked those sold by piece one by one and found nine bio (organic) ones. However, one slipped out of my hand and cracked and I left it there, and another was already cracked, though I only noticed it when I checked again, so I put it back and was left with seven. But I guess I had to pay to some extent for cracking that one, because when I retrieved my things from the cabinet the bag with the eggs slipped from my hand and one cracked, albeit only slightly.
The original plan included going to that Penny as well, but while I was checking the eggs I received an SMS from the pharmacy I had ordered some pills and tea for dad from, having selected to pick them up from the location that’s on the way to the park, which closes at 8 PM, so I had to hurry and went straight to Auchan, using two cabinets for my things and getting oranges and the other teas for dad. The prices for two of the teas didn’t match those listed on-line, however, the one I had also ordered being cheaper, and in fact cheaper than at that pharmacy, while another was slightly more expensive, matching the price at the pharmacy, so I shouldn’t have ordered the first one and if I’d have wanted to I could have ordered the second. But what was done was done and I bought one of each, since coming back with two of the kind I had also ordered couldn’t hurt. On the other hand, I couldn’t find the tea I wanted for myself, nor the liquid soap. And the two price checkers I found gave “unable to connect to server” errors when I tried to use them, so I was uneasy, especially considering those prices that were different from what I had seen on-line, but the labels turned out to be correct.
I did take a little while to arrange my things in the bags after retrieving what I had in the cabinets, but then I stopped again in the park, at a bench, and did a better job, including putting some things in the backpack I had also taken with me, and a while later I made another brief stop and moved a few more things in order to better balance the bags. And then stopped one more time just before reaching that pharmacy, to prepare what I needed so I won’t waste the cashier’s time after walking in, which I did just after 7:45 PM. She still took her time, however, maybe also because there were no other customers, and the amount she asked for was also rounded up to the nearest 0.10 RON, which had also happened the first time I ordered from them. And I had the exact amount in coins, though not also in bills, but I said that if she wanted that much I’ll give her that much and did so. Then she asked whether I wanted the receipt, because the two copies had ended up being printed on both sides of the same sheet of paper, so I guess the problem was that she couldn’t keep one, but she eventually gave me that paper when I said I wanted something to show I made that purchase. And I also asked why do they keep putting everything in bags, using all that plastic, but after asking me to repeat myself she said she still couldn’t understand what I meant and I left it at that.
She turned off the light as soon as she was done with me, even though I was still inside, so I took the hint and hurried to leave, putting the purchases in my bags and checking that I hadn’t left anything behind once I was outside, at which point I also saw that it was just 7:52 PM, so she shouldn’t have been closing yet. Either way, I also had a quick look for discounted bakery products in this nearby Mega Image on the way back, just from the door, seeing none and being back just before 8 PM, having carried 16 kg… Though I weighed myself again after peeing and saw one kilogram less, which I guess could be said to mean that I had carried 17 kg if you include the pee, but such a quantity seems impossible, even if I felt that I was just about to piss myself even before getting to the pharmacy and had been hopping around in the kitchen because of that before finally going.
With dad cooking at the time, I had those walnuts and an orange while putting the purchases in their place and partially cleaned after him, then when I went to shower I also took the tray he had left there for a long time, saying he’ll clean it and obviously never doing so, which meant spending a long time struggling with that before I could finally shower. Then I took care of some more things before having a late lunch, started at 12:35 AM, after dad delayed me a little more by reading the power meter and saying we had used over 50% more than normal, though it seems quite clear that he had in fact entered an incorrect value the previous month. Either way, I finished that lunch in 20 minutes, then started eating dinner at 3:25 AM and got in bed at 5:30 AM. I was getting increasingly worried about Micky’s breathing at the time, since it was louder and it seemed harder for her to breathe, but dad won’t have her checked, likely because he doesn’t want to know if she’s seriously ill, just saying that we should let her live out whatever time she has left and what will be, will be. And the truth is that she did get better again since then.
Moving on to December 10, that was when I received the e-mail from Declic about volunteering to make packages again, signing up for December 14, which was the first day. Otherwise, had lunch in the evening, then again thought I’d start eating dinner before 3 AM but failed, being 3:10 AM when I finally started… And I was also making a note of the fact that slicing bread in an ever greater number of smaller slices was taking far too long, so while that’s a part of the OCD that I in good part worsen intentionally, for the feeling of control it offers, which helps with the anxiety and holding off breakdowns, and to some extent continuing to push through in general, I had to do something about it.
On December 11, I had lunch in the early evening, consisting of some “pizza” dad wanted to make, having bought pizza dough and adding some things he had to finish as toppings, including a lot of some rather old salami that didn’t quite sit well with me. Then I finished the book, surprisingly quickly, since I had only started it on December 9, and just managed to write and post the quick review before midnight, though after taking a shower, getting back to the kitchen when it was close to 1:30 AM and starting to eat dinner at 3:05 AM, I made some edits before also translating it, so the version on Goodreads was again in both languages. Got in bed at 5:20 AM.
Back to volunteering, I should have obviously received an e-mail with the necessary information after signing up, so when I still had nothing in the early hours of December 14, after getting out of the shower, I first filled the form provided by Declic one more time, then checked the NGO actually organizing the event, finding posts confirming that the location was still the same, and signed up on the document provided by them as well and also sent a message. Then I got up when the alarm rang, at 10:30 AM, and saw a reply confirming the details, but thinking that I’ll be able to leave in an hour and a half was obviously too optimistic and it was 12:20 PM when I left, taking the paper to drop off in a bin on the way. So I guess it was a good thing that their form asked volunteers to select each two-hour period during which they’ll be available, so I started my selection from 2 PM, with a question mark for the period between noon and 2 PM, because in Declic’s form, where you could just type the hours, I had stated that I’ll be available from 1 PM but it was just after 1:20 PM when I got there.
The gate to the area where that tent is was open at that point, but starting to close, so I ran and just managed to squeeze through, the person who had the remote saying that it was a good thing I made it, because she wouldn’t have known how to open it again and Anastasia wasn’t there, so I guess the gate had been opened for her to leave to get pizza. So I had at least managed to get there before the lunch break, unlike the previous time, and meant to get some work done right away, so I’ll feel that I’ll deserve the break and the pizza at least to some extent, but without Anastasia there, there was nobody to instruct me. Actually, though the instructions stated that it was required, nobody asked for my certificate or told me to disinfect my hands, and nobody asked if I wanted another mask or gloves either. In fact, I didn’t even notice masks, though I can’t say I really looked for them either, only looking for and taking a pair of gloves.
That left me just sort of standing around for a moment, but I eventually asked nobody in particular what to do and someone told me to bring one bag of each kind of fruit and also one of carrots for each box, so I did that until they were no longer needed for the boxes they were working on at that point. Then, after standing around a little longer, I was told I could close the boxes that had the last bag on top, everything having been placed in those, so it was a good thing I already knew just how they were supposed to be closed and could get to it, since nobody tried to give me any instructions and it later became quite obvious that few of those who were there at the time even knew how that should be done.
I was still closing boxes when Anastasia came with the pizza and those who had been there since morning took a break, but I finished the section I was working on before I joined them, and a few others continued working even longer. There was still no way to wash, however, so I just sprayed some alcohol on my hands before eating the first piece, which was probably why it seemed to taste a little weird. I did then notice the wet wipes and napkins and used them, but I’m not sure whether that was before the second piece or only before the third. Either way, with the pieces being quarters, I had a quarter of each of the three kinds of pizza and also a cereal bar, then got back to work, alternating between the fruits and carrots, sometimes also putting them in the boxes, and closing boxes.
It was just after 3 PM when another guy arrived and was told that there wasn’t really anything left for him to do, even though he had called a little earlier and had been told that there will still be things to do when he’ll get there. Indeed, all the boxes we had there at the time had been filled and closed by then and we were sticking the papers with the names and addresses of the recipients on them, but Anastasia did find something for him to do as well, telling him to see where each group of boxes was supposed to go, write that on a sheet of paper and stick it on top, to make it easier to see, since that was just written on the corner of one of the boxes at the bottom of each group, and he took that task very seriously. As for me, since some of the boxes were placed so that the only accessible side was the one with the sticker for the campaign, I asked Anastasia what to do and she told me how to place those papers so they won’t cover anything relevant, which instructions I then passed on when I heard another volunteer tell others to just put them over the sticker after noticing that they were struggling to move the boxes in order to get access to another side.
After everything was done, we took some pictures, I also had a banana and a candy, and we were given a book and a card. Then, as I was just sort of standing around, another volunteer asked if I’ll help her gather the recyclables, so I obviously did that, though in truth there wasn’t much left to do. Then we were told to grab more of the bars and, while at first I didn’t take any on my own, and in fact hardly anyone did, when another volunteer grabbed a bunch and started handing them out, I took one of each of the two kinds she handed me… And then also grabbed one of the third kind from the box, since I had seen that third kind there before. She looked oddly at me when I did that, but maybe it was because I had placed the book down in order to get to those bars, not noticing that something, maybe coffee, had spilled there, so it got a bit dirty, but it was mostly dry and I managed to clean it well enough.
I was walking away from there at 3:55 PM, but stopped before the road, near the barrier and right next to some cameras, to put my headphones back on. And it was just when I had my phone in my hand, to plug the headphones back in it, when another person who had been there drove by and asked whether I wanted her to drop me off somewhere, so I was distracted and then quickly became embarrassed when others drove by as well, thinking that they may ask the same question, so I just stuffed the phone in the jacket’s pocket and hastened away… Only to realize a little later, as I moved aside when a truck passed as I was around the guard post, that the phone wasn’t in my pocket anymore, as I hadn’t plugged the headphones in yet.
My first thought was that I had somehow placed it on the fence instead of in the jacket’s pocket, and when I turned around I saw a guy walk by that spot and go to his car, so when I rushed back and didn’t see my phone there, I headed straight for him, holding up a hand, and asked whether he saw a phone, saying that I had seen him walk by that spot. That could have turned out badly in a number of ways, but he was very helpful, immediately getting out of the car and offering to call, so I gave him the number and he did, but we couldn’t hear it ringing. He said that someone might have taken it, but that it was unlikely, considering all the cameras, and that nobody steals things there and they even leave their cars unlocked. So he then went to ask the guard at the barrier, then called again, obviously with the same result, the phone ringing but not being there. I was starting to panic at that point, and couldn’t understand how it could have simply vanished so quickly, so when he told me to go to the guard post where the cameras are being monitored, telling me how to get there, since it involved going all around the area again, I rushed away to do just that, even if I had no idea how I’ll manage to have that conversation once I’ll get there.
Well, I fortunately didn’t need to, because when I reached the spot where I had realized my phone was missing, I found it on the side of the road, so it probably fell when I stepped aside because of that truck and when I turned around to look for it I only looked on the way back, not also straight down in that spot. So, after taking a moment to check that it didn’t seem damaged and calm down to some extent, I considered rushing back to tell that guy that I found it. Didn’t do it, however, being too embarrassed about the whole thing, especially since I had rather accused him of taking it by saying that I had seen him walk past that spot. That was probably exactly why I should have gone back, but I just couldn’t face him again, so I just walked away, and with no active credit I couldn’t send him a message later to let him know either.
From there I went to the Kaufland from that area, having looked up where it was before leaving that day, since I had to get something for my mother. I also meant to get a bag of snacks, an entire crate of them being among the expiring products and 75% off even though, if I remember correctly, the date was still five days away, but it wouldn’t scan at the self-checkout, so I called the employee over and at first she said I wasn’t scanning it correctly, but then couldn’t get it to work either, and the other pack I brought after asking whether I could rush back and grab another also didn’t work, at which point she said that was probably why they’re still there. For a moment I considered asking whether I could just leave the money and take both packs, but I didn’t say anything and just left them there.
Then I went to Auchan on the way back, grabbing a few things and being stopped on my way to the exit by a guy from an NGO helping children without parents. I normally ignore anything of the sort, but maybe in part because I didn’t immediately see what organization he was working for and in part because I had just volunteered for something, that time I did stop, which led to a rather awkward conversation. He actually started by asking how my day had been and when I said it had actually been pretty good he asked what had been good about it, and when I told him I had volunteered to put together some packages for old people he became even more interested, asking what NGO had organized that and saying I’m just the sort of person they’re looking for, one who likes to help in that manner. And he wasn’t immediately put off when I said I have time but not money, so if he’s asking for donations he won’t get any from me, actually first saying that they don’t accept cash donations and eventually, after presenting what the NGO does, getting to the point and saying that they’re looking for recurring donations through direct debit. The fact that it was about children was already making the whole thing particularly awkward, and in my mind I was making a speech about antinatalism, but when it got to that point I really blocked him off, saying that I’d never allow anything like that, for whatever reason, and became less and less communicative as he tried to explain a little more and see whether he could get anything out of me, so he eventually thanked me for at least hearing him out and I walked away.
After a quick stop in a Mega Image for one more thing, I also went to the Carrefour from the park, not using a cabinet for my things, since the store brands were obvious on the two products I couldn’t stuff in my pockets, so I just showed those to the cashier when I got there with the few things I was purchasing. And it was a few minutes before 8 PM when I was finally back… But I already wrote about the rest of that evening and night in the post about the UPS, so I won’t be repeating any of it here.
Moving on to the early hours of December 18, even though dad was working, I only started eating dinner at 3:05 AM, and that was after a lunch consisting of just two boiled eggs in the evening, though I also had two grated apples, with sugar. Then, before going to bed in the morning, I wrote and posted the quick review for the book received when I volunteered, which I had finished just before midnight, after having started it two days earlier. However, I then made a few edits and also translated it and posted the version on Goodreads, in both languages, in the afternoon.
And the above is how far I got before midnight, so I again posted that part at that point and edited the post multiple times later to add the rest, the parts about December 22 to 27 being added before going to bed that night.
On December 22 I went to the Obor area again, leaving a bit before 7:30 PM, after having lunch. I first checked Carrefour and as I was searching for the expiring products, which had been moved, I noticed that the eggs sold by piece were discounted again, so I unzipped the pocket where I had the smaller bags, to remind myself to get back there and get some. However, after finding the expiring products and having a good look, I also checked the bakery area and then the other spot where that location has expiring products, and since I didn’t get anything from any of those places and the route taking me from one to the other led to the exit, I just kept going and left, forgetting all about those eggs. Then I bought the canned fish I wanted from Penny and continued to Kaufland, peeing and washing my hands before walking in and seeing that the bakery area was almost empty, and definitely empty of anything I’d have wanted, so I got what I had gone there to get and two other deeply discounted products… And I was just calculating the total when I suddenly noticed that unzipped pocket and remembered the eggs. It was almost 9:40 PM at the time, however, too late to get back to Carrefour, so I added two more things from Kaufland and then used the self-checkout without issues, though I was using the one that was farthest away from the area where the queue should form and yet two guys stood right next to me as I was using it, and then they tried to start scanning as soon as I finished, before I took my products off the scale, which obviously didn’t work.
After taking some time to arrange everything in the bags and backpack, I walked out of there just as the announcement that the store was closed came and got back at 10:50 PM. Then I ate the sweet thing I had grabbed, put the purchases in their place and took a bath, the hot water having at least returned, after being off in the early evening, apparently because of a power failure nearby. It was past 1:10 AM when I was done and still had things to do, but I started eating dinner at 3:05 AM. I had something else to transcribe for dad, however, and doing that while eating meant that I only finished at 5:10 AM, and got in bed at 5:35 AM.
In the early hours of December 25, I again thought I had time and took it easy, then realized I didn’t and ended up starting to eat dinner at 3:05 AM. And when I went to Goodreads to update the number of pages read in the book I had started on December 23, I saw that it was recommending Mein Kampf because I was reading that, which seemed messed up. Then, while eating, I finally finished transcribing that second interview dad had given me on December 15, as in the part he hadn’t needed right away. And my right foot was badly burning that night, but at least it wasn’t swollen, my feet actually looking unusually normal then. Either way, I got in bed at 5:20 AM.
I didn’t check the time when I woke up, but it was when dad left and he said he hoped to leave no later than at 10 AM. Still, it might have been somewhat later, because it was just after 11:30 AM when I eventually got up and while an hour probably passed between the two moments, I don’t see how it could have been one and a half. I was tired but couldn’t get back to sleep, and I was also more and more depressed, thinking of Andra and past and imagined future Christmases together even if I don’t care about that time of the year, because it used to be important to her.
After finally managing to get up I watched Webb’s launch, then tried to finish the book, but eventually stopped and took a nap. I did finish it after I woke up again and managed to crawl out from under the blanket, but then I spent what was probably an embarrassingly long amount of time even for me cracking open and eating some walnuts, then got back in bed for over an hour, trying to put together the quick review in my mind but for the most part being unable to either sleep more or get back up. But I eventually did manage to crawl back out and write and post that quick review in the evening, the version on Goodreads being in both languages.
After that, I made mamaliga again… And at one point it splashed right in my left eye and I’m not sure that the reflex to close it was fast enough to completely prevent any of it from touching the eyeball. Still, only the edge of the eyelid felt a bit burned and even that seemed all right again after a while. And that evening I also started making the salad on the table, sitting, so I’ll spend less time standing, even though doing it like that when I’m making mamaliga is much harder and I have since returned to standing at the counter when I do that, though I’ve continued to sit at the table otherwise. And that was in good part because the worsening burning sensation in my right foot was making me increasingly worried, but at least it seemed to get better after I stuffed myself that night, even though I had nevertheless spent quite a long time standing.
Since I had decided to wait for dad to return from his mother before having lunch the following evening, to see what he’ll bring from there, and also to watch The Rise of Skywalker on TV, and the movie had already started by the time he finally came back, the first moments of December 27 caught me still eating lunch and I went to shower after the movie, at almost 1 AM. And it was a long shower, so it was just before 2 AM when I got back to the kitchen, after 2:20 AM when I started making the salad, and 3:45 AM when I started eating dinner. After something seemed to have gone the wrong way after eating an orange after waking up that day, which left me feeling that I had something in my throat for a while, that feeling returned while having that lunch and it got worse during the shower, so I was coughing occasionally and also kept feeling that something was in my chest as well, though it eventually got better. Either way, it was past 5:20 AM when I finished eating and 5:30 AM when I got in bed.
As for the day of December 27, after getting up I decided to clean my room a little, despite the mood I was in. Left vacuuming for later, however, wanting to have lunch first, so after dusting I took some time to get rid of old receipts, changed the sheets… And then dad took a nap and by the time he got up it was rather late, so I left it for the next day. And then, even though dad was working that night, I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM.