Felicity

Every now and then I have extremely vivid dreams that feel so real, I've been known to make a phone call afterwards to check on someone. I'm not usually superstitious, but I get freaked out once in a while. Anyway, I thought it might be amusing to write some of them down so we can see just how messed up my head is at night.

I'll begin with Felicity.

One night I woke up at about 4 or 5 AM, a cold sweat had soaked my pillow and I was arrested with abject terror of whatever might be lurking in the darkness on the other side of the bed sheets. The rational part of me knew already — some lazily strewn clothing, bedroom furniture, and our cats — but the part of me that had been terrified by hallucinations in my sleep was certain something more sinister awaited. The terror was reaffiremd by a hundred or more memories of being terrified in similar situations as a child.

I turned on the light. I knew it would wake Chrissy, but I needed to properly wake up and recover.

"What's wrong?" she yawned.

"A bad dream; a nightmare. That's all," I said.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "what was it about?"

Chrissy has learned to ask for details ever since the first occasion I had a nightmare while she was nearby. That had been in a lovely hotel in Reno around the first  time I met her dad. It was a particularly vivid nightmare to the point I called my parents to quiz them about the quality of the electrical system in their house. However, we'll leave that piece of insanity for another time, back to Felicity.

"It was messed up," I said, "it was a CCTV screen showing my grandma's old bedroom, but decorated as it is now; as it was when we stayed there this summer. The CCTV camera seemed to be somewhere above the window, zoomed in on the top half of the bed, towards the headboard. There was a little girl lying there on the left of the bed. Maybe 6 or 8 years old? She wore pretty floral dress, mostly white with small pink roses or something and a some sort of ribbon as a belt, white socks that stopped an inch or so below the knee, and patent leather shoes with a shiny buckle. Her hair was long and light brown, mousy, maybe dirty blonde, something like that. I had the feeling she had blue eyes but they were closed the whole time. Her arms were by her side, I think, they could have been clutched at her waist. Maybe both. She was dead. It felt as though she was dead."

"That's fucked up," said Chrissy, making sure I was completely aware of what I already knew.

"Right? I don't know when, but at some point in the dream, it stopped being CCTV and we were there in the room. You were there, next to her, or someone that I felt was you; I don't recall seeing you. The weirdest thing is, I knew her name was Felicity. I didn't recognise her, I don't recall anyone in the dream saying it, but I knew."

I paused. Thinking about the completely strange but vivid dream and then said, "Who the fuck is Felicity?"

We both chatted a while, which turned into laughter as we quizzed one another, "Who the fuck is Felicity?" Eventually, I calmed down enough to drift back to sleep and dream of something less disturbing.

We still don't know who Felicity is1 or why I would have dreamed of someone called Felicity at all. I have only ever known one Felicity in my life – a girl with whom I went to primary school. Memories of her would fit the right age range, but it didn't seem like her and I had not even had a conversation about her in over 20 years. For now and maybe hopefully always, this remains a creepy mystery, but just in case, I leave you with that burning question; who the fuck is Felicity?


  1. perhaps was 

Making a Grow Light Stand

Last night was the quarterly hackathon at work, the day where we get to work on something fun and new until 4am and then demo to the team. Beers were drunk, Thai food was eaten and the sports tournaments were played out (darts and ping pong, or table tennis, if you prefer). It was a great time and although my work wasn't as brilliant as some of my colleagues, I felt accomplished by the time we crawled off for breakfast sometime around 7am.

That was 6 hours ago. I'm still awake. I've been awake since sometime between 7am and 9am yesterday.

I don't know why, really. I ran an errand for the wife this morning and one thing led to another. Before I knew it, I had not only completed the errand (returning some plants and a grow light stand to Growing Hope after Chrissy did some seed starting for them), I had also completed our own grow light stand (a project we purchased the pieces for back when I made the raised bed) and cleaned the cat litter boxes. Luckily for you, I didn't take pictures of the latter task; I'm keeping those precious memories of being watched by a cat while I dug around in his feces (mostly) to myself, but I digress.

Often, when you garden, you have to start some seeds. When the weather is inclement prior to the growing season, as it often is in these parts, you need to start those seeds indoors and, much like this winter in Michigan, there's no Sun indoors (I'm thankful for that, I like my stuff unsinged), so an artificial source of equivalent light is required. That's where the grow light stand comes in.

Unlike the one we had borrowed from Growing Hope, which was a simple wood construction with two A-frames at each end joined by two planks from which the 4' long fluorescent grow lamps were suspended, our grow light stand was to be made out of PVC. As mentioned earlier, we had purchased the pieces for it some time ago, which explains why some of the pieces were wrong. Thankfully, Home Depot awesomely gave me store credit for those incorrect pieces despite a lack of receipt. That's customer service for you.

The parts required for this little project were:

  • 120" of 2" PVC pipe
  • 4x end caps
  • 2x three-way connectors
  • 2x elbow connectors
  • 2x ¼" eye bolts with 4 nuts
  • 2x S hooks
  • 1x shop light
  • 2x fluorescent grow lamp tubes
Barry inspecting the parts and tools
Barry inspecting the parts and tools

In addition, the following tools were used:

  • Safety Gloves and Glasses
  • Drill
  • ¼" drill bit
  • Permanent marker (I used the one Chrissy got from John Mayer's fan club)
  • Hacksaw
  • Pliers
  • Wrench/Spanner (for tightening the nuts)

The assembly was really quite easy and probably would have taken about an hour at most if I hadn't needed to go to Home Depot twice (once for the shop light and again to get the correct size elbows).

First, the PVC pipe was marked (with the John Mayer fan club marker) and cut (with the hacksaw) to the following lengths:

  • 4x 5"
  • 2x 24"
  • 1x 52"

Then, using the connectors and end caps, join them all together to create the stand.

All the pipe fittings and lengths ready for assembly
All the pipe fittings and lengths ready for assembly
End caps fitted to 5" pipe (QA manager, Barry checking craftsmanship on the left)
End caps fitted to 5" pipe (QA manager, Barry checking craftsmanship on the left)End caps fitted to 5" pipe
End caps, 5" lengths and three way connector combined
End caps, 5" lengths and three way connector combined
Light stand legs and cross bar assembled
Light stand legs and cross bar assembled
Completely assembled stand without light fixture
Completely assembled stand without light fixture

See, that was easy, right? No glue, just push it all together. It's a little disappointing that it did not include power tools, but don't worry, because this is where I whipped out my trusty drill after marking where I wanted the eye bolts to go. The shop light fixture hangs from these, so I measured where the chains would go in the shop light and chose eye bolt locations accordingly.

Chains, S hooks, etc. for attaching the light fixture
Chains, S hooks, etc. for attaching the light fixture
Position of eye bolt for one side of light fixture mounting
Position of eye bolt for one side of light fixture mounting

If you attempt this, be sure to wear your safety gear as I did; PVC pipe can be slippy and drills can make easily eye bolt holes in your hand if you're not careful (I recommend having some sleep too).

Safety gear on and ready to go
Safety gear on and ready to go

Once the holes were drilled in the pipe (though a little skewed), I fitted the eye bolts. In order to get a sturdy fixture, I first screwed a nut onto the eye bolt, then pushed the remainder through the pipe and applied a lock nut to the other side (though a regular nut would have done, I think). I then tightened the nuts on each side of the pipe so that the eye bolt was secure.

Eye bolt installed (note the two nuts on either side of the pipe)
Eye bolt installed (note the two nuts on either side of the pipe)
Chains showing S hook before being attached and after
Chains showing S hook before being attached and after

The shop light fixture came with its own chains for suspending it, however, only one end of these chains had a hook, so I carefully crimped S hooks onto the other ends of the chains. I then hooked one end into the corresponding eye bolt and the other into the light fixture and that was job done.

The assembled and working light stand (with QA manager doing final inspection)
The assembled and working light stand (with QA manager doing final inspection)

The height is even adjustable by threading the hook through the eye and hooking back into the chain.

With the assembly complete, I placed the new stand over Chrissy's seedlings and plugged it into our timer ready for her to be surprised when she gets home or reads this (whichever is first).

Chrissy's seedlings enjoying their new light stand
Chrissy's seedlings enjoying their new light stand

Now, I've been awake for far too long so I'm off to play video games and eat snacks before a well-earned nap.