Monday, June 22, 2015

Of No Consequence To Anyone But Myself, But Probably FYI

It's been a long time since I entered anything here, mostly because it's been a long time since I've had time or thought I had anything particularly interesting for anybody.
But then comes a time when someone who processes things better by writing them out needs the therapy of the written word. Therefore, here is the brain dump that needs to happen.
~We decided to sell our house in December after we discovered there was simply no way to make house payments after August of next year. Hospital bills, unexpected things breaking, etc, had eaten our savings and we were in the red every month. Ridiculous to continue doing in a house where we didn't even use the basement, front room or dining room most days. So ever since then we had been packing, moving things to storage, and getting ready to put the house up for sale.
At the same time, we were trying to get pregnant with our second (and last) child. I miscarried in January, to much heartbreak. Unwilling to run the risk of dealing with that again, we began fertility treatments and all of the accompanying hormones, medications, probing and inescapable abdominal pain.
I became pregnant with only a month's treatment, much to everyone's surprise (it took us 2.5 years combined with trying naturally and fertility treatments to produce my daughter.) but was promptly put on restrictions for lifting things due to the miscarriage risk. Which is hard when you're trying to pack a house and get it ready for selling.
On top of that, my cat of 17 years, Chaucer, finally gave up the ghost. If we'd had the money I would've taken care of him comfortably until he was a gentleman elder and quietly passed away. As it was, when we put him to sleep my husband was, as always, worried about inconveniencing everybody else and the vet just wanted to get it done with and take the body... it went badly. I still feel guilt at how scared he was with the final injection, how I didn't get to hold him until I was sure he was gone. It's hard when something or someone has been in your life longer than they haven't been there. That was hard to take, probably harder because of the hormone support they had me on at the time.
After that I was feeling incredible stress because I didn't feel like I was getting enough help, with a spouse that wasn't really helping pack but felt okay to disappear two times a week for 4 hours to play computer games while I looked after our child, and the rest of the time happily sat in front of the computer playing other video games by himself. He apparently didn't feel the pressure to get things done that I did, even though he was the one that had discovered we were going under fast financially. I spent a lot of time raging to everybody else BUT him because I was so angry I knew it would just result in both of us shutting down and not talking after throwing insults back and forth. I couldn't take being shut off from my only support and I couldn't take the insults, so I grit my teeth until sparks flew and kept going.
(This has since been resolved. I collapsed and told him. He didn't realize what had been going on because, like an idiot, I hadn't been talking to him. We are more open now and work very hard to make time for one another to relax.)
I tried to find places to find fellowship or to share meditation space, looking for sanghas or Unitarian churches in the area. Anything whatsoever as an outlet so I might be able to lean somewhere else besides my husband's shoulders. They only offered interaction during hours my daughter needed me for dinner or bathing or breakfast. I gave up.
I dealt with doctor's appointments, I dealt with replacing a room of carpet, I dealt with people painting our deck saying they would show up and then not, and then killing half the plants in my garden by carelessly spraying paint over them. I dealt with people saying they would show up to clean out the gutters, then saying they fell off a ladder and couldn't make it (CANCELLED). I had people come clean the house from top to bottom. I emptied 18 bags of stone in our front landscaping despite weight warnings so the place would look beautiful. I accidentally inhaled paint fumes time and again while trying to make walls presentable. And I hid (I thought) every vestige of what made the place personal to us so that anybody walking in could picture themselves in this big, beautiful house we had to vacate.
It wasn't enough. The agent swept in and threw everything under counters, had to be argued with that the fish tank couldn't be unplugged and moved or the fish would die; and we lived for 3 weeks like we were weekend renters, not daring to cook or let our daughter play enough to get really messy. Strangers wandered through our sacred safe space staring at things while my baby cried in the back seat of the car out of boredom at the endless errands I was creating, anything to keep us out of the house, our house. Sometimes I had the dog with me to keep him from being alone at the house so much. Sometimes I pulled in to a parking lot and just cried from the stress of not being able to relax. All of the tools and supplies I used to create things, my stress relief, had been packed away. I was afloat in the gray of depression and anger and uncertainty, housing a tiny life growing and trying to protect the one already here who was confused by everything going on.
We finally got a bite, and a bidding war, and then put up with the buyers doing illegal things during the inspection like breaking faucets and putting holes in walls to try to bid us down on the price.
I will not be fixing a single fucking one of those things before we leave, by the way.
They don't have the money for this place but they desperately want the prestige of it - ironically, the thing I hate, and what I want to get away from. I don't want to be in "the fancy neighborhood" where you can't have any outbuildings and fences must be approved and everything is scrutinized by the 8 different neighbors who can see in to your back yard or your kitchen windows whenever you do anything. But they kept fighting. And when we would give them an inch, they would try to jerk us around again. Even the agent said their asshole-dom was unprecedented in her history of selling houses. I felt vindicated in wanting to tell these people to fuck off and diaf.
At the same time, though, we had jumped the gun and put in a deposit for an apartment back in our old stomping grounds of Thorndale. We couldn't do a monthly rental and a house payment. We'd made the mistake of thinking they would be logical and understanding that we needed money for a down payment on our next place. Not pull this Arab Trader bullshit.
Then Bob went in to the hospital with the return of his pancreatitis. Only two days this time. It was a very strange moment of calm, as I knew exactly what to do and exactly what the dog and the cat and the baby would need and when they would need it.
After a particularly douche-baggy demand we finally told them to go fuck themselves. We would lose the deposit if we had to, if it meant we could get someone who would actually afford the place and stop jerking us around. It scared them enough to shut up and take the offer.
I think I cried in relief when my husband was home and I could cook dinner in our own kitchen again.
I thought everything was in the rear view mirror... in fact, I literally FELT weight that wasn't there slide off my shoulders after the last of the paperwork was signed and the last of the inspections was passed.
I've been sick with... something... for two weeks, and it robs me of my energy and sometimes my ability to stand without getting dizzy or week. I can't play with my daughter. This is the latest in a string of impressive illnesses I've been struck with during the course of this pregnancy. It has made me feel weak, and worthless, and unable to take care of my family. I'm causing added expense because we have to order food since I can't cook it. I'm adding to stress because I can't lift boxes or stand to pack the remainder of our belongings, and our move date is looming fast. I am failing everyone and everything and I can't pull up out of this spiral.
My dog kept throwing up last week. My betta fish bloated. And I started having stabbing pains in my cervix every day.
I've now discovered the dog has kidney disease. The betta fish can't be cured, so I'm watching him die slowly while I perform hospice as best as possible. (Yes, I give a flying fuck about a fish. I care about ANYTHING that relies on me for their existence. I am their Keeper.)
Yesterday morning I passed a large, bloody clot of tissue followed by cramping. We rushed to the ER only to be chastised for not calling the OBGYN first, then given only the barest of attention so they could discharge us as fast as possible. I had the tissue with me. The nurse said "I have no idea what this is," And pushed it aside. No asking around for a second opinion, no seeking a doctor who might know. Then a painful manual pelvic exam where they told me "your cervix feels softer than it should. But maybe that's just your cervix."
I nearly fainted on the sidewalk waiting for my husband to bring the car around, still cramping. But hey, nobody thinks it's a big deal.
This morning I got yelled at by the nurse on the phone at the OBGYN, the people I was TOLD to call because they were actually in charge of giving me medical care apparently. Then, shortly after I watched a dog die in the arms of his owner, and was not prepared. It's all too raw. Too many months of being by myself here, taking care of things, trying to keep my shit together.
I'm breaking. I'm not going to be polite about it. The only person who will be spared as much as I can spare them from this is my daughter, but the rest of the world gets the horns because I realized I don't HAVE to hold all of this shit up. I don't owe a god damn person a brave face anymore. I've had 6 months of stress upon stress upon stress, and the fear of what it's doing to my little boy inside me, and trying to be "nice", not trouble people with my "bullshit".
I'm done. And now you know why. Warning given.
Now stand clear while I explode.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Favorite Things Friday - 1/9/15 - Blank Paper

A friend of mine recently started the tradition of talking about things she really loved on Fridays, and while I DO remember occasionally to do a crafty roundup, it seems to me that this is a bit more of a task master to stay on top of.
That, and the fact that this blog is just so eclectic, at least there will be one running theme on it. Plus? I love sharing stuff.
So what I wanted to share was my love of PAPER.
You know people that buy notecards but have no reason to use them? The ones that send hand-written thank yous when an email would suffice? Probably have blank journals spilling off a shelf somewhere?
Yeah. That's me. Me and my Ephemerophilia - which, if it wasn't a thing, is now. Pretty sure that's a Google search I don't want to make, though.
I lied. I googled it. And Ephemeraphilia is actually a pretty cool blog. Check it out!
I love paper. Ever since I was a kid, I took my money from my allowance, my paper route, my lawn mowing business, my crappy part time job at the pet store... and put it in to blank paper. Originally it was just beautiful, crisp white theme notebooks with blue lines and a red column to warn you No! Don't write over here! This part is for doodling when you are bored in class!
But then somewhere in middle school I realized that beyond boring, crappy girl journals with glitter and locks and pink paper that was hard to see your writing on, they had BLANK BOOKS FOR ADULTS. Even better? THEY WOULD LET A KID BUY BLANK BOOKS FOR ADULTS.
So... you know... I did that. And I bought a new one each time I had a new idea. A lot of times they were story ideas.

Which was great, except that I started to realize when the thought was done, there were still 93 more pages or so left. Utilize them? But what about the original idea?? Was it a disservice to follow up with a different idea after I had bought a special book just to encapsulate the first idea? How would I keep track of which ideas were where? After all, I knew if I picked up my red cloth covered book that it had all my ideas in it about Thoreau and Emerson and existentialism... if I put anything different after that, I had this sinking feeling I wouldn't remember it was back there. (It turns out I was right. I have always known myself very well, alas.) And why didn't that thought warrant its own book? Should I just leave a few pages between ideas? What about flags for each idea? Would the flags get messy? Would they fall out?
And why on earth was I not capable of having more that 7-8 pages worth of thought on a subject, anyway??!
As you can tell, I had very odd things that stressed me out as a child.
From this bubbling morass of angst and pseudo-organization arose a thorough love of the blank page and what it could contain. To this day I keep around notebooks to write lists and thoughts down on, and remind myself to go back through them from time to time to remind myself what was in there.
For a long time, too, I knew that there were these things called "sketchbooks", but somewhere it was impressed upon me that art was a hobby and not a living. So initially I didn't allow myself to get them, since what on earth would I have to draw about outside of art class?
Thankfully that one disappeared and then? You got it. I started to buy ALL THE SKETCHBOOKS.
You needed newsprint sketchbooks, sketchbooks for pencil, sketchbooks that could also take watercolor or even, just maybe, ink?! Wow! And you needed one for practice with your regular #2 pencils that you took to school and you needed a much more serious one that you broke out your H, 2B, and 4B graphite pencils to work on. Charcoals and pastels, too! There were SO MANY THINGS with paper especially for them to be set down on!
Because, you see, blank paper to me was a strange and beautifully magical thing. Spellbooks and Grimoires were composed of it. Forbidden Herbal and Alchemy Tomes, and books talking of far lands complete with treasure maps used it. Sketches of Things That Should Not Be, Both Positive and Negative needed them. So to me, a single white sheet of paper was the most powerful thing in the world. I could write a book that might change the world. I could draw art that might bring people together. Paper was the most sacred thing ever.
Now I know that it's not truly possible to craft a working Book of Shadows that will conjure dragons up under a full moon, and I never did find Shangri-La or the Mountains of Madness to make sketches of their impossible climes and denizens. But I still appreciate a good blank piece of paper.
For those of you who think I'm about to wax poetic about Moleskine, got a suprrise for you... it's okay and all, but I hate how easily you can see writing on the other side, how thin the paper is.  It's good for carrying around and jotting down notes because that included band that holds the cover shut keeps things in my bag from sliding in and tearing up and marking pages. But really I could do that with a headband on a normal book. The nostalgia and cool factor are about the only thing going with them, unless, you know, you want to just completely drink the Kool-Aid and get the special editions.
I did. I have the Pac-Man and the Lego ones, and I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I eyeballed the Hobbit ones for a very long time before deciding not to. Even now I have a small hardcover Moleskine with a cassette tape on the front that lives in the pocket of my diaper bag to catch my brain dumps. Not, you know, that I have time for brain dumps with a baby and a diaper bag, but hey! I AM PREPARED.
I have no pictures of all of these because we are moving and I packed them before it occurred to me I might make this blog post. Sorry.
Oh, and for the record? When I do my Moleskines, I do it UNLINED. That's right, baby. There ain't no strings on me! Or columns! Or proper line spacing, really, and things tend to spill to the lower right but I seriously digress...
I got the red one... go figure.

Another set that I seriously love? Maruman Mnemosyne sketchbooks. Seriously. They're just the frikkin' bomb. Very sturdy paper, they come with the ability to date and title your sketches, and they come in a couple different sizes. They have perforations that make removing your work easy, and they take ink pretty damn well. The only downside is that graphite smudges like a bitch, so if I use heavy graphite I usually fold a piece of regular printer paper and slide it in to cover the image and keep it from smudging.
They're incredibly popular, to the point that when they come back in stock from my dealer, er, on the website, I buy the bulk 3-packs to make sure I have enough. And for this I have the large ones (A4) that stay in my art area (currently being deconstructed, but it does still exist) and I have smaller ones (A5) that previously would travel around in my work bag and purse.

Aren't they pretty? The bigger one is the same except, you know, bigger.
I would love to go on another huge tangent about my favorite paper to scribe on with pens, but honestly anything that will take the ink and not smear gets my vote. I have acquired many, many blank books from Barnes and Nobles on the Wall Of Being Self Indulgent aka Journaling, and they have all been fairly good. If anybody wants, I can go find what's left of my outstanding journals and get a photo of it before they go in to boxes, too. Otherwise... you know, it doesn't have to be fancy to hold an idea. It just has to be blank and waiting for you to fill it.
Which isn't as deep as it sounds, now that I look at that.
But seriously... blank paper is awesome.