It’s Always Something #006

Today’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

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You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

Well, I’ve been stressing for months about my car and ignoring twice daily phone calls. This week, I decided it was time to rip the band aid off and answer the phone. 

Tomorrow morning, I will drive my son to school in my lovely Volt and take the long way home… for the last time. It’s been a long time coming, and I have watched the train rolling down the tracks for weeks, feeling helplessly tied down.  

Every bill collector wants to know why we can’t pay. What on earth is so cataclysmic as to prevent us from coming up with at least some money at some point. I don’t have a clear answer. 

Months of struggling to pay even rent on time has forced me to wrap my poor flustered mind around inevitable homelessness. My face feels like it looks the part, too. I’ve never liked too much facial hair. I don’t like shaving daily, but a week is about as long as I can usually stand before I have to scrape it off. I haven’t shaved because I honestly can’t stand to look myself in the mirror. I don’t want the image of myself being a complete piece of shit on top of the feelings. 

Whatever. Here’s to ripping the band aid off and getting through the last of what’s to come. It really, truly can’t get much worse before it gets better now!

It’s Always Something #005

Today’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

The negativity spiral. Some people think of it more linear, like a dark road you walk down, each step another ugly, degrading, demoralizing thought. The world is very cyclic by nature, so where it may seem we walk a straight path into darkness, there is indeed an ultimate point which we seem to be circling.

Anyway, I had a nightmare last Friday. Seems to be going around, judging by my feed. Mister had school, so I couldn’t just hide in bed like I really wanted. I got up, made my coffee, and joined the family at the table. Kim made breakfast and it looked good, but one challenging remark from the peanut gallery derailed my effort to convince myself to be hungry. So, without comment, I took my coffee and retreated to the bedroom. 

I felt like I actually had the fight that I just dreamt I had. There was nothing otherwise to complain about, I just felt beat up. After returning home from the school delivery, I got sucked into it. 

Kim asked me what was wrong. I told her I just felt shitty. She asked if it was her, or something she did. No, I just felt like crap. After more questioning, I told her I had a nightmare. I didn’t want to feed the negativity by adding details. I wanted to sit in silence and get my head right. 

She continued to pry. She explained that my being upset was upsetting her and wanted to know what was wrong. I tried my best to quarantine myself that morning, so being told that I failed to do so reinforced my negativity. She continued to ask what was wrong. 

The spiral. It ruined most of the day for us.

Ugh! Come the hell on, now! Of course, some thing is wrong! There are so many things wrong in my life right now, I can’t shake a hundred dollar bill at them all. If someone repeatedly asks for what’s wrong, I have an endless well of things to complain about. If you look for something to be a problem, you are going to find it. The only real problem is getting sucked into the negativity. 

Honestly…

There’s hardly a problem we have right now that can’t be completely solved with a liberal application of Go The Fuck To Work! 

If you stop and think negatively, there is always some damn thing. 

It’s Always Something #004

This week’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

My head hadn’t had a moment to lift off the pillow. “We don’t have vehicle insurance anymore.” Kim announces. Moments later, there’s shuffling and anxious direction to the bathroom followed by gagging. “Your son’s sick.” Comes the next greeting of the day. 

That was Saturday. I drafted this post 4 days ago, and kept adding to it. Finally, as I’m laundering out the last of the vomit, I have a chance to finish. 

I don’t even remember all the details of the week or which things happened which days. Condensed down, my week basically consisted of dealing with the fallout of magnanimously naughty stunts. Kiley acts out, school staff fails to contain it, mom gets sucked in, and the remainder of the day is spent trying to bring everyone down from DEFCON 5. Appointments left and right to address the behavior and try to get an IEP underway. 

When the average day consists of appointments, debriefing with the principal, trying to calm the intense feeling of failure as a parent, and maybe squeezing a couple hours of profitable work in, it pretty much results in a severe net loss for the week. Monetarily, emotionally, and energetically a complete net loss. 

I will rejoice the week that children just wake the hell up and go to school, the adults can just go to work without disruption, and nobody has to be medicated or cleaned up after! 

It’s Always Something #001

Today’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

Welcome to my new regularly occurring series! I’ve thought of starting this for a while, because we are approaching the threshold in our state of affairs that are no longer worthy of complaint. Having worked in emergency services as well as surviving 10 months in a war zone, I am aware of the mental health threat that intensely bad situations pose. 

Now, there’s a tool I have to admit that I’ve buried out of the shame I feel for using as I can never tell who it might offend. It’s the skill of cynically extracting a usually dark aspect of a traumatic event in order to cause the unexpected reaction of laughing. That is making light of, or taking the piss of for my international audience, an extraordinarily bad event. 

Admittedly, half of shit that goes down isn’t, in itself, the end of the world. However, add the dimension of time to the discussion, and we now have to consider things cumulatively and look at patterns through concepts like percentages and frequency. I know that’s starting to sound mathematical and shit, so rather than dwell on the theory or discuss why this is post number 001, let’s just dive in head first! 

It’s still early in the day today, so I’ll just recap yesterday. I have a ventilation job waiting on me. It got warm last week, so the awesome folks called on me to see when it was going to get done. So, despite the late start to the day (5:30pm though the building was unoccupied literally all weekend) I finally got there to get some work done. Upon scoping out the scene, I come to realize that about $20 in parts are still needed and also that I was suddenly in need of a tool that I have been putting off the purchase of. I knew it was needed, but thought the other carpenter’s very nice tool would still be available for me to use. Whelp, at some point he wrapped up the last of his work and rolled out entirely. Oh, and I don’t even have the money to pay my phone bill, so 😝

I squeezed out doing what I could to get ready, but without half the things necessary it was only so much. Another hour+ commuting for so little return. 
You know it’s always some damn thing! 

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It was a wonder we made it through paying September’s rent. Since the kids went back to school, our schedule is less demanding but life has not been short of challenges. 

I lost a chunk of the last check that I put into my bank account. The state decided to draw against my account while the letter telling me so was en route to my mailbox. It sucks. I’m not surprised, but I am irritated. That’s another rant for another post, though. 

Then there was Back to School night at my son’s school. His mom reinforced over and over how important it was that I attend. Last year, I attended with both the kids. After we were settled and the presentation had begun, she strolled over with her mother and got our son stirred up. I ended up walking out straight away with not one, but two wailing kids. This year, she sat right next to our son and got him worked up announcing that her folks were planning their next visit. After that, she takes his hand and hustles off to deliberately cut me off. It’s my parenting time, but she was sure to enjoy every second of that hour and twenty minutes. Whatever. 

She does these little things that anyone on the outside wouldn’t notice, but are quite deliberately belittling. It’s no news that her folks are coming, they take their full 3 months every year to visit. They dump half as much money on that single visit alone that I’m likely to make all year. She announces it to get under my skin, knowing how much it must kill me that my parents can’t even collect themselves enough to be parents. That I’m now in a financial vacuum that even a respectable income can’t stop. 

I try not to let it get me, but Friday I could hardly make myself a coffee. I spent the entire morning trying to recover my sanity. The afternoon was really the healing part, having spent it with my son coloring. Really, I don’t know what I’d do sometimes without these moments of grounding. 

My girl spent the week recovering from falling on Hawthorne bridge, which happens to be a metal grid platform. She got out to help push a stalled car. Her feet gave out, whether because it was slippery or because she overworked her muscles, she isn’t sure. She did bruise up both knees, both hands, and her left eye.  Being the caring boyfriend I am, I took her to the doctor to be seen. All the while, what does it look like to everyone to see a girl with a black eye and seriously bruised wrists being followed by her boyfriend at the doctor’s office? Nothing I enjoy more than falling right into the stigma of abusive bastard by trying to do the right thing.

Add in the little monster being a little monster every morning trying to get her to school, and that pretty much rounds out last week. This week started off much better, but by the close of Monday I had a vehicle that wouldn’t start. Luckily, said vehicle is a 1994 model and it’s missing half its engine compartment trappings, so it made for an easy vehicle to work on, at least. Of course, it’s not my truck nor my money going into it, so there’s a judicial processes that goes along with getting it fixed. It doesn’t matter that I had the exact same model as a teenager that I basically fixed everything on by time I was done learning to drive. Even that I forgot to throw the clutch when starting one time and burned up my own starter. I grew up in the mountains and my mom liked to drive off with the parking brake engaged, therefore I leave it in gear. Kim grew up on flat land and her brake works, so has never before thought of needing to push the clutch when starting. We don’t need to say how many times it has happened to confidently say the starter is shot. I whipped out the nice new multi meter I was recently gifted, and poked around to confirm. However, any time a guy opens a hood on the side of the road, every asshole and his dog has to give you their analysis. Add in the fact that a starter costs a hundred bucks with the core charge (and so does an alternator or a battery) and it takes some phone calls to build confidence in buying said part! Nonetheless, after a bonk to the forehead, a trip to the Dr’s office for Kim, and a wade through traffic after a wreck in the hwy, Rosie turned right over! Whew, another week, another crisis dealt with. 

So, now that I’m a week behind in work, and have so many projects to try to tackle, I will probably be fairly absent in the blogosphere. I will at least keep up with my weekly followings, they’re a great bit of morning inspiration. A benefit to being on the west coast is that everyone has posted by time I wake up! 😴😄 Thank you all for sharing your talent, I will be back to posting again one day…

The Way Things Should Be

Because I think they should be

It has taken time and several concerted efforts, but our family dynamics are improving. There is less chaos, fewer meltdowns, and more talking. Oh, and the kids are back in school! I felt for a while the day would never come. It’s some semblance of routine, anyway. 

On another delightful note, I woke up yesterday morning and upon whipping the blanket off, was greeted with a snappy chill. Oh, man! I can’t wait to not have that fan in the window all night again. The cool weather is right around the corner, and that combined with back to school means one thing: germ season. Kiley stepped outside in her dress and started shivering immediately, and like a bad PTSD trigger, the image of her sneezing all over herself and opening doors flashed through my brain. I returned home from dropping her off and besieged the place with soap and bleach. I had other things to do, but I couldn’t let it go any longer. 

We have managed to get the kids to keep their toys more picked up. The living room got organized and things are much tidier overall. I clean like crazy because it improves the quality of life for everyone. Regardless what living space you occupy, even if it’s a tent or your car, your quality of life will be far better if it’s kept clean. In my mind, that’s the way it should be. 

Unfortunately, I have to exist in reality for a majority of my life. In reality, a house is very difficult to keep up with, especially with kids. Nothing is the way it should be, pretty much any time, ever. It doesn’t matter that I have been groomed to 5S the hell out of things or scrub a room to white glove perfection. I live in the real world with real cohabitants. 

I also have real bills that I have to share in paying. It doesn’t matter if I can balance a budget. I cannot be in two places at once to make two incomes at the same time. Hell, earning the one income is taking its toll on me. I should be able to pay all my bills every month. In my mind, that should be entirely possible. I should be able to afford a vehicle, not necessarily brand new nor high end. Just a vehicle to safely get me and the kids around. 

These things that should be, they bother me because these things are not. It’s not just my expectations of myself, is it? My debtors expect to be paid, the government expects to be paid, baby’s momma expects to be paid. Really, the downward spiral of it all, the eternal source of stress, is that all these people expect results. Hours of my time, abuse to my knees, back, hands and otherwise, nights spent on a ladder instead of bed, hours and fuel spent in traffic, all condensed down to a green sheet of printed fabric. 

I should be free to let my mind explore the world, the most succulent and delectable morsels of knowledge oft overlooked. Instead, I’m bound to expectations. I shouldn’t be bound to a life of poverty after working so hard to escape it. However, to be otherwise should not require I be bound to a life of corporate servitude, resorting to stealing my life back in a lunch break here or concocted excuse there as neither my weekends nor holidays are left sacred. 

These things that should be. I struggle to accept the reality that things are not the way they should be. I can accept the reality of the past, or at least I’m working on it. What bothers me is the reality of my future as there has so far been no indication of it being vastly better than the recent past. 

How do I ‘let it go’? How do I build ‘mental flexibility’? What can I do to make tomorrow at least marginally better than today aside from giving the home a field day cleaning? 

My Painful Scar

I hurt. Really bad. At some point, a given pain is so excruciating and unrelenting that your mind just disassociates from the body. I laid in bed and held my stomach with one hand and my heart with the other. 

“You are well. You are healthy and strong. You are not going to die. Your everything is not over or lost. Be at peace. Sleep is what will heal, do not let your body take it from you.” I tell myself. 

The thoughts come rushing in. Those awful, unsettling words. The evil, hateful, berating words like vomit. The smell alone, like a gag reflex, issues an urge to spill my mental lunch. (It was a tasty little TED talk)

“Be still. Be well. Now is not the time for thoughts. Now is the time to be centered, breathe.” I take a deep, controlled breath. My heart lights up, beats on my ribs, and squeezes battery acid into my guts.

The thoughts come back. And the smell. Like a trickle of water over a dam wall, I feel it in the front of my brain. “You know what, bitch!?” are the words of my father and a hundred drunkards dripping on my tongue. Don’t worry though, I’ve spent my whole life building and reinforcing that dam. 

“Breathe. You are well. You are a great human being because you can feel. You are great because you bring so much to your endeavors. You are valuable. Your words are valuable. Your actions are valuable. Your feelings. They are part of being human, and they are valuable.”

Our counselor poked that scar a couple weeks ago, and I didn’t even know what she poked or why it hurt. It hurts now. 

I was in the 5th grade. I don’t have many memories of that period of my life, so I have to do some math here… I would have been 9, making my sister about 2. I was playing cards with my dad. I suppose she felt left out, so she did what a toddler might be expected to do: kicked me in the back. Continously. I know I told her to stop. Over and over. I imagine I yelled it at her, but I don’t recall. My dad didn’t intervene. The kicking continued. I uncrossed my legs and squished her against the sofa with my back. I didn’t even see it coming. Do you know what a drunken layman’s fist does to a 9 year old boy? Well, nothing that left a permanent mark, though at the time I was sure my arm was broken. It’s what his fist told me in that flight. “You are not valuable enough to deserve not being physically attacked.”

I will let myself vent this hatred though: I hate that “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” has suddenly become a trendy way of implying someone simply ought to know what their audience wants to hear. 

Moreover, I hate that it’s used as a gateway to render all context invalid any time the audience is offended, and the words are picked up, balled together with their emotions, then hurled back at the speaker.

I am pressed for words. “You have to use your words. You must speak.” I am not a novice in vocabulary, but I don’t know what words to use to express how I feel. Sometimes (more often than is helpful) I don’t even know for myself what I’m experiencing. But I must speak, because that is what is demanded of me. I breathe. I think. I carefully, cautiously, pick words to assemble the best sentences I can. I draft it in my mind, check the tone, edit out any absolutes, ensure my audience is not being unwittingly included, and do my best to make sure it is completely objective so as to not sound like I’m treating my subjective views as any kind of fact. Finally, I release the anticipated final draft, and I think it just might be NYT best seller material. 

What I said, the context, gets thrown at my feet. How I said it gets thrown in the cauldron, with a boiling hot stew of emotion, before being thrown in my face. If I speak, I get doled out another round. If I remain silent, the cauldron boils over. The words don’t hurt that bad, and I can deal with the third degree burns. What really hurts is that scar. It’s been torn open again by the reinforcement of, “You are not valuable enough to express your thoughts.”

The burning feeling has gone down. I know I may not sleep well, but the least I can do is rest my body, hold my oozing wound, and keep telling myself that I am valuable.