October 18, 2015

Warts & All: The Whole Story

Madison moved out in May. She’s my daughter. She’s 17. She’s decided that the best way to rebel against us is to become an independent, responsible adult, so she lives at the beach now and checks in every now and then and that’s just the deal with Madison. Her boyfriend is significantly older. He is an adult. It’s creepy and weird but legal and it’s her body and life so, go, live at the beach, be in love, be poor, experience things, be free, have your heart broken and learn. She’s always welcome back. That has basically been my position on the situation since day one.

Madison left behind a room full of garbage and her 9 year old cat that she’s been saying since she was 12 that she’d take with her when she moved out. Realistically, Madison can’t take care of a cat, especially this cat, so we were begrudgingly fine with her leaving her behind. The cat’s name is Pixel, btw. She’s not a long-haired black/brown tabby, but she’s definitely fluffy and could never be accused of being short-haired, and she has a little nubbin of a bunny tail because of her origin story.

In the spring of 2006, my new friends in our new town, Jesse & Jen, called me up and said they found some kittens at Jesse’s house and they were sick and hurt and they didn’t know what to do with them. Jesse lives in the middle of nowhere with farmer’s fields on all sides of him and I guess the kittens had been born and living with their mom underneath the concrete steps on the back of his house, coming in and out through a cat-sized crack on the side. They were about 6-8 weeks old.

So Jesse & Jen trap the kittens and their mother and bring them over to my house in a cat carrier. There were five kittens, a couple of black and white ones, a grey tabby and our cat Pixel. All of the kittens had crusty, bloody, infected stumps where their tails had formerly been and the worst case of worms I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes in an animal. While holding one of the kittens, I actually watched, in HORROR, as a worm slithered out of one of the kittens’ anuses and into its urethra, smooth as butter, causing the kitten to cry. It happened so fast and I was so unprepared for it, there was nothing I could do but watch this happen. My theory on the missing tails was that something big and predatory and too big to fit through the crack in the concrete steps chased the kittens to eat them and just nipped their tails every time until they didn’t have any more. They could have also been frostbitten, but it was been pretty warm.

The mama cat was black and her tail was intact and she was as feral as cats come, just nothing domesticated about her in the slightest.

At the time, I had a new house, the dog I always wanted and two little kids who thought these kittens were the greatest things that ever lived. The three of us decided I wanted to keep one and I let the kids decide which one they would theoretically want and each kid picked a different one and would not agree. I called Blake, my husband, at work and said, “Hey so there’s these cats here, can we have a cat?” and he said, “I’d really prefer not to have a cat”. So I kept both kittens the kids wanted and we named them Digit (the boy) and Pixel (the girl). Blake calls this “cat logic”. You don’t want ANY cats but you end up with TWO.

Here’s where Madison likes to point out that technically, she chose Digit and Wes chose Pixel. Madison would have been 8 and Wes would have been 3 or 4.

The other kittens and the mom were taken to the OSPCA by Jen after staying at our house overnight and throughout the first year, we watched the kittens grow and play and be delightful. Digit had an issue with spraying at one point but once we got them both fixed, that stopped, but now, since the smell of cat was in the carpet and on various things that are hard to get cat out of, they both started peeing where they shouldn’t have every now & then, but still almost always using the litter box and going outside often.

When the kittens were about a year old, Digit got hit on the road in front of our neighbour’s house and it was gross and sad and that was the end of Digit. That was also the beginning of the end of going outside for Pixel. I know it’s so fucking unlikely that I probably shouldn’t even mention it, but in my narrative for Pixel is that she saw Digit get hit on the road and it scared her so she stopped leaving our yard. Then she only went outside in the summer to massacre mice at night. Then she stopped going out at all.

For the first few years of her not going outside, she used the litter box, but still pee’d in the areas where there had been pee before, despite all the enzyme whatever cleaners we used. The carpet at the time was an old orange shag that came with our house so it was impossible to clean and then even after we replaced it, she’d still go to the same spots. Then we tried putting the litter boxes in those spots and she just picked new spots, so we took her to the vet to see if she had something wrong with her like an infection or kidney problems or something. He tested her urine, felt her abdomen, declared her healthy and that she was just being a shithead feral cat. (Our vet is more of a dog person.)

So for years, me and the kids (but not Blake because he wants no part in animal care) have been cleaning up after this cat who only uses the litter box when the planets are aligned just right and the Earth’s at a specific angle and it’s a full moon because what else are we going to do? There are four litter boxes in my house full of Cat Attract cat litter and she’s only used them three times and we can’t figure out why those three times, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Something we realized early on is that the cat disliked messes. If a towel was left on the floor, she pee’d on it. If a piece of clothing was on the floor, she’d pee on it. If someone left their bag leaned up against the couch but on the floor, there was a good chance she’d pee on it. The only person in the house who seemed to not understand this or simply didn’t care, was Madison.

As is often the case with teenagers, Madison’s room was never clean, and it wasn’t for lack of trying to keep it that way. Wes is the neat and tidy kid whose room is organized and Madison’s always been a force of nature with a room to match. Unfortunately, Pixel chose Madison as her “person” and Madison’s room as her dog-free, quiet place to hang out. She also chose Madison’s room as her own personal litter box because Madison’s room was always chaos with everything thrown on the floor and garbage in her bed.

Madison’s room has been clean one day per week, just enough to collect allowance, since forever and she didn’t tell us most of the times the cat pee’d in her room or on her things, she’d just leave a layer of clothes detritus on her floor at all times for the cat to pee on and then on Friday Chores Day, throw it all in the washing machine and pretend nothing ever happened. What she either didn’t realize or didn’t care about was that this was actually soaking into her carpet.

During this time, Madison was also entering that phase of the teen years where you close your door 24/7 because you’re either in your room hiding from your parents or you don’t want your parents snooping through your shit when you’re gone, so combine the fact that Madison was not cleaning up after the cat in her own room, where the cat was primarily peeing and she never opened her door, we never really knew the full scope of the damage until Madison moved out in May and the room was mostly empty except for garbage and items the cat had pee’d on and Madison didn’t want to take.

I won’t lie. Madison moving out affected me. I didn’t see it coming because our relationship was fine and I was choosing to trust her to do the things she promised to do and honour the agreements she made, but she didn’t and rather than be an honourable person, she decided to run away from her own compromises. That was disappointing to me, but again, like I said in the beginning, it’s her life and it’s hers to live.

During the stress of Madison leaving, I went in her room a lot and every time I was in there, I was astounded at how bad she had let her floor get with cat pee. It was evident to me that before we do anything with that room, we needed to redo the floor with laminate flooring or something that the cat can’t ruin, especially in case Madison came home. She 17. In my mind that means that we have one more year where we are obligated to provide for her a clean, safe place to sleep and I needed that room to be that for her.

I expressed this to my husband and a fight ensued. He wanted to know why Madison’s room took precedence over the living room, which he claimed was just as bad (not by a long shot), when she didn’t even live here anymore and he and Wes were in there all day, every day? I told him I felt like a bad mom, which to me should have been the end of it. I wanted to rip up the carpet and put laminate flooring in Madison’s room and then deep clean the living room carpet. He disagreed. Said we couldn’t afford it (which I thought was bullshit because we had just been talking about renovating my office weeks prior). I e-mailed my mother to get her advice and she wrote back the next day saying to rip up the carpet and deep clean the living room. I took that to mean “do Madison’s room” and thought that’d be the end of it.

Later that night, after Blake came home from work, I asked if we could go out for sushi. I had completed a colouring page by its deadline by the skin of my teeth and wanted to celebrate. (Apparently I didn’t actually voice that, which may or may not be true.)

While we were sitting in the parking lot, he brought up my mom’s e-mail and we had a heated fight about the issue again. I had been in the mood to celebrate and him picking a fight with me at that moment made me explode with rage, especially since I thought my mom’s reply was pretty clear on the order in which to do things and what the priorities were. Blake actually left me at the restaurant and drove around the block because I got up in his face and threatened to beat the shit out of him when we got home, which was just an anger threat, as if I could even beat him up and as if I’d still be mad by the time we got home.

He came and got me and we drove home in silence. That night I raged because I felt Blake had picked a fight and now I had to be left to deal with my own personal fallout an hour before I needed to be asleep so I could get up for work at 5am the next morning. I called my mom and all she did, as per usual, is make the situation worse by Saint Blaking me to death. She told me if I wanted the floor done that I should get in the car and go to the flooring store with the measurements and have them do it. She said this knowing full well that I’m mentally ill, specifically AGORAPHOBIC, afraid of driving and CAN’T do things like that, so this is the kind of help my mom gives. It’s not even help it’s just further antagonism so I don’t know why I ever bothered and will never make that mistake again.

After she suggested that I was so exasperated because it was just such a shitty, unhelpful thing to say that I slammed the phone against the wall 3 times until I broke the display. Blake thought I was throwing things around and he decided he was going to take Wes and stay at my mom’s that night.

When I woke up the next morning I was still mad. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t in my right mind because when you’re crazy, you don’t actually know you’re crazy. Along with agoraphobia, I also have bipolar disorder I and generalized anxiety disorder and I was in what I now know to be a “mixed state”, where you’re depressed and manic at the same time. In me, I guess this manifests as anger.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but in looking back, this was a long time coming. I had pretty much been without any mental health support for about a year, after my old shrink (who I really liked) retired and the new shrink the mental health centre assigned me was a pill dispensing automaton. She had advised me to try going off of my 2nd antidepressant, Cipralex, which had side effects I couldn’t deal with, before trying something else, so for the few months leading up to this situation, I was depressed and suicidal and everyone and their brother knew it but very few people seemed to even notice that I was slipping.

That morning I didn’t go to work. I had a shower and put on clean clothes with the conscious thought that “I may end up somewhere by the end of this”. Then I began loading everything Blake owned into garbage bags and dragged them all out to the driveway for his convenience because I wanted to show him how serious I was about this floor thing that shouldn’t have even been a fight yet somehow was.

I had just come in from taking the last load out when Blake messaged me on AIM, trying to talk. By that point I was beyond talking to. I was beyond rational. I was in a mixed state and in need of antipsychotics. And he was still fighting me on this floor thing. I told him not to come home unless it was to pick up his shit and started talking about how the house was mine. I told him if he showed up here I would have to call the police. He said he was on his way, sooooooooo…I called the police, thinking he was in the town 20 minutes away rather than my mom’s town an hour away.

When I called 911 I told them I needed police dispatch because I had some questions. I wanted to know if it would be possible for officers could be present so the fight didn’t escalate. And by escalate and I do mean violence because when I get like this I break shit and throw shit and could hurt you. When the lady on the other end of the phone asked if I felt I was in danger I said no, but I thought Blake might be. She told me, and please remember this because it’s important, that, “yes, officers are often called just to come keep the peace” and she said she’d send someone out.

When the cops got here I asked them to look at Madison’s room and tell Blake that it would be child abuse for her to move back into that room should she decide to come home. They’re the cops, surely they know what’s acceptable living quarters for a kid and what’s not. They weren’t interested in that. They wanted to know what started this whole thing, so I started telling them about the fight the night before and the one cop asked if any threats had been made. I said I didn’t think so. He asked me if I was sure, I was like, “not that I remember”. He asked a third time, and I said, “well I may have threatened to kill him in his sleep or something that I obviously didn’t mean” and that’s when both cops’ eyes lit up and they both said “WHOA WHOA WHOA” and stopped listening to me. The main cop, Officer Black, started lecturing me on how the police aren’t marriage counsellors and when I tried to defend myself and tell him that HIS OWN DISPATCH told me differently and that was the only reason they were there, he shot me down and said, “look, you’re probably gonna have to get a divorce if it’s gotten to the point of death threats” and I started unravelling right then and there. He told me they were going to charge me with uttering a death threat and that they were going to take me to jail. I said, “why? Why? What is that going to prove? That is a CHOICE,” I explained how I was mentally ill and had never been in trouble with the police before (on paper) so what on Earth did he think he would be accomplishing by making me go through all that? How was that helping this situation in any conceivable way? I said, “it sure sounds like you boys are all about bros before hos.” Officer Black didn’t like that.

After they stopped listening to me, my ears stopped hearing them, but I heard “need a divorce” from the lips of Officer Black’s mouth no less than 3 times and “jail” more times than that. Those two words echoed in my head and I became fixated on them. I don’t really know what happened next because for part of it I was definitely not in my right mind, part of it I just don’t remember and the rest I’ve only pieced together from things Blake or my lawyer’s said or I’ve heard in court and everyone’s versions of events are different. All I know is that the cops just up and left and said they’d be back and then Blake texted me 20 mins later that he was at the police station. Then I swallowed a metric fuck tonne of pills, went to sleep and tried to die.

MEANWHILE….Blake’s at the police station trying to explain to these backwoods idiot cops that this is not a domestic dispute, this is a mental health crisis. That when I told dispatch, when asked whose safety I was concerned with, I answered Blake’s, I meant because I was afraid it would escalate like that time I hit him with an axe handle a few days before we found out 3 days later I was pregnant and hormonal crazy on top of what we now know was undiagnosed/medicated mental illness. “Ooooooh,” said Officer Black, as Blake ended that story, “tell us more. *strokes chin*”

So as examples of WHAT I WAS TRYING TO AVOID BY CALLING THE COPS because he knows me and knows exactly what was happening, Blake tells them about the 3 brain chemistry related epic fights we had within the first 3 years of our 13 year marriage, PRIOR to diagnosis and medication, which ended up with me hitting him with something (axe handle, pregnant, which if I remember correctly, started with, “if you come near me I’m gonna fucking hit you with this,” and making good on the threat; then one time I hit him with a plastic juice pitcher after I didn’t get the desired effect from pouring ice water on him from it while he was sleeping and I was still raging over the fight we had a few hours before and I was pissed he COULD sleep) or destroyed property (one time we had a DEFINITE mental illness related fight that resulted in me taking his comics and ripping them all up and then when he said, “whatever! Go ahead!” and started ripping them up right along with me, I got pissed, grabbed his heavy ass guitar, took it outside and smashed it against a snowbank in the backyard until he asked me if I was done).

That’s when the cops say, “oh thanks for telling us all this horrific yet super old shit, we’re gonna charge your wife with assault with weapons and uttering death threats despite the fact that A) you told us she never said what she said she said and B) we were just told she was sent to the hospital after attempting suicide”.

NOPE. NOT A MENTAL HEALTH SITUATION AT ALL, GUYS!

“Oh and there’s gonna be a ‘no contact’ order so you guys can’t see each other until after she goes to jail and then court.”

Instead of neutralizing the situation, Officer Black antagonized me while in an agitated state and escalated the situation because he’s had no mental health training, but I’ll get to that later.

Apparently when I was in the psych ward at the hospital, it was completely illegal for Blake to come see me but I had no idea and neither did the hospital. Apparently because of the ‘no contact’ order, after I was discharged from the hospital, I was supposed be picked up by the police and taken to jail until my court date, but instead, Blake picked me up and I got to spend two days at home recalibrating and hiring a lawyer before surrendering myself to the police on the Friday.

That Friday, I went to the police station and was photographed and fingerprinted. I was in such shell shock that I can’t even tell you a single thing while I was there other than the following:

  • They don’t fingerprint you with ink anymore, they scan your fingers. It’s pretty cool.
  • When I asked why Officer Black escalated the situation rather than diffuse it, he said he didn’t and that his partner would back up anything he said. I asked him if he’d had any mental health training and he said no. When I told him maybe he should get some, he said, “ehn” and sorta shrugged. I’ve since learned that mental health training is available to them all but it’s voluntary. Oh and I did thank Officer Black for failing utterly at his job.

The plan was that I was surrendering myself to the police so I’d be processed first thing in the morning, before their bus thing left for the courthouse, have my day at court, ideally have the charges and the ‘no contact’ order thrown out and if not, have Blake be my assurity (post bail in Canadian) until the lawyer sorted it out and that would be the end of it. Blake hired our own lawyer rather than relying on duty counsel.

I go the courthouse in the back of the police bus by myself, in cuffs and they unload me and other buses of “prisoners” at the back of the building and put us in cells, 5 to a cell, segregated by gender. They cut the strings from my hoodie because they wouldn’t pull out. “Cut ‘em or take it off,” the lady guard said. *snip* I was allowed to keep my shoes because they didn’t have laces but the girls in my cell were wearing government-issued stringless shoes that didn’t fit any of them.

The cell was thick, white-painted brick walls, with a little waist high divider for the toilet and two wooden benches. I sat on the floor and let the other girls fight over the benches. I just kept my eyes in my lap and cried because this is a fucked up situation for anyone but you have to understand that I don’t leave my house or go anywhere or even have a doctor’s appointment by myself and haven’t for a very long time because I have massive phobias and anxiety.

The loudmouth of the girls in my cell said, “you don’t belong here, why are you here”, not as a question but more as a matter of fact. I told her I threatened to kill my husband because up until that point that’s all I knew I was being charged with. “Ya shoulda fuckin’ done it,” she said, and then started yelling out the bars of our cell to her real life boyfriend who was in the cell across from us.

They gave us ham sandwiches and juice boxes. The sandwiches were good. The juice boxes were juice boxes.

They called my name and I put my hands through the slot in the cell door, they handcuffed me and let me to a little room made out of thin drywall where I met my lawyer for the first time. Her name was Angela and we picked her because she had a dog on her website. It’s always good to go with the ones with animals on their sites for shrinks and lawyers, just as a general life rule. She told me about the assault with weapons charges and that Blake couldn’t be my assurity because of the ‘no contact’ order and I’m like, I’m being charged with WHAT? What assault? WHAT? And when she read the cop’s report I was like, “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me”. She told me not to worry (don’t they always say that?), that Blake was trying to get a hold of my best friend Alex to come and be my assurity so I didn’t have to spend the weekend in jail. Then I’m taken back to the cell and I take my seat on the floor, start crying again. I’d smuggled in two Kleenexes, which were sopping wet. The loudmouth girl said, “how’d it go?” so I told her what I was being charged with and why. She said, “see? I told ya you shoulda killed him.”

There was an older lady sitting on the bench across from me and she tried distracting me from the horrors of jail by telling me of its highlights, “it’s like summer camp!” she promised. I asked her what they let you have there, meaning like, paper, a pencil, a book, an ipod….”Nothing,” she answered. Oh.

They called my name again. Cuffs again. Taken to the little room again. While I waited for my lawyer to show up on the other side of the glass, I could hear people talking to their lawyers in the little rooms on either side of me. Angela shows up, says she has good news. They couldn’t use Alex for assurity because she happened to be in Militiagan at the time visiting her husband’s family “but don’t worry, Blake called your mom and she’s on her way.” I was equal parts happy and horrified.

Eventually I’m taken in cuffs to the courtroom. They sat me in a little box to the side of the court with bullet-proof glass on half of it and words were said and my mom was there and she was looking at me sometimes but Blake wasn’t (I figured they told him not to make contact with me and I was right). The charges were read out and it was made so that I couldn’t go anywhere without my mom and I had to live at her house until the ‘no contact’ order was lifted. My court date was for 6 weeks later.

Without going into the gory details because if you know me at all or have read things I’ve written before, you know that my mom had me when she was 15 and my childhood was not an easy one. I was legally emancipated from my parents when I was 15, with the help of the government, because they felt it was in my better interest to be left to my own defenses than be “parented” by either people claiming the title. This doesn’t happen when you come from a “nice family” or a “good home”.

My mother and I get along fabulously as long as the topic of my childhood is avoided at all costs because her version of events and my memories are not the same. Naturally, because this was a mental health situation, which is generally linked to my childhood and family history, the subject was gonna come up if I had to stay with her and I was so worried that it was going to ruin all the progress we’d made over the years to finally get along. I don’t care what she says, she was a shitty “kid mom”, she just was, and I blame it completely on the fact that she was a kid too and we were raised in a difficult family by difficult and mentally ill people, but as an “adult mom” and grama to my kids, she and her fiancé have been pretty great.

I was grateful. My mom saved my ass from jail. She can scratch that off her bucket list! Blake left the courthouse to pack stuff for me to stay at my mom’s house for an indefinite amount of time, my mom and I signed paperwork and then we met him at a Tim Hortons where he gave me my stuff and I went to live with my mom. When my mom saw my webcam attached to my 2nd monitor, she turned up her nose and said “just what do you think you’re going to be needing that for?” as if I was a 25 year old camgirl camming from my bedroom in my mom’s house and it was any of her business. “Uh, for Skype training? Work meetings?” because at the time I was at the end of training three people every morning for several months at my actual job, that is a for real thing, that I do from home, with real people, for real dollars and we do have weekly work meetings via webcam. This is the world in which I function. It is very different from my mom’s.

When he got home, my mom’s fiancé was livid. He has a temper and spent the evening outside screaming at her under my window about how I couldn’t stay there which is exactly what I needed two days after getting out of the psych ward and then a cell, when the world was still so fucking bright and noisy and I was still so raw. As they fought, I set my stuff up in her sun room and cried because I was in the 2nd last place I wanted to be, with someone screaming about basically what a burden and inconvenience I am after I just tried to kill myself and those are common themes among mentally ill people when they rationalize suicide. And I better not be using their internet! I better not be using their internet because I will inevitably go over their bandwidth usage! Wanna know how much it costs in data in this country to work from home for a technology company when your sole internet is tethering your phone for 10 days? Cuz I can tell you!

Eventually he came around but it was made pretty clear that if I made so much as a peep or affected his life in any way, he’d shit on our collective heads so I walked on eggshells the whole time and stayed in my room as much as possible. We tried but my mom and I just didn’t get along. It felt like she kept picking fights with me and food policing and gaslighting and it was pretty clear that this was not a healthy environment for me so while grateful for her help and shelter, I was greatly anticipating Alex’s return to Canada so I could go live with her instead.

I don’t want to seem like a shithead who doesn’t appreciate what her mother did for her, I don’t, at the end I was reluctant to leave her because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to adult by myself, but after about 10 days, finally Alex was home and we went to court and “custody” was transferred from my mom to Alex and it was just like fucking “hallelujah”.

Alex’s was better because she lived in the city closest to my house, my house that I could no longer go to because Blake lives there, but also closest to all of the mental health services I was going to need. Alex and her husband, Ronny, and I think her dad too, cleared out a room for me in the basement with a desk, a bed and a shelf. I had a mini fridge that I brought in and kept cheese, milk and Diet Coke in and I lived on that, cereal and peanut butter and banana sandwiches because I could make those in my room and didn’t have to go upstairs to the kitchen and have uncomfortable conversations with Alex’s dad, who I barely knew.  I also ate out with Ronny and Alex a lot, most specifically veggie sushi and tuna subs from Mr. Sub so I could get fresh protein and vegetables. I couldn’t keep a lot in my fridge because the temperature was wonky and it froze almost everything you put on the top shelf. It was the same fridge my grampa gave me when Madison was about a year old and my big fridge died and it was old then. No wonder it died like, 4 days before I ended up going home.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was worried about staying at Alex’s, especially knowing that I’d be there for so long I mean, at the time it was August and the crown (Canadian District Attorney, works for da Queen) and my lawyer were talking about October. I was going to miss another summer. I was going to spend my summer in a strange basement, which is not the best place for me because one of the known things about my mental health is that my delicate butterfly moods do change, not with the weather as they say, but with the light. The less daylight I get per day, the more depressed I get, the more grey days in a row, the more suicidal the thoughts become. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder pretty terribly and even with a special lightbox, winters are hellacious and it’s because of the light. To combat this, we bought two lamps for the room with 100 watt full spectrum bulbs and I think they helped a lot. I still needed to go outside every few days, but I don’t think I was as affected by being in the basement as much as I was afraid I’d be.

Dealing with my mental health centre was a nightmare, but I did get a new shrink. Blake’s been managing my pills ever since I started taking pills because it’s been so complicated over the years and I am terrified of screwing them up or running out that it’s just safer for everyone if he does it. For 9 years, he has been calling both the mental health centre and the pharmacy to deal with pills, so when they were only dispensing me pills seven days at a time due to my suicide attempt and not communicating with him for reasons we still don’t even understand, it was problematic because I was living at my mom’s, an hour and a half away from my pharmacy and unable to get pills in my mom’s town because it was highly likely my mom would withhold my pills from me so I’d have no choice but to go get them myself, which is like giving me a mensa puzzle when I’m still on jigsaws, it’s timed, and the stakes are life or death. Despite the ‘no contact’ order, Blake was going to get my pills and bring them to my mom to give to me, until I could get transferred to Alex’s, and doing it every seven days – on multiple days – when I was so far away and not a suicide threat was asinine. And then the new shrink wouldn’t prescribe me my 2nd antidepressant, the one the prior shitty shrink told me to try going off of but if I couldn’t hack it to go back on it so two months prior to the suicide attempt, I had started taking 5mg of it daily. The hospital didn’t write it in their paperwork even though I was taking it there so I guess the mental health centre…didn’t believe me? Shitty shrink didn’t write it in my file? I’m not sure but for whatever reason, they wouldn’t believe Blake when he told them I needed it and when I left a message for the new shrink on their medline saying that I needed it, she didn’t prescribe it to me. So does that make ANY sense to you? Let’s deprive the depressed, displaced, suicidal girl going through legal hell of her antidepressant for no reason! *slow clap*

Rather than Blake just talking to the front desk, they tried to get a social nurse (whatever that is) and their director involved until I e-mailed the director and was just like, forget it, I guess I’ll go without my medication, make sure the paperwork for the mental health centre to talk to Blake about meds is there for me to sign when I see my new shrink in September.

Then trying to get the new shrink to write a proper letter for the courts as to my diagnoses and prognosis was like pulling teeth. I had to have my lawyer contact them, like for some reason they didn’t believe that this was real and that I actually had a lawyer and I could go to jail, and then Ronny had to drive me to their office 45 minutes away so I could sign another release form, get a copy of the letter and then come home, scan it and e-mail it to my lawyer within a span of about two hours or we wouldn’t have it in time for court.

The letter gave my history of mental illness and said that I would be seeing the new shrink for pharmacological monitoring but that I needed to seek a therapist or group therapy for more cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which I was already way ahead of because obviously this mental health centre had failed me over the course of the past year with the shrink they stuck me with, after my old one retired, not doing her fucking job leading to this exact predicament, so I knew I needed outside non-government help. I found an art therapist in the area who incorporates CBT into her practice and as of now I’ve already seen her five times. The letter from my shrink recommended four months of CBT every two weeks, which thankfully our insutrance covers 90% of because after paying for my internet while I was at my mom’s and the lawyer, and cutting my hours by 1/3 AND we need a new roof or we lose 1/3 of our house plus the furnace, we’re pretty screwed for a while. Woulda been cheaper to just do the floor.

So that basically brings me up to present. On Tuesday, October 13th I pled guilty to one count of mischief for breaking Blake’s guitar. I was given a conditional discharge, the conditions of which are that I do what my shrink said in her letter, report to a probation officer once a month for the next 11 months with a receipt from my art therapist and I have to pay $100 to a victim’s fund of some sort that I am happy to pay because I’ve seen it legit help people with my own eyes. That’s a fantastic use of my money. I have no criminal record and I have never been convicted of a crime. Blake signed a piece of paper at the probation office that broke the contact order so I’m back home now. I have two ombudsmen I can lodge complaints to regarding the lack of mental health training for OPP officers and the lack of mental health care I’ve received over the last year from the mental health centre I’ve been going to for nine years. Normally I’d be okay with getting away with my hide but we live in an area with a high incidence of mental illness because we’re a catchall community for one of the province’s largest psychiatric institutions and just a few years ago, a mentally ill man was shot in my town of 2000 people by an OPP officer. Maybe if that cop would have had mental health training the mentally ill man would have been tased instead and alive today. I mean, it just makes sense when they’re going to potentially be dealing with a higher incidence of mentally ill people that the police have some kind of mandatory training in dealing with them. That’s just the basics for knowing how to serve and protect a community, wouldn’t you think?

While I was gone, Blake tore up Madison’s carpet and underneath was fucking LINOLEUM! Practically impenetrable to cat urine! Then he took a class at Home Depot on how to install wood laminate flooring and with the help of the neighbour’s saw, Madison’s floor is pretty close to being finished and Wes is ready to move into the bigger room and then Blake’s going to put his office in Wes’ current bedroom. Wes wants his room to be orange but Blake “talked him into” a light blue room. I don’t see why it can’t be like, white on two walls and orange on the other two or something. He’s going to be in it for 6 more years, might as well make it his own.

As for Madison, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend and she’s “too busy” to come after not speaking to me since I tried to kill myself. She says she’s “punishing” me for what I “did” to Wes in trying to commit suicide, despite the  fact that everyone has told her that Wes and I are fine and Wes even asked her a long ago not to “punish” me on his behalf. I’ve reached out to her three or four times in the last two and a half months but nothing. She and Blake were the only people I said goodbye to when I decided to swallow the pills, Madison via Facebook messenger. She told Blake she thought I was just being melodramatic.  She’s “liked” three or four different things I’ve said or posted on Facebook so I know that not all is lost and she just needs her space right now.

A lot of you have probably been screaming the whole time, “WHAT ABOUT THE FUCKING CAT? Why didn’t you get rid of the cat?” and I ask you, dear reader, do YOU want her and can YOU promise me you’re going to give her a good life? We can’t take her to the shelter, they’re all kill shelters and the ones that aren’t only take strays. Who is going to adopt a cat at the end of her life who has a peeing problem? (Although we do think that if she lived in a house with no other pets she might actually be okay.) We can’t put her down, she’s mentally ill. *I* am mentally ill and I sure hope no one would euthanize me if I started peeing in undesirable areas. We offer this cat to everyone we meet, we even offer to pay people to take her with the agreement that we’ll take care of her financially for the rest of her life, but she just can’t live here. No takers. We’re willing to pay someone to take the cat AND fly her anywhere in Canada. Nope, not a one will take us up on the offer. We live in Northern-ish Ontario, she looks like she’s got the coat for it, but she can’t just become an outdoor cat. We got our first snow this morning.

I wish I could find her a cat sanctuary like the kind my friend Phaedie works for. Phaedie is this magical cat lady who works for RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society). She takes care of hundreds of cats every day, almost none of which are adoptable because they’re mostly strays and ferals. She tells me that sometimes, especially with ferals, some cats are just pissers. It’s just their nature. Not all cats are good cats. Pixel doesn’t even clean herself. What kind of cat doesn’t clean herself? A cat that just doesn’t cat right, that’s what kind and that’s the kind I’ve got and we have to do something about. I tried to kill myself, essentially because of this animal, it’s pretty literally her or me at this point. We’ve tried pheromone sprays, cat attracting cat litter, putting the litter boxes in every conceivable place, keeping every piece of minutiae off the floor and every single thing anyone has suggested we try. The only thing we haven’t tried because I think it’s pretty extreme to do to a 9 year old cat, is crate training. The fact of the matter is, she is never going to use a litter box in this house on any consistent basis. That is just a fact.

So, what do I do with this cat? How do I find her a place where she can live the rest of her life happy and at peace? How do I still honour the contract I entered when I told her as a kitten that I’d take care of her for the rest of her life, for better or for worse and not lose my shit completely? I don’t know, but if anyone else does, I’m all ears.

January 31, 2015

2.5 Hours ‘Til Work

I kinda like working on Saturdays now, where before I used to dread it and referred to it as “a marathon, not a sprint” because it was just me vs. thousands of unhappy people for 9 hours but now during my shift, I have three trainees who don’t necessarily make my day any easier but at least it’s not so damn lonely anymore. Two of the trainees are new people to me, both dudes, and I’m potentially going to meet at least one of them, if not both, when we’re in San Francisco.  Actually when we’re in SF, I’m going to be having a work meetup with those two hopefully, along with two other coworkers. The cottage that we rented has a backyard and I’m hoping whatever day we do this, it doesn’t rain so we can all sit out there because the cottage itself is pretty small and you can’t really like, talk and hang out and socialize at a restaurant. So that’ll be cool.

I went to my shrink on Monday and we decided not to mess with my meds until I get back from SF, but she wants to get me off of clonazepam (I take 0.5mg before bed and 1.5mg before a work meeting) because she says I’ve been on it too long and it’s not good for me. I told her I was totally fine with that if she had something to replace it with. She suggested cognitive behavioural therapy and I just about lost my mind. THIS is what I did with my cognitive behavioural therapy certificate of completion and sums up my feelings on the subject:

She pretty much wants me to stay on Cipralex despite my sexual dysfunction, but is willing to try Prestiq/Effexor instead. She has this neat book with all the drugs in it, or maybe just the psychiatric ones, and it has charts with percentages of victims/patients who experienced whatever side effect. All of the other anti-depressants available to me made 30% of patients gain weight (not doing that again) except Prestiq/Effexor. Ten percent of people on both Prestiq and Cipralex experienced sexual dysfunction. So it could help or it might not. *shrug* Cipralex is a fantastic anti-depressant, so it sucks that it causes this issue for me. Hopefully Prestiq is better.

Speaking of sex, yesterday morning my friend told me about this awesome deal Amazon had, which was 60% off LELO vibrators and I ended up getting the exact one I wanted, which is $229 on LELO’s website, for $145. Deal of the year! All the camgirls swear their undying love for LELOs and my little bullet, the same one my friend Quimm Anaheim sent me like, oh god, 6 or 7 years ago now because she felt bad at my state of toylessness, is finally starting to die so I’d been looking for something to replace it with. I’ve never learned the trick to the whole g-spot deal, so I guess we’ll see what happens. The idea is to use the LELO *with* the Foria in San Francisco, ideally blowing my head off. :o) We’ll see…

Something we’ve gotten into recently – don’t laugh – is Magic: The Gathering. See, we live in a REALLY tiny town and the only thing to do in this town on a Friday night is go to the dive bar, go to the sports bar, or play Magic at the comic shop which doesn’t close until midnight, minimum. All the cool people in our vicinity choose the latter. It started with Madison and then Madison said I should play so I walked into the comic shop with the intention of spending $35 building a deck and I walked out of there about $120 lighter…Then Blake started playing and Wes has a deck that Madison built him for Xmas which is all wolf-themed, but he doesn’t really play with us. He usually goes to the comic shop when we play there, though, just to watch. I’m too green to play at the comic shop, but I did participate in 2 of the pre-release weekend events (sort of). I first one was on the Friday and you got your box which had 4 or 5 packs of cards in it, 2 or 3 of them from the new series being released and one a seeded pack of better cards (theoretically) so you open those and make a deck with those cards and then you play a Magic tournament with those decks. I was on board because I liked that everyone was on a level playing field, no one had like, uber thousand dollar cards or anything, so I figured I actually had a chance of not losing horribly, but then I realized that I would have to play with people I didn’t know and Blake or Madison wouldn’t be with me while I was playing to help me (because I’m still pretty new and I still don’t understand attacking/blocking/logic), so I just opened my packs there, as was the requirement, and dropped out of playing in favour of going home. The deck I made that night was black and white and actually pretty solid, I even pulled a planeswalker, so I probably could have done well but my anxiety was through the roof. I had to work on the Saturday so I couldn’t take part in the 2 events that day but Blake and I did take part in the “two-headed giant”, I think they called it? Where Blake and I were a team against another team. That was good. We lost both of our games, but I wasn’t anxious at all and I didn’t feel like such a n00b. I made a red/white/black deck that day and then when we bought our box of boosters on release day, I built on it further and now the stupid thing is a ridiculous 75 cards that I haven’t played with enough to pare down yet.

I think I’m a long way away from being able to play Magic at the comic shop but it’s something to work up to, I guess.

Oh, and did you know that one of the characters in Magic is trans? Her name is Alesha and she smiles at death. Before even knowing about that, she was pretty much the reason I decided to stick with the red/white/black deck. It’s not because she’s any uber kinda card or anything, I just liked her name and I pulled the promo foil of her.

Anyway, it’s now a half hour until work so I’m going to medicate and eat something and get on with my day.

PS. I don’t think all of my WordPress posts are x-posting to people’s Live Journal friends lists. They do show up on my LJ though (and my site) so if it feels like you might have missed something, check there.

PPS. I made a page on my site about weed.

PPPS. What are you listening to right now?

July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Hi.

So yesterday was my last appointment with my shrink and it was pretty weird because there was no emotion, for either of us, and I didn’t really have anything to talk to her about because nothing’s really happening. My meds are the same (well, she actually weaned me off the gabapentin, which is awesome) I told her my grama died but I didn’t get into the funeral craziness because that’s a can of worms she knows very little about, so I might as well save that for the new shrink. Not that there’s much to really talk about at this stage of the game anyway or that there will be anything in the future. She wrote me a 6 month prescription for all of my meds and said someone would call me eventually to set up an appointment with my new shrink, who we don’t know as of yet.

The biggest thing that’s bugging me right now, and I told her this, is that I haven’t really been driving and I haven’t really been driving for a lot of reasons. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we live in a touristy area with all our beaches so there’s a lot of traffic now that the kids are out of school and the beaches are busy and that’s where I was primarily going. Also Madison has her learner’s permit now and just completed the class portion of Young Drivers (driving school) and I’m scared if we go anywhere she’s going to either tell me I’m a shitty driver or pick up my shitty driving habits that I don’t even know that I have (I took Young Drivers too), but I’m sure I do. I worry constantly that I’m a shitty driver and having someone say it, even someone with like, 2 days driving experience, would freak me right out. Getting Wes to come with me anywhere, even when it benefits him, is like pulling teeth. So far I’ve talked him into getting Chinese food with me and then to Nicholyn Farms, which is my new favourite place.

Nicholyn Farms is basically a grocery store for a farm but in the back they have a little sandwich and ice cream shop so the one day Wes and I went there and got sandwiches and I got him and Madison organic strawberry milk (blech). The rest of the store is full of fridges and freezers full of organic, free range, no antibiotics/hormones meats and meat products; all kinds of vegan and vegetarian stuff made locally; shelves of all kinds of craft spreads and sauces, most of which are veggie or vegan and of course organic produce. The place is magical because there are lots of things there that don’t gross me out. For example, ground beef really gives me the willies and the reason it does – and you can argue that this is completely irrational, maybe it is – is because when you buy ground beef at the grocery store or you get a hamburger at McDonald’s (or anywhere), you’re probably eating the DNA of like, 100 cows. And I don’t think that’s healthy – and this is my own theory, but I think it may contribute to cancer. I don’t think human beings are supposed to eat like that. If they were, cows would be much smaller and easier to catch, kill and cook, if we were still catching and killing our own food, which, again arguably, is how we “should” be eating, if you believe we should be eating meat at all. At Nicholyn Farms, when you buy ground beef, it’s probably from one cow. That is a natural and healthy way to eat. That’s normal. That’s how people have been eating since the dawn of time. That said, I’m still a little “iffy” on the amount of individual DNA in their chicken burgers, but I still figure no matter what, it’ll be less than anything from a grocery store or restaurant.

Anyway, what started us going there was I had a really shitty experience at The Keg, which is a steakhouse chain. A pretty expensive one that we never go to because it’s expensive. What I get there, every single time, is their filet – medium –  which comes with garlic mashed potatoes and is around $40. So the last time we were there was during the period of time where I was having difficulty eating and losing weight like crazy because I was so sick all the time and I put that in past tense because *knock on wood* the marijuana gods have been good to me lately, and the only thing one day that I could think of to eat was steak and it had been like, 3 days since I’d eaten anything so at that point, money was no object, I just needed to get food in me. I order the filet, again, medium. When it comes, I cut into it and it’s pretty rare, which grosses me out and since my stomach was fragile to begin with, it turned me right off food again and I just couldn’t eat. I tried to eat like, the edges, but the rest was just raw and gross. Blake finishes his meal and we ask for a bill. The waitress takes our plates and asks why I didn’t eat my steak. So I said I just didn’t like it and wanted to get the fuck out of there. Well then the manager comes over and he says, “I saw your steak on the way back to the kitchen and it didn’t look very good so I’m going to take $20 off your bill.” So that was nice of them but it still bummed me out because The Keg is now no longer an option and you can’t get that kind/cut of steak at the grocery store here. I didn’t know where people bought good raw steaks, but it wasn’t any of the major grocery stores, that was for sure.

Then one day we were driving past Nicholyn Farms and the sign out front said they had elk for sale so I asked Blake to turn around because elk is awesome. I’d only had it once and was curious to see how much it would be to buy an elk roast (about $50, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me, but not in our budget at the moment).

Well, we go in and start looking at the stuff in the freezers and I open the one with the steaks and they have the same steak I could pay $40 for at The Keg for like $16. They’re vacuum sealed and frozen, like Omaha Steaks, which were the best steaks I’d ever had up until now. Stoked, I get 2 of them (one was bacon-wrapped, I didn’t like that one), and Blake made it for me the next day on the BBQ and it was literally the best steak I’d ever eaten in my whole life. Like, it was almost shocking what beef is SUPPOSED to taste like vs. what grocery store steak DOES taste like. And I don’t like any foofy spices or anything on my steak either, which all restaurants do, so it was a bonus in that regard as well. Ever since, Blake and I have been buying each other steak dinners, courtesy of Nicholyn Farms and it’s been awesome, especially when you pair the steak with potatoes dug out of their own fields.

They also have homemade pierogi and pre-made meals that I love. They have single-serve sizes of a few things but I only like their shepherd’s pie and macaroni and cheese which are $5-6. All mass-produced shepherd’s pie is gross to me (see ground beef) and making it is a total pain in the ass. It’s one of my go-to foods though and up until we found Nicholyn Farms, I’d been paying $14 + tax for it from Flynn’s, it wasn’t that great and it was cold by the time we got it home. We went to Nicholyn’s yesterday and I got one of their pre-made chicken alfredos, so we’ll see how that is. And finally, they have like, honest to god organic , hand-made frozen TV dinners in segregated plastic containers that remind me of my great grama because when I was little, she used to make me TV dinners in pie plates and tin foil that she’d freeze after making a roast or whatnot. This was pre-microwaves. I haven’t tried the chicken one yet, but the beef dinner has three large slices of roast beef with no fat on them with gravy, at least a full cup of carrots and enough mashed potatoes that I’d safely wager that there’s at least a whole potato in each one. A Swanson TV dinner from the grocery store, not on sale, is about $4-5 and everything in it is questionable. They use flaked potatoes. With the Nicholyn Farms ones, they’re $7 but it’s all stuff that’s good for you and when I had the beef one last week, I couldn’t finish it because there was just too much food.

Ah, the benefits of living in farm country. It makes the occasional stench of manure-sprayed fields worth it.

Anyway, all of this is good because it’s stuff I can eat (yay!) and stuff I can make myself (bonus!).

Other than that, not a whole lot has been happening. I’ve been making things that I don’t want to discuss yet for a project that I can’t discuss yet and I’ve been watching a lot of really shitty Netflix movies while I do it.

And that’s all the poop that’s fit to scoop.

May 12, 2014

Ooooh You Fancy

Saturday morning, Blake and I went to Cora’s for breakfast, as has been our tradition for the last few weeks, and on our way back, Blake asked if I minded if we stopped in at the Hyundai dealership because he wanted to ask about a car. He’s been talking about cars for the last couple of weeks but I thought it was just talk in preparation for later. As far as I knew, we weren’t getting a new car until next spring. Apparently I misunderstood and long story short, Blake bought a new car on Saturday and he picks it up on Friday. He, unbelievably to me, bought a car that I can’t drive because it’s standard and DO NOT tell me I can learn because that is not the goddamn point. Driving is almost impossible for me as it is and he bought a car that adds a great big serving of extra difficulty. And don’t tell me it’s easy either. Fuck you. Again, that is not the point.

So now that I’ve said that, now that I’ve stated to the universe for the record that I am absolutely livid and deeply hurt that he did this, allow me to continue.

See, what happened was he was telling me about all the features over the phone while I was trying to work and I was like, “I do not give a fuck this is not my car, I will not be driving it”. It never even occurred to me in a billion years that he would buy a car that only he could drive. Standard transmissions simply do not exist in my world.  I don’t know how they work, I don’t know how to work them and I don’t fucking care because they make these crazy newfangled fancy automatic transmissions now and in 2014, people who “drive stick” on purpose and are proud of it are beyond my comprehension. Unless you’re driving a Mack truck or a tractor I just don’t see the point. There are two types of people guaranteed to annoy the ever-loving shit out of me: first, “horse people”, keep those fuckers away from me; secondly, “car men” (and I say “men” because I’ve known a million of those but only one person I’d consider a “car woman”). Those are two subjects I have negative interest in so if those are your primary areas of expertise, um, I’m sorry, and you better be super funny or have other interests or something because we probably aren’t going to be friends otherwise. And until last night at around midnight when Madison told me he bought a car with a standard transmission, I thought Blake felt the same way. If people asked what kind of car he had, he said “a red one” because the kind AND even the colour he would say, ultimately, didn’t matter because we picked the colour the dealership had that day. But standard transmissions apparently exist in Blake’s world so when that was presented to him by the salesman, who I’m sure was a real swell guy, with a million bells & whistles for only like, $20 more a month than we were paying for our current car (which we only stopped making payments on recently) that the fanciest thing on it is that the FRONT windows are power windows, the back ones aren’t though, that’s how base model it is, Blake went for it. Because after all, I wasn’t going to be driving it anyway, right? He thinks this detail SO INSIGNIFICANT that he doesn’t even tell me about it. I know it has a moon roof (who fucking cares, that’s stupid and if I could have picked one without that I would have). It has ass warmers. I know it has cruise control, which I’m glad he has. I know it has air conditioning, which I’m glad he has. I know it has a rear-facing camera, which is just whatever. Blake could parallel park the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile in the middle of Toronto during a blackout. Big fucking deal. It has bluetooth something and a big screen on the dashboard so he can see in super big letters what song he’s listening to. It doesn’t have GPS or anything useful on that screen, just basically music information. According to Blake. So this to me is nothing more than unnecessary  nerdbait. So I know ALL OF THIS BULLSHIT THAT I DON’T CARE ABOUT OR I’M IMPRESSED BY IN ANY WAY, but he doesn’t tell me, “oh and I’m the only one who can drive it”. Uh, that should be fact #fucking 1 when you call me on the phone asking me if you should buy the fucking thing. Oh and I know it’s silver. That should be fact #fucking2.

When he came home from the dealership he said “we” bought a car. There was no “we” involved. There was no “we” in his thinking. Blake bought himself a car that only he can drive. A car that we didn’t even need because the only thing wrong with the old one was that it didn’t have AC or cruise control. Let me state for the record that when we bought the last car, I told him to get both of those things and when he said money would have to come from other places, I said that was fine. Because I was actually at the dealership for that one. The only reason I wasn’t at the dealership this time was because I had to work.

And I know full well how venomous I’m being right now. I warned Blake that I would be processing this ENTIRE car thing – because there’s more to it than this – via blog because that’s just what I do. I’m writing this NOW so I don’t bring it up in every fight we have from now until we die.

Having said all this, here’s what Blake really did or thought he was doing:

– made it supposedly financially feasible for me to have my own car despite my having no use for one
– Madison turns 16 on Friday and will be getting her learner’s permit on Monday, so he’s enabled her to have access to something to practice on…if I’m with her.
– got the air conditioning and cruise control that we wanted to get in the old car because he has a 4 hour commute twice a week which sucks 2 months out of the year, but couldn’t afford at the time

The car he bought, supposedly, *was* “just what they had”, like the floor model, when they said “standard or automatic?” to google their inventory Blake probably said it didn’t matter because Blake doesn’t care about cars (supposedly) and is really cheap, so he wants the most bang for his very small buck. To get a more modest car or an automatic transmission, he said it would have cost more money and we would either have had to trade in or sell the car we have now or wait another year to get a second car because I guess spring is the best time to buy cars because of reasons, I dunno and I don’t want Blake to have to go another summer without AC & cruise control. It’s just the fact that I wasn’t even a consideration in the most important aspect of this supposed “married people ‘we’ purchase”.

When Blake and I were talking about it last night because you’re goddamn right I woke his ass up in the middle of the night when I found out he bought a car I cannot drive, he told me to pretend like he hadn’t signed the paperwork yet and to tell him what decision to make because if it bothered me that much, he was pretty sure he could get out of it. He’d probably lose his deposit but the deal didn’t need to take place. But he presented me with all of these scenarios that ended up with us still only having one car or still only having the old car with no air conditioning or cruise control which he refuses to be an option, so there really wasn’t a choice to be made if those were the only options.

So as of Friday, Blake has a new car. A new car that I can’t drive. It’s silver and it’s fancy. I haven’t even seen it and I despise everything about it. I despise how we came to have it and I despise what it means. I just want to take a crowbar to the fucking thing and light it on fire. I will celebrate every dent and ding of this car’s natural born life. The more I write, the angrier I get and the more I don’t know if I can do this. I feel like I’m being lied to and manipulated, like there probably WAS another option and he’s just lying because he wants air conditioning so badly OR the salesguy is full of crap and actually CAN give us a better deal on a car I can live with. He says this is the cheapest car on the market, well maybe I don’t believe that. Maybe we could go to another dealership and tell them what this dealership is offering and they can give us something better that is more modest and more inclusive. Blake does it all the time with the cable companies. I just feel like he didn’t even try at all, and I know he didn’t because I wasn’t a thought in his mind.  I should have never said yes. No one should walk into a dealership and just buy a car the same day. That’s not enough time to think. That tells me they got suckered/upsold into something and Blake’s just not telling me what or he hasn’t realized it yet. For THAT DAY ONLY we could get no payments for 60 days. Why only that day?

SOMETHING IS JUST WRONG. THIS HAPPENED TOO FAST.

So as of Friday, I have my own car. Yay. It’s going to sit in the driveway and rot. Maybe I’ll take a crowbar to that one and light that one on fire. Drive it into a wall. It is mine he said, after all. Blake says it’s normal for families to have 2 cars but it doesn’t feel right or normal to me AT ALL. I am extremely uncomfortable with the entire situation from every conceivable angle. 99% of me wants no part in any of this 2 car business whatsoever but there’s 1% of me who agrees with Blake that maybe in the summer if he’s at work, it’s hot as fuck outside and we’re all stuck inside that me or Madison could drive us all to the beach. But then there’s the realistic side of me who knows that isn’t going to happen and I can’t afford for it to happen anyway. I can’t afford gas, I can’t afford parking, I have no way of increasing my income and I’m stretched as thin as possible.  I see no other practical application for this car involving me. Explain to me why I’m supposed to be excited about this again? Because clearly I’m missing it.

And I also realize that probably every single one of you reading this is thinking I’ve lost my mind and I’m making a big deal over nothing and that I should be happy I have a car and I agree with you! You’re also probably thinking “Saint Blake” thoughts. This is not particularly rational but if you know me at ALL you know that I am NOT A RATIONAL PERSON and I don’t do well with change. We got a dishwasher last month and every single time I go into the kitchen and it’s running and I can’t get a fork or I have to interact with it, I think “who are we?” I don’t even know how to use it, haven’t even looked at the buttons, I want no part in it. It’s witchcraft. I’m getting better at ignoring its existence though, just as I’m sure I’ll eventually get better at ignoring Blake’s existence the less he considers me until we die.

Now I’ve been interrupted by a work meeting, kids coming home and Blake finishing work so there’s no way I can finish this post properly. I’m going to tell Blake that we can keep things as they are with his new toy, but I’m just gonna be sad about it and disappointed in him for a little while. This post may also need to be a two-parter, I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m any better off now than before I started writing this.

PS. Our driveway won’t even hold 2 cars and there’s not a chance in hell I’m shoveling the driveway. Thought I’d throw that out there also.

May 6, 2014

Sunny Versus the Volcano

So as I’ve mentioned before, I hate smoking cannabis and I can’t eat it. That leaves vaporizing. For those who have no idea what that is, vaporizing is where you have a device that heats up finely ground weed, which I *think* makes everything good in the weed (cannabinoids) evaporate (?) and it creates vapor that you inhale the way you would smoke but it’s a million times better for your lungs than smoking and you theoretically use less cannabis with a vaporizer than smoking it and definitely a lot less than eating.

There are all kinds of vaporizers on the market but they basically fall into two categories: personal and tabletop. A personal vaporizer is small, usually discreet and portable for medicating on the go; with these you use the draw of your own breath to inhale the vapor and they are powered by batteries. A tabletop vaporizer is exactly what it sounds like, it plugs into the wall, is usually about the size of a teakettle and some of them have a long hose (called a whip) where you again, use your own breath to draw the vapor out of the machine while others have fans built into them, shooting the vapor upwards and into plastic bags with special ends on them so the vapor doesn’t leak out and with these you “sip” the vapor out of the bag.

In the summer my friend lent me the tabletop kind with the whip and it didn’t do anything for me. Literally. I used it and nothing happened. A person I was with used it and got high as fuck on like, NOTHING, but that person is a lightweight so I figured I just didn’t use it enough or properly and I didn’t, at the time, want to use a gadget to medicate anyway so I gave it back to my friend. (And they told me before they lent it to me that “it’s not a very good one” so I figured it was the machine, not me.)

Then I became legal and since I was legal, I wanted to be able to medicate out in the world and I didn’t know how to roll a joint. That’s pretty much the end and short of it. Plus, better for your lungs, less weed etc. So I ask Blake for a Magic Flight Launch Box for Christmas as my main gift because I figured if it had its own really popular subreddit, it must be good*. He obliges and gives it to me early because I wanted to practice with it before we had to go to Blake’s work Christmas party. As I’ve explained before it didn’t work for me and yes I was using it correctly. I ended up giving it t0 my friend because it was useless to me.

At this point I figure it’s gotta be me so I start googling for reasons why nothing would happen and asking around and suuuuper long story short it IS me AND it’s the device, my tolerance is just too high for a personal vaporizer to be effective to me in any way, it doesn’t produce enough vapor in a short enough amount of time to be beneficial just due to its size.

Everyone I tell about this flat out does not believe me and tells me I have to try a Volcano. The Volcano, as my friend Steph put it, is the Cadillac of all vaporizers. It’s a tabletop unit that uses the bags and it’s $700 USD + shipping + customs & duty fees. It’s a pricey device. It’s not like I can just buy one and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, oh well, like with the Magic Flight, which was pretty inexpensive as far as vaporizers go.

One day I was on Reddit, looking at r/trees as I often do and someone mentioned this place in Toronto called Vapor Central which was “a good place to warm up” according to the poster. So I google and go to the site and it’s a “vapor lounge” (and yes I know the entirety of this post may be a repeat for some people, this is gonna be the last time I go through all the backstory) and at this vapor lounge, you pay a $5 day fee and with that fee you are allowed to use their Volcanoes and bongs and they also sell candy and pop. I tell Blake about it and all winter it ends up being one of those “meant to do” things that never happened.

Then my friend Steph comes to town and by “town” I mean Toronto (this time, “town” can literally mean the town I live in or it could mean Barrie, which is biggest city close to us or it can mean Toronto) and we hadn’t seen each other in a really long time so we wanted to get together. I don’t know Toronto AT ALL and wouldn’t have even known where to begin, but I floated Vapor Central as an idea, which she was down for and I blogged about that experience HERE.

I thought Vapor Central was pretty cool but didn’t feel I got to really try out the Volcano fairly because I was sharing with Steph so it was hard to gauge how much I was actually inhaling and because we were being social and sharing and stuff it was harder to tell if I was still medicated from before leaving the house or just in a good mood and how much I was actually getting. I did feel like pizza afterward so it did work to some degree but I was not the “high as fuck” I was promised by pretty much everyone.

Blake said that we should go back for an afternoon so I could use the Volcano to medicate and stay medicated as I would at home with my bong and out in the world with joints and if the Volcano was a viable option, he’d get me one, figuring it would pay for itself over time in how much we’d be saving on weed.

So Sunday we packed up our shit with the intention of going there and staying there as long as basically I could stand being there, and using the Volcano as I think I would use it at home. I brought my laptop, which only has a battery life of about 2 hours and it’s not worth it to get a new battery because the laptop will die long before any new battery would anyway, so I was a little concerned with what I was going to do to keep myself entertained while we were down there. I also had my phone, which we were going to use as a hotspot; the iPad and two notebooks, my working notebook and a new “all subject” one for more longform writing. At the last minute I decided to bring my laptop’s power cord even though I was sure there was no free outlet at the table I was hoping to get.

The drive down there was pretty uneventful and we parked at the same P parking lot as we did last time, just down the street from the lounge, but once we were parked and I had my bag in my lap ready to get out of the car, I started having a panic attack. It basically boiled down to feeling judged and not good enough to be at the vapor lounge because we’re not from there and we’re not regulars and we’re literally using them so we never have to go there again. Whatever, I took half of an olanzapine and two Ativan and after a while I felt okay and we walked to Vapor Central.

We get there and it’s on the 2nd floor of a storefront so we go up the stairs and immediately at the top of the stairs is a counter with a turnstile where you pay your day fee and go in. Blake went in first because I make him go in first everywhere (which makes him feel like people think he’s the rudest man on Earth but it’s either that or literally never go anywhere) and he pointed out that not only was the table I wanted free, but it had an open outlet that no one would probably notice if I plugged my laptop into. We pay our fees, claim our table and Blake goes to the back to get me a Volcano bag (you have to leave your driver’s licence with them so you’ll bring it back) and a Diet Coke. He returns with both AND Oreos, which have been my main sustenance lately. He shows me again how to use the Volcano (once the temperature is set, which it already was, it’s 2 buttons) and then he leaves to get a coffee next door at Starbucks.

We ended up being there for about 4 & a half hours and during that time I inhaled 8-10 Volcano bags and I got medicated enough to think trying both chicken shawarma and chicken souvlaki on a pita was a good idea (only liked the souvlaki but once it got messy I handed it off to Blake), so YAY TRYING NEW THINGS! ESPECIALLY FOOD! (That’s due to the strain though.) The problem is, it took me quite a while to get there. I’m a terrible scientist but I vaped to the same point I would have gotten with one bowl of my bong only it took me a long time to get there (hours) and the bong would have taken 4 minutes (I’ve timed it). That got me to the point of appetite stimulation, so that’s when I ate and then if I were at home, I would have smoked shortly after eating, if not immediately after, because if I don’t I’ll get sick (if I’m not already), so that’s what I did with the Volcano only the Volcano was ineffective for after meal use because it just takes too damn long. I was starting to feel sick from eating and the Volcano wasn’t really making me feel better fast enough that I got so annoyed with it that I figured I could sit at Vapor Central and hit the Volcano for 2 more hours and hope it worked or we could drive 2 hours home where I could use my bong and feel immediately better guaranteed. So we packed up and left.

I often feel sick first thing in the morning, which is why I get up so early before work, so I can medicate to be able to work but be clear-headed by the time it’s time for cognitive function. The Volcano would never work for that. I can’t get up THAT early for work to do nothing but sit there and suck a bag. I already suspected the first time we went to Vapor Central that medicating and staying medicated with the Volcano would be a full-time job and I’m only more convinced of that now. And yeah, I was using it correctly. Kinda hard to fuck it up. If anything, I was dumping out vaped bud that was still useable and overdoing it because I wanted every bag I inhaled to have visible vapor in it to be SURE I was doing it right.

I don’t think this is just tolerance though, I think maybe there’s something to vaping itself that just doesn’t jive with my system the way eating it doesn’t. Like maybe not all of the cannabinoids are released through vaping and it just so happens to be one of the ones that doesn’t that helps me. Who knows? Unfortunately there’s not a ton of actual science out there about this stuff, or at least not that I’ve ever been able to find. Just anecdotal evidence that some people can’t eat it and people online saying that personal vaporizers don’t work on them, but admitting that it could be a tolerance thing. Oh well.

 So that’s it. Volcano: case closed.

TL;DR Sunny is a cyborg.

(*this is dozy logic. Do not use this logic for anything.)

PS. In case you missed it other places, here’s me on Sunday trying desperately to get stoned at Vapor Central:

And here’s me on my very first legal 4/20:

January 28, 2014

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Before I write anything else, I want to share with you a statistic from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) that I just saw on Facebook: 42% of Canadians are unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has mental illness.

That just fucking kills me.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and today is Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day where they’ll donate 5 cents for every tweet or retweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk (or a photo that they posted on Facebook shared) toward mental health initiatives across Canada. I wasn’t sure if I was going to say anything about it because I feel like ME saying ANYTHING about mental illness is just beating a dead horse at this point but that statistic really bothers me. Maybe I haven’t said enough? Or am I just preaching to the choir?

I also saw a statistic today – from @Stats_Canada, a satirical Twitter account being serious for a moment – that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their life. I’ve also known the American statistic that 1 in 4 people have some form of mental illness for a long time and I don’t think it’s changed so saying it’s the same for Canada, those 42% of Canadians who are unsure if they wanna be fraternizin’ with the crazies PROBABLY ALREADY FUCKING ARE OR THEY THEMSELVES *ARE* THE CRAZY PERSON AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT YET. And I only even say “probably” because I suck at math, it’s probably certain fact.  (I say I suck at math but honestly I could probably figure out what % of unsure Canadians are the 1 in 4 crazy person if I tried REALLY hard…it would take me a really long time, but I bet I could get there eventually. Anyway, who has time for that?)

My friends are probably half and half crazy people/neurotypical and we all get along so that’s really all I care about. I was super lucky that I live in an area with excellent mental health services that are completely free and accessible, that I have a supportive spouse with a job that has a drug plan and that my friends are who they are and definitely not part of that 42% who are unsure, nor the other % (again bein’ lazy at math AND Google, but hey, knock yourself out if it’s important to you) that said they would not socialize with a friend who has mental illness.  Without all of the above, without the excellent support network I have in place, I would probably be dead with no word of a lie.

Ain’t that a happy thought?! This wasn’t supposed to be a bummer post, I swear! Well, I guess it sort of is. Depends on your perspective…

On Saturday I started 2 hours early and stopped 2 hours later than usual to help out a coworker who had plans, which meant I didn’t stop working until 2am and I personally think Saturday is the busiest goddamn day. If it isn’t it’s gotta be up there because I don’t stop once I’ve started. I only get up from my chair three times per shift so I can keep ahead of our dear and lovely customers whose e-mails are all equally valuable to us and keep on top of the other things my job includes. I have help for one hour so I can eat dinner with my family but even while I’m eating, I’m doing one-handed things for that hour and still only manage to eat half of whatever it is before it gets cold. This isn’t about how Saturdays suck though. This is about how Saturday really COULD HAVE sucked, but luckily the universe held off on fucking me over until Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I woke up before anyone with writing aspirations as Blake had shown me Microsoft Office 2013 Friday night – in particular OneNote – and Skydrive and I was suddenly crazy-inspired to start organizing and working on a story that I’d gotten 43,000 words into and sort of gave up on. Because as we know, that is what I do. That was all I could think about on Saturday while I worked, how to organize this beast of a thing in OneNote on Sunday and how much easier that could hypothetically make it to actually make progress on and how THAT is actually FUN because even if it amounts to NOTHING it feels productive and productivity is fun!

However the universe had other plans. My laptop screen was black and said “a disk error occurred. Press ctrl alt del to recovery”. For someone who uses the internet a lot, I am NOT a computer savvy person so I decided to wait until Blake woke up in case he knew some magic password that would make my computer happy and do what I needed it to do. In the meantime, I tweeted the error message to which the response from the Twitterverse was “uh oh” and @paladin677 said “best case scenario, just a few files needed to boot are corrupt. Worst case, the hard drive is corrupt and non-recoverable.” This made me very unhappy, but I’ve only seen a few things in my 12 years of knowing him that Blake couldn’t fix so I remained optimistic. Besides, I got through shitty Saturday and had Sunday and potentially Monday to come up with a solution because I didn’t have to work. Also, I do have a desktop on the same desk that has all my work bookmarks for situations like this, so if I had to I could use that, but a laptop for working and writing on – which was all mine was good for anyway – is really important to me so I was really hoping whatever the issue was would be fixable or we could get a new laptop as soon as humanly possible. (My birthday is coming up and stranger things have happened.)

Blake woke up and bravely pressed ctrl alt del and we watched the black screen as white letters scrolled past as it did…things…I don’t know/remember/care what things I think it was going through boot files? And then it got stuck and it stayed there and then it said it failed. Blake rubbed my back, gave me a hug and said, “is it okay if I take this in the other room?” which may SEEM like a total over exaggeration but he did and it was a fair question as I have a tendency to need to maintain order and ritual and can be particularly attached to certain things, especially things that I deem essential, so the fact that I wasn’t freaking out , despite the fact that I hadn’t backed up that machine in QUITE some time, was probably freaking him out a little.

Honestly though, that machine was ridiculously slow at performing even the most basic tasks so we had literally been talking about wiping it Sunday anyway and reinstalling Windows – except we were going to back shit up first. The only thing I could think of that I’d lose of any “value” that I didn’t already have backed up was my large collection of carefully curated animated gifs. I figured I’d live.

So he takes it in the other room and does more things and says he hopes it’s just the hard drive because he couldn’t read the one in my laptop or recover any of its data with his wizardry. We were going to go have coffee with Ronny and Alex in Barrie anyway so we just waited until it was time to do that and since we had gotten there a little early, we just stopped into Staples where Blake bought a new hard drive.

When we got back, he put the new drive in and the computer worked again. HOORAY! THE DAY IS SAVED! He installed Windows and we also installed every program I use for work and writing and we started transferring my “My Music” folder to the newly formatted laptop over the network which was going to take a really long time so in the meantime I started taking stock of what I’d really lost…and then I started freaking out because the Word document I use for work with all of my approved language that I’ve built up over the last 2 years that is essential to my job had NOT been backed up anywhere. I had e-mailed it to myself last January (because that’s backing things up, right?) but we’d had a million meetings since then and I’d added a ton of stuff. For some reason I’d thought I’d backed it up more recently than that…somewhere…but it could not be found so I had to e-mail my coworkers for help rebuilding mine, based on the one I’d e-mailed last year. That was the only super bad thing and again, I caught it Sunday night so I had all night Sunday and all day Monday to rebuild a new one to the best of my ability before needing it to start work this morning.

The good thing that happened is that I’ve rediscovered this writing project that I’d so given up on, I’d literally given Madison the raw material – because I know it from beginning to end and have it all written down – and told her to go nuts and write the rest. She never did and gave it all back and it’s sat on a bookshelf in my office – the hard copy, all my notes and drawings – ever since. The latest copy we found (because I hadn’t backed that up either) was 43,000 words and missing two chapters that the hard copy had so I’m going to have to retype those by hand but that’s still not a big deal because I’ve spent long enough time away from the story that I’m going to have to start reading it and fine tuning it from the very beginning with fresh eyes, which will be so much easier and fun with OneNote. And Blake set me up with Skydrive, which is a cloud type thing Microsoft offers so my Word documents will never NOT be backed up again and that’s pretty cool. Oh and the laptop runs a LOT faster now, so, bonus.

And that’s my serendipitous laptop story! Geez, last week I was using Excel, which I find confusing as fuck and this week I’m all OneNote and Skydrive. All these crazy technologies! (That have apparently existed for a long time…)

In other news, my depression seems to have lifted somewhat since I thought I was a danger to myself a couple of weeks ago. I see my shrink tomorrow to talk about it and I think I’m okay for right now but if she thinks I should up my anti-depressants then obviously I’ll do that. Honestly, and this is going to sound so so stupid and I cannot even believe I’m admitting to this “out loud”, one of the biggest things that’s been keeping me going is Doug Benson’s YouTube show Getting Doug With High. It started in October and it’s a 45 minute talk show that starts at 7:15pm EST (4:15pm PST) Wednesday nights and it stars Doug Benson, of Super High Me fame, who has on comedian guests and at 4:20pm PST, and for the next 45 mins, they all smoke weed and Doug asks them questions, like their “High History” where they talk about their experience with marijuana. I dunno, it’s just funny…mostly stupid, but also funny. Like, Sarah Silverman’s been on the show and Aubrey Plaza, for example. Most of them are people I’ve never heard of honestly, because I don’t really follow stand up comedy, but it’s just this dumb funny little internet show that I discovered by accident at the height of my depression and basically I watched a couple of episodes every day until I didn’t want to kill myself anymore! YAY! Now it’s the height of my week, as sad as that statement may be, but I watch the recorded show on Thursdays because I can’t get live YouTube on my TV and at that time usually Blake and I would be watching something together on the TV. So Thursdays are good because I only have to work 2 hours and there’s a new episode of Getting Doug. :o)

Speaking of weed, I just read this interesting article about the language of pot and how it’s going to change with the legalization and mainstreaming of it. The article says, “Domestic strains, at first top-end luxury items, gradually took over more of the national market, so that a kid buying on the street in New York would be just as likely to order by strain name as a medical client in Mendocino County, according to Travis Wendel, an ethnographer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.” which I highlight because Blake says “most people smoke pot”, in that most people do not know the name of marijuana by strain, they just buy “pot”. I begged to differ said that the times have changed and that by now the average person, especially the average person BUYING pot, can name at least one strain of it because I can guarantee the guy they’re buying it off of didn’t just tell them it was “pot”, he gave them some crazy name whether it’s real or made up. That’s marketing. The average person may not have the connections to actually GET the strain(s) of pot they know of, but they know at least one. So tell me in the comments, whether you’re a pot smoker or not, can you name a strain without googling? How about two strains? Or maybe you don’t know any at all. Lemme know either way because I’m curious.

The other thing that’s kept me relatively sane the last couple of weeks is the recent discovery of Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub in Penetanguishene. This place is special because there are SIX WHOLE THINGS on the menu that I would not only eat, but actually probably really like. What their website’s menu doesn’t have is their little sandwich things that I think they call “flying toasties” or something like that that are just a panini, really, but everything in the sandwich has flavour unlike practically every other sub place, deli or other restaurant I’ve ever been to. Their rye bread isn’t just the usual white rye bread, it’s marbled and herbed. Their havarti cheese isn’t just havarti cheese, there are flecks of things in it, which normally I’d be completely against but I was halfway through eating one before I noticed so whatever! The lettuce isn’t iceberg or even romaine, they use spring mix, which is exactly what I’d use at home. The mayo’s pretty standard and really so is the turkey, but the way it’s all put together is currently my favourite thing ever. Blake said the reuben was pretty good but he really really liked their french onion soup. We both want to try their prime rib but it’s $22 and we don’t have the cash right now. I’ve never actually had prime rib before but I really like roast beef and I really like steak and everyone tells me prime rib is somewhere between the two so I can’t see what I wouldn’t like about it. I’d rather go two times and have shepherd’s pie one time and potato and leek soup another time than go once and have something I’m not sure I’ll like, though, so prime rib will have to wait until there’s more money. Also that place is super busy on Friday nights. The first night we went there was a Friday night and they asked us if we had a reservation, which we didn’t because it’s a pub…in Penetang…never dreamed we’d need one…but then again, it’s a pub…in Penetang. It’s probably the fanciest place in town or at least the fanciest we’ve seen there so far.

The whole reason we even stumbled into Flynn’s was because the restaurant we discovered in Penetang in December (on the hunt for new food places), the Blue Sky Restaurant & Tavern, was closed until the 26th. My guess is that the owners went to Florida, but who knows? They don’t have a website but there is a google+ page where people have left good comments. No menu though, which is a shame because that’s the greatest part about Blue Sky. I have no idea of the history of Blue Sky, but here’s the history I’ve created in my mind: upper management dude in big corporation decides he’s unhappy with life so he’s going to pursue his two passions: cooking and nature, so he moves up North and opens a restaurant where he cooks whatever the fuck he wants to because he’s the boss and the portions are gonna be BIG, none of this bullshit, sissy crap you see at other restaurants; THERE WILL BE TO-GO CONTAINERS FOR ALL. Their menu is like one weird stream of conscious list of eclectically put together foods, none of which I can think of right now. Despite having this huge, crazy menu, there are really only three things on it that I’ve found that I like so far (with the possibility of a few more) and they do all three really well. The first is peameal and eggs. The mark of a good restaurant to me (well, that kind of restaurant) is how good their breakfast is. If their breakfast is good, the rest of their food probably is too. If it’s just so-so, as will be their food. If it sucks, well, why would you go back? This isn’t a concrete rule, it’s just something I’ve noticed over the years and Blue Sky’s breakfast is awesome. Blake loved it because they had actual corned-beef hash (which you don’t find around here a lot) and not only was it good but it was plentiful and I thought their peameal was excellent. Also I have a weird thing with eggs, some I like and some I don’t. They can all be prepared perfectly but depending on what the chicken was fed, the taste of the egg is going to change. Most restaurants use large, white, factory-farmed eggs, whereas at home I buy the omega-3 (also factory farmed – but fed better!) eggs and there is a definite taste and texture difference. That’s the egg spectrum for me. I don’t know where Blue Sky sources its eggs but they were pretty close to the omega-3 ones. If they got them from an actual farm in Penetang, it would not surprise me in the slightest. Their homefries were disappointing. They were basically boiled potatoes on a plate and not even ketchup could save them. Two outta three things o the plate ain’t bad though. The second thing I really like there but can only have very rarely sometimes because as far as my pancreas is concerned, I’m playing with fire, is their perogies. They’re like 7 or 8 potato and cheese perogies that I think they boil first, then they arrange them in a circle with one in the middle on a plate, pour shredded marble cheese on top of them, throw onions sauteed with chunks of bacon on top of THAT, then put it all under a broiler to melt the cheese and serve. How fucking evil is that? You definitely get an order of those to share with someone because they are deadly. And of course the third thing Blue Sky has, that they do better than any restaurant I’ve ever been in, is their clubhouse sandwich. I can eat in any restaurant that serves a traditional clubhouse sandwich. I don’t want any fancy chicken breast or garlic and lemon aioli (especially both on the same sandwich, gross), just the usual. If I know the people at the restaurant really well, I may ask them to substitute peameal for bacon because I think that’s better and when I was a teenager I used to hang out at this restaurant called the Fickle Pickle that had a chicken salad clubhouse that was pretty fucking awesome. Then the chef quit and they stopped serving it. ANYWAY, Blue Sky’s clubhouse is good because they give you all white turkey meat without even asking (it’s happened twice now so I don’t think it’s a coincidence) and it’s meat from an actual turkey as opposed to deli meat, they’re not afraid of mayo, it’s on every inner surface of bread and they’re not stingy with the tomatoes. In this case they use romaine lettuce which is actually what I would ideally want on a clubhouse (as opposed to the spring mix at Fynn’s I was raving about), but it’d be good even if it was iceberg.

So basically Penetanguishene, Ontario is magical because I can eat there! And actually LIKE what I’m eating and paying for and who I’m paying it to! Next on the list of magical Penetang restaurants to try is Phil’s Casual Dining because I’d really like to see just how casual it really is. With a name like that, there’s gotta be something pretty amazing on the menu. (That said, Double Happiness in next-door Midland, Ontario is the worst Chinese food I’ve ever had. More like Double Crappiness. The name sold me and I was completely deceived! Blake said he knew something was up when there were no actual Asians in the restaurant working or eating.)

Anyway, I’ve just spent way too long vomiting 3500 words at the screen instead of working on or organizing any real writing so I think I’d better go medicate so I can eat dinner when Blake gets home. Madison said she was going to make herself a grilled cheese and Wes said he was going to make himself soup. I’m going to show them both up completely by making the same for me and Blake using WHOLE GRAIN BREAD (the horror!), real havarti and marble cheeses (as opposed to Black Diamond processed cheese slices!) and I’m actually going to use a POT and nice bowls for our tomato soup (as opposed to dumping soup in a Tupperware container, adding water, vaguely stirring, microwave until lukewarm – this is how Wes makes soup). Now you may be thinking, “if she were a good mom, she’d make that for the whole family rather than letting her kids make their own crappy dinners,” and I would argue that I asked them what they wanted an hour ago and that is what they told me because they were too lazy to help me think of anything else for Blake to pick up on his way home for dinner that wasn’t take-out. When Madison (who is 15 and can make a hell of a lot better meals than this) said she’d make a grilled cheese, I even asked her if she’d show Wes how to make one for himself while she did it so he could make one right after her but he didn’t want to learn/didn’t want that and said he’d rather make himself soup. They both basically told me they’d make their own dinners so they wouldn’t have to stop what they were doing and think for ten minutes. They’re old enough to only be asked once and to make their own dinners sometimes, as garbage-esque as they may be.

THE END.

October 10, 2013

What else should I be?

See this is what goes through my head:

What if the last kid to leave in the morning doesn’t shut the front door properly and it blows open and I’m sleeping and the dogs run out…and then Lucky gets captured by a nice person somewhere but Hoover doesn’t because he’s old and can get aggressive if he’s scared and in my F.E.A.R.* scenario the person who tries to capture him grabs him by the collar and Hoover slips out of it and runs away. Then he’s out there in the world, scared and lost with no identification and then he gets hit by a car…

Reality:

– Madison is the last kid to leave the house and she’s as paranoid as I am so I highly doubt this scenario would happen to begin with.
– Hoover and Lucky have gotten out many times before and they A) stick together and B) usually just go around the block or down the trail sniffing trees etc. and then they come back. Hoover will actually paw at the front door to be let back in.
– They’re wearing 2 ID tags each and neither of them have slipped their collars ever. Harnesses yes, but not collars.
– No one would want either one of them so if they were at someone’s house, we’d either be notified pretty quickly (which has happened in the past) or if they ended up in the pound or if posters went up, we’d know pretty quickly that way too.

AKA THERE’S NO REASON TO BE SCARED BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED AND EVEN IF SOMETHING DID HAPPEN IT WOULD PROBABLY BE OKAY.

This whole train of thought was brought on by a gust of wind blowing toward my house and the front door, which is right beside me, creaked.

But at least now I know shit like that is stupid whereas a year ago, three years ago, I would have called Blake at work crying about it.  That’s the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy starting to work, I think.

Also? I’m not giving much of a fuck lately about “wasting” days like I used to be obsessed with. The only pressure I had on me to be productive to a problematic degree was the pressure I put on myself. And that’s dumb. I mean, I’m still productive, but it’s not a bad day just because I didn’t create something. There’s no crying over spilled milk. Blake and my shrink have been trying to get me to realize this for literally years but it didn’t sink in until now.

Yesterday Blake was working from home and then he had to be in Barrie, which is 1/2 an hour away (but 40 minutes if you’re not sure where you’re going) in the afternoon and we had like, NO food in the house. Not a huge deal normally but after his appointment in Barrie, he was just going to stay there for his French class and Madison would be with him, which meant Wes and I were on our own for food and our options were like, eggs and grilled cheese, which I knew neither of us wanted. Also, Blake picked me up homemade mushroom soup from Fresh-A-Fare but we didn’t have any crackers sooooooooooooo I was like, “fuck this, I’m going to the store, do you need anything?”  Blake said “nope, have fun! you have 35 minutes!”. I popped 2 clonazepam and put 2 Ativan under my tongue and not ONLY did I drive to the grocery store all by myself, but I warded off a panhandling teenager who looked like he was sick or something, he was like a zombie; talked to the ladies at the deli and ordered deli meat and I did the checkout and THEN drove home, brought everything in and put everything away, all by myself, – well before the 35 minutes was up. ~*curtsey*~

 

I still obviously have massive issues, but in my own way, I’m still making strides, even if they aren’t all outwardly visible.

(* False Evidence Appearing Real)

June 7, 2013

Smurf off, eh?

Yesterday was hell. Pure and utter hell. I worked in the morning and everything was fine and after work, I went back to bed and got up at like, 10:30am or so. In pancreatic pain. I’d had some discomfort on Sunday or  Monday so Blake picked me up some hydromorph contin and I started a really bland diet. Not quite the liquids-only diet you’re supposed to go on during a pancreatic attack but I barely ate anything between then and today.

Anyway, I woke up in pain and stumbled into my office to sit down, check e-mail etc. and I was just in way too much pain to even do that, so I took a hydromorph, pancreatic enzymes just in case they might help (they don’t usually but they won’t hurt me so there’s no harm in trying), Tylenol 1, ibuprofen and Gravol (anti-nauseant, so I didn’t throw the pills back up). Then I grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and stumbled back to bed.

I laid there for about 25 minutes in excruciating pain, hot and cold and sweaty and just feeling like I was dragged through an asshole backwards, when I had to get up to puke. Moving is the worst when I’m having an attack, just turning over in bed makes me want to die, like I can feel my guts touching my pancreas and it fucking hurts just having one organ slide against the other. I have no idea what organs are near what, all I know is that when my guts shift when I turn over in bed during an attack the pain is a million times worse than having a baby.

So I get up to puke and I’m hugging the bowl partially feeling like I have to puke and partially hoping I puke because maybe it’ll make me feel better (it won’t) but at the same time, I’m worried if my pills had enough time to do their thing before I barf them up.

Well, there were no pills in my vomit so that was good, but I puked so hard that I peed my pants. (TMI? TFB.) So I started crying and when I was finally done barfing, I rinsed my mouth and went back to the bedroom to put a new pair of underbums on. I didn’t bother with pants because I knew that next time I puked, it would just be the same scenario unless I was COMPLETELY empty beforehand which just isn’t possible because when you have to puke, you just have to puke. This peeing while puking thing is relatively new, it just started happening after I got home from the hospital last year. It’s just that while having a pancreatic attack, I vomit with such force that I can’t help it.  When I’m sick, like with a stomach flu or whatever, it doesn’t happen. Just during pancreatic attacks. I dunno why.

Without going into more detail than I need to because it’s really just more of the same, I spent all of yesterday in bed, only coming out of my room to throw up. I don’t remember Blake coming home. I remember at some point he got me a glass of ice water and my night time pills (and Gravol so I didn’t throw them up). I think that was around 7pm. Then I laid in bed some more and slept a bit, then I got up I think around 11pm because I finally felt sort of better and so I sat in my office and checked e-mail while Blake got ready for bed.

I woke up this morning still in pain, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday. And really, this attack was not as bad as any of the others so that’s encouraging I guess. The only thing I can point to as far as a cause is that on Tuesday, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner (like, baked macaroni and cheese with real cheese and milk, NOT Kraft Dinner) which I had leftovers from on Wednesday for dinner. This never used to be a trigger food but it’s been a possible factor for the last 2 attacks and this time I was really careful; I took 3 pancreatic enzymes each night. During the 2 attacks prior to yesterday, I did not take enzymes before/after the mac & cheese so this could be why those attacks were worse than this one. The other thing I’m thinking is that traditionally, Blake’s bought medium cheddar to make it and I asked him to start using old cheddar instead because I thought that’s what my mom and gr. grama used. And then mac & cheese becomes a trigger food.

SO, I’m gonna bite the bullet and try macaroni and cheese again maybe next week or the week after using medium cheddar, with enzymes, and see what happens. After an attack, I have to rest my pancreas as much as possible, hence the 2 week window. Macaroni and cheese being a trigger food is NOT COOL AT ALL. It is one of the only food that, up until now, I’m almost always in the mood for. I rarely get sick of it and when i can’t think of anything to eat, that’s my go-to staple. So it’s really going to suck if I can’t eat it anymore. :o/ Not like my fat ass needs it but, y’know…

Speaking of my fat ass, check out this slip that Blake bought me the other night. How gorgeous is that? I ordered the pink one so it would go with this sweater in the winter and I dunno what yet in the summer:

Unfortunately I’m not built like the model on the Free People site so wearing it as is, over top of anything bodycon or skin tight is sort of out of the question. I’m definitely going to have to try and find a white or pink skirt or something to wear underneath it, even with that sweater because the sweater doesn’t cover my bum. Unfortunately everything I own that would work for that purpose is black and that piece is too delicate for black. It needs white. I dunno, I’ll find something. There’s an ivory mini dress that would work on my Free People wishlist if anyone felt so inclined…. I wish I could get the slip in blue too, because this piece is literally my favourite of all their new stuff and blue’s more versatile but I went for the pink first because I suspected that it would sell out of my size first. I ordered a medium so neither colour has run out of my size yet, but the large in pink has sold out already so I suspect the medium’s not far away.

Anyway, I love it. :o)

On Wednesday we went to see my grama with the kids. She looked okay, better since the chemo is out of her system now. More alert, more “up”. I’m not sure how that is compared to her every day but she seemed to have enjoyed the visit and when we said we were going to leave because we had to have dinner and stuff, my grama said she’d pay for dinner and that we could eat there and take the leftovers home, so Stouffville Pizza was called and pizza was had.

At one point, my grama pulled me into her bedroom and handed me a basket of rubber smurfs and I said, “I can have these?” because I had told my mom a while back that if I had my pick of anything of my grama’s to have, it would be those and she said “just one” so this is the one I picked:

Meet painkiller addicted junkie artist smurf.

She also gave me a full-sized plush smurf, which honestly I had no interest in but she wanted me to have it so I took it anyway. I wanted the little rubber ones like the one above because when I was little, she collected them and they were my favourite thing to play with at her house, where I spent a lot of time. Smurfs were also our family’s mascot for the smash-up derby in Minden at Thanksgiving when I was little and we used to enter. There were usually smurfs painted on the car or a stuffed smurf crazy glued to the roof of it. I think I’ve already written about my grama and I going to Minden for Thanksgiving every year when I was tiny until I was about 13, but for those who don’t know, my grama’s next-door-neighbour and friend was Mike Baker, the son of Wes Baker, my son’s namesake. He bought property up north in a town called Minden and started building a house there by hand and every Thanksgiving weekend, on the Saturday, Minden has a smash-up derby. And as long as I can remember until I was maybe 12 or 13, Mike and our family would enter a car in the derby and I’m not sure if we usually won or not but I think we did. All I know is that in October in Minden in 1984 was VERY VERY cold. Now, thanks to global warming, it’s not so bad (and I’m so sure smash-up derbies are great for the environment!)

I remember being like, 3 years old and sitting in the backseat of my grama’s car in a full snowsuit in between heats, freezing my ass off while it lightly snowed. My grama had brought hot chocolate in a thermos and I remember being very very happy. Thanksgiving in Minden used to be the best holiday. My cousin Jeff who was maybe 2 or 3 years older than me I think came up with his mom, Eunice, and often his sister Janet, who would sometimes bring a friend or two as well. I think there were other kids there too but I don’t know who. Janet died the summer I was sick. I don’t know how she died, I just know that while I was in the hospital dying, so was she and obviously I’m here to tell about it and she’s not. Eunice used to babysit me so I was really close with Jeff and Janet when I was little.

During the first few years of going to Minden for Thanksgiving I think Mike only had a basement. I’m not even sure there was running water. Instead of getting turkey, we would have fried chicken, that I want to say was Dixie Lee, but I forget now. Eventually there was a whole house built, including a kitchen, so we’d have chicken on the Saturday, derby day, and my grama would make a turkey on the Sunday and then we’d come home Monday. Jeff and I would play our Gameboys together and all of us would go for walks in the bush. Once we dug up an oak tree and transplanted it to my grama’s house…which is now someone else’s house. :o/

For the derby, we would only enter one car but we’d have multiple drivers for the various heats. Mike drove; I remember my Uncle Bill driving, his son Billy eventually and also my Aunt Sandra’s husband John drove a couple of times. I think there were other people too but no one I really knew. Eunice may have even driven in it at one point, they had a “powder puff” heat just for the ladies (ugh) so she might have. I’m pretty sure my grama never did. I have no idea what my grampa was doing for all of those Thanksgivings because I don’t remember him being there. (He may have gone to my Aunt Judy’s  for T-giving because she did T-giving at her house up until my cousin Kim died.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how it got started, I should have asked her, but I think I remember my grampa getting her the small rubber smurfs that I used to play with when I was a kid, like the one above. I don’t know how they came packaged or if they came packaged at all. I’ve never seen any “out in the wild”, so to speak. Since I only got to pick one out of the two dozen she had, I thought that one was the most fitting for me. I played with junkie artist smurf the most when I was little. He was always married to Smurfette. (My grama never had a real Smurfette though. The one she had was a knock-off with green skin.) I didn’t marry a dude with green skin, but he does have a lot of tattoos and I did become an artist when I grew up, so that’s why I picked junkie artist smurf.

And I suppose this is a good segue into the next topic…the stupid Artist Studio Tour this fall.

We have decided to take moving off the table for now and work on getting our house ready to sell next spring. There aren’t any houses we like right now in the area where we’re looking and the idea of having our house on the market freaks me right the fuck out. Everything about moving freaks me right the fuck out. The good news is that the real estate agent who came to look at our house, said we could sell it for like, SIGNIFICANTLY more than we bought it for, especially after we do everything on the list, primarily re-doing the bathroom (re-drywalling one wall, installing a shower insert and fixing the plumbing behind the tub faucets because they leak), painting part of the one of the living room walls where it’s bare wood due to us putting in the new window, painting the trim of the house and potentially taking down the shutters on the front of the living room window and putting up ones that fit better because the shutters that are there now were put there for the floor-to-ceiling window that used to be there, but we replaced it with a waist-high bay window after Lucky broke the big one. The other thing is that we re-did our mortgage a couple of weeks ago and the bank manager lady said we’re eligible for a mortgage 3 times the size of the one we have now. Not that we’d buy a house that expensive but it’s nice to know that we can afford a century home with a bit of borrowing cushioning on top for added peace of mind.

So. That means we’re going to be living here in September. When the tour is. And I got the e-mail this week from Mike saying “hey guys, our meeting’s next week!” and I reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaalllly don’t want to go. I don’t want to go because we decided during the last meeting that June 30th was the deadline to decide if you’re going to be in the tour or not and I’m sure that’ll be reiterated during the meeting. And the fact is, I don’t think I have $75 between then and now. I’ve been trying to be super good with paying down my credit card, which has me living on abou $50 per paycheque. This paycheque was only $45. And that’s the pits. I mean, the good news is that I don’t really like, NEED anything. The spending money I keep in my bank account after paying my credit card isn’t allotted to anything and it gets primarily spent on food. I suppose it wouldn’t be completely irresponsible to spend $75 on the tour since I’ll have gotten 3 paycheques this month so I guess I have a little more money to work with.

But still that’s $75 I highly doubt I’ll make back. Plus what I’m going to have to spend on business cards.

Speaking of business cards, as an aside, when I went to see my shrink last Thursday, Sue, the receptionist, for the second time, told me that my painting that I gave to my shrink and put in Touched By Fire this year that is on display at the mental health centre gets a lot of compliments and that people inquire about buying it all the time. And she asked me if I had any business cards that she could pass along when people comment on it. And I kinda hated that because I like to keep my shrink life and my internet life COMPLETELY separate. My shrink has next to zero idea of anything I do online. She knows I blog, but like, I don’t even think my shrink is on Facebook. She’s not very tech savvy, so the topic has never really come up in the 7 years I’ve been seeing her.

Well, my business cards are like ATCs (artist trading cards). On the front is a picture of a painted girl – several different styles because I use Moo and you can get as many designs on a pack of Moo cards as you want – and on the back is the URL to my Etsy shop, the URL to my main site and I think my e-mail address. I have both full-sized Moo cards and the mini ones, although I haven’t bought business cards in at least 5 years so I only had one full-sized business card, which I gave Sue, and about 5 or 6 mini cards.

I also felt compelled to tell Sue that the paintings take me about 2 or 3 weeks to make and because they’re so labour intensive, they’re kind of expensive. A lot of the people who go  to the mental health centre I do are on disability or Canada pension – fixed incomes – and I kinda wanted to give Sue a heads up because I don’t think the average clientele there can afford my paintings. If I wasn’t making them, I couldn’t afford them either. Hell, hardly any of the people who come to my site can seem to afford them either. I don’t think my prices are unreasonable, not for original paintings, as opposed to prints, because y’know, I’d love to make more than $2 an hour, but they are how much they are because my time, my ideas, my efforts are marketable commodities. I just suck at actually marketing them. (Truthfully I put zero effort into it though outside of my own site so that’s partially my own fault.)

So. Guild meeting on Wednesday and I pretty much have to make my decision to be in the tour or not by then. As far as anyone but Brian knows I’m in and I’ve said all along, I’m in, and now that we’re not moving I have less of an excuse to not do it.

I’m scared of being paired up with someone. I don’t have a public studio so I’ll be paired with someone who does. I’m really REALLY hoping I can display at the library because it’s only 2 minutes from our house and the kids can come in and out and Blake can come in and out and I can come in and out, but if I’m paired with someone out in the middle of nowhere, the kids can’t help and Blake will HAVE to stay with me the whole time. And I won’t be able to leave. If I get paired up with someone, they’re going to want to chat all day and chances are I’m not going to want to but I’ll feel obligated to because this person is opening their home to me to help me sell my work. And I don’t want to be rude, but that would cause me great anxiety. I hate the role of “guest”.

I’m scared of dealing with “the public”. I hate talking about 3 things: myself (go figure), sex (also go figure) and I hate talking about my work. People ask me questions all the time about my paintings and I have absolutely no idea what to tell them. Like, after Touched By Fire the lady who runs the organization behind it called me and asked if I had more work because there were a lot of people interested in it who were disappointed that the piece I put in the show this year wasn’t for sale. (Which was pretty stupid because all of my work is ON THEIR FUCKING SITE, supposedly “for sale” yet I’ve never been able to figure out how you actually buy anything on there and I’ve definitely never sold anything there.) So anyway, she calls me and asks me this and I give her the URL for my Etsy shop and then out of nowhere she asks, “what is your inspiration for these?” and I was completely dumbfounded because no one had ever asked me that before. My genius answer was “Toddlers & Tiaras“. Which is partially true. In the beginning, they just came out of my imagination, but then I started watching Toddlers & Tiaras and that show inspired me in 3 ways: 1. it made me come up with several dress styles, 2. it made me come up with several different hairstyles, hair colours and eye colours/eyeshadow colours and 3. the girls on that show is exactly whose bedroom walls I want to see my work on. Sadly, the show’s become pretty extreme in its views so I’ve stopped watching (and I watched half of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, which is also garbage) and my girls just come out of my imagination now, not really inspired by anything explainable. At least saying I was inspired by Toddlers & Tiaras has an quasi-interesting story behind it but telling someone that the scrapbooking aisles of Michael’s makes me damn near wet my pants is NOT what they want to hear. It’s the truth though! But it’s not one many can relate to so it’s a terrible answer for that question. I can’t even think of other potential things people might ask me because I’ve blocked past conversations out of my brain and thinking about it is practically panic-inducing. But I need to think about it, I need to be ready.  I need to have answers ready for questions like the inspiration one and other things they might ask. What would YOU ask an artist at a studio tour? Has there ever been anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me about my work but just never bothered? The more relevant questions you guys throw at me, the better prepared I think I’ll be. No rush though, the tour’s not until September.

I’m probably going to have to take the Saturday off of work. I work 9 hours on Saturdays. That’s a pretty huge chunk of change out of my paycheque that will not be replaced no matter how many paintings I sell (which I don’t anticipate to be many). If they do put me in the library though, I could be there from opening until I start work at 2pm and then Blake could stay there until it’s over at (I’m assuming because last year’s brochure doesn’t say when it starts or finishes) 6pm. Then I would be present all of Sunday.

Another bonus of being at the library is that I would be able to take credit cards there. I can have my laptop hooked up with my Etsy shop open and if people liked a piece but only had a credit card, they could purchase it on Etsy, minus the postage, and I could just give it to them. Anywhere else, I would have to be cash only. Cheques bounce and people are hard to find after something like this so those are completely out of the question. (How do I tell people I won’t accept a cheque?? Cuz, that’s like saying you don’t trust them, which is true, I don’t, but you don’t want them to think that…)

A snag with the library is that I may not be able to hang anything on the walls. Which would be problematic since everything I make is to be hung on a wall.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS. *panic*

The other thing is being involved. I don’t like going to the guild meetings because it’s almost painful how it’s one step forward, two steps back. At the same time, not only do I have nothing to contribute but I’m glad I don’t have anything to contribute because then you’re on the hook for something and that is crazy panic-inducing.

My work is going to be on display at the township office for all of August and I’m going to have tour guides in my display. That’s what I’ve committed to and that’s all my mental health can allow me to commit to. Hopefully that’s enough.

In about half an hour, Blake and Madison (and Blake’s friend Charissa) will be starting the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. It starts at 7pm and ends at 7am and neither of them had a nap today. I told Blake that if he woke me up in the morning that I’d cut him, so he’s going to come home and sleep on the couch until I get up. I really wanted to go with them tonight to take pictures but I still feel like shit because of the whole pancreas deal, I’m on a crapload of hydromorph contin so I’m chemically dozy at the moment and probably couldn’t pull an all-nighter if I wanted to. Plus I work tomorrow and I figured I could sleep from 8am, when they would be getting home, until 2pm when I started work and would probably be okay until the end of my shift at 11pm but with this much morphine in my system and only 3 people on the team (the less people you have, the more time you have on the track and the less able I am to get home if necessary), I didn’t want to gamble on it. Also, it’s currently raining and is supposed to rain off & on all night. So yeah, I stayed home. However! If you would like to sponsor their poor soggy asses, you can click here to do so! I just reloaded the page and they have DOUBLED their donation goal since the other day when it was looking like they wouldn’t even meet it! Thanks, family and friends! Your donations mean a lot to us right now, especially since my grama’s really happy that we’re doing this (I say “we” like I’ve actually done anything other than trying to use social media to get donations. HINT HINT.)

Now I think I’m going to finally watch this TED Talk I’ve had open in another tab since 6am but never got a chance to watch until now. Then since all I’ve eaten and kept down in 3 days is a lone, single spring roll, I’m going to make a bagel sandwich for dinner, watch Magic Mike since Blake’s not here to make fun of me for watching it a second time (the 1st was in the theatre so it’s extra stupid), eat chips, read my book and go to bed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Peace oot, homies!

PS. Mike, the guy who runs the artists’ guild, is a photographer who also does commercial fine art printing. I don’t have prices yet but he can take pics of my paintings that actually do them justice (in theory) and he can print giclees of them. Any size I want. So these are the questions:

– Most of my paintings are approx. 12 inches x 12 inches. How big should I offer the giclees?
– Open edition or limited edition?
– How much would you be willing to pay for a signed giclee print? Or would you be willing to buy one at all? If not, why not? (I ask because there are posters in my Zazzle shop that so far no one’s touched but a poster is a far cry from a signed, limited edition giclee.)
– Since each print would be too big to mail flat, I would have to use mailing tubes and those cost money. I haven’t priced them yet so I’m just guessing $4-$5 as a ballpark with double that for actual shipping costs. These costs are unavoidable so they obviously factor into the final price.
– Which current pieces of mine would you be interested in buying a print/prints from?

I just kinda want to get a feel for what people might want now that this is a possibility. I dunno if it’d even be worth it since I have no idea what he charges for taking pictures and like I said, no one’s bought the inexpensive posters from my Zazzle shop so I don’t even know if anyone would want these. I can tell you right now that a print would probably have to be about $40-$50 because I have to pay Mike to take proper pictures of them, whereas the posters, which are lesser quality obviously, are only around $20. The posters are nice though, I wouldn’t sell them if they were crappy, but a giclee is signed on archival fine art paper using archival dyes and is something you’d want to get framed, whereas with a $20 poster, it’s okay to just stick thumbtacks in the corners.

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts.

May 23, 2013

Come On Just Let’s Go

“Agoraphobe” is not a word. I’m not really sure why but it’s not in the dictionary and I’ve never heard a mental health professional use it. Also did you know that it’s NOT pronounced a-gore-a-pho-bee-ah? It’s actually pronounced aggro-pho-bee-ah, go figure, but I’ve literally only heard my shrink and dictionary pronunciation guides say it that way. In movies and on TV they always say it THE WAY IT FUCKING MAKES SENSE TO.

Right now it’s 2:25pm. I don’t know what time it’ll be by the time you read this but right now it’s 2:25pm and I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to leave the house since about 11am. Initially the plan was to walk into town at noon to go to Alma’s Cafe and have fries and gravy for lunch. The walk would have taken me about 10 minutes. Maybe 12. Not 15. I have $22 in my bank account but I can’t use my bank card because Madison lost it so I’d have to put fries and gravy and a pop – about $6.50 with tip, I’m guessing (but I’m bad at guessing these things) – on Visa.

I’m trying to think of a good analogy for my thought process on days like today but I can’t really think of one. Maybe you can if I explain it well enough.

The idea always seems so simple.

1. Walk into town. (Issue: construction workers everywhere.)

2. Go to Alma’s where I’ve been 50 times. (Easy peasy.)

3. Order fries and gravy which I’ve had there probably half of those times. (Difficulty level depends on who’s there and who’s working.)

4. Eat. (Not an issue. Used to be an issue; I used to be scared that people were watching me eat and thinking that someone as fat as me shouldn’t be eating whatever it is I’m eating. Now there are no fucks to give. Hoes gotta eat too.[Bonus points if you get that reference.])

5. Pay. (Big issue. Who pays for fries and gravy with a credit card? It’s almost literally the cheapest thing on the menu. They’re going to think I can’t afford to eat. And the tip. What if I don’t put in enough? What if I put in too much? Less of a deal, obviously, but then what if they expect big tips all the time?)

6. Walk home. (Issue: construction workers everywhere.)

And see this right here is why Twitter is a much better medium for me sometimes because I get instant feedback. I get an instant cheering section. I get an instant influx of troubleshooting and ideas. Now that it’s 2:43pm I’ve already decided not to go but if I’d have tweeted about my issues all day instead of doing other things, I may have gone.

Now that it’s 2:44pm, I can’t go because it’ll take me 12 minutes to walk there, 5 minutes for the waitress to come to my table after I sit down, 12 minutes to get my food, 15 minutes (?) to eat, 6 minutes to pay. That’s 50 minutes which has me exiting Alma’s at 3:35pm. The kids get out of school at 3:20pm which means I’m going to be sharing the walk home with a bunch of obnoxious grade schoolers. I think Madison gets out of school at 3:35 and it would be awesome to be able to text her and tell her to walk home with me but she has a job after school walking her art teacher’s daughter from the elementary school to the high school and she often doesn’t get to leave until 4pm because the kid wants to play or be annoying or whatever.

Anyway, let’s get back to the beginning. I started my day at 4:30am. I forget what I did between 4:30am and 5am when I started work, besides check e-mail, but since today is Thursday I only had to work until 7am so as soon as my shift was done, I went back to bed. I woke up at 8:45-ish, looked at the clock, turned over and went back to sleep. At 9:20am I heard Madison in the hallway having a fit about something which was weird because Madison should have been at school but she was home sick yesterday so maybe she stayed home again today. No, she slept in. By like, an hour and a half. And she was freaking out on the phone to her father so he could call her in late since I was sleeping. What she was really freaking out over though was her french project had to be presented today and she slept through her allotted morning computer time so she couldn’t print out her story. Blake was still driving to work so he couldn’t edit her permissions so long story short, I woke up, edited her permissions so she could print out her story, which she did but she took so long STRAIGHTENING HER ALREADY STRAIGHT HAIR which is totally what you do when you’re almost 2 HOURS late for school, that she missed french class and will have to present another day. (This probably won’t affect her mark.)

So that was my morning. Madison was out of the house by 10am and walked to school in the rain.

The rain ended around 11am and that’s when I got this fries & gravy idea stuck in my head. I wish I knew where these ideas came from because they are really fucking stressful and I’ve already had a really really terrible mental health week.

So I have to psych myself up for leaving the house by myself (and other times with other people, but not as often and not to the same extent) so my gameplan was to wash my hair and give myself an hour to work up the courage to first get dressed and pack my bag and then walk past all those construction workers. I wasn’t completely committed to this plan though, which is why I did not take any clonazepam/klonopin. I probably should have because that’s what it’s there for. I don’t know why I didn’t. I think I was afraid of wasting it by taking some and then not going, especially when I feel like the stuff is becoming less and less effective.

I went into the bathroom and peed and in doing so I spotted the empty box of hair dye that Madison left open on the counter. After peeing, I went to pick up the box to recycle it and that’s when I realized it wasn’t empty. Splat dye comes with bleach AND dye but Madison hated the bleaching process when we did it the first two times to lighten her hair enough to take the turquoise dye so much that she refuses to ever bleach her hair again. Since then  we’ve bought 4 boxes of Splat dye where the bleach wasn’t used. So I started looking at my roots in the mirror, made worse by the fact that I hadn’t washed my hair in a while, and decided that bleaching my hair would be a wonderful way to pass the time since I had to wash my hair either way and by not bleaching it today, I was only prolonging my awful combination of about 3/4 of an inch of ash blonde roots, then light pink that faded down the length of my hair to pure white (which actually looks really cool when the effect first starts but looks like hell after about a month) by at least 3 days.

I slapped on the bleach, set a timer and internetted while also going through the steps of leaving the house over and over in my head. I knew that once I was dressed and I was standing on the sidewalk I wouldn’t turn back, but it’s getting on the sidewalk that’s the main problem. Once I’m to the park a block from my house, my anxiety goes from 100% to a manageable 60% and that’s when I’d usually pop 2 Ativan under my tongue to bring it down further.

When my hair was ready to rinse, it was about 11:45am and I was starting to panic because my self-imposed deadline was only 15 minutes away and because my hair was wet (and I have a hair dryer, I just don’t use it for hair because my hair’s damaged enough), I wouldn’t be able to leave. But if I’m being completely honest, that was probably an excuse. The truth is that I bleached my hair to begin with to set up this situation. If I’d have just washed my hair, my hair would have been mostly dry by noon and I wouldn’t have had an excuse not to leave. I sabotage myself like this all the time and it’s like I have two people inside me, one who wants to go and one who doesn’t want to go and the asshole one is constantly being an asshole to ruin the other guy’s good time. It’s not like a CONSCIOUSLY thought “hey if I bleach my hair at 11am I won’t be able to go by noon”, this shit just happens.

So I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to leave by noon which causes more stress because now you’re a FAILURE.

I sat here and cried a little bit and then started the “it’s not too late to go” line of thinking (oh sure, NOW I take the clonazepam because writing this post is stressing me the fuck out). So I extended by deadline to 1pm. If I left by 1pm I would be home by 2:05pm, roughly. Hell, I could leave as late as 2:15pm and be well home by the time the kids even got out of school.

But that saboteur in my brain started working on me pretty hard, which you only really realize in hindsight, and I decided that my simple idea needed to be expanded upon. I decided that maybe I’d see if Brian wanted to go get fries & gravy too.

Maybe you already see why this was probably the worst thought I could have had today…

Brian is a new friend who I don’t really know all that well but I thought that since I didn’t get that sick feeling in my stomach when I was alone with him for 5 minutes, maybe I could be alone with him for 20 minutes. And get fries & gravy, which, is not without precedent. Last week Brian – who is a cartoonist – had a table set up at Jack’s On Queen, the comic book shop in town, and was drawing comics there so Blake and I went in to see how he was doing. It was the end of the day so I proposed that we go across the street to Alma’s for fries & gravy. So we did and we had a lovely time.

Anyway, I took my simple plan, best illustrated with a straight piece of string, and turned it into a cat’s cradle.

The plan now was more like this:

1. Contact Brian and see if he’d want to go. (Anxiety 110% because I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone but my own family to do anything with me ever. I don’t have friendS, plural, I have like, A friend (hi Alex! Okay Ronny & Deanna too) and I’ve never asked her to do anything with me without Blake. Also I’ve known her for 8 years so you can’t even compare her to Brian. I haven’t had a friend who lived in the same town as me since high school. Rejection wouldn’t have bothered me, then I just go back to my simple plan. But what happens if he can’t leave for an hour or whatever and that wrecks my whole window of opportunity? I can’t really be like “hey do you want to do this thing?” and then be like, “nope, sorry, can’t. Crazy.”)

2. If he wanted to go, walk to Brian’s house. (Issue: construction workers everywhere. Possible complication: what if he’s not ready?)

3. Talk about random stuff on the way to Alma’s. (But what? Is it rude to ask someone what meds they’re on? I mean that completely seriously.)

4. Go to Alma’s. (Easy.)

5. Order. (Harder in front of a stranger.)

6. Talk about random stuff while we wait for our food. (But what?)

7. Eat. (Now an issue because now I’m not only eating in front of a stranger but I have to also keep talking to them and what happens if he finishes first because I’m a slow eater? Or what happens if I finish first?)

8. Pay. (Still a big issue for all the same reasons, amplified by the fact that now there will be TWO people watching me use the debit machine/putting fries & gravy on Visa.)

9. Walk Brian home. (And what if we run out of things to talk about?)

10. Walk to my house. (Construction workers.)

 

I am SO raw. I am a very very raw person. What I mean by that is that my moods and emotions are always just below the surface and they are fierce in either direction. It is SO easy to make me cry. I’m convinced most of the time that even the people who claim to like me probably really hate me. Even my body is sensitive. I wear hoodies in the summer so there’s more insulation between me and the rest of the world because certain textures will make me want to crawl out of my skin. I avoid socks like the plague because I haaaaaaaaaaaate how they feel. (Although I have THE BEST pair of knit socks an LJ friend made me a few years ago that I love in the winter.)

Anyway, I’m losing focus here because Wes just came home…I just feel like I need to take so many classes to learn how to do simple things. No one laughs when you’ve been in an accident and need physical therapy to learn how to walk again but people sure think you’re weak and pathetic if you have to go to therapy to learn how to function in society.

I basically tortured myself all day and now I feel like an absolute failure. I suppose I could try again tomorrow. And at least this time I’d be starting with clean hair. I guess we’ll see what happens.

April 18, 2013

We Are Now Accepting Callers For These Pendant Keychains

This week has been mostly a disaster but I don’t want to talk about it so I guess I’ll tell you about Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, I got up at 4:30am like I normally do, worked my 3 hours and started getting everything ready to spend the day with my grama. The plan was to give her the best possible day, so we were at the flower shop I like right at 9am when they opened and we got her these flowers:

They actually look a lot nicer in person. That pic was taken with my phone, which, for an $800 phone, doesn’t have the best camera.

Then we drove a little over an hour & a half to Haugen’s and we got there before they turned on their “open” sign so I took some pictures. Here they are:

Greetings from sunny Manchester!

My mom said my grama was only “eating to please” these days and that they’d share a chicken and rib combo and my mom said my Aunt Betty would probably be there too so we got her a chicken dinner, then Blake also got a combo and I got a full rack of ribs, baby.  AND a whole strawberry pie! If I were dying ALL I would eat would be Haugen’s ribs and strawberry pie from sun up to sun down. Anyway, that’s what we got and then we drove about 40 minutes to my Stouffville, got whipped cream for the pie on the way (and Diet Cokes) and then we went to grama’s apartment and in we went.

My mom told me to be prepared for the worst because my grama was having more bad days than good days lately but she looked fantastic! I mean, considering the circumstances. She cried when she saw me so I hugged her and I said, “what can I do to make you laugh? do you want me to fart cuz I totally can!” because apparently she finds farts funny these days and so she started laughing and I gave her her flowers, which she loved, and Blake and my mom and Aunt Betty set out plates and started dishing out the food.

Then we all sat at the table and ate and we just had a nice visit. I can’t even tell you the things we talked about, honestly, it was just a good visit. She was the grama I remember from when I was a kid, nice and cute and sweet and all of the wonderful ways I know she’s capable of being.

I know she’s scared of dying though. That’s where the tears are coming from. And most of her hair is gone, all that’s left is white fluff, like a newborn chick, but her skin was back to normal from the radiation and despite the fact that she was looking a little thin and the hair, you wouldn’t even know she was sick.

It was a good day though, my mom explained. She has chemo on Thursdays so by Tuesday the “poison” is out of her system enough that it’s just a good day. Or a better day than the previous ones.

After we finished visiting for a little while, Blake and my mom dished out the pie and I put the whipped cream on and everyone really enjoyed it and that made me feel really good, to be able to give her this fantastic day full of some of her favourite things. She needs more days like that, she deserves them. She worked so hard her whole life…

…she worked so hard her whole life, starting to work in her father’s furniture store when she was in high school and then running the store after he died. She instilled this fucking complex I have where I can’t do anything “just for fun” unless I do a bunch of things that are productive first and even then, I can’t just watch a movie, I have to be doing something WHILE I watch the movie and this sickness in me, it’s just so wrong. My grama worked so hard her whole life, waiting for that magic 65 number so she could retire and finally have had worked enough to be able to “earn” some fun and then this happens. Blake said to me the other day, “do you really think she’s sitting there at night thinking, ‘gee, I really wish I had worked more’?” The lesson in all of this is to enjoy life as it’s happening and you would think, having been on my deathbed and knowing what it feels like to die, I would know this but it wasn’t until Blake phrased it that way that I finally got it. And I think I can get over this complex of mine now. Or begin to.

I am successful in life. I do productive things. I put in my time at my job and with my family (not that the latter is really “putting in time” but sometimes it feels that way) and I have earned the right to spend 6 hours playing the Sims if I so feel like it. I don’t owe this fucked up debt of productivity that I think I do.

The week before last at CBT, they asked if anyone wanted to share any of their thought records and no one was volunteering for like, 5 minutes so finally I said they could use one of mine. So I chose this one:

(Click to enlarge)

And they were all like, “why do you think this way? this is crazy!” and I was like, “I know!” But I explained to them that in my family, everyone owns their own businesses and when you own your own business and you don’t have very many – if any – employees, you’re in your store like, 9 hours a day minimum. Every day but Sunday. So the kids are all raised IN the store – my mom and Aunt Sandra were when they were little – and after school when you get bigger, you work in the store. You spend your Saturdays working in the store. That’s the only way you get to see your family! And because all of these people worked incredibly hard, they set the productivity bar pretty fucking high and this is something that for YEARS my grama would point out to me, making me feel lesser, making me feel lazy. Fuck, TELLING me I was lazy, even though I’d done 60 hours worth of school work that week but I didn’t manage to get my laundry done so it wasn’t good enough.

And so I developed this full-fledged complex about productivity. And I need to snap out of it.

And you have to understand that my mom was SO young when she had me and that for all intents and purposes my mom and my grama co-raised me so my grama’s opinions make up a lot of the dialogue in my head and that is a really unhealthy thing. That’s why I took CBT, to change that dialogue. I’ve been wondering why I did CBT and there it is, it’s to change the voices in my head that sound eerily like the heinous grama of years ago.

So yeah…Tuesday was a good day for both of us. The rest of the week hasn’t been so great for me. I’m on the rag like, bigtime, for starters. But I’ve also spent so much of the last 2 days crying and I don’t even know why. I’m just crying over everything.

On Saturday it’s Maple Syrup Festival and I’m showing my work at The Conservatory but I don’t know which pieces yet and I don’t have any business cards to hand out because it didn’t occur to me to have any made. There wouldn’t have been time anyway. I have to work at 2pm until 11pm on Saturday so I can’t be there but I’m going to try and be there for the morning at least but I’m crazy nervous. Like, needing medication just to write this paragraph kinda nervous. Brian will be there and I know Rob so at least it won’t be super stressful…I hope…Someone at something similar to this asked me what inspired me to make my girls and the only answer I had to give was “Toddlers & Tiaras” which is such a durrrrrrrrrrrr answer so help me think of something better in case someone asks again.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac arrived this week (thank you Jessica!) and I started it the other night. It actually reminds me a bit of my own earlier writing, just completely stream of conscious. I like it.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say right now. I think I’m gonna go play Sims until my work meeting this afternoon but I’ll leave you with this awesome picture of Wes I took this morning, of him doing yoga in his sleep…I think he’s attempting tree pose, what do you think?

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