Sunday, March 30, 2014

Surprises

Two things sneaked up on me today (odd, isn't it, that 'snuck' isn't a word). The first was adulthood. Monkey had her friend, Squirrel*, over last night. This morning I found myself awake before everyone else and I made orange juice because I figured the girls would want it later. Then, when the household was awake, I began making myself breakfast only to find that I was making breakfast for the Bat and the girls. The Bat didn't eat any of it and neither did I, finding that, as I was making it, I didn't want it. I also found myself telling Squirrel to ask the Bat for information as to how make French toast as I didn't know how and honey, please don't put a pan on the burner with heat without putting butter in it. No, it's OK, if no one tells you, you won't know.

I'm at an age where I know to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast so that the children in the house will have something to eat. I know to ask if they'd like water or juice. I know more than they do, where we keep the powdered sugar, how not to ruin a pan. I asked the Bat if it was ever odd to him that he's been a grown up for nearly 15 years. He didn't understand and said that he's been a grown up for longer even though he might not have acted like it. I'm no longer the girl at a sleep over, having food prepared for me, helping to pay my debt to the mother of my friend. Instead, I am making eggs and teaching friends how to make French toast when I've never really made it, not that I can recall.

The second surprise was the cycling. I don't know if he knows or not but the Bat has seen me as close to manic as I've been in years when I was waiting for my neurology appointment, had been off one medication for a month and another for two weeks. Today I found myself feeling... well, blank. I felt like I was unhappy but I have no reason to feel that way. I certainly had no reason to feel that way when it fell. But there it was. So I call it blank because I don't know if it is an authentic emotion or not. Like I said, I have no reason to feel unhappy, especially when I have been so happy of late. So I think it must be me cycling. I'm on the low end of my spectrum for whatever reason and it hit me out of the blue. I feel blank, desolate, and numb.

I did pull the Bat aside to tell him that if I'm quiet or not myself, it isn't his fault. He said "it's your new medicine" not understanding that I'm not on new medicine (I was afraid the psychiatrist would change my meds but then I cried and he didn't) and that wasn't it. I also let him know this won't last long. I don't think it will, certainly not as long as the manic cycle lasted, short though it was. After all, I have my pills and my prescriptions and my appointments so this shouldn't last.

But it is damned hard and I hate that I felt it. I told the Bat that he was fortunate in ways he didn't know. Look, I'm lucky as fuck being who I am, where I am and all of that. But there is a luxury that is not available to me. You can feel something. You can be happy, angry, exalted, sad, angry, frustrated, whatever, and you will undoubtedly know what you feel and, most likely, why you feel it. I don't always know. I, sometimes, have to muddle through things and figure out if I really feel a certain way, if there is a reason to feel that way.

That is the burden of someone with bipolar depression. I can only wonder at what the burden is like for someone living with a person like me.

*I know I seem to name everyone after animals these days but that is what we actually call this girl. She walked like a squirrel when we went camping. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why I'm Not Unhappy That My Dream Didn't Work Out

For much of my life, I wanted to be a writer. I even chose English as a major when I went to college (choosing to also major in Psychology as a back up). I realized, eventually, that I didn't have it in me to be an author, not in any real way. I have my share of imagination, creativity, and writing ability, but I felt what I lacked was the endurance and stamina. I mean, even to write a short story you need a beginning, middle, and end. That's a fuck of a lot if you think about it, especially if what you are writing is entirely made up in your head. So I figured, meh, I can't hack it so let's let that dream die.

But now I'm thinking that what I lack is something that isn't something that is too terrible to miss out on. I honestly think that in order to be a decent author, you need to be seriously fucking disturbed. Take the Hunger Games trilogy for a start. If you've only seen the movies, you should seriously read the books and not just because "Catching Fire" was a very, very poor portrayal of the book (to be fair, that is a difficult book to turn into a singular film). First of all, the author has the idea of a yearly event in which children -  children - are forced to fight to the death. OK, that is fucked up in and of itself, especially when you consider that two tributes come from each district and so the winner is going to end up killing someone they probably know. But there is so much more. I remember reading the third book and thinking what horrible nightmares the author must have had to come up with some of that shit, especially the mutts. It's one thing to write a crime novel about a ruthless killer, regardless of how horrible the murders are, but to conjure up a game where children not only have to kill one another but have to be chased by weird, giant, dinosaur-lizard-rats is quite another. Suzanne Collins is a terrifying woman.

But it's not just that sort of thing that makes me think authors are disturbed. I still have not forgiven Muriel Barbery for how she ended the exquisitely beautiful The Elegance of the Hedgehog. If you haven't read it, please skip to the next paragraph as I'm going to give the worst spoiler .........................OK, those who haven't read it  have had a chance to leave the room. So just when Rene finally gets to be who she is, finally gets to be appreciated for the beauty of the woman she is and has the opportunity to live in and engage with the life she should have had, WHAM! she's dead. What the fuck?!?!?! When I really love a book, as I love hedgehog, I will read it multiple times. I've mentioned before that I've read The Westing Game at least six times. But hedgehog? I've only ever been able to read it once and I actually gave my copy to Tits when I moved to Texas. Because I simply cannot forgive Barbery for what she did. She created these complex characters, so rich and dimensional, and made me fall in love with them. She built up this story about despair and sadness and regret, and then she dangled hope in front of me and Rene before she crushed it out. I get extremely involved in what I read or watch and so I literally fucking wept at that book (my ex husband can testify to my getting lost in books as he said to me, whilst I was reading 1,000 Splendid Suns, "Kitty, honey, I think you should take a break. You've been steady crying for about ten minutes now".)

Today I finally borrowed My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult from the library. I knew a lot about it from talking to people and, actually, when I got to the big climax, I remembered that someone told me what the twist was because I said it was fine, I was never going to read it. Again, if you haven't read it, don't read this paragraph. .............................................
So this is a story about a thirteen year old girl who decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation because she doesn't want to keep having to be a donor for her sister who has a rare form of leukemia. The protagonist was actually conceived, specifically, from an embryo that was a perfect genetic match for her older sister. Initially, the just thought they'd use umbilical cord blood but over the course of years, Anna (protagonist), had to donate other things, including bone marrow. The final straw was being asked to donate a kidney when she was thirteen and her sister, Kate, was sixteen. So you read this heartbreaking novel from the perspectives of multiple people and you get to the climax, right? Turns out it was Kate, not Anna, who really wanted it all to stop. She was tired of living this life she'd lived for the past fourteen years, the trips to the hospital, the treatments, the constant sickness and ruining of other peoples' lives as she saw it. So you look at Anna again and really see her. She's a thirteen year old girl who loves her sister and wants to do what is right. She's also at an age where she is growing into herself so she has conflicting emotions about wanting her sister to live and always be there but also wanting to be allowed to live on her own terms, not just regarding keeping her sister alive. But up until this point, she's never had to face this sort of choice. Her parents want her to donate a kidney. She wants to donate a kidney. But Kate says no, Kate give Anna an out so that she, Anna, can live her life. She's been carrying this burden around, wanting to do what is right for Kate and do what will allow her to be free.. even though what she really wants is, in her mind, impossible; I cannot live independently and autonomously as long as I have things that can be donated to my sick sister.

OK, I know this is a new paragraph but here comes the big spoiler so again, if you haven't read My Sister's Keeper and you want to, skip it. So everything is settled, it comes out that Kate is the one that wants Anna to not give the kidney, the judge decides that Anna gets medical emancipation and forms are signed. And then the story is told from the father's perspective. He is a firefighter and he has gotten called out to a car accident. And you know what? Picoult fucking kills Anna in a car crash! Anna dies and her kidney goes to Kate and that's about it. I cried so much that I was extremely glad that the Bat and Monkey were both out because I wept and said things like "Oh no" and "not Anna" and who knows what else. What the fuck? This girl, this poor, strong, brave, confused girl that I fell in love with was just ruthlessly stolen from me after being put in my charge. Fucking Picoult. I glanced at the Q & A section at the back of the book and she says that her eleven year old son read it and couldn't talk to her for awhile after he finished it (he, too wept). He asked her why she had to end it the way she did. She gave an answer but all I can think is "you are a terrible person."

So there you have it. Authors, in my very humble opinion, are fucked up, disturbed people. And all I can say is that I'm grateful for them. All the books I've discussed in this post are ones that have given me great pleasure. I think we readers are as fucked up and disturbed as the authors as we love their work so much. But I still think maybe it is OK that I can't inflict this kind of horror or emotional turmoil on others.

I'll stick to writing my dry business documents for the moment.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meeting Notes

My company likes meetings. A LOT. Fortunately for me, I don't get invited to many but when I do, I'm usually a bit distracted or bored or just I-don't-care-y. But I like to put in some effort and take notes to pay attention. These notes, however, usually end up covered with random doodles. And that is what I'm giving you today, some random doodles.

Ladies Man Banana


Sinister Apple

Distinguished Pear (hiding behind Sinister Apple)

Femme Fatal Eggplant

Meetings are important.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cave Dwelling and Cleaning

Housework and I have come to an impasse. I realize that in a household, everyone is going to have their own ideas about what makes for a comfortable living environment and that they may all be dissimilar ideas. I know that I like things tidier in the Bat Cave than do Monkey or the Bat and for awhile I've sucked it up and done the bulk of the chores because I think "I'm the one who cares so if I want it clean, I should do it." And while I do not necessarily disagree with that sentiment, I do think I can start giving myself a break. Yes, I'd like things to be neater and tidier on a regular basis, but I have a room of my own that I can escape to if I don't want to be surrounded by clutter and unswept floors.

And honestly, I'm just tired. As I always try to make clear, Monkey and the Bat do contribute; it's just that I do more because I do it more frequently. I clean the kitchen more than anyone because I get skeeved out by dirty dishes and pots sitting around for days. I sweep - even though I hate sweeping - simply because no one else seems to notice all the dust, dirt, and hair on the floors.  I scrub the master bath because I use the tub and the sink and no one else seems to care if that area is clean. I do the laundry because it has to get done and I prefer to do mine myself (and throwing the Bat's in with mine isn't a burdensome task). I dust because no one else cares and I don't like sneezing all the time (I'm not allergic to dust, but between being outside planting, tracking dirt into the house on my shoes, and the dust build up, I sneeze). I pick up and put away a lot in the living areas just because clutter annoys me.

So I do a lot of the normal daily housework that a lot of people do. But I'm the only one doing it most of the time and so I'm just tired. I don't mean to make a martyr of myself because I do not have to clean as much as I do. I bring it on myself because of that "I'm the one who cares so I should do it" mentality. But no, I shouldn't do it. The Bat and Monkey are comfortable with how they live and don't need someone constantly underfoot putting away and scrubbing. And it isn't like the house is about to be condemned or anything. It's just dishes in the sink for longer than I like, counters not thoroughly scrubbed, floors not swept routinely. Yes, when all that goes on for awhile, as it did for a few months leading to my massive cleaning when they went to San Antonio, it can get out of hand and deep cleaning is needed. But, for the most part, general maintenance is all that is needed, just like in any home. So if they don't care, why put myself through this? I know they appreciate my work but if they don't care, they aren't going to help maintain it so I'm really just banging my head against a wall.

In my ideal world, everyone cleans up after themselves and pitches in for things like sweeping the floors and cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. So I asked the Bat last night if he and Monkey could contribute more towards the household chores and he said "OK". And I realized that even if things don't improve tremendously, it's OK. I can cause myself much less anxiety if I just stop. I'll continue doing laundry because, as I said, it doesn't take much for me to throw the Bat's in with mine, I'll continue cleaning the master bath since I'm the only one who uses it, but I'll just do my half of the sink. I'll clean up after myself and cook once or twice a week so that I'm doing my share of the pots and pans, and I'll stick to my bedroom if I can't take the mess. That way, my housemates will not feel unduly put out or as if they are being constantly punished by miss tidy pants over here and I won't feel so overworked and annoyed at feeling like the maid.

Scathingly brilliant idea as my mother would say, and such a simple one. So simple it took me months to figure it out. Although, to my credit, for awhile there I cleaned as much as I did because I felt bad about essentially living in the Bat Cave rent free. But now that I am paying rent, I feel less of an obligation. As a minority stakeholder, however, I don't feel I have much of a say so I needed to come up with a solution that would keep me happy without driving the others batty.

No pun intended. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Annoyances and Giggles

Annoying Things
Some mornings I find it very hard to feel a positive attitude as I drive into the office because traffic sucks so much. Honestly, I sometimes believe that people in Dallas are the absolute worst drivers but then, I guess people in Atlanta probably think the same thing about their city. It's just that there seems to always be an eighteen wheeler overturned, an accident ten miles away, and a whole bunch of rubber neckers. Presently my morning commute is further compounded by having a lane blocked off at the mix master. That's all it is, one lane instead of two, but it backs me up for a good seven miles, which wouldn't be terrible if I could go faster than 5 mph at a staccato pace.

I know I'm forever complaining about traffic these days, as I used to forever complain about laundry, but it's my commute that really has me thinking about looking for a new job.

Moving on. If you see me slip, like if you clearly see me, why do you feel the need to say "did you just slip?" That happened when I was leaving the smoking pit and slid a little on some mud. No, I didn't go flat down or anything, just a slide and a "whooo!" Everyone who knows me and was walking towards the pit at the time (and were half way away when this graceful event occurred) felt the need to ask "did you just slip?" I find that irritating, not because I'm embarrassed (I'm clumsy, I get it) but because what is the point? So I started responding with "no, just some fancy walking" and "I was going to bust out into a musical number but thought better of it as I can neither sing nor dance."

Yes, as you clearly witnessed, I slipped. Call action news.

Happier Things
On Sunday, I pretty much sequestered myself in my room and the master bedroom and knitted and watched Miss Marple (with a little bit of grown up responsible chores getting done). I wasn't in a bad mood but just needed some alone time. The Bat and I have been extremely social lately, either having his family over on weekends or going out, during the week, with his cousin, her fiance, and their friends. The cousin and fiance are, as I've said, moving to California this Friday so we are trying to see them as much as possible. But a girl gets peopled out after awhile; at least, this girl does.

When the Bat and I were going to bed I explained it to him so he would understand I hadn't been annoyed or anything and he said he understood. He then said he'd dig out a room underground that he could lock me in when I needed alone time. I said "no thank you" and pointed out that I had my own room and that I didn't need to be locked in an attic like some scary old lady. He said "no, I'd never put you in the attic. You'd fall through the roof immediately." I asked him if he was implying that I was fat but he said "no, just clumsy. You'd step wrong right away and come crashing down." I wanted to refute this but seeing as I'd run into the door frame leaving a room at some point in the day and that I walk like a toddler when I'm approaching the pond in the greenhouse, I couldn't.

Why do I list this as a happy thing? Because the conversation was goofy and silly and I got a wicked case of the giggles and just couldn't stop laughing until I was wheezing and joking. Going back to work is rough these days so it was nice to have such silliness be the last part of my Sunday.

Well, I ate almost every item in my lunch today, including a yogurt and a plum, and only have an orange left. I don't know if I'll manage that - not because I'm no longer a garbage disposal but because it is healthy and takes effort - but we'll see. I'm honestly trying to improve my diet ever so slightly but I still seem to eat a lot of junk. Perhaps I'll eat the orange or perhaps it will wait till later. Right now I have to return to work before driving home, going to Target, and then making sure Monkey cleaned Johan's cage as per our agreement.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Greenhouse and Garden

It is getting harder and harder to return to work on Mondays. With the weather getting nicer and more consistent these days, a lot of work has been done in the yard so it is such a let down to have to return to the corporate setting on Monday. I finally have a couple of pictures to share. They aren't the greatest but they will have to do for now. Once the season has progressed a bit, I'll go out with my iPad and take some better shots.

First, here is my garden. It looks like I only planted half of it but there are a few lines of seeds planted in the back section. There are also a few very scraggly plants that are remnants of the Bat's mother's garden from last year. Originally there was an entire tub but, er, someone's cat laid waste to most of them.

It was the Bat who suggested I plant some already grown flowers so that I have something pretty to look at whilst I wait for the seeds to sprout. He also put up the wire fencing around it to keep the dogs from tearing everything to pieces. Originally, I was going to build a little picket fence but the wood has been horrible lately. As we were driving home from Home Depot one day, I told him that he'd been very nice and thoughtful about my garden, suggesting that I get something pretty to put in while I wait on my seeds. I've spoken about how thoughtless he can be and is but I try to be careful and remember and note when he's actually being attentive, thoughtful, and caring. And I do my best to thank him or point it out just so he knows I don't only think he is an ass.

More impressive than my garden is the greenhouse and I really do look forward to getting pictures to do it justice. The Bat's family came over again this weekend so that his four year old nephew could help stomp on the pond liner. The nephew was in a diaper or shorts or something and the Bat put on his swim trunks to go in with him. Well, the Bat's phone rang and I went out to hand it to him and when I came back, I found the two year old looking out with a sandwich in one hand and her pants down around her feet. Evidently she felt it was time for her to join the action. No, I do not have pictures because A: I am terrible about remembering that people take pictures of everything and B: I'm not putting pictures of these people on my blog because that's just wrong on so many levels (I received permission from the Bat to post the greenhouse).

At this point, the greenhouse doesn't even seem real and the red mulch is to blame for most of it. Don't get me wrong, I like the red mulch, but things are set up so much that it feels like we are in a mudroom or something when this structure isn't even attached to the house. That silver stuff is the insulation that is up against the fence that faces the front of the house. The plywood and hydroponic set up is against the fence that separates the Bat cave from the neighbor. You can see potted plants that were put out, as well as those two black tubs in which onions and strawberries are planted. Of course, there is the pond, from which the water is pumped and into which it is returned after making it's journey through the PVC pipes. Not shown are the camping chairs we sit in or the actual side of the house. Eventually, the entire thing will be sealed off and the Bat will open the windows, sans screens, on nicer days to get a nice airflow.

There are presently 10 small goldfish in the pond and I hope they are still alive when I get home from work. The water is a bit warmer now and the Bat tried a different tactic this time; that being said, he played it safe by only purchasing 10 fish this time and got the cheapest goldfish possible. Eventually he hopes to have water plants, frogs, and a turtle or two. But he also likes the idea of Bubbles going in and out during the day to take care of any mice or critters and I'm not sure how well that will mesh with all that wildlife in his pond. That and the first time she brings me a "present" is the last time she goes outside.

I think you can understand how crushing it is to return to the office after a weekend of playing around in all of that. I'm beginning to wonder more and more about what I can do to change things in my life so that I can do what I enjoy. These thoughts usually occur during my commute and on days like today - when it took over an hour to get to work - the idea of making a change is very attractive.

But, if nothing else, I know what I have to go home to. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

All of the Food, ALL of it

I really want a little bunny rabbit for my garden. Little Peter Cotton Tail playing in my flowers, safely penned in by the little picket fence. Of course, my flowers are, so far, just seeds buried in dirt and the fence has yet to be created. And the bunny would either run away or be at the mercy of the dogs so I oughtn't to get too excited by the idea.

Wanna know a secret? I plagiarize myself all the time at work. I literally cut and paste whole sections of documents because a lot of my work is extremely derivative. How much variety is there going to be in the look, feel, and functionality of a standard report after all? And I use the same original document to copy and paste from even though, when I do, I forget about all the (many, many, MANY) track changes that are hidden so I end up pasting comments as well as information. Seeing those comments surprises me. Every. Damn. Time. You would think I'd learn. Nope!

Today is "Simply a Girl must eat all the things" day, did you know? I feel like I've been eating pretty much straight through the day and anything that is not eating is annoying me. Complete my documentation of the last report we need to implement? But that is getting in the way of my eating time. Attend a meeting? You want to talk at me for thirty minutes when there are things I can be heating up in the microwave to eat? Oh, there are going to be donuts? Carry on then. And I edged way too close to being 'emotional' when I went to heat up my Smart Ones mini cheeseburgers. I put two of them on a paper towel (because fuck you and your single serving suggestion, I'm not a toddler) and nuked them for a minute. Got back to my desk and realized the cheese was cold. I ended up walking back and forth three times to heat these suckers and each time I'd walk back I'd think "god help the man or woman who dares to try and use that microwave if I need it because it belongs to me today. It is MINE." In the end, one tasted burnt and I didn't really even taste the other one because I shoved it down my gullet as fast as I could.

Because I hadn't eaten at all yet. Other than my bowl of cornflakes (one corn flake was found crusty and dried on my thigh about three hours later), the doughnut, and the weird mini hot dog with cheese in a pastry item that was also on hand at the meeting. And I want more. Not the healthy yogurt that I have in the refrigerator but maybe eight bags of chips from the vending machine and all of the rest of those mini cheeseburgers*. And the pizza I ordered yesterday. And then a nap. I want a nap.

Oh, and I'm sorry, but I do not think there should be any meetings scheduled after 12:00 on a Friday. Why do you do that? In fact, Friday is a terrible day for meetings period, and today I have two scheduled. The first one featured food for me to shove into my fat body and that one is over so it's OK. But the second one? It's at 2:00 in the afternoon! And there isn't going to be food! And it is Friday! I want to leave early and go home and nap in a food induced coma like I am supposed to.

Sigh. Being a corporate wage slave can suck sometimes. But, on the bright side, I got paid today so I can buy ALL THE FOOD.

*I now imagine myself spending thirty minutes in the break room with a stack of these cheeseburgers, cooking one at a time at the suggested 45 seconds to avoid going through the emotional roller coaster previously experienced. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Putting on my Pay Rise Dancing Pants

Before doing anything else, you really need to click this link so you can see the most adorable thing that has ever been put on the internet. That little GIF made my day before 10 a.m.when I saw it this morning.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled discussion. Remember how I was complaining about work the other day? Yes,that all still stands, but I finally had my evaluation and it was very fair, I'm not being fired, and I even got a decent raise. I was told about my raise before we began discussing my evaluation so I sat calmly and listened and nodded my head and made all the right noises whilst inside I was doing the snoopy dance. And I did, for the most part, feel that my boss's evaluation of me was fair and balanced. I wasn't entirely satisfied with it but it went a lot better than I feared. Also, a raise! Oh, yes, sorry, mentioned that bit, didn't I? I think it's always thrilling when you get a pay rise even if it does only amount to $35 more a paycheck (that's how much mine is, I found out, but I'll take it). Hence,


And with tomorrow not just being Friday but payday as well, I'm not sure I can really complain about much. I did tell my boss, at the end of my evaluation, that I like my job and enjoy the work. I don't know why I said that as I wasn't exactly prompted, but it's true. I do enjoy the work, it's just difficult to get sometimes. And yes, I do have a number of complaints but who doesn't? I think I need to try to remember the following things: 
  1. This is my job, not my life.
  2. I only need to be concerned with my own work.
  3. There is always room for improvement.
  4. Try not to let it get to you if you know you can't change it.
  5. No matter what, the work day will end, as will the commute, and there is a greenhouse waiting. 
All in all, I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude and to approach the world more calmly. Refer back to the issues I had with the Bat and his being totally disrespectful; I thought things through instead of blowing up at him and realized that no, he respects me, he just doesn't think or consider what his words are going to sound like to someone else. So I am trying to be more thoughtful and careful and cautious these days, in my home life and my working life. All in all, I think it will make for a peaceful existence and I'd be very happy with that. 

Now, back to work. I've spent enough of my pretend 'break' on the internet and there are documents I need to read before a meeting. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yes, I Have Purchased Pretty Gardening Gloves

The Bat stated that it was gardening season and suddenly I appear to have been bitten. Based on my present enthusiasm, one might think I've always been an avid gardener, but that isn't the case. I would do my mother's garden, and always admired my friend Firefly's, but I've never had my own little patch of land to play with and I'm not terribly good with houseplants. But now, because the Bat and Phoenix decided to change the location of the greenhouse, I have my own above bed garden to play with as much as I like. I mentioned putting down newspaper and cardboard under a thin layer of garden soil the other day, and since then I have put down about seven more cubic feet of soil. I wish I were better with space and dimension because then I could give you an idea of the size of my little plot, but alas and alack, I am not, and I did not see the point in taking a picture of my plot of dirt. It is a decent size, however, and on Thursday I will buy eight more cubic feet of dirt and that should be enough. Then the Bat will help me build a little fence to keep the dogs out, and I can happily begin planting seeds. Zinnias and cosmos, as I stated before. I may find other flowers as well, since the space is large enough, but I'm afraid I'm rather unimaginative at the moment (though we do have quite a few packets of impatiens seeds in the Cave, which I should take a look at).

I find myself gravitating to the outdoors more and more after work these days. No, I'm not taking long walks or doing any sort of activity at all really. But the days are getting warm and it's nice to sit in the garage at my patio set, or sit in the greenhouse in a camping chair, and relax with my Kindle and a beer/mixed drink/glass of wine. It's warm, it's peaceful, and it's solitary for awhile. Don't get me wrong, I like living with the Bat and Monkey, but I've always needed time to myself to just sit and decompress. That and it's nice to be able to read without the television on in the background. Sitting in the greenhouse trumps the garage but only because the dogs don't usually know I'm in the greenhouse for awhile. Back in my garage sitting days, the dogs would go ape shit pretty immediately and wouldn't leave me alone until I moved to the picnic table. So there I sit, in the greenhouse, with my Kindle and my drink, and I occasionally look up to the soon to be pond, and find myself sighing with contentment. Because I'm usually happy in this life of mine and I just figured it out. Yes, I am happy. I've been trying to decide that ever since I made the full move in the Bat Cave and so it was a bit of a relief.

Things are not perfect of course. I had plenty of alone time yesterday because the Bat pissed me off so badly that I felt it would be better for me to sleep in my room rather than be around him. It was something small and stupid - he laughed when he informed me that oh yeah, the Monkey did want a burger after she had told me know and I'd already begun cooking. It was small and it was stupid but it was also just yet another instance of the Bat behaving in a manner that screams "I don't respect you!" I was irritated because he and his daughter both like their burgers over done and bland. I like mine medium rare. So I have to stagger the cooking time, which isn't a big deal, but if I'm already dealing with two cooking times and you throw a third at me, it fucks everything up and I end up feeling like a short order cook whilst you guys watch the movie. Yes, I know, I should have said "OK, well why don't you make it for her" but I didn't because I didn't think of it then. I just thought about how I'd just told him to not agree to plans with people on my behalf. "You can say you don't want to go, it isn't a big deal" he replied. True, I can say that. But please do not speak for me. Instead, give me the respect and civility of checking with me to see if A: I have other plans and B: I want to go. By agreeing for me, you put the burden on me to be the heavy, the one who says "well I don't want to do that." And it is just fucking rude.

But I ruminated on it all night, staying away from the living room and just doing my own thing, eventually going to sleep in my bedroom. I thought about it again this morning when I woke up and decided it's not worth the effort of being angry. The Bat has a tendency to just not think and so I don't believe for one second that he doesn't actually respect me. I believe, instead, that he forgets that not everyone thinks the way he does (which he's admitted) and so he acts callously and thoughtlessly and appears to be a bigger asshole than he actually is. More importantly, I think the way I handled this was pretty brilliant given my tendency to blow up without thinking things through. I didn't lock myself in my room; I sat outside or in the master bedroom as I read. I didn't say anything to him about it because I knew I had to think it through properly. And I didn't sell myself short. Yes, it annoys me that he does that sort of thing but, as I said, I truly do not believe he does it out of a sincere feeling of disrespect.

The point of this long, rambling post, is to say that I think things are going well, my permanent residency in the Bat Cave. There are going to be bumps - as there always will be in any relationship and/or living situation - but it isn't only important to resolve any issues that crop up, but how they are resolved. And I feel pretty damned proud of myself for this one. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No Work and No Play

My return to work has been anticlimactic. Well, that's not entirely true. I needed to stop and fill up on gas before heading in on Tuesday morning and realized, as I drove to the gas station, that I'd forgotten the lovely packed lunch I'd made the night before. I began the fueling process and then walked towards the convenience store for a soda when a pick up truck almost ran over me as it backed out of a spot. I was pretty surprised but couldn't say anything as it took me a few moments to realize what was going on and I was nearly hit by the damned thing. Then, when I swung by the Bat Cave to retrieve my forgotten lunch, I had trouble getting out of my car and one of my shoes fell off.

I don't know why, but I have serious problems getting out of my car every damned day when I get home from work. It seems that I don't know how to navigate the curb if I park with my driver's side against it. I've told Monkey that we ought to set up cameras to film me because every day it's something new. If I have heals on, I risk twisting one or both of my ankles. If I have boots on, I end up doing a wide stance squat movement. When I wear ballet flats, well, I lose a shoe under my car. I'm a special, special snowflake. And I need to start parking with the front of my car heading in the other direction. Not only will that save me from having to do a 3-point turn around in the morning, it will allow me to maintain some form of dignity when exiting my vehicle.

Work, as it has been for about two weeks now, is incredibly slow. I have never worked in an office where I've had to beg for assignments and ask the same manager the same question every day. In the past week and a half, I've had a single project to work on, requiring the creation of two whole documents. Sure, I drag it out and make it take as much time as possible, but it would be nice to have a queue of assignments so that I could complete one project and move on to the next rather than limping along, stretching things out, all to avoid the limbo that is my usual work life. Now that I've completed the oh so challenging two documents for that enormous one project, I've emailed the managers to say "hey, I need work. I'm not doing anything. I'm sitting here and you are paying me to dick around." I don't know if I can truly express just how frustrating this is. I'm told that more information is needed from one of the guys in IT. What the hell does that mean? I'm told that I can't ask for assignments from people outside my division because if I have spare time there are plenty of things that need doing and if they knew I was waiting, they'd fill up my queue.

But they don't. And now, when I eventually have my evaluation with my manager, I'll have to explain, yet again, that getting work is like pulling teeth and that this is probably why I solicited for other work in the first place. She's been copied on the emails in which I ask, yet again, for work, stating that I've got nothing. Why doesn't she go scream at the other manager about getting me shit to do? Nope, I get reamed and I'm at fault. Just sit and be quiet and wait with the daily nudge to others to ask them to do their fucking job. It's enough to have me wondering if they will tell me, any day now, that I have thirty days to find a new position. That is how my company handles layoffs unless you've committed a termination worthy offense. I've been in my new capacity for a year now, and I like the work - when I can get it. Most of what I was promised never manifested and so I've been bummed about that. But I've learned and grown by leaps and bounds and honestly do want to continue in this line of work. But when it's so bloody hard to get assignments - and I hear that others are swamped - what can I do but feel a bit nervous? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Update Texas Edition

Whilst I've happily lived without cable and/or a microwave in the past, I seem pretty reliant upon the toaster. So much so, as a matter of fact, that I've started to wonder why there is no "pop tart" setting. After all, many modern toasters have settings to discern between a piece of toast and a bagel. Perhaps the Bat's model is just a bit too old fashioned? I don't know but I do know that I've taken to having a pop tart as an evening treat lately.

And what else have I been doing? Boring as usual. I placed wet newspaper and cardboard down on my above-bed garden before stooping over to place soil on top. Honest to god, I basically spent maybe two hours bent over scooping and throwing dirt but woke up the next day with so much pain my back muscles that you'd think I'd gone spelunking. OK, I don't really know what spelunking is but it sounds like something that would hurt my back. I've decided I need to either be ten years younger or in some version of good physical shape pretty soon if I am going to continue with these fun, out of doors activities. Mine is going to be a boring, run of the mill, flower garden with cosmos and zinnias. Nothing as exciting as the Bat's greenhouse, which will house his hydroponic strawberries and the seedlings for my flowers and cilantro.

The greenhouse is taking shape all of a sudden; the Bat's dad came on Saturday morning to set up the electrical portion and the Bat's brother came on Sunday to help set up the PVC pipes and install some insulation. Before long, a liner the Bat ordered will arrive and he'll start the second version of his former pound. It is going to be - and is at present - a nice spot to sit at night, roofed and housed in, as we sip our drinks, smoke our cigarettes, and listen to the radio. I sat in there for some hours this afternoon just reading and enjoying the nice weather. We sat there on Saturday evening as the rain pattered against the plastic roof and just enjoyed the calm.

I need about 12 more cubic feet of garden soil before I can even begin planting anything. I bought six feet worth today and, with the Bat's help, spread it over my garden. I was on PTO and spent my day somewhat productively. I read and entire book (one that I've read before), went to Target for a few items and applied for a Target card, and bought soil. I also had my first psychiatric appointment in almost ten years. It was awkward and I didn't like it and I cried when he suggested changing my meds because OH MY GOD WHAT IF THE CRAZY COMES BACK????? But he prescribed me my meds and will probably continue to do so although I may have to go every freaking month. Seriously, I do not know what is wrong with Texas. My Delaware GP and Ohio GP were both fine prescribing me my bipolar medications without any wringing of hands other to say "I'll prescribe this for you but if you want to make a change, you'll have to see a psychiatrist." Here the various doctors I've seen have all but freaked out and said from the word go that they will not manage my bipolar. People make fun of psychiatrists but apparently the medical community views them as gods.

But I have my prescriptions and my temporary Target card and tomorrow I'll go back to work and suffer the culture shock that is not living at leisure. And right now I have a pop tart to eat so things can't be that bad, can they.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lord I'm Boring, as is My Life

Well that was fun and exciting, as the Bat would say. He can be maddening but I do like the fella.

One of the best things my mother ever did for me was teach me how to clean properly. This came in handy this past weekend when I had the house to myself, the Bat and Monkey going to visit relatives in San Antonio. It isn't that neither of those two ever cleans, because they do, they just don't have the same standard of cleanliness as I do. After all, Monkey is a 14 year old girl so she cleans like one; surface level, if dad's happy I'm done. And dad is a country boy who likes to be outdoors as much as possible when the weather is nice so it takes very little to make him think the place is clean. I, on the other hand, notice things like dust build up, floors that haven't been swept or scrubbed in ages, too much crap laying around, etc. So, since I was not going along for the trip (I had an MRI scheduled on Saturday), I set my mind to cleaning the joint.

I have to say that the Bat Cave looked quite nice by the time I'd finished with it. I only did the main living areas (laundry room, mudroom, kitchen, dining, and living rooms) but I cleaned the hell out of them. I moved furniture to sweep, I dusted mantels, put away all the random items that have accumulated in various areas, and scrubbed floors with a vengeance. I even wiped down appliances for crying out loud. Was it fun? No. Was it rewarding? Yes, even though I'm the only one who seems to notice. I made Monkey walk through and admire everything when she got home but she didn't really care and just humored me (though she was thrilled that I got most of the stain out of her shirt). And the Bat's back is so jacked up that I don't know that he could see straight when he got home (he did say, however, "you really scrubbed the fuck out of the floor, didn't you" when he was slightly hunched over the dining room table, looking at the tile").

Yes, the poor Bat's back is acting up again and this time he has no idea what happened. I've never seen him so bad and I feel awful for him. Whenever I see him walking I just keep thinking "the crooked man" because one side is literally higher than the other. He walks like someone who was either kicked in the balls or else isn't used to his own body. I've been doing my best to help him with things like bringing him food, helping put his socks on, etc, but seeing someone in that much pain is awful because there isn't anything you can really do. I have a feeling that if it were me, I'd be crying and begging for death. It's painful just watching him move around, trying to get comfortable. He went to the doctor yesterday but left with only another appointment scheduled and a vague suggestion that he get an MRI (which I'd suggested on my own, thank you very much). He insisted on going back to work today even though I think he should have stayed home and lay prone for at least another day. Poor fucker.

In other news, Monkey is on Spring Break, which means she is shuttling back and forth between the Bat Cave and her friend's house. She and her friend stayed at the cave last night so I'm happy to be back in the office. It isn't that I have anything against the energy and chattering of 14 year old girls, it's just that there is only so much one can take of it. I told the Monkey yesterday that she needed to clean out Johan's cage and have it done before I get home from work today so we'll see if she manages that or if she gives me a 14 year old excuse as to why she couldn't get it done. I even texted her this morning to remind her to make sure Bubbles is locked up. I'm thinking she'll get it done even though others are betting against her.

And that is that, my usual boring self.