Category Archives: Contains Profanity

RIP My Oven

Fuck. Just fuck.

I’ve known since before I moved here that the stove wasn’t going to last forever. Hell, I knew it wasn’t going to last long. It’s officially over. The oven is done. The range top is still pathetically limping along, but the oven is done. I have to replace the whole thing.

I’m trying not to cry. I’m trying not to get down. I’m trying to be grateful that I still have stove access until I can get this replaced. I’m trying not to scream, “Why me?” at the top of my fucking lungs.

It’s all going to be okay. I’ll make it okay somehow. For now, I feel like wallowing in a bit of “This fucking sucks!” I’ll adjust my attitude tomorrow.

I’m not Intending to Ignore this Blog

Things have been hectic. I haven’t shared with you all yet, but I really should have.

I decided to go back to school full time. I am intelligent enough to succeed. Time management has proven challenging, however.

I have also found another job. I’m still underemployed; I’m just underemployed in two locations, with two commutes, and two tiny paychecks now. See time management.

One of my children has fallen into a significant depression following a situation with the ex. This is, by far, the most important thing on my mind at this time. I am working with all of the appropriate professionals, but this situation won’t just evaporate. It’s going to take time and work. I’ve already decided that second job is optional if the extra time away proves to be too much. I can’t undo what he did or the depth of the scars he has caused, but I can skip meals if I have to in order to be there for my child.

I’ve learned some things over the last few weeks. One is that I need this blog. It’s a release. I’ve been losing my damned mind without it. Another is that I can take some credit it when it’s due. I AM a single mother with all the duties of an 1800s housewife (all food from scratch, lack of major appliances – seriously bread making is a much bigger chore when you have to hand wash all of your dishes after you’ve invested a couple of hours into making the bread), school, two jobs, and the emotional needs of children who have been traumatized by circumstance (well, circumstance and a very large asshole). I balance more on my plate in one day than most people deal with in a week or a month and that is big.

Rather than hating on myself when I pass out with a sink full of dishes,  an overflowing trash can, or the fact that my lazy ass didn’t get bread made on a given day, I’ve learned to appreciate what I did accomplish. Getting everyone to class, finishing homework, making sure nobody had to walk home, hand washing favorite t-shirts because I didn’t have the money to go to the laundromat, cobbling 2-3 meals together from my pantry and freezer, meaningful conversations with each kid, washing *most* of the dishes we used that day, putting in 0-12 hours between one or both jobs, and making sure the kitties got some quality petting and scratching. Maybe what I didn’t finish doesn’t make me a failure – maybe it just makes me human. And, maybe, just maybe, what I did manage to do makes me a worthy human. I’m always searching for ways to improve, to be better, to be worthy, to be more efficient, just to improve. I think I’m learning that my drive to improve at everything doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a failure at everything when, in reality, I’m managing to almost hold my own against nearly impossible odds. Fuck feeling like a failure; I don’t have a minute to waste feeling anything that isn’t contributing to improving our circumstances.

Back to School Rant

This post is all about common courtesy and the people who need to learn some.

It’s back to school in my neighborhood. That means there is a lot of extra traffic six times per school day. Pedestrians, cyclists, personal vehicles and buses all heading to a single destination with most dispersing in all directions after reaching it. There are rules and guidance from the schools to make things orderly, but you need more than 15% of the population following it. So, here’s a bitchy list of reminders for parents, caregivers, people who live in the community, etc. You’ll know which ones apply to you by how pissed off you get reading them. 😛

1. You are not special! Neither is your kid. Be grateful, not an asshole.
I’m sorry, you and your kid are normal. Your brains and limbs work properly, your child does not need an IEP or 504, you have access to a vehicle that you can use to drive your child to school. That’s pretty fucking normal. So follow the rules, be courteous, and wait your turn just like all the other normies. You probably wouldn’t last a day in the life of one of those parents who gets “special treatment” just because her/his child has a condition that necessitates it.

2. Follow the Routes. Treat Pick-Up and Drop-Off like a Drive-Thru, not a Drive-By.
Do you know why the schools bother mapping out those drop-off and pick-up routes? It’s because of people like you who go all Mad Max, stopping traffic, double parking, dropping their kids off wherever the fuck they feel like it. You don’t want to wait in line for 2 minutes? Really? Is that a pathological condition? Is there a pill for it? You have job to get to? Well, jobs may be scarce in this economy, but I’m pretty sure you’re not the only working parent in the world. Follow the route, get in line, wait your turn, and teach your child how grown-ups are supposed to behave. You wouldn’t be making illegal U-turns and nearly running kids down grabbing your morning coffee from McDonald’s or Starbucks, would you? If you would, stop driving right this moment. You are a menace.

3. Yield to Buses
They’re huge, they’re unwieldy, and they are filled with dozens of future yous. Cut the driver some slack and let the bus through. The three seconds of courtesy won’t cause you any harm and might even earn you some much needed karma points. Especially if you are a shining example of points 1 and/or 2.

4. Watch out for Kids
This should be a no-brainer, but there are kids on foot, bicycles, skateboards, etc and some of them are not paying as much attention as they should be. They’re kids; they do that. Be mindful, be alert and be aware. Since everyone is now being courteous, yielding to buses, and following the lines, the kids will be easier to see.

5. Use your Parking Areas
If you choose to live near a school, choose to park like a decent person. Street parking during high-traffic times when you have parking on your property is just rude. Put your car in the driveway or lot so the buses and, now well-behaved, parents can get through. Just because it’s unlikely to be your car that gets hit when the bus swerves to avoid it, doesn’t mean that nobody gets hurt. Just put your car where it belongs for twenty minutes. Help keep the street clear.

6. Keep your Sidewalks Clear!
There is nothing more gut-wrenching than watching kids walk through slippery streets in the winter because homeowners and renters cannot be bothered to shovel and salt their sidewalks. Get it done, people! After you’ve done yours, do your lazy neighbor’s, too. Burn the extra 40 calories, earn some karma points, and keep those kids safe.

Be kind, be courteous, be thoughtful, be responsible. Be an example of how people should conduct themselves. It’s honestly not that hard.

6 Things I Wish I Had Done Before Leaving My Abuser

Abuser. It’s still so weird to type that word out. It took me years to come to terms with what really happened. I wouldn’t say it. I struggled with thinking it. I defended him.

Abuser is the right word. It’s his identity. I never wanted the victim identity though. I wanted so badly to not be a victim that I whitewashed who he was.

Years wasted on semantics and denial. Years I could have spent saving my family. There are some things I really wish I had spent those years doing instead of trying to please someone who refused to be pleased. In no particular order, six of them are:

Kept Working

Giving up my career had a devastating effect on me. I lost my financial independence and my earning power. Becoming dependent upon him helped me become voiceless. It was a specter over me every time I kept my silence. How could I speak up if he could just send us to the streets in a snit?

Maintained Independent Relationships

When I left work, I lost contact with my peers and friends. Slowly, I found myself restricted to spending time with the friends he chose for me and select members of his family. When I attempted to nurture new friendships, he always found a way to discourage or sabotage them.

Rented a Storage Locker

THIS would have been amazing! If I had thought to acquire a safe place to stockpile essentials and protect our valuables, you can be damned sure I would have. Toilet tissue, laundry detergent, non-perishables, clothing, cash, etc. If I had a place he didn’t know about, I would have been able to protect some of what he destroyed and keep some of what he took.

Stowed Cash

This isn’t about legal advice; it’s about what I wish I would have done. Any sane lawyer will tell you not to do this. Even so, I wish I would have had access to enough money to pay a retainer or make regular payments. Or to buy groceries. Or fix the car. Or see the doctor.

Started Standing up for Myself

This is so much harder to learn when you’re leaving. Seriously. You’ve just pissed off someone who hurts you when he loves you and NOW you’re going to try to stand up for yourself? Oh yeah, he’s gonna get right on respecting you and your boundaries. Also, water is dry and unicorns are real.

Felt What Was Going On

Becoming emotionally numb is a remarkable coping mechanism. It helps you to navigate trauma and manage your survival without getting knocked off balance by pain or anger. When you spend enough time numbing yourself, you can agree with your abuser that it really wasn’t that bad. Honestly, if (s)he was that awful, you probably would have felt something. But you didn’t because you learned long ago that your feelings were wrong and had no place in your relationship.

I didn’t do any of those things. As a result, I slid deeper and deeper into his web. Like a twisted spider, he fed off of me for years. It wasn’t until I was a drained, weakened shell that I tried to escape. The fat, cruel spider fought aggressively. Even today, my very survival is an affront to his existence.

Had I managed to hold onto something – my career, my friendships, my self-worth, my feelings – things would not have gone as far as they did. And I wouldn’t still consider myself in recovery. And my children would not continue to suffer.

 

July Grocery Update

Goals are just wishes if you’re not working toward them and measuring your progress. Eh, forget the inspirational crap, I promised to hold myself accountable here, so here goes. Goals:

  1. Cut 16% from what we’ve been spending on groceries.
  2. Make the breakfast muffin recipe twice each week, once as muffins and once as coffee cakes.
  3. Make bread twice each week.
  4. Add more soups to meals.
  5. Get a fall garden planned and planted.
  6. Take two recreation days.

Accountability;

  1. Success! I came in about $40 under my goal. I don’t know if I would have succeeded had there not been the whole car repair/medical bill situation to suck every penny dry and make me borrow money, but it happened so there.
  2. Gave up. It didn’t take long for the kids to get sick of me doing this so I’m cutting back on it.
  3. Success but not. I don’t necessarily make bread twice each week. Some weeks, it’s only once. Others, it’s twice. But I’m doing a good job of determining when I need to make it and working with my schedule. I’ve also started doing a cinnamon bread (loaf or bubble loaf) at the same time which is getting gobbled up.
  4. Tried. Kids got bored quickly. Gonna aim for 1-2 times per week, but not stress if it doesn’t happen.
  5. Nope and nope. Fuck.
  6. Nope.

So, I made it money-wise, but didn’t get the whole plan down. I did evaluate my goals to see what works, what doesn’t, etc. It’ll be a boon for the August goals.

One Moment of Appreciation

I’m pretty sure I’ll beat the grocery goal. Mostly because I have no choice. One of the kids has to have a procedure ASAP and a hefty chunk is due upfront. And the car is getting pretty damned sick of me limping it along with promises of a trip to the mechanic sometime “soon.” At least two utilities are getting skipped in July and I’m trying to keep enough in the bank to cover a tow just in case.

I was careful with my last grocery trip and definitely have enough food to get through the coming week. Unfortunately, I may only be able to squeeze pennies out of my next check to put toward groceries and child support has been taking longer and longer lately. I’m mentally gearing up to make what I’ve got last 2 weeks instead of one. I’m also trying not to grind my teeth into dust while I sleep.

Tonight, I roasted a chicken for dinner and served it up alongside reheated mashed potatoes, grapes and strawberries. I was beating myself up for not making breadsticks or a salad and wishing I had some corn. (Only two mini ears in the freezer and no kernel corn to be found.) I could have roasted carrots with the chicken, but I didn’t. So, I’m wandering back and forth from the stove, mentally browbeating my many shortcomings as a mother, when my oldest child made a comment about having a “simple” meal. Not simple as in lazy or too easy (it was easy, LOL), but simple as in everything was identifiable and being consumed in a recognizable form.

The chicken was seasoned and roasted. The potatoes are cooked in water, drained, and mashed – with nothing added. And they are fantastic. The strawberries are pitted and “shaved” (we don’t like the seeds). The grapes are whole. The loaf of bread and biscuits on the table were handmade using ingredients I can recite from memory without getting winded. For as broke as we are and as much as I felt I had failed the family, my child pointed out that there was plenty of quality food for us to eat tonight.

I decided to take a break from feeling inadequate and let myself enjoy dinner, and my child’s appreciation tonight.

Angry Ex on the Loose

I wish I could warn his girlfriend; she’s going to get caught in the crossfire. Sure, it’s all going to start off with “Unnie is an evil bitch and she’s completely fucking me over!” and the poor thing is going to believe it. She will try to soothe his tattered ego, but she will fail. Short of showing up at my house and assaulting me, she won’t be able to heal this wound. Then he’ll unleash his wrath on her. It won’t be her fault; she will simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn’t get his way with something, I didn’t move the Earth and stars to fetch it for him, and she (Pick one: made the wrong dinner, asked the wrong question, disrespected him, didn’t realize he needed a blow job, etc). Woe be unto her if she stands up for herself. She’ll end up blaming me for setting him off and herself for not being sensitive enough to his victimization. She’ll hate me for being so cruel and she’ll try harder next time to understand what he’s going through.

I feel for her. I really wish I could warn her. What I won’t do, however, is acquiesce and give in to his commands to protect her – or anyone else in his path today. That is who I used to be. The person who took responsibility for everyone and everything. No more. I am only responsible for my family and myself. I can’t give him this one because we will get hurt. This action, these commands, they are about us and I can only consider us in my response. It sucks, but it is the only way. I can’t teach my children to stand for themselves if I won’t stand for them first.