Archive for July, 2010

*Author’s Note: this entry was originally handwritten on 29 July 2010. It was totally chaotic and I can’t believe I’m posting it, but hey, I’m on a roll.*

Ah, the application process and resume writing…they suck so badly. Why is it so bloody hard to confine skills and experience to words? There are 9 billion things you can do, so why do words fail when you need them most? So, some of what I need to put into words are “recent experiences with youth.” Well, aside from being mum to an 8 year old, I’ve substituted. I’ve volunteered at K’s school doing AR work (which involves record keeping) and other classroom helping including proctoring for CRCT. Both of those would be helpful for the postion at Jackson, a lot actually. In the past, I’ve done daycare work and in high school, I’ve done *Author’s note: wow this sentence kind of sucks so much* student teaching. All of those are valid and helpful. So, how to put all of those into words? Always fun and entertaining. Also, I wonder if I can get S- and Ms. M- to act as references? Or at least write letters of recommendation. Hmm. Well, I’ll find out, at least in theory since I just sent them both emails. I also changed my contact info on my credit cards, so now I just need to do the change of address at the post office so I can get my DL done here in Indiana. I also need to sort out phone details so I can have a local number. After that begins the process of updating the info with all the various people and places who may need it like the doctor’s office and KSU and places like that. So many details…so many places to sort them. Fun and crazy and scary times, let me tell you. That’s all I’ve got for now. The headache I have is super awesome in a not awesome way.

*Author’s note (yeah, again): So I heard back from S- right away who was pretty much like, “Um, duh, yes, use me as a reference and let me know if you need a letter, too. It helps that I’ve known him for ages. I still haven’t heard from Ms. M- yet. Also, I decided (wisely) that attempting to get my DL done before we get back up here is RIDICULOUS times a million and right now I don’t actually care if everyone has to call long distance. Okay, I do, but whatever. The places up here that need the info will also have Rin’s cell number if they need a local one. Which is to say…I am not going to be that insane and try and sort things like phone service in the ~2 days before three weeks of chaos. See, I do occasionally think and use my brain. Aren’t you glad?*

Brief Interlude

So, I’m trying to reorganize my thoughts again. I sidetracked myself by sending a super long (and months overdue) email to old friends and am now a bit o_O in my head. Fun, that. *headshake* I suppose in some ways it was a good diversion: I really needed to sit after vanquishing a shower. That’s something I miss…being able to just take a damn shower without worrying about how much it is going to exhaust me or how much or how little the water sensation is going to make my skin hurt. Yeah. That’s a pain in the ass. I think taking a shower without considering it “work” is something healthy people seriously take for granted. I used to. Showers were part of life. Now? I have to coax myself into it and give myself pep talks and try to plan for a shower when it won’t utterly wear me out. The problem? It pretty much always wears me out. What is it about the simple bathing process that is so exhausting? Fuck if I know. I just know it is.

However, now that I’ve had time to sit, I think I’m ready to get up and get started on the real work of the day. I want to try to get some things done before people get home, though I think I’ve kind of blown my lead time with that one. Ah well, these things happen I suppose. I am not exactly sure where I am going to start but I’m going to get something done that’s for damn sure. If nothing else maybe it will take my mind off of the stabbing sinus headache I have. Nothing like waking up about an hour after taking sudaphed only to realize that it was the WRONG choice since now your sinus cavity feels like it’s being stabbed by a spike. Nice.

Wow, I’m kinda whiny/bitchy about being sick today. Maybe I need a disclaimer. Or not. *shrug* Some days are just fucking like that and you have to suck it up and live around and with the illness or it takes over. Bastard that it is.

In other randomness, I have been mulling over more thoughts on my birthday. I think I’ve narrowed down why there is apathy and agitation mingling on the subject and I will attempt to get those thoughts down later…if cleaning doesn’t kill me first. Isn’t that a cheerful thought?

Here’s to hoping you’re in a much perkier mood than I am this afternoon.

So, I was doing pretty well with the whole writing thing. Heck, even when I was in Georgia I actually managed a couple of entries (mind you they were handwritten, but they fucking got written). I have a rather lengthy one for the 16th in which I examine how the trip down with the munchkins went and several other things including some of the workings that go on at the Department of Family and Children Services. ‘Course, then I drove back up by myself and was like, “Okay, I’ll find time to write about driving on my own and other things like that,” and forgot the number one rule of writing, particularly for writers who are distracty and procrastination-prone at their best: you do not “find” time to write. There are four million other things that will come up that you will want to do or will more feel like doing, up to and including staring at lint, and the writing won’t happen. That’s the point I’ve been at for a week…so here I am staring at Dashboard and a relatively open screen “finding” time.

On Time
Time is a tricky thing: sometimes it works with you, unfolding and playing out in a spiral that makes things fall properly into place; other times, it treats you like you’re a gnat on a tornado-driven breeze, tossed about by its merciless desire to keep going, until it spits you out three thousand miles from home, leaving you with a headache and head spins and not a damn clue how to fix it. Right now? I’m a gnat.

The last few months have been chaotic. Of course, I write that sentence and want to automatically correct it with “the last few years” which I then want to correct with “my life is chaotic” but that would simply be one more distraction of minutia that will get me nowhere in the end, so let’s try again.

Life is chaotic, and sometimes, I’m a bloody chaos field. While everyone goes through periods of chaos and upheaval, I from time to time seem to have an extra dose made just for me and anyone within a hundred feet. What I really should say then is this: the last few months have been full of more upheaval than I have really figured out how to properly deal with. I have gone from one event to the next like a shock victim trying to keep her head above the water and sometimes, that description is much more apt than I want it to be. So many things have happened; so many things have changed. There are so many unanswered questions that I could probably fill a novella length printing with them and still not be done. On one hand, the more logical part of my brain understands that some of that is what the whole “growing up” thing is all about: chaos, upheaval, and learning to land on your feet. On the other, the much less logical part of me is going *runaroundlikeachickenwithheadcutoffwashrinserepeatohnoeztheskyitisfallinohnoezdoom*. (Aren’t you glad you don’t have to run around in my brain?)

One of the biggest overarching themes though has been “time.” One event happened approximately five months before it was supposed to, meaning that five months of theoretical preparation disappeared with one phone call. It was the correct choice; it was the sane choice; it was the healthy choice; however, it was still a complete flip-flop of what was going to happen and it made for a whole lot of wandering about going “ohshitohshitohshit.” Some of that time was spent trying to relearn how to handle some pretty basic things. A great deal of that time was spent playing pseudo-nanny to Miss Ma’am and Mr. Monkey and enjoying the heck out of it. I spent most afternoons working with them on their homework or talking to them about school or simply listening to them play while I poked about on the computer. I learned some things from all of that, both in the intellectual sense and in the personal sense. One of those things is, very simply, that I enjoyed the hell out of that. Sure, there were days they made me want to rip my hair out and Tuesdays were the day from hell due to K and her sentences, but I still enjoyed doing it. I also learned a bit about what it was like to function without worrying about every single thing I said, every bad day I had, and the ripple effect that those things might cause. All right, in truth, I started learning about those things but I still do it and I’m still a skittish little rabbit some days afraid to say a damn word. (That’s part of why I’ve not really shared this blog yet, see?)

However, here, too, time played a role. May came much more quickly than anticipated and things weren’t ready. May and June saw time playing having with a great number of things as about two months of arguing out schedules and talking out details and trying not to lose my mind in the middle of that basically was thrown out the window with two phone calls. It was frustrating and it was frequently a pain in the ass and yet, everyone managed to come out at the end of it alive. It just got to seem that every time I turned around, there was one more change coming from one more direction.

July has seen Rin and I attempting to play catch-up from all of the changes in May and June. Since she and I were supposed to have about two weeks to come up here and work before we brought the kids up but ended up not having them, a lot of the things we expected to already have done aren’t. We didn’t get much of anything done while the kids were up here, in part because well, they are kids and there were lots of things to do with them and in part because I was sick a solid chunk of that time. (Granted, at this point, I’m sick so much that I am beginning to not be able to tell the difference anymore. There is “sick with an infection to the point of almost non-functioning” and there is “functioning on such a low level that it is annoying, frustrating, and down-right frightening some days”.) After I got back from taking the kids to Georgia, we actually did get a start on things, but here we are with less than a week before she and I are supposed to drive to Georgia again, and there is so much not done that it is overwhelming.

I would love to say that we need help; however, I am not certain that I could successfully manage to figure out where and what with. Some of the sheer amount of things that need doing are turning the house here into one that is functional for four people. There are a lot of T’s parents’ old things still here (which is a long story), and there is a lot of chaos and disorganization in T and R’s things. Start adding in mine and K’s and you’re getting all kinds of fun…in not fun kind of ways. What we have managed to do is to get closer to a better organized kitchen. Some of the problem with that is that the cabinet layout in there is pretty terrible which takes a fair bit of working with to make it usable. We’re still working on that. What we have left to do is to get the bigger living room cleaned out and re-organized so that it can become the main living room so that everyone isn’t stepping on each other in the main living space. We also have about three other rooms that need some serious overhauling and re-purposing. It is a lot of work and it is overwhelming and I am so damned annoyed with myself for how little I am managing to get done that I cannot stand it.

Now, time is running against us and that overwhelmed feeling is just getting worse. I suppose at this point what we need to do is sit down and figure out what we can realistically get done, but I’m not sure that talking about it is going to help all that much just now. Some of it is simply going to be a matter of mind over body and an understanding that there will be no spoons left at the end of the week…not that there are all that many now.

I suppose that some of the rush of time lately is not helped by the fact that Saturday is my twenty-ninth birthday and let me tell you, that is kind of freaking me out. No, twenty-nine is not that old (though if you measure the age I feel every day versus the chronological, the difference is kind of disturbing); however, for where I am at in my life, twenty-nine is kind of old…and I suppose that makes a nice segue from the Time subheading to the next one…

On Growing-Up and All That Jazz…
When I was younger (read: in high school when I believed the world was well and truly conquerable), I had plans. The problem was a lot of those plans were based around inaccurate ideas and assumptions about the way the world worked. They were a naive kid’s dreams that revolved around what she thought she wanted: not what she needed. Sure, some of them were pretty clear. I’d do the college thing and find a cool job and take over the world. The only problem is that I’ve always been more like Pinky than Brain and quite frankly, taking over the world is just too damn much work.

A lot of those dreams and ideas changed when I had Miss Ma’am, many of them for the better, I would argue. That kid has scared the hell out of me and taught me so much about what is really important in life and about all the things I’ve missed in life simply because I was afraid that I don’t always know where to start talking about it. I have regrets, sure, one of the biggest being that all of the times that I’ve started a “Dear K” letter in my head, I haven’t written them down. That’s one of my new goals, but it’s a bit lower on the list right now than a few others. But one of the things that the last seven months have taught me is this: with my kid standing with me, I can damn near do anything. When I turned both of our lives upside down, she was the one who came up kicking butt first. She fell into a new pattern of life with relish. Sure, she was scared, too, and she had her days of missing the way things were, but for the most part, she tackled the change like a kid and she made me realize that no matter all of the other crazy things going on, life still goes on and it really will sort itself out.

As we are headed toward the next huge change in our life, she has been trepidatious; however, she has also started to find lots of things to be excited about. For a start, she has discovered through seeing some of Mr. Monkey’s activities that Girl Scouts sounds like a neat idea. She is also excited about the SCA group up here and is quite curious about learning how to be a fighter in the kids’ group. She has taken to dressing her stuffed cats up in SCA costumes which is just bloody adorable. Is she still scared? Is she going to miss Georgia and everyone and everything there? Yes. Is she going to throw herself into it headfirst? Probably. She does that. She’s a smart kid; she makes friends easily; she is growing-up to be amazing and I LOVE that so much. I love watching her put together how things work or do not work. I love watching her try new things, even when she doesn’t want to. I love talking to her and hearing what she has to say.

Most of all, I love that she manages, without trying, to help me keep going. There are a whole lot of things that I do because of her or for her. There are a lot of choices I make that revolve around her. I’ve frequently been accused of not thinking of anyone but myself and of not making the best decisions for my daughter, and yet, I measure the success or failure of something based on how she is doing. Kids let you know real fast if something isn’t working. Can you always change that thing? No. But they still let you know. So far? A lot of the decisions that have been deemed “crazy” have actually gone pretty well for her. Maybe I do have a clue of what I am doing after all. *wry grin*

Ironically, I didn’t start the bit on growing-up to be about K, but it makes sense to me -now- that the section kind of had to start with her. Some of that is very simply that I want her to be more prepared for how to function in adult society than I have been. Some of that has been through faults and choices of my own and some of it has been that there were things that I feel I genuinely wasn’t prepared for. For example, one of the greatest myths of my education was that going to college and getting your degree means something. The reality is that all that a degree means these days is that you stuck with something and finished it. It doesn’t really help you find a job like they all said it would and it certainly doesn’t prepare you for how to go out and get the job you want. I’ve learned more about that from Rin’s step-dad in the past couple of months than I ever learned in high school or at the university.

I spent a great deal of time being dependent upon someone and in a lot of ways I still am and right now, it doesn’t seem to matter which state or which house I am in, I am incredibly dependent upon the people inside of it. Right now, that is scaring the ever-loving shit out of me. I suspect that a lot of the dependency is adding to the trouble with sorting some of the unanswered questions. It also means that one of the biggest things that I have to learn about this whole “being an adult” thing is that while I am going to be dependent on other people in some areas, how dependent am I capable of being while still remaining independent? Someone is going to look at this and say, “Well, duh, that’s part of what you have to figure out in life,” and if that person says it to -me- I might hit them. One of the things I never thought of as part of my future when I was that wide-eyed kid was that I would be dependent upon someone else. I never thought I would frequently feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body trying to find a balance between pain that is tolerable and pain that really can’t be ignored. I never thought there would be days where I couldn’t open my own soda bottle let alone work a decent job and make a household. Yet, each of those things are things I deal with on a daily basis. It is a part of life and it is one that takes a hell of a lot of balancing to manage and right now? I totally do NOT have a handle on it.

The past few months have seen several symptoms getting worse. They have seen new symptoms cropping up. They have seen me battling for insurance and failing to get it again. Now they are seeing me trying to find a balance of meds that is actually affordable…and sometimes choosing which are necessary and which are not. It has not been fun, yet I am managing. Unfortunately, I’m not always managing that well. Pain levels are vicious. As I pointed out to Rin at dinner last night, it’s kind of a nasty cycle: you’re nauseous if you don’t eat, you’re nauseous if you do eat, so what do you do? *headshake* Try to find a balance, that’s what.

Some of my internal battle with age and growing up is this: society teaches us that people are supposed to do certain things at certain points. I’ve been behind a lot of those points, so I’m not sure why I’m shocked that I’m behind -all- of them. Honestly, I’m not sure why I care. I suppose because I am frequently a non-conformist trapped in the head of someone who battles with not wanting to be in trouble. That’s a fun battle, let me tell you. I play a balancing act of attempting to appear like a grown-up and trying to figure out what the hell that actually means. The number of times that I am shocked when someone actually treats me as an equal is somewhat disturbing and though I’m getting better at it, it’s still a rather large hurdle to overcome.

I imagine that some of the hang-up here revolves around the fact that now that I’m not at Mom and Dad’s house, there are a lot of old expectations of my own that I am having to tackle and beat the shit out of. For example, the theory that being out of Mommy and Daddy’s house means you are either in college or have a good job and are doing super awesome. (Did I mention I was quite naive to how the world worked?) *headshake* It is a bit tiring and frustrating and exhausting to have to battle some of these old things and yet, I suppose the more that I actually remember to sit down and write this shit down and try to sort it out the better off I’ll be in the long-run, right? *le sigh* Yes, I know, I speak the common sense now let me apply the clue-by-four to my head yet again. One day, this really will stick…or something.

So…do I meet all of societies expectations of a grown-up. Nah. But do I really want to? Do I really need to? Probably not. So maybe what I have to redefine is what I actually want. What and whose expectations do I need to meet? Wow, those are some epic questions, aren’t they?

On the Future…
So what comes now? Well, in the immediate, it is organizing and making a place and making some of the things I know I want to happen happen. On the 29th it is continuing to hope and pray that we can get K into Hamilton Traditional School. It is still part of the South Bend School Corp district but it is a different set-up from their regular elementary schools and it seems structured in a way that would work for K in SO many different ways. I want this. I want it a lot. It would mean a lot of changes for her, the biggest being uniforms; however, from everything I have seen and heard, Hamilton would be perfect for her. That’s not to say that Hay (the school she will go to if we can’t get her into Hamilton this year) is a bad school. It’s pretty good and has good teachers and will still work for her. It’s just that Rin and I think that Hamilton would be best and gods do I want her to get in there. So, we wait for the 29th when the secretaries are back in their office and we call and find out if we can get her in, or even if we can get her on the waiting list. I WANT this. I want it a lot.

After we figure that out, we can figure out other things, like what she is going to need to start school and all of that fun stuff. Granted, some of that is going to be the same no matter where she goes. On the positive side, they don’t start school up here until 25 August, so that’s handy.

There’s also Celebration to get ready for and a resume to write and a hope that I can MAYBE get the position at Ivy Tech that I would ❀ to have even though it would be a huge challenge and so many other things besides. There are things to sort in three houses and trying to figure out what needs to come up north now and what needs to stay in storage down south and oh, yeah, trying to figure out where in the hell to scrape all the pennies for every thing that needs doing. But we’ll manage and we’ll figure it out cause that’s what we’re good at.

In Conclusion
Rin and Tadhg are home now and I’m losing my train of thought to afternoon conversation. I feel a bit better than I did earlier though I still have a whore of a headache which I’m not amused about. However, hearing about some of the funny things that happen at work is amusing. And hearing Rin explain how she made her life harder this morning by hauling her laptop to work with her like she was going to IUSB is also amusing. “Technology heavy. WHY???” *sniggers* I’m gonna get kicked for that one later. πŸ˜€

Also? I got milkshake. HAHAHA for me. Yay for cookies and cream milkshakes from Steak and Shake, dude.

So, yes, in conclusion, my train of thought ends at milkshake and will begin gods only know where at some point in the future. The end.

In Which I Discuss DFCS

*Author’s Note: This entry was originally handwritten in one of my journals and I am now adding it here for posterity…and well, since that had been my intention all along. If the attempt at retro-dating fails to work, the original was written 16 July 2010.*

So this is the second journal entry of the day. This one is, in theory, going to make it to the computer. I suspect a large part of that will depend entirely on how the rest of this day goes.

On Bureaucracy
At this moment, I’m sitting at Gwinnett Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and boy is that fun. I came in and got a number (67). They just called 50 a couple of minutes ago. Oh hey, a couple of people must have given up; they just called 52. So, why am I here? Well because they don’t answer the phone…or return voicemails when you manage to get through to a VM box that isn’t full. Sitting here in the office, you can sort of see why. Of course, all this illustrates, on some levels, how flawed this system really is.

Theoretically, you receive information in the mail. Those letters say, “If you have questions, call your casework at the number listed above.” You call and in some cases, you get a switchboard and in others, you get an automated menu. At any rate, you frequently find yourself hearing a message about a full mailbox, so the process begins again. Frequently, you give up in desperation and travel to a busy county office where you wait. If you’re lucky, they’ll treat you like a person. Most of the time, they treat you like you’re a giant pain in the ass.

Most people, contrary to popular stereotype, don’t want to be here. The average person you see here looks harried, frustrated, and worried. The mothers who are unable to find somewhere else for their children to go try to keep them entertained. (Gwinnett at least has a small play area and a TV on Disney. Thank gods for Phineas and Ferb.) Many come either from work or on their way to work. In short, most of them are people trying to survive. The current state of the economy has increased work in these offices well beyond the point of capacity, several workers have admitted that.

There is, in theory, an online system; however, it is not universally implemented. They do not assign you a log-in and show you how to use it. I can’t access my info via Compass – I’ve tried. In the past few years, they made a Metro Change Center to try to handle calls simply regarding the necessary changes you have to report. I suspect it has had mixed success. If they explained it a bit better, they might have more luck, but they spend as little time as possible explaining anything. They are just as tired as we are.

Do I think there are people who abuse this system? Yes. People will abuse any system, even ones that benefit them. Do I think the welfare stereotype is an accurate portrayal? Well…sometimes. You see, it is more beneficial to have multiple children: the system is based not only on need, but number. A family with three children receives more benefits across the board. So, do I think there are cases where desperation to survive creates situations where the number to need ratio is exploited? Yeah. If with one child, you make “too much” to receive benefits, but with two you squeak in? I’m not just talking food stamps here. Medicaid is the same way, and ya’ll, medicine is expensive. (It’s Medicaid that has me here in the first place. My meds are expensive. K needs dental work done.) So, yes, I think there are cases where that is exploited, but not so much with malicious intent as with desire to survive.

Frustration is the name of this game…and you are at their mercy. The system is flawed. And yes, I believe there should be government aid available. Yes, I think there should be limits, but I think the ones in play are inane. I suspect the whole thing could be reworked to help train people to exist better, but no one wants to consider that. Some of that comes back to education…another flawed system. What we learn as we grow is what we know. We should help people while working to break some of these patterns that put them there in the first place…but that’s another soapbox entirely.

On Travel
The drive was actually pretty good. The kids slept the first six hours, so I didn’t stop until the gas light came on. After that, we had lunch. They stayed awake pretty much from that point on but kept themselves amused.

Outside of Knoxville, K told me she had to go potty…about a minute after I passed the rest area. After going about 10 miles with no exit, when I saw one, I got off. HUGE mistake. I went sixteen miles down a winding mountain road that was wretchedly paved. When I was hitting the point of being ready to knock on someone’s door, I found a doctor’s office. The kind, older nurse looked pitifully at me and tried to figure out how I’d gotten there. She (of course) let the kids go to the bathroom and told me the fastest way to get back to the highway was to simply backtrack the way I had come. *insert teeth grinding here* So, I lost about an hour in my 32 mile excursion. Adding insult to injury, if I’d gone about two more miles, I’d have found civilization. Fun, fun. Oh! And I freaked out several people on Facebook, my Mom included. That was fun…especially since I was in the bowels of No Cell Service. o_O

Other than that, it went well…until I hit 285. Ah the joy that is Atlanta traffic. On a funny note, about the time the log jam broke up, we found Troy in traffic. The kids perked a lot and turned into traffic commentators, trying to keep up with him…while I resisted the urge to drive too fast just to get home. (We were in traffic for over an hour.)

I could have stopped a few more times, but every time I thought about it, I found one more thing I wanted to outrun. And while on the trip up, Rin had amused the kids for a couple of hours at a Cracker Barrel so I could catch a nap, that wasn’t an option this time…so I did the drive as fast as safely possible. πŸ™‚ I suspect the trip back will be interesting…

Dramatic Interlude
So…I was at DFCS for an hour. When my number was called, the gentleman at the desk showed me a list of documents they had supposedly sent to me, and explained that since I had not filled them out, I’d been denied benefits. I explained I’d never received them. He even said they’d apparently been returned. He also said they had been mailed to my old address. Um, what the hell? He said it was the only one in the computer. Again WTF? After all, the refusal letter had gotten to the new address just fine. He told me to use the lobby phone and call the caseworker. I asked, slightly tetchily, if I’d get an answer or if I’d get a full VM box. He went to tell her I’d be calling. I walked to the phone and called the extension. She answered and we exchanged a brief conversation in which I learned that since I’d not filled out the forms that I had never received, they had closed the case. I explained that I had called at the beginning of June, and had been told the case was still under review, but had been told NOTHING about owing information. She was faintly apologetic but said that there was nothing I could do. She did tell me that the letter had, in theory, arrived at the new address, but still, in spite of having never seen it, I was screwed. My ONLY option was to start over – again. Guess what else starts over? You guessed it! The FORTY-FIVE days of review they are allowed for Medicaid cases. So, while I at least now have an answer, I still…well, really don’t. It’s just one more thing. Don’t mind me; I’ll be over here banging my head into the wall. Oh. Right. I’m not supposed to. It makes the wood uneven. :>

Back to Travel
I’m not sure when I’m heading back up. Obviously, not tonight. *sigh* Stupid bureaucracy. Tomorrow is Mr. Monkey’s birthday party which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, it could be fun. On the other, bowling alleys are loud and bowling is very much on the “Not Allowed to Do” list. When holding glasses is tricky, hurling heavy objects down a lane is kind of a no. *wistful sigh* I will likely try to get some things together tonight and head out at some point tomorrow, but I’m really not sure at this point. I don’t really feel like doing much, if anything at all, tonight. Apparently major emotional upheaval saps your energy. Oh. Wait. I already knew that.

*sigh* So many unanswered questions…it kind of leaves me wondering if a hope and a prayer are going to be enough…

Trip Preparation…

For some reason, getting ready for a trip can take varying amounts of time depending upon a) what has to be gotten ready, b) how much (or how little) someone wants to go on said trip, and c) how much the pain to medication ratio is balanced. Today, I have absolutely no desire to get into the car therefore my part of the trip prep has been sleeping (which is probably a good thing), folding one load of laundry, and trying to figure out what things I need to do on the internet before I leave for said trip. Then again, I don’t typically gear up into “driving mode” until about half an hour before I aim to get into the car; after all, if I get into driving mode and we’re still three hours out from leaving, I’ll drive everyone (myself included) utterly bonkers. So, right now, I’m doing a whole lot of nothing and waiting for meds to more properly kick in while I try to figure out what I want my last meal before I get in the car and have about 14 hours of meals on the run to actually be. The verdict so far? I have no idea.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I don’t want to see people at the other end of the trip or that I don’t think that F & K will behave in the car. It’s that I’ve not done this particular trip on my own before…and for some strange reason, this is making me incredibly nervous. Logically, this doesn’t make a ton of sense. I tend to let Rin sleep a large portion of the drives back and forth because I like to drive more than she does and she can sleep in the car, so I tend to spend a fair bit of time playing hop, skip, jump with the iPod and letting the flow of traffic pick my mood of music. Part of the reason we both prefer driving at night (aside from it makes it easier to get small children to sleep) is that you miss a lot of traffic that way. As it stands, I aim to leave here sometime between 11 and 12, so theoretically, I can miss a lot of major rush hours that way. I know I’ll miss Indy’s since it’s about 4 hours from here. I should also miss Cincinnati’s since it’s not that much farther from Indy. I could hit into one or two in Kentucky; however, I am hoping that clever timing will have me through the major metropolitan areas before the morning work clamor begins.

Granted, I might well be driving into Atlanta’s afternoon rush hour by the time all is said and done but I sure as hell hope not. However, as has been proven many times before, this trip can take varying amounts of time based solely on the amount of time that a person has to stop between here and there. And since this is also going to be the first time that I am taking the new route back to Georgia, I have no real gauge of distance and time ratios as I would on the other route. Google Maps quotes the time (with no stops and no traffic) at 12 hours and 9 minutes…but I’ve never met anyone who could stay in the car that long and not stop. πŸ˜€

I suppose that some of my nerves are also stemming from the point that the drive back to South Bend in a couple of days will be me and the car on our own. K is going to have a couple of weeks with her grandparents, so it will be, the crap I pack in the car, and the road together. I think that might be a larger part of nerves.

Granted, some of it could be that I have to go act like a grown up for a few days and several parental types are likely going to have questions that I do not yet have the answers to. My Mom in particular is good at asking those questions at the exact wrong moment. (Sorry, Mom, it’s nothing personal…not that you know that this blog exists yet, but you will, at some point, I think, so I want to make that clear. Sometimes, the timing really has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with where I am at in my head at any given moment.) Hell, that could be said for most people: sometimes people have the worst luck at being The Very Next Person to ask me the same type of question and they tend to get either snapped at or ignored. It’s something I am trying to work on. After all, no one asks to be The Very Next Person, so I try to temper my responses with either a disclaimer that “I sound frustrated but it is not with you” or something similar. However, I also sometimes have trouble convincing people to believe that and I’m not sure why. Or maybe I perceive that they do not believe that which opens up a whole other bucket of monkeys…and I don’t really have time for deep introspective navel gazing tonight.

On the reverse of that, I think that -some- introspective navel gazing has gotten some of the tension in my chest to ease up and some of the general anxiety to, at least for now, slip back beyond the peripheral to let me better be able to focus on other things. Somewhere, Parish is nodding his head and making that knowing “Mmmhmm” face he makes when I FINALLY come back to a point he has been trying to make…and he doesn’t know about this blog yet either…which of course makes the idea of him making that face even more comical. He has, perhaps, felt a disturbance in the force and he has had a thought of “Mhmm” and has no idea why…and if you know Parish, you know why that’s funny. πŸ™‚ (He’s going to read this later and either laugh or ponder thwapping me in the head.)

So, that’s where I am: completely scattered, all over the bloody continent, and trying to get myself into “Major Trip Mode.” I am going into this trip knowing that I don’t have answers to most of the questions that people might ask. I am going into this trip knowing that it is going to be a whirlwind few days. I am going into this trip knowing that no matter what, I am coming back to Indiana in a few days if for no other reason than “By the way, I have Rin’s car and she might want it back.” πŸ˜€ What happens from here is anyone’s guess…but I think I might work on having a notebook handy in the car to jot down brief notes along the way.

Also, as a disclaimer to everyone, F & K are actually really darned good in the car and I am running the worst case scenarios in my head because that’s what I do. I’ve already asked if I can duct tape them to the roof and been told no. Same goes for Gorilla Tape and bungee cords, so I suppose that the next best thing is to just grin and remember that I hold the power of choosing where we eat. Bwhahahahahahahaha!

Oh! Another also? Rin loves me a whole lot…not only did she print my directions out for me today, but she totally made a separate sheet with various Starbucks locations along the way so that when I need my caffeine fix come morning, I’ll know where and when I can stop. She loves me so much. πŸ™‚

Until later…or something…I leave you with Warren Zevon lyrics: “keep me in your heart for awhile…”

If I actually knew the answer to that, I’d likely be a very rich woman. Life is full of the unexpected; if most of my life had not taught me that, the last seven months most assuredly would have. So many things have ended up going so far differently from what I expected, that I can’t always tell you what’s coming next. So many plans from this summer were changed around, that I even put a ban of making plans that were more than three days in advance. In some ways, this has helped my sanity seeing as how the month of June was one change in plans after another. In others, it has made a few other things a bit more tricky. On the whole, though, it seems like we’ve all muddled through somehow.

At some point, I’ll likely sit down and write about some of the things that have happened since January if for no other reason than to let people in. Apparently, I’ve done a far better job of keeping things quiet than I ever realized. *wry grin* It seems some habits die really slow deaths.

I suppose I should start with some of the basics like who I am and all that jazz…except answering that question seems to take longer and longer every day. The basic stats are thus: I am an almost-29 year old woman who is the very proud (and occasionally frazzled) mother of an amazing 8 year old daughter who I tend to refer to as “K” or “Miss Ma’am.” I am, at this moment, sitting in the living room of my future home which is located in South Bend, Indiana. It is the home of my best friend Rin and her husband Tadhg. I say “future home” because at the moment, K and I are in the process of relocating, a process that likely will not be complete until sometime in August.

For the past few weeks, we have also had Rin’s little brother (“F” or “Mr. Monkey”) here with us which has been both fun and occasionally brain-frazzling. Originally, he was going to be here for a week after Rin and I got some things organized here at the house. In one of those crazy turn-abouts back in June, we had to rearrange those plans because Rin’s mom (Chris) got sick and no one was entirely sure what was going on with her. She is doing better; however, recovery took a bit.

Having both munchkins has definitely been an experience. K and I have spent the last three summers with Rin and Tadhg, so we kind of have different little routines down. Adding F to the mix made for a few learning curves. Toss in the fact that I’ve spent most of the time we’ve been up here sick and you get a whole lot of fun…or something. Nah, we’ve actually had quite a blast. It was nice to be able to let F see where Rin and Tadhg live and where K is moving (particularly since K and I have been living with F since January). It was neat to take him to the different places that Miss Ma’am has talked about and we all had a good time at the 4-H Fair last week.

Unfortunately, between having both munchkins, my being sick, and trying to sort Rin’s work schedule, we’ve not gotten a whole lot done which has been frustrating for the grown-ups. On the flip side, we’re going to have a couple of weeks to get more things done…at least in theory. πŸ˜€

Tomorrow, I am braving the trip back to Georgia with K and F to make sure that they are both there for F’s birthday party on Saturday. (His actual birthday is Sunday.) After that, at least once I finish arranging plans with my Mom, K is going to spend a couple of weeks with her Gamma and Poppa and other family members. I am going to head back up here and hopefully work on some things. At the end of the month, when Rin finishes the summer school session she is working, we are both going to drive down to Georgia again and theoretically get some things done down there.

Also, theoretically at least, she and I are going to work at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Since our room is already paid for (thanks to a friend of hers) and since we actually get a small stipend for room and travel which will largely pay for gas and some of our food, not to mention the potential to earn a recommendation that says, “Hey you did x kinds of things for Lucasfilm,” it actually is looking like a feasible convention to go to. The other large convention of the year though? Yeah, that one is pretty much looking like a no-go. We sat down and did some of the math and since we nearly spend (with room and food and what have you) around $1800, it is looking as though Dragon*Con may be out this year. We’ve not made a final decision; however, the odds of us being able to go have greatly been reduced thanks to the bureaucratic foul ups that we’ve been dealing with in Georgia (i.e. mine & K’s insurance situation). *shrug* We’ll go again and we both know it. We’ll miss people and miss the events; however, we really can’t see how we can justify the expense with so many other things going on at the same time.

I’d love to think that this post was moving in a somehow linear fashion, but I know myself well enough to realize that it is hopping and skipping all over the place. Some of that is because I am tired and some of it is because I am keeping up with Tadhg’s conversation, too. πŸ™‚ I think I had started out with a goal of some kind of list that said, “I will probably write about these types of things,” and have instead simply been downloading things from my over-tired brain that needs to go to bed but isn’t quite ready to do so.

So, what might I write about?

  • Real life (because it kind of gets in the way of everything else)
  • Game things (because FB also kind of gets in the way of everything else)
  • Unsent letters (because I write them A LOT, especially when I’m driving and it’s hard not to share some of them)

Types of things you can expect:

  • Profanity: I have a B.A. in English and “fuck” is still my favorite word in the English language. Anyone trying to tell me that swear words are only used by people who don’t have the vocabulary to say anything else will be mocked for their blatant ignorance. Like everything, I believe that there is a time and a place for swearing and gods know that in my journal/blog/place where I write shit, I can use it like I wish. You have been warned.
  • Child stories: My kid is so awesome that I don’t always have words to describe her. She continually amazes me, baffles me, frustrates me, and makes me a very proud Momma and I like to talk about her. A lot. I post the good and the bad and everything in between. My kid says awesome things and she’s not quite ready to blog herself so I feel it my duty to write some of these things down for her. Also? Blackmail.
  • Emoticons: I try not to; however, I find that every now and then I really cannot help myself. Some times you just need a πŸ˜› or a πŸ˜€ or a ^_^ to get your point across. πŸ˜€
  • Sick talk: I have an uncategorized autoimmune disorder. My body regularly does not like me. Much like real life, it tends to crop up in conversation. Seeing as how the last few months have also seen a rise in symptoms (thank for making me sick of the sun, dear body, I do so appreciate it), I am likely going to be talking about this…a lot. I also would like to talk about important things like how to be sick and have a life at the same time.
  • SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism): I know almost nothing about it; however, I aim to learn about it. Rin has been involved in the group up here, and she is looking forward to getting K and I involved as well. We’ve been to a couple of the workshop nights and have had fun. Even more exciting than my own involvement is perhaps K’s excitement at learning how to be a fighter. She thinks it’s pretty damned cool and is really looking forward to it. I think that’s fucking awesome! She’s also been dressing her teeny beanie baby kittens up with Barbie clothes to try to make them be in the SCA. Yes, it really is as adorable as it sounds.
  • Talk of Snow: I am a Southern Girl moving to the Great White North. Trust me, if I manage to keep this up, you’re going to hear about it. A lot.
  • Random Fiction: I was invited over to WordPress with a reason and I can already see creating tales from some of Solle’s other Fairy Tale writings. (I’m pretty sure I hear Hansel’s reply somewhere in my head.) I also occasionally write other fiction bits just for the hell of it.
  • Random Bullshit: I do believe most people would call this “everything else;” however, I am -me- and I have to be unique, so everything else is “that random bullshit I didn’t cover in specific bullet points.”

I like to talk…a lot. Sometimes I actually manage to translate that out into writing. It’s a habit I am trying desperately to return to and I am hoping that gentle (and not so gentle) nudges in this direction will help. We shall see. What happens from here? Heck if I know. Well, not true, I do know. I have to go to bed soon so that I can be prepared to deal with all that tomorrow is likely to bring. After all, there are kids’ things to pack, my things to pack, a car to load…and probably a thousand things to do that I’ve not yet considered. I suspect that the drive will likely prompt at least some writing ideas, but who knows…I could just end up banging my head into the steering wheel. πŸ˜€

Here I Go Again

I’m going to blame this on Mana purely for the grounds that she perhaps sent an invitation to start writing something new at a time when I have been debating back and forth about just -how- I should go about writing a blog again (or if I should or if the sky is going to fall on my head for even thinking of starting a new one).

I could also blame this on myself since I’ve let the words get so crazy backed up in my head that I can’t begin to figure out left from right some days for fear of stumbling over the pile of unused letters waiting to eat me alive. Perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic…or perhaps it’s just me. Who knows?

All I know is that I opened my email this afternoon and there was an innocuous e-mail message with a WordPress invitation from a friend and the next thing I know, I’m sitting here babbling incoherently. Go figure. What will I talk about? The sky’s the limit…or perhaps I’m the limit. What a bunch of half-cliched nonsense mingling with brainfog and the need to get up and go figure out what we’re doing for the rest of the evening. In short, I’m flinging words randomly from my fingers hoping that some of them will stick somewhere. Will I come back? Who knows? Will it be today? Who knows? Will I stop talking in half-brainaddled chaos? Hell, no! πŸ˜€