Monthly Archives: December 2014

Time to come to an accounting (2014)

Every year I like to do a financial review. I post them publicly because I… have trouble finishing things people won’t see. It is an unfortunate personality quirk. But, I have learned how to work around it and thus I post an annual review. This is my third. The previous two for 2013’s spending and 2012’s spending are through those links.

A brief glance at 2012 tells me that my mortgage is about $50,000 lower than it was. Oh that feels good. Beyond that glance I can’t review those entries. Wow they got long. Let me delve into this year instead.

I’m going to start with income and move on to other bits from there.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 7.38.57 PM

Right away you see how things look funky. It looks like Noah got less in his paycheck than I expected, but that isn’t so! Really what happened is he got a bunch of unexpected money and I spent pieces of it and there is no way to put that in the budget without bumping up the paycheck section. I don’t like this tricky way of trading accounting, but given that his extra income is a full $68,633 over and above our spending for the year I am having trouble properly flogging myself for going over his base income. I mean really, that’s a full time job of income I didn’t even count as income in our budget. It’s ok that I fudged into it.

So his primary job payed him $144,359. Holy shit. That would never happen to me. Go Noah.

He made $6,440 on his book this year. This is the same book that has been out for a while. Notice how there is no line item for my writing? I try to believe I contribute in other ways.

Dividend income is just investment odds and ends that sit in an investment account waiting to reinvest.

He made $2,014 from his “second job”. On top of the writing. Because he likes working.

“Noah’s Mom’s $” is actually a pay out from a term life insurance policy his family had for him when he was a kid. Keeping it as a separate account was kind of a pain so we cashed it out.

“Investment income” is mostly money from one of his former companies getting bought. That was about $35,000. (Yay!) Another $10,656 came from old family investments. The rest was just small earnings on investments that were reinvested.

Then we have the first section of spending!

Auto - Business

Auto – Business

Business is red because Mint doesn’t have a way of categorizing “This spending comes out of this other checking account” so I don’t add it into the budget. But I do money transfers to equalize between the primary checking account and the business account. I’m going to need a better system one of these days. It is working so far.

Wow fixing the cars was expensive this year. The cars are both 2006 vintage so this is expected. This kind of thump to the wallet is why I leave so much of “income” invisible so I have reserves when things break. Ouch.

We spent less than $200/month on gas. Not terrible! I tried hard to reduce my driving this year.

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Neither Noah nor I have expensive hobbies. We don’t do a lot of idle personal spending. I was a bastard and I put books in their own category instead of pulling our personal money for it. Feels like cheating. But man, if we don’t build up that “fun” personal budget we don’t do *anything* fun. I have a grief ritual coming up that isn’t cheap. Saving up is smart. Noah is running off with buddies next month.

We spend a little under $500/month on restaurants. Wow that seems obscene. I’m grateful for my privilege.

Groceries were $14,140. So just under $1200/month. That feels less bad to me because I know how many other people we feed. I also know that my grocery budget is inflated by $1200 because I bought a gift certificate for a grocery place. It bought me $1500 worth of groceries for next year. I’m ok with the trade.

$3,000 on gifts and donations. Breaking that one down into subsections would take a lot of work. I suspect that in my opinion we didn’t donate enough and we spent too much on presents.

Wow we spend a lot of money on health and fitness ($15,899.20). That covers massage for Noah and I ($4,850)(I think we are both much happier when we are getting body work), dispensary ($4,573) [that came down!], therapy ($3,000) and gym/dentist/doctor/etc for the rest. Noah says I am an expensive pet and he’s not wrong.

Home was 37% of our spending this year. 73% of that was mortgage. $41,007.70 went to the mortgage. Watch me do my happy dance. Noah says we got a tax paper in the mail that says only about $8,000 was for mortgage interest. Oh watch my happy dance. At this point our mortgage is in the low $180,000’s. Not sure exactly where because I can only look it up when I have an active bill in bill pay. Weird. I think it is funny that by the time I finish writing the paragraphs, the screen shots aren’t right. I had a bunch of duplicate checks listed in this section. Glad I caught that. We spent $7,000 on the handyman. The rest is home improvement (we did fix our furnace, replace our dishwasher, and hire a plumber recently on top of gardening, etc.) (I did go back and fix the screen shot. That was very wrong.)

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I love the pie charts. Aren’t they cute? I wish home was a higher percentage of our spending. I am totally spending money in other sections at an accelerated rate.

Kids-Taxes

Kids-Taxes

A full 25% of the kid spending is babysitting. I spent $1600 on “toys” but that includes school supplies sometimes and we are home schoolers. Clothes/books/allowance/activities round out the rest. I don’t regret the amount. If we had the kids in charter schools we would only get $3000 from the state. Doesn’t seem worth jumping through hoops to me. Because I would have to put up with hoops. Privilege is freakin awesome.

$1900 for clothes for Noah and I and a lot of the kids stuff gets put in here when I feel like I’m maxing out their section. That’s not hideous.

I wish I was better at tracking my cash spending. Almost $400/month is ridiculous.

Taxes! Can’t escape those bastards.

Last…. the “everything else”.

Everything else

Everything else

Err, a lot of the legal expenses will come back. Probably like $1500 because we didn’t spend long in court. That lawyer was worth every penny. I decided not to slam Noah for haircuts. Ain’t fair he is the only one who gets them. Wow pictures are expensive when you pay a professional. The cross country spending so far looks heinous but it will pay off. Yay trailer! (And other stuff. Lots of other stuff.)

Lots of cash at the end of the year.

Petty cash

Petty cash

Next year we are remodeling the bathroom and I’m going on a cross country trip. We’ll go through cash. I have a mortgage to pay off. Cash will get spent. Noah’s Writing checking account is where we are saving towards the full year round the world trip. I think we will need a minimum of $60k for that.

I’m really impressed with Noah’s ability to earn money. I don’t have the ability to make money show up like this.

Investment accounts

Investment accounts

I feel somewhat confident that we won’t be eating cat food through our golden years even without Social Security. Long way to go before we get to where we want to be. Soon I’m going to stop contributing to Shanna’s 529 entirely. We want in the neighborhood of $50k per kid in 529s and the other $50k/kid in other types of accounts. We want to be able to give each kid $100,000 to make their way in the world or for college. Given that they are 4 and 6 I think that having over $32k is pretty good. Not there yet, but working on it.

My childhood dream was to someday own a house I had paid off and have $250k in investments. Doing really well.

Thank you Noah. I’m grateful to have you as a partner. I hope I’m managing your income in a way you feel is responsible.

I won.

Went to court. My lawyer talked to the doctor before the proceedings began. He was willing to drop the charges once my lawyer said he wouldn’t be able to use the police report as evidence without the cop there to testify.

This is why I hired a lawyer.

She also told him that if he insisted on going forward she would be pressing for a long-form trial. And she would push really hard for him to have to pay all of my fees. I’m pretty sure that factored into him deciding it wasn’t worth his time. She said she also told him that my Kaiser insurance is over as of tomorrow.

All in all it was a little scary but manageable. It’s over. Thank goodness.

I feel like the universe wants me to think harder about the words I use. In the future I won’t always get away with venting my anger. I’m getting too old.

And after rereading the letter from my shrink… yeah… it’s time to emotionally step back. I may even be kind of a manipulative shit and move to once a month sessions and just keep seeing her till I need the card re-upped. Then I’m gone on the trip. When I get back it is time to find a therapist who doesn’t believe I’m hopeless.

Babysitting is improving.

I feel like I’m getting a lot of help with the kids. The neighborhood girl, I found a lady online who has come a few times, Noah is doing lots, adult friends come over and pay a lot of attention to the kids. I feel like things are improving over where they were a year and more ago. I don’t feel as desperately overwhelmed by being with them *all* the time. Cause I’m not. Noah is going to be gone for five days in January. Only one of those days involves me being alone with the kids all day. Every other day has two or four hours of help. That feels different.

I’m feeling scared about paying for so much child care. It’s going to be a big bite out of our budget. But after playing with Mint earlier today… that’s less scary. We are burning through money at a rapid rate but Noah is earning a lot more than I’m spending. Our investments continue to grow (Shanna’s 529 has had an 11%-15% growth rate!) and I am overwhelmingly happy about paying a big chunk on the mortgage. It means I have slightly less padding with the remodel coming up, but I can finance the bathroom remodel for 0% (for two years) and my mortgage is a lot higher than that. It’ll all get paid off. In the next six years. Holy crap. It will. It really will. At this point we have less than $190,000 (I’m not perfectly sure where in the $180,000’s but I’ll find out at the end of the year.) to go on the mortgage. This year I probably paid off over $25,000 in principle (there was more money sent–but it went to interest) which isn’t quite as much as I want to be sending. But with every year that passes the $25k is actually higher because I’m paying less on interest. Math is so awesome.

I feel incredibly overwhelmed by the fact that I will pay my house off that fast. And I will go on a big cross country trip next year. And I’ll go on a Disney Cruise in 2016 and get remarried because we want to. Because that way I will get to wear a pretty dress and have pictures taken with my daughters. Because I feel sad that just like my mother, there isn’t a picture of my wedding day. I was sad my whole childhood not to see a picture of my parents get married. It wasn’t till I was married that I realized… she was nine months pregnant. No wonder they didn’t take pictures. (Wasn’t his baby.) And we will spend a year traveling the world in only about seven years.

Noah makes me feel like all of my dreams will come true. If I can figure out how to stretch the money far enough… I can do whatever I want.

It’s like magic.

I’m feeling incredibly blessed and incredibly crazy lately. My emotions are bouncing like a fucking rubber ball. I am intensely aware that I have a lot of good in my life. I don’t know how to deal with the pit of anxiety in my stomach. It will all be taken away and given to someone good. Someone who deserves to have nice things. That will never be me.

I’m feeling a little more settled on some of my feelings about my shrink. I’ve had some good thinking time in the last day or so. If I can’t find a way to feel more validated by her then I should in my head pull back and just see her long enough to reup my medical card before the trip. When I come home I can start the search for a new shrink.

I think that next time I will look for someone near me who is open to being trained by a client. Which sounds kind of weird. I’m happy to educate you about alternative lifestyle choices, weird educational theory, or give you long lists of books that are more authoritative than I am. No problem.

I need a therapist who will validate that I am clearly trying hard. I need a therapist who thinks that I am doing well given the load I bear. I need it. Or I need to stop paying for something that isn’t meeting my needs. This isn’t a bullshit thing. This is a real problem.

I don’t need a therapist to think I am perfect or to give me unthinking platitudes. I like people who call me on my shit. But I need someone to call me on my shit while still basically liking me and thinking that I am overall trying–I’m just fucking up in this spot.

I spent a lot of today working on the itinerary for the road trip. Soon I will need an email list for keeping up with all the people I’m trying to see. One to one contact will overwhelm me. I’ll forget people then they will feel rejected and sad. My monkeysphere definitely stretches the limits of my ability to cognitively picture everyone without added connecting steps. I think of people in groups. I think of how I know them, who I know that they know. Without those steps… I’d lose people. I recognize their face and say, “Vaguely familiar but I don’t know why.”

I think that www.freecampsites.net is one of the coolest websites on the internet. I’ve had a busy day.

I have planned out how far we are driving, where we are sleeping, and how long for each hop all the way through early November. I ran out of time to finish the last few weeks. Also I’m waiting on a response from Noah’s family. I told his brother that I could technically make the Texas leg longer if folks really want us to. But I’m at the end of a five month trip so I just scheduled a few days. Let me know if I should change those plans because you really wish you got more time. I told them to let me know by January. At the end of January I will be scheduling my Disneyland hotel room for the last hop on the trip. Technically… I can book today. But I’m being nice. If I want more Texas time that bumps my Disneyland dates.

Ok, spent a little more time rescheduling stuff for the trip. I made it so I can *either* do camp/drive/camp/drive (with relatively short hops) for the last section of the trip OR I can add time into the Texas wing and have more drive/drive/drive days. It’s not going to be my favorite, but I really am limiting the number of miles we go in a day so we will have lots of non-driving time in every driving day. I’m only driving 3-4 hours.

I’m looking forward to this challenge in ways I can’t describe. I haven’t run away from home for a long time in a long time. Even the trip to Scotland didn’t feel long enough and that was a month. Being still is hard.

And, to be honest, I’ll appreciate my friends so much more after an absence.

Pretty sure I’ve nailed down Disney World dates. 9/22-10/15. Not quite a month. Long enough. Three weeks will be great. I hope we get to resort hop from Old Key West to Boardwalk to Saratoga Springs to Animal Kingdom Concierge. The last few days I don’t want to buy food. I want to live off the concierge buffet and leftovers. Ha.

I feel like I had a day of productive work. I have nailed down probable sleeping locations for the entire camping trip. I fixed the mileage counts to be attainable given the new speed limits I must follow. The whole damn way I will hear this song in my head. I probably won’t make my kids listen to it.

But I’m having serious thoughts about whether or not I want to introduce my kids to The Coup in the next few years. I will introduce the band by middle-school age. Just not sure when.

Since I’m linking to music, this song made me very sad then angry. I turned it off and started going off. “What a stupid song! What an idiotic idea! I can’t believe that in 2014 anyone is so ridiculously stupid as to say that only girls can cry. What is wrong with her?!”

My kids will be very warped.

I spend a lot of time appreciating my kids. They seek me out. Over and over all day. They come looking for me just because they want to be near me. I’m not used to that. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming but I try to ride the wave.

I don’t believe in the staircase approach to life. I don’t think you are always getting better and improving. I believe in the roller coaster model of life. Good things happen and shitty things happen and there is no end in sight. Suck it, bozo.

No matter how good it is *right now*… this isn’t permanent. It’s just right now. Don’t get too attached.

I feel like 2014 was a great year. Yes, it had ups and downs. Some pretty big inconveniences (hello… court… my dishwasher flooding the kitchen…) but I’ll recover.

I have not had an experience in the last 12 months that increases my trauma load. The most traumatic pieces of the year came from friend relationships. Half from me appropriately seeing that someone had such issues that the person does NOT belong around children and struggling with that and the other half over being a needy pit and not knowing how to manage that. So I guess that’s same ol’ same ol’.

2015 is shaping up to be a fantabulous, amazing, awe inspiring year. I’m really looking forward to the trip.

I have stopped tracking. I’m pooping. Once or twice a day. It’s solid or close enough to solid that I wouldn’t be able to get anyone to care. I’ve had a few random squirts of diarrhea late in the day a couple of times but mostly… things have settled down.

My legs are tight because I have been sitting still for three months. Time to change that. We have a 5k at the end of the month (all four of us!) so we have been getting out for some practice walks. I told Noah that I think we should have a three day cycle. Walk the full distance (3.1 miles) one day. Next day run as much as we physically can for 30 minutes. Rest day.

Given that we are running at the pace of 4 and 6 year olds…. I won’t be increasing my speed as much I otherwise might but we’ll have fun. We’ve been consistent for about a week. My ankle still twinges when I sit criss cross apple sauce. Come on body. Heal.

I understand that objectively my paranoia is very odd to other people. Clearly, not everyone hates me. Clearly my life is not all bad. Clearly I’m not in overwhelming pain every minute of the day.

I just noticed that Sobonfu Somé’s grief ritual in San Francisco this year will be the weekend of March 20-22. I am going to try and make it again. I suspect that having a release of grieving before running off for months is a good idea. It’s on my calendar so I hopefully won’t double book like I did last time. That made me so sad. That grief ritual has been the *only time in my life* where it was ok for me to cry and scream and rage like that with other people around me holding space for my behavior to be acceptable and appropriate.

That’s like… whoa. Like… hella whoa. I would like to go back.

My life is so full and so blessed. I feel like I am going to have to be very careful what socializing I let in for the first six months of the year. I have to build a spoon reserve. I have a lot of long, big things coming up. This year is incredibly busy.

In January Noah will be gone a five day trip. (Yay for Dad’s weekend! I’m glad the boys are finally running off.) I’m not alone with the kids as much as you would think given that. It will be fine. We have Lego Club to keep us busy. We have hair cuts and trips up to visit friends. We need to schedule a Modesto trip. And a specific friend has been cancelled on multiple times due to illness and it is time to make it up to her. At the end we run a 5k.

February: 5 days in Disneyland. That will make the whole month feel slammed. (but in a good way!)

March: Four day SF/F writing convention. Three day grief ritual. The kids get to go to the dentist (luckily this is a fun process). That’s the big stuff.

April: BABSCON (My Little Pony shit). Otherwise just “normal” socializing. I should probably carve out some time for a camping test-trip this month. In fact, I’ll be nutty and propose a trip to the home schoolers. I’ve gotta say, camping with the home schoolers has been really nice. No interactions with humans are completely perfect at all time but we have fun. I don’t feel overwhelmed. I don’t feel loathed. It’s really nice.

May: Maybe a camping weekend if April doesn’t work out. Otherwise, May will be kind of slow on purpose. A lower than normal level of socializing.

June: we leave mid-month. After I get a massage. Because I’m spoiled and lucky.

Man I need to quite typing and go to sleep.

Big feelings and sore arms

I feel like my behavior is pretty good, a few jagged tones of voice, but mostly I’m holding it together. A little high pitched but not bad.

Things are continuing to go really well here. Some of my friends complain after a few days of vacation–they want their husbands to go back to work. I wish Noah would never leave. I love having him around. If this is what retirement will be liked (with fewer children screaming in our faces) I’m really looking forward to more life with Noah.

Trailer hitch ordered for the van. Most of the floor installed on the trailer (worked till we killed the battery). Date scheduled with friend who works in a wood shop so I can cut the one piece of wood I need to cut. Haven’t played with the actual tent yet. Soon. My impatience knows no bounds.

I’m having tremendous feelings about my therapist. I am feeling a lot of lack of validation from her. I don’t especially feel like she likes me. I don’t feel like she thinks I’m making progress in a healthy way. I’m feeling very upset that my therapist might not think I am trying.

Court looms. Day after tomorrow. I decided I didn’t want to see my shrink tomorrow because I have too many distracting feelings about *her* to really focus on court and I need to not get riled up about other things right before I have to be as calm as I’ve ever been.

Feelings.

At least the kids are wonderful. I feel guilty for thinking about suicide when I have such wonderful people telling me they love me all day long.

Seriously, if I need fucking validation there isn’t more than living with these kids. Why don’t I hear it better?

Ugh. Arms hurt.

Mostly together.

Noah and I have spent about 7.5 hours over the past few days putting together the camp trailer. I need access to a table saw before I can finish, but all that’s left is screwing the floor down. I can do that alone really easily. Just called and left a message with my old boss. I hope he will let me borrow his table saw. H’okay. Sent him an sms and he said sure yeah. We’ll get together when he is back in the state. Noah says we will screw down most of the boards together today. I’ll just have the one left. I really appreciate my husband.

I have been kind of an entitled jerk a few times. I’m not good at saying, “Can we please get started now?” Instead I get started then wait a few minutes then make a snide comment about how I have to work alone. I don’t know why I do this. Noah is *very* good about getting up when I ask for help.

I think that part of it is I feel guilty all the time that I am asking him for too much. I don’t want to ask for any more help. But then I feel bad that he isn’t volunteering and I’m an asshole. It’s a great cycle for everyone, let me tell you.

Right now I am cooking breakfast. Calli asked for green beans, corned cob, and sausage. Wow. Sure. I’ll go to the store at the ass-crack of dawn so you can have your chosen breakfast, kid. That sounds awesome. Thanks.

I’m very grateful for my family.

 

Wonderful Christmas

This was a great holiday. The kids did a little bit of fighting and I responded with “Be nice or be silent” and the day went fine. I don’t pull that card very often. But once in a while I’m willing to do so. I have to follow that rule most of the time so I don’t see a reason to not-share it.

We went for a walk and passed out Christmas presents to our friend-neighbors. We sang Christmas carols while we walked.

Noah made lots of wonderful food, including snickerdoodles. Because I’m eating wheat and dairy.

At this point I’m off-leash and my poop is varying but pretty acceptable. I wonder how long I will keep tracking. I still have the book going. Well, I am avoiding the high FODMAP fruits and vegetables still, but I’m on wheat and dairy and eggs and I’m pooping well.

I’m really wondering about the fasting. There is interesting science around the body needing breaks once in a while. Dinno.

Something that I should pay more attention to: the best days of my life are days when I’m with Noah and the kids alone. I can handle those expectations. I feel the least anxiety. I feel tired sometimes, but I feel like I’m ok.

My kids show no signs that they are being hurt by growing up with me. They are happy and healthy individuals. I can’t be all bad.

But when I deal with other people I never know when all of a sudden I will be bad and scary and a problem.

My lawyer wants me to work on feeling indignant that I am being forced to go to court for the “crime” of writing a date on a piece of paper forcefully. I’m really good at indignance in defense of other people and not so much in defense of myself.

My next therapy session will be interesting. I latched onto a few phrases from the last session and I am going to have to bring them up in a very soft tone of voice or she will get huffy. Even though I’m supposed to use the word “scoffed” in court instead of huffy I don’t think my shrink will scoff. I think she gets a little impatient and huffy. The implication of “You like being this way” and “You refuse to change” really bother me from a therapist.

I may not be changing at the rate you would like to see but it is absolute horse pucky to say I’m not changing.

The reversion to suicidal impulse is fucking annoying. I get it. I don’t know how to stop feeling like I am bad and I am going to hurt people so I should die for the good of the herd. It’s a pervasive problem. (Santa brought me a cool book Crazy Like Us about how America is exporting its mental health problems onto the rest of the world. The information on PTSD and depression was fascinating.)

It was interesting reading about how American big Pharma companies consciously tries to change national character through marketing. The Japanese, (apparently, according to this book) don’t have a hugely negative attitude towards suicide, well at least traditionally. It was seen as something that people sometimes feel they need to do.

Man that would be a different culture. I live with the feeling that the best thing I could do for my community would be to stop being a waste of resources AND the feeling that anyone who would kill themselves is a lame, weak, disgusting piece of shit. I love my country. Or something.

I read a lot of nasty, hysterical, awfulness written about people who commit suicide. I’m curious. Whoa. People really hate that others sometimes get out of being in pain before they think it should be allowed.

But, I didn’t have suicidal impulses yesterday. I had a great day. I was with my family. Calli asked once if we were “really done” opening presents and I said,”Given that you have been opening them all month, yes–that’s enough.” She looked sad for about a minute then she moved on to playing and having fun.

Truly this was a mellow and happy Christmas. It wasn’t a screaming, crying, sobbing kind of holiday. It almost didn’t feel like a holiday because there was so little misery.

I think I should remember this lesson in the future. Even though I wish I had a larger family, constructing one is a complicated process at which I do not excel. Other people can build large chosen families and feel ok. I don’t seem to be capable. But I do ok with my husband and kids. I can handle that level of building a family. It seems to be all I have to give.

Man I spent some time being mad at Noah last night for having a vasectomy though. My hormone cycle is wicked. I want a baby so bad. I didn’t yell or act mean. But I had feelings. I think it is utterly bizarre that I went from being basically a sex addict to being pissed that more of my sex life isn’t procreational.

Hormones are weird. Weird. Weird.

It isn’t like I actually want to get pregnant right now. I want to leave on a trip in six months. Not a great time to get pregnant. And trying to talk Noah into a kid after the trip wouldn’t work. The age gap would be way too big. I don’t want a 6/8 year gap. That went so badly for me as a kid. My window of having babies is over.

I’m a little bitter. Ok, a lot bitter. But if that is the only upset I feel on Christmas it is still a good day. That is a wacky unconscious hormonal thing. That’s evolution being a pain in the ass.

I love you Noah. You make such wonderful children. I wish I got to meet a whole bunch more of them. Sometimes some of my two-children friends want me to share criticism of large family sizes. I can’t even bash the Duggars. If I could bear the children I would love them. I just understand I can’t take care of them. And physically I would die. Not everyone is capable of having lots of children. We are doing great that so many women stay alive through childbearing these days. I’d be a statistic. And then poor Noah would be hosed.

So it’s going to be a small Christmas forever. But it was so nice. I had a lot of fun. I felt a lot of joy. I was very very glad to be there. I have a family. They like me and love me. I am so very blessed.

Answering comment

Shalyndra–my shrink was frustrated because when I get upset and bad things happen I get in a loop tape of thinking that I want to die and she is tired of it. She wants me to move on so she can feel more successful as a therapist.

If I could break that fucking loop tape my life would be very different.

Thus the accusations of “You like being like this.”

That isn’t all she was frustrated about though. She wants me to believe that me getting angry in public is the same as her demanding to bring her dog into restaurants. She doesn’t understand why that is a problem for people and she thinks that me getting angry is a similar kind of blind spot. I’m not seeing how much of a problem my behavior is for other people.

But I get stuck on: it is god damn illegal for you to bring your dog everywhere and me getting angry is *not* illegal. So the parallel isn’t working to show me how not ok getting angry is. Because if you are telling me that I have as much right to anger as dog owners have to bring their dogs with them everywhere they go… we have a problem.

That’s not ok.

Not coping-methods

I’m reading this book on meditation. (Specifically because it is published by one of the publishing houses I think is most likely to be interested in my book.)

It is hard living with contradictory selves. I honestly and truly believe that people don’t want to be in my life unless they want something from me. And yet I think that the vast majority of people who love me want nothing more than to chat with me for a few hours a year. That doesn’t seem like much to “want” from me.

But it creates a suspicious feeling. I’m really having a screwy day. I’m most of the way through a whiskey sour (1 oz whiskey, 4 oz sours) so I’m feeling it.

My stomach doesn’t hurt like it did when I came home from therapy. Between the medication and the alcohol I don’t feel so much like I should die. I just feel tired, drained, and kind of sad.

I feel like my therapist believes that I experience suicidality because I “like” it. I happen to think it would be more convenient if I believed that I am exceedingly able to handle most things that come up. I think I would like it if I didn’t always feel like I am hurting people so much just by existing.

I don’t know how to gentle down enough to deserve to live.

It was interesting, actually, on Friday I went to a party. Winter Bash. The Renaissance Faire guild I used to work with has a party every year. It’s not really the guild–the guild mistress and her husband have a big party. They invite people from lots of parts of their lives… but I only talk to the guild people because that’s who I know.

I had some really great chats. I’m glad I made it. I haven’t made it up in several years and it was lovely to catch up with a few specific people. But everything is mixed for me.

I watched people flinch when I was too loud/extreme/strong in my phrasing or something. I didn’t feel like I was that bad. The people who already knew me didn’t really flinch. Strangers did.

I like being able to produce that reaction from people when I want to produce that reaction. I actually don’t like that it happens when I think I’m doing just fine.

I feel like a manipulative chicken shit for talking about wanting to die when I am merely being held responsible for my actions.

But that’s not really it. If a judge wants to slap a restraining order on me because I said things that were genuinely illegal… that’s reasonable. I think that if I were actually threatening to kill someone I would bloody well deserve a restraining order and I would accept it.

I have no interest in hurting that doctor. If I haven’t hurt the people who have raped me… If I haven’t driven up to my sister’s front door and caused her permanent damage… a doctor fucking up some instructions is not going to send me over the edge.

I’m not actually a violent person. I am an abrupt person. I am an angry person. I understand that other people have no way of knowing whether or not I am a threat to them when I am angry in front of them.

I only tell myself it is ok to drink for stress reasons every few years. I never feel good about it. Even though I am massively opposed to AA and I don’t think I’m an alcoholic I have just as much guilt about drinking when I’m upset as I read about in books. Which… depending on how I read different books… actually means I’m an alcoholic. Even though I’ve never had a problem with drinking very much. I think about alcohol a lot. When I have even one serving I feel enormous guilt–which kind of makes alcohol a problem. Which by some definitions means I have a problem with alcohol and I shouldn’t drink.

It’s god damn medicinal. I need to lower my anxiety level.

I’m all the way up to four drinks this week. One at the holiday party. Two last night. One today. This is how I keep me honest. Speaking of which: diarrhea this afternoon. With this much alcohol no duh. I haven’t had alcohol in months. Before I stopped drinking entirely I averaged 1-3 drinks/month. (Yo- whiskey, one drink a night, is FODMAP friendly…)

I’ll stop hurting myself after the court date.

See, part of the thing about my self-harm is: I do it as an outlet. Otherwise I have outbursts of inappropriate emotion around people who don’t deserve it. Then I get punished for not having enough control of my emotions. The punishment is inevitably much larger and more of a problem than my self harm.

I reiterate: what the fuck is so bad about me hurting myself so that I don’t react inappropriately around other people and end up way more hurt?!?!?!?!?!

I miss cutting. Instead, Eldest is building some pretty cool stuff in Minecraft and Youngest is enjoying having the power to steer the iPad. I’m hurting my arms (typing) or reading and not talking a lot. If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say nothing at all.

I made ramen for lunch. For one of the few times in my life… it didn’t taste good. I got no comfort from the experience. I don’t think wheat is going so well. Oh god.

It is kind of funny that this happened on “vacation” week. Most kids aren’t supposed to be “schooling” this week. So it is very typical of their generation that they will spend most of their time on the screen this week. Ha.

There is a part of my brain that knows I won’t be upset about any of the things that is happening in six months. I will dimly remember being upset.

It would be nice to borrow from future self. I think having the awareness of a future self who will not be upset about these things is the best I can manage. I should stop typing and start reading.

Therapy isn’t always awesome.

Today I feel like both me and my therapist were “off”. I could tell what she was trying to do with some techniques and they just didn’t work the way she wanted.

I left feeling like I am not going to be able to solve my problems this lifetime. I should die so I stop hurting everyone. That’s very much not wanted my therapist wanted me to get out of the appointment.

“You don’t change because you like being this way.”

I should try harder to be ashamed of myself and not like anything about the effectiveness of my personality.

Me getting angry is scary to people. My interpretation of today’s session is that since I know that my anger scares people it is all my fault if bad things happen if I express anger.

She would argue with that characterization. She would say, “I’m just trying to point out that you have a blind spot. When you get angry people get scared and that isn’t something that is going to change. You have to deal with that.”

I have to deal with people calling the police to report that I am threatening to stab people. Despite the fact that I did not threaten to harm anyone.

According to my shrink, me being angry is enough to cause people to call the police and I just can’t allow myself to get that dysregulated in public.

Which sounds to me like: unless you have perfect control stay home.

I will not have perfect control this lifetime.

I feel like I should die.

It really didn’t help that she tried to get me to see how unreasonable I was by comparing it to when she wants to take her dog into any restaurant with her. Uhm, I’m not trying to do something that violates health code so your analogy isn’t really working for me.

I feel like I should die so I stop hurting everyone.

This hurts a lot. I want to cut. Instead I am going to have alcohol. It’s going to fuck over my digestion. I don’t give a flying fuck.

I can only lose so many forms of self harm today. Alcohol is legal. I won’t be drinking enough to count as illegally impaired around my children. But I will be hurting myself. The funny thing is: this is the only legal method I have. So today I’m going to fucking have some.

I can’t pretend I like me today.

Lots of balls in the air.

We went to pick up the Prius because Toyota said it was fixed. Before it could be driven out of the parking lot a warning light came on. Toyota sent us home with a rental. But that’s pending more dealing with and maybe more paying for fixing things and who knows what.

The dishwasher is due to be installed today. I can’t wait. I have a full kitchen of dishes and I’m not fucking hand washing them all.

I have contacted half a dozen lawyers and left messages. Haven’t heard back. It’s kind of a bad week. Shit.

Talked to my shrink yesterday. I felt guilty because I try not to pester her outside of my sessions. She said it sucks but it isn’t as big of a deal as I’m afraid of it being. Oh god.

Oh, and Christmas is in three days. Maybe I should wrap more presents. I have everything. Although we haven’t discussed what we are eating on Christmas. Might be smart to plan ahead.

I haven’t heard back about the only plans I attempted for this coming weekend. I guess we are just sitting at home till the court date. That’s probably for the best.

I’m medicating and reading and trying to not cry or have a bad tone of voice. The kids are SUPER snuggly because they can tell I’m upset. I feel like I’m really getting to the point where I’m straining the amount of understanding kids should give their parents. This elimination diet has been rough in a few ways.

Luckily I’m on gluten, dairy, and eggs without a problem. I’m still wussing out about a lot of the high fodmap vegetables. I’m trying classes of food at a time. I should probably wait till after Christmas, chill on sugar, dairy, and eggs, and see if I can handle some of the known fruit/vegetable irritants. Have to get the body working better soon. Running out of time.

Too much to do. Can’t sit home being sick.

I haven’t looked around the house or the yards for all the projects I’ve made no progress on in months. I just can’t bear to look. I’ll get back to it. But it is hurting in the idle time.

I need to put together the travel trailer for one thing. Oh man.

I feel a lot better than I did. But I should stop typing. So much anxiety and sadness. I feel like a maelstrom about to explode.

This is one of those periods when I wonder “Is it really so bad if I back slide on some of my self-harming behaviors so that I have more spoons for dealing with the kids?” Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

If I went in the bathroom and cut my leg up I would have more patience and calm. I would be a nicer person.

If it’s ok for me to let doctors give me hormones to change how my brain works, why is it so fucking bad for me to do it with a razor blade for free?!

There are a lot more self-harming things I’m thinking about but listing them seems questionable right now.

I’ll sit very still and read young adult fiction. It’s “better”. I’m told.

Days 63-68

63- Instead of pills I ate the edible caramels. Om nom nom. Not as potent but way better tasting.

Brekkie: oatmeal (gf), strawberries, pecans, cinnamon, sugar, rice milk

Snack: peanut butter candy, banana, candy cane, Pepsi (it was a bad day)

Lunch: mashed potatoes (with dairy), spicy string beans, chicken, carrot, bell pepper, garlic?, broccoli

Dinner: gf English muffin, brie, cranberry, walnut, Canadian bacon, three cookies (with egg)

3:45pm- solid log! brown! totally poop

64- more caramels and a pill later in the day

Brekkie: gf English muffin, Canadian bacon, egg, brie, cranberry, walnut, tea, rice milk, sugar

Snack: candy cane, mozzarella, yogurt parfait (Regular) with lemon curd, raspberry jam, granola, peppermint hot chocolate

Lunch: chicken soup (home made, ibs compliant)

Dinner: tomato soup (with dairy), gf bread roll, butter

4:45am- mostly formed but kind of soft, clouded when flushed, yellowish brown

Had one experience of wicked bad smelling gas at 6:45 pm but just the one.

65- I’m still taking pot

Brekkie: oatmeal, rice milk, tea, sugar, blueberries, Canadian bacon

Lunch: gf pasta, tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, candy cane

Dinner: meatballs, sausage, beef satay, rice, green beans, lemon grass (may have had gluten in meatballs–we were at the company Christmas party and you eat what you get), drank a whiskey sour with cointreau.

5am- solid, brown poop. some smaller finishing pieces

9:15am- solidish, smaller, smooth like toothpaste, on the thin side, several pieces

2pm- brown, soft, many pieces, clouded when flushed

66- Brekkie: scrambled eggs, low-lactose yogurt, banana, cinnamon/sugar almonds

Lunch: hot chocolate, gf pasta, tomato sauce, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sweet potato (butter and sugar)

Dinner: roast beef, cheese, salami, yogurt covered gf pretzels (these are like *candy*)

2:30pm- solid brown log

67- Brekkie: ham and cheese omelette with hashbrowns and oj

Lunch: grilled cheese (gf bread), tomato soup

Dinner: pot stickers, rice, spring rolls (with gluten)

Dessert: regular cookies and gf brownies with egg

3pm- solid log of brown poop

?- not a solid log, but not diarrhea. wet and soft but formed little pieces, didn’t cloud when flushed

68- back to pills

Brekkie: waffle with gluten, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberry syrup, fried potatoes, Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs, Earl Grey (with caffeine), regular milk, sugar

Lunch: gf pasta, tomato sauce, chard, popcorn

Dinner: chicken soup leftovers. piece of peppermint roca

3:30am- solid dark brown log

7am- lots of little pieces, wet looking, semi-formed

7pm- rock hard, solid poop

 

I find myself feeling kind of overwhelmed by how much I can feel digestion now. I have a little bit of belly tenderness, not a lot–it’s not pain. But it is is like I can feel the food moving around now and it is a little weird.

I’m having big feelings about my poop settling down now after I reintroduce everything. So what the hell was wrong with all this the first time?

I’m eating fucking ramen for lunch.

Ok, poop chronicles aren’t over

But I lost my book so things will get confused.

This morning I had a lovely completely solid poop at 3:30am (which is way the heck earlier than I’ve been pooping but it was after almost 8 hours of solid sleep) then a not-so-solid at 7:20am. It’s not diarrhea, but it’s pretty soft and lots of air mixed in. Formed little soft pieces. Didn’t cloud with flushing though, which is a good sign.

Bummer.

Problems and complications

J- you aren’t wrong that they are problems for me. I’m not disagreeing with you. But whether something is a “problem” or just a “complication” depends largely on your perspective, mind-set, and attitude. And all of those things fluctuate for me wildly and in difficult to predict ways.

Some days I feel like I have problems. On those days they are problems. I can’t surmount dealing with many situations. I don’t know how to work around something in particular that is happening. It’s not a complication–I can’t get past it; I have a problem.

Other days I wake up seeing the web of privilege I sit in and I think, “Not much can touch me that will seriously disrupt my day.”

My ongoing mental illness is much much much more of a problem than the dishwasher breaking. And yet there is only so much I can do about my mental illness and it is hellza easy to fix the dishwasher if you have money. Perspective.

I have problems. I’m not trying to argue with that. It would be obnoxious and annoying if I tried to say I have no problems. But it is hard for me to see the dishwasher or the car breaking as problems. I think that on some level having things like that break energizes me. I get to feel extra competent because HA HA! I CAN FIX THINGS!!!

I like complications. Complications make me feel alive and competent and like I have my shit together. Complications are “problems” that are easy to solve and they won’t actually hurt me. I will feel slightly annoyed by having less money to throw at my mortgage but not that annoyed.

I am even sitting pretty on the wildly swinging mood swings about my physical problems. This morning I had the loosest stool I’ve had in eight days and it is still well within my range of acceptable poop. My body is being really nice to me even though I’m having eggs and dairy (including cream!). I’m feeling weird about egg seeming to be sometimes a problem and sometimes not. But I hear that with IBS that will be true.

The more I read about the intersections of IBS and PTSD the more the PMDD makes sense and I worry about other comorbid issues. I’m never going to be able to medicate for my physical problems. That is more clear with every book I read. Diet, exercise, stress management. Those are my options. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic are known to help manage the pain but I will not be able to find a medication that fixes me.

I feel a tremendous amount of relief in that acknowledgment. Some people feel a lot of pain. Life works like that. It’s hard, but it’s true. I can’t ignore it.

It means that my body stuff is less a “problem” and more an ongoing complication to be managed. If I want to not hate myself. Or I can think of me as a problem with no solution but death.

Somehow trying really hard to reframe it as not-a-problem seems important?

I’m glad I sat down and read three books on IBS this week. That was a good choice. It is helping me feel less frantic. It is helping me feel resigned to the life I’m going to have.

Frankly, in the world of IBS sufferers… I’m pretty mild from what I read. I don’t have overwhelming pain most of the time. I don’t feel like I’m being stabbed in the belly with knives a lot of the time. I’m a little abashed to read that having diarrhea with few other symptoms (the joint pain might be related but it might not–I have a lot of other conflicting things that could cause that) means I’m just about as lucky as someone with IBS can be. Oh. Ok. I should… not be so pissy.

It’s kind of like getting all self-righteous that you suffered THE MOST as a poor child in America and then finding out how it goes for poor people in third world countries. Oh. I… didn’t have it as bad as I thought. Oh shit I’m totally a self-absorbed asshole.

At least I already knew that fact.

J–you are being supportive and wonderful. I appreciate your validation and concern a lot.

I’m trying to figure out how to hack my brain.

This is part of that resiliency shit I read so much about. Reframing things from problems to complications is a big part of what allows people to thrive. I read these things. Implementing them in my life is harder. I get flashes of it.

This week it is really weird how having the dishwasher and car break has snapped me out of a depression streak. I was very focused for many weeks on the things I can’t fix and can’t make better. All of a sudden I’m seeing how many things I can fix and that’s huge.

And my arm hurts a lot less today. *phew*

Perspective decides how you feel about things. I’m afraid a lot of this post sounds like strident arguing and I don’t mean it that way. I mean, your response sent a clarion call through my brain and I’m trying really hard to figure it out.

I watch a lot of repetitive tv shows and movies and I read a range of books but a few repetitively nearly to the point of religion. When a new idea causes me to feel excited I have a lot of response partially because I have consciously created such a rut in the rest of my life.

Difference is striking.

I notice that when someone expresses support for me, my main response is an almost 1000 word post (and counting) defending why I don’t really have problems and I don’t deserve support, see I’ve got it all covered.

Does that mean if more people expressed support more often I would never write about the problems because I would be locked in a haze of trying to pretend there are no problems here. I don’t know. But it is interesting to me how much I want to not want support.

J, I do appreciate the support. You are right that I do have problems. I do have situations that need to be dealt with. I’m very good at tunnel thinking. If I don’t want to believe I need support this second I will be nearly rabid in my denial that I need support ever. I bite the hand that feeds me.

Well, is this biting a hand? I’m babbling about how I have money to pay to fix some problems so I shouldn’t complain. Is this biting a hand that feeds me? It makes it less likely people will express support in the future.

When I read about suicidality there are a few key categories of things that make people off them. When I go down the lists one of the things that jumps out at me the hardest is the need to be taken care of. I don’t really let people take care of me. When they express even mild support I will rant about how I don’t need it. I’m scared.

I don’t really know how to let people be support for me. This is an ongoing issue. At this point in time my early coping methods have become toxic. I think they were appropriate when I developed them. My life is different now. I do need to have friends who will confirm that I have problems. I need that validation as I try very hard to climb under a rock labeled D-E-N-I-A-L.

There are two kinds of problems in the world. The kinds money can solve and the kinds money can’t solve. I have a lot of problems money can’t solve. That is hard. My friends try to be kind to me as I deal with them. Then a problem that can be solved pops up and all of a sudden I have a burst of feeling-competent. (Which is pretty stupid because I have money because of Noah instead of because of competency on my part. Ok, fine I could fritter more away… but I don’t earn it.)

That feeling of competency makes me really want to white wash everything into being Just Fine, Damnit.

That makes it really hard to have perspective on what is a problem,what is a complication, and where is the dividing line of denial.

If I’m reacting this much to the words that someone says… I’m probably sitting on some denial. I am so ridiculous to deal with.

Today is less Zen. I feel a lot more anxious. A lot more like I’m letting “someone” (not sure who) down all the time. I can’t do anything right. I can’t even have the right feelings of gratitude when someone is nice to me. I am such a piece of shit.

I wrote thank you cards that were nearly apologies to Noah’s relatives yesterday. We are opening Christmas presents as they arrive this year. Waiting until Christmas morning has gone very badly every year so far. This year: few presents on Christmas morning. Just…….. can’t do the deluge. Overwhelming. Hysteria. Crying. No more.

I don’t want to be mad about the mess and them being unable/unwilling to pick up after their new stuff hitting all at once. They can’t sort out a huge new pile. They can find homes for one or two new things at once. They are that resourceful.

Yes, I could just write the cards now and hold them till after Christmas and mail them then and pretend we waited. I’m not really willing to present myself dishonestly to these people. They need to see what they are getting. Warts and all.

I feel like I am threatening people as I write on their Christmas cards “We are coming to your city next year….” I’m really scared about the reactions we will get. I need to not care.

Years ago I flew to New York City in large part because there was a guy I had flirted with/played with many times at large bdsm conferences and I wanted to have individual time with him. I wanted him to beat me so much I went across the fucking country to beg him to do it. I uhm, didn’t have an inspiring performance from him. He was tired and had a back injury and he wanted to sit still and have me “please him” and he didn’t want to do anything.

I’m not that kind of service bottom.

My traveling is a mixed bag. Sometimes the reception I get is stellar and sometimes it kinda sucks. (The guy in New York invited another woman over while I was there. For their first date. He played with her. He vigorously beat the shit out of her and fucked her wildly while I watched. But he “hurt too much” to play with me. Fucker.)

But I take enormous comfort from the fact that when I travel with my kids I travel with my own little reality distortion bubble. My kids are starting to sing at me, “Mom–you have to have a good attitude!” They learned it from one of the other home schooling families. I could wring that mom’s neck. (I’m totally kidding.) I get told it a lot. Pretty much any time we are on an out door adventure and I start getting grumpy they sing at me with a big cheesy smile. So I think grumbly thoughts at the mom who taught it to them. But I also close my lips on my complaints more often than not.

My kids are teaching me how to be. In some sense, my kids are showing me the difference between a problem and a complication.

J, you are right that the car being broken is a problem. It has to be routed around for many days. It will cause impact on our financial budget in ways I’ll have to deal with. This may cost thousands of dollars which kinda blows. I’m enormously grateful I have it to spend but that is kind of beside the point. It will have negative impact. You are right that it is a problem.

The dishwasher feels… more like a complication. Our dishwasher barely worked. It’s been actively, literally falling apart for years. You have to wash everything completely before the dishwasher can “wash” the dishes. And it is around $900. Given our budget… that seriously doesn’t feel like a problem.

It is hard to have perspective. It is hard to evaluate things for myself.

I need to just stop typing. Getting sore. So repetitive anyway. Yick.

Let the sun shine

Today, unaccountably, I’m waking up in a good mood. We can’t go anywhere because Noah has the only working vehicle. My day will consist of puttering around the house and yard. I have reading to do.

My bowels have worked in a perfectly acceptable manner for a week now. I haven’t pushed my luck with gluten but I’ve been having eggs and dairy (sometimes on purpose sometimes from stupidity) and I’m doing well.

I have a big bowl of oatmeal with candied pecans and strawberries. I will have a spiffy-as-heck new dishwasher in six days. The car should be done today or tomorrow. Tonight we will go see The Last Unicorn in Pleasanton.

What do I have to complain about? Pain in my arm? Pain in my ankle? Bah. I did those to myself. I’ll stop typing to stop exacerbating the one.

Days 59-62

59- Brekkie: oatmeal, strawberries, banana, pecans, almond milk, sugar, tea

Lunch: gf bread, soy cream cheese, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, ham, grapes

Dinner: chicken lettuce wrap, chicken fried rice (whoops with egg), Mongolian beef with lots of green onions

Dessert: peanut butter mochi balls

3:45am- long ribbon of yellow poop, formed but thin, smooth like tooth paste

8am- small ribbon of medium brown poop

12:30pm- long, banana-like pieces, smooth, shaped, tooth pastey

60- Brekkie: gf bread, egg replacer, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, lactose free yogurt, sugar, tea, candy cane

Lunch: REO Speedwagon on gf bread with no mayo, rice stick thing

Dinner: chicken, broccolini, mashed potatoes (made with regular dairy)

3pm- long, solid log. brown. minor cracking because it is so firm!!!!

61- Brekkie: Noah-special French toast, yogurt, canadian bacon, maple syrup

Snack: peanut butter candy and banana

Lunch: lettuce, strawberry, parmesan cheese, bleu cheese, pecans, balsamic vinegar, chicken

Dinner: yellow curry with chicken and no onions, spicy green beans, pineapple fried rice, sticky rice

6am- solid, two pieces, banana shaped–a little thin

3:45pm- multiple pieces, mostly formed, clouded when flushed

62- Brekkie: canadian bacon, gf pancakes with blueberries and butter, black tea, sugar, regular pasteurized milk

Lunch: pineapple fried rice, yellow curry,

Snack: banana and peanut butter candy

Dinner: chicken soup, stock, carrots, bok choy, broccoli, roasted tomatoes, potato, celery, celery root, probably garlic, bell peppers, brussels sprouts

Dessert: three cookies. Definitely has egg.

10:45am- very solid brown log

1:15pm- solid poop, on the thin side but formed and brown

 

As far as I can see, that’s seven days in a row of reasonable poop. It’s like fasting for the procedure cleared out my system such that I can poop now. Weird.

Drips and drabs

(The time references will be weird. This was written over multiple days.)

Yesterday morning my dishwasher broke. That sucker is D-E-D. And then last night the Prius died while I was driving on Alameda.

That was after a day of no-medication where I was shrieking and shaking and freaking out about making it to a dance recital on time. It was a festive start to the day. I don’t shriek or shake in front of people I don’t live with. I save that for the Gibbs.

But you know what? I can afford to fix these problems. They are very small problems in the scope of my life. Truly, these are problems that are tiny. I will barely notice the hit to my bank account.

We already bought a spiffy-as-heck dishwasher this morning. It will work better (not hard–ours was a piece of crap when it was new 15-18 years ago), be quieter, and use less water. A total win.

Tomorrow we have babysitting lined up that will make it easy to go back up to Alameda and figure out what the heck is wrong with the Prius. Noah will be slightly inconvenienced but it won’t be a big deal.

In the past two months I’ve had something like eight doctor/dentist visits. That’s a lot of driving. That involves going to Cupertino a few times and Pleasanton a bunch. That has massively cut into my spoons for driving.

One of my friends keeps prefacing comments with, “I’m sorry things are so hard right now” and I feel a little bewildered. On one hand, things certainly aren’t swimming along smoothly. On the other hand shit dude, do I even have problems?!

My belly isn’t being more cooperative than usual but it has calmed down from the serious trouble it was giving me. My ankle is feeling a lot better but I’m still not quite up for running/ice skating. (It twinges if I pull sideways at all–but I’m walking on it more.) I am now up to 7 straight days of pooping normally. I want to throw a party.

I fudged on egg in fried rice on Friday night. By Sunday night I’m still feeling good and pooping solid. I feel so confused by my food stuff. I think that eventually I will find patterns in “I can’t have more than x amount of y food” but right now it is still feeling tricky. At this stage I’m pretty darn sure I don’t have a real allergy. Real allergies are consistent instead of being about, “Well you can have 8 oz of z but not 10 oz.” I have irritation and sensitivity issues.

I’m reading yet more books on living with IBS. The doctors who specialize in it seem to be unsure if they feel hope or not. “You will never be cured. Stop looking for more medical tests to find out what is ‘really’ wrong with you. Learn what your body needs in terms of diet and then learn how to manage the pain. It will be part of you forever. The more you fight it the worse it hurts.”

Well shit, dude.

What I’m appreciating the most is how adamant the consensus is that there is no such thing as a standard treatment. Every individual with IBS has to figure out how it works in his/her body. Much like autism! If you know one person with autism you know one person with autism and you know nothing about the disorder. IBS seems to be somewhat similar.

I’ve got to just say that I felt super validated and supported by the specialists saying that IBS patients tend to be wicked sensitive to medication and are often unable to medicate for their problems because the medications are more problematic. That is a huge validation point.

I’ve already been on every medication they recommend. Can’t take them.

Why can’t I? Because as much familiarity as I have with diarrhea even I have limits. I need to be able to sleep. I need to not hate myself so much that I am incapable of thinking about anything but how much I should die. All the meds recommended for IBS treatment fuck me up. I live with enough suicidality. I don’t need a fucking antidepressant that makes me unable to function through the haze of wanting to die. No thanks. And oh man the insomnia. I went about two weeks without sleeping once in high school.

My longest span of sleeplessness during adulthood was eight days and that freaked my therapist out. I don’t need more meds that make it impossible for me to sleep.

And the drugs that completely kill the libido aren’t an option. I won’t be able to survive that. And my marriage won’t survive that. Just no.

They don’t improve my IBS symptoms so having all the extra shit dumped on my lap is self-hating to such a degree I won’t do it. I’m not going to do it just so I can make doctors feel better about having “managed” me.

The problem with IBS as a diagnosis is–they do have to check and make sure you don’t have other issues. But once they check you shouldn’t keep checking. That’s a hard balance. If you don’t check to start with you don’t know if you have IBS or something much worse. Tricky.

Ok, now it is another day. I’m only sorta still thinking about the things I wrote about above. And my arm hurts really badly. Like, can’t pick up a pitcher of water and pour it with one hand pain.

We spent many hours this morning trying to get the Prius fixed. The first shop couldn’t do it. The Toyota dealership in Oakland will fix it though. It may be expensive but  …

I keep feeling these waves of excitement. When something breaks I can FIX IT. That’s… a weird feeling. It’s an awesome feeling. This is privilege. When I have a problem I can just find pay to fix it. No big deal. My bank account will barely blip. I doubt that our petty cash will drop below six figures. This blows my mind every single day. I’m not poor any more.

Holy fucking shit I’m not poor anymore. When my car breaks I can just fix it. When my dishwasher breaks I can just replace it. Hell, I could walk out and buy a new car today. (I don’t want to do so and I won’t…)

I feel like I don’t have a lot of room to complain about my life this minute. Yes, things go wrong. But I have resources and the ability to fix problems. I am so very lucky.

This morning I got a call from the remodeling company. I should have an email today or tomorrow with the proposed design. Things are moving along.

And I figured out who sent the mushroom kit! It was my friend in Oregon (who is one of my big encouragers for gardening stuff). So exciting! We are supposed to plant on Christmas Eve.

food cravings

I’m alternating between feeling like I’m really craving low calorie foods (I’m weirdly drawn to vegetables–I totally WANT alfalfa sprouts) but I’m super duper hungry to the point where I feel almost frantic.

I feel lethargic and depressed, but better physically. I feel like I’m getting a low amount of bloating/abdominal discomfort but a high amount of the depression flattening.

I downloaded an application that is supposed to help you figure out some of your IBS symptoms. But in order to use the app you have to only eat the meals they tell you to eat exactly how they tell you to eat them. Well that won’t be a useful app for me. I don’t follow directions like that even if I “should”. I’m eating off the “appropriate” list–fuck you for saying it isn’t good enough because I’m not doing it in the way that is easiest for you to program.

I need a nutritionist/doctor who will do breath testing, apparently. IBS specialists say they can test your breath to see what you aren’t digesting properly–the problem is things fermenting in your gut.

Today I have nothing to give. No support. Nothing useful to say. I’m not good. I’m not kind. I’m not worthy. I really want to shove my head through a window. The kids finally cleaned up (took three days) so they are on the screen again. It was good to have that three day break.

Noah tells me that I am reacting to the books-should-be-free thing because I am objecting to what Ayn Rand calls spiritual looting. Great. That will be awesome for my reputation. I can channel Ayn Rand as I get older. That will make me more fucking popular.

I understand that lots of people hate her. I feel like reading Ayn Rand was what allowed me to see my family clearly and divorce them. Before Noah read me Atlas Shrugged I just didn’t see how clearly my family hated me and would wring me dry at the same time. Afterwards it was so crystal clear how they would live off my hard work and be nasty to me for working the whole time.

I’m not overall a Randian, but I think she makes some good points about human interactions.

My family would cheerfully act like Hank Reardon’s family. Be nasty, rude, and demeaning to him while asking him to pay for their extravagant idiocies. Yeah, I can cut off those blood suckers.

I’d like to spend the day in the bathroom cutting. I honestly can’t think of anything else I want to do. It isn’t that we are having a hard day–we aren’t.

Instead I will go make some food and reread a Tamora Pierce book. Thank you, K for the gift of Tamora Pierce. I didn’t know what I was missing.

Feel like I’m fucking up everywhere

I have apparently upset a bunch of people in the unschooling forum by describing those who do a lot of more formal music learning as doing “fancy pants music” as opposed to my making up rhyming songs with no instruments. I wasn’t trying to be an asshole. But apparently I succeed without trying all the time. Wooo.

Yesterday I got into it on twitter with a woman I barely know from home schooling. (Mostly what I know about her is she was kicked out of my home schooling group because she posted a lot of pictures of other peoples kids on her home schooling group website and made it look like we were “clients” for her home schooling assistance organization.) She was posting about how people should give her money to buy books because books should be free for kids. I kind of went off. It wasn’t necessary or nice.

I told her that as long as she thinks books should be free she is saying the time and energy of the authors isn’t worth anything. If you seriously want to campaign hard about how books should be free… you are saying authors should die of starvation. Their children do not deserve to live in homes. If someone knows something you want to know they have to cough it up no matter how it effects their life. I got really mad. The funny part was when she told me not to put words in her tweets. That was funny because her posts are 100% barely-literate hashtags. She doesn’t use words in her tweets.

I know a lot of authors who are struggling to survive. I’m really tired of hearing that it is just that they barely survive.

“Money has no value. We should stop treating it like it is important.” Only she said it in a hashtag run together and not mostly spelled like words. But that is what she said. I told her, “If money has no value why do you keep begging for it on the internet?” That is when she finally got mad enough to write an actual sentence and tell me to stop following her.

She runs indie-gogo campaigns asking people to fund her home schooling efforts nearly once a month.

I’m a judgmental asshole. If you want people to give you money while you are saying loudly that it has no value… I’m going to call you on it. If you are saying that my friends who write books should not be compensated for their time… I’m going to get really fucking hostile. Many of my friends pay their rent and buy their food with money they earn from their writing. Stealing from them is not just.

Yes, I think that kids need access to books. When I said that the solution to her problem (Wanting books and not wanting to pay for them) was the public library she went off on how I just don’t understand. Yeah, I don’t understand that you feel you have the right to benefit from other peoples time and they should suffer to give you benefits. It’s only just.

No kidding people, the public library is the solution for not being able to afford books. Acting like people owe you free books is really… I’m not going to be nice. Fuck you very much. Books cost money. They cost time. If you think you deserve that exchange for free you can fuck yourself. You don’t. You don’t deserve shit. You don’t deserve free books any more than I deserve a mother who loves me. These aren’t things you can “deserve” and then get.

If you want your kids educated for free we have a free public education system. Yes, it isn’t very good.

This is about the most judgmental I will ever be about poverty related stuff.

I have a hard time with the idea that a public education is completely intolerable and unacceptable because… I was entirely publicly educated. Yes, I have done an extreme amount of outside self-study… that’s available to anyone who wants to do it. I think that if you believe your child is owed a free education, here you go. We have a public system set up to provide that.

If you think that your child is owed a free unschooling education where everyone in your community gives you books and money so your kid can do anything (s)he wants… no. You may not have it. That’s not how it works.

Your kid is not owed free ice skating lessons. The fucking instructor needs to eat. Your kid is not owed free music lessons. The fucking instructor needs to eat.

I notice how you only think your child’s “need” to learn is important here. The need of other people to not die doesn’t seem to rank in the importance chart and that’s not something that is going to provoke a lot of sympathy for the needs of your kids.

No, your kid DOES NOT NEED FREE BOOKS and fuck you very much. Your kid needs food, water, and shelter. Those things cost money. The very money you are saying doesn’t matter and you won’t give any to other people to help them provide for the needs of their own children.

People have survived without free books for many tens of thousands of years.

Especially now that we have the internet I think demanding free books is just fucking ridiculous. Get a god damn library card and borrow books on the kindle device on your fucking computer. The whole process is free. (I live in the same county with access to the same system–no really, it is easy to use.) If you have the internet you have no standing to require that people owe you free books. That’s lazy, self-absorbed, and just about malicious.

I know how much it sucks to not be able to afford books. That was my childhood. I am so grateful I can afford to buy lots of books for my kids. I think it is very sad that not every child gets to have a whole library in their house the way my kids get to have a library.

But I don’t think the solution is saying that books shouldn’t cost money. It takes time, energy, and resources to make books. That can’t be just passed along as “free”.

If people started saying with more seriousness that Noah should be giving away the books he was writing I would no longer allow him to write books. He takes time away from his family to write those books. That has a cost *I* have to bear. The money he earns from writing I use to make it easier for me to deal with the fact that he is not with the kids a lot–he is working or writing books most of the time. If someone wants me to just suck it up and bear all the cost… fuck you. No more books for you, asshole. Making your life better at the expense of mine is not a fucking trade I’m making for any fucking asshole who fucking demands it of me. Go to hell.

I feel like an asshole for having this position. But people would line up around the block for Noah to spend 24/7 teaching them for free. I would never see him again if I didn’t have boundaries. He has a lot of stuff to teach that other people can use to go make money. Yes, it has value. Maybe I’m a selfish asshole for not wanting him to share his knowledge completely freely.

I don’t care how many people tell me money doesn’t matter, I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich and I’m going to god damn act like money has value. I like my surprise Hawaiian vacations. I like spending a month in Scotland. I like getting to build a park in my backyard. These things cost money. I don’t think I deserve money more than other people. I think Noah is better at earning it than average. That’s not about “deserving”. It just is.

But I think if you have a product to sell and people want to buy it there isn’t shame in selling your product. I think that demanding that people give something away just because you want to have it and don’t want to pay for it… that’s… that’s a special kind of entitlement.

But this is how rich people always justify keeping poor people down, right?

The thing is: when you are talking about authors not deserving to be paid for their books… mostly you aren’t talking about folks like Noah who write as their second lower-paying-job. I have many women of color in my life who write books. They pay their rent with the proceeds. My stance may seem “convenient” because it is protecting Noah but I’m a lot more concerned with the women who have kids and no other income. They need god damn protection.

I practically give my books away. I charge very little. I’m not selling books to make money. I will cheerfully give a free copy of my books to anyone who asks. I’m not trying to support a family I’m trying to get information out into the ether. Different approach. One I’m perfectly entitled to take if I want to take it.

But no one has the right to demand it of me.

Demanding that I give up my financial security so you can have a little knowledge is… not a fair trade. Saying that someone else should go massively into debt paying for college so they can learn things and then write books for free so that you don’t have to incur debt for the knowledge… that’s a special kind of entitled.

I don’t think I am entitled to other people doing work for me for free. Hell, I think I can pay people buckets of money and still not get them to actually work in a way that is helpful. (Hello medical profession.) And I don’t think this attitude is because I have money in the bank. I had a much larger chip on my shoulder about people giving me things when I had just about no money in the bank.

If you want to find a music teacher and offer to trade cooking meals for classes… that’s great. If you want to find an ice skating coach willing to trade for produce you grow in your yard, awesome.

I don’t think that money is the only valid unit of transaction for “paying” for services. I really don’t. I think trades are totally valuable and worthy. However when you say “books should be free” you aren’t offering to trade for the knowledge. You just want to steal it. And I have no respect for that.

People do not respect things they get for free. If you are able to demand a completely free education (oh wait–one is already available) then you place no value on it. (See recent uptick in home schooling demographics. We don’t appreciate that which we can get for free. Instead we want to reinvent the wheel and do it ALL OUR SELVES which makes it harder and… more valuable.)

I’m not trying to say that all home schooling people expect the community to hand over stuff for free. I’m not saying that wanting free resources is bad. (I think wanting a free public education system and a free library system is basically a healthy set of goals for a society.) I think saying that authors should write for free is crap. What a user. (Either that or you are saying that the government should be subsidizing authors the same way it subsidizes the library and public schools and… that’s a bad idea too.)

There are just as many users in the public system as there are out of it. I don’t think this woman is the only example of entitlement. I’m just being a ranty-pants today.

I haven’t said much that was mean about anybody in a while. I get a backlog of “want to be mean” feelings. I think it is a little funny that my “want to be mean” feelings are now saved up for ranting about how unjust it is that people want free books. That is what I’m getting my panties all in a twist about?

Are you going to tell Toni Morrison that her books should be free? Are you going to tell bell hooks she doesn’t deserve to be paid for her writing?

Oh man. I’m sure they would be better at telling you what is wrong with your position. Much more articulate than me.

I write for free. I’m not saying that authors should never write for free. I am saying readers do not have the right to decide whether or not authors should get paid. I think the author should be allowed to gate keep how much money their writing is worth. If I want to write for free, whatever. If Noah wants to write for pay, it isn’t ok to steal from him.

But would I shoot someone who wanted to steal a copy of his book? That’s where these property-rights come up. Are you willing to shoot someone to defend your stuff? How much force is appropriate to defend your right to “stuff”? I don’t own a gun and I wouldn’t shoot someone to defend my stuff. If someone walked into my house and stole my wedding ring set (by far the single most expensive thing I own) I would not think it was worth killing someone to protect.

I don’t think that people who steal books should go to jail.

I think life is very complicated. I think that people who steal books should be forced to have a full time job in a library so they can be surrounded by books full time and get past the feeling that they must be stolen to be enjoyed.

If what you want is an education, there are many ways to get one for free. Why are you saying books should be free when so many websites want to give you the information for free? All you have to do is look at the blinding ads.

I think my desire to have a friend who wants to talk to me every single day is much like the desire that other people have for free books. If it requires work from someone else you can’t just decide that you want it. Well, you can want it. But you can’t decide that someone else has to provide it. I want a relationship that is close enough that someone wants to speak to me every day. But I can’t demand it. That doesn’t work. You can’t demand that authors give their work away for free. They will stop writing and go find a different job that will provide them with money so they can eat.

There is no deserve in this life. You don’t deserve books. I don’t deserve friends who want to interact with me in the ways I want to be interacted with. I get what people have to give. You get the free books people want to give away as free. You can’t just pick which ones will be free.

Mostly I’m procrastinating. I can’t submit the book anywhere until I can come up with a biography. “Krissy is a stupid bitch who should die” is probably not going to sell copies.

I feel like a mean nasty bitch who should never speak to anyone again. I want to hurt myself so badly.

Oh, didn’t have 8 hours of babysitting yesterday. Second babysitter called and said, “Uhm my phone says I shouldn’t drive anywhere… can we reschedule?” I’m flexible. Even though I’m not really flexible and I have explosions of negative feelings.

My stomach hurts and I feel sad. I feel mean and nasty and like I don’t deserve love at all. I don’t deserve love any more than she deserves free fucking books.

For the record: I’m not sure that I’m “right” and she’s “wrong” on this topic. I’m just babbling.