Micro fiction

(This isn’t real so don’t freak out. It’s just what I woke up thinking about.)

She woke up early every morning to frantically dress in the dark. If she gets dressed fast enough, if she gets enough chores done before anyone else can wake up… maybe no one will hurt her.

But today she dropped her shoe when she was trying to carry her bundle of belongings out of the sleeping room.

Oh no. Now they are waking up.

Soon the pain will begin.

I’m going to post this again. Because holy tomato.

I’m still reading this post about poverty and education. I wish I had seen something like this when I was teaching. I feel this would benefit absolutely anyone who has to interact with teaching humans. It isn’t just about financial poverty. There are other kinds of poverty (from the article):

Emotional:
the ability to choose and control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations, with-out engaging in self-destructive behavior. This is an internal resource and shows itself through stamina, perseverance, and choices.
Mental:
the necessary intellectual ability and acquired skills, such as reading, writing, and computing, to deal with everyday life.
Spiritual:
a belief in divine purpose and guidance.
Physical:
health and mobility.
Support systems:
friends, family, backup resources and knowledge bases one can rely on in times of need. These are external resources.
Role models:
frequent access to adults who are appropriate and nurturing to the child, and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior.
Knowledge of hidden rules:
knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group.
That’s a lot of kinds of poverty, yo. I am not sure I have ever seen it codified exactly like this. And this article present specifics of “How to work with children who have _____ deficit.”

I’ll be honest and say… I feel kinda awesome about how often I read this article and think, “YES! THAT’S EXACTLY HOW I HANDLE THAT PROBLEM!! GO TEAM ME!” I always feel excited when I find anything that looks like validation for my approach.

How do we teach children to choose and control emotional responses without engaging in self destructive behavior? That’s a mouth full. That’s a many decades long process in my experience. When someone did not learn these skills during the appropriate developmental windows (Know why I harp on the first seven years so often? RESEARCH. They are important. If you miss that window it isn’t impossible to catch up on areas of deficiency [I present your humble author as an example] but it is exponentially harder) it takes structure, form, and conscious teaching to undermine the bad training that the kid got.

I’ve worked with kids who had severe problems from one thing or another. They were all warm, loving people who had not been given the opportunities in life they need to have. I can’t think poorly of them for it even as I acknowledge how hard it can be to teach them more functional behaviors in a classroom.

I miss the classroom. I’ve been rewatching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of course I watch the Swedish miniseries.

Sometimes I reflect that I watch shows in a pretty interesting variety of languages: Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi, Korean… there are more. I watch a lot of sub titles so I can try to feel the way the language works. I sincerely believe that Korean would be dead easy to learn. It sounds so blessedly consistent. I can pick up phrases from a soap opera series. Also, I continue to feel embarrassed by how poor my spoken Spanish is. I really need to find ways to practice so I can feel less stupid.

Anyway. TGWTDT makes me think about the ways we come into one another’s lives. How do we manage to intersect with new people? In that story/movie/book Lisbeth mostly came into contact with people through the social welfare system. That doesn’t exist in my country the way it does in Sweden. Sure, we have a system but it isn’t well thought out or comprehensive in quite the same way. Many more people fall through the cracks. Sure Lisbeth was caught because she threw a fire bomb on her father but still.

I came into contact with an awful high number of people because of teaching. I have leveled off that number like whoa since I stopped reaching out to the world in that manner.

Where is my place now? I have no role in societies like those pictures. I’m kind of… irrelevant. So how do people like me get to being able to help kids who aren’t theirs?

It’s complicated.

Everything is complicated.

A kiddo woke up. I should go do the breakfast thing since we don’t have a Noah today. Oh Noah. We miss you so. Not because you provide us with food, though that is lovely. I do regulate off of you. I need you to remind me when I’m hungry I should eat and when I’m tired I should sleep. When I’m exhausted but too anxious too sleep you help me calm down. I’m trying to not be super stoned in this pre-pregnancy period of hopefully reduced pot usage. I want my tolerance to stay low.

Ok. Gotta go.

Sleeping is for when Noah is home.

I really should sleep. Instead I’m…. uhh… reading Reddit. It’s a fascinating thread about poverty.

But this other one is one is a super neat thing about educating students who come from a variety of kinds of poverty. This is good stuff for anyone who provides direct instruction. How do you help your kids overcome deficits?

Distraction

I’m up and no one else is. I’m trying to distract myself from working because I hear I should rest one of these days. So I’m looking up how far baby carriers have come in the last half a decade. Hm. There are new options. I’m not sure I like them better than what I had though.

I am thinking about how I’m going to hold a baby with my fucked up hands. I’ve done a lot of damage since I last had a baby.

It’s funny considering all the angles here. Different carriers put a different amount of strain on my body. Some days I can handle pressure in Areas A & B, sometimes mainly in Area C… so how many carriers should one have? But they cost money.

Noah would like me to stop worrying about money one of these days. He earns enough. I shouldn’t fret. It bothers him that I’m so fretful about money. He works himself ragged trying to get me to stop fretting about money.

Sweetheart, know how it is my job to make your old age comfortable? I will always fret about money. Every dollar I spend now feels like I am robbing Future You.

It’s not about how much you make now. You will not make this forever. I have to make it last.

Anyway. Baby carriers. There are advantages to soft structured carriers (like the Ergo but there are other brands), wraps (like a Moby or a woven wrap–big differences between those two types), ring slings (a strip of cloth that you wrap around your body and tie into a bag using rings–like it sounds), or Mei Tais. Those are like a soft structured carrier but with less shape.

Why do I care about this shit so much? Why is it worth thinking about?

Well lets start with my hand damage and move up my arms to the fucked up elbows and the wrecked shoulders then down to the fucked up lower back.

Why do I think about these things? Because the more I think about how to manage my pain now the less anxiety I will have later because I will be in pain and unable to figure out how to fix it because I will be mentally overwhelmed.

Right now I’m just chillin’.

I can think about how to manage things. Like: a ring sling is awesome and I’ve used the hell out of the one I had… but I’m desperately worried about my shoulders standing up to that kind of strain at this stage of my life.

I’d get myself in a position where it was the only carrier with me on a day when I’m already doing poorly and… that’s a recipe for me being almost blind from pain and lashing out at everyone near me all day. Maybe skip having the temptation in the house.

Which means opting in to more mass/complication every.single.time. Ring slings are lovely. They are quick and convenient and they are super easy to nurse in…

But fucked up shoulders. Like, seriously fucked up. Like every medical practitioner I have spends most sessions lately working on my shoulders because the pain is making it so I can’t sleep much at nights.

Painting sucks. I need to stop.

Less anxiety. Baby carriers. Distraction. Sweet, fluffy, screaming/flailing/puking distraction.

What am I god damn thinking? I’m thinking I like my kids so much that I really really really want to meet more of them. This is the first group of humans I have had this kind of success with. I want more. I like how snuggly and loving and attached we are. We support one another in separate adventures too, but we really prefer to be together. We all get a bit cranky at separations.

The stretchy woven wraps are really comfortable and adjustable for the first 4-6 months depending on how big the baby is. They are really ideal for all the newborn positions but then they stop being useful at all because they are dangerous. Woven wraps are great from birth through early toddler weight and they are entirely adjustable for kid-size… but they are rather hard on the adult’s body. The weight is questionably distributed. They are small and easy to always have with you as a back up, but as a primary one… they leave me sore and aching. They are also not as perfectly awesomely forgiving with a new born.

That leaves Mei Tais and structured carriers. The advantages of Mei Tais lies in how adjustable they are for body size of both kids and grown ups. I’ve shared these carriers successfully with folks from a grown up size XS to grown up size 3X. They are gloriously adjustable. But they don’t distribute weight quite as well as a structured carriers. Structured carriers are the most ergonomic for me and allow me to do the most wearing with the least pain. They kinda suck for nursing or carrying around with you places where the kid won’t be in the carrier all the time. I am an expert at putting a kid in a back carry alone in any kind of carrier, but most folks can’t for a long long time. (I practiced. Over and over and over in my house. Putting kids into and out of carries to see how it works. I’m… kind of boring.)

In my experience the most shareable carriers are the Mei Tais followed by ring slings followed by structured carriers. Woven/stretchy wraps usually scare folks who don’t use them on a regular basis.

I have a lot of wonderful friends who like to snuggle my babies and I think feeling love from lots of people is a big deal for healthy social development so the shareability of my carriers ranks kinda high for me.

I know other people say they nurse in an Ergo without a problem, but I always struggle with the angle. My boobs are kinda big and they get pretty huge when I’m nursing. I find that I need a carrier that allows me to drop the baby down several inches from the normal comfortable carrying height in order to nurse with ease while doing other work. That’s why ring slings are the most awesome for nursing in my experience. Eldest Child spent a lot of her babyhood in a ring sling nursing.

Someday-Not-The-Youngest-Child didn’t nurse all the time so they spent a lot of time in the structured carrier.

After browsing through videos for a structured carrier I noticed that this brand recommends nursing… in the stretchy wrap.

The stretchy wrap is probably as good for nursing as a ring sling for the first few months. Maybe even better in many ways. It gives a bunch of position options that the ring sling doesn’t allow for.

Oh the factors to consider. See, I’m not just a one trick pony.

I don’t really want to just buy one of each. That seems ridiculous.

But I know women who bought more than twenty carriers because they wanted different ones to match their outfits. So I’m not sure why I’m so worried about it.

Every dollar I spend where I don’t have to is money I can’t spend on my mortgage or travel.

I don’t want to rob me either. But I want to minimize pain, frustration, and fussing in the future. It’s a balancing act.

After spending a while watching videos on youtube (we live in a magical time) I’m interested in the Boba. Hm.

Practically vibrating with anxiety.

I have managed to construct a complex and multi-layered argument to something someone said. I found about 10 sources to back me up. I need to drop this.

I’m feeling freaked out and weird about money. Holy shit we go through money. I always thought that if I moved up the privilege ladder it would involve less freaking out about money. Nope. Now I stay up late at night freaked out because how in the hell do I share financial security with more people. It’s not ok that only a few people in the whole world have financial security.

There are developmental windows for learning socialization skills. Many of them occur in the first seven years of life. During that time it is important to practice interacting with as many different kinds of people as possible all day long. You know how people learn to be kind and thoughtful? They practice. They are gently reminded over and over and over again about their place in the world and reminded to think about what they have to give instead of what they want to take in interactions. It is tremendously hard work.

Early childhood education teachers should make six figure salaries.

So instead we neglect this stage of education and wonder why we are getting epidemics of mental health problems and physical problems and we wonder why suicide is a more and more common option for people. It’s the tenth leading cause of death.

People don’t know how to connect. Connection is what keeps people striving.

But if you were neglected during your own crucial periods of development, how can you provide that sort of training for someone else? Well, you can do obsessive tremendous amounts of research and work and learn how to behave and create behavior plans and fucking follow them religiously whether you god damn feel like it or not or you can outsource it.

I support schooling children. I really do.

There are many fine individuals working in education at all levels. There are men, women, and non-binary people who are drawn to a particular age or stage of development and they work magic with helping children learn the exact skills they need at that point in life.

Why in the world would I be against working with such people?

Ok, I recognize some evolution in my thinking here. I was once a lot more uhhh pushy about home schooling. Then I spent a few years home schooling and dealing with the extended home schooling community.

You’ve gotta do what is right for your family. That means right for the parents and right for the kids. No one is capable of teaching everything. Some things need to be outsourced. There is no shame in that. It’s human. Interconnectedness is necessary for a happy life. In my judgmental as fuck opinion.

Outsourcing is saying, “Hey I can’t do everything. You person over there. Let me acknowledge that you are just flat better than I am at Thing and I would love to help support your life by exchanging money for your help.”

Outsourcing is awesome on so many levels.

I outsource shit. I pay for some child care. I do trades for other child care. Do you know why child care is important to our family? A couple of reasons: they learn that I am not actually omnipotent (that’s a big god damn deal and something every child needs to learn about their parents), other people have patience for different kinds of activities than me so my kids get to experience different ways to live and pass time, my children are required to really learn how to follow the rules of different spaces–that’s a huge whole life lesson, and you know what? I need a damn break.

People need breaks. People need breaks of different intensity and different lengths of time. Some people are better parents if they have their children for 12 hours out of 24. Some people have that amount of support in them to give whether they have a job or not. Don’t judge. There are millions of reasons this can be true.

In my life I have been a pet owner, a teacher, and a parent. I have learned that these are all substantially different roles. A pet owner forms a bond that is about mutual dependency until death. A teacher drops into your life for a period of time, helps you over some bumps and then goes on their way. A parent pours their life energy into another living being and says, “Here is all I can give you to help you be independent of me. Go. Thrive. I hope you will call sometimes but I know you have a life to live of your own.”

These are all valid and worthy and important parts of life. Not everyone is called to fill every role. Not every person would succeed at every role. There are many roles in this life where I don’t even try because I believe in advance I would be a failure.

Do you know what I’ve never actually been? A financial provider. I have given people a lot of money. I have made gifts and loans of incredibly amounts of money. (To my, poverty-background self.)

Do you know what the universe did to me this week? It smiled on me. My Dad repaid the $10,000 loan I made to him several years early. He’s been working on installment payments for a while and now he is able to pay it off in full. I’m really grateful on a lot of levels. This is a magnificent time to have that money drop into my lap. It does a lot to shape my schema of trust in humans to see him pay this off early. It was a five year loan. I was terrified it would fuck with the relationship if he didn’t pay it off.

I can now breathe a huge sigh of relief.

That’s a release of tension and strain. Will he be honest with me? Will he follow through? Can I trust him?

That has lived in my mind for a while now.

I feel an enormous wash of gratitude that I can let that go.

Thank you, Dad. I appreciate your actions more than I can say. It helps me feel a whole lot more secure about turning around and loaning a bunch of that right back out to a different old friend. She needs a car really badly. Let’s get one. I’ll call her today. I could afford it anyway. I’m grateful to feel like I got the universe’s blessing at the same time.

Trust in people. Invest in people.

I differentiate heavily between gifts and loans. I have given tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Someday it will be tremendously more than that. I loan very selectively and only for specific good reasons. Often involving pride and support of separate identity. Gifts can hurt people.

It’s complicated.

I had a truly fantastic conversation yesterday. I got a new construction guy this week. He’s a whiz. He’s got almost as many years of experience as I have years of life. We talk about his daughter who is a year older than me and his grandkids who are are barely older than my kids. He was delighted when I told him I understand most of his Spanish and he is now trying really hard to get me to practice. But he’s friendly and upbeat and encouraging about it instead of taunting at all. It’s… really awesome.

We talked about spirituality and the problems Christianity causes in the world (among other organized religions). We talked about faithfulness and honor and how to pick your path in a changing world.

Pam, he spent a lot of time talking about how worried he is about climate change. People are listening.

We talked about the value of connection and relationships. We talked about technology and family and bonding.

I’m telling you. I had a fun work day yesterday.

That was really nice as I stood there with my hand cramping painting stupid flowers. Fucking fussy ass details suck nuts through a straw. I hate painting. Fuck painting. Painting is for idiots who don’t know how to manage their god damn time.

I’m totally going to paint more today.  FUCK EVERYTHING. I want the results. But working is for chumps. Sigh. I’m having a Baron Wulfenbach moment. Hello, I am Chump.

Do you know what I get to do next? PUT A TINY FUCKING DAB OF YET A THIRD GOD DAMN PINK ON THE FUCKING FLOWERS BEFORE COVERING THE MOTHERFUCKERS IN GLITTER.

Fuck.

FUCK FUCKING CHERRY BLOSSOMS.

At least I get to look at you fuckers for a very long time. So there.

I’m having very stupid feelings.

Today Noah is having dinner with his parents. The children are going. I’m on the fence. The reason I am inclined to go is so that I can do that reality distortion thing I do if they start talking about the kind of shit they like to talk about. I.E. shutting their racist, bigoted asses down.

I mean, I sorta trust EC to do it for herself. I suspect Noah will just change the topic. I don’t blame him. Get through dinner and get out and talk to the kids on the way home is an approach. It’s just not my approach.

But driving to San Francisco for dinner kinda sucks. And seeing his parents totally sucks. I could work. Or rest. Or do literally anything else and be happier. Watching the paint dry would be more fun.

I think I’ve decided. The kids are in camp today, the family is off to dinner without me tonight. That sounds like a 12 hour work day with a break in the middle to go to the dispensary. Numb the pain so you can continue working long past when it is healthy. Like a dumb ass. (I almost wrote like a grown up and then decided that was fucked up.)

I’m moving the needle on this project. Finally. I’ve been staging and prepping and accommodating other peoples share of the work for so many months that it feels really good to be moving the needle towards the end. Now I can see the end. Now I can list concrete tasks and say, “When this is done the project is done.”

Oh sweet cheese and crackers I need to be done.

It’s going to take till February. Mayyyyyyyybe mid month since now I have two guys who work independently and really hard. That’s a change from one guy who does lots of stuff and a guy who kinda assists and can follow out some tasks but spends a lot of time checking his phone. I will say that the new guy is… less of a perfectionist than the guy who has been here the longest. So I still want the one guy doing most of the tile work. He is fastidious as fuck. I like that in someone I’m paying to help me install a humongous piece of art.

Also: one of the new walls isn’t square. Not sure if the house wasn’t square to start with (totally possible) or not but the vanity couldn’t be installed properly without cutting a hole in the drywall. Just a small one to allow the corner to fit. Whoops. It will be covered with the tile back splash so it won’t be visible… but whoops.

Emailed pictures to the lawyer.

I would share some pictures but whoops I’m on the wrong computer. I’m on the computer that has a working battery.

Speaking of which, because my life is fantastically charmed, a MacBook Pro is on its way to me to help me reduce how much time I spend arguing with the tech in my life. Because some problems can be solved. Yes I have a lot of fucking data. Give me a terabyte of storage and leave me the fuck alone, a’ight?

At this point I spend 5ish hours a month arguing with my tech trying to make it work. That’s time I could be god damn resting instead of getting pissed off.

Done.

I lead a charmed life. I don’t have any right to be so god damn anxious. Yeah? Yeah? Watch me shiver like a fucking chihuahua.

I mostly have my living room back. Mostly. It’s coming along super well. I don’t really have the playroom back yet but I’m storing shit in there anyway because I’m about to lose my mind. The house is already feeling less like any sudden movement will cause hours of work. That helps. The garage isn’t better at all.

I can’t move most of the clutter out of the vestibule area until they finish painting the exterior of the house and the dudes can put my sheds back in place and I can move alllllllll this crap out of the garage back into sheds where it fucking belongs. We have a lot of tents, yo.

And I can’t get the main floor of the garage back until the tile is on the walls. It would be very hard to get the tile past all the shit in the vestibule area.

Like how I’m the kind of person who describes stuff as shit in the same sentence as the word vestibule? And fuck. I said fucking and crap, in a different but related sentence ,with vestibule too.

I’m classy like that.

It was the best of times! It was the worst of times!

And I’m not even talking about politics in this post.

Ok. Off to paint a wall. Motherfucker.

Identity and consequences

This video about identity is worth the 20 minutes.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

If you know something is right you have to say it even if there might be consequences. Consequences are part of taking action. I would rather take action than put my head down and keep my mouth shut.

That means I’m going to have problems.

I’m super anxious about ninetyeleventybillion things right now. Many of them are not writing material.

Identity is a funny thing. Knowing that I am who and what I am is a funny thing. I don’t have pretentions about being a gentle or a kind person. But I can play one as a role sometimes. Lately I’ve been feeling haunted by the phrase “I’m not a violent person.”

I am a violent person who has learned a fuck ton of control. Is my control perfect? No. And that creates problems. I know. I’m trying to figure out how to make my slips less frequent and only in more controlled manners.

Because I believe that life requires violence sometimes. I don’t think it is wrong to be a violent person. But I don’t like casual threats of violence.

You only bring violence into things if you are totally fucking serious that you think it needs to escalate to physical violence. You don’t jump up and cross a room and punch your fist unless you are serious about hitting first. You just don’t. You don’t tell someone that if they ______ your wife that you are going to break their legs unless you are serious about breaking their legs.

Last year was a fascinating year for violent posturing. The funny part is, I’m the only one of the bunch who will think of themself as violent even though I wasn’t the biggest out burster of the year by a long shot.

I look angry and dangerous. I don’t directly threaten people anymore. I haven’t in a long time. And so I’m scary. Ok. Yup. That’s true.

I can be pretty fucking terrifying sometimes. I don’t have to do anything. Just stand there and glower and I can make a whole room full of people cower. Uh, it’s a skill. I try not to use it.

So having this as a skill means I think about how intimidation plays into violence. If someone feels I am trying to intimidate them, they will react with an escalation of violence because that seems fair. Whether I was trying to be intimidating or just moving through the world processing the feelings I was fucking having anyway or not.

Identity and perception are interestingly cowoven phenomenon.

Noah wants me to take a lot more of my identity and worth from being married to him. That’s complicated. I know I picked a winning horse. But… that’s… a different thing from having earned what I have.

For the legal definition of homeless we were homeless for most of my childhood. I didn’t live on the streets, we couch surfed for a few days or weeks or months at a time. Sometimes we had our own place when my dad was willing to pay child support but he mostly wasn’t. So we lived in our car. I was put in foster care over and over because my mom couldn’t find places that would take both of us. My sister got married at 17 because that was the most likely way she could find a stable place to live. It didn’t work.

That feels more like who I am.

Jenny wants me to see my story as starting from when I had agency.

Sometimes I wonder why I imprint on people the way I do. I might be a right pain in the ass, but I come back and come back and come back and come back and do work all the time I’m being obnoxious too.

Blacksheep came to visit so I thought about her. She payed attention to me in a polite, respectful, boundaries having way at a time in my life when I needed that so desperately I was a walking festering sore. She was like a salve. An abrasive, sometimes caustic salve. If she sees something that ain’t right… she’ll fucking tell you. I always wonder why Jenny has such a huge piece of my heart. Because she does. Because she was there on two of the most crucial nights of my young life. She was there for me after the suicides. When my mother or sister or aunt or uncle or cousins would not offer me comfort when my brother and father killed themselves because the whole damn house thought it was my fault Jenny could look at me with pity and tell me it wasn’t my fault.

I imprint like a fucking duckling. I’ll come back. It might be expensive… but I’ll show up over and over and over for as long as you’ll have me.

I could keep going but I don’t have a cord for this laptop out here. I don’t have that much longer to type.

I need this project to end.

I’m going nutty. My poor kids. I’m glad they will be out of the house for four days this week cause I’ve been a bitch lately. I’m losing it. I’m yelling about things that don’t need to be yelled about. Noah has intervened and told me to leave the room.

There are advantages to him working from home. I don’t like it or him when he’s doing it but I’m grateful for it in the long run. Let’s minimize how much I fuck up our kids. Cool, yeah.

Fuck.

I have no room to judge. But fuck if that stops me. Judgmental bastard.

I’m wrong about my judgments sometimes. I remind myself of that. I’m not G-d. I don’t know everything. I just don’t. I just have fucktastically strong opinions. Often backed up by extensive research.

As dear Michelle reminds me… I do know a lot about child development. Not enough. Never enough. I’m still studying. I don’t know if I will ever stop studying.

If identity and purpose are about things that are ongoing drives instead of about short term goals then I think I have to examine things a little differently.

I may be an artist and a sometimes painter but that isn’t my life. I put down my paint brushes for years at a time. Why do I so strongly resist thinking of myself as a dancer just because I have down years?

Because I wasn’t one of the rich kids who got to take lessons so I wasn’t a real dancer. When it came time to public social dancing I was told over and over how I wasn’t stage performance material.

Yeah. I know. Could ya shut the fuck up and let me have a few fucking minutes to enjoy being in my god damn body before you tell me I’m doing it wrong? No?

Fuck.

I was hostile and angry and defensive about being called an artist for decades because in kindergarden they yelled at me and told me I was doing art wrong and I decided that meant it wasn’t for me.

My kids are going to be much better than me. They practice about ten times as much as I do and they have never had it internalized that art is for other people who can follow these specific rules.

It is weird to me that they like math and we play verbal math games all the time. Written math is still coming along, but verbally they can do a lot. That’s interesting for me. We are exploring learning through whatever modality works best for them. We play a lot of counting and number games and that is how they learn math. We are doing more formal writing too, but that’s harder and slower. Eldest Child is about two months behind grade level at this point. Given that she started out the year two full grade levels behind, I’m going to say I’m pleased with progress and we’ll keep going how we are going until she decides she is ready to slow down a bit.

The purpose of the first seven years of life is to work on socializing and emotional self regulation. You need to be put into real life situations over and over and over and over and over until you are able to manage them.

Practice, practice, practice.

Sometime around 7-10ish kids will naturally mature into being able to learn to read and read to learn in a few months so that they can explode in knowledge acquisition. But it requires providing a scaffolding of survival/people skills so that the person can see themselves as autonomous and on their own path.

I would be fine if Eldest Child wanted to start going to school at any point here. But she’s not ready. So I have to provide curriculum of some kind now. Because that’s the deal for home schooling.

You teach them about being a good citizen and what it means to take care of business in life and then you help them educate themselves. Because all education really happens in the mind of the student. The teacher is just there as a companion to help you find resources.

At least, that is how it works in my dream world.

That is how it works in Wonderland.

That would be a fun kids book series. How Education Works in Wonderland.

I could be as liberal with my definition of Wonderland as I wanted. Carroll doesn’t really own it you know.

That’s the end of the battery. Until we meet again oh internet, I am semi-faithfully yours.

Wrong again

It’s one of those times when my anxiety is on hyperdrive. I’m doing everything wrong, right? Every interaction I have with people seems to be fraught.

One problem is that I’m struggling with how much control and influence and power I have. There are times and places when I don’t agree with how something is being handled and I shut up because there’s nothing I can do. Then there are times and places where I feel like I am a bad person if I shut up because someone is being harmed and if I ignore that… I’m part of the problem.

I’m part of the problem. If I see people being harmed by others in their life and I do nothing… I’m saying I basically agree.

What if I don’t agree that something is being handled right?

Good luck with those feelings.

Because I don’t get to decide. And I’m afraid that by talking about what I see I am going to become the problem and then I won’t be able to help in any way because I was stupid enough to talk about the problem.

Not everyone can do everything. We all have limits. We all have things we can’t do. I can’t teach fussy, fiddly little activities that involve a high amount of fine motor control. Even if I can do it (under protest) I can’t teach it because I get frustrated and angry and explosive. So I outsource that shit. I can’t teach everything. My kids take classes because I can’t teach everything. I am not that cool. That’s why as they get older they will spend more and more time away from me. Because they will have mostly learned what I have to teach.

I don’t think there is one Twue Way that parenting or schooling should happen. Some people like home schooling and it works well for their family. Some people need to have their kids in school. Some people need to have their kids in school and after school care every day for any one of millions of potential reasons.

None of these choices are wrong if they work well for the child and the family. It’s when the solution is clearly not working for either the parent or the child that you need to look at making changes.

It is easy for me to sit on my high horse and see the problems in other peoples systems. I’m afraid I am failing to see the problems in mine. I was honestly hoping for more criticism from Stanford because other than “Do more academics” which was the plan anyway and which we have already caught up on…. What do I change now?

I have no feedback to help direct me. Just… do something. What you are doing seems to work ok.

THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Everyone fucks up. Everyone has things they don’t do well and things they do very well. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!

I shout more than I should. But professional evaluators tell me I don’t shout as much as other people and it isn’t that big of a deal.

So what does should mean anyway?

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

So anxious. So worried that I’m going to hurt everyone and wreck their lives and make it so they are not ok later.

This is eating me alive. It has been for a couple of days now? Turbo anxiety. How am I hurting everyone?

I want to run away. I want to disappear. I want to go somewhere that no one knows me. (Good luck, motherfucker. Name a continent (other than Antarctica) and I will name countries I need to avoid if I want to make sure I don’t see anyone I know. I run into people I know most times I travel internationally. I know too many fucking people.)

I love you all. It’s just hard to run away from you.

I want to run away from my own self perception. Because I’m afraid I’m doing everything wrong. I’m afraid I’m hurting people. I’m afraid I’m a giant let down. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to make things worse. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to be hated so much that hating me becomes the problem instead of fixing the problem.

Fuck.

I think I’m going to take a week or so off from reaching out. I feel like I am hurting people by existing. Maybe if I hide in my house and keep my crazy to myself that will feel less true. Don’t interfere with other peoples lives. Even if there are problems.

It isn’t my place.

I’ll fess up now.

It’s bad. So bad. This year… everything blew up financially. So much money was blown. So much. Oh I’m not happy with myself. Here we go. I have to honestly account for it. Fuck.

First, I want to say that if you screw something up one month in Mint (like, by expecting way more income than you get in a month) it’s hard to fix that in later months.

This is reversed from how I want it to look. Sigh.

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That’s what I call “not good”. $27,900.60 in cash and a whopping $130,239.78 in debt between credit cards and the HELOC. That’s not good. This is why we are going to arbitration. Hopefully we will get a chunk of change back and all of that credit card debt will evaporate and a big chunk of the mortgage. With luck. Let’s see if that dude who read my astrological chart was right. He said I will always win when it comes to money in court. Let him be right.

I think he mostly wanted to get laid.

Anyway.

I’m digressing because would you want to delve into how things got like this? Probably not. Well I don’t want to either. Here’s a trend view for you.

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The bestest thing I can say about that pie chart is that I spent more than 50% of my spending on home spending. That was kind of a goal. Given that it was competing with the vow renewal and a couple of surgeries… Excellent. I did keep pace with that priority.

Then a whole bunch of that might come back and it will look like I spent more like 43% of the year on home spending. Don’t judge.

So I can succeed and fail at the same time.

Here is what that looks like broken down:

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Holy crap for crisco. This is my life. We spent… an obscene amount of money. Holy tomato. And we aren’t done. Out of that $213,620.84 spent on “home” $127,802 went towards the bathroom remodel. We are hoping to get $70,000 (approximately) back from the arbitration. The lawyer has been over $9k so maybe we can deduct $60,000 from what was spent on the bathroom remodel bringing it down to a more reasonable $67,802 for the remodel? Maybe? Ok, that’s just a pipe dream at this point… but if we win on the arbitration then the bathroom will cost more like what I wanted to spend. $60k-$80k.

We’ll see. No news on how the rescheduling is going if it is going to be rescheduled. Wheeee. (Long story. Opposing party hired new council at the last minute and is attempting shenanigans.)

So we spent $72,508 on mortgage this year. That’s progress towards a goal. Awesome. I’m thrilled.

That leaves another $13,000 spent on home stuff. Oh goodness. Yeah… that’s a lot of home maintenance stuff. Freakin everything broke this year. I made progress on fixing a bunch of stuff. I spend money on amending dirt every year. Living in a swamp kinda sucks.

The vow renewal was awful. screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-11-14-37-am

Given that I initially asked Dark Garden if I could have an outfit for $8-$10,000 and I walked out of there spending closer to $30,000 it makes a lot of sense that the vow renewal was twice as expensive as I wanted it to be. My initial budged had been $20,000. And then the clothes. We didn’t really earn money back for the cross country trip, but my credit card lets me cancel out travel expenses at a higher rate of return per point spent and it has to be recorded somehow.

This next section is a break down of health.

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My experience of paying for child birth is I should expect about $10,000. That means $38,642.23 is probably not that far out of line for what to expect for next year. I should plan about $3,000/month. Oh wow.

I’m so lazy I can’t be bothered to track down that one lonely coffee shop purchase to make things align with my normal categories.

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When my house is exploding with chaos we eat out a lot. Having to stop work to make work to clean up work before I can return to work… wears me out. That’s what making food feels like. So we eat out a lot. And just generally… wow that’s a lot of money on groceries. We eat well.

Kids. I might write more but I have a kid chattering my ear off and I can barely think.

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Part of the reason that their activity section is so high is because we paid two years of an activity mid-year. Our babysitter got a good sized Christmas bonus, she didn’t quite work hard enough to earn all that. But if everything were fair she earned twice that so whatever.

Shopping is the next chunk of the pie.

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I don’t feel good about having that much uncategorized money. I also haven’t had the time or mental bandwidth to be more careful this year. Being rich is so god damn awesome. I feel guilty taking advantage of my buffer but this year I have to the limit.

Gifts and charity:

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That’s not what I want it to be going forward but we’ll figure it out.

When I feel like I’m completely failing at meeting my financial goals and I need to stop being such a god damn slacker I remind myself… this is my net worth.

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It’s ok to fuck up sometimes. I’m doing ok. Am I doing perfectly? There is no such thing. I’m doing ok.

I could be more detailed but I also could be painting. Bye 2016.

And miles to go before I sleep.

I’d say that my friends added about 7 hours of painting to the walls. (Thanks, y’all. I appreciate it.) I’ve done about 20 hours of painting so far.

I think it’s going to be 100-250ish hours of painting on the whole damn project. Do you know how much that sucks to think right this minute?

Because I also need to clean the mold and repaint my bedroom. Cause mold treatment. Hi, breathing problems.

And the hallway is jacked up and needs to be fixed. And they damaged the walls in the garage and I want to fix that.

No rest for the driven. Whyyyyyyyyyy do I care so much? I don’t know. But I’m going to get dressed in painting clothes right now and get started because I’ve got shit to do.

Today I’m going to finish the ceiling in the playroom, then move back to the bathroom. Oh the bathroom needs to be finished before I finish all the rest of the house. Maybe I’ll carefully lay out some drop cloth and work on the willow tree. That would be lovely.

The floor will either be finished today or tomorrow, as I predicted. The boss wanted it done by Wednesday. Ha. Not even. Actually… if I go look at the floor… definitely not finishing today. He might finish laying the tiles today but then he has to grout and do additional steps. He’ll finish the floor and do permanent toilet installations tomorrow, I hope.

I hope. I hope. I hope.

With luck on Tuesday he will start the wall tiles and that’ll be all that there is left to do. The death march of tile laying. Dum dum de dum dum de dum de dum de dum.

It’s going to be brutal. And boring. And take fucking forever.

Yesterday I think we offended him. I was talking to him about child rearing. He doesn’t believe  young children should have to do anything for themselves. He thinks that little kids should be cosseted like the precious jewels that they are and helped at all times because soon enough they will have to make their own money and support themselves.

I can’t disagree with him. But I asked him how many adults are around to provide that kind of care. Quite a few. They live with family. There is always an adult free to help kids.

We… we don’t have that available in our life. We just don’t. Our kids have to be independent in a way that other children may not have to be. My kids have two parents who work a lot and… not really other people around. My kids have to be able to do for themselves. I get why that might bother someone on an emotional level because it feels overly harsh and unfair…

I do get it.

But I don’t know how to explain that my kids have significantly more support than I ever had and I’m not physically capable of providing more support. It doesn’t matter if I can explain that. If your culture says it is monstrous to not dote on children and I don’t dote on my children… There is no justifying that.

I come from the kind of culture where if you can’t do something for yourself you aren’t going to get to do it. Sorrynotsorry.

I suppose that makes us really mean. Just add it to the list of reasons that I’m a monster. I am not willing to spend my whole day assisting a child in playing. If you want to color, there are crayons available. I’m not going to sit next to you uncapping each marker as you want to use it. Errr, no. That’s not my job.

Which means we are mean. Ok.

If I do that work who is going to do the painting and the dishes and the picking up and the laundry and and and and and and.

If I do that for one child, I am not really available to serve the other three children in the same capacity. How is that really more fair?

Nope. I’m not a mobile entertainment device. You will have to figure it out. If that frustrates you… welcome to life, kid. It is frustrating as shit.

I say I think I offended him because after this conversation he put on very loud Christian music. It seemed like a message. I… I listened to the music and felt irritated. I did not feel a lot of patience in my soul for the message of Christianity yesterday. Even though I in general support religion for folks.

I was thinking about it. I wonder if Christianity/Islam/Judaism make sense to me because they seem to me to be forms of group magic. We believe in a thing so we will work to make it so because that’s how you make a thing.

I get magic. That’s just… that’s just how the world is altered over and over and over again. I believe in magic and most religions just seem to me to be a way to try and use magic in the world.

But yesterday I was feeling pissy about the message of submission. It’s ok to suffer because God wants you to.

Oh the feelings.

So tired.

I should have gotten up and started painting. I didn’t.

I should have gotten up and did a bunch of work on the end-of-year-financial-post. I didn’t.

I should have gotten up and folded laundry. I didn’t.

I should have gotten up and cleaned the living room. I didn’t.

Instead I read about peoples lives on the internet.

My body hurts so much. I’m at the point where I’m probably damaging myself again. I’m working long past “acceptable load” for my body.

I want this remodel over with and the only way to get to that point is to do a fantastic amount of work. But I hurt. I’m taking Ibuprofen at a fantastic rate. Usually I suffer through not taking it. I can’t right now.

But the remodel work is on top of home schooling. And washing god damn dishes all fucking night and day. And my Bonus Kids are here for a few days. Lemmetellya having kids around… is work. Even if you get nothing done. Mediating arguments and fights. Helping them divvy up spoils of war. It’s work.

Teaching children how to be civilized human beings instead of feral animals is work.

I’m tired. I feel like no amount of work is enough and I’m drowning. And I’m too fucking cold to take my pajamas off to put fucking painting clothes on. My bones hurt. So I sit here and cry because I feel lazy and pathetic because I’m whining about why I’m not working instead of just getting some god damn work done when the kids are asleep and distracted.

I want my pain levels under a 3. Right now things are banging between 5 & 7 and it’s going to get worse before this project ends.

I’m having a hard morning and no one else is awake yet. That’s not a great sign. I should medicate. Now. Then…. I don’t know. Probably more crying.

 

Ok, I did almost two hours of work on the end of year review. I’m not a complete waste of oxygen. Now to deal with children who are whining because they don’t get to be first every time.

Looking forward

Goodness. I feel kind of like a bastard because 2016 has had some serious high points for me. It’s been a dumpster fire of a year, don’t get me wrong… but I had more good than many. I feel pretty good about where 2016 is ending on a variety of levels.

I would say that my marriage needed the strain it experienced this year. I think we both learned a number of things we weren’t really on our way to learning. We decided to have more kids. We decided to stop waiting on M/s stuff. (That’s going. And going pretty well so far… we are going slow.)

Things with the kids are…. well… I’d say that I couldn’t expect better. In pretty much every way I feel like things are going better as a parent than I expected they would. I thought we would have way more problems. Our relationships are pretty good and improving. We are getting better with every year at talking to one another about what we need. They are really excited about the prospect of more kids.

The house remodel… is absolutely driving me bonkers. But every person who walks into my bathroom gasps. It is worth it. Just keep plugging along. Art. Moar Art. I guess at this moment that I have somewhere between 100 and 200 hours of painting ahead of me between now and the finish line. Fuck.

I’m a painter. It’s a thing I do. I do a lot of it. I’m an artist. How will this play into my future?

No clue yet.

We watched Rogue One today. It… it’s a heavy movie. I feel kinda stunned. I think this is the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever really liked. Of course I like the hit-you-in-the-head one.

I’ve said for a long time that I suspect I will live to see some kind of revolution. Then we elected Trump. You know what?

The next four years need to be full of active resistance. The next four years need to involve making concrete actions in the direction of living in the kind of world I want to live in.

It’s kind of funny that I started out vehemently hating the idea of the American Dream. When I studied it in college and grad school I felt so much anger. I did not think it was attainable for me or anyone like me.

Then I arrived.

Holy shit. How do I share this shit.

How can more people have this kind of safety and security? What can I do to help other people have more access to education and choices and medical care?

Revolutions are made by the people who show up. What does showing up mean? It means different things to every person because you can’t make a revolution out of people who are exactly the same. That’s how you create an empire. By wanting people to be all the same so you can use them interchangeably as spokes on a wheel.

I don’t want a well mechanized empire.

I know what that means.

Even if I would be considered one of the “winners”… no. No. No. No. No.

Fuck that. No. But when and where are different levels of aggression worth countering with other levels of aggression?

How do you have a revolution without having a war? How many people have to die to call it a war?

How do we even know what a war means anymore?

There were 10,000 casualties of the war with Kuwait. In the last one hundred years, how many black people has the US government killed when they weren’t doing a damn thing wrong?

What is a war?

I spent my childhood reading books about the Resistance in WWII.

I need to spend a lot more time thinking about what I’m going to do with my life. I know what i want to do with my life in the very long-term. But what am I going to do while I’m growing up? What will I do to shape the person I need to be someday?

Fuck. This will be a lot of work.

Lots of people do lots of things to shape history. Where do I want to stand?

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas to those of you who recognize such a holiday. If you don’t celebrate this holiday, I hope you have an easy time avoiding us annoying assholes who do. I’m sure it gets annoying year after year.

Today is going to be a day for thinking. I’m thinking about that article about dating losers that I posted yesterday. I’m thinking about it because… way too many of those points describe me. More than a couple feel kinda like Noah. We have some issues. But the big difference between us and that article is that we both feel that we fuck up. We talk about how we are behaving badly. We try to change. We have both changed a great deal in ten years. Some of those behaviors were a big problem early in our relationship and have mellowed a lot.

But I don’t have the spoons to get into it point by point. Which is feeling anxious-making. We really need to work on our relationship going forward. Which feels hard this minute.

I put primer on the wall in the play room yesterday. Today I will do the background/sky/earth colors in there so that tomorrow when folks show up to paint Minecraft… they can just go. It’ll be fun.

I finished the ceiling in autumn/winter. It’s gorgeous; it looks like storms chasing across the sky. I’m so in love.

I spent a lot of time talking to the construction worker yesterday. I’m down to just one now. Which means he may be here till February. I talked to the main boss guy yesterday. He’s not happy with my prediction for how long this will take. He says it has to go faster. The worker and I raise an eyebrow and shrug. No. It doesn’t have to go faster. It has to be done right. It might not be finished till February and that’s ok. The boss guy says I am the most patient client he has ever worked with to the point where it’s a little weird. He said, “We have already more than doubled the time I thought it would take and you are ok with tripling it. That’s never happened to me before.”

Well, the work that is being done is gorgeous and I’m not going to fuck with a good thing. I’ve been waiting two years. I’m not going to rush once we get to the beautiful tile I will have to look at every day. If the pace slows down to a crawl because hand setting each individual tile sucks… I will roll with that. I just want the playroom back. And vanities in the bathroom (which won’t get in the way of tile) so I can get all the shit out of the living room.

I can handle moving slowly with tile. I want it done right.

This is not a normal tiling job where you put on sheets of tile and rarely have to cut anything. This is a bitch.

He may get an assistant who is also mainly a tile guy. We’ll see.

Also: I got my wish to be humanized with the dude. We talked for hours and we have many more hours of talking in front of us. We talked about where he is from, his life path, his family, his children, his faith and his struggles with it, and lots of random little details about his life. I said, “I know y’all talked back and forth a lot about _____ and _____. Would you be interested in hearing why?”

He said yeah. When I was done telling him stories about myself and why I’m doing this art and no for pity’s sake my daddy is not paying for this… he said, “This is why I kept telling the other guy not to judge. You don’t know someone else’s story till they tell you. It makes sense that you are doing what you are doing after I hear all that.”

Holy crudmonkeys that is an intoxicating kind of validation.

Then I absolutely hate myself because I should not care what he thinks of me. It should be entirely irrelevant to my life. I’m so stupid.

It’s a big deal to me that I move through the world explaining why someone might be crazy. It makes sense. It is all internally consistent. I do it in large part because I cannot count the number of people who tell me they are more patient and understanding with lots of people in their lives because they understand what they may not know about them now that they understand me and my story better.

When I say I write about myself because I want to be a character in peoples heads… that’s a lot of what I mean. I mean, don’t mistake me for wanting to be holy but… a friend said she thinks, “What Would Krissy Do” sometimes and my heart exploded with a firebomb of joy.

Holy shit. People think of me.

That’s important. That matters. That’s a real thing.

Even if I can’t touch it, see it, or smell it. That’s a gift that people are giving me. They allow me to take up space in their brains. Oh thank you so much. I feel so very loved. You think of me the way I think of you. I try as hard as I can to create models of y’all in my head in the same way. I sit and go through different people in my head and try to figure out how they would react based on what I know about them.

Sometimes I even guess right. Often I don’t. But I’m trying.

I’m difficult and you still try to understand me. That is a gift. You know what? Even the folks who hate follow me… you are here to see a train wreck and you go off and mock me in other places. Ok. But guess what? I’m still a story in your head. I take up space in your brain. You still think about me because I am compelling.

Nyah nyah nyah nyah.

The maturity, I have all of it.

Recently I noticed that the main place I knew about where people sat around and talked shit about me evaporated. *phew* Bye fuckers. Apparently the forum went away because folks were so nasty to one another that it just couldn’t be sustained. Well done, y’all.

Traumatized means: subject to lasting shock as a result of an emotionally disturbing experience or physical injury.

It is fair to say that I have traumatized people. I leave a lasting impression on people. It is fair to say that people have traumatized me. I will think about them forever.

How much of traumatizing other people do we need to process, forgive, acknowledge, work on… I’m not sure. I leave a lasting god damn impression on people. Sometimes in a bad way. I don’t really know that I have it in me to become a smaller person so that I leave less of an impression. That’s what it would take. It would take me trying to squash big parts of my personality.

What do I owe other people? If your culture says that people like me are a serious problem… maybe avoid me? I’m unlikely to adapt myself so that I fit in with a culture I don’t live in/with/around. That’s kinda like suicide. For better or worse I live in the cultural context in which I live. I mean…

I try to change the cultural context in which I live. I exert active pressure on it in a variety of ways. But I see a lot of factors outside of my control.

I have to deal with the sexist, racist white assholes in the world. Sometimes I kinda need to have all the force of personality of a bazooka in order to absolutely assert with great force I WILL NOT HAVE THAT SHIT HERE. NOT IN MY PRESENCE.

If you can turn that kind of thing all the way off entirely and pull it out when you need it then I’d love to hear how you pull off that trick. I turn it down to like 1 or 2. That’s as far down as I know how to turn down that force of personality. It is always measurably there… but barely….

I don’t know why I have this kind of force of personality to enforce a reality distortion bubble. It’s not really about the factors that currently exist in my life. I did this shit when I was a small, helpless, destitute, homeless child. I’d still turn to someone and go off like a bottle rocket if they did shit that I thought wasn’t ok.

This has gotten me in trouble all my life. I got beat so much for sassing teachers in Texas and Oklahoma partially because I called them on being assholes to me and the other students. I have memories of pointing out that they were picking on people so they turned to me instead. I’ve always kind of liked being a lightning rod. I think my attitude is that I am tough and I can take it.

I’ve jumped into fist fights and gotten them to stop hitting each other.

I’m not shy about asserting my presence in the world. No. This will not happen on my watch. Whatever that means.

Noah thinks it is funny that in junior high I was pulled out of class to go through training on how to be a conflict mediator. The school saw me interfering in everyone else’s business and wanted to harness that. I was pulled out of class constantly because I did really well at being fair. I wasn’t biased. I hate everyone the same and I was not big on favoritism.

If you are my best friend and you fuck up… I’m kinda throwing you under the bus.

You do the crime, you do the time buddy. In this case it normally meant apology letters, but whatever. I’m big on the idea that everyone should have to apologize for fucking up and I always have been.

I didn’t mean to traumatize you but I also can’t let someone sit at my table and tell me they will threaten me whenever they want. Nope, nope, nope. All the nope in the entire nope-universe. If it traumatizes you to find out that I won’t accept that…

I will just have to live with that.

I’m a bully. Because when someone says flat out that they will threaten me whenever they want I respond and respond and respond and respond and respond until they leave, saying I am traumatizing.

Ok.

And I have even less control over how strong I come on when I’m tired.

Goodness I need to figure out sleep in this lifetime. And when I pull all nighters I need to not talk to people for two or three days later. I’m such a bitch. I have no volume regulation and my tone of voice goes straight to shit.

Hey, it’s like I have less control over my body when I’m exhausted. Weird.

Or entirely predictable. Take your pick.

And I’m having another baby. I will cuddle my exhaustion to me like a warm blanket.

I’m freezing. I’m going to move to the heater and I can’t bring my computer with me because it is a brick when unplugged. Whine fuss moan. And the dishwasher is still broken and now the repair guy is dodging calls.

Cheers.

Perspective is interesting.

I was reading through this article (go read it) and it talks about how things are improving on a variety of axis throughout the world. We see so much negativity. Read this. Think about how far we have come as a species. Feel a moment of pride. We aren’t completely a shit show.

Then read this about history repeating itself.

Having human beings be my religion means that whereas Christians can say “Sometimes God works in mysterious ways” I can say “Sometimes we need to fuck up real bad before we can learn enough to stop doing a particular fuck up.”

It’s basically the same thing.

Tribalism has been the driving force behind so much violence and anger. “My culture says that if you look at me I should hit you for disrespecting me.” Oh. But you think that the hitting is “teaching” not violence. Just the looking was violent. Why? I don’t understand that dynamic. That is… bizarre to me.

Because my associations with violence are based on my personal experiences. In my experience, looking at someone can be provoking but it isn’t violence.

How do we come to peace on issues like this as larger cultures?

I read a lot about “violent speech” which I put in quotations marks not because I think it doesn’t exist but because that’s the search term I use a lot.I use it in combination with lots of other words to try and see when it comes up in relationship to other topics. I usually put those in quotes too. Not to denigrate them.

Man, scare quotes ruin everything.

I read a lot of points of view because I don’t know for sure what I think yet. I’m still taking in information and I don’t know. It’s big. It’s complicated. For some people violent speech is when someone screams streams of profanity, usually including specific insults. For some people violent speech is about threatening physical harm. For some violent speech is about a man having a strong opinion in front of a woman. I am not trying to be a minimizing asshole. I’ve read a rather lot of people that believe that men have no right to be forceful in front of women. To be fair, such women usually opine that I’m not allowed to speak forcefully to them though. It’s not straight up misandry. Also: these folks usually tell me this quite forcefully which leads me to believe that they can’t hear themselves or that they think that only their authority is allowed to be forceful and no one else.

Thing is, I didn’t sign on to an agreement where I had to abide by such behavior. I can totally see how it comes up for you based on your experiences though.

But what about consent for behavior between people? How do we negotiate it? That’s a problem. I’m an ask-not-guess person. I mean, I’m not always good at advocating for what I really want but mostly I’m good at asking for needs for other people and asserting how I want to behave. Even if I don’t advocate for all of my needs, I do assert how I will behave and what I will do.

It is fascinating to me that folks will hear me, disbelieve, tell me that my behavior is totally cool and acceptable and they are looking forward to it…. and then blow up because I did as I said I would.

Yo, truth in advertising, babe.

For reals. What do you expect from me? You expect that I will all of a sudden stop behaving how I said I would and instead start behaving submissively towards you and your culture?

Bwahahahahahaha

No.

I know I’m an asshole. I wouldn’t be alive if I weren’t. I know I can bully people. But I generally announce up front, “I have very strong feelings on this topic and I can be kind of a bully. If I start making you uncomfortable tell me and I will shut all the way up. I’m not good at being moderate on this topic.”

But there are an awful lot of bullies on this planet. Often the only way to get them to leave you alone is to show that you will bully right fucking back.

The first example that comes to my mind is on the road trip when someone wanted to spend time denigrating home schooling, tell me opting out of the public school system is just about evil, and women who stay in domestic violence are poisoned by their estrogen.

Guess what? I argued until I got folks to look at the floor in dead silence. Then I left.

All the nope in the whole wide world.

Yup, I can seriously be a bully. Yup.

I’m not only ok with that but sometimes it brings me great joy.

I never cowed.

I did not give an inch.

Did it matter? No. Not really. I don’t hate the people I was talking to and in other circumstances and other environments I can have conversations without an ounce of bullying. But pick up some of the topics that touch my life and I’m not going to let you win one god damn inch of conversational space.

Nope.

It’s part of the reality distortion bubble I live in.

I’m going to paint today. I’m going to try and work on spring and see how far I get with it. I would really love to finish the cherry tree today. Maybe add some sparkly butterflies to the room. I feel like maybe somewhere in the grass there should be a nest of animals. A mama and a daddy and a nest of babies. I haven’t picked what species yet.

I should ask my family.

I think the current construction company has decided that the best way to handle dudes shit talking me is to not send them to my house any more. So now this one dude toils alone. Progress has of course slowed down like whoa. He only got through 20%ish of the floor yesterday. He didn’t even finish summer, let alone do the autumn/winter room, shower floor, or spring.

So ok, the floor… will probably not be done till next week. That’s fine. Maybe I will have time to completely finish spring before the beautiful tiles are on the floor and I risk wrecking them. *phew*

I’m nervous about painting on top of the tiles. I’m going to have to in order to finish the willow tree, I’ll be careful. But it’s going to go sooooo sloooooow to be careful like that. Oh well. Oh, I should start with the ceiling in autumn/winter first today. He’ll get to that pretty quickly and the greenish stuff up there… can’t be the only color. I’m not going to cover it completely. I’m going to blend an icy blue, and a good cloudy white, and a nice grey together over it and let it shine through in places.

It’s going to be the start of a beautiful morning on the crux of autumn falling into winter.

Just wait and see. Invigorating and bracing.

With a heated floor. Ahhhhhh.

And it is electric so comes out of my solar panels instead of using gas. Hippie win.

I have room on my roof for 8 more panels to be just plugged in. All the wiring and bracing is in place. I feel like I should investigate battery options someday and see how I could possibly store more of what I make. Or I could just put way more back onto the grid to share with my neighbors like I do now.

We’ll see. I’m not doing that research this year or next year.

Oh goodness. Speaking of what I need to do this year… dunh dunh dunh… financial review. Ew. It’s going to take three days to get through all of the nuts and bolts of it. Fucktastic. Not today, Satan.

But… probably next Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Shit. (I need a break in the middle so I don’t overload my brain and get to the point of being ANGRY FULL TIME. I find money to be very stressful. This year was… expensive. I’m going to have big feelings. Plan for them.)

2017 is going be so much cheaper. It’s going to be a better year for me for just that reason.

Even with having a damn baby. (We hope.) That says too much about 2016.

Good grief. I started out thinking, “Maybe I don’t want to bother with cloth diapers this time. The drought. The time. The constant energy to deal with it. Maybe… I’ll use a different option.” Then I looked at how much it costs to use any other diaper option. Uhm, spend that much money on stuff that is peed or pooped on once then thrown away (or washed by a service or composted by a service or whatever other hippy-dippy option)….

I’m not sure I can do it.

Oh god.

You pay more money over the long run to evade labor. I can’t handle that trade. Not with diapers. In the scheme of my life this is stupid. My time… could be more productively used. By far. I know.

It’s an existential thing. I just can’t fucking spend that much money on diapers.

It freaks me out.

I just went and looked at a cost estimator for how much I will spend on the first year of having a baby. It didn’t include “pay for hospital” so uhm, that’s low. But it says around $6,000. It’s not including the diapers (many of which I resell, to become nearly cost neutral) or the hospital. So, closer to $15,000-$20,000depending on how the birth goes. Cheers. That little detail needs to be accounted for in next year’s budget.

Because it’s a hospital for me this time. It’s a little weird living in this little drama where all three of them periodically say spontaneously, “I’m glad you are going to a hospital this time. It’s important that you be here after this baby is born.”

It’s fucking weird. Because everyone in the house says it to me. Youngest Child said it yesterday as we were just doing random chores. It was… interesting.

It is going to be interesting to try and develop a relationship with a doctor. I am nervous but I feel up to the challenging. This is going to take a liberal application of all the charm I can come up with combined with a specifically and carefully chosen list of specific traumas that have happened and why they will complicate our relationship.

I come into this with a lot of wounding and difficulty trusting medical providers. Let me talk to you about why and tell you what I need from you in order to build a relationship of trust. Because you haven’t earned any yet.

Hi. I’m Difficult Patient. Nice to meet you.

But I’ll make it up to you by expressing extreme gratitude that you are getting to know me as a person.

I know I’m a pain in the ass. Thank you for putting up with me.

I’m thinking about folks from the past. Folks who were absolutely integral for my healing but whom I cannot know any more.

The layers of building a person are so complicated and layered. Do we take in parasitic ways? Do we give back enough?

Not many of my relationships are strongly mutually supportive. Most have a flow of energy. Some change over time, but in most there is more of a receptive or a giving feeling on my end.

I can’t say for sure how it feels to the others involved.

I acknowledge that I’m an energy-sucking vampire for lots of people in my life. Hopefully I’m only taking in a way that benefits you though. Like symbiosis. I’m good at encouraging people to talk about themselves. I ask good questions. I make connections and listen hard. But I get so much out of it that… yeah… I’m receptive here. I know it.

People have to pour energy into me in order for that to happen. It is like blood sucking. But hopefully more like a barnacle on a whale than a mosquito. Or maybe more like an orchid, which grows on a tree but doesn’t hurt the tree…

The circle of life is complex. Where we all fit on it… is hard to see. That in particular is what I’m good at giving back to people. Perspective. I see you in ways you can’t see yourself. You exist in this shining schema in my head. That’s kinda an awkward turn of phrase but I’m an awkward sort of woman.

Last night two of my wonderful people came over. It was great to talk to them about what it means to be alive right now in this time and in this place.

There are a lot of levels to think about. Which ones do we focus on, why, for how long, with what intensity?

Speaking of which, more fuckery on the arbitration front. Now there’s another two week delay. Because stuff. Oh the post I shall write when this story is over. Search Engine Optimization for the win.

Any minute now I should get off my ass and go work in the bathroom. Because dude is arriving in another hour and I should finish the part that will be near his head first and then I can work farther form him when he’s here. Be polite about the small space and all that. Preplan.

Time to press go. Motherfucker. My body hurts. I’d like to just… kinda lie around and rest. I’m still tired. But there are miles to go before I sleep. And art work to create before I rest.

When I hit the end of this run, I plan to be very very lazy for a long time. I’m even going to suck it up and pay someone to clean my house. Because I need a break.

I will not stop until my house is back to being a yes environment. That’s the end goal. I can’t keep doing the art in drips and drabs. It has to be done and put away. It creates too many ‘no’ zones. I can’t handle that for the next few years. I can’t handle the mental strain of coping with it.

I need a yes house.

I’m working on it about as fast as I can. There are pieces that are out of my damn control.

Today will be a work day. Today I will produce a lot of permanent change with my hands. I’m going to take that kind of seriously. The kids will work on academics sitting on the floor near me so we can talk as they work. Then the glorious baby sitter will come over and play with them for hours while I work. I will probably barely break till bed time. Then I will sleep. Then I will wake up and paint all day.

Christmas is going to be interesting. I am going to participate… and I’m going to paint. But it will be all Minecraft all the time for the afternoon. Eldest Child wants some group Minecraft play (I have to sit with them and give opinions and directions for a while) and then the playroom will get painted.

I will have a playroom by Monday. This is my happy face. The furniture will be out of the living room by Monday. Oh I am so happy. You cannot possibly understand.

My shoulders are dropping. The end is in sight. Soon I will be done working on painting the house for a few years.

It’s not that I’m done painting the house. Goodness no. But I need to take a few years off. I need to save money for the next round of fixing stuff. Which will include insulating the remainder of the house and updating the flooring.

Not in this round of work. Can’t. I’m losing my mind.

I hate remodeling. But it is inevitable if you own a house. Sob.

I hate it and I love the results. Kinda like how I feel about painting. Painting sucks. I hate painting. But I have these things I see in my head and I need them to be real and painting is one way to do that.

It is a way to share what I see of the world.

Sometimes I feel like typing is my true native language. Painting is becoming a secondary one. Then there are those pesky words out loud.

That’s so much harder.

Go. The sun is up. There is work to do. Move.

So sleepy

Nine hours of sleep after skipping a night helps… but I’m in that dream place. Sometimes this is a hard, sad, scary place to be. Not today.

Today I feel open to love. Today I feel loved. Today I am thinking about the comets who touch my orbit. I’m thinking about how very blessed I have been in this life to be loved by so many truly fantastic people.

I am blessed beyond any expectation or presumption of deserving. I could not have expected the treasures that have poured into my lap.

Thank you. I love you so very much. Thank you for being in the world so that I can see you and learn from you and love you. You don’t have to do anything for me. Just be. I love just the way you are doing your thing.

Don’t change for me.

Or maybe, if you change for me, change because you see you better having seen a reflection from me. Don’t change because you want to be more what I like. I like you as you are.

Lovin Is Easy. I do it all day. You make it so easy. It’s the way that you play. I want you to be free. I want you to soar. I want you to chase adventure and so much more.

I love you.

Bounce

I will sleep soon. I sure hope. I had my last bit of soda around 4am. It’s 9:13. I’ve been awake for about 42 hours. I’m tired, but not sleepy yet. I will lay down soon. Right now, I’m medicating.

We went to a party tonight. It was one of the most comfortable parties I’ve been to in a long time. I didn’t feel anxious at all. I felt included and appreciated by folks I’ve know for many years. It was a sit around and chat sort of party. Maybe there was one heterosexual in the room but I wouldn’t put money on that person being so? It was the kind of party where you can talk about religion, magic, computers, running, obsessive video games, gender, sexual orientation, pets, children, house remodeling, and then there was when I got to drop the line, “Oh I like being the fourth person someone fucks in a day” and everyone in the room was delighted.

Yeah, I’ve done that. It was dreamy and soft and very gentle and loving. All of their urgency was long spent. It was the soft worship left to wallow in. Sex is awesome.

I’ve been reading a lot about couples privilege. I have a lot to think about with regards to my friendships and my lovers. I don’t really want to go through life using people. Well, unless they negotiate that they really want to be used. Then we will respectfully negotiate a mutually agreeable time (my schedule is not the only important one and all) and then we’ll see.

What does it mean to be one flesh? Noah really wants a deeply enmeshed marriage. I have mixed feelings. I want it and it is hard. There are a lot of things and actions I enjoy that got… taken off the burner and put in a box in the shed. It wasn’t left to simmer.

But things are improving.

It is hard to talk about a situation without just sounding like I’m complaining. I’m trying to figure out what I think.

I’ve spent my entire adult life around non monogamous people. I thought of Noah as someone who deeply wanted polyamory but couldn’t always have it because life is complicated. Oh. Shit. One of these years I’d like to get to the point of being wrong less fucking often.

We spend a lot of time around each other. He’s been working from home for six months now. ONCE THIS FUCKING REMODEL IS OVER it will be glorious. It is good even with the fuss.

We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together–all four of us– just about every day. We talk to each other all day long. We are all talkers like whoa. You know how much I write? I talk more than that and I’m one of the less talkative ones in the house.

Holy tomato. The sheer flood of words in our house.

It is validating and lovely and loving. It is chaos and light. It is entropy and order. I feel like I’m going to be totally good at compersion… with my kids.

I’m pretty sure I will be the sort of person who can barely handle specifics of my kids sex life. I’m open to questions, even fairly technically specific ones. I just… need them to be theoretical to some degree. I think I’m going to need to not know for sure exactly what you do. I will provide access to books for self study on a variety of topics. I will introduce my kids to some of my brilliant sex educator friends. My buddies won’t let my kids down.

I really want to know if you a) feel safe b) have fun c) play safe d) have an exit strategy for if things go south.

Past that… I’m cool. You do you. Off-stage from me. Holy shit. I don’t want to know too much.

Do you know how much pornography I consume? A lot. I read stories. I like pictures. Videos are fun.

I DON’T WANT TO KNOW SPECIFICS OF MY CHILDRENS SEX LIVES.

Because even freaky weird perverts have limits, yo.

I’m glad my kids didn’t come to the party with us tonight. I’m glad I got to enjoy the company of wonderful perverts.

And I got schooled on assuming everyone likes rough sex. There I go projecting again. I’m sorry. I was rude.

I feel like I am just getting to the point where I understand what it means to understand the different kinds of interests in the leather communities (no I don’t capitalize leather). I think I’ve always assumed folks were… more like me. That’s partially a function of the perfect, delightful little group I fell into.

I’ll be grateful for all of you for all of my life.

It may be the drugs talking, but right this minute I like being me.

Also, this song is wonderful and I’m glad they made it. Yay.

Feeling wired.

Ok, I’ve been working for almost 10 hours now. I’m on my second break. (At 4:45am) Time to scarf some protein. I have the base tree in summer done. I need to get some leaves on it quick. Today they are installing the vanities and I need to finish the painting that wants to be behind them. Ack. HURRY. Dudes arrive in only 3 hours! Do work!

Nutty. Working like this on no sleep is nutty.

Oh hey, I think I just celebrated Solstice by staying up all night. That’s a little bit cool.

I’m vibrating.

I took caffeine. Lots of it. I’ve been working for 5 hours so far. This is my first break. It seems wise to take a break because whoa paint fumes. But things are coming along! I did the magnetic primer on the one small part of the wall in the hallway. I did a bunch of wall prep for painting in the play room. And I’m working on a tree in spring! It’s going to be a cherry tree so I can make beautiful pink blooms once I’m ready to stand up again.

Progress! Like, serious progress! Tomorrow they install the floor tiles! I figured out how to use the green tile without injuring anyone! I’m proud of myself!

DID I MENTION THAT I HAD A FUCK TON OF CAFFEINE? HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

The vanities will be in place tomorrow. Once the vanities and the flooring are in place and the lights are installed (they are here and everything) then the playroom is empty of all but the tools the construction workers are actively using! It’ll be time to paint!

So the week between Christmas and New Years will be a Minecraft painting extravaganza. Hellz yeah.

DID I MENTION THAT IT WAS A LOT OF CAFFEINE? OH MY GOD.

One Vivarin. One pot of tea. 32 oz of soda. THAT’S A REALLY LOT COMPARED TO THE FACT THAT NORMALLY I HAVE MAYBE TWO CUPS OF TEA IN THE MORNING. HOLY SHIT.

Ok. That was a 15 minute break. I should go work again.

GET SHIT DONE. WITH NO CHILDREN NAGGING ME. MUAHAHAHAHAHA

I will pay for this later.