The Status Of Things

My scalp itches. My hair is falling out. I’ve struggled with skin allergies and bouts of eczema all summer.

Luke and Oliver won’t stop being cruel to one another. Oliver hits and calls Luke names. Luke yells, curses, and calls Oliver names. They argue and fight constantly. I don’t know what to do to help them be less cruel to one another. We have a family therapy session next week to discuss these issues.

Jonathan feels too poorly to help around the house again. All responsibilities fall to me. If I don’t cook dinner, assign chores, clean the house, watch the children, check homework, sign papers, feed the animals, and clean the house it simply doesn’t happen.

Jonathan’s paycheck was also a month late causing a huge checking account overdraft. I’ve spent several days trying to sort out the overdraft and persuade the bank to refund hundreds of dollars in fees.

I’ve also spent several days getting in touch with Luke’s teachers in hopes I can proactively set up tutoring and study sessions to keep him from failing 8th grade.

It would be very convenient if I didn’t have a chronic illness right now. I’d have so much more energy for all of this. It’s utterly exhausting. Unfortunately, these are the cards I’ve been dealt and I’m trying hard to accept my hand.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over

Today has been difficult. Every single element of the day was riddled with problems.

I feel like I shouldn’t talk about the passing of my friend with Jonathan. Jonathan has a low opinion of social media, the internet, and online friendships in general. It would be hard for Jonathan to understand how important this friendship was to me and how heartbroken I feel over the loss. Jonathan has also been dealing with job instability and helping his father who is slowly dying of stage 4 cancer so he doesn’t need any more upsetting news.

At work, my superior made a poor decision which had a negative outcome so he threw me under the bus to save face. I spent the entire day trying to dig myself out from under the mess he created instead of working on scheduled assignments. Now, in addition to being put on the spot and verbally reprimanded for something that wasn’t my responsibility in the first place, I’m a day behind on all assigned projects.

While I was working, Dee called me asking for advice on how to handle her landlord who is threatening to evict her based on something her ex-boyfriend did even though she’s never been late on rent. Dee was again contemplating suicide and cutting. Then another friend called asking for advice on how to handle her unexpectedly heavy period. I mistook these calls for genuine emergencies since both parties know not to call while I’m at work unless there is a genuine emergency. (Dee threatening suicide is not an emergency.)

When I arrived home after work, Jonathan had left for another small job in a neighboring town so I had all evening alone with the kids. Being alone with the kids doesn’t especially bother me, but I really needed to work most of the evening to catch up on the projects I’m behind on due to my superior’s aforementioned incompetence. Since I was the only adult in the house, I needed to constantly break up arguments between Oliver and Luke, manage Luke’s behavior, ensure homework was finished, and keep the kids on schedule. Needless to say, I accomplished nothing other than household chores and child wrangling.

Luke and Oliver spent so much time arguing, fighting, picking, and generally being jerks to one another that I couldn’t even finish vacuuming and mopping the house until almost 11PM. Vacuuming and mopping needed to be finished tonight since we will have guests Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Then there was the completely unnecessary Twitter drama…that’s a subject for another day.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over. Well, and cats. Cats are good too.

Passing of a Friend

A friend died today. I haven’t told anyone. I’m good at writing about what is bothering me, but nearly never talk about anything that is bothering me. I’ve known this friend over a decade. He has been very sick for quite a while so his passing was expected in the way that you acknowledge very sick people may pass away.

On one hand, I’m relieved he is no longer suffering through the severe pain and progressive loss of physical ability that plagued him. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve been hit with a lightning bolt of sadness. I’ve lost one of my only friends who understood how it feels to struggle through chronic, debilitating illness.

He was there for me when ExHusband left. I had recently been diagnosed with RA and fibro. ExHusband handled my diagnosis and debilitating illness by abandoning me. At first the abandonment was emotional. ExHusband withdrew pleasantries, affection, and any willingness to help around the house. Next, ExHusband began having affairs. Then he stole $40,000 and physically left. My friend was one of the only people who understood how I felt (like my chronically ill heart had been ripped out and stomped to a pulp). We’d talk for hours and hours about our lives.

I just miss my friend so much.

Navigating Rheumatology

I should be asleep but I’m not. I’m usually not asleep when I should be. Tonight I’m not asleep because I have been stricken with terrible heartburn causing my esophagus to feel as though stomach acid will melt straight through my chest wall. I suspect I have gastritis again from taking pain meds.

Another day, another illness.

I was looking forward to visiting the rheumatologist next week. Cortisone shots relieve the back pain I’ve been plagued with for weeks now. The rheumatologist retired at the end of July, however. Surprise! His office contacted me today to let me know he retired last month and to cancel my appointment.

To get a new rheumatologist, I need to visit my PCP, get a referral, attempt to get in an “approved” rheumatology practice (which almost never happens), get a letter from the “approved” offices stating they’re not accepting new patients, submit the letter to the insurance, and find an “un-approved” rheumatologist accepting new patients. This process takes months. I don’t know how other people navigate the system. What if I were elderly, less tenacious, sicker, or less intelligent? Would I just go without treatment?

Sleepless and Sunflowers

Tomorrow is Luke and Oliver’s first day of school. Since they’re both going to middle school this year, I need to start waking up at 5AM to make sure they don’t miss the bus. We live nearly an hour for the school and the bus arrives at 7AM. Since I’ll be wrangling both children, neither of which are morning people, I need to wake up at 5AM to shower, pack my lunch, and prepare for the day before the kids wake up at 6A. From 6A-7A, I’ll be making sure breakfasts are eaten, lunches are packed, meds are taken, and backpacks are filled with school work.

There is only one problem: Going to bed at 9PM in order to wake up at 5AM is proving to be difficult. I’m a night owl by nature so going to bed as soon as the sun sets has always proved difficult.

I don’t have much choice. Jonathan won’t wake up early enough to make sure the kids get out the door on time. We’ve tried that. When Jonathan is responsible for mornings, the kids are late for school 2 out of 5 days. Now that school is an hour away from the house, and 1.5hrs from work, I can’t afford the extra time to take the kids to school if they miss the bus. So, 5AM wakeup time it is…

While I fight my night owl nature, here is a picture of an 11′ tall sun flower:

Sunflower
**Edit**: It’s 9:30PM, child bedtime, and the kids just burst in my bedroom proclaiming that Jonathan hasn’t made them dinner. Sure enough, Jonathan has not made dinner. He fell asleep face down on the couch upstairs. <face palm>

Weight On My Shoulders

Jonathan and I have been struggling financially for quite a while. A huge part of that struggle has been Jonathan’s inconsistent pay schedule. The company that uses Jonathan as a contractor sometimes goes a month or more without paying Jonathan and frequently owes him thousands of dollars more when they do pay him. Last month, the company didn’t pay Jonathan for 3 weeks and, once the company did pay him, he was still owed $3,000 more dollars. You can understand how this leads to financial stress.

Jonathan was offered a job with steady hours and steady pay. The new job’s starting salary is 3 times Jonathan’s currently yearly salary. Yet, Jonathan didn’t take the job. He also didn’t consult with me about not taking the job, he just declined the offer.

Jonathan was offered the job a second time in mid-July. This time, having been shorted over $3,000 on his latest overdue paycheck, Jonathan accepted the offer. He immediately quit the contracting company with no notice and prepared to start the new job the following Monday. Unfortunately, there was no new job.

Between the first job offer and the second job offer, the CEO of the company hired someone else. So the job that Jonathan had been offered technically had been filled. The manager who offered the job to Jonathan offered to employ Jonathan at his personal residence doing handy man work until the CEO makes his final decision.

That’s where we are now. I still work for TheCompany as an underpaid programmer. Jonathan is working on and off as a handy man with an unsteady paycheck. Jonathan could have made a choice to improve our financial outlook tremendously. Instead, he made a choice which has us teetering on the edge of financial crisis. At any time, the manager could run out of handy man jobs for Jonathan leaving him essentially unemployed.

For a brief moment I was hopeful. For a brief, glittering, shimmery moment I thought I could count on someone else to pull our feet out of the fire just this once. Jonathan could accept the higher paying job. I could work part time for a while, chauffeur the kids and my father in law to appointments, and take care of my health. This is not not the case, however. The responsibility again falls to me and it’s up to me to push through.

Luke: The Breakthrough

I was sitting in bed working. Luke came into the bedroom, flopped on the bed, and sobbed.

“What’s wrong, honey?” (Yes, I’ve turned into an old southern lady who calls everyone honey)

“I’m sorry I keep yelling at you. I’m not mad at you. I thought you were going to leave or move to Colorado or find a boyfriend like Mommy but you didn’t leave.”, he sobbed. “Even when I called you names and yelled at you, you didn’t leave.”

“No, honey. I’m not going to leave you. Even when you’re having a hard time, I’m not going to leave you.”

Then we compared me to Luke’s mom. What do we have in common? We’re female, approximately the same age, attended the same high school, and dated/married Jonathan. That’s it. That’s really it.