You’re Right…

You’re right. My toxic sister has not changed. She only emailed me to collect gossip material to spread to the rest of my toxic family. Sadly for my sister, she only learned that it snowed here recently and that I own a four wheel drive vehicle of unspecified make and model so I drove to work in the snow. Some people…

Lately, I’ve been thinking of these two women I used to work with at Soul Suckers, Inc. I hate those women with every fiber of my being. They constantly gossiped, manipulated, and back stabbed. At first I thought they only targeted me, but I later found out they also targeted other women in the office as well. I’ve been thinking about why I hate them both and I’ve realized I hate them because they behave like my sister and mother.

I don’t mean the ex-coworkers physically abused me, but they use the same abusive, manipulative tactics. Female professionals who backstab other female professionals for fun are likely sociopaths, in my opinion. Although the job I have now isn’t fun, at least I don’t work with gossiping, backstabbing, abusive assholes. Geeze Soul Suckers was such a terrible place to work.

 

Letters to my Top Searches

The top searches for my blog are “My job makes me want to cry” and “My dad forgot my birthday“.

Dear everyone whose job makes them want to cry,
I really wish this weren’t the case I wish we could all have fulfilling jobs with lovely coworkers and work in offices that don’t wring every ounce of joy from our lives. Remember you are not your job. You are so much more than your job. Perhaps since our jobs are making us want to cry, we should do something we genuinely enjoy. Today, let’s do something wonderful to combat this miserable feeling and to help us remember that we are so much more than our jobs. Today I’m going to edit a photo shoot because  photography brings me joy.
❤ Rebekah

Dear everyone whose dad forgot your birthday,
That really sucks. I’m sorry that your parent – the other 50% of your genetic makeup – didn’t at the very least send you a text. That’s really messed up. I hope you had a wonderful birthday in spite of your forgetful father. His forgetting says much more about him than it does about you. I hope you celebrated your birthday with wonderful people who love and respect you; the kind of people who remember your birthday even tho they aren’t biologically related to you. Friends are the family we find along the way.
❤ Rebekah

Has My Toxic Sister Changed?

My sister, who has been rather mean to me for years now, has started writing me super nice emails. Like sappy sweet “Hey! Do you like to garden? I LOVE gardening!!!” sorts of emails. It’s weird.

It’s weird because my sister has put a lot of effort into being nasty to me for a lot of years. As a child, she routinely helped my mother abuse me physically and emotionally. My mother held me down to allow my sister to kick me in the gut in my very early teens. My sister rummaged through my things, stole from me, and read my journals. She would report details from the journals (or anything she overheard) to my mother who would punish me for made up infractions. My mother’s “punishments” typically included physical violence and always included screaming, demeaning, and insulting. My sister really enjoyed watching the punishments and would later tease me about them by mimicking my mother’s insults…”Stupid little bitch.”

As and adult, my sister excluded me from her wedding party because I was “too fat”. At the reception she sat me at a table in the back of the hall with a group of strangers. I later learned my sister told her in-laws that I’m an unemployed artist (in reality, I’m a computer programmer). Years before, when my sister attempted suicide after her boyfriend cheated on her, she told my parents she attempted suicide because of me – I had been so mean to her. Basically, she’s the sibling version of my abusive mother and I do my best to stay the hell away from her.

So, out of nowhere, I get emails asking what I’m doing with my life and how her “nephews”, Jonathan’s children, are doing. Part of me wants to tell her to shut up and go back to the level of hell from whence she came. Part of me is wondering if she’s grown up and has realized she’s been a horrible asshole. Then there’s the third part of me who wants to send her a fake “this email address has been deleted” email and avoid interacting with her completely.

If a friend were in my shoes, I would tell that friend to ask the sister why she’s suddenly making polite contact. However, in my family, everyone gossips exaggerates and starts trouble. If I ask, my sister will likely spread some ridiculous rumor to my entire extended family that I will have to hear about for the next several years. This happened during my divorce.

What would you do if you had a sibling who helped a parent abuse you as a child and that sibling wants to pretend like nothing happened while asking you questions about your life?

The Shoulder of DOOOM & Klepto-Luke

Radiator Heat
Radiator Heat

Shoulder of DOOOOOM

The temperature outside is far into negative degrees today. The entire house is maybe 50F which is very cold indoor weather as far as I’m concerned. Feeling half frozen is making it hard to get chores done.

Also, I’m still experiencing quite a bit of pain in my left shoulder – the shoulder I injured coughing earlier this week. I’ve been doing chores for 30 min, then lying down in the bedroom for 30 min. The only time my shoulder muscle relaxes is when I lie down and the only room above 50F is my bedroom thanks to the radiant heater.

The shoulder pain is extremely frustrating. I’ve figured out how to do a load of laundry and load the dishwasher without activating sharp, stabbing pain but I really need to vacuum, mop, wash the dogs, and go grocery shopping. I haven’t figured out how to do any of that yet. This is by far the most debilitating and frustrating injury I’ve ever endured from doing something normal (ie coughing). The pain is worse than getting my wisdom tooth extracted or fracturing my toe. I’ll be maxing out my ultram and orphenadrine ration for the day. As much as I dislike taking meds, I’m grateful to have mends on days like this.

Klepto-Luke?

In other non-illness news: Luke has been “borrowing” my things. Like, Luke goes in my bedroom when I’m not home and takes small things that don’t belong to him like my candle lighter, coins, a flashlight, and a small bottle of orange oil. Jonathan thinks I’m just misplacing things.

I thought I was misplacing things too until I was vacuuming Luke’s room. I picked up a towel from the floor beside his bed and several of my missing items fell out. When I asked Luke about the items from the towel, he completely denied borrowing, using, taking, possessing, or hiding them. I don’t mind when Luke asks to borrow my things, the problem is he’s not asking – he’s sneaking into my room, taking things, and hiding them.

I guess I’ll have to lock the bedroom door when I’m not home? Jonathan and I replaced the bedroom door knob with a key-lock door knob a few months ago because the kids were accidentally bursting into the room while I was getting dressed since the old knob didn’t lock. I guess it’s time to start using the key lock.

The Responsibility/Privilege Chart

Luke will be 13 in 5 short months. Luke’s behavior has also been really bad lately. He’s been insulting, back talking, refusing to do his daily chore, refusing to shower, refusing to do homework, refusing to go to bed, refusing to get ready for school, refusing to pack his lunch, and lying about darn near everything. On top of all this, Luke is dangerously close to failing the 6th grade. He’s already a year behind since he failed 2nd grade.

After listening to numerous yelling, screaming, crying fits between Jonathan and Luke, I decided to make a responsibility/privilege chart. Each day, Luke (and Oliver) start with no privileges. By fulfilling their responsibilities like doing homework, getting good grades, finishing chores, etc they earn privileges like using the phone to talk to friends, time to spend on the computer or Wii, and staying up until 9:30 instead of going to bed at 9.  I’m hoping that the chart helps motivate Luke since it clearly spells out what he should be doing and how to be able to do what he wants – like play video games.

This evening I explained the responsibility/privilege chart to Luke and Oliver after getting Jonathan’s approval. I didn’t even finish the explanation before Luke dramatically declared I’m threatening him. I explained the difference between consequences and threats. Jonathan explained the difference too. Luke escalated to shouting about how I’m threatening him. Jonathan told Luke he was being dramatic and to knock it off. This didn’t go well…

Oliver seemed totally fine with the responsibility/privilege chart, however. He was excited to earn money for getting good grades and wanted to score all the “points” so he could get special rewards at the end of the week like a treat from the grocery store. (If the kids fulfill all their responsibilities for the week, they get an extra treat at the end of the week – a treat from the store, a day out with a parent, or a chore-free day.)

Personally I’m hoping the clearly defined expectations and consequences motivate Luke to improve his behavior and his grades. Oliver, who is 10, is not having problems following the rules so we’re implementing the behavior chart for him for fairness. In any case, something has to change since I don’t have the energy to constantly butt heads with Luke. Constantly staying vigilant and getting after Luke so Luke and Jonathan don’t engage in a shouting match is impacting my health. Fibro and RA mean that I’m perpetually short of energy and in constant physical pain. I just can’t keep working 10hrs a day, butting heads with Luke every morning and evening, and sleeping 6hrs of fewer a night.

The Stupid Injury (and Sal-Free Shopping)

Stupid Injury is Stupid

I was able to leave work on time today. Yesterday I worked late then stopped by a friend’s house to bring her a baby shower gift. I missed her baby shower because I was crushed with exhaustion that weekend.

When I got home, Jonathan snuggled in bed with me for a while. I needed to lie down when I got home because I injured myself in the stupidest way. I coughed in a store and somehow injured the muscle that connects your shoulder blade to your spine. Now, whenever I move sharply or breathe deeply, I’m punished with a sharp stabbing pain in the back. It’s easier to accept an injury and pain when you’ve actually done something to warrant the injury. I coughed.

I've injured the rhomboid major...coughing of all things.
I’ve injured the rhomboid major…coughing of all things.

I’m Not Angry…Not Mental Either

I’m not angry with Jonathan any more. Anger passes. That’s the second reason I don’t confront Jonathan when I’m angry with him – anger passes. Expressing my anger isn’t worth being told I’m mental which, in turn, makes me all the more angry.

Yes, it’s not fair that Jonathan associates my legitimate anger with his ex-wife’s irrational, mental illness fueled, angry outbursts. Fortunately, I don’t often to stop to contemplate the fairness of life or the fairness of being incorrectly judged by another person.

Salicylate Free Product Shopping

Sal-free shopping continues slowly. Today I picked up Vaseline Lip Therapy balm to replace my beloved Nivea Lip Butter. Almond oil and castor oil contain salicylates.

I was using Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer and I picked up No7 Radiant Glow concealer to try as a replacement. The ColorStay concealer contains several plant extracts and plant extracts contain salicylates.

I’m disappointed my favorite No7 foundation isn’t sal-free. Especially since sal-free Covergirl Liquid Powder foundation settles into the dry, peeling patches of winter skin on my cheeks and forehead – not a cute look unless you’re a zombie. No7 foundation contains kiwi fruit water and other seed and fruit extracts which – you guessed it-  contain salicylates. Next, assuming I have the money in the budget this month, I’m going to try L’Oreal Lumi Foundation since it’s a liquid which can be blended more easily.

Next trip to the store, I will pick up Olay Total Effects Cleanser and Maybelline Great Lash BIG mascara because I have high value coupons. I also need to find a sal-free brow product to color in my nearly invisible brows however it’s proving difficult to find one that works and isn’t completely outside my tiny budget.

I’m Angry (Not Mental)

I should be sleeping but instead I’m wide awake an angry at Jonathan. I know from experience that if I talk to him about why I’m angry, he’ll essentially accuse me of being mental. His ex-wife was mental. (By “mental”, I mean that she has completely untreated bipolar disorder and behaves irrationally)

Jonathan’s ex-wife is the love of Jonathan’s life. I don’t think even he knows that…maybe he does. Either way, it doesn’t matter. If I tell him his ex-wife is the love of his life and that I feel angry about this, Jonathan will just say he never said any such thing and insinuate I’m making things up – like a mental patient.

I’m not a mental patient. I’m angry.

Jonathan has a bad day at work. He was smoking weed in his van right after he got home leaving me to deal with the kids by my lonesome all evening. Luke hasn’t been doing his homework, is failing school, and has been acting like a total butthole every night for the past 2 weeks so he knew what I had to deal with from 6P-9:30P solid; no breaks.

Oh, I’m angry. I’m angry that everyone can handle their bad day by smoking weed or acting like a butthole but no matter how bad my day was, how sick I feel, or how tired I am – I still have to “be nice” or I get labeled mental. The perils of being female.

Sal-Free Shopping: Lotion, Toothpaste, & Makeup

Jonathan, Luke, and Oliver are upstairs watching one of the Harry Potter movies. I’m lying in bed, suffering from a cold, feeling super medicated because, well, I’m super medicated. Having asthma turns every cold into a much more serious illness than a cold should be. Ugh. <cough. sniffle. wheeze.> Thank goodness for NyQuil.

Sal-Free Shopping

*Warning: The following is sure to bore a few of my regular male readers half to death.*

I’m slowly but surely acquiring salicylate free products I need.

Here are a few of the items I’ve gotten so far (excuse the completely un-edited cell phone pics):

Photo Feb 03, 10 07 28 PMSince I still have some lotion left, I haven’t gotten to try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair. Based on the ingredients, it sounds like exactly what my ultra-dry skin needs. It was $3-$4 for the smaller bottle. Going sal-free means I can no longer use my concoction of coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils since every ingredient other than shea butter contains salicylates.

Photo Feb 03, 10 06 57 PM
Tom’s of Main Silly Strawberry toothpaste. Target had the best price. It’s shockingly expensive on Amazon. Mint toothpaste is high in salicylates so this is one of the few pre-made toothpastes I can use. I was pleasantly surprised that my lip no longer had the dry, chapped, peeling feeling after using this toothpaste for a few days. I also have fewer red splotches around my mouth and chin. Definitely a winner. Even if guaifenesin protocol doesn’t work for me, I’ll keep using this toothpaste since my lips and skin are in better condition now.

Photo Feb 03, 10 06 30 PMOh, how I love makeup. I’ve loved makeup since my pre-teens. I love emphasizing your favorite features and creating new looks.

I am glad Maybelline Lasting Drama eyeliner is sal-free. It’s a gel eyeliner often recommended by makeup artists. 

Covergirl Ultimate Finish is a liquid to powder foundation I’ve used before. It’s not my favorite foundation because I think it doesn’t blend as well as a liquid. But, hey, for around $8 it’s a great sal-free deal that’s sure to even out my naturally splotchy complexion.

 

 

Cutting Back on The Small Joys

Yesterday I spent $20 on a shampoo, conditioner, and mouse. I feel guilty about spending $20 even though I was completely out of conditioner, nearly out of gel, and had maybe 3 washes left in the shampoo bottle.  I tried to buy reasonably priced items and the only reason I didn’t go cheaper is that I’m allergic to ingredients in many of the super cheap shampoos. The fragrance especially makes my scalp a red rashy, itchy, disaster.

My hair texture is also a bit of an issue because I can’t use “normal” hair products. My hair texture is big, puffy, curly-wavy, a bit like Lorde’s hair so I need lots of conditioner and gel to keep my hair from turning into a big, tangled, smelly ball of frizz. I could write an entire post about my hair, honestly.

I used to enjoy buying hair stuff and cosmetics. Now, since I take care of 4 people on one income, I dread purchasing anything no matter how small.

Saving money on such a tight budget takes an OCD-like level of financial self discipline. You have to compulsively not spend. No treats. Only necessities and even then only necessities which are on sale.

I came across this article while scrolling through Twitter. It’s true that eating lunch at your desk, cooking at home every day, and limiting outings with friends to save money definitely limits the small joys. I haven’t found some [free] small joys to take the place of small joys which involve spending money yet.

Tomorrow will entail a trip to a different store in town to pick up more supplies to start guaifenesin protocol. I suppose I could go without any makeup at all, but my skin is such a mess I’m sure it will attract negative attention at work. I’ve always been prone to red splotchy skin and, in spite of having medium tone hair, I have clear lashes and brows – a bit like Tilda Swinton’s brows and lashes, only more clear and less white-blond.