Money In, Money Out

Jonathan got paid $400 of the thousands he is owed. While it the saying is true that every little bit helps, $400 doesn’t help that much when you’re owed thousands.

I’m preparing for a yard sale this weekend. I’m fighting the unrelenting fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia and RA after work so preparations are going slow. I’m also planning the sell one of the only electronic devices I have worth selling: the iPad Jonathan gave me for Christmas. I need the money too much not to sell it as much as I’d prefer to keep it.

The only purchases I’ve made recently are medication and clothing. I need medication to continue living. I need to clothing because work suddenly changed the dress code policy so all the clothing I previously wore is now “unacceptable”. The CEO doesn’t think things through when he makes changes like this. Most of us are paid a tiny fraction of his salary and he doesn’t grasp how significant the changes are to our paychecks especially those of us who support more people than just ourselves (he lives alone).

Although I need the clothes, I still feel guilty about buying the clothes – even at 50% off, I feel guilty. That’s another problem with financial instability – even when you purchase things you need, you still feel guilty because the money could have been used for something “more worthwhile”. There is nothing more worthwhile, though. It only feels that way.

 

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It’s Difficult | Defiant Luke

Things are mostly the same.

FatherInLaw is still very sick, but stable. I’ve been cooking for FatherInLaw, but he hasn’t been eating what I’ve cooked. Presently FatherInLaw refuses to eat anything other than HotPockets and Jello.

Luke forgot to take his meds last night. By “forgot”, I mean Luke told me he took his meds but did not take his meds, so he was wildly uncontrollable all day. I’ve been reading “10 Days to a Less Defiant Child” to help deal with Luke’s overwhelming defiance. He’s defiant at school, at home, to me, to Jonathan and he antagonizes his brother every moment they’re alone together. Luke’s behavior is completely intolerable.

Speaking of Jonathan, he hasn’t been handling his father’s illness well. Jonathan isn’t sleeping, is working constantly, and every little thing causes him to have an outburst of rage. A few days ago he threw a heavy saw, some saw horses, and barrels filled with trash out of the garage into the driveway.

Since Jonathan has either been working or at FatherInLaw’s house, I’ve been taking care of the kids by my lonesome. It’s difficult to take care of everyone by myself. That’s what I’m doing mostly – taking care of everyone by myself. The only chore I haven’t handled myself has been mowing the lawn.

 

Compound Stress Fracture

FatherInLaw has lost 20lbs in two weeks. I’m responsible for ensuring that he eats better largely because I know the most about cooking and do not have 5 children. SIL2 has 5 children. SIL1 only has 2 children – one is 22 and the other is 4.

Now, in addition to working 50hrs a week, being completely responsible for cleaning the house myself, being primarily responsible for the care of Luke and Oliver, as well as the care of 5 cats and 3 dogs, …oh, and having 2 chronic illnesses…I’m also responsible for cooking an entirely separate menu for a week at a time.

On days like today I feel like crying. Except I don’t cry. Not really cry the way other people cry with tears and wrenching sobs. I don’t cry the type of cry where people can “let it out” and feel better afterwards. Sometimes I shed a tear. Sometimes 2 tears roll slowly down my cheeks. There are no sobs; no ugly cry. My voice doesn’t shake. I don’t feel better afterwards.

Every once in a while, if I cry hard, I have flashbacks of my mother hitting me and screaming at me for crying. Which, of course, only makes crying worse. I can hear my mom screaming how “dramatic” I am or how I’m a “cry baby” who “whines all the time” just before hitting me to “give me something to really cry about”. The flashbacks only compound the existing feelings of misery.

The Smell of Sandalwood

For our 2 year anniversary, Jonathan researched restaurants I might like and we drove to a small town about an hour from where we live to have brunch and visit a small strip of locally owned shops. He bought candles for me at the shop – sandalwood candles.

When I was 17, my mother kicked me out of the house and I lived with a friend for a while. Her family had a tiny spare room which I stayed in. I’d never had my own room before. I’d never had privacy or a door to close or a space to consider my own. The tiny room smelled like the single sandalwood candle I carried out of my mother’s house in a laundry basket. I didn’t own a suitcase.

Sandalwood smells like home. Well, the way “home” should smell if home didn’t smell like garbage, urine, stale cigarette smoke, mildew, and dirty dishes. Sandalwood smells like the way a home that I wanted to live in would smell: Calm, clean, and peaceful. Jonathan doesn’t know what sandalwood smells like home. I doubt I will ever tell him. He just knows I like sandalwood.

Money, FatherInLaw, And Kids

The washing machine is dying. The motor is dying, specifically. The manufacturer doesn’t make the motor for that model anymore. A replacement is required. I don’t have money for a replacement. I don’t have money to go to the laundromat either at $30 a week and a 40min drive each way.

One cat and one dog fell ill last week. The cat couldn’t keep food down and the dog had bronchitis so I took them both to the vet. The bill came to $700 in total. At least I have 2 living pets on the way to wellness even though I had to charge the bill to a credit card. I requested Revolution for the cat we took to the vet but used it on a 3rd cat who has ear mites. Although I feel guilty for conning the vet, I literally can’t afford to take 3 animals to the vet especially for a minor problem like ear mites.

My father in law is dying. He’s 64. For the past few months he hasn’t been feeling well. Kidney infections, difficulty passing stool, difficulty sleeping because of the pain… Much like my family, Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe in modern medicine and FatherInLaw wouldn’t go to the doctor. After FatherInLaw’s uncle died last week, he finally went to the hospital. His body is riddled with malignant tumors.  FatherInLaw may come home tomorrow so Jonathan and his family have been cleaning FatherInLaw’s house – it was filled with mold and mildew from running the gas heater without a humidifier.

The situation with the Oliver and Luke is better. After several weeks of having Jonathan as the “primary parent” – the one who assigns chores, plans meals, disciplines, and makes plans – the kids decided that I should resume “primary parent” duties. They said Jonathan’s parenting method leaves them confused and they don’t like it when Jonathan gets frustrated and shouts.

The kids also decided they want to move in with their mother and her boyfriend. Well, Luke wants to move in with his mother and her boyfriend so Oliver wants to move into the same house as Luke. Luke wants to get away from Oliver and Luke also feels that his mother and her boyfriend won’t enforce any rules. Luke has clearly forgotten what it’s like to live with his mother. Also, his mother and her boyfriend moved in together as soon as they started dating 2-3 months ago. This whole situation is a real face-palm-er.

Still Here. Things are Changing.

I’m still around. I’ve been sick, then slightly less sick, then sick again. The only thing that has changed is that I’m tired of talking about feeling awful all the time. Feeling awful is tiring. Sometimes talking about feeling awful is tiring as well.

The rheumatologist is retiring. Soon I’ll be without the pain medicine I need to function on a day to day basis. No other rheumatologists in my area prescribe pain medication. I’ve been diagnosed with Sjogren’s recently which helps explains why my eye lids stick together and my tongue breaks out in blisters.

TheJob is still working on their bizarre social media policies. While they can’t ask for anyone’s account, they’re kinda asking for everyone to follow, friend, or otherwise allow a corporate account to access their information. Ridiculous. Restructuring continues. Covering up information about the restructuring with the artful guise of “complete transparency” continues as well. It’s frustrating.

Luke has hard times; probably bipolar disorder. Oliver has been bursting into tears for no reason since his mother’s boyfriend moved in with her. After a long discussion with Jonathan, I’m taking a less active role in parenting. The children resent me. They resent me for parenting because I’m not their parent. I’m not anyone’s parent.

Less parenting means more time to devote to artistic pursuits. Perhaps I’ll make something of myself as an artist yet. Frida Kahlo managed to paint in a body cast. I’ll somehow manage to create art with a full body disease. I purchased a sketch book for planning photoshoots and have scheduled several friends to model for photographs. I’ve also been considering a series of self portraits – possibly portraits expressing how it feels to live with chronic illness. Strangely, when I tried to order a Prismacolor pencil set, I found out there was a shortage of colored pencils because adult coloring books have surged in popularity.

Well…that felt like a waste of time off…

I finally had a few days off from work. Unfortunately, I accomplished next to nothing.

Thursday I was on rotation for work so I couldn’t leave my house and worked most of the day. Jonathan cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been struggling with miserable RA back pain so I rested my back as much as possible. I didn’t spend a moment of time with my side of the family. I do miss my grandmother, but I do not miss the family shenanigans so I’m not upset.

Friday, I was off work and wasn’t on rotation. I drove to Dee’s house to help her get her farm use truck off her round pen. The truck’s transmission is stuck in drive so the truck can’t be backed up. We disassembled the round pen so the truck could drive through and we parked it on the other side out of the way. I also hauled off some trash for Dee because she has absolutely no transportation and, since we live in the middle of nowhere, no way of hauling trash to the dump. I often feel frustrated with Dee, but I also feel sorry for Dee because she’s a lightening rod for bad luck and unfortunate events.

While I was at Dee’s, MediumDog rolled in a pile of horse manure then on a putrid deceased groundhog carcass. I gave MediumDog a bath at Dee’s. Lifting a squirmy 60lb dog into the bath tub did my back no favors. However, allowing filthy MediumDog into my car for the 40min ride home wasn’t an option.

Saturday Jonathan’s family had their Thanksgiving so I spent the majority of the day there helping Jonathan’s grandmother. She is still recovering from a lengthy hospital stay. The majority of the visit I just tried to stay out of the way and hide my significant back pain. Jonathan’s family is very kind and accepting. It was nice to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal without an undercurrent of hushed drama.

Today I gave MediumDog a second bath. Fortunately, MediumDog hadn’t rolled on any new putrid carcasses or feces, she just had the residual stench of Friday’s adventures. I also gave BigDog a bath because he’s a lab and labs always need baths. Washing two dogs and cleaning up the bathroom did my back pain no favors. I had to go grocery shopping tonight which I only managed because Luke rode with me to the store and helped lift groceries and load the car.

Three days off work and I haven’t accomplished anything I set out to accomplish. My office is still a mess, the bedroom full of clutter, I didn’t list any items on Craigslist or Ebay to earn much needed extra money, I didn’t seal the tile in the downstairs hallway or accomplish any other home improvement chores… At least the dogs don’t reek?