Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Living With Loss (Ugh, that sounds like a self-help book title. Blech.)

I've been putting off a therapy project for a while, it seems like. It's surprising how long I've been putting it off, when I look back at the notes I've made in various therapy appointments about it.

I need to acknowledge my losses.

ALL of them. Big ones (mom, dad, and the Dead Boyfriend), little ones (these feel so dumb to even think about, but then I actually write them down and realize they aren't as little as I had made them out to be, like when my oldest sister moved across the country for the first time, or when I lost my very favorite stuffed animal when I was 5 or 6), and everything in between.

I just spent an hour writing down a page and a half-worth of losses, and finally had to stop because it was getting depressing.

I think that's kind of the point, unfortunately. But I picked a bad time to do the exercise, because I have shit I need to go do. I don't have time to deal with the emotions that are being brought up.

Which is the fucking story of my fucking life.

Is this what people do, though? Do people usually look at their losses, and feel the feelings that come up when they do it? Or am I more like everyone else, in that regard, when it comes to how I apparently have dealt with loss in my life all this time? I almost want to say "is this how normal people do it", but then I stop and remind myself that I AM NORMAL, goddammit.

Or am I? Fuck, I dunno. I gotta go to some appointments. I just wanted to get this out, is all.

Monday, March 07, 2016

We aren't all experts, people. (Read: You there. YOU, in particular, are talking out your ass. Stop it.)

So I gave up Facebook as an app on my phone a few weeks back, and it's been really nice for me, I think. A nice change. I'm not constantly checking for new statuses while I do other things. I'm not getting as mad about stupid things that have no impact on my life whatsoever. 

I might be replacing my original time-wasting searches on FB with time-wasting searches on things like Pinterest and Yahoo news, but who's keeping track, right? 

I spent a little bit too much time catching up on Facebook yesterday, after several days of not having checked it at all. I saw that my niece has a lovely new haircut. And my friend Lyn found a mint Harry Connick Jr "We Are in Love" record somewhere, and it made me all nostalgic and jealous. 

And then I stumbled across a little meme on my friend Joe's feed that said something about how Romeo & Juliet wasn't a love story, but rather a quick relationship between a 13 year old and a 17 year old that caused 6 deaths. It was silly, and gave me a giggle.

But then I made the mistake of reading the comments below the original post. ::sigh:: And the one that said, "I think this is a disgusting story to be held in such high esteem in the literary world" was apparently over my "ignore me, and move on!" line. 

Me: It's a fictional story. 
unsure emoticon
(I was an English Lit major, and my take away from studying Romeo & Juliet, in addition to other Shakespearean plays and poems, was about the writing, the development of story, and the language usage. We were left to our own devices to decide whether the topic was "disgusting" or not.)

Her:  I've never thought for one minute it was a true story. Please.

Me: I don't get your point about it being held in "high esteem", is all. We didn't study it because it was a great lesson of true love that we should all aspire to. We studied it because Shakespeare is a great writer. It's like saying that Poe stories shouldn't be held in high esteem because they're about death and scary things and poisoning people for fun. But his stories are legendary for a reason: because he's a wonderful writer. And his stories should be studied by students of all ages for reasons above and beyond just the content of the writing.

She didn't reply to that, which is helpful. I hope she doesn't. I already got sucked into the inflammatory language of her original opinion. Although I strongly disagree with her gentle suggestion that Romeo & Juliet is a disgusting story, what does it matter to me that she thinks that? 

Maybe she has kids that she's tainting with that kind of opinion. 

Yeah, but so what? 

This is the pitfall of Facebook for me. This is the pitfall of Facebook for lots of people, really. But, again, I don't really care about anything other than myself in this assessment. Literally everyone else on the planet can go right ahead and debate politics, TV show content, various topics of interest until they are blue in the entire body. If that makes y'all happy, then you do you. 

The aggravation it causes me is disturbing, and while little interactions like the one mentioned above aren't, in and of themselves, a huge issue, they snowball. And pretty soon, I'm seething over other things that have nothing to do with these friends/family/strangers on Facebook, and my outlook on people in general reaches a critical stage that makes me want to retreat to my basement for the foreseeable future where I can do things like watch mindless TV, read lovely books, and even walk on my treadmill while watching mindless TV and reading lovely books.

I don't think social media is for me. There are benefits to it, for sure. But my life is so much more peaceful without it. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Outer space will never, EVER be mah thang.

We went and saw The Martian last night, finally. It was a belated Valentine's Day thing, where we went and grabbed some dinner, and then went to the movie and ate our weight in various candies. (The Martian is a relatively long movie. Gives you a lot of time to eat bunches of candy!)

What made it officially Valentine'sy for me was that Leo bought me Butterfinger Bites without me even asking for them when I sent him out to the lobby to get candy and alcohols.

What made it Valentine'sy for him is that he got the last Red Vine in the box when we got down to that point. Lucky bastid. I really must love him.

At a certain point in the movie, Starman by David Bowie is playing, made more poignant for those of us seeing the movie for the first time right now, since David Bowie has actually passed away. And it made me think about his strong connection to outer space, and how we all hope that his soul is truly at rest and peacefully experiencing outer space as it seemed he always wished he could while he was still with us on earth. (Those of us that believe in afterlife, anyway! ;))

And my immediate thought following that one was, "No. NOPE. If my afterlife involves anything outer spacey at. all., I will be really pissed.

But I sure hope David Bowie is experiencing it, dammit!"

The Martian was a great flick. Glad we got to see it in theaters, even this late in the game. (We intended to go see Hail Caesar!, but it was showing at times that didn't fit our shedyule for the evening, so that will just have to wait.) I loved just about everyone's performance in the movie, and the effects were fucking UHMAAYzing.

And I still have some Butterfinger Bites left over. Which is also kind of UHMAAYzing, in it's own right.

I'm still not ready to head back to Facebook yet, but I'm enjoying sharing my thoughts on stuff here on the good ol' blog for the time being. So I'll post links on FB for those that want to read along and see what I've been up to. And I DO get messages via FB messenger, I think, so you can still get in touch with me that way, too. If you wanna. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

That's littering. Just...plain and simple littering, you littering litterer.

Have I ever just spit out my gum someplace other than in a trashcan? Yeah, I have. When I was younger, I was known to have thrown my gum out of a couple of moving cars, or into the bushes alongside any given path I might've been on at any given moment.

I also drove drunk a couple of times when I was in college, and didn't use condoms all that frequently.

I did lots of dumb shit when I was younger, is mah point.

But spitting my gum out in a parking lot, or on a sidewalk where people might be walking around? I just never really did that. I have always really liked having the type of gum that has a wrapper, because I would save the wrapper, and then when I was done with my gum I had an automatic place to put it, if there wasn't a trashcan right near by.

Once, when I was practicing for a play I was in, I chewed a piece of gum so long, it basically turned into this mushy mass in my mouth. I was on stage for over an hour. The gum was in my mouth that whole time. I don't remember which kind of gum it was. Extra? Bubble Yum? Not sure. But it was pretty weird. In a gross way. I'm pretty sure I wound up swallowing the mush after a few moments.

Anyway, every time I go to the gym, I am reminded that there are LOADS of cretins who, in spite of a large number of very easily accessible trashcans near their person, choose to spit their gum out right there on the concrete. Just RIGHT THERE. On the sidewalk on their way to the door to the gym. Or on their way out of the gym. Or in the parking lot, as they walk to their car. Or perhaps right next to their car, as if the last thing they do as they climb in and close the door behind them is to lean out into the parking lot, and ditch the wad of gum they had in their mouths.

What is that about??? Why do people do this kind of shit?

When I was a sophomore in college, we did this "Day of Service" thing at the beginning of the fall semester. Every student...every single one of those 400 or so of us, were sent out to various places to do charitable acts. My group was sent to a high school campus in Santa Monica to help clean it up before their school year began. And my particular assignment that day? For 6 HOURS? Was to scrape up gum off of the walkways and staircases that were on campus.

It was disgusting. And also, kind of a waste of time, in my opinion. I mean, those idiot teenagers already clearly gave 2 shits about where they disposed of their gum. Why clean it up? They were just going to do it again. ::sigh::

I get the point more now than I did then. But still...people who spit their gum out all willy nilly have always pissed me off.

So don't be one of those people, ok? I'll love you a lot more if you aren't one of those people.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Enough about my house. Back to me, dammit!

I haven't written anything personal out here in a while. I'm not looking back to figure out exactly when was the last time I did, but I just know that it's been quite a bit.

Things used to come easier, for some reason. To write about, I mean. Even my therapist is all, "Start out every day with just journaling 3 pages about how you're feeling..." And I'm sitting there all, "3 PAGES? Handwritten? She's a nut ball." But she swears it will come more and more naturally. I dunno.

I don't rant the way I used to. In fact, I actively work on not letting myself get to that point. Sarcasm, deflecting, defensiveness...those are all qualities I feel like became second nature to me. Fuck, they were more first nature, than anything else, really! But those actions are me reacting to a perceived loneliness, often brought about by a feeling of abandonment, or being ignored.

Being able to express that I'm feeling abandoned or ignored is really hard for me, because it makes me feel like I'm expressing a weakness at the same time. And appearing weak is NOT something I want to have happen. So much of the time, there's a post-reaction to my original reaction that makes me feel worse about myself, due to how I've treated those around me (usually my husband, of course!), and the spiral continues from there. Here's an example:

  • I'm expecting Leo to arrive home at a certain time. He doesn't arrive at that time, and eventually 30, 40, 45 minutes pass, and I start to worry. (Why I worry is beyond me...it's not something I can work on yet. I'm getting there, but it's not a priority.) I begin to think that he must've gotten into an accident of some sort.
  • So I text or call him. He doesn't answer either way. Or, he does answer the phone call, but sounds annoyed.
  • I get angry. Next time we interact, I yell, or speak sarcastically about something, and say things like, "I don't care what we have for dinner. Obviously, everything is about YOU, since you don't care about me at all, so just fix whatever you want to eat. It's all about LEO."
  • And then I sit and seethe, and as I calm down, I start to wonder why I handled things the way I did. I think about how obnoxious it must be to live with a person who acts that way. I wonder why someone would want to live with a person who acts that way. I get mad at myself, and wish that I'd behaved like a rational person. And then I remember all the stuff my therapists and I have talked about over the past couple years, and start working backwards through the issue. Why did I get mad? Because I felt ignored. Why didn't I tell Leo that I felt ignored? Because it was too late, and the feeling of abandonment/being ignored went to the red zone, and so the wrath of that feeling was his "reward" for treating me like crap.
  • Later, I can talk to him about that feeling. And we usually clear the air.

This happens week after week. Sometimes, it's no biggy, and sometimes, it IS a biggy. Regardless, I don't like it.

That post-reaction to my initial reaction is frustrating to continue encountering, but I'm glad it's at least happening at this point in life. I think that even as recently as maybe 5 years ago, it might've been happening, but I didn't care as much. And it's been doing a lot of damage over the years! The swings between good and bad moods, attempts to control those swings...it's exhausting. And a person who's mentally and emotionally exhausted can't see clearly. Can't manage stress well. Can't manage relationships well.

I miss my rants, to be honest. I was so openly ANNOYED by things! Now, I almost wonder if I'm suppressing that annoyance. Writing about it was so cathartic, even though some people criticized it and told me it was toxic. I felt like, by letting it out, I was airing any level of toxicity associated with it. My mother died of cancer, and I think that a major source of that cancer was unexpressed annoyance, disappointments, and general irritation with shit in her life. She was a pretender...someone who always seemed to be ok with everything. Looking back on it, it was a tough example to have set for a kid. And then being a woman in the professional world...man, the pretending that you have to do! As a waitress, as an executive assistant, as ANYTHING, we have to ignore any irritation and just push through with our activities. Maybe it's the same for a man...I don't know. I'm a chick, so I can only speak from my experience. But anyway, it taught me a way to behave that said "being weak and sad is wrong...being strong and easy-going is right!"

Now, I'm learning that being able to feel those emotions and feelings as they happen is ok. It goes against everything I'd taught myself/had experienced for most of my life. Like, for 38 years. That's some tough shit to shift!

Maybe 3 pages of journaling each day will get easier and easier. Right now, I'm lucky if I get 3 pages a week. So I'll explore writing out here again for a bit. See if it helps it come more naturally. Sometimes, it might be funny. Most times, it will likely just be me airing my therapeutic crap. (It's not bad, though, really. Therapy has saved my life in the past, and might be saving my marriage now. I can't say enough about how much a good therapist can effect your life in a beneficial way!)

So read along with, if you'd like. I don't mind. :)

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Deck Project - Complete!

When last I posted, I had shown y'all the pictures of the destruction of our former deck. Then life happened, and I basically left you hanging for a week. A little more than a week...whatever. :P
 
I'm sure it's not that big of a deal to you. But I like to think that it is. Because, at my core, I'm a blogger. And WE THRIVE ON ATTENTION, DONTCHA KNOW?
 
Eh-em.
 
Anywho, on with the transformation! After the deck was torn off, I didn't take a lot of pictures. It was a mess in the backyard, and it was more important to me that the dogs were able to get out and do their business safely than it was for me to snap pictures. The framing went up relatively quickly, but the material we used for the new decking was temperamental and as it got more and more frigid, it was harder to get it installed. So it went a little slow for a bit in February. This was a shot I got on a relatively nice day, mid-project:

The plan was to have a screened in porch, thanks to the inspiration we got from Leo's parents' screened in porch on their home in South Bend, and from a trip we took to Branson last year with our friends, Lloyd and Alisha, where we spent a lot of time hanging out on the screened in porch at the condo we stayed at.

Unfortunately, with 3 relatively cray puppies, having a screen on the bottom of the framing seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. So we decided to do glass on the bottom, and screen on top.

Installing glass, and even screen, during the winter when it's less than 40 degrees out is difficult. In spite of it being a preferred time of year for our contractor to work (he likes it to be colder rather than hotter out, and I can't blame him!), the framing that holds the screen in kept breaking because it was too damned cold to put screws through. And the glass couldn't be installed until it was consistently over 50 degrees for a while, or some shit. Blah. The fun of a construction project in winter time!
The original design was a little loose when it came to the lower deck. And while Leo and I were away for some reason or another, the contractor took it upon himself to build these giant planter things on either side of the stairs. They were...unexpected. BUT, we had to have something, by code, to frame those stairs in. And the planters grew on us. So we kept them. Initially, they had started running the boards vertically, which looked very dated to me. I asked them to please run everything horizontally, and that worked much better, I think.

This shot, below, shows the path that lead to the lower deck from the side gate. It had been a flagstone path that was uneven and messy, and would no longer work. So we tore it out.
The new stairs were a little trouble to figure out. But once we got the design worked out, they went in very quickly.
From the inside, we replaced the original door on the right (which had been a single French door) with a slider. I also wanted to replace the window on the left with a slider...that was something Leo fought me on, for some reason. But, as we discovered in the demo that the window had been installed incorrectly by the previous owners, and had rotted out the frame underneath it, my door idea became more attractive. Yay!
We installed a storm door/patio door that has a doggy door in it, to make things easier for the dogs to come and go as they please, which is nice. 
And the old flagstone path was replaced with a cement pathway that matches up with the rest of the existing path to the side gate. It's so beautiful and awesome!
We were able to put in a doggy door inside as well! Good thing we have small dogs, because we couldn't go much larger than this due to the door location right next to it!
From the outside, this is the completed project:
A key to the finished deck was having storage access to the area below it. There's a small door on both sides that allows us to get under there to store patio chairs, umbrellas, and pool noodles out of season. So great!
Here's a shot of the finished deck from the inside:
And from the new door that used to be a window:
I took this picture before we got our couch put in out there...I had an old loveseat reupholstered with Sunbrella fabric. It fits perfectly out there!
So there it is! The new deck. You wanna come and see it, I know. I'm thinking July is going to be a fun month around this here house...

Monday, May 25, 2015

So, the deck project.

Back in way, way last year, or so, we painted our porch again, because it looked like shit. The year before, we had it patched up because bits of the deck were rotting and splintering and looking terrible, and we had it painted then, too.
 
Basically, someone fucked up and painted the porch with an oil-based paint at one point before we bought the place. And when you paint a porch with oil-based paint once, you paint it with oil-based paint EVERY FUCKING YEAR AFTER THAT. Unless you don't mind having a shitty looking porch. That's always an option, too. I never judge a house by it's painted porch, because I have lived through this bullshit, man. I know how much it sucks.
 
Anyway, we knew from the initial inspection on the house that the main bolts that connected the porch to the house were insufficient, and were bound to fail. At some point. Not sure when. The whole thing just got to the point where it seemed like a giant pile of kindling attached to the back of our house. So we made the decision to have it replaced this winter. This is what it used to look like:

 This is what it looked like after a particularly pretty snowfall in 2013:
We were tired of shoveling it, we were tired of painting it and constantly worrying about it falling off the house eventually, and we love hanging out on covered decks/screened-in porches when we get the chance, so we decided that's what we wanted to do. So we started that process up during a particularly lovely January 2015. WOOHOO!


They put up this little board across the door to keep us from accidentally walking out into a 5 foot drop once they tore the actual deck off. Which I thought was decent of them.
Ironically, the guy doing the work was the guy who helped build the deck back in the 80's, when the house was built. On day one, I heard him out there saying, "Holy shit, man! What were you thinking?" to himself. It was pretty funny. He was an apprentice back then, and I guess that whoever he was working under wasn't a super-great teacher. Fortunately, since then, he's gained some mad building skills. (I hope...)
The front of the deck/porch had a big planter built into it. It was lovely, but dated. And having that thing torn out was almost as satisfying as a good orgasm.

Ok, let me be honest...almost ALL demo of old, outdated shit is as satisfying as a good orgasm! In case you were unaware.
Here are the lumps of leftover planter bits after all the wood was removed. They were frozen there. And looked so, sooo gross to me. Blech.
 Something fun we discovered was that a big window in our living room had been installed incorrectly, and the whole support beam under it was rotting! And had been a great environment for termites! YAY!


So, so fucking PRETTY. UGH.
Discoveries like that are NOT a satisfying part of demo. For a day, we were concerned that the damage continued around the corner there, along a very long length of our house, and I might've had lots more wine than usual that night. But it turned out ok.

That was demo. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll post about the rebuild. Because the new deck is so amazing. It deserves it's own post. Plus it's 5 p.m. now, and that means it's quittin' time! Later!