Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things don't always go the way they should

I'm human, like almost everybody who reads this blog.  All four of you.  lol  This post may be long and a bit of a pity party, so I won't blame you if you stop reading before the end.  I did say I was writing this blog mostly for myself, right?  :D

I've been unemployed a long time, and that in itself is discouraging.  Since I've been unemployed, my health has worsened, and that is also discouraging.

Last year, I started the year out with high hopes that this would be the year that I made big changes in my life - decluttering being at the tippy-top of my list.  Continuing to see my doctor regularly, getting my disability approved and starting my daughter's senior year of high school were up there, too.

I made pretty good progress on the declutter thing, right up until about April, when things went to hell in a handbasket.  My daughter was pregnant, and her boyfriend's "guardian" was PUSHING for them to get married, "right this very minute" practically.  Once someone actually explained the reasons for his big rush, I understood.  I might have been, probably would have been, much less resistant to the whole idea had he had the courtesy to sit down and tell me these things himself.  But, he's a my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy and neither likes nor trusts me and never felt the need to explain a single thing to me, no matter how politely I asked.  The dislike and lack of trust is mutual.

So, I'm derailed right in the middle of my great declutter momentum by the plans to get my daughter married.  Again, I was resistant, because she's my only daughter and I wanted some effing say in how her wedding went.  I did not get much - I think I put my foot down on the precise location of the ceremony itself in the park.  On the plus side, I did get to actually go to it, so I guess I should have counted myself lucky.

Along about June, maybe even right toward the end of the Great Wedding Debacle of 2010 (my debacle, not the wedding's), I get notice from my landlady/roommate that we have to be out of the house by the end of June.  I'm all freaked out by this, because, as I said above, I have been unemployed for a while (it'll be three whole entire years on March 5, less than a month from now) and Miss Not-Potatohead-yet is getting married, and Mr Potatohead's parents are leaving the state and, and, and, and.  My parents kindly and generously offered to help me out with an apartment and all expenses thereto for a period not to exceed one year.  Did I mention kind?  Or generous?   This was not normal behavior for my family, so I was astounded and amazedly grateful.  I said Thank You aloud as often as I appropriately could, and offered to help with whatever little things needed doing, since I was unemployed and had nothing better to do.  They were Not Interested.  I don't know how else to express gratitude other than saying it or showing it.

Kindness and generosity in my family sometimes comes with strings.  In this case, I had to live in the complex my mom had picked out, and in order to stay on budget, could not have an apartment with washer/dryer connections.  Have you ever had to keep a baby clothed without a washer or dryer?  But I digress.  We're not there yet.  We also had to move a month earlier than I planned, and move into an apartment on the third floor.  I could have waited two weeks and gotten on the second floor, but mom said that was just too long.

So here I am, with a very pregnant daughter and a pretty immobile self, moving into an apartment on the third floor of a complex that my mom insisted on.  We get a big old truck full of stuff moved and I try to get started on the declutter thing.  It's not going well, but neither is it going poorly.  BabyDaddy finishes his senior year stuff and turns 18.  He moves over here with us (originally, he was going to move with us when we did, not three months later).  My kid works on finishing high school through a special self-paced program for at-risk students, so that she can be done with high school before the baby enters the big, wide world.  She does extremely well, much to my only-slightly surprised delight, though is not quite finished in time for Baby Potatohead to make his appearance.

Early in September, my former landlady/roommate tells me the house has sold, and the remainder of my stuff must be out by the end of September.  Since I had no money, she paid for the U-Haul and paid Mr Potatohead and my neighbor to do the heavy lifting.

Once Baby Potatohead enters the world, everything changes, as everyone who's ever had a child can tell you.  Other Gramma comes to visit for a few days, and we share the snuggling with baby duties, so that the parents can get some sleep. 

Life goes on.  The baby grows.  I try my hardest to leave the kids alone, to allow them the time and space to become a family in their own right.  That's seriously difficult when we're all living in the same two-bedroom apartment.  And when the laundry piles up and starts to smell bad.  And when no one in the place does dishes but me.

I am beginning to make progress again on my decluttering, with Mr Potatohead's assistance.  Frequently, he gets a wild hair while the rest of the house is sleeping, and I wake up to a living room that has been totally rearranged, most of the time so it's easier to navigate and harder to trip over your own two feet.  Time passes and Mr Potatohead's entrance into the Air Force draws nearer and nearer.  I start making lists of things that need to be done, so that once we're a man down (the strongest man, of course), we girls and Baby Potatohead can still get things done without our wee strong man to lift and carry.

The last week before Mr Potatohead left went by in a rush.  All of a sudden, it was the night before.  I knew that he had to be at the MEPS center by noon and to the hotel by 2000.  Just as I'm getting ready to go to bed, Mrs Potatohead tells me that we're leaving for the MEPS center by 0830.  Um, what?  Apparently, they have a few places they need to go before going to downtown Dallas, and they neglected to tell me about any of them before that very moment.  The trip downtown was not a joy.  I spent eight hours that day, sitting in a car and doing nothing else.  I was in so damn much pain when I got home that even though I was practically starving, I couldn't eat. 

So, Mr Potatohead is now gone to Lackland for Basic Military Training.  He'll be there until about the end of March, when he will then begin Air Force Technical Training, aka Tech School.  By the end of April, I will be living alone, a good four months before I ever thought I would, since Mrs Potatohead will still not be 18 yet.

During this entire time, my mom has been oh, so, generously paying the rent and the other utilities (not my cell phone bill), and mentioning to me at every opportunity how much she's spending and what she's putting off because she can't afford to do it while I'm being taken care of (she calls it my free ride).  I mentioned the strings before, right?  Well, with mom, this is one of those strings.  I have to put up with her constant haranguing about my lack of responsibility, my lack of respect, my lack of gratitude, my lack of any decent qualities whatsoever, and do it all with a smile on my face.  She doesn't believe I'm disabled.  I mean, she's 15 years older than I am, and she's not disabled, is she?  I'm fat, and that's why I can't get around.  I'm a slob, and a never-ending disgrace to the family.  And, I'm a terrible mom, because I can't even provide for my own child, much less the additions to the family.  OK, mom, I get it.  I'm a loser, might as well kill me.  I just wanna smack her sometimes and say, "Hello?  Did it ever occur to you to encourage me, or tell me even one thing I'm doing right?"  I mustn't do that, though, because it would be, yes, disrespectful.  And, apparently, she never hears a single Thank You, ever.

So, back to where I started this entry.  lol

I don't have a job.  I look for jobs, but I know my physical limitations.  Yes, I could get a job at Blockbuster, but how long would I have it when I can't stand on my feet for two hours, much less eight?  I couldn't begin to survive a shift at McDonald's or Arby's or someplace like that.  Am I giving myself excuses?  Should I try it anyway?  I just don't know.  Besides that, in three years, and hundreds of applications and resumes sent out, I've gotten two in-person interviews, and two phone interviews doing the sort of thing I was doing before I was laid off.  Logically, I don't see how that could possibly be my fault, but the other part of me is sure that somehow I'm responsible for the lack of response to my applications and resumes.  I mean, I'm applying to jobs minutes after they're posted.  I'm applying to jobs in retail, for crying out loud.  I don't think I can do any better than that.  Maybe I should be "pounding the pavement" as my father says.  It seems to me, though, that I can only look for a job so many hours of the day.  Beyond that, I believe I have to do something that will actually bring in money, not just waste gas money I don't have and use up clean clothes that can't be washed without, again, using money I don't have (we are not allowed to do laundry at my parents' house) or piling everybody and everything into the car and going to the in-laws.  And hoping they're not home.  I like them just fine, but it's awkward to sit in someone's house for hours reading a book or doing whatever on the laptop.  Some people feel the need to interact with other people when they're in the same room.  It's when I'm at their house forcing myself to talk when I'd rather be doing almost anything else that I miss my mother the most.  She and I could sit someplace and read and drink our drinks and chat occasionally, and be perfectly happy with the time we spent together.

I am very limited as to what I can lift, even more so lately, with my elbow acting up.  Picking up a book hurts like mad, so you can imagine me picking up a pan full of food, or a box of anything, or a basket of laundry.  Do you know how hard it is to function without using your left arm?  I never imagined it would be so difficult to get up, or sit down, or pull the covers up, or take my clothes off, or God forbid, hook my bra, even before my left arm started hurting so badly.  Yes, I cannot actually get dressed by myself.  Does that suck, or what?  How am I supposed to go on job interviews (should I actually get one) when I can't dress myself?  Even more to the point, how am I supposed to do that once the Potatoheads are all gone on to wherever Tech School is located?  There's a confidence-builder, let me tell you.  Some people might be able to get by with forgoing the bra under their clothes and still look professional.  I am NOT one of them.  I keep imagining the interview question about the weird flaps on the back of my blouse, and the looks from the people who figure it out without asking.  On Monday, I did try to get dressed a different way, but I couldn't even get my left arm through the strap, and hurt my elbow so badly trying that I had to get Mrs Potatohead to help me take the damn thing off.  I never made it out of the house that day.

During the last month, my mom has made it plain that she is done with my loser self, and will not help me any more (boy, that was the fastest year ever).  I stress her out, and I am not the only person on the planet with problems, and the world does not revolve around me, and she has reached the point that my lack of respect and lack of gratitude have gotten on her last nerve.  She doesn't care whether or not I can take care of my financial obligations, so long as none of my inability affects her credit (she co-signed for my electricity and my lease even though she was paying the bills).  When all this started in June, the idea was that they would help for a year, max, and maybe would continue to help if I actually got a job and was >trying< to help myself.  Obviously, since I don't have a job, I haven't been looking hard enough, because there are Help Wanted signs everywhere, for god's sake.  Now, it's down to some paraphrase of "it's been seven months and that's bloody long enough, and don't call me, I'll call you, but I never actually will because I really don't like you much, so bugger off."  My most recent email told me that when the Potatoheads are gone, she'll pay the "break-the-lease" fee and hopes that I have a plan for getting out of this apartment, because I DO have to get out of this apartment, even if I can pay the bills, because she doesn't want her name on anything related to me, and she guesses I'm in a real pickle.   I can hear her cackling nastily.

I haven't gone this long without paid work since I started working at age 15.  That fact is demeaning enough to my self-esteem without any special help from my mom.

As for decluttering, I have a hard time distributing things once I've sorted through them.  When I have to get up every time I've decided what to do with something, it seriously interferes with my momentum, especially since getting up requires about two minutes of me ungracefully maneuvering, or me calling someone to come help me get up.  I'm having trouble getting away from the idea that I should sleep at night and work on decluttering during the day.   This is especially troublesome because I can't remember the last time I actually slept before 4 in the morning.  Right now, it's 6 AM where I am, and I've been up all night.  I need to organize the stuff I have listed online, but where?  I can't find a clear space to put a shelf, even if I had a clear shelf to put somewhere.  I am getting so frustrated with all of it.

I get wild hairs to cook up something, then can't find stuff in the kitchen, because the roaches have made me really resistant to putting anything in the cupboards.  I'm obsessed with washing everything as soon as that it gets dirty, because leaving it sit for even a few minutes might attract more of those nasty critters, not that I don't wash things again before I use them, because who knows whether or not a roach has crawled on it while it was sitting there drying?  Most of our packaged food, except the cans, is in the freezer, because at least the bugs can't get in that.  And if you think they can't get in bags or boxes, think again, baby!

I have so much stuff to give away that I don't have anywhere to put it until someone comes to get it.  I would like to organize it in some way so that I can have a little giveaway/apartment sale so that it goes to happy new homes.   Even when I list things on the local not-freecycle lists, I only get good responses about 30% of the time.  I have good stuff to give away, man, why don't people want it?

I'm horribly afraid that I won't get it all done, and something will happen and Mrs Potatohead will have to deal with all this the way I had to deal with my mother's crap eight years ago (and am still dealing with it). 

Without healthcare and therefore without meds, all my health issues are going untreated, and except for my blood sugar, which I can check as often as I want, I have no idea where any of my lab levels are, whether lacking medication is helping or hurting.  I do know that I hurt a lot worse, and have more trouble sitting or walking or doing much of anything.  My blood sugar is fine, since my diabetes problem is hypoglycemia, rather than hyper.  As long as I eat five or six times a day, I'm usually fine.

I have signed up for as many of the survey things as I can, though I make very little money doing it.  Some of these women who refer me make hundreds of dollars every month doing these things, and I just wonder how much time they're spending at it, because I don't have that much time to just sit and hit disqualify after disqualify after disqualify.  Now that I think about it, I am probably just in a weird demographic that no one is actually interested in or selling to.  That'd be pretty funny, though not haha funny. 

Points of encouragement:  I'm selling pretty steadily on Amazon since I started listing there.  I made enough in December to pay January's bills, but not enough in January to even pay one February bill.  Slow but steady.  I do need it to speed up some and become a little more steady.   God knows I have enough stuff to sell to keep it up for months yet.

I've had a friend offer to pay my cell phone bill, which is so far behind the phone is turned off.  I'm trying to swallow my pride and decide that it would be OK to let someone not related to me help me with what, to me, is a large amount of money.

Baby Potatohead is a joy to be around, and is really a very good baby.  His mama is lucky he doesn't take after her.  lol

Mr Potatohead is surviving Basic OK.  Mrs Potatohead has gotten two phone calls,  one post card and one letter (not a real letter, but a packet of information).  We're looking forward to the arrival, any day now, of the first real letter, which is apparently 14 pages long.

Last week, I got some leads for places that are actually hiring, right here in the area.  Once the weather stops blowing down from the Arctic Circle, I'll get out and go see some people.  I'll even hope.  For a little while.

If you've read this far, you deserve a prize.  What would you like?  I have thousands of books.....oooh, and rocks, too.  I have pretty rocks.  :D