Oh, it’s not all THAT bad. But I felt it earlier in the week. There were two very stressful episodes at work, one where the systems didn’t work badly enough to upset me, and one episode just yesterday with the dog.
When I take the dog for a walk, I anticipate he’s going to take care of whatever business he needs to take care of. So, I took him for a walk, and he did what he was going to do, and we came back inside. There was some pulling at the leash, which I regard as non-compliance and I stop moving. When he went in the direction I wanted to go, we were fine, I thought. And then he ran up our stairs, so I tried putting him in his kennel. I didn’t check both door locks, so he of course got out, and ran up our stairway to find out if the kids were in their rooms, and they had gone to school for the day. Since he didn’t shit outside, I anticipated he might try to go in the house. I set him up in the bathroom (easy to clean the floor) with paper down just in case, and set the kennel in front of the door so he could have that much more room.
All it did was give him a running start. He jumped over the kennel, and ran upstairs to impress me with his Houdini-worthy skill. I was on the phone with a client, and he stood there wanting me to take him outside to shit, and I couldn’t put the customer and the tech support people both on hold, so I sat and helplessly watched as he shit on my carpet. Just. FUCK! Oh. Sorry, seems that SHIT would be a more appropriate expletive. Laugh, laugh, ha, ha, readers. But I am sick to fucking death of LIFE adding MORE WORK for me to take care of because I exist, and adding unnecessary shit to my life that I have to deal with later because the dog couldn’t be arsed to do it while he was outside, and couldn’t be arsed to do it while in the safe confines of the bathroom, and I have no time or margin to deal with the shit when it happens, so I have to save up time and money and energy to handle it later.
Time, money, and energy are the frayed margins of my life, for which I desperately need significant repair. But every time I pray for margin, more gets cut off the frayed edge, so I don’t ask any more. And while it’s not true that my time is money, it is true that more money would buy me more time. If I had more money, I could just call the guy when the plumbing needs work, instead of trying to do it myself, fucking it up, and then calling the guy. Which doesn’t happen as often any more, since I’ve done that enough to learn a few things. If I had more money, I could just pay the bills and not worry about bill collectors, overdraft notices, car repairs, the insurance bump whenever dear daughter starts driving… don’t remind me.
If I had more time, I might invest some of that in resting. But so far, whenever I “have more time,” the dog needs something, the daughter needs something, the son needs something, or the wife expected me to have already spent that time doing something else. If I choose to not invest that time in the expected shit shoveling for whichever demanding person demands it, a) the wife just shakes her head, does one of those life-draining sighs of exasperation and starts doing whatever she thought I should have done already, or fixing whatever part of it wasn’t complete, in the expectation that I will muster the energy to take over and handle it. Sometimes, I can pull it together. Not always. b) the daughter screams about how I don’t care, nobody cares, nobody likes her, and she can’t do it because she has homework/social engagement/exhaustion/insert-other-manufactured-excuse; c) the son almost finishes and then disappears into the darkness of his room and his electronic device(s); d)the dog just stares and expects another treat for not doing shit. Or for doing shit wherever he damn well decides to.
He has a spot he likes to go, to do his business. When I have time, not a problem. When I don’t, I want him to learn to go where I want him to go. I didn’t think I had time to get there and back, so didn’t take him, so he shit on my carpet because the bare, easy to clean bathroom floor didn’t have the same grass-like appeal as my grey carpet. He can’t see anything but black and white, maybe the carpet looks or feels comfortable like grass, but for fucks sake, it’s not shag. It’s not even plush. It’s another one of the things I should replace because it’s gross. The last time I tried to rent a shampooer, it did a shit job, and I can’t blame it all on the shampooer, because the carpet is so old. The carpet is almost as old as some of the stains on it, or possibly the reverse. Who can be sure?. We bought the carpet with the house, back when we had money, time, and hope. Well now there’s another one, but I’m working on getting that out before it becomes set and older than the dog. I’m not replacing the carpet until the dog is trained properly, which probably means I’ll replace the carpet and then the dog will forget his training and shit on the new one. Which begs the question- does carpet come in exactly matched shades of shit brown? Oh, wait, there’s also food stains and drink stains… Maybe I’ll have to go with an out-of-fashion camouflage and random colors-print carpet, something like one of the busier, less orderly Kandinsky-patterns. Some people like Wassily, and …then there’s me. Because to me, the paintings reflect the stress of trying to produce a sufficient number of quality pieces of art in the time available, trying to sell them quick enough to earn a decent living, and fail. But then, maybe I’m projecting myself onto Kandinsky. Or maybe I’m right, maybe he hates that, and that’s why I don’t really like his work.
Yesterday I ventured forth to the store to return something my wife thought I should easily be able to install. My faux extroversion knows no limits. First, when the installation went south, I swore (naturally). And then I set it aside to wait and see if Mrs M would fare any better guiding dowel A into insertion point B. It’s just a hanging thing, and one essential piece at the end wouldn’t go into where it was supposed to go, and “click.” Did I ever mention that I hate house projects, and “easy-to-install” bullshit. (…You’d think I’d be an expert at putting round peg a into slot b. Alas, no, I clearly need more practice. Someone tell Mrs. M, please!) Thank GOD, she couldn’t get dowel A to click into insertion point B either. (which can only mean that she needs more practice too.) The second thing I did is to call the company who was dumb enough to print their toll-free number on the instructions.
I called, and the first lady I got said I couldn’t have a new round peg. I’d have to box the entire thing up and return it to the store, or call her corporate office. I forgot her name. She was nice, and even sounded like she was familiar with the very defect I was talking about, but still… So I called toll-free number 2, who sent a request to the local store manager. The store manager called me and said he’d take care of everything, and he did, at least, if dowel A’ successfully attaches to insertion point B’. But I did have to box up most of the defective thing so they could return it to their manufacturer. Anyway, returned it, exchanged for hope, and went back home barely in time for work. Today I got that out of the box and the same damned peg in the new box wouldn’t screw and lock correctly into the insertion point of the piece of shit, made in China, from the new box. Ugh. The easiest sounding things are too much work. The easiest sounding things are never easy; they just seem to add more pressure to what’s already too much. The simplest things are too complicated and too hard to figure out, and too stress-filled.
I’m a simple thing. (Or maybe, simple minded.) I literally worried on the way home that I might get hit by someone and be late for work. Heaven forbid. This is how much I hate drastic change and don’t want to be an inconvenience or a burden to anyone else. I want to be helpful, in a world where so many people seem hell-bent on fucking it up for me and everyone else. I very briefly thought to myself, it might have been a mercy. Like driving off into the retention pond. But no, see above, I resist such foolishnesses as they don’t fit- I don’t have the margin of time to deal with dying. Or worse, not dying, and not having an excuse for why it took so long for me to not die. I don’t really want to die. I don’t have a preference for death over life, and I don’t have a workable plan. I mean, life can turn around. I’m waiting to see how it plays out, but I’m hoping it’s a decisive victory I can start enjoying at half-time, and not a game changing buzzer beater shot at the last second. I’d much rather enjoy the journey than watch it suck as hard as possible and have to fight until the bitter fucking end.
More pressure -at lunch yesterday I remembered I was supposed to make chicken noodle soup because my daughter went to the dentist the day before (guess who got to take her, guess who was 3 whole fucking minutes late and whose daughter gave him unending grief about it all, including how fast I was trying to drive, and how I was stuck behind another, fairly slow-moving car or two the whole way and how slow I was driving, and how we were going to be late, and how it was my fucking fault there was a string of cars between me and the door of the school and I didn’t feel comfortable just shoving around them, because I don’t drive a monster truck. Oh, and how “[I] don’t care about [her,]” either.) So I didn’t care but I made the chicken noodle soup and got back to my desk with exactly 48 seconds left of the hour.
But you made it back, you’re saying. And you succeeded, you’re saying. Well, I’ll admit, I didn’t die. But that doesn’t mean that going into the store with an item to return after searching for the receipt and failing because it’s either in her purse at her workplace, or already out in the trash, wasn’t stressful. I had so much time before work that I took the dog for a walk and had the presence of mind to lock him in his crate so he couldn’t escape and crap on my damned carpet again. Which reminds me, there’s still the stain I have to try to get out of my carpet. My life sounds funny, like one of those sit-coms you expect to resolve in 22 minutes. But it’s not funny to live through. Maybe in another year, after the cash windfall comes, I’ll look back and laugh. Or maybe, I’ll remember what it felt like and be on a mission to help people who are struggling like I was back before the big lottery payouts started rolling in (what the hell, I can still hope just like the next guy) .
My dad is home from the hospital. Nice of him to give mum a day of rest while she was sicker than he was, eh? Both of them have this really tenacious, killer bronchitis that’s not quite pneumonia, just like my daughter has had for a month and a half. I went to the hospital and spent time with him, and then when his dinner arrived I went to mums. She was sleeping, so I started washing her dishes. She heard me and got up. I made her sit back down when she started coughing uncontrollably. And I poured her some whiskey. I wanted some for myself, but she lives across town and I needed to be able to get home before having to sleep anything off. While she sipped and rested, I finished the dishes and mopped the cat hair, cat food, and other, off the kitchen floor. I so wanted to do more, because her house is almost as bad as mine. Or worse, since I know what to do with my own shit, it’s hers and dad’s and I don’t really know what to do with it all.
Mum, she just sat and sipped and stopped coughing for a bit. I checked in today and they are both doing better but they have the severe bronchitis same as my daughter. If you want to avoid a fight with someone, start cooking or cleaning for them and listen while they shut up. Recalling this, I invaded the sanctity of the maelstrom in my daughter’s room yesterday and made her bed for her. She was so happy, she took a nap after school, which made her feel even better. But if I start doing any of those things and they keep bitching, I leave it for them to finish.
I may or may not have a bad habit of rage quitting. It’s a gamer’s expression, but so fitting to my life. Because fuck you if you’re not working to help me or staying out of the way, fuck you if you’re stressing me out as if it’s my fault, fuck you if you don’t appreciate it when I try to do nice things for you. And fuck you if I’m not fast enough to satisfy your impatient bullshit. With family, the best way I know how to do this still isn’t a good way. Rage quit means I shut the fuck up, stop talking, finish what absolutely has to be finished, and leave the offenders in my dust. Or their own fucking dust, if they made the mess I was trying to clean up. I wish the solution was the same for work. But no, I have to be a team player to claim I’m a team player and I work well on my own. I can operate in both modes, but the team part is me faking well. What I wish I could do is different.
At work, if someone fucks something up, I want to make them fix the damn thing and leave me the hell out of it. And I want to wait patiently until they fix the shit, so I can do my job. At work, if a tool I need isn’t working, I want to report the issue and wait until the tool is repaired and when it is repaired, step in and do my job. But what I have to do instead, is sincerely apologize to our clients, and work that much harder to do what I can until it’s working, and then apologize again to the clients, and work that much harder to do what I couldn’t do until the company lets me play catch up. If all of corporate America is on thin threads like this, maybe there’s a company out there hiring hack writers who retain their sense of humor, however grim and twisted it may become, in the face of adversity, stupidity, hypersensitivity, insecurity, and reinforced inferiority from all the people who demand I treat them with abject deference to their perceived self-superiority. Ass holes!
I shredded paperwork dated anywhere from 2011 to 2015 yesterday, and I had two and a half trash bags full of shreds. I ran across some interesting documents. They showed us struggling financially, climaxing in 2013 and hovering near bankruptcy, leaving us stuck through about 2015, and we’ve been making slow progress getting out of the shit since then. Thankfully, “for richer, for poorer” included “for poorer.” The documents even showed us asking for help, and then there was the letter from one of the places we asked for help. The letter reminded us that we had asked them for help a year and a half before, and how they counseled me then to “just” figure out how to make more money. Great advice from great people. I remember both visits. I was humbled and discouraged going to them the first time. I left feeling completely humiliated and more depressed both times. It was worse the second time, and then they added their letter of encouragement. Thanks so much for the help. I hope I never have to go back, and I hope no one else gets the same counseling advice from those rich fuckers. I didn’t shred the letter. I want a time in the future when I’m in a place to help one of these people and they’re placed in a position of need, and I share with them a) my experiences from 2012 to 2015 and how hard it still is now in 2017, AND their damned letter, b) Proverbs 3:27, and c) my blessings. They have enough money that one of them could have fucking hired me to work for them for more than I earn now, and I would have worked my ass off to earn their pay. Or, they could have hired me to work on staff for the organization-this was one of the places I already worked as a volunteer, and it would have been a dream job if the position matched my training, successful previous experience, and credentials. But back then, I would have worked as a janitor, for fucks sake, and done a better job than the idiot who does a shit job cleaning for them still to this day. Instead they gave us a one-time gift, which was helpful, once, and the second time we needed help they prayed for us and then told us to piss off and figure it out for ourselves.
This blog started, at least influenced, if not pushed to profanity, by those experiences and others, and my journey into discovery of why I am how I am was twistedly encouraged by them, so, do I owe them a debt of gratitude? I think the answer from a human perspective is a a tiny yes for the gesture of the gift, and an emphatic “FUCK, NO,” for the way I felt during and after both experiences of humiliation, and for the consolation letter we received instead of help the second time, but I think if I ever have the money I’ll give them back their gifts with interest, and tell them to piss off and figure it out for themselves as to why I don’t really care if they make it or not.
So today, not that I want to do any of this, I remembered I have to get a Boy Scout physical, so I called the doctor and set that up. I gave the person at the other end unnecessary grief, because of the last episode,that cost me $700, for the experiment I damned well knew the results of before the blood was wrestled from the perceived safety of my veins. However, I asked how much it was going to cost me and the person was not forthcoming. She mentioned a normal fee and then said that they don’t do copays for that, they submit it straight to my fucking cheap-ass insurance company, and then the insurance figures out how much they want to squeeze, how far they can elevate my blood pressure without actually killing me directly, now that I’ve lost a little weight and it’s gone down a little.
They charge me an extra hundred from each paycheck than they did before Obamacare, and they have yet to repeal it, so I’m more broke and even less able to afford any experimentation or equipment breakdown. Yeah, and my income went up zero dollars to help me afford that insurance rate bump. And I still have to pay copays for doctors and dentists, which is bullshit if I pay this much for healthcare coverage. I’d go bankrupt if I ever had to go to the hospital like my dad did. Because those rich fuckers always get their money, and they don’t really seem to give a shit how they’re getting it or what they’re putting people through to get it. So if by some ill twist of fate I come up sick, I’ll just wait until I’m dead and check in to one of those really small rooms in the basement, that only have minimal amenities- no heat to pay extra for, no extra nursing care, and only one door that opens from the outside. They don’t charge cadavers in the morgue. Just the survivors. If that fucking $700 bill for one tiny tube of blood is proof, evidently the insurance company thinks I earn a great income already!
And I do. For someone who worked between 1910 and 1940.