slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
I have never had this kind of anniversary before.

I was never close to my grandparents. I couldn’t tell you when they died, except that for my mom’s parents I was in middle school and they went about six months apart, and for my dad’s mom I had to work so I didn’t go to the funeral.

It’s a strange feeling, for those of you who haven’t experienced it, to have another date added to the holidays and birthdays that you remember by default: my birthday is September 16th, Kate’s is September 20th, April’s is June 29th, Dad’s is January 20th, Mom’s is January 28th, Christmas is December 25th, Halloween is October 31st, Mom died on July 25th.

There will never be another, larger meaning to this date. If, G-d forbid, some national tragedy, some natural disaster happens on July 25th, if a war starts or ends, if I make a new close friend or fall in love with someone who was born on this date, or if someone I love gets married or has a baby on this date, it will still always be the day Mom died.

It was about now, I think, about three in the afternoon, that we came home from the grocery store, and we had had such a good trip to the grocery store, we had been in such a wonderful mood. Mike hadn’t been yelling at me, good things had been on sale, it was a lovely day and we were talking and laughing and she was already dead and I didn’t know it. I don’t know what time it was when I got the call. When Aunt Pam said, “I’m Mike’s sister,” I was so confused, I knew from her voice, in my gut, I knew something terrible had happened, but I thought she meant my husband mike, and not my stepdad Mike. My brain went, but he doesn’t have a sister.

And when she said, “Mike and Karen were killed in a motorcycle accident,” for a moment I didn’t know who she was talking about. I thought she had the wrong number.

I thought, “Who’s Karen,” for a moment, because of course in my head her name will always be Mom.

If any of you are wondering, it doesn’t go away. It gets easier but it doesn’t end. You still think to yourself, maybe they’re playing an elaborate prank on us, maybe there’s been a terrible mistake and the people on that bike weren’t Mike and Karen at all. They’re old hippies, they’re free spirits, maybe they fucked off to Machu Picchu or something and I’ll get a call tomorrow going, why are you selling our house. You know it isn’t true but part of you still thinks maybe.

I downloaded Twister because it was her favorite movie. I downloaded it that week. I still haven’t been able to watch it.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say, here. Maybe nothing. Maybe just to remember, to share a little bit of remembering with my dash. I’ve never done this before and I’m all alone right now and there’s nobody else to tell.

So I’ll tell you how easily she laughed, how much she snarked at everything, how she smoke like a chimney and drank like a fish and maybe her cholesterol was a little high but she didn’t have any other health problems, she was fit and happy and living the life she loved. I’ll tell how proud she would have been that I’ll have my associate’s soon, and that I’ll be going back to a four-year school in January, ready to get my bachelor’s and move on to grad school. How proud she’d be of me for leaving this marriage even though it’s hard. For taking care of this dog even though it’s a lot of work. For figuring out who I am, even though nobody is here to tell me how.

How proud she was already, of my sister and me, just for living grown and mostly happy in the world.

I’ll tell you how she is the only person in my family I ever came out to, and how she said she didn’t care if I was holding hands with a boy or a girl as long as I was happy. How she always had advice even when I wasn’t looking for any, and how she was usually right even when I didn’t want her to be. How fully she lived, how deeply she loved, how bright she burned when she was with us, how bright she still burns now that she’s gone. How, in some ways, she isn’t really gone at all.

I carry her heart with me (I carry it in my heart). And on my back as I prepare to leave this home I’ve spent three years making, I carry her love and her paintings and her stand mixer and a lock of her hair, I carry them into my new future and she comes with me. So maybe I’m all alone right now, and maybe I’m not, and maybe I never will be.

So maybe nothing will ever be the same again. And maybe that’s okay.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
I made the dean's list this spring.


Mar. 13th, 2012 11:53 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
It's possible I have basically abandoned LJ for Tumblr. I can't help it, it's just so instant gratification!

Anyway, what has the Wolf been doing over the past month and a half? Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up.

I got into the octet so now I'm enrolled in two choir classes both of which my ass is gonna get As in. I am at least going to pass all my other classes. My weight training class ends next week but I intend to keep going and working out.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy and it was incredible. I have a mockingjay pin which I now wear everywhere, and [profile] aprilmayinjune and I are going to see the first movie on IMAX next Friday. The midnight showing was sold out, but as a relative newcomer to the fandom, I don't begrudge that to the die-hards. I'll make it happen next time.

Next month, Dad and I are driving down to Nashville to spend a few days with my sister. During this time we'll be going through stuff of my mom's that she has at her house, and she and I will be going and getting tattoos for Mom together, although not the same one. Next summer, we, as well as one or two of Mom's cousins and possibly some of her friends, are taking her ashes on a cruise to Alaska and scattering them on Mt. McKinley.

I'm gonna take a full-time schedule for summer semester, including Special Topics in History: Michigan and the War of 1812 which is taking a five-day trip up to Mackinaw/c in June. I'll also be taking human anatomy for my science class with a lab, even though I fucking hate anatomy, because I think it will be relevant to my anthropology plans. In order to facilitate kicking the summer semester's ass I will be putting in my notice at work in May. After the summer semester I'll either be able to graduate or I'll be able to take what few credits I'll still need online from my dad's house, so I will be moving in with him probably in August. Then when I have my associate's I'll be transferring to Central Michigan University and commuting from Dad's to Mt. Pleasant, and hopefully I'll be able to find a roommate or otherwise afford an apartment by my second year there so I can move closer to campus. I have about $2k in my secret bank account, which I don't want to use until I absolutely have to.

After that, I'm strongly considering Western for my master's, but also MSU and U of M, and I'm willing to branch out all over the country depending on programs and funding. I'm also considering getting two master's degrees, one in archaeology and one in linguistics. If I could swing it I'd really love to do the taught programme in archaeological research at one of the UK schools I was looking at (gut says it was in London but I don't fully remember), but that would be less necessary if I could get into a field school during one or two of my summers.

Ideally my PhD will happen at the University of Sheffield. They have a ridiculously extensive and awesome archaeology program.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Good morning, friends, and happy Friday the 13th!

It's the last Friday before the spring semester. Well, technically they call it the winter semester--whatever, I don't even, it doesn't matter. It ends in spring, and I like spring better, so I think of it as spring.

I have a number of strategies in place to ensure this semester goes better than last semester. I am going to email my dad my syllabi and all my homework assignments and I'm going to talk to him every night before I go to bed. That way someone is there for me to be accountable to and I won't have the leeway to bullshit.

I've got the debit card for my new bank account. It's sitting in my wallet and I hope not to have to use it until I actually move out, but my paychecks are going into its checking account so there's money there if I need it. When I get my financial aid refund this semester that will go into savings.

Nigel is being a jackass about his plans to grow medical marijuana for money. He seems to think we are going to use our tax refund as a down payment on a house where he can set up a grow room. He is mistaken. I am perfectly happy to put it in a savings account and play along with whatever house hunting he wants to do, because there is no way we'll find something he's happy with in our price range by the time I'm ready to leave. Then when we get divorced I will take my half of the money in that joint account and he can suck my entire ass.

The dent from my wedding ring is almost gone, and I have stopped reaching over to adjust the ring. Meanwhile not wearing it has begun affording me opportunities to practice being hit on, which is fun. I'm not stupid enough to cheat but it's nice to get attention.

Nigel, meanwhile, may in fact be stupid enough to cheat. Last weekend he made a mix CD for someone at his work, but he wouldn't tell me who or why or what was on it and when he played it to make sure it had burned correctly he plugged his headphones into the CD player. When I, in completely casual I'm-just-making-conversation tones, inquired as to why he was making it, he got extremely defensive.

Which is hilarious.

As of tomorrow it will be eleven months since we had sex.

In not-my-fucked-up-marriage news, I have been doing some cooking. The other day I made chocolate ganache for hot chocolate purposes and today I'm going to make a chocolate pound cake to drizzle some of it over. I've also been doing things with the crock pot that result in deliciousness with very little effort.

I'm going to spend my time and energy on schoolwork and taking care of myself and Chromie to the exclusion of dealing with Nigel's bullshit and in order to make the time pass quickly so that I'll be graduating and moving out before I know it. I'm going to get my 4.0 back, get/keep myself and my dog healthy and happy, rehabilitate my wardrobe so that I have things to wear that I like that actually fit me, and "get organized" (read: subtly pack all my shit so I can move out while Nigel is at work when the time comes).

I really really hope someone buys Mom's house soon. The real estate market in Florida is not great but if it sells I can just move out basically right then and not have to wait until I finish my degree.

Meanwhile I have some vacation and personal time at work that I need to take by the end of the month or it goes away. Basically it's about nine and a half hours of free money, so I'm going to stick that in the book and receive a paycheck while sitting at home on my ass doing schoolwork. Fun times.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
I got my financial aid refund, finally. (It had been returned by the post office because, apparently, at some point over the summer, the college knocked the second digit off my apartment number in their computer system.) That went into the new bank account as well.

I now have over $1300 in savings and my paychecks going directly to the new checking account. If I can make the household expenses work without dipping into it, I'll have at least $2600 in the checking account by the time I'm ready to leave, unless Mom's house sells before I get my associate's and I move out early, in which case I'll have more money than that anyway, from the estate.

If Mom's house doesn't sell by then, I'll just transfer most of that money into the savings account where it can draw interest, since I'll be moving in with Dad and won't have to pay any major bills for a while. Need-based financial aid will cover most of my expenses while I'm working on my bachelor's.

Although what I will probably do in that case is close the account and open a new one at the credit union Dad uses, since it's not very practical to have to drive the two and a half or three hours down here if I ever need to do any business at the branch.

Meanwhile, I made a huge batch of chili the other day, and Nigel is now passive-aggressively asking me if I'm going to "blame" him when I finish eating it. I can't tell if he actually doesn't get that when I "blame" him for my not having any food, it's because he's eaten all my food, or if he's just fucking with me. Either way, he's a jackass.


Dec. 18th, 2011 03:21 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Tonight at work I submitted the form to switch my direct deposit to my new bank account.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))

You don’t feel bad, but you don’t feel good, either.

He tells you that you are fine. He tells you to stop worrying. He tells you everything is great, anyone would be happy with what you have, he tells you he is the one with the problems.

He tells you what a bitch you are for adding to his problems with your pointless, petty complaining.

He asks you where his dinner is.

He asks you why is the house such a mess, why don’t you have a job, why don’t you cook more often, why don’t you do his laundry, why don’t you suck his dick, why don’t you wipe his ass. (Those last two are figurative and sarcastic and happen inside your own head.)

He asks you why are you cleaning when you could be job hunting, why are you job hunting when you could be cleaning, why are you wasting your time organizing your things, why are you cooking so much food when you know you’ll never eat it all before it goes bad, why are you wasting your time doing laundry when there are so many other things to be done first and is that load all your clothes and what do you need clean clothes for when you never go anywhere.

He asks you if you seriously think he has time for sex when he has to be up at four in the morning. If you seriously think he has the energy when he worked ten hours today. If you seriously think he should still find your body interesting when you walk around naked half the time anyway—he sees it so much, it’s gotten boring.

When he does feel like it, “I’m getting tired” is code for “your five minutes of foreplay are up; I’m going to roll onto my back—put the condom on my dick and hop on for a minute and a half and then I’ll fall asleep”. You hope your vibrator has full batteries.

You get a job. You like it; you’re good at it.

He asks you why don’t you quit and find a different job where you could have more hours. He asks you why don’t you temp full-time in a factory like him.

You decide to go back to school. He asks are you sure it’s not a waste of time and wouldn’t you rather just work more.

He says you need to make more money so he can pay his student loans.

You tell your friends some of the asshole things he does but you say “my ex-boyfriend” or “my friend’s roommate” or “this guy I used to date”.

You don’t feel good.

You tell him you think you should go to couple’s counseling and he asks you where the hell you think the money for that is going to come from.

It starts out as I made a promise and I’m gonna keep that promise for as long as I can. It starts out as maybe he will change, maybe he will try.

He eats more than twice as much as you do. He complains about his gut, but more often he complains about how fat you are and tells you you need to eat less and exercise more. He starts complaining about how much and what kind of food you put in the cart at the grocery store. He starts complaining about the grocery budget. You start eating only one or two meals a day because you don’t want to have the fight.

You need new clothes, so you buy some. He asks you why you think you need anything other than jeans and T-shirts and says you can’t afford to care what you look like.

He certainly doesn’t. He has a nasty, scraggly full beard and walks around in old, stained, holey clothes that don’t fit.

You feel like shit.

You stop asking him to change the big things that are problems in your marriage because you know he never will. You stop asking him to go to counseling because you know it’ll never happen.

You tell him about your plan to move to the UK for grad school and ask him isn’t he excited, hasn’t he been wanting to get out of this shit hole of a country, and he says it seems extreme, he doesn’t think he wants to go.

You tell him he doesn’t have to come with you. Suddenly it’s all about how he doesn’t think you can make it happen.

So it turns into, well, I can’t afford to leave. And this is what you tell your friends, and this is what you tell yourself, even though you know people who have left with less money than you have.

Even though in your heart you know what it really is is that he can’t afford for you to go.

Your mother dies.

When you tell him, he says what does that mean, and then he says are we getting any money.

Then he goes around telling his family and friends about it, calling her roadkill, saying he is going to get money from this thing with your mom and he is going to use it to pay off his debts.

When you start to come out of your grief a little, some things are clearer than they were before.

She would never have put up with this from anyone.

You shouldn’t either.

As you wander around the apartment you start to notice certain things.

Like: most of the furniture is yours. Including the bed.

Like: most of the cookware is yours. Including all the dishes.

Like: he put you in charge of the finances and say you were to take the little bit of insurance money you’re getting from the estate and put it in a brand new account with just one name on it, say you did that and you started having your paycheck direct-deposited there, he would never know the difference.

And one day your father calls and you say it out loud.

You say, what if when the money comes I tell him we’re not using it to pay off his student loans because I’m using it to leave him.

You tell your friends when they visit. You tell your sister when she calls.

When you get a dog you put all that paperwork in your name.

You think about leaving him here in this shitty apartment with almost no furniture, leaving him to sleep alone on the floor. You think long and hard about it and you don’t know if it makes you want to cheer or cry.

You think, I made a promise.

You think, he made a promise too. You think, he promised to love me forever and he doesn’t even like me.

You think, I am too young and hot to feel this old and ugly.

You don’t know how you will tell him. You wish it was just a button you could push on a computer: Are you sure you want to end this marriage? Okay

You think what it boils down to is this.

The two of you are crabs in a bucket. You are trying to climb out. He is on the bottom pulling you back in.

You are going to leave him here to wallow since that is so obviously what he wants.

It hurts to think about leaving him down here where he can’t reach the edge by himself. It makes you feel guilty.

But feeling guilty makes you feel angry, too.

You can see sky from here. Over the rim of the bucket, you can see a slice of sky.

You’re not going to let him stop you from climbing.

slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Have fucked up school this semester. Oh god it feels so good to tell someone.

It's going to put me a semester behind on my associate's but I can make a case to the college that they only need to count the classes I take after this semester toward my GPA because of my mom's death. I should have taken the semester off, I thought I could handle it but I couldn't. It will be okay, though. I can retake all of this and finish up what I need to finish up over the summer and/or fall.

For a variety of reasons, I have come to terms with the fact that Nigel is emotionally abusive to me. Also, it has now been so long since we had sex that if I had gotten pregnant the last time, and had carried to term, I would be the mother of a two-week-old infant right now. I will be leaving him as soon as I can financially manage it. This will probably happen in one of two ways:

1. My mom's house sells by the time I have my associate's. I get my inheritance money, set up my own bank account, portion it out to cover my living expenses for at least a year and get my own apartment. I transfer to Western and follow my previous plan as far as my bachelor's goes.

2. My mom's house doesn't sell by the time I have my associate's. I move in with my dad and commute to Central for my bachelor's.

I have stopped wearing my wedding ring. He hasn't noticed.

I intend to get back into the dating scene as soon as the divorce is final but not until then. I'm sure a lot of people consider it okay to date when merely separated, and I think that's fine, but I made a promise and I'm not going to break it until it's dissolved.

Work is going okay but I'm definitely going to have to quit by the time I transfer schools. It's just too much for me to be full-time at school and part-time at work.

Chromie is a good girl and learning a lot. When I have it together a little more I am going to join Dog Scouts of America with her.

Have decided not to go back to brown with my hair for a while yet, at least another half a decade.

I will probably do my master's somewhere in Michigan and then go to the UK for my doctorate. It's looking like my best option over there is University of Sheffield--they have a super badass archaeology department. I hope to be able to get my own flat rather than a flat or house share because I think living with a bunch of strangers and living in a foreign country for the first time should be steps I take separately. This may be something I can use some of my inheritance for, if it doesn't all get eaten up in the mortgage before the house sells.

I have lost a bunch of the birth control weight. I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and was startled to realize that my hips are noticeably smaller. My boobs have stayed basically the same size. I am now in a 30G (US 30I) for most of the month and a 30GG (US 30J) when my hormones dictate. However, I am in a 12 in jeans now.

My toenails are almost completely recovered from their problems earlier in the year. By next summer I will feel comfortable wearing open-toe shoes again. My fingernails are strong and healthy and are all at or past the ends of my fingers, which is kind of blowing my mind.

Dad is coming down for Thanksgiving. I will figure out something to cook that's not ridiculously elaborate.

I am going to do faux suede for the Mirkwood archer costume after all, since I'm not getting money from my mom's estate until the house sells (which is the smart thing to do and I'm not complaining).

I still haven't found a new winter coat. Possibly by January, and definitely by next winter, I will fit back into my old one.

There is some hardcore cleaning necessary in this apartment but I won't be able to get to it until after Christmas.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
A new winter coat, black, with good wool content and a hood.

New hair sticks.

New earrings.

A pair of jeans that fits properly.

Two or three winter dresses.

More black tops.

Two or three pairs of wool tights.

New winter gloves.

Muslin, suede, and silk for making my elf costume.

Yarn for at least three more dog sweaters.

A winter handbag.

A spring/fall jacket with a hood.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Chromie is learning to sit and stay, will occasionally lie down or roll over on command, and has begun to realize that I am in charge of any and all walks, not she. She sits in her bed and waits when I put her food down until I say she can have it; she has learned to play tug with her squeaky fox rather than either A) refusing to take hold of something someone else has or B) waiting for an opening, stealing the toy quickly and taking it into her crate to attempt to eat it.

It's been at least a week since she's had an accident in the apartment, which means we're learning her signals and she's adapting to our schedule.

She is making slow progress on her leash manners. She will walk mostly calmly (occasionally attempting to chase a bug--I keep telling her, you can't chase 'em all, there's just not enough hours in the day) when there are no people or other dogs around, but she is very easily distracted when there are. We were behind the building today and the pissy little Min Pin bounded into its second-floor window and started a screaming match with her, but I was able to get her to calm down and behave well for the rest of the walk.

Unfortunately, the little kids who live in my building are afraid of her.

She has not and would not offer to hurt them, but they're really small and they see a strange dog trying to run up to them and they get afraid. She wants to play, but then they get scared and go and try to hide behind their van or the stairs or whatever, and friends, I realized today that we could have named her Reaver. If you run, she has to chase you; it's her way.

I'm glad they don't run up and try to pet and hug her, though. That would just reinforce her apparent belief that she is in charge of everyone and everything in the complex.

She got her first bath on Wednesday. She stood quiet for it and didn't try to escape even though she obviously didn't like it and knows how to get the bathroom door open from both sides.

She enjoys sitting on the couch with me and watching Buffy. Some dogs won't take any notice of the TV, and some will look around trying to figure out where that sound is coming from, but she actively watches. It's pretty cute.

Based on her behavior and some more research I've done, I think Chromie is actually a purebred Russell terrier, which is the variety of Jack Russell that is slightly shorter in comparison to its length. This is what's called a Jack Russell terrier in Australia and, enthusiasts claim, is actually closer to what the Rev. John Russell was breeding all those years ago, and there's some screwy stuff that happened with the standard and what-all and for a while any small mostly-white terrier was getting called a Jack Russell terrier or something, and anyway the name Jack Russell terrier was taken already in the UK and the US when these people got together and said, this is the real Jack Russell terrier.

Now the AKC calls the taller ones Parson Russell terriers and, as I understand it, the UKC calls the show type Parson Russells and the working type Jack Russells, and in the US and the UK the kind I have are Russell terriers.

It's possible I'm totally confused about all of this and most of what I've just said is wrong.

Anyway, we're pretty sure Chromie is a Russell terrier, but I just tell people she's a Jack Russell because that's what they understand. The trainer at Petco was like, "But she has a curly tail," which, the breed standard says no curly tails, but they dock them in the US, and apparently a lot of JRTs have the curly tail before docking; it's just a fault, your average pet quality purebred is going to have a lot of those.

Russell terriers are 10-12" high, and Chromie is about 11 1/2 or 12" high; they're supposed to weigh 1kg for every 5cm of height, so she should weigh somewhere between 12.85 and 13.5 pounds. Little Miss weighs 11.6, but her ribs are showing. She'll flesh out. She's already started to a little.

It is still possible, obviously, that she's not a pure Russell terrier. She could be just about anything, and we'll never know. But as she has grown more comfortable here, and as she has recovered from her spay, she has acted more and more Terrier, and she looks almost exactly like one of the bitches I saw on a breeder website. If you go to this page, scroll down a little, and look at the picture of the bitch lying down right next to where it says "'Lily' at Tunnel Quest", I had to do a double-take because I thought for a second they had a picture of my dog.

She's hilariously smart. I can see her learning a command in three or four tries, but then she makes this shift where she'll try to trick me into thinking she doesn't understand so she can get more treats out of me. Also, both Biskitt and Gixxer would be fooled when I would pretend to throw a toy but really drop it into my other hand behind my back; Chromie looks at me like I'm stupid. She's smart enough to figure out that I didn't really throw it, but she's a dog, so she's not quite figured out that I'm trying to trick her; she thinks I think I've thrown it. It's so cute.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))

This is Chromie Tiberius Rainbow Dash Fuzzsprocket III [Lastname], and she will have been with us for a week tomorrow morning. She is dreaming on my lap right now.

We think she's a mix of Jack Russell Terrier, Italian greyhound, and velcro. She prefers to spend most of her time asleep on our laps or cuddled up next to us on the couch. She gets pretty hyper when it's time to go outside, and doesn't have the greatest leash manners, but she tries really hard to let us know when she needs to potty (not her fault if we occasionally misunderstand), she goes into her crate like a champ, and it took her two tries today to learn to go outside the kitchen and find something else to do while I was cooking.

She is just the size that Biskitt was. I don't know how accurate it is but I get very strong sense memory when I see her little head and her paws.

I have taken to addressing her as furball, and then foo boo or foo boos as a cute-ification of that. I also occasionally call her Chrome Dome, Cro Magnon or Chromium Picolinate. At this point she answers more to my tone of voice than to the actual words.

She does some mouthing in play if she gets too excited. We are trying to sort of yip and take away our attention for a few seconds to make her understand that she shouldn't. It seems to be working okay so far. We do think she is still a puppy to some degree; the shelter listed her on Petfinder as about a year old but then when we went to visit they said she was two or three. Small dogs are often pretty puppy-like until they're three or four, though.

She is a little contortionist and likes to lie on her back in strange positions, which definitely says greyhound to me. She is also lightning fast; I can't tell if she does the double suspension gallop or not because I literally cannot follow her with my eye when she runs. She has got the deep chest and tucked belly, and I think her curled tail is possibly what happens when the hooked greyhound tail is carried upright like a Jack Russell's.

She has only just met us but she loves us.


Jun. 30th, 2011 11:53 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Next time I move, I am going to make goddamn sure I'm not less than a mile away from where they do an air show every summer unless I'm keeping a normal-business-hours schedule. I do not appreciate being woken out of a sound fucking sleep an hour and a half before I'm supposed to get up by a fucking fighter jet flying overhead that makes me think I'm hearing an imminent fucking tornado. You know, so that I'm woken early and I think I'm about to die.

So, Yeah

Jun. 5th, 2011 02:49 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Not a lot going on Chez Wolfie lately. We're trying to figure out how we can save more money, and the answer seems to be coming down to "eat more cheaply".

Which--really, we've fallen into the habit of eating a bunch of prepackaged crap, and it costs too much to do that when I have the time to cook. I don't usually feel like cooking, but that's not really an excuse; also I don't usually feel like doing the dishes so there's clean cookware, which is also not an excuse. It's time to be a fucking grown-up.

Based on our current income, and the debt we have, we could qualify right now for about a $40-50k mortgage, if we could save up a down payment and closing costs. Which we could do, if we were smart about it.

To that end, I am going to figure out what kinds of things I should be cooking that will keep us full and happy while at the same time being cheap. I'm going to start making my own bread on a regular basis--my bread, because Nigel has this ridiculous worry that if I make his sandwich bread it's going to go stale before he eats it all, so whatever.

I'm also going to start making more casseroles. We can afford to eat things like chicken if it's in something that will stretch for a couple days, so that's what we'll do.

I also proposed a rule: we do not eat out anymore except for our anniversary and birthdays. If we want pizza, I fucking have a pizza recipe. If we want Chinese, I have recipes for that.

This new money-saving plan also means I have to suck it up and not buy, for instance, new nail polish just because I feel like it. It pains me to say it but I do not get to have any of the OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection. I can't afford to be buying things I don't need and I have more than enough polish colors, especially when you consider that I almost never wear anything but nudes to work anyway. Exceptions to this rule, obviously, would be things I have coupons for, like the $10 off a $10 purchase I got for opening my Sally's card (spent already)--things, basically, that are actually free.

Things we need but not urgently right this second, we'll check Goodwill, yard sales and Craigslist first. There is no reason to pay full price for anything unless we have to have it right now or nobody is selling it used.

So we'll shave as much off our monthly budget as we can, and we'll start actually paying something on Nigel's student loans every month. It's going to be hard kicking him in the ass to call them and offer them a smaller monthly payment than what they want as a minimum, but he needs to do it, and he needs to consolidate the ones he hasn't yet. The amount we owe per month on those is what affects how much of a mortgage we qualify for, and obviously if we're not able to pay it that's going to screw our credit more and more over time and then we may not be able to get a mortgage at all.

Why am I talking about buying a house, I'm sure you're all thinking.

There are a large number of houses here in town that are for sale for around $20-30k, many of them in good shape except for cosmetic shit that doesn't matter, all of them in the size range we would want. If we bought one, we would be paying around $300-350 or so a month for the mortgage, taxes and insurance, as compared to the $565 a month we're paying for rent right now. We would then in turn be able to pay off Nigel's student loans faster while putting some money in savings and getting a dog.

We wouldn't want to buy something that costs the entire amount we'd qualify for. We'd want to budget a certain amount and either buy a house that's exactly how we want it that costs that or buy a house that needs a little work that costs a little less, and then still take the mortgage out in the full amount and spend the extra on whatever needs to be done.

We'd have to replace some of our furniture. A lot of the particle board stuff is not going to survive our next move, and the coffee table really has mostly fallen apart already. That's what yard sales are for.

Anyway, it's going to be a while until we can do this. I think it'll take us at least a year to save up a decent down payment. We're still going to see if we can find somewhere to rent that's cheaper than here, because every little bit helps, and they've extended the time until they want to make us sign a lease for a couple months because we're thinking about leaving and they want to keep us.

But we can do it.

Nigel doesn't think we can. He hears "not right now" and gives up; that's his depression talking. I'm going to chivvy him along until he gets on board with it. He'll be a lot happier if we can just squeeze enough into our savings to get to where we can breathe a little. And we can, and we will.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
I'm going to be terribly crass and talk about money in specific terms. Some shit has converged this past week to make me realize that if broke people keep quiet about how broke we actually are the people who have a little bit of money will never know what being broke actually means.

Nigel makes $9 an hour at his temp factory job. The past couple weeks he has gotten about 38 hours a week and brought home paychecks of about $260.

It used to be he would work about 45 hours a week--sometimes up to 50--but then the tsunami hit Japan and it turns out factories don't run well without any parts to assemble. Things seem to be picking up again; they're not making him spend most of his time cleaning his work station rather than doing his actual job anymore, for instance. When he was getting more hours, he was bringing home between $350 and $400 a week, it seemed like.

I make $7.40 an hour and I usually work between 8 and 16 hours a week. My paychecks are usually between $45 and $90.

Between the two of us, we have made, I would say, about $1430 in the last month.

We pay $565 for rent, $150 or so for car insurance, $150 or so for the cable/internets/phone, $50 or so for electric, $30 or so for gas. That's the gas bill, not the gas we put in our cars, which is probably another $100 or so, depending on what the gas prices do. We spend $142 on my Ritalin prescription. I'm trying to get back on the generic, so that should go down, but the idiot Dr. New talked over me while I was explaining this to him and wrote the script for Ritalin LA but in the generic name, because he's too much of a dumbass to listen to a patient who tells him Ritalin LA doesn't have a generic because it's under patent until 2015. We should save about $100 on that when I get him to listen and write it for Ritalin SR instead.

We spend about $450 a month, give or take, on food and other groceries (things like toilet paper, deodorant, and sandwich baggies).

So our total monthly expenses, before you factor in anything like, say, my needing a summer work wardrobe or Nigel's brakes leaking all over the place and making his engine smoke, are about $1640.

When Nigel was getting more hours at work, we could cover that. This month we can't, quite. We're $210 in the hole.

My dad helps us out when we need it. We're lucky to have that.

The other day I mentioned to my boss that we were looking for a house to rent that would be cheaper than what we're paying here. (We're hoping to check out a place on Tuesday that's $395 a month; that plus my cheaper prescription would mean we could start paying something on Nigel's student loans every month.) My boss mentioned that there was a house in her neighborhood with a for rent sign on it, and drew me a little map. Today we went to check it out.

My boss lives on a lake. The house that she was talking about has lake frontage.

I mean, it's not for rent anymore, the sign wasn't there when we drove by. Someone snapped it up. But for damn sure we cannot afford to rent waterfront property.

People do not know how anyone lives who is not at least as well-off as them. They tend to assume you just can't do it.

When we were filing bankruptcy we had to do this online budget counseling thing that involved a live chat with an actual person, who recommended that we cancel our cable and save that $150. We didn't waste our time and energy trying to explain to him that that bill includes our phone and internet, not just cable, or that we are under contract and would incur a fee (that we can't pay) for canceling. It is not worth it to try to tell people that shit.

When I talk about this, I get accused of "playing the poverty card" and/or "making everything about being poor". But when you are poor, everything is about being poor. You can't make any plans or decisions without your state of broke-assedness being the number one consideration.

Like: I haven't registered for fall classes yet, even though I know what I want to take, because the community college I attend requires payment in full within 24 hours of registration and I don't have $1000 to give them for 12 credits.

Well, I do have $1000, but that money has to go to bills.

Last semester my dad paid them and then I gave him the money when the financial aid came in. I bet he would do it again but I don't want to ask him for it.

He has also told me he'll pay for me to get my teeth cleaned. I don't want to let him do it. I need to go to the dentist but I don't know if anyone can understand, not having been in this situation, the crushing, cringing guilt that fills you when someone who should have been able to stop supporting you ten years ago has to pay for you to do something that you need, but don't really need. He just paid for Nigel to get his brakes fixed, after all.

We didn't really need that, either. We don't really need two cars. It just makes things easier.

I keep thinking there has to be a way we could get by with less but everything I think of comes down to getting rid of just all entertainment, and we're so depressed already.

I shouldn't have bought fresh beef to make sandwiches tomorrow. Fuck. I'm so sick of hot dogs but Ball Parks are only 99¢ for a pack of eight. If we eat utter shit we can probably save $100, maybe even $200 a month. But we eat such shit already. I'm getting a little nauseated thinking about eating worse than we do.

You guys, I am so tired of being poor.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Guess who has a 4.0? HELLZ YEAH

So Yeah

May. 10th, 2011 05:21 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Having been off my birth control for a month, I think I can safely say that A LOT of my depression and anxiety was the hormones jerking up and down between the end of one patch and the beginning of a new one.

I'm not, like, totally without anxiety now, or anything, but it's a ridiculous amount better.

Also have lost an inch off my hips and about half a cup size.

Meanwhile, the new management of my apartment complex have sent us a letter saying that our "lease" is "expiring" at the end of the month, totally ignoring the fact that we don't have a lease and have been month-to-month since last June. They want us to sign a new lease or they're going to charge us an extra fee.

They would also like proof of income and photocopies of our driver's licenses, both things the old management company already had and if they didn't pass them on I don't see how that's my problem.

They also persist in addressing everything to Nigel even though I am the only one they have ever had contact with, the one who signs the checks, and indeed the one whose name is at the top of the checks. So that's making me a bit stabby.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Okay, kids! To get an Associate of Arts, I have to take 20 more credits, and my plan (we'll see how well it works out) is to take 10 in the fall and 10 in the spring. To meet the required number of credits to graduate, I only need 18 more, but I have to fulfill specific degree requirements.

The stuff I plan to take is:

- COMM 101 Interpersonal Communication
- HIST 151 Early Western World
- HIST 201 Global History to 1500
- either PEC 152 Weight Training or PEC 161 Yoga/Pilates Fusion (I have to take a "healthy living" class)
- ASTR 104 Introductory Astronomy
- HUMA 150 Encounter With the Arts
- MUSI 211 Music Appreciation

Apparently my eight credits of choir, which did transfer, do not count as eight credits of "creativity electives". Also, some of this stuff has honors versions, and I might be able to get into those.

After I do this stuff, I'll transfer to Western in the fall of 2012 and spend four semesters taking nothing but anthro and Latin. Then I will have a bachelor's in anthropology with a Latin minor, and then I will apply to Ph.D. programs like a mad thing.

My anthro prof this semester also teaches at MSU--I may have mentioned this--and he thinks I'm awesome and wants me to keep in touch, and also he will write one recommendation letter for anyone who gets at least a B in his class. Since I'm pretty sure I've got, like, 99.5% in the class, that won't be a problem.

Also I'm kind of hoping I can get into the Ph.D. program at MSU, since Nigel will probably get this electrician apprenticeship thing and he'll still be in the middle of it when I finish my bachelor's. I'll go somewhere else if that's where I get the best funding package, but I won't be able to bring him with me. And I'm hoping my current (or, I guess, just-now-former) prof will be the kind of connection that helps me get into that program.

Nigel does not understand the concept of graduate funding. I keep trying to explain it to him. If I do it right, they will pay for my tuition and they will pay me a stipend to live on while I study. It will not be something we have to take a financial hit for because I "could have been working". It will be my job.

Then I will be Dr. Slythwolf and he will probably still be bitching about how I should have just gone to nursing school because JOBS. 9_9

But hey! I'm done with my first semester back in school! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
So obviously I've been busy with school this semester.

I am kicking ass in both my classes, so that's good. I am doing well at work and enjoying my various crafting endeavors. Once in a while I even find time to play some WoW.

I fucked up my big toenails by letting them grow too long and then pulling my socks too tight at work. The seam on trouser socks is right between my toenail and the skin under it and by yanking them up periodically to keep them smooth under my foot all night I actually yanked the skin and toenail apart from one another. It's worse on the right, but I have trimmed them and peroxided them clean and have got a dual bandaid plus neosporin contraption going so it should all be good before too long.

Nigel has expressed exasperation with my need to explain every little thing I learn in anthropology to him. I don't want to bore him with it (on the basis that I don't want him to bore me with every tiny detail about his bass guitar), but explaining this stuff to others is a really valuable review technique, so I'm probably going to start talking about it here instead.
slythwolf: (Giggles)
I was offended. I was insulted.

I don't actually care if he didn't mean it that way, and I don't actually care if other people who also identify as computer nerds "would have" said the same thing. (For a start, they didn't.)

I am not actually all that knowledgeable about computers. This is entirely beside the point. This particular person has a long and storied history of assuming the women in the guild are less knowledgeable than he is, but not the men.

The Ravelry forums are not "for advice" and it is nonsensical to suggest that they are. They are for discussion. If the forums themselves were for advice then Ravelry would not also run advice columns.

The fact of the matter is that unsolicited advice is never polite. It is never polite to say to another person, "Here's what you should do," unless that person has asked for your input.

Further, the fact that my statement that I don't want to receive unsolicited advice was met with a chorus of "but we think you should be grateful" just goes to show that this particular group of people does not respect my autonomy. As an adult human being I have the right to decide in what forms of conversation I am willing to participate, and unsolicited advice from people who barely know me and who make unwarranted assumptions about my intelligence and my computing needs is not one of them.

I am not grateful. I am offended and insulted.

It's time I came out of hiding in this guild. It's time I made it absolutely clear to every member that I am a radical feminist and a queer person and I will not sit down and shut up when someone says something I think is sexist or queerphobic. You can think whatever bigoted bullshit you want in the privacy of your own head but you don't get to do it in front of me, not unchallenged.

And it's time I stopped trying to be friends with people whose response to someone's excitement about something is to shit all over it and make them feel stupid.

A Thought

Jan. 31st, 2011 07:20 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Generally speaking, my social anxiety doesn't keep me from saying whatever arch or cutting thing is on my mind. So most people have no idea I have it.

What it does do is make me spend the next several weeks cringing internally and going "OMG I SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT NOW SOMEONE IS GOING TO BE MAD AT ME". But it makes me think that even if what I said was not arch or cutting.

So if it ever seems like I'm avoiding you personally, I'm probably just embarrassed about something I said to you that you don't even remember.


slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)

October 2012



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