A Year in Review…2017…

It’s that time again.

2018 is the Year of the Dog.

2011…The House…
2012…Denver and Andy Grammer…
2013…If it Ain’t One Thing…
2014…The Phantom Smoke Stench…
2015…WTF Day Is It…
2016…The Whole Gaddam World is on Fire….

 

2017 was The Year of…The Nose…and OMFG WHAT NOW???

 

Hoo boy.

 

Hey, remember last year when I talked about things getting worse before they get better and how long is it going to take to turn the corner and how bad is it really going to get first and OH MY GOD I DID NOT REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO THOSE QUESTIONS BUT HERE WE ARE WITH NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN.

*ahem*

It’s been another YEAR. A year of screaming in abject horror at the news on a daily basis. (Or every thirty-five seconds as the case may be, give or take.)

Oh.

Ye.

Gods.

This was a rough one in a lot of ways. And I’m so bloody tired. I’m trying so hard to hold on and appreciate the good things—because there ARE good things—but JFC it is not easy.

Deep breath.

BECAUSE I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE.

No.

It’s not getting old yet.

 

1.) Where did you ring in 2017?
Honestly, I don’t even remember New Years Eve anymore. We were at home, yes. But what were we doing? I…don’t know. It’s probably a safe bet to assume it involved video games. I went back and looked through some interwebz activity to see if I posted anything, and apparently I watched part of a live stream from NYC with a Gavin DeGraw performance, so we were at least in the loft and not the living room, which likely means if anything we were playing FFXIV. Otherwise I am blank on the details. (This is really nothing new.)

2.) What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
I had surgery—septoplasty and bi-lateral turbinate reduction. Recovery was rough and the bills were offensive, but I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE PROPERLY.

3.) Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Sometimes I think I should just replace this question with one that has a chance of having a real answer each year. (Other than no, that is.)

4.) Did anyone close to you get engaged or married?
Not…that I’m aware of…?

5.) Did anyone close to you get pregnant or give birth?
I think I’ve reached the age where everyone I know is done having babies until their babies start having babies.

6.) Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt died in August after a long battle with cancer. Her funeral was held in place of her planned 70th birthday party.

7.) How did you earn your keep?
Still pretending to be a housewife.

8.) What countries places did you visit?
The biggest adventure we had this year was Surgery Day. I’ll take it.

9.) What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
A cleaner house. Seriously. I’m setting the bar at roughly attainable.

10.) What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
July 10th. Surgery Day. It was an expensive medical venture that actually yielded results and I am still boggled by that.

11.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I completed a double Project 365. I did not enjoy it. I wanted to quit several times. But I stuck with it because I wanted to actually finish something in the creative vein.

12.) What was your biggest failure?
Lack of progress in just about every corner of my life.

13.) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a bad cold at the beginning of the year that lasted too long and surgery recovery was a lot rougher than I anticipated.

14.) Did you ever encounter the police?
The new Mega Church campus across the road has city police on site every time they hold service. Why does a church need constant police presence? It’s disturbing.

15.) What was the best thing you bought?
Bob bought me a new computer after my other one decided it didn’t like batteries anymore. He also bought me a new set of pans and new Chucks. See also: my husband spoils me.

16.) Where did most of your money go?
Hahahahahahahahaha, medical bills.

17.) What did you get really excited about?
Andy Grammer put out a new album. Also being able to breathe through my nose.

18.) Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder? Meh…it’s been a terrible year for my mental health.
…thinner or fatter? Fatter…the past few months saw a small spike in weight, though I don’t think my habits have changed. So that’s nice.
…richer or poorer? Poorer…medical bills and debt are fun.

19.) What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. It’s been a rough year for writing.

20.) What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying about the horrifying state of the world.

21.) How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve with my family. Christmas Day with Bob’s family.

22.) What are your short and long term goals for 2018?
Short Term: Annual appointments. It’s always a production to get through those.
Long Term: Getting the second bedroom cleaned out so it no longer looks like an episode of Hoarders and installing the shelving unit in the closet.

23.) What was your favorite TV program?
We kind of gave up on our regular TV shows this year. We watched a lot more anime with a Crunchy Roll subscription. And we’ve been really enjoying the Critical Role streams.

24.) What were your favorite books of the year?
I wish I read more books, but focus and reading comprehension make it incredibly difficult to get through them. It only took me about thirty minutes to read, but I really liked Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun. Also The Highly Accurate & 100% Correct in Every Way ANATOMY OF ANIMALS! by Dave Kellett is good for a laugh.

25.) What was your favorite music from this year?
Andy Grammer put out a new album. Train put out a new album. Darren Criss and Mat Kearney put out new music. O.A.R., Nine Days, and Gavin DeGraw are constant staples. And I re-discovered Splender after a good decade-plus of hiding in my music arsenal.

26.) What song will always remind you of 2017?
I’ll say Yeah, Whatever by Splender simply because I listened to this damn acoustic version a couple hundred times.

27.) What were your favorite films of the year?
Based on our increased consumption of anime, Your Name was really good.

28.) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 38 this year. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. It was a Sunday. We were lazy at home, I had a headache, and we had Culvers for dinner because I wanted onion rings and they’re right across the road from our house.

29.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Significant writing progress. I don’t even care what story. I just want progress again.

30.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Pajama pants and hoodies for life, Kids.

31.) What kept you sane?
Bob. Always. And music. Forever.

32.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
There were (was? were?) a multitude of music makers holding my attention, as usual.

33.) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Recovery takes time.
Surgery is the easy part. It’s the recovery that sucks. Minor surgery is still surgery and when that minor procedure has a massive impact on your ability to breathe properly, hey—maybe it’s going to take time to work through that. Also general anesthesia is reeeeeeaaaaaally weird. I saw a blue oxygen mask come over my face and then I opened my eyes in a completely different room. That missing block of time is disorienting and unnerving. But it was worth it.

Sunshine Soldier…

Andy Grammer.

Remember when I had about seventy-five embarrassing posts in a row babbling incessantly about this guy?

Yeah.

He still holds a prominent place in my music-obsessed heart.

When we saw him live last year, he played a new song called The Good Parts. It was just him and his piano and it was magic.

 

 

I’ll admit it. I cried the first time I listened to this thing. (Nevermind I cry at E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.)

Going into a new album by my obsessions favorites always comes with a weird anxiety and apprehension. What is it going to sound like? Is it going to live up to my ridiculous standards? Am I going to be cursing Basil for pulling some half-baked story idea out of a random lyric? How many replays is it going to take for it to feel like part of the family?

This is my brain and welcome to it.

AG is probably the only person who can pull off a song called Grown Ass Man Child. And I didn’t think it was possible for him to get more adorable, but then he became a dad and Spaceship is peak precious. I sit here looking at the track list, thinking I could probably imagine every single one of these songs live and OOF. (Now if only that March tour date was at a venue with some damn reserved seating.)

The whole album end to end is unabashedly Andy. He is a bright spot in this chaotic disaster of a world.

I think we could all use a little more of that.

 


(Give Love [live] by Andy Grammer)

Standing in the dark…

It’s offensive-something-o’clock in the middle of the night and I’m sitting at my desk in the dark with a mug of room-temperature tea.

As I’m writing this, the oldest post on the main page of ye olde blog is my Year in Review survey for 2016. Which means I’ve only published ten posts in 2017. If I actually post this one, it will finally push that one to the next page. But still. That’s pathetic. I used to write so much more. And considering how much I’m paying for this domain, I really need to be making better use of this space. I miss it. I just haven’t had the brain power to focus on it.

My writing as a whole has suffered immensely in the last year. As has my mental health. There are many contributing factors to this, but the horrifying state of the world ranks highest.

But I don’t want to talk about that.

Making listing posts always feels like a cop-out, but it allows me to purge my brain without having to actually connect the thoughts spilling out. I’m still writing, so I need to just stop trying to justify my habits to the ether.

1.) I put together a shoe rack for the coat closet by the front door. It’s metal with mesh shelves and canvas drawers and way more storage than we actually need for shoes, but that closet is also way more storage than we need for our coats, so I just created functional storage for other stuff and now the toolbox is tucked away instead of sitting in random places in the living room. Up next…installing shelving in the closet in the second bedroom. Because I am going to get that episode of Hoarders under control if it kills me.

2.) I have 23 posts sitting in drafts. Some of them are mostly finished but haven’t been published for varied and sundry reasons. There are a few I’m tempted to just post without any additional context even though they are completely irrelevant and outdated compared to when they were originally written. I want to post them in part because it would inexplicably amuse me. In part because the writing doesn’t suck. We’ll see what happens.

3.) Sometimes now I sit and breathe deeply through my nose BECAUSE I CAN. I paid $6,000 to do this. Nearly five months post-op and I still boggle that I paid that much money and it ACTUALLY WORKED. I no longer feel like I’m forcing air through Silly Putty and I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS MUCH AIR AT ONE TIME. *ahem*

4.) I started writing a thing in the middle of summer and I was doing really well [for me] at focusing on just one project and then a certain little gremlin crawled out of his hidey-hole, and started tapping me on the shoulder whispering WHATIF? And once again we’re back to careening down the side of Basil’s MF WHATIF mountain. Which wouldn’t be a terrible thing if there was a single comprehensive plot in the bunch, but there’s really not. It’s just a heap of half-baked ideas that could be worth something if there was anything even resembling a complete story. I have a love-hate relationship with this phase of my deranged writing cycle. On one hand…IDEAS! SO! MANY! IDEAS! On the other hand…okay I wrote down those ideas and there is no discernible plot in here anywhere. I’m writing, but it only goes so far before the well runs dry on each one. Then I find myself questioning why I even bother in the first place.

5.) I may spend a lot of time cursing Basil’s incessant whatif-ing, but that doesn’t stop me from finding songs to use as character theme songs.

6.) Bob bought me a new video game. It’s an upgrade to my home architect program. I’ve had it less than a month and I’ve probably invested more hours into it than any actual game I’ve played in the last year. The platypus approves.

 

 

7.) I forgot to resize the object before placing it and the Giant Mouse amused me far more than it probably should have and I’m gonna need Jelly Cat to make me a 10-foot Emerson Mouse please and thank you.

 

One Decade…

Oh hey it’s the middle of November.

Thanksgiving is next week.

I haven’t written anything here since the middle of September.

Because reasons. A lot of reasons.

It’s November 18th.

Ten years ago today I spent eight hours sitting in a Caribou talking to a boy I met on the internet.

Ten.

Years.

My twenties were full of a lot of bad, BAD decisions. But an insomnia-induced whim to create a profile on a free dating website I’d never heard of resulted in the single greatest thing to ever happen to me.

A whole decade.

That’s a long time for someone who had resigned herself to being single for her entire life.

I’ll take it.

And another several decades on top of it, please and thank you.

December 2, 2007 … the first picture of US

He was twenty-five. I was twenty-eight. We look so damn young. Because we were, I guess.

Standing right here…

I currently have twenty-six posts sitting in drafts.

There are a few that are mostly finished, but I have no intention of posting. Things I’ve written that I thought I wanted to dump into the ether, but once it was on the page I no longer felt compelled to press publish. I keep them because it felt better getting it out of my head. It’s the closest thing I have to a private journal these days.

Other posts are disjointed ramblings that happen at all hours of the night*, that don’t sound quite right so they sit until I figure out how to fix them, use pieces in other posts, or delete them completely.

 

Writing feels impossible lately.

 

I post inane shit on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat to entertain myself, but nothing that actually means anything.

I stare at blinking cursors on blank pages, willing words to come out, but it just doesn’t happen.

My head is not in a good place right now.

A large part of that is the never-ending shit storm in the news—fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, mass shootings, a pile of rotting human excrement masquerading as president determined to destroy people’s lives. I try to limit my news intake for the sake of my sanity, but it’s incredibly difficult to do no matter where you go. It’s everywhere.

These big things I have zero control over drive me to hyper-focus on all the little things happening in my immediate vicinity. Those little things pile up to bigger things and it feels paralyzing and suffocating. Things that should just roll off become impossible to deal with, and I feel absolutely insane because I KNOW how insignificant it all is, but in the moment it feels like the world is caving in.

We’ve been having problems with mice. We’ve caught two, but I’m not convinced that’s the end of it, and I am REALLY FUCKING TIRED of cleaning mouse shit out of my kitchen cupboards.

I had a minor infection up my nose at incision site. It cleared itself up by the time I got into the doctor, but it was a panic-inducing few days. And while the surgeon said everything was a-okay, I still have this paranoia that the lingering soreness in my nose is brewing another infection.

Totaling up all my surgery related bills has come to $6,000 even. It actually cost way more than that, but I hit my deductible. We’re fortunate the expense won’t break us, but it’s still painful.

Writing is not happening lately and it’s really killing my mental state. (In addition to the previously mentioned JFC THE WORLD SUCKS.)

The high 80’s temperatures in the middle of September are really intensifying the Summertime SAD. We had a few days of 60’s and hoodie weather. It’s forecasted to return. But it can’t get here soon enough.

 

GOOD THINGS

Bob bought me a new set of pans. Our existing ones were a wedding gift and we’ve only been using them since we moved into our house, but the finish is wearing badly and some of them are warping. The new ones are heavier construction and [reportedly] better quality.

We have a four-day weekend coming up. Bob had some vacation time to use and our anniversary is next week. We’ll be lounging around the house doing what we do best…nothing.

I got a new computer mouse and it has fancy lights that cycle through a rainbow of colors. Rainbows make everything better.

Bob bought me new Chucks for my surgery. They’re bright blue and technically part of the Converse Pride Collection, so they have rainbow soles and laces. (Rainbows make everything better.) It wasn’t so much a gift for having surgery, but surviving the multitude of panic attacks brought on by scheduling/planning/et al. said surgery. See also: I am incredibly spoiled.

I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE.

 

It’s incredibly telling—and sad—that they automatically send a financial assistance application with the bill.

 

* Trust me, they’re different from the disjointed ramblings that happen at all hours of the night that actually get posted.

Melting over time…

Oh hey, it’s August.

July was fully centered on surgery and recovery and staring blankly at various points in front of me because I didn’t have the energy for much else. Aside from whining about it on Twitter. I did A LOT of whining about it on Twitter.

Nothing new there.

So.

Stuff.

And things…

1.) I may or may not write a lengthy post about septoplasty and bilateral turbinate reduction. I have plenty to say, but…effort. In short, things are still sore if I bump my nose—which is often gaddammit—and I can’t put full pressure behind blowing my nose. But I can breathe clearly and I have no idea how to handle this much oxygen at one time. I am genuinely shocked that I have finally had success with an expensive medical venture. The insurance statements are rolling in and oh my god that’s a lot of dollars, but I won’t have to pay for all of it—just most of it—because I hit my asinine deductible.

2.) I’ve been trying to drink Kombucha. I say trying because it smells like beer, tastes less offensive, and burns the hell out of my stomach. Also it’s ridiculously expensive for a 12-15oz bottle of bacteria. But fermented foodstuffs are rumored to help anxiety. (Mostly social anxiety, but anxiety nonetheless.) Normally I’m highly skeptical of all this current day EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT 100% NATURAL IS EVIL AND GOING TO KILL YOU screeching, but I get a little experimental when it comes to managing my plethora of mental ailments because I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m not [currently] willing to go back and play the Let’s Try This One Next! game with medication. Again.

3.) We went to my sister’s for Ellie’s birthday last weekend. My baby is 14 and starting high school this year. She’s become a video game and anime geek and Auntie Sara is so proud. But still. HIGH SCHOOL!? (Noah’s going to be in 11th grade and Hunter is starting college. STOP GROWING UP ON ME.)

4.) I’ve been on a Splender and Toad the Wet Sprocket kick recently. Because I like my music at least old enough to drive, apparently. Listening to Toad really makes me miss 90’s alternative. And watching those Splender videos looks like James Cruz has barely aged in damn near 20 years. WHAT THE HELL, JAMES? (Seriously, how old is he? We saw him play with Gavin DeGraw and I would have guessed he was younger than me, but Splender formed in 1990, which would likely put him at least mid-40’s and he has to have some sort of youth serum.) (Also, I had no idea he was even in Splender until recently and I’m still inexplicably boggled I didn’t know this. I’d almost go as far as saying I was shook. But I’m thirty-seven years old, so no. I wasn’t a hardcore Splender fan by any means. Mostly I remember Waymon Boone and his platinum blonde hair. But still. What the hell, James?) Maybe it’s bass players. Benj Gershman hasn’t aged in the history of O.A.R. either. Then again, none of those guys seem to have aged much. What the hell, boys?

This is my brain and welcome to it.

ANYWAY.

5.) I feel like this fortune cookie is a metaphor for something…

As I sit here beating my head against the wall over potential changes in a story project.

Caught in a one-way street…

I didn’t make a single post in the month of May and we’re already approaching the end of June.

Generally in the long stretches between posts, I start, revisit, abandon, and/or delete half a dozen drafts trying to come up with something to write that doesn’t make me want to bang my head against the wall.

This time around…

I don’t think I even really opened WordPress.

I’ve barely been writing anything.

I started this post over a week ago and this is as far as I’ve gotten.

I’m stuck in this weird paralysis with writing as of late. I can’t quite pinpoint what’s causing it, other than a complete lack of inspiration. (Okay, that and the horrifying state of the world. URGH.) I spend a large portion of every day staring at a blinking cursor in Word, but very few words end up on the page. And what I have written is just garbage. FNEH.

 

Listing…

1.) My nose surgery is scheduled for July 10th. I don’t have a time yet, as they don’t give you that information until a couple days before. I have a pre-op appointment on the 3rd and a post-op on the 14th. The anxiety is already high and it will spike exponentially when the time arrives, but it’s scheduled. And I only had one bad panic attack in the process. There’s a part of me that worries that I’m going to go through this and it’s not going to solve anything—as is my track record with just about ANYTHING health related—but I’m trying to remain realistically optimistic that I’ll be able to breathe properly through my nose when all is said and done.

2.) The new Stormblood expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is out. Bob is on vacation this week to play. This is what we do for vacation. We stay home and play video games. We don’t need fancy (stressful, exhausting, expensive) trips. Avoiding people from the comfort of our home for an entire week is our ideal getaway. (Though FFXIV is an MMO so there is actually interaction with real people while playing. They’re just on the other side of the computer screen.) More than anything, I just love having Bob all to myself for a week.

3.) Andy Grammer put out a new song. Ryan Star put out a new song. These things make me happy.

4.) Savage Garden’s I Want You video recently popped up on Youtube recommendations and then I followed the trail and ended up on their Affirmation video and was pummeled by a nostalgia freight train. That was the first concert I saw as an adult and it pretty well cemented my deep-rooted love for live music.

5.) This is a picture of an itty-bitty-teeny-tiny frog. We went to the in-laws for father’s day and there were literally dozens of these tiny little frogs hopping around the yard. So, so TINY. This little guy could sit on my thumbnail with room to spare. He was so tiny he kept stumbling on the rough surface of the patio as he hopped around. I wanted to keep them all.

(Spell check wants to change itty to titty and that amuses me because I am twelve.)

Setting it off again…

Oh hey.

It’s Sunday night insomnia.

How’s business?

 

I had my annual physical and walked out with orders for blood work, a mammogram, a CT scan of my sinuses, and a referral to an ENT doctor.

Blood work showed I have really low iron and need supplements, but this may be a factor in the monthly headaches that render me utterly useless for three days. Though I won’t know for a few more weeks if the added iron will have any effect. Here’s hoping.

I’m not concerned about the mammogram, as it’s now just a part of the annual fun because family history dictates the smashing of boobs under age 40. It hurts like a sonofabitch, but the whole appointment takes ten minutes and somehow having a strange woman handling my naked boobs is pretty low on the stress and anxiety scale for me. Go figure.

The CT scan and ENT doctor told me that my sinuses and ears are 100% normal, but I have a deviated septum. This is (most likely) the cause of my decades long struggle with sinus problems. Now I get to decide if and when I want to have surgery to correct the problem and have the possibility of being able to breathe properly through my nose for the first time…ever? I’ve decided the if—yes I will—but I need to figure out the when. Which means scheduling the surgery. Which means anxiety. Because surgery. And phone calls. And ME.

The ENT doctor told me most people don’t even know how they ended up with a deviated septum—some are born with it, some are the result of injury. I told him my theory and he told me I was probably right. Pretty much every single year in gym class I took a basketball to the face (and usually a volleyball too) because I went to school with a whole herd of assholes. I really don’t miss those people.

During the ENT appointment, for the hell of it I brought up the gaddamn Phantom Smoke Stench. I really didn’t expect an answer, but he actually called it by name—Phantosmia—and told me that since I had the MRI and EEGs that reported my brain is 100% normal, it’s a sensory issue that there is no fix for. Most people only experience it for a short amount of time—not years like I’ve been dealing with—usually after illness or injury. Maybe someday I won’t smell it anymore. But I won’t hold my breath. (Because I’ll be able to breathe properly through my nose! I hope. I really hope.)

Life. Cripes.

 

My nose angles to the right and my nostrils are very lopsided and there are EIGHT light bulbs in my bathroom and that is highly unnecessary.

All the mess we’re in…

Writing is hard.

Yes, we’re on this again.

It’s two-something in the morning as I write this and I’m not even close to being tired enough to go to bed. Which is great because I have an appointment at 10:15 and I’ll be good and exhausted for that. I had a surge of bad anxiety hit right before bedtime and…here we sit.

The obnoxious thing about it, is it was mostly innocuous nonsense that spiked the anxiety in the first place. But once I went to bed and tried to sleep, I lasted about an hour before I couldn’t stand to stay put any longer. So I got up and made tea, and I’ve been staring at a computer screen doing nothing productive since.

Par for the course.

Anyhoo.

Writing.

…) I’ve been trapped in the manic phase of the writing cycle for quite some time. I jump from project to project, unable to focus on any one thing long enough to make an impact. I read things I’ve written and think, “This doesn’t suck. Why am I not working on this one?” And then I jump to another folder because attention spans are for schmucks.

…) Basil finally seemed to run out of Tyler ideas and then decided to just piss right off. Because he’s an asshole. I suppose I only have myself to blame for conjuring a muse that’s a damn gremlin.

What?

…) I’ve been mulling over a new idea for the past…week?…or so. Though I don’t think I can really call it a new idea, as it really just pulls pieces of existing plotlines to cobble together a slightly different path for essentially the same group of characters. (Perhaps Basil’s well hasn’t run completely dry just yet.) I’ve felt hesitant to actually work on it, because it’s really just another iteration of the thing I’ve been stabbing at for well over a year at this point. Is this one going to actually work? Only one way to find out I suppose, but it’s difficult to get past the paralysis currently blocking my path.

…) There are two stories I actually really want to be working on. One…we all know which one. The other…has issues. I know what the issues are. I just don’t know how to fix them. I’ve tried to shoehorn half a dozen different subplots into it, only to throw them out after realizing none of them fit. It already has Tyler in it, as this was actually the very first Tyler disaster to hit the page. Part of me is beginning to wonder (and by beginning I mean yes, definitely) if Tyler is actually the problem in all of this. But if I’m being honest he’s actually the most interesting character of them all. By comparison at least. Hannah and Joel, as they currently exist, are just really, mind numbingly boring.

…) So where does that leave me? Here, I suppose. Writing this nonsense instead of the stuff I really want to be working on.

This is my brain and welcome to it.

From the time he learned to talk, it was difficult to get a word in edgewise. He was a social creature, always in the middle of the fray. He never had difficulty making friends or charming every last adult to cross his path. Now rapidly approaching his fifteenth birthday, he was practically mute. He rarely looked her in the eye. It was nearly impossible to get him to smile.

Part of her wanted to attribute it to broody teenage independence, but her gut told her it was so much more than that. His anxiety seemed to spike a lot more frequently and he was often agitated with no discernable triggers. He didn’t strike her as being depressed. Experiences with her youngest brother had given her a pretty solid reference point for identifying the signs. There was plenty of melancholy, but he seemed more annoyed than anything. When she prodded him for answers, he claimed he was fine—if he said anything at all—and more often than not, just rolled his eyes when she expressed her concern.

They’d always had a close and candid relationship. He’d always been able to talk to her about anything, no matter how awkward or upsetting it might be. Now he didn’t want to talk to her about even the most innocuous subjects. Change was inevitable she knew, but the changes he’d gone through were so completely out of character, they’d left her reeling. She had a theory or two, but she wasn’t sure if she was reading too much into things, so desperate for answers, or if the truth really was staring her right in the face, just waiting for her to speak first.

She felt helpless and clueless, in a constant state of worry that she was missing something obvious or doing something wrong. After nearly fifteen years, she thought she’d have more figured out when it came to parenting, but clearly that wasn’t the case. It was absolutely paralyzing. She knew it was futile to keep beating herself up over her struggle to communicate with her son. It wasn’t doing either one of them any good. However, she’d never been very adept at taking her own advice.


Yes. Hello. I realize you should be writing, but I would like some snacks.

What?