Always the same…

There is a never-ending shitstorm of bad news from an administration hellbent on destroying people’s lives.

Anyone with a single shred of basic human decency can see it.

There is a loud consensus as of late that if you’re not publicly screeching about what’s going on in the world, you’re contributing to the problem. If you’re not filling your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/[insert social media platform of choice] feeds with outrage, you are helping the opposition.

Silence equals compliance.

I’ve done more than my fair share of screaming into the void with everyone else, though I make a conscious effort not to. It’s not doing anybody any actual good, and it’s just not nearly as cathartic as it once was. (see: the entirety of my livejournal) The stuff I do put out isn’t anything constructive, it’s just that things have reached a breaking point and [literally] screaming at my computer screen (alone, in my house) can only relieve so much stress. Does posting an angry tirade on Twitter really help? No. Not really. But it happens. Because sometimes I don’t know what else to do. We all have our coping methods. Meltdowns on public forums are part of my deal. I can count on one hand the number of people who actually see what I post on a given platform. I’m not influencing anybody over here. Nor do I have any desire to. I’m just trying to survive on a daily basis, just like everyone else.

Words are in short supply as of late.

I keep opening WordPress, staring at it, and closing the tab without writing anything.

I want to write about ANYTHING other that what’s going on in the world as of late, but it’s difficult to focus on anything but. I don’t have anything useful to contribute to the conversation. Screaming into the void is just adding to the endless noise. And while venting can be healthy and cathartic, it’s not what I want to expend my already limited amount of mental energy on. I spend plenty of time talking to Bob about all of it, I don’t want to spend even more writing about it too. (Yet, this post is still happening. Whatever.)

I’ve started and abandoned so many posts about other things recently. None of them make it very far before I just don’t have the energy to continue. So I close the tab and try to find something else to focus on, but focus is not happening either.

It’s that time of the year. February and March hit almost as hard as the summertime SAD slump. It’s not fun, but it’s not new, and once I finally manage to identify it, I can better find ways to cope until it passes.

Because it will pass.

Everything sucks in the meantime, but IT WILL PASS.

Things unseen…

Life…

Here’s the thing about life:

It happens.

Sometimes a whole lot of it happens all at once and leaves your mind spinning.

When life happens, I feel compelled to write about it. I’m a writer and writing about life comes with the territory. It helps me work through the convoluted mess that is my brain. It helps me remember when things happened. But the problem I often run into is that there are certain things that I want to do justice when I write about them. I want to be coherent and detailed. So I start planning and plotting, and that leads to over-thinking, and then I get overwhelmed, and then suddenly it’s months later, and WTAF how is it the end of April already?

So.

Life.

In abbreviated bullet form. Because if I try anything else, it’s not going to get done. And I need to get this done for my own sanity.

1.) Bob got a new job. He wasn’t looking for one, but an opportunity presented itself and he decided to pursue it. He’d reached a dead end for growth at his previous job and this new one has plenty of growth potential. It’s a similar position with a somewhat similar company, but a very different environment, and so far a much better fit for what he wants out of his place of work. There are a multitude of pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons, and even after the first week he was noticeably less stressed and run down. It’s been a full month now and so far, so good.

2.) My grandma died. She was 99—six months shy of her 100th birthday. She had seven kids, eighteen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She’d been on the decline for a few months and her mind was mostly gone. My mom called me on a Sunday afternoon to tell me it was coming and by Tuesday she was gone. The funeral was on a Saturday and we had beautiful, sunny, warm weather (In February! In Minnesota!) for being outside at a cemetery. The fresh air and sunshine were a great relief after a full Catholic service OY. Now Bob and I no longer have any surviving grandparents. And that really sucks.

3.) When I went for my annual physical, we discussed my allergy issue with raw produce and my chronic sinus inflammation. I got a referral to an allergy doctor and tested positive for eighteen out of thirty-nine common allergens. I am allergic to cats (no surprise, cat exposure = week-long recovery), dogs (!? that’s news to me), dust (and we have the dustiest house ever), and all things nature (ragweed, grass, trees, oh my!). I got validation on an Oral Allergy Syndrome diagnosis (it has NOTHING to do with eating organic) and was told DO NOT eat raw fruits and vegetables. I also tested positive for nut allergies and that’s an automatic EPI-PEN. And fun story—insurance does not cover an EPI-PEN, it’s $537, there is no generic, and it expires after a year. While I’ve never had a severe reaction to nuts (just the oral allergy issue), I’m still at risk for a life-threatening reaction. So either I spend a large sum of money on something I’ll likely never use (and throw it out when it expires) or I save the money and risk an unexpected reaction and be completely unprepared for it. (Either way, it’s still a trip to the emergency room.)

4.) I have more appointments that need to be made in the never-ending marathon of figuring-shit-out, and that involves making phone calls, and panic attacks over trivial bullshit like picking up the phone fucking suck. Panic attacks, in general, fucking suck.

5.) There is no shortage of family-related drama because toxic people are incredibly difficult to get rid of.

6.) The A/C in my car is dead and that’s a repair bill I don’t care to see. But warm weather is on the way, and a car with black interior is pretty much a one-way ticket to heat stroke for someone who gets overheated pretty much daily in the shower. God. Dammit. Joel.

7.) Writing is kicking my ass and as I’ve talked about ad nauseam—when the writing isn’t happening, everything else in my bad-addled brain goes to shit.

8.) We spent $537 on the damn EPI-PEN.

Let the walls come down…

Three Saturdays in a row we went furniture shopping.

The first we found a whole lot of what we don’t like.

The second, we found what we do like.

The third, we pulled the trigger and plunked down a large sum of money.

Ouch.

We’ve been intending to get a new TV stand for the living room since we moved into our house, but it wasn’t a priority because the one we had was holding up well enough. It was just a cheap, laminate & particle board number that Bob had since he was a kid. It was one stiff breeze from collapsing completely, but as long as we didn’t touch it too much…it was okay.

We’ve been planning on going furniture shopping for…awhile now. We’ve had the money saved to make a big purchase, but…we’re lazy and we hate going places and we don’t like dealing with people…so…yeah. But we finally bit the bullet and went shopping, found things we liked made out of wood and not MDF, and placed our order. Two pieces were in stock and the rest had to be special ordered 8 weeks out. We decided to have the in-stock stuff delivered now and wait for the rest.

We scheduled delivery for yesterday—Saturday—and Friday night disassembled the living room to accommodate our new stuff. We were told they would call the day before and give us a 90-minute window for when they would show up to deliver, but Friday came and went with no phone call. They also have the ability to track your delivery window on their website, but the system couldn’t find our order.

Saturday morning, Bob called the customer service line to ask WTF was going on, and they told him that EVERYTHING was scheduled for DECEMBER and if it was supposed to be different, to call the specific store directly.

S’cuse me?

So he called the store.

And nobody answered the phone.

At all.

All day.

He left a voicemail and nobody called back.

Saturday came and went with no delivery and no response from the store.

Sunday Bob called again and finally got someone to answer the damn phone. They reported that although we PAID EXTRA to have our order split into two separate deliveries, they scheduled everything for when the special order pieces come in—in roughly 8 weeks.

Somebody screwed up and it wasn’t us.

So now the in-stock pieces are scheduled for delivery on Thursday and they’re supposed to call on Wednesday to give us our delivery window.

In the meantime…

Because we were led to believe we’d be getting our new TV console on Saturday, we trashed our dilapidated old stand on Friday night. As in took it apart. It is in several pieces in the dumpster in our garage. There was no salvaging it. So we scavenged the house for a temporary fix and stuck this little table in place of a stable piece of furniture so we can actually use the TV while we wait for shit to get fixed.

And now we wait until Thursday to see if they get it right this time. And then another month at least until we find out if they screwed up anything else with our order.

We’re not holding our breath on the whole no more problems thing.

It’s not the end of the world, but when you fork over a whole lot of cash, is it too much to ask to get what you paid for? Without attitude from the the people who screwed it up in the first place.

Need a little minute…

Technology hates me, I’m pretty sure. I do everything right and it still gives me the finger. If I don’t know what I’m doing or something isn’t working, I default to Bob—the guy who gets paid to beat technology into submission—and whatever problem I’m having magically WORKS for him, despite doing the exact same thing I was doing.

What.

Ever.

FILSS.

My current laptop has pretty good sound for a laptop. It’s nothing fancy. Just a Dell we bought off the shelf at Microcenter when my last laptop took a shit and gave me a hearty EFFFFF YOOOOO. It has a decent graphics card that lets me play games (on low settings, but functional nonetheless) and it has two hard drives for me to fill up with lots and lots of music.

But it hates me.

The Realtek HD Audio Manager kept crashing. Over and over and over again. (and over…and over…and over…)

Every single Google search said to reinstall the drivers. So Bob reinstalled said drivers for me. (The last time I touched drivers on my own—pre Bob—my laptop made a REALLY LOUD cracking noise and would no longer start.) And ever since the sound has been absolute shit. It’s way too quiet at what used to be normal levels. And certain programs are even quieter at max volume. The sound also seems to pulsate, fading in and out, making things extremely difficult to listen to. It is marginally better with headphones, but it’s still all wrong. And with Misophonia at work…it’s all I can do to not smash the machine to bits with a sledgehammer.

Bob went through every setting he could find and we thought he had it figured out…sort of. The sound was better—still not quite right, but better—but it only lasted about a day before it reverted back to the horseshit, despite all the settings remaining the same.

I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time looking for answers on the interwebz, and no matter how specific or general I search, I get the same answer:

Make sure your external speakers are plugged in to the correct port on your desktop PC.

Not.

Helpful.

And I’m about to start hucking rocks at people.

In other news…

I got a new mouse. My old mouse was dying a slow and aggravating death, so I finally invested in an actual gaming mouse. I hated the price tag, but I found one with programmable buttons that actually fits my small hands and isn’t some bizarre space-aged shape with sharp, confusing angles. Gaming mice are apparently designed for men with giant bear paws and contortionist thumbs who don’t mind sharp edges digging into their skin.

I haven’t mastered actually using the extra buttons yet. I’m so used to a basic mouse, I forget the extra stuff is there. But so far things are actually working.

Although a certain pink fuzzball is dubious.

Emerson Mouse is skeptical that this new “mouse” is really a mouse at all.

Sure it has a long tail, but where are the ears? And what’s with the green light?

What?

Sometimes I drink…

Actually sometimes I WISH I drank.

Like right now.

So I could dull the pain of a uterus who is a demonic sonofabitch trying to kill me.

1.) Next week is Christmas and we haven’t even put the tree up.

2.) Last weekend (a four-day weekend no less) we both had a mystery plague that tried to be a chest cold, but couldn’t quite get over the hump. So that was fun.

3.) I spent about two hours in bed and then something woke me up and apparently that was all the sleep I needed. (see: demonic sonofabitch)

4.) Writer’s block both sucks and blows and not in the fun way.

5.) My obsessive O.A.R. listening has them rapidly closing in on the top three slot of Last.fm. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

6.) Today is Bob’s last day of work for the year. I am very excited about this.

7.) We have grand plans to get things done while on vacation. If we accomplish just one of those things, I’ll consider it a gaddamn Christmas miracle.

8.) I finally broke 50K on Emerson Mouse’s favorite project. It only took six months to get there. And it’s nowhere near finished.

9.) Emerson Mouse is a surly little fuzzball who likes to stare me down when I’m not writing. Or when we don’t have any cookies. Mostly when we don’t have any cookies.

10.) I need to bake cookies.

Need a change from this burnt out scene…

S: *heavy sigh*

R: Everything alright?

S: Oh…just reading the internet.

R: Realizing all hope for humanity is lost?

S: Pretty much.

R: Reading the internet will do that.

S: I’m going to go back to watching music videos of cute boys in bands.

R: That’s a good idea.

Because it’s better than reality right now.

(Shattered (Turn the Car Around) by O.A.R.)

Planning parties for all the fools…

Century Link is the shittiest internet service of all the shitty internet services.

For the second time in a week they are apparently throttling our internet access for no goddamn reason.

I’m about to start hucking rocks at people.

In other news…

We got a Nug.

He tried to establish dominance over the Tonberry.

It didn’t go over well.

So he forged an alliance with the [fancy] Turret.

These are the things that happen in our house.

Nobody has as much fun as we do.

In related news…

The new Dragon Age game comes out on the 18th.

Color me stupidly excited.

Also.

Nug.

(Leliana gets a nug…)

Squeaky. Squeaky. Squeaky. Squeaky…

Twittered out…

I gave up on Facebook almost two years ago. It was getting increasingly more difficult to filter out the shit I didn’t want to see and instead of fighting with the ever-changing (largely non-functional) settings of the site, it was just easier to STOP.

It was a fantastic decision.

I don’t miss it in the least.

Sure I have no idea what’s going on with people I actually know, but really, if they miss me at all, nobody’s said anything about it.

I never actually liked Facebook. It always felt like a cumbersome pain in the ass. I had fun playing the stupid games for awhile, but being otherwise active on the site felt more like a chore than something I actually enjoyed doing.

So I quit torturing myself and just quit using the site.

Which is actually a huge victory for me because I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to reading shit on the internet that I know is only going to piss me off to the point of mass homicide.

Anyway.

Twitter has always been better suited to the way my brain functions.

It’s made for fragmented thoughts and short attention spans. I can have a conversation with myself and it goes largely unnoticed. And muting a hashtag or other keyword to avoid seeing posts regarding shit I don’t care to see is way easier than navigating through twelve pages of account settings to find the one box to uncheck that won’t stay unchecked anyway.

I’ve been using Twitter for over seven years. I’ve posted over 9,000 tweets of absolute drivel—venting, flailing, dead-horse-beating, et al—and aside from my original Live Journal account (that I haven’t touched in about four years) it’s the longest I’ve actively used a website.

Until recently.

I think I’m finally twittered out.

Earlier this year I made the semiconscious decision to largely disconnect from the never-ending stream of EVERYTHING hammering down from every angle of the internet. My mental health needed the break. I’ve dealt with (and am still dealing with) a lot of shit this year. A lot of which has been posted about. A lot more of which that has not. It’s ranged from the good to the bad to the downright ugly and so much of it is still unprocessed in my head.

Twitter used to be a place where I could go to either work shit out (with and without interaction with other people) or distract myself from shit I didn’t want to deal with. Then suddenly it became an absolute shit-show of things my brain couldn’t cope with. No matter how many hashtags and keywords I muted, I couldn’t filter it down enough to make it all palatable again. So I just…stopped.

My feed has become auto-posts of blog posts and last.fm stats with the occasional bitchy tweet thrown in for good measure. I’ve whittled my reading list down pretty much to a small collection of musicians and Rooster Teeth and even then I mostly just skim it. I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with it anymore.

It hasn’t been as freeing as it was to quit Facebook. Sometimes I miss the shameless inanity of it all. But the effort it takes to actively think about it is better spent on things that make me feel good to focus on. If I have to force myself to care, it’s no longer worth it.

It’s a lesson I’m constantly relearning…and forgetting.

As to whether I’m completely done with ye olde Twitter…

Probably not quite yet, but…

Time will tell.

Just gonna stay here…

As it turns out Nurse Brain and Dr. Brain are not on the same page. It turned out to be a good thing, but I could have done without the added stress of misinformation in the first place.

When I first talked to Nurse Brain, she told me the EEG was clear and found nothing, but Dr. Brain wanted me to go for NEUROPSYCH TESTING.

‘Scuse me?

A doctor of said testing was supposed to contact me but hadn’t, so she had to investigate as to why. When she got back to me she told me that I hadn’t been contacted because I needed to establish care with a psychiatrist for my ADHD.

Again…’scuse me?

Nurse Brain told me she would call PNC mental health to line up an appointment with a psychiatrist for me so we could get this taken care of as soon as possible. She ran into the same problem I did the last time I tried to get [back] into Park Nicollet mental health—NO APPOINTMENTS. So she planned to call back on the following Monday morning during their four-hour window when appointments were available to schedule. That morning she called me to tell me they had appointments available but they needed ME to call because they had to ask me personal questions.

Fantastic.

Also bullshit.

When I called the only two questions the woman asked me were my name and date of birth.

Nurse Brain had told me that when I gave them my name, they would pull up my file and see the notes from Dr. Brain and they would line me up with the proper doctor.

Again…bullshit.

The scheduling woman picked the first available appointment—October 21st—and scheduled it for me with a random doctor. When I mentioned the neurologist notes about being treated for ADHD I got a very noncommittal and unconvincing, “Oh yeah, he can do that.” Sure he can legally prescribe narcotics for me, but does he actually KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ADHD? Not all psychiatrists are equally educated on these things.

But what do I know?

I took the appointment and waited for my follow up with Dr. Brain. I asked Bob to come with me so he could ask questions if my brain shut down on me like it always does when faced with stressful situations.

Bob and I spent the time leading up to my appointment questioning whether or not this was the right path to continue on. Neuropsych testing? What does that even entail? (A google search yielded plenty of results that really did not sound like the correct plan of action in this case.) How much is this going to cost us and since it would be with a doctor outside of PNC would the insurance even [pretend to] cover it?

We decided we’d see what Dr. Brain had to say about it and make a decision from there.

When we finally got to my appointment, she told us the EEG was completely clear. Even when I was experiencing the smoke smell for several hours there was not a single change indicating seizure activity or anything else. Even my bout with extreme dizziness and nausea while playing Minecraft indicated no abnormal activity. She told me that people who are predisposed to seizure activity have “electrical markers” in their brainwaves to indicate potential problems. I had none of that. My brain is clear.

This is great news—there is nothing seriously wrong with my brain.

It’s also incredibly frustrating because I still have no answers.

She did say I could try checking with an ENT to see if they find anything, but it’s highly likely they won’t.

She never mentioned neuropsych testing until I questioned about Nurse Brain’s information. (Nurse Brain was conveniently absent—a different nurse was on the clock.)

Apparently Dr. Brain doesn’t actually think I need the testing. It’s really expensive, it takes hours to complete, and it’s likely the conclusion they will come to is that I have ADHD—which I already know.

At my first appointment with Dr. Brain, I mentioned my problems with absolute horseshit memory. I said I didn’t know if it was just ADHD or if it was something else. She said it was more than likely the ADHD because I am way too young for dementia problems. She reiterated this fact at the follow up and said that getting treatment for ADHD would likely treat the memory problems. If I still had the issues to the same extent while being treated, then it might be worth pursuing neurospych testing, but as is it’s not worth it.

I’m glad we agree on that.

So unless I end up pursuing the testing, I’m done with Dr. Brain and the neurology department.

When I got home from my appointment, I logged in to my medical chart online and cancelled my psychiatrist appointment. I don’t believe (and Bob fully agrees) that a new psychiatrist is what I need right now. Yes the ADHD problems are an absolute bitch, but I don’t have a lot of faith that medication is the right path—at least not right now. There are other things I (or we) want to explore for now. Things that might not treat the problem directly, but will lead to other things that can.

I’m just gonna go smear peppermint oil around my nose to mask the gaddamn smoke smell.