June Blog Challenge

I know that January, April, and November all have some sort of daily writing thing going for them. I’ve done the April A to Z Challenge in past years and enjoyed it. Well, how about June? What sort of challenge is out there for writing every single day in June?

Google showed me a challenge where people try to raise their page views in June. I’m not a stats person, because you have to have stats to be a stats person, so I’ll pass on that one. Google also showed me some fitness challenges for June, because Google knows all about my Quarantine 15 and thinks my efforts would be better served on fixing that than writing. Sorry, Google, I’ll work on that in July. June is for blogging.

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I really want to blog more, but just haven’t been doing it. There are always reasons. Plenty of them. Some are legitimate reasons and others would probably slide into the gray area of being an “excuse.”

No more with that. At least not until July.

My goal for June is to write one post per day. No minimum word count. Maybe one post is 1000 words about all the stuff that has been going on and maybe another post is a few sentences about how lyrics from a certain song move me. Or a repost, even. Whatever, it doesn’t matter as long as I post. (And with that, maybe I’ll get the wheels turning in my brain and get back into a regular blogging habit that has always been helpful with my mental health.)

See you suckas on Sunday.

(My nephew once said that when he was leaving, “See you suckas at Thanksgiving,” and it just stuck with me. He was in first or second grade and said it in his little tough guy voice and thought he sounded so cool walking out with that line. To have that confidence.)

If any of you suckas wanna get on board with a blog challenge for June, then come aboard and don’t forget that on Wednesdays, we wear pink.

Loss

The past couple of weeks have been difficult. My husband’s stepdad, who was like a father to him, passed away. He had some health problems last November, but we thought he was in the clear for a while after having a pacemaker put in. Some scans in late February revealed that he had cancer, though. Pancreatic, lung, and colon.

He started chemo around the time everything started shutting down, and it took such an awful toll on his body. What happened over the past week is a very long story, but ultimately he had a mild stroke, pneumonia, and went into septic shock late last week. His doctor at first said she thought he had three months to live, but then his kidneys started shutting down, and that three months went to three weeks, a few days, and then a few hours very quickly. My MIL called my husband to come to the hospital in the middle of the night early Wednesday morning when the doctor said he only had a few hours left.

My father-in-law was a good man. He wasn’t a man of many words, but he was quick to laugh and had a lot of love in his heart. He was closer to my kids than any other grandparent, and whenever they were in the room, it was like hardly anyone else existed. It breaks my heart that they won’t get to grow up with him the way I did my grandmother. He was so good to my husband, too. My FIL truly truly treated him and his brothers like they were his own children, which meant the world to them as their bio father has never had any interest.

I was the one to break the news to the kids. They knew he was sick and doing very poorly. They hadn’t seen him since early March due to the coronavirus and social distancing, which I hate. (Although going around him while a) BG was sick and b) he was doing chemo wouldn’t have happened , either.) LM understands more than BG and was sad, but rationalized it by saying at least his grandfather wasn’t suffering, plus made some comment about the circle of life. BG didn’t really react at first and said hopefully her grandfather got better in heaven and was back in time for her birthday. It didn’t really sink in for her until last night when we talked about the funeral, and she hid under a blanket whimpering for a while.

His funeral was today. It was short and sweet, just the way he would’ve liked it.

It never strikes you that the last time you do something could be the last time. The last time you go on vacation together, the last time you have dinner together. In the case of the kids, the last time you spend the night and play games. In BG’s case, the last time you get to sleep with both grandparents while staying over. I’m glad their last weekend together was a good one. My husband and I were on a cruise in mid-February before FIL was diagnosed, and they stayed with my in-laws. They had a great time together and went to the movies to see Sonic and got ice cream. My in-laws didn’t usually take the kids places, but wanted to do something special that weekend. BG talked about going with her grandfather to see that movie for days after we got back. What a great memory for them to have.

RIP FIL

Today Was Better

My sleep has been shitty lately (or shittier lately), so right now I’m waiting on an Ambien to kick in. If things get weird, then you’ll know why.

The girl had two screaming fits today. (Technically yesterday since I’m writing at almost 2 in the morning, but I haven’t gone to sleep yet, so it’s still today for me, dawg.)

That’s right — two.

And only one of them lasted for more than a couple of minutes. And neither of them involved biting herself or the couch. (Yeah, I forgot to mention that one, sigh.) And she didn’t tell me she hated me at all. The main fit was when she couldn’t find her Llama Llama stuffie to sleep with, and y’all know how little kids get when they can’t find their stuffie. That stuffie isn’t anything special, but she had it in her head that she wanted to sleep with it tonight, and it was nowhere to be found. Yikes. After some drama, she ended up settling for Spider-Man.

I have no idea why today was so different from all of the other days. I didn’t change up anything up, so there’s nothing I can really point to and say, “Hey, we did this differently and things were better, so let’s do it again and maybe we’ll have more good days!” And it wasn’t a free-for-all day where she got her way all day, either. She ate the same things food-wise (grits, PB&Js, fish sticks).

I almost had happy tears after getting BG to bed. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her having such a good day.

And I’m happy on a personal level as well. I didn’t feel depressed, anxious, or on edge at all today.

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I feel so much lighter.

The kids are technically on Spring Break this week. I have sorted out the packets, so we have busy work if we need it, but I doubt that will happen. (Unless LM keeps mouthing off…in which case, I’m gonna get on his Fortnite account and play while he does packets. 😉 )

I really don’t have anything planned for the week. Our outside-the-house options are hanging out in our yard; taking a walk around the neighborhood; using my friend’s pond or my dad’s pond to go fishing. BG will probably go along with fishing for about 5 minutes before wanting to leave. My friend also has a bike trail we can use, but LM is the only one with a bike. (BG has a trike that she still struggles to pedal, so it’s not going on a trail.) The school near us has a nice big paved parking lot, so we might take the kids up there to ride their scooters if no one else is around.

It’s nice to have a few options. It isn’t Carowinds or the Great Wolf Lodge as the kids had hoped for Spring Break, but we have more options than others. My husband also ordered some stuff to fix our above ground pool, so maybe it will be open by the end of the month. We didn’t get to use it last year because of problems, so hopefully he can get it ready for this year. If not, then I hope he tears it down, because it takes up a lot of space in the backyard.

I am going to get my husband to look into some telehealth services. Since BG’s place isn’t doing them, maybe we can find someone who does. I think someone else talking to her about stuff would go over much better than with us.

I think we should get a golf cart.

I also think some of us blog ladies should have a Virtual Girls Night Out. We can use Zoom while we eat and drink (preferably rum drinks or margaritas)  and pretend like we’re out having fun. And if anyone hears screaming in the background, then we can just pretend that we’re having our Girls Night Out in a war zone.

Quarantine Brain Dump

We’re on Day 25 of Quarantine. I haven’t left the house once. My husband has taken care of our essential runs so far and will probably continue to do so, as I don’t want to take risks having asthma. The girl has gone to the doctor a few times, and the boy went with his dad to Aldi once. We have been able to get the majority of our groceries at Walmart Pickup (which shows zero slots during the day, but all the slots open up just past midnight, so we lucked out figuring that out). He’s able to find the other odd things (mainly meat) at Aldi or Dollar General.

BG’s COVID test came back negative. The first one got bungled by the lab, so she had to get it done a second time, plus a chest x-ray and more blood work since she is STILL running a fever. (She’s on Day 25 of a fever.) Outside of tiring out easily, being crankier than normal, and having headaches, she seems okay. She rips through the house acting like her normal self at times, and you wouldn’t know anything was wrong then. (Five minutes after the dancing or running, however, then you’d know.)

The doctor did a test for mono and what my husband referred to as a broad spectrum virus test. The test for mono was negative, and we haven’t gotten results on the latter. The doc said if she’s still running a fever this week, then they’ll have to do a blood draw with an actual needed in her arm. She’s already having severe anxiety about that, so I am hoping and praying this fever just disappears so that won’t be necessary.

And speaking of anxiety…that shit has been real. I was pretty calm about all of this initially. “Wash your hands and stay at home. Easy-peasy.” But then anxiety hit like a load of bricks, and panic attacks over this mess have been frequent. “What if I get it? I take forever to get over bronchitis, so this would be hell. And how would I keep my kids from being all over me? And, wow, it looks like I do have it because I can’t half breathe now. Oh no, must have it. And what if the economy completely fails and people fight over basic supplies (more so than now) and try to rob us to steal what we have?”

It goes downhill from there. LM’s one trip to Aldi (sigh, which won’t happen again) aside, we are doing all the right things and taking all precautions. I made masks for our family, plus a bunch of extra for my husband to drop off on the porches of higher risk relatives. I’m new at sewing and they look shitty, but they are effective, which is all that matters. I don’t know how necessary it is, but we’re sterilizing the groceries and anything else that comes inside. So we are doing everything within our control on this one, hopefully it’ll be enough. And I wish that were enough for my anxiety. Depression has been real, too. I stopped taking Wellbutrin at my doc’s advice a month or two ago, and it has been really rough. Really bad timing on your part, depression. Couldn’t you wait until we were out of quarantine? I’m taking the medicine again and hopefully it’ll take effect soon. Irritable me > depressed and irritable me.

I’ve had to resist my MIL’s attempts to get the kids. I understand she wants to see him, but we’re not seeing anyone right now. They’re high risk, but they go about freely without much care for their health (or anyone else’s health), gah. Their mentality has always been “When it’s our time, it’s our time.” (Even in hurricane and tornado warnings.) One of her other grandchildren visited from out-of-state last week, and she was NOT happy that I wouldn’t bring BG — who she knew was still running a fever and didn’t have her COVID results — down to visit. “It’s just family, so it will be okay.” Gah again, because that’s not how this virus works!

I miss people. I was trying to be more social, getting out and attempting (but failing because I’m awful at such things) to make friends before this. Being mostly cooped up at home when the kids were at school with hardly anyone to talk to wasn’t fun, so I was pushing myself. Oh well. I’ll push harder when we’re out. I think I might even become a hugger after all of this is over, so watch out, world.

Thank goodness for Facebook and memes. I never thought that’s a sentence I would write, but there it is. I desperately need that humor right now, and these COVID memes do not disappoint. And then there’s the whole Tiger King thing, which has some brilliant memes, too. That was quite a show, one that is very difficult to look away from, no matter how much you think you’d never watch such a thing.

Image may contain: meme, possible text that says 'People watching Tiger King "I can't believe people like this exist." People from South Carolina:'

FYI, my house has been pretty darn tidy throughout all of this, and I’m staying on top of keeping clothes folded. It’s easier to not have a laundry mountain when certain individuals don’t want to change clothes on a daily basis. I have not been on top of my writing, and I have a deadline in a week. Unless I can quickly pull something out of my ass, I don’t see making it.

I hope y’all are doing well and staying safe.

Home Sweet Home

We had some concerns about coronavirus since a relative has it, but it looks like we and mainly Baby Girl, who has had a fever for days, is most likely in the clear. My husband took her to the doctor yesterday, and she has the flu and hand-foot-mouth disease. She’s on day 7 of having a fever. The doctor said she doesn’t think she has coronavirus, but sent a test off to be sure. I’m surprised at how long this fever is lasting. She’s never had one last more than 2-3 days before, but I guess those two things together are making it last so long.

We are supposed to be on day 4 of homeschool, but I decided to give the kids the day off. (For the record, Baby Girl has enjoyed homeschool, so it’s not like I have been a mean mom making her do it while sick lol! She has actually asked to do extra math on Khan Academy.) My anxiety had me up half the night, so I’m beat today, and they seemed like they could use a little break as well. Little Man is ahead in his packet anyway, plus we’ll read plenty.

I haven’t left the house since Friday other than stepping outside for a while. Cabin fever is settling in. I can only imagine how folks over in China and other countries must feel after staying in so long! I don’t know how other states are managing things, but in addition to shutting down schools, our state has ordered restaurants to be drive-through or curbside only and to keep social gatherings less than 50 people. I imagine that will be stricter in the days to come.

One funny thing about this quarantine is that the boy hasn’t played a single video game. Not one. Last week, he complained endlessly on school days because I didn’t let him play after school. He had been slacking off on homework, so I cracked down. And then when school canceled on Friday and we are pretty much confined to our houses, he loses interest in playing. Go figure!

So, not much new to report here. I hope y’all are doing well and staying safe.

Facing The Blank Page

So, I got an email about a group that published a couple of my short stories in 2018 and 2019 being open for submissions again.

Ugh.

Writing has been a struggle for me. Blog writing, aside from mostly boring life recaps, has been difficult. Attempts at coming up with anything creative to post — or even finishing some of the creative ideas I had in the past — have been fruitless. Ditto with my fiction efforts.

Rarely do I sit down to write fiction and have a concrete idea in mind. That isn’t usually how my brain works. My ideas start off as bits of conversation. Some faceless character will say a sentence or two and another faceless character will respond. I’ll sit down and work on it, and before I know it, I’ll have a couple pages worth of dialogue, an idea of who my characters are, and I’ll know where I want to go. Now, just because I know where I want to go doesn’t mean I’ll finish it, but still, that’s how I work.

I don’t think I’ve sat down and outlined a book from start to finish more than a couple of times. My husband, son, and best friend half want to beat me now because I won’t work on an outline I showed them last year. I wrote 30 pages and stopped. They know how it’s supposed to end and want the rest of it, but it hasn’t happened. I’m just not built for writing anything longer than that fiction-wise (at least at this point in my life), regardless of knowing how it will end.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever teach a writing class.

The dialogue hasn’t been coming to me as much these days. My brain has been in a slump, which is so frustrating. Most of y’all reading this know how it is, because it gets that way for you, too. (And if it doesn’t, don’t tell me.) Whenever I get writer’s block like this, I always wonder how much of it’s me (and the normal ups and downs in writing) and how much of it is the mood meds holding me back. There’s absolutely no doubt that there is a huge drop-off in creativity with meds. So that, on top of the unpleasantness I wrote about in my last post, has been sucky. I talked about this with my psychiatrist last week, and he mentioned there being drug trials with LSD and the such. He joked that if he got to prescribe that, I’d have an abundance of creativity.

So, you’re suggesting I obtain illegal drugs to fix this? (Just kidding, of course.)

I took my laptop to my daughter’s occupational and speech therapy appointments yesterday. I’m pretty sure I looked like a crazy lady, because I was doing some hardcore staring at a blank page on my laptop. One of the therapists asked if I was okay, and I gruffly said yes, somewhat annoyed by her intruding on the thoughts I wasn’t having. Ha.

(I’m tempted to rename my blog using the title of this post.)

I came up with nothing yesterday afternoon. I tried again last night and came up with a few lines that I hated. More trying this morning. I came up with some dialogue I liked and wrote a few pages, but had no idea where I wanted to take it. (It was some funny shit, though, about some old ladies at a senior circle, and it made my husband literally LOL. So yay for that.)

After lunch, I sat down yet again. And then a thought turned into almost 4,000 words and 10 pages, beginning and end. (It’s a suspense-horror deal, a genre I’ve never touched, and certainly a far cry from funny shit at a senior circle.) I’m not terribly pleased with it, because I don’t think it would be accepted after cleaning it up, but it’s progress. (And hopefully that idea will lead to another, ideally a genre I’m more comfortable with.) I’ll sure as shit take that right now. And I didn’t even need LSD!

I relate to this so hard.

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I guess the non-pharmaceutical solution to writer’s block is simply writing, as silly as it sounds. One thing leads to another and hopefully you’ll get something you don’t totally hate.

Now, watch me jinx myself with that and go back to the blank page later night and not be able to come up with anything.

90s Children, What’s Up?!

Little Man discovered a new-to-us show on Hulu called Fresh Off the Boat. It’s about a Chinese family that relocates from DC to Orlando, FL and has to adjust to suburban type living. It’s also set in 1995, so I have been loving seeing some reminders of my childhood. I was 11 years old in 1995, just like Little Man is now, so that somehow adds to the neatness factor a little.

The boy loves the show. In fact, the little Benedict Arnold bastard has been watching the show behind my back, leaving me to catch up on my own. That might sound harsh, but he did the same thing to his dad, who wanted to watch Green Arrow and Flash with him. We’re both on the verge of disowning him.

The main character Eddie is quite the slacker and loves the rap/hip-hop stuff that was all the rage in the 90s. Think Biggie, Tupac, etc. I never listened to them because I’m vanilla as fuck and have zero interest. The CD I had on repeat then was the soundtrack for The Baby-Sitters Club Movie. It was replaced a couple years later when Hanson released their Middle of Nowhere album with MMMBop on it. Did I say “vanilla” already?

The funny little brother.

The boy has been listening to a lot of music on his phone lately. He has entered the earbuds stage of adolescence — you know, the one where they listen to music nonstop and don’t want to speak to you as much. It’s a double-edged sword because you like talking to them, but they also tend to be smartasses, so it’s nice to skip out on that. I’ll admit, I haven’t really paid attention to what he listens to, because he builds his playlists out of the stuff we have on iTunes. The most kid non-friendly thing we have on iTunes that I can think of is a Weezer song called Can’t Stop Partying that talks about partying and drugs.

I can’t stop partying, partying
I can’t stop partying, partying
I gotta have Patrón, I gotta have the beat
I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me

It has some explicit stuff when Lil Wayne comes out and raps. It was the song that made me realize I should pay more attention to the music I play. That happened when the then 4-year-old LM started very clearly singing about mixing alcohol with pharmaceuticals in line at Chick-Fil-A. It’s not a good defense, but since I struggle making out the lyrics to a lot of songs (unless I read them a bunch of times), I didn’t take notice of the lyrics. I started trying to play closer attention after that. (But still failed at least once when Baby Girl sang No Scrubs.) But, like I said, as far as LM is concerned, I don’t pay much attention these days because there isn’t much of anything in our library that LM shouldn’t listen to.

You see, what I didn’t know was LM’s dad put Amazon Music on his phone. And there’s a shit ton of stuff to listen to on that.

What I also didn’t know was just how much LM has taken a liking to the kid Eddie from the show, namely his love for hip hop. So he started listening to all sorts of hip hop and rap, including Tupac, Biggie, and Eminem. (For the record, I did actually like Eminem in my later teen years.) I discovered this when my best friend who has my Amazon info asked me about why I was listening to so much rap all of a sudden. I wasn’t, of course, so I asked my husband, and he told us about LM’s new musical interests.

Oh boy.

I realize now that I wrote three paragraphs on LM’s new music, and that’s really not where I was going with this, so back to the 90s stuff.

Fresh Off the Boat has been fun to watch. When I was watching with LM, it was cool to point out some of the stuff that he’d otherwise have no clue about, like the damn Internet modems that hog your phone line. Who remembers this sound?

I had a love-hate relationship with that sound. I absolutely loved the sound of connecting to the Internet and doing all of the things that made me feel so mature, even if I did accidentally make myself a target for being kidnapped in Yahoo chat rooms by divulging my age and too much personal info. (Every 90s kid with Internet access did that, though.) But those of you who had dial-up modems know how long that shit could take, and eventually the love of hearing the dial-up noise went away as the rage took over.

How dare you take 5 minutes and 42 seconds to connect me?! 

And damn it all to hell when someone would pick up the phone or you’d randomly get disconnected.

Oh and the times when I left it connected all night while I downloaded music from Napster and then Limewire and then Kazaa. (Granted, we’re in 2000 by that point, but it’s still childhood/young adulthood stuff.) Anything short of picking up the phone to call 911 for a heart attack and disrupting my downloads was deserving of a beat down. I tried to download movies as well, but they mostly ended up being porn videos, so I stopped that. (If y’all wanna talk about some scarring shit, try being the most vanilla and naive 15-year-old in the world and opening a very rough porn.)

The show talk about Zimas, which I had never heard of until a few years ago when my husband took a trip down memory lane. He appreciated the reference. The kids have Sunny D’s and Lunchables. Sunny D is the best, and I still buy it from time to time. I could never understand the appeal of Lunchables. Some of the kids are clearly in their Nirvana/grunge phase. The slang.

Releasing anything remotely related to the 90s is a surefire way to make money. I’m looking at you, manufacturer of the Oregon Trail game I spent $30 on. Everyone in my class loved using that old computer with the big ass floppy disk to play that came.

Watch it if you’re looking for something new and funny. It’s not as funny as The Office, but it has a lot of great moments.

What’s something from your childhood you’ve seen make a comeback or would like to see make a comeback?

Back To School

After a week at home following the tonsillectomy, the girl is back at school this morning. I was worried she’d need to be out longer, because even on Saturday, she was cranky, complained of headaches, wasn’t eating or drinking much, and was tired enough to be napping. She did a 180 yesterday, though, and aside from a bit of crankiness, she went through the day just fine. She actually ate more regularly and drink a bunch of water, so I know that helped!

BG had her tonsils removed because of sleep apnea, and her doctor thought that it might help with ADHD symptoms in addition to snoring. I definitely haven’t noticed as much snoring over the past few days. I’m guessing it may take some time to see the ADHD symptoms decrease if we do at all. Oddly enough, we’ve seen more of the odd sensory behaviors (she is rubbing everything and sat in the bathtub running water over her hands for half an hour three times, for example), which we were hoping would decrease.

I was working with her on some makeup work for school when she felt up to it, and lord, it was like pulling teeth to keep her on track. I see why she brings home so much incomplete work. Part of the makeup work was working on handwriting. From what I’ve seen of the other students’ work on display, she has the worst handwriting in the class. She has developmental coordination disorder, so the poor handwriting goes along with it. She also has a summer birthday, which doesn’t help.

I feel bad for BG watching her try to write, because it’s such a struggle for her. A lot of her practice is tracing letters, but she is rarely able to keep her pencil on the dotted line. It blows my mind how I can show her the right way to form a letter and guide her hand over how to make it multiple times, and she does the opposite or something completely different directly after. You wouldn’t think that she had three years of preschool, almost a year of OT, and her mom helping her every day by looking at it, poor kiddo.

The girl’s teacher kept in contact with me over the week, checking in on her. I thought that was really sweet. It means a lot to know you’re leaving your kid in the care of someone that cares about her during the day!

Things are about to get busy again. My husband and Little Man are both doing the Christmas play with our local community theater group, so they’ll be practicing three nights per week. LM wasn’t going to do it at first because his free time is reduced since his school day ends later and he has to go to bed earlier, but the director messaged us and asked and he agreed to do it. He really enjoys acting, so even though it cuts down on his time after school, at least he’ll be having fun.

The girl wanted to sign up for Cub Scouts. She went to the first meeting and decided she hated it for some reason she wouldn’t give us, so that’s out. Her grandmother is relieved, because it gave her a small heart attack that her granddaughter wanted to join something that is supposed to be for boys (even though that group is co-ed).

I did so much of that during our text exchange over Cub Scouts.

We tried to get BG to try another meeting, but she had a meltdown and was sobbing, so we let it go. It would’ve been nice for her to have the opportunity to socialize outside of school, but whatever. The Cub Scout leader gave my husband a form for a popcorn fundraiser at the very first meeting and said we needed to sell $300 worth of stuff, so my husband wasn’t inclined to fight BG over it too much.

Here’s to a good week. Happy Monday 🙂