Hoarding


When it comes to being a friend, I really suck. I have this tendency to expect others to reach out to me, while I almost never try to reach out to them. If you’re going through a tough time, you can almost rest assured that I probably have no idea about it. It isn’t because I don’t care about you. It’s just that I truly suck at being a friend. It may have to do with being raised by not one, but two misanthropic and agoraphobic parents. Socialization wasn’t exactly something that they were good at, though both are better than I am. Anyway, I don’t want to blame it on them by saying that because the truth is that I could try, and sometimes I do, to do better. So the tendency to keep others at a distance is only one of the stresses going on in my life. Another is that money troubles, but that’s really old news for me. I think the big thing is still that I see and hear my parents bicker so frequently. I think that they’re trying not to get so upset with one another, but they still manage to snipe at one another until it feels like they’re each halfway into a homicidal rage. And, as the money troubles worsen, my dad gets more anxious, which then makes him more agitated. Cooking last week helped some, though he still managed to find things to get overly pissed about. And when I mentioned this past week that he went into a rage about dirty utensils being left in the sink, I was serious. He got upset because there were too many dirty spoons in the sink to be washed. According to him, we had used too many in too short of a time. He has these standards that he’s set where he thinks we should only use so much of a product, only spend so much money on things we actually need, etc. His anxieties end up making him into a serious control freak. And when we point out that he’s being unreasonable, he’ll generally say that he just does what he does or says what he does because he’s worried that we’ll go too far with things and that that will lead us to having even less money and being on the streets and all of these other things. He brings up the condemnation every once in a while to back up his behavior, but he was controlling of certain things long before that ever happened. Anyway, there are other things that are going on and I keep meaning to blog about them, because I know that that will help with my stress levels, but I don’t. I need to make myself do the entries, even when I feel like crap, because I need to have some level of psychological release with this stuff. I don’t want to be even more of a wackadoodle than I already am. Oh, and I’ve kept on working on writing things. I have yet to actually write part of the story. I’m still trying to plot everything out completely. I’ve got the basics of an outline done and the character profiles, but that’s about it. Still, that’s more than I had done a month ago. So I really am working on it. Maybe I’ll get it done and one day get it published because I would really like to not be on disability and food stamps and stuff anymore. I would like to not feel like shit every time “welfare” is brought up because, even if I say otherwise, it does upset me quite a bit when I see or hear those things.

Be Gone Stress — Please?


My mom called CASA Friday to ask if there was anyway we could get help from them in getting our windows “winterized” and getting the roof fixed. They couldn’t help, but they told my mom that there was somewhere in town that would help. In fact, they said it was their purpose. And it was, drumroll please….Community Development. Does that sound familiar? Well, it should. Community Development is the department from the City that wrote our house up for having an unkempt yard and for the whole hoarding/condemned adventure last year. Of course, their mission is actually to help lower-income/special needs people, not to punish them. See: The mission of the Community Development Department is three-fold; stabilization of lower income neighborhoods, economic empowerment of lower income persons and/or of persons living in lower income neighborhoods, and providing assistance to the special needs population in our community. That’s part of why, after I received one of their letters, I had contacted them to see if they knew of anyone who could help. They told me to talk to my church. And I did, which was unproductive that time. I think that was the first only time that I was actually convicted. Anyway, I haven’t exactly had warm, fuzzy feelings for them since then. According to my mom, the reason that they didn’t help in 2011 with the grass, or even 2012 with the home repairs, is that once you are actually written up, they can’t help you. (Sort of like how the legal aid people couldn’t help during the whole thing because they can’t help during criminal cases.) This time, though, they might be able to help. If we wait on labor from them until they actually will be able to get around to us, it will be about 3 years. If we’re able to find the labor force on our own, though, they will go ahead and buy the materials for the roof, as well as vinyl siding so that we don’t have to paint. They said that they have the money to help people, but they don’t have the labor because of some changes in laws about who they can get to help out. They let teenage volunteers do the roofs, and a law got passed that said that they couldn’t do that. Oddly, though, we could get teenagers to do the work because we aren’t an agency. Anyway, if we’re able to do this, then we can get the holy grail that we’ve chased since February of last year: house insurance. Super cool, huh? I guess that I can’t badmouth them anymore. Actually, I could, but I probably won’t want to. I’ll still feel a little angsty toward the judge for his whole “it’s not rocket science” line because it was so dismissive, but since he’s not actually part of that department, then I guess that’s okay.

Irony of Ironies



Well, I know why my sinuses have been acting up for a couple of days now and why I’ve been coughing pretty badly. One of the loaves of bread that Sister Compassionless brought us was molded, and not just a little mold. The whole bottom of the loaf was covered in it this morning. I know that she didn’t bring us moldy bread intentionally, so I won’t blame this one her. You’ve got to admit that that would be an interesting way to kill someone. I wonder if any writers have ever done a story on murder by bread mold. Anyway, I am not up at the ungodly hour of 10 am because the exorcist/nurse called to tell us that she was on her way. She claimed that she called Friday and that we didn’t answer. She didn’t call. I don’t know if I’m awake enough to handle her. She just has so much energy and aside from when she feels a dark spirit in the house, she is just way too perky. I really just want to go back to sleep. It seems like any time that I take 2 of my Flexerils at night, the next morning I end up having to get up before the pills have worn off. I end up having what I tend to think of as a hangover.1 My dad is pretty happy today. Auburn won their game last night. He would have been happier if Alabama had lost theirs, but you can’t have everything. I’m pretty sure that if he had voodoo dolls, he would totally be torturing the hell out Johnny Manziel for the turnovers and Nick Saban for being, well, Nick Saban. Oy. I just want to lay down and rest some, but Amy is laying halfway under a cushion on the couch, taking a nap. Like as a puppy must be so tiresome. Of course, she wagged until I thought her tail was going to fall off when she realized all 3 of her people were awake and in the same room as her. My poor little cuddle-bunny wore herself out from the all that wagging. And now my dad is angry because my mom ordered stuff online without consulting him. Part of the time it seems like she does things like that just to piss him off. It is extremely easy to make him mad. I think Hulk has an easier time controlling his temper than my dad. That may be because Hulk is a fictional character, though. But seriously, my dad gets angry really easily. He used to get mad when out-of-date milk was poured out because that was “such a waste”. And he gets upset that I try to get rid of boxes and plastic grocery bags instead of allowing them to pile up.2 Every single thing that goes wrong or that he doesn’t like earns a rant from him, where he’ll claim that it happened just to piss him off or make his life harder. And I mean everything. Even when a show is to-be-continued or when a sports team he likes loses. I don’t know what a real hangover is like since I’ve never had alcohol. ↩He thinks that we’ll need them someday, so he wants to keep them. ↩

Ungodly Mold


Okay, Janet needs to bitch. Apparently, she also needs to say stuff in the third person. She better stop before someone decides to tell her to shut up. Here we go. I mentioned a few days ago that the water heater went kabloo-ey and needs to be replaced. I also mentioned that we were asking for the Church to help us get it. They came up with a compromise of sorts. They told us that they would buy 2 weeks worth of groceries and we would buy the water heater. Oh, and we’d also have to show up for church this past Sunday. At church, which my mom was unable to go to because she was too sick that day, the Bishop told my dad (who isn’t a member of the church) and me to go home, write out a grocery list, and he would give it to the Relief Society President to get the food for us. (Relief Society is the hour long  session where all the women who don’t teach the little kids go because God Heavenly Father says we’re not allowed in the Priesthood meetings. Men are allowed to go to RS meetings, though.) Anyway, the President of the Relief Society is the same woman who tried to toss antiques, family heirlooms, the piano, and, oh yeah, baby pictures of me out on the street last year. I’m pretty sure she is also responsible for tossing out my childhood teddy bear. So even if I had had a favorable opinion of her prior to last year,1 2 I haven’t had one since. I knew that because it was a woman who didn’t understand that not everyone is just like her, we probably wouldn’t get the stuff we made the list out for. I. Was. Right. Of course, my being right does not mean that I want to do any sort of happy dance. This is not a joyous thing for me. I had hoped that even if she got the wrong things, she might actually get things that we could eat. She didn’t. And she definitely didn’t get 2 weeks worth of food. She probably didn’t even get 1 week worth. My mom is on a low-sugar, low sodium, and sometimes low-potassium diet because of her diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Unfortunately, that sort of diet can be a bit expensive. If you factor in that I’m also try to start eating foods that will help me get the Sjögren’s symptoms under control, not to mention that some foods cause me to be sick because they contain preservatives and other items (which, depending upon the ingredient, cause migraines and/or screw up my gut) and then factor in my dad who eats certain foods because of his own whacked out system, then you would understand that certain foods are just not appropriate and cannot be eaten at all. Now before anyone says that my aunt was right and that we really are greedy leeches and the scum of the earth because we asked our church for help and, as a part of their own compromise, we expected them to get foods that we could actually eat, I need to reiterate that we get these foods because we have to. And we get them when we buy groceries. I’m thankful that the church offered to help, but the help that they are giving sucks. Let’s start with lunchmeat. They got us two pounds of turkey for two weeks. Most days, I use a particular type of turkey for one or two meals. This is the main way that I get protein every day. My mom uses a different brand of turkey and other lunch meat for her salads and for her sandwiches. My turkey has fewer preservatives in it, which keeps it from giving me migraines as frequently and as severely as turkey from other brands.3 Mom’s turkey is reduced sodium (420mg of sodium for 2 oz.). The turkey that was purchased for us has very high sodium (550 mg for 1.77 oz). If she were to eat this turkey, her blood pressure would go up. That could cause more damage to her kidneys or it could do something worse, like cause a stroke. If I were to eat this turkey, I would be making and eating sandwiches in a darkened bathroom. My mom asked for at least 2 half-gallons of almond milk for her cereal, since she has trouble with regular milk. She got 1. The RS President was able to afford to get all the cereal on the list, 6 boxes of name-brand cereal, but she couldn’t get the milk to eat it with. I asked for nectarines, but I got grapes instead. Grapes have a history of badness with me, so I have to be careful about eating them. My dad asked for oranges because he eats an orange every day after he eats dinner. He got no oranges. The woman got us other things we didn’t ask for or want. For example, she got us a 5 pound bag of rice. We had 4.5 pounds of it already. We didn’t need it. She got us 10 cans of green beans. They weren’t reduced sodium canned green beans either. They have 400 mg per serving of green beans. That would mean that my mom would have to use her dinner allotment of sodium solely on green beans. She would be spending the next two weeks eating canned green beans. Oh, and 10 cans would mean we were eating 10 different meals in the next 2 weeks with a side of green beans. Most things we asked for, she didn’t get or she got something similar, but the similar thing wasn’t something we could eat. I get that they didn’t have to help, but it seems like the least that they could do is get the right stuff, especially since it was repeatedly explained on Saturday and Sunday that we had reasons for purchasing certain (more […]

The Bishop’s Pawns



Everyday we make decisions; some are good, while some are bad. Sometimes we grow to regret a decision more and more over time, because the consequences of it cause our entire lives to change. I know that I’ve made a few of those decisions in my life. They were little things that I never thought would cause any major problem. They were things that I can name dozens of other people who’ve done the same exact thing and had nothing go wrong because of them, but the badness came to me.

She’s Got A Way With Me


2
Comments on fuzzypinkslippers.com: I’m sorry, didn’t you JUST lose custody of your dogs because you were unfit to own them? Do you really think it’s fair to a helpless animal to take her on when you guys can’t even take care of yourselves? What’s going to happen if she gets sick and you’re faced with a giant vet bill you obviously cannot cover? I understand the desire to have a pet, but she deserves to be with people who have the financial and physical capacity to take care of her. Pet ownership is not a right, it’s a privilege. A pet is not a toy, and unless it’s a service animal, it’s certainly not meant to solve the owner’s life problems. The owner is responsible for the animal’s well-being, not the other way around, so your point concerning the positive effect she’s had on your family is moot. In your response to my previous comment, you mentioned that “we lost custody of the dogs last year because our house was unfit to be lived in and we couldn’t pay the thousands of dollars in fines that they were going to charge because they had to stay in the shelter while we lived at my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t because we were unfit.” – you’re clearly missing the point and/or not learning the lessons you should be learning from that experience. If you are unable to maintain your home in a state that is considered fit for habitation, you are unfit to own pets. It’s not about the house, it’s about you. The house didn’t get to that state on its own. I realize that I sound very callous, but this is a live animal we’re talking about here, and your track record indicates that you were unable to maintain custody of your pets when the going got tough. I understand your desire to make it out to be everyone else’s fault, but the bottom line is that when you take on a pet, it becomes your obligation to look out for its best interest. It is not the Humane Society’s (nor the vet’s) obligation to provide you with a safety net for the care of an animal you took on willingly – I can understand how such programs could help people who ended up inheriting someone’s pets, for instance, but this was a conscious decision on your part to take this obligation on mere months after other animals were forcibly removed from your care. Pets ARE a luxury (and you got a purebred, too, fantastically enough), and they shouldn’t be owned by people who will have to rely on payment plans and food aid should the tiniest crack occur in their current financial situation. They deserve stability. You blog constantly about the difficulties your family goes through, difficulties which are clearly neither temporary nor easily resolved. Forget about yourself and how she makes *you* feel for a second – is it really fair to put an animal that will get attached to you in a situation where, at any given moment, these difficulties could spill over again and you could end up having her forcibly removed? You’ll say that anyone could end up in that situation – yes, anyone theoretically could, but for you, it’s not a hypothetical scenario, it’s happened before. Having a pet isn’t about buying toys for it at Petsmart – it’s about taking on a multi-year obligation to do everything in your power to live up to the trust the animal has placed in you. The reason we have so many animals in shelters is that people seem to forget this all too easily. It’s not fair to the animals because they’ve done nothing wrong. P.S. The Humane Society link you posted contains text that begins with the following words: “you’ve always managed to give your pet the medical care she deserves, but due to unexpected circumstances, you’re faced with vet expenses that are far beyond your ability to afford them.” 1. “You’ve always managed” – you haven’t. 2. “unexpected circumstances” – they’re not “unexpected” if you willingly go out and get a dog. It didn’t magically fall in your lap – you actively sought this animal out. The first link was just a bunch of nonsense. “But I have to wonder about people who simply don’t have the resources to care for a pet in the best possible manner. Shouldn’t they be able to experience the joy, love and companionship that a pet provides?” – NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. If you cannot care for a pet *in the best possible manner*, you should not have a pet, end of discussion. I cannot stress this enough – it is NOT a right, it’s a privilege, and when you are entrusted with the care of an animal, that is a sacred obligation that you must fulfill. If you cannot take that on, you should not own an animal. Sure, everyone *wants* to experience the joy love yadda yadda, but what people want does not dictate what they should be able to get. If you want something of that kind, you have to work for it. I’m sure everyone wants to experience the joy and companionship of marriage, but that also requires some work – surely you wouldn’t advocate tying people down and forcing them to marry against their will just so someone else can experience “joy” and “companionship”? So why is it okay to force a helpless animal into potentially dangerous and definitely unstable circumstances? Anonymous comment on LiveJournal: I am honestly outraged and shocked and felt sick when I saw your blog post; and I pray that little puppy has a long and happy life – neither of which are likely to happen. How the hell you were allowed to own another dog is beyond me but I live in the UK so I have no idea how to alert authorities about this, but rest assure, I will find out from USA friends and see […]

Me and My Evil Face



4
It’s been four days since I made the post all about Amy Pond. And, since she’s growing so quickly, I thought I should do some updates. She is, of course, getting bigger. She had her second set of puppy booster shots last week, as well as her first rabies shot. (Alabama requires it when a puppy turns three months old.) We got a postcard from the vet yesterday about getting her first set of adult booster shots in a couple of weeks. We took her yesterday to get another round of worming treatment, but we were a week early. Despite having the four treatments that they gave her at the shelter, she still had tapeworms when we got her, so she’s already had one dose of the treatment for those at our vet. She’s gaining weight and there haven’t been anymore worms coming through, so I think it’s working. I dread next week when she gets the second dose because that first dose she had made her so sick. I’m surprised every day at how much energy exists in such a little dog. It seems sometimes like she has more energy than a roomful of preschoolers that have just been on a sugar and caffeine binge. There was a comment on the entry about her that raised some important questions and possibly misconceptions about the situation: I’m sorry, didn’t you JUST lose custody of your dogs because you were unfit to own them? Do you really think it’s fair to a helpless animal to take her on when you guys can’t even take care of yourselves? What’s going to happen if she gets sick and you’re faced with a giant vet bill you obviously cannot cover? I understand the desire to have a pet, but she deserves to be with people who have the financial and physical capacity to take care of her. I think I made a thorough reply to the person in the comment section of that post, but I thought I’d address something that I’ve seen other people say to other lower-income folks when they get pets. Being poor doesn’t mean a person or a family is unfit to take care of an animal. In many places, there are organizations that will help poor people with care for their animals. Here in Huntsville, you can go to the Humane Society and get pet food. Since we can afford pet food, we don’t go there for help. Pets can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a luxury. And it doesn’t mean that people who don’t have money shouldn’t have pets. There are organizations (i.e. The Humane Society of the United States) that have lists and ideas about how poor people can afford anything from food to shots to major surgeries for their animals. There are even groups that help the homeless with their pets. I’m posting the links because I know that there are other people out there, people like me, who don’t have money, but who love their animals and sometimes may need assistance of one kind of another. Since Amy came along, the stress level in this house has gone down. My mom’s health actually seems to be improving in some ways–her blood pressure and blood sugar have lowered some. We all seem to be a bit less depressed. My pulse has slowed down some, which is a good thing. And we’re going out a bit more now, instead of being stuck inside all the time bickering with one another. She’s given us a purpose–something we needed. My response to this comment may sound selfish, but I don’t think it is. We all know that we would do anything for her. We would get her any kind of help that we could. And we know now not to overwhelm ourselves with so many pets and to ask for help when we need it. Yes, we’re afraid sometimes that what happened last year will happen again, but then we remind ourselves that we are capable of change and of being better, of doing better. I have no doubt that we will provide a wonderful home for Amy. And I would appreciate anyone who has a negative view of the situation to please just keep it to yourself.

Not So Mad or Impossible


2
My dad graduated from Mental Health Court today. That means his charges were officially dismissed and he completed the whole program. He actually did it about 14 months ahead of schedule, so that makes it even cooler. Of course, his charge was based on a city ordinance as opposed to a fully-fledged misdemeanor law. Basically, it was small potatoes in the grand scheme of things at the Municipal Court. Still, it was something to be taken seriously, and he took it extremely seriously. I’m glad that we can finally start moving past what happened last April, and what led up to it. I think he’ll be happier and calmer and all of those nice things, which will help make mom and me calmer and happier, too. Basically, the stress level in this house will go down. So, I think this should officially be considered happy dance time.

Graduation Day



1
Yesterday, Tom, the friend who took the gun, brought it back. He had shown it to his friend who told him that it was not a real gun. Leave it to Dadada to still play some kind of practical joke on us after almost 20 years of being dead. So, we now have a non-functional Derringer in the house. Since I know it isn’t functional (and never was), I’m not as nervous about it. I’m a bit annoyed that I had all that anxiety about it, though. A while after he dropped by, the Elders (missionaries) came by to do a blessing on our house. Now, we did not ask for this blessing (I’m not big on having blessings done for people or objects) or know that they were coming by, so my dad basically asked them to leave. He also told them that it would be wise, in the future, to call first. It seems that people from church have this habit of dropping by unannounced, which might be okay for them, but is a bit weird for us. Even when they give us some notice that they’re coming, my mom and I get anxiety attacks when people come in the house. It’s kind of like having someone get in your personal space. I think it may have to do with the agoraphobia, but I’m not sure. It also seems rude to just decide that you can come to someone else’s home anytime you please, without making sure that they want to have you over. It’s very presumptuous. It also seems like it’s always (with people from church, at least) at the worst time. For example: Last night, we were in our pajamas. A few months ago, it was while I was in the middle of reading literary porn (Fifty Shades) and was trying desperately hard to hide the books. A few years ago, I had just woken up, hadn’t brushed my hair, and felt like shit, plus the house was a mess, so I had to go outside in my PJs (sans shoes) in the winter. I guess I’m just particular when it comes to people showing up. As for the blessing, I don’t really want our home blessed. I know that it is supposed to protect us from misfortune or something like that, but it doesn’t work. My mom got a blessing on her health at one point and her health still declined. She actually wanted one, so even if the positive results were a placebo effect, I can honestly say that these blessings are pretty much hokum.  I try not to bring up how much I dislike blessings when I’m around other church members, but I have had to defend my ideas on the subject with some before. I had a friend who told me once that if I had a blessing done that I would no longer be depressed or have any health problems. When I told him that having a blessing wouldn’t cure my psychiatric or physical problems, he launched into some long lecture about how I was wrong and he was right. It was not one of the finer moments of our friendship. Basically, I don’t want one done in my house. And if I did, then I would like for them to do what they are supposed to do, and wait for me to invite them over to do the blessing. Since I know that they believe that I am somehow incapable of making spiritual decisions for my house because I lack a penis, then they should at least ask my father. Of course, they may not trust his feelings on the subject because he’s a non-member. Still, it isn’t for them to decide that they are just supposed to drop by and do a blessing without asking. I know that they have helped (in the past, mainly) with the house, but that doesn’t entitle them to just show up. They don’t live here. And I don’t like the idea of having to confront them and say that just coming whenever they want is intrusive and doing things without asking is just wrong. Somehow whenever I  (or my mom) try to stand up to them, we end up causing them to drop us from the list of people who need help. (They end up saying that we said “Don’t ever come back” when we’ll say “Not right this minute”.) It’s just frustrating.

Please, Call First


My dad had his latest Mental Health Court appearance today. The Judge said that if things continue going the way that they’ve been going that he will be graduating from the program in March. He has one more appearance to make before then, so I think it is time that we have a happy dance or something. No, better yet, let’s have a sock hop. Anyway, this is really happy news, and I’m almost afraid that I dreamed it, since my dad said it while I was still asleep this morning. I had a feeling that he would be graduating soon, since he had originally been scheduled to graduate in December. It was only postponed because he missed that appearance in November, which was the point when his depression started getting so much worse that I started worrying about his safety. He thought that after that he would either end up in jail or in the program for the rest of his life or something. He will still be graduating ahead of schedule compared to the other participants in Mental Health Court. It takes an average of two years for most people to graduate, so he will be getting out about 14 months ahead of schedule compared. I know getting out of the program will be a big weight off his shoulders, so I can’t help but feel happy for him.

Master Has Presented Dobby with Clothes