Posted in Abusive Relationships, Adulting, Blogging, Bullying, Condo, Family, Grief, Health, Marriage, Mental Health, Relationships, Writing Challenges

4 years (give or take)

Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.

And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.

And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.

Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).

4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.

4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.

4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.

4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.

4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.

4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.

4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.

4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.

4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.

3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.

3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.

3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.

3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.

3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.

3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.

3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.

2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.

2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.

2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.

2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.

1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.

1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…

10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.

4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.

4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.

2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.

1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.

So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.

I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay­čî post will be more lighthearted.

Posted in Adulting, Blogging, Condo, Food, Marriage, Pictures of things that make me happy, Random, Writing Challenges

NanoPoblano2020: Day 25

Above is a photo of the door to one of our kitchen cabinets. What’s behind this door is pure storage magic.

But the magic doesn’t end there! We had actually been living in our condo for about a couple of weeks before we discovered the most magical part about this cabinet…

There are 2 drawers in the back corner! Absolutely no space was wasted when the previous owners designed this kitchen and for that we are extremely grateful.

Posted in Blogging, Condo, Marriage, Pictures of things that make me happy, Random, Writing Challenges

NanoPoblano2020: Day 20

Curtis and I are gamers. We own six video game systems, including an original N64 that still works despite a pet rabbit that chewed through the video cord many, many years ago. We also game on our phones, tablets and laptops, so if you add those in, we have a total of 12 gaming devices.

The above photo shows all of our video game systems out on display. (Xbox One S, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, N64, PS2) Everything around it is a bit of a mess because we were still in the middle of moving into our condo that we had just bought. Unboxing the video game systems that had been in storage for years was a top priority for us though.

For a long time when we lived in Utah we lived in an apartment right next to a shopping plaza that had a GameStop in it. We would walk over to that GameStop regularly and search through their bins and shelves of used games. We built up quite a collection of games for our different systems over the years.

The picture of the binder at the beginning of this post was my solution to how to store all the manuals. I found the stickers on Redbubble and we stuck a bunch of plastic page protectors in there and stuck all the manuals in those so we could easily flip through them and find the one we wanted.

Most games are digital now, but that binder on our bookcase makes me smile every time I see it.

Posted in Adulting, Blogging, Marriage, Stay at Home Wife, Writing Challenges

We bought the condo!!!

Despite many issues and people not communicating and doing their jobs, we managed to buy our condo the beginning of this month only one day later than originally planned.

We are still living amongst lots and lots of boxes.

Most of those boxes have been in storage for over 2 and half years, so we don’t even know what’s in them.

We had to give our full size washer and dryer that we’d been storing to someone else and buy new tiny ones to fit in our laundry closet. There has been a bit of an adjustment period.

Speaking of laundry, there is a large pile waiting to be dealt with right now because we had to wash everything is that came from storage. So this will probably be the extent of my post for Pepper Day this month. Hopefully we’ll be more settled in by next month!

Posted in Adulting, Blogging, Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Writing Challenges

So about that condo…

Curtis and I are now officially 11 days out from when our closing date is supposed to be on the condo that we trying to buy.

And we still aren’t 100% certain that it’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to.

We ended up having to get an extension on the mortgage commitment due date. That is now on this coming Thursday. The Thursday after that is when we should be closing and become “home owners”.

We only just recently found out that our appraisal went well, and now we are waiting for the processors to get all of our information to the underwriter and get our loan officially approved.

Once our loan is officially approved the lawyers can decide when we can do the closing.

We are anxiously awaiting to hear from the lawyers when/if we can do the closing.

Please, keep your fingers crossed that by this time next month I’ll be writing about how our move into our new condo went.

Posted in Adulting, Family, Marriage

So we might be buying a condo…

My husband and I have been living with family for over 2 1/2 years. We were planning on trying to find somewhere to rent, but there is nothing affordable in the state I live in. We started doing some research and realized that it might actually be cheaper on a month to month basis to buy.

A month or so ago we started looking. We saw some things we liked, but when we ran the numbers we realized that they were unaffordable.

So we lowered our budget even more and saw some single family homes that needed way more work than we wanted to deal with and some condos that were okay, but not quite what we wanted.

Then we saw a condo that was supposed to be a 1 bed 1 bath, but it turns out that the bedroom was about the size of a smaller walk-in closet. The owner claims that he fit a queen sized bed in there, but it seems to us that if you put a bed in there, it would be the only thing that would fit. You’d be crawling into bed as you walked through the door.

That’s okay though, because the living room area has an honest to goodness queen sized Murphy bed.

It’s basically a studio with a walk-in closet.

But, despite it’s size, I fell in love with it. It’s been beautifully redone and seems like just the right amount of size for my husband and I to restart our lives again.

And we can afford it.

So, a couple of days ago, late at night when we should have already been asleep we put in our very first ever offer on that condo. And just a few minutes later our realtor called us back and told us that she had good news. The sellers had already responded, and all they wanted was $500.00 more. We quickly accepted this counter offer and the paperwork has been signed.

Now we need to deal with the bank assessment and getting it inspected. So it’s not a done deal yet, but so far things are moving in the right direction.

Posted in Blogging, Marriage, Mental Health, Poetry, Writing Challenges

April Cheer Pepper – Day 14

You’ll get up early

I instruct myself as I

Go to bed at night


Technically I do

I get up when my husband’s

Alarm wakes us up


Wish him a good day

As he gets ready for work

And kiss him goodbye


Then I lie back down

“Only for a little bit”

But then hours pass


And then once again

I have failed at getting up

When I wanted to


I guess my body

Must be needing all this sleep

That it is getting


But I could also

Put good use to all that time

I’ve lost to sleeping


And so the cycle

Of hope and then frustration

Keeps going around

Posted in Blogging, Marriage, Writing Challenges

Yes, it’s just the two of us for the holidays. No, that’s not a bad thing.

For the last 12 years since my husband and I moved away from Connecticut and have been living in Utah we’ve spent all of the holidays alone. With the exception of one Thanksgiving that we spent with some friends a few years back, it’s just been the two of us. 

Towards the beginning it was hard because Thanksgiving and Christmas had always been big family affairs. But over the years I’ve come to realize that I actually prefer spending the holidays with just my husband. 

We sleep in as long as we want. We don’t have to get dressed up. Hell, we can just wear our pajamas all day. No worries about infuriating political discussions. We can spend the entire day playing video games. 

And most importantly for my extreme introvert self, I don’t have to interact with any human beings other than my husband.

I don’t have to explain again that I don’t work anywhere because:

Long story – Mental Illnesses.

 Short story – I don’t want to.

I don’t have to try to find an acceptable answer to the question – “Well, what do you do all day if you don’t work?” 

Seriously, that question can die a fiery death. But in case you’re wondering what my non-acceptable answer is (that might just be my answer from now on anyway, because fuck trying to live up to anyone else’s standards), it’s whatever the hell I want. And housework.

I don’t have to explain to anyone that I’m still not pregnant yet because I never want to be pregnant.

To be fair, I probably wouldn’t have to deal with most of these questions from most of my immediate family. Most of these questions have actually come from random people over the years, and not necessarily during the holidays. 

But still, while I do miss my family somewhat during the holidays, I’m no longer homesick because what my husband and I have has become home. It’s just the two of us, and that’s the way I like it.

Posted in Adulting, Apartment Living, Cat Mom, Health, Marriage

The extremely short lives of our tax refunds…

We filed our taxes as soon as my husband’s W-2 became available.

And then received additional tax forms in the mail.

Luckily the forms would not effect our refund amounts, but they did mean that we would need to amend our taxes.

We’ll be waiting to file until after we receive those forms from now on. Doing taxes once a year is enough for me.

Thanks for wasting my time

But, like I said, we filed our taxes as soon as we could, so that we would receive our refunds from the Federal and State governments as soon as possible.

No big fun plans for those refunds, just lots of debt to pay off. And the sooner it was paid off the better.

Our federal refund showed up first and very quickly most of that money was transferred from our bank account to the various accounts of those we owed money to.

A couple hundred to our doctor’s office to pay off what they decided we owed after a visit that was supposed to be covered completely by our insurance last year. Attempts to get them to fix their mistake went nowhere fast, so it was just easier to pay the debt and make the entire thing go away.

LemurThanksYouButNo1-vi

Several hundred each to our Care Credit cards to pay off all the debt that we racked up the year before through all the dental work that we both needed done after not seeing a dentist for well over a decade.

We had plans to pay of some off our credit card debt, build up our depleted savings, and resume saving for retirement again with the refund that we had coming from the State. We had hopes that we’d have something left from that to do something fun as well.

And then we received a bill from our dentist letting us know that we actually capped out on what our insurance would cover during 2015, so insurance didn’t pay as much as they thought they would, and we now owed them over $800. And could we please make that payment within 10 days?

Whaaat Minion

So much for not having anymore debt on our Care Credit cards for a while… thank goodness we just paid them off though.

So we made another plan on how to pay off this new debt. And then I got sick. For a month. With the chest cold from hell. (Still have an annoying cough that just won’t quite go away. I’m soooo close to being completely better though.)

And then last week our cat pounced onto the bottom shelf of one of our rather old, kinda cheap end tables one to many times and one of the little plastic feet broke off.

Never expected much

 

We had been talking about buying new end tables soon, but we didn’t expect it to be quite so soon.

 

So another plan for what to do with our tax refund went out the window.

dan-renzi-quote-life-is-what-happens-while-youre-busy-making-other

Our State tax refund finally showed up…

and very quickly was scattered among various payments to others.

To buy new end tables and new cushions for our outdoor furniture.

A payment to Care Credit to start to pay down this new, unexpected debt.

A payment to our credit card, to help pay down our older debt.

A payment to the Utah Transit Authority to refill our transit cards and enable us to be able to continue to use public transportation.

A transfer to our savings account so that our emergency fund might actually be useful in an emergency.

And a transfer to Curtis’ IRA to make sure that we’ve at least saved something toward his retirement this year. (Our retirement savings years end in July, the month he was born in.)

Being an adult is not nearly as much fun as I thought it would be when I was yearning to grow up as a kid…

Calvin & Hobbs Becoming an Adult

But I have to say there is a definite sense of accomplishment in having paid off so much debt. Even if it was only temporarily for some of it.