The several feet of snow that we have is being slowly melted away.
A few days ago was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandma’s death.
My maternal uncle’s mother died yesterday.
February is now a very bad month for my cousins.
I went to bed earlier than I have been lately hoping to get up earlier… it didn’t work.
As I was willing myself to get out of bed I received a group text.
At first I thought that my abusive sister somehow got ahold of my new number and somehow got around the fact that I have her blocked because the names are listed in alphabetical order, but it was from my Dad.
My Dad sent a group text to me, my sister, my mom’s sister, and his mother.
He was letting us know that my Mom was currently in the ER with a suspected gall bladder infection.
She is alone because of Covid restrictions.
I cannot go and be with my Dad and brother because I am isolating as much as possible while I wait my turn for my vaccine.
I yelled the F word several times after reading the text, texted my Dad privately to be certain it wasn’t visible to my sister and then forced myself to get out of bed.
It was time for my afternoon meds. I grabbed two wrong medication organizers before finally grabbing the correct one and getting my meds in me.
I got my teeth brushed, pulled on a hoodie, got my glasses on and called my husband at work to inform him of the death in the family and that my Mom was in the ER.
I worried over the phone to my husband about the fact that my sister might now have my new number because she was part of the group text.
I needed breakfast.
I opened the wrong cabinet and tried to put my juice glass on my Keurig instead of my mug.
I eventually managed to get my juice in my juice glass, my coffee and creamer in my mug, and my milk and cereal in my bowl.
I ate breakfast and took care of some of my normal daily routines on my phone while eating.
I posted to Facebook about what is going on with my family.
I got another group text from my Dad letting us know that a cat scan ruled out a gall bladder infection. Mom has really bad reflux, still unsure why, but she should be coming home from the ER soon. He’ll update us when he knows more.
I texted my husband with the updated information. I told him that I am still worried about why her reflux is so bad all the time, but that right now the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is only a few days ago and the fact that there was just another death in the family might have something to do with it.
I wrote a comment on my Facebook post giving everyone updated information. (Minus my hypothesis as to what’s causing her current reflux issues.)
Now I’m sitting here writing this post because it’s #PepperDay and I didn’t know what else to write about.
I’m sitting here trying to find the motivation to get up and take the shower that I still need to take today.
I’m sorry that my posts have been such downers two months in a row now.
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 #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.
It’s already been a full month since last Pepper Day and I don’t know where all that time went to. Although there was certainty a lot that happened since I last wrote on here.
I’ll start with the good news, we are fully moved into our new condo now! It is feeling more and more like home everyday and it is so wonderful to have all of our decorative items out again.
But then shortly after we finally got ourselves fully moved into the condo our car’s transmission FAILED while my husband was on the highway driving into work a couple of Fridays ago. He used our AAA membership and got it towed to the nearest garage. One of my dear friends gifted us the money for rental car while ours was in the shop.
Then last Sunday, the day before our car was supposed to be ready to picked up, my husband found out that one of his coworkers that he works in close quarters with tested positive for coronavirus, and we both had to quarantine while we waited for the results of his Covid test which he wasn’t able to get until Tuesday. (A week from his last likely exposure.)
So, he couldn’t go into work, but there were still a whole bunch of virtual meetings for him to attend throughout the week because he is on the committee that was planning this year’s virtual Staff Retreat.
The Staff Retreat happened today and it all went well and they all had a good time.
We also got his test results back today, even though we were told to expect it to take much longer. He tested negative. So he now gets to go back to working in person tomorrow. This week should have resulted in a lot of overtime, but since he had to quarantine, we’re just lucky he’s getting paid for 40 hours.
The missing overtime is going to hurt because fixing the car was ridiculously expensive and our first mortgage payment is due in a few days.
And speaking of our mortgage, we’re unsure who exactly we’re supposed to be paying it to.
When we signed all the paperwork we were informed that another mortgage company was going to be handling our mortgage than the one we initially worked with to get the loan. We’ve been in constant contact with that company and they don’t see us in their system, or they only partially see us.
Then today we got something in the mail from our original mortgage company telling us how much to pay them and when it was due.
From what we can tell, the second mortgage company will eventually be handling our mortgage and all our payments will go to them, but apparently the wheels of mortgage grind slowly and we should pay the original company until we get notified that the second company officially has our file.
This would have been really nice information to have during the closing…
So, to recap: we’ve moved in, our car has been fixed and my husband doesn’t have coronavirus.
Overall, I guess it hasn’t been all that horrible of a month.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
The first shopping trip that we went on after our move our first shopping cart, which we had been using for about 6 months or so, hit a curb wrong and one of the front wheels shattered. We were able to tip it back on its back wheels and limp home with it, but that was clearly the last time that we would be using that shopping cart.
So we ordered a new, bigger shopping cart. One that we hoped would be more sturdy and last us a bit longer.
We used it for one shopping day. A trip to Costco and back home, and a trip to a grocery store and back home.
It was unhappy with the kitty litter, plus other groceries, that it had to carry home from Costco, but it made it home in one piece.
It also didn’t like the snowdrifts that it had to be dragged through on the way to and from the grocery store, but it made it home again.
A month later it was time for us to go grocery shopping again. There was a lot that we knew needed to stock up on, so we brought the cart, our backpacks, and a couple of duffle bags to carry all of our purchases home.
The cart made it to Costco just fine.
We did our shopping and proceeded to pack all of the things from our Costco cart into our bags and collapsible shopping cart. Everything fit and we started on our way home.
Everything was going well until we went to cross the set of 6 railroad tracks that were between us and home.
While crossing those tracks the back axle of our cart bent out of shape and the cart no longer wanted to roll.
We made it across the tracks and limped up to the next intersection where we decided that we needed to call someone for help. As Curtis pulled his phone out a guy in a big pickup truck stopped at the light and asked us if we needed any help. We let him know that we did and he pulled into the parking lot next to us and offered to give us a ride home. He and his 2 passengers helped us load our bags and fully loaded busted cart into the back of his truck and saved us from a very frustrating 2 or so miles of fighting to get our cart home.
Unfortunately, our shopping day was not yet over. We no longer had a cart to use since our most recent one only lasted through one shopping day, but we still needed to get our groceries. So we grabbed a bunch of bags and headed out to the store.
As we had finished loading our groceries into our bags and were about to start our hike back home, around midnight in the freezing cold, a guy in a car pulled up and asked us if we were planning on walking home with all that. When we told him that we were planning on walking a couple miles or so back home, he too offered us a ride. He said that he was watching us get all geared up and thought, “oh dear, that doesn’t look like it’s just for a walk across the parking lot” and decided to find out just how far we were planning on walking and see if he could help us out.
We were very grateful to both of the good samaritans that stopped and helped us out that day. Unfortunately, I probably repaid their kindness by getting them sick.
Throughout the day I had been slowly developing an annoying cough. I thought that it was probably just due to the bad air quality, but the next day I woke up sick.
The stress of the cart breaking the day before, and then once we were home for the day opening the mail to find that our dental insurance hadn’t paid as much as our dentist expected them to in 2015 and we owed them over $850 and they wanted their money in 10 days… that probably did my immune system no favors.
So I woke up with a horrible chest cold. And immediately thought that exposing those good samaritans to my illness, even though I had no idea that I was sick yet, was a really shitty way to repay them for their kindness.
I was sick with a fever ranging from 101.6 to as high as 102.9 for a few days after until my fever finally broke. At that point I was left with the chest cold from hell. People were urging me to go to a doctor, but I wasn’t going to spend money that I didn’t have for a trip to the doctor for a chest cold since the fever was gone. Not to mention that the air quality had gotten worse and I would have had to walk a couple miles, plus take public transit to get to the doctor and back. I was avoiding that horrible air outside like the plague…
Now it’s almost a month later and I’m just now almost feeling back to normal. My voice still hasn’t returned and my cough isn’t completely gone yet, but I can tell that this illness is almost gone now.
I really hope that those nice people didn’t get as sick as I did, if they got sick at all.
About a month and a half ago my husband and I moved out of the 1 bedroom townhouse that we had only been living in for two years and into a 1 bedroom apartment down the road.
This is what our balcony looked like the morning of the move…
Mother Nature decided to dump about six inches of snow on us the day before our move. The forecast said that it was supposed to continue to snow throughout the day of our move as well. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but it did stay well below freezing the entire day. The snow and the cold meant that we had to wear our winter boots all day while moving.
Our moving day started with a 2 mile trek through the snow and ice to the U-Haul store to pick up our truck for the day, while carrying a bundle of about 25 or so extra boxes to sell back to U-Haul. A good amount of the sidewalks had not been cleared yet, so this was far from a fun walk.
Once we had the truck, moving out of our townhouse went surprisingly quickly. We had everything out of the garage where we had staged it and into the truck in about 2 hours. Next step was getting out traumatized cat into his carrier and into the truck, and then doing a final walk-through of the townhouse to make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind.
Then it was off to our new apartment complex to wait around in the office (with our cat in his carrier. No way was I leaving him in the freezing truck.) to sign our lease and find out if all the work was done in our apartment and it was ready to be moved into. We were relieved to hear that they were actually just finishing up in our apartment and that it would be ready for us to start moving into by the time we had completed all of the paperwork.
Approximately 50,000 signatures later we were finally able to start unloading the truck. We were hoping that a couple of my husband’s coworkers were going to come over from his office across the street and help us move, but nobody showed. So we unloaded the truck by ourselves.
Unloading the truck proved to be much more time consuming than loading it had been since we had to walk farther to get things into the apartment, but considering the fact that it was just the two of us doing this move it went pretty quickly. I believe it only took us 4-5 hours to unload the truck.
Once the final box was moved out of the truck and into the apartment we drove the truck back to the U-Haul store and almost weren’t able to drive it up the hill of a driveway to park it behind the building due to all the black ice. We somehow got it in and parked and after dropping the keys in the night drop off box it was time for us to walk the 3 miles back home.
In subfreezing temperatures.
In the dark.
That was one miserable walk.
At 11:19 pm we found ourselves sitting in a Denny’s right down the street from our new place waiting for our dinner. That was the best pot roast I have ever had.
At about 4:30 am we finally had our bed put back together and the essentials unpacked and were able to crawl into bed… to be awoken by an alarm at 9 am. The keys to our old place had to be returned that day, and spaces needed to be cleared for the Comcast home security installer that was coming that afternoon.
Moving is exhausting, and I really hope that we won’t have to do it again for many, many years, but this move did turn out to be well worth it.
First of all, the temperature in the apartment in consistent from room to room. I don’t think it’s ever gotten below 65° in this apartment. No more waking up to a bedroom and bathroom that are 50 something degrees while the rest of the apartment is at least 10 degrees warmer. Or the opposite in the summer. Not freezing in our apartment has been amazing.
Second, my husbands office is literally right across the street. A five minute walk. So much better than the 30-40 minutes that it used to take him to walk to work and back at our old place.
Third, brand new carpet and linoleum. Not to mention the fact that this bathroom actually has a door.
Fourth, brand new countertops.
Fifth, open concept floorplan and a breakfast bar.
Sixth, a walk-in closet.
And seventh, a rather large patio with lots of birds that live in the bushes around it.
Our cat says this is the best thing about our new place.
That and the larger birds that also come to visit sometimes.
The other day my husband and I finally got out and did some grocery shopping. We had been putting it off, and putting it off, but the longer we waited, the more things we ran out of. (Funny how that works…) We finally had to go ahead and get it done.
Of course, when we finally did get out and do it, it happened to be a rainy day. Now normally, rainy days make me happy. I love the rain and watching storms. This is something that seemed to grow stronger when my husband and I moved from the East Coast out here to the relative desert that is northern Utah. I found that when it goes too long without raining, or if we haven’t had a good thunderstorm in a while, I tend to go a little crazy. When it rains, when I get to watch a good lightning storm, I feel recharged and refreshed.
But this day the rain did nothing to help my already foul mood. Instead it added to it because I would have to go out in it in order to get the shopping done. Rain in the spring or summer is one thing, rain on a relatively chilly winter day is another thing altogether. Neither of us were all that enthusiastic about heading out, but it needed to get done.
While we were shopping, I wandered into the seasonal aisle where they already had all of their Easter stuff out. I mostly wanted to look at the candy, but the stuffed animals also caught my eye. Especially the giant fluffy rolly-polly sheep that they had. I managed to talk myself out of that purchase, only to turn around and see this across the aisle.
He also came with a small bag of jelly beans, but since they weren’t the good kind, I wasn’t interested in those. No, I just wanted a purple striped sock monkey with purple fuzzy bunny ears. I figured this guy would at least be a bit more responsible of an impulse buy than the giant sheep…
I’ve been really stressed lately, and after reading this post and the comments on it, I decided “You know what? Who care’s if this is geared toward children? If I want it and it makes me happy, I can buy it.” If I have to do this whole being an adult thing, I’m going to do it my way.