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Am I too old to learn new tricks?

For the past few weeks, I’ve started learning how to invest and trade stocks, a few dollars at a time. I feel overwhelmed, especially by the amount of information available to try to make the best calls. I’ll never be a pro, but I’m hoping I can bring in income that will allow us to live the life our children deserve.

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Parenting

When the Dungeon Boss is a Party Member

Parenting is hard. We do our best with the knowledge and experience we have, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try to get it right, we get it wrong.

I was struggling with this a few weeks ago when I was in an IEP meeting with my oldest daughter (henceforth referred to as Cherry Blossom or CB)’s teachers and therapists.

CB had been bullying another child.

I felt horrified and ashamed. I had been bullied relentlessly in school. The idea that CB was the one causing another child to feel what I felt at that age make me feel like I was going to throw up.

But then I realized that this wasn’t the first time CB had bullied someone. I had dismissed my husband’s anger at my daughter’s snide remarks about my weight and eating habits as nothing I hadn’t heard before (because it wasn’t, thanks to my mother’s husband making fun of me to the point of tears in front of my mother, CB and my then-boyfriend). I treated it like it was no big deal.

But it was a big deal. Because I permitted CB to be a bully to me at home, she believed that it was okay to be a bully at school, too.

The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt guilt and even more shame. This was my fault. I did this. I treated her unkindness like it was no big deal, and I did her a huge disservice.

I apologized to CB and my husband. I apologized to my husband because I had brushed aside his warnings that she was bullying me as just family being family instead of seeing it for the harmful behavior it was and giving it appropriate consequences. I apologized to CB for not giving her consequences for the times she chose to be unkind to me, teaching her that it was okay to be unkind to anyone at all.

It’s been a rough road. There were tears and rage, but then there was calm. Thanks to CB’s teachers, therapists, father, my husband, and me coming to agreement on how to address the bullying and the consequences for it, we have created an environment where it is no longer okay to bully anyone, and we address the root causes of the bullying behavior.

As far as the kid at school goes, he had been listening to some music and singing along with it, and that annoyed CB, which caused her to react with hostility. We helped my daughter find other ways to handle her reaction to his actions, such as telling her teacher or an aide and/or wearing her headphones.

CB also received consequences for her choices, such as being grounded from the Internet if she bullied anyone, or being given a video game she wants if she manages to go a set amount of time without bullying anyone (including me!). So far, it seems to be working, and both home and school are happier, less tense places.

I’m proud of CB for turning things around and proud of myself for admitting that I was wrong, apologizing, and making better choices.

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A Gross Of Days

I installed a countdown app to give me a more realistic idea of how long we have to get packed up and moved into new housing. It’s 144 days.

144 days to make this happen, one way or the other.

How can I do it?

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New Year, Who Dis?

2019 was a shitshow.

2020 was a clusterfuck.

2021 was pandemonium.

2022 needs to be something totally different…and it will be.

There will be some pretty big changes coming the way of the Fungeon, including our relocation out west to wherever we can secure a home, preferably a permanent location where we can put down roots. I’m also working on becoming better organized and figuring out how to bring in an income around my duties and the multiple disabilities I have that make my other duties a challenge.

I’m currently waiting on a new therapist, since there’s only so much medicine to make my brain work better can do in the face of extreme trauma. Thank God I’ve got a husband who understands my trauma and doesn’t take it personally when I’m having a rough day.

Today was a good day. My oldest sister and her kids came to visit, and it was an amazing time. I missed Barbara and her brood, and I’m proud of all of them. I also got to meet her middle child’s husband face-to-face, and he actually seems like a pretty decent guy. As long as he’s a good partner to Katie, he’s all right in my book. They are the kind of people who don’t leave me drained when they’re gone, and that’s pretty rare. I miss them already, and I am really looking forward to living closer to them in the next few months.

Seeing that part of my family has really motivated me harder to find a way to bring in income to help us be in the best possible position to buy a home ASAP. I’ve got my artwork, Avon, and I plan to apply for a few things that I can do around taking care of my kids and the house.

I’m water–I’ll find a way.

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Grief

A friend of mine died yesterday.

They were one of those online friends that my family used to scoff about and call “not a real friend.”

We met in person some years ago. They were in town on their way to visit family, and we had a very pleasant lunch. They were a real person with a real life and a real family. I felt like they could be my sibling.

We kept in touch over the years, but they fell ill. (Due to their wish for privacy, I will not disclose the illness, even though my friend is no longer alive.) At first, I was worried, but my friend seemed to be overcoming their illness and was on the way to recovery. Other problems cropped up in my life, and I lost touch. We didn’t communicate as much as we should have, and that was my fault entirely. I own it.

By chance, I found out from my friend’s partner that my friend passed away. Even though they had overcome their previous illness several times, a secondary condition caused them to rapidly decline. In less than 48 hours, my friend was gone, taken out by something unexpected as they continued to work towards a full recovery from their illness.

I’m terrible at keeping in touch, and this hurts my heart in a way I didn’t think possible. Every time I think I’m done crying for my friend, I start crying again.

This isn’t fair. They were supposed to have more time. They were supposed to have lunch with me again and marvel at my cherry blossom and meet my sunflower and my husband.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Goodbye, Linden. I’m sorry. The world is so much dimmer without your light.

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If it’s not one thing, it’s another

Well, I failed abysmally at Blogtober. In my defense, though, I had crisis after crisis after crisis to deal with, and I’m still dealing with them now.

First of all, what was supposed to be a fun excursion turned into two brutal weeks of illness that knocked us on our butts as a family. Michael and I got hit first, then the kids. We’re on the mend now, but I’ve still got a cough that pops up whenever I step out of the house (most likely due to the poor air quality from all of the vehicles on the busy street nearby).

And if that wasn’t enough, our kitchen sink stopped draining. We did what we could as unlicensed amateurs to get it working again, but we failed. After that came a fight with the property management company that owns the house we rent because they didn’t want to deal with the problem and told us to call a plumber. Trouble with that was that we’d already paid the $1235 a month in rent and didn’t have anything left over to pay a plumber, and our spidey sense told us that it wasn’t something we could fix.

A few days later, they acquiesced and sent over a maintenance guy to try and clear it, to no avail. After a weekend of more washing dishes in the bathtub and improvisational cooking (it’s a real pain in the ass to cook three meals a day without a working kitchen sink, I’m here to tell you), another maintenance guy came over with a more powerful auger and tried to clear the line…to no avail.

The head of maintenance finally called a plumber, and the person they sent over was able to clear the line, but he discovered a big problem. The pipe that runs below the basement flood was clogged with mud, which means that the line itself is broken. The line is cast iron and probably over 70 years old, so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has corroded to the point of letting mud in.

So now we wait and see what the property management company wants to do. They likely won’t have a copy of the report on the line until Monday, but at least I can use my kitchen sink until the next big storm causes the groundwater to force more mud into the pipe.

In the course of working on the pipe, the water and ick from it got onto the laundry that I hadn’t caught up on, causing it to look and smell awful. I’m doing my best to catch up, but it’s a massive challenge with a young toddler who gets anxious when I’m not in the room with her.

Speaking of my little sunflower, she hasn’t been getting enough sleep, and it is probably at the root of her clinginess. She’s been refusing to nap, so I’ve been putting her to bed early. She’s been getting an average of 12 hours, but everything I’ve read says she needs to be getting at least 13-14 hours a day, so I’m anxious about closing that gap.

It’s also NaNoWriMo time, and while I haven’t been able to work on my project as much as I’d like, I have been making progress as I can, and that’s something, I suppose.

And now it’s time for me to sneak into the shower while my sunflower and cherry blossom are asleep and my husband is playing his racing game. Huzzah!

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Admitting Defeat

My unpredictable schedule doesn’t allow me to blog daily, and that’s okay. Maybe if I can find a way to update the blog on mobile, I’ll be able to continue with the Blogtober challenge.

Until then, consider this my white flag. I’ll keep blogging when I can.

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Falling Off the Wagon

I tried to keep up with both Inktober and Blogtober, and I failed.

It happens.

I got back up and got to work.

Will I fail again? Possibly?

Will I get back up again? I will until I can’t anymore.

I am now back on the wagon for both things. Wish me luck!

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Domestic Dungeoneering Podcast?

Yes, I’m considering starting a podcast. I’m having trouble narrowing down the theme, since there are a lot of things that I’m passionate about, but I’m working on it. I’m actually excited to be moving forward!

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I am free

CW: Suicidal Ideation

Today, my husband and I had an argument. As a therapist, he is very passionate about invalidating language. The argument was sparked by me stating that a character in an anime who was assaulting another character had “anger issues.” Within the context of that argument, I discovered that I had internalized ableism.

I was wrong, and I felt terrible about it.

But then as we continued to talk, we went into my feelings of terror and fear of rejection and anger at being called out for invalidating the anger of the character. It didn’t matter that she was a fictional person; it mattered that this was something I did without being aware of it, echoing the invalidating language I grew up with.

And it dawned on me that up until Michael and I met and married, I was not allowed to be wrong.

It was not safe to be wrong.

It was not okay to admit to being wrong.

I grew up in an authoritarian household where my parents’ thoughts and opinions were absolute, and anything that didn’t agree with what they said and thought, especially my father, was wrong, and was punished. Sometimes the punishment was physical, but many times, it was emotional. The utter rejection for daring to voice an opinion that was not in lockstep with the “elders” was brutal and cold. Being cast out when one is already an outcast and has only family for company is a cold, lonely place.

In talking with Michael, I realized that I finally, after all of this time, have a safe space to be wrong. I have a space to fully discover and articulate my emotions and separate them from the judgments I’ve made.

This feeling of freedom is one I only ever thought I would experience if I ended my life. I only ever wanted the pain to stop, to stop feeling guilt for existing, to stop feeling guilt for making mistakes, to stop destroying myself to please other people.

I’m just about to turn 42, and it feels like my life is actually beginning.

I am free.