24 May 2024

I’ll depart from my usual format of trying to post each day as it happens, because a fucking lot happened. I’m not even going to try to write it all down now, because I’m exhausted and I will be going to bed shortly. Hopefully I will give it the treatment it deserves tomorrow.

Bullet points:

1. I got to California safely. Twice.

(More on that later)

2. There were fuckups along the way. Some of those were entertaining. Others had me wanting to use various people’s faces as trivets for Lierre’s cast iron. The impulse passed quickly. Sometimes fuckery just spreads out far too thin to be traced back to the source of blame. We should probably all be grateful.

3. Bus travel is indeed cheap but never mind I’m not gonna get into the pros and cons right this fucking minute because BED.

I even got all my packages here and my computer also survived and I’m writing this on it right now. Yey.

Ni ni.

18 May 2024

I’m going to bore you all to death if I keep this up, and I’m going starey-eyed so I’ll keep this short.

Not done packing. Dreading it even though I want to leave; I don’t know what’s coming and that kind of lowkey terrifies me. Not enough to freak out but enough for a little anxiety to kick in. But I did get some laundry done, and I’ll do the rest tomorrow early enough since I have to do the sheets anyway. Well. Maybe I don’t HAVE to do the sheets, but I’m fucking doing them anyway. Least I can do. May as well throw in the last little bit that’s dirty while I’m at it since I’ll be showering tomorrow too.

Got music onto the phone. I had some random stuff on my laptop that hadn’t been on my car playlist and I swiped some things off YouTube. Didn’t grab as much as I wanted to, but it got tedious after a little while. It’ll have to do. I can add more when I get where I’m going. I still have that FM radio app on my phone, too, so if I get REALLY bored I can try that.

So far, with the big suitcase, I’m nowhere near hitting the fifty-pound weight limit. I don’t think I’m even halfway there. That takes a load off my mind, haha. But I have to make allowance for the laptop, and maybe also the blanket if I can fit it. I’ll just stuff both in right quick to see what that does to the weight and then make decisions from there. The laptop definitely has to go with me. The blanket does not. If Carrie wants to keep it, great; if she says she’ll send it, that’s fine too. I’m good either way. I put a lot of work into that thing, but she gave me a safe place to stay til I could launch and I didn’t have to tiptoe around my father anymore. That’s priceless. It almost matches the sheet set on this twin bed, too. Did not see that coming.

I think I am going to be militantly curating my possessions from here on out because managing this shit is too much when I have to keep moving. I do not know when I will stop having to fucking move.

I’ve had a lot more than that on my mind but this whole 2.5-year experience has left me doing the death-march thing of metaphorically staring down at the ground as I walk, one foot in front of the other, just focusing on where I am because I can’t even think about the future anymore. So where I would normally be boring the shit out of you by going into a long philosophical ramble about various things… nah. A cannae be fucked, as the Scots would say. Maybe later.

Okay. Time to depress myself with that fucking luggage scale. Whee!

P.S. I was right about that old micro SD card. Deader than dogshit. Getting the new one was a good call.

17 May 2024

Went for what is very likely my last trip to Walmart in Jennings. I mean, that’s what I thought when I last moved to Ohio and then I turned out wrong, but I can’t think of any reason why I would go back there unless it is a last-minute thing tomorrow night. And it probably won’t be. Also possible I would come back to visit, at least to visit Carrie, and maybe I’d go there under those circumstances, but the way my life’s gone I kind of doubt it.

I needed to figure out provisioning for the road, and I didn’t want something that would melt and I know most Atkins bars have chocolate on or in them. So I got a couple boxes of Quest bars. Also got some powders to add to my water bottle: caffeinated lemonade in lieu of coffee (I do not want caffeine withdrawal while trapped in a transit bus), and some electrolyte powder for later in the day because if I’m filling my bottle at water fountains and/or sinks, which is the plan, I have no idea how it’s going to taste. I would need the electrolytes anyway.

Pill organizer for my incidentals. A couple compartments have antacids in them which, I don’t really need those at this point, but if something comes up then they’ll be nice to have. The bottle they came in is heavy and I need to minimize bag weight. A couple other compartments have Tylenol and ibuprofen respectively, which I rarely use but might be nice to have. The remaining four compartments have most of my multivitamin supply (there were four tablets left when I got done and I’ve already taken one). The bottles these were all taken from will either be staying here or going out with the trash, as in the case of the ibuprofen, which is four years past its expiration date (oops) but seems to still work. I tend to take that one when my joints pick up some inflammation. Which will likely also not be a problem anymore for the same reason heartburn isn’t really a problem, but best to prepare in case.

My B12 and magnesium will stay in their bottles, but better two bottles than six. I could have gotten a second organizer because they’re cheap, but I hadn’t thought that all the way through. It doesn’t matter.

Luggage tags. Those are now set up and attached to their bags. And when I found them, I found a luggage scale. It was seven bucks and will save me more than twice that amount now that I’ll know I’m within the allowed limits. And I can keep it to use again in the future. It’s small enough.

Atkins shakes to last me my last little bit before I leave so I am not over-relying on catch as catch can. I’m in a mode of maximizing protein and minimizing carbs, except for a piece of cornbread and three fried cheese sticks I’ve had since I came to Carrie’s, and now I’ve got trail mix for the road which will be some carbs but shouldn’t be ridiculous. Just, if I feel munchy, it’s there and more “natural” than not. With any luck it’ll bung me up a little, too. I dread taking a shit on the bus. Both for me and for the other passengers. I’ll have adequate time to get it done at changeovers, so let’s just save it for then.

(It did occur to me to also grab Immodium. Probably should have, but we’ll see how things go. I won’t be drinking coffee on the road so at least that won’t be giving me the shits.)

I also got a mini SD card and honestly that was my worst individual purchase; it was about $26ish. It’s for my phone and I want to put music on it for the road. Either I will get bored or some idiot will be making annoying noises and I want to be prepared for either eventuality. The card will continue to be useful after that, as it can store photos. I don’t want to make it a permanent habit to never download my phone photos to my laptop but realistically, right now that’s not a high-priority situation.

Also got travel-size 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. It’s labeled for men, but I smelled it in the store and it’s not bad. I’d have gotten one labeled neutral or for women if the store had had it just because old habits die hard, I suppose. It’ll do me until I can set myself up on the other end. My current bottle of 2-in-1 is huge and has a pump. I am not traveling with that fucking thing. Dad and his bloody fucking fickleness. I bought that shampoo because I thought I was staying.

I appreciated Brenda being willing to take me to the store but I gotta say, I could like her driving a lot better than I do. It worked out, though, and it was nice to have someone to talk to for a few minutes going and coming back. I’ll see her Sunday too, because she’s coming along for the drop-off.

Lala (Stanford) and I have mostly stayed out of one another’s way. My long, long experience with men in general has led me to understand that I can’t control how a guy will interpret me treating him like, I dunno, a normal fucking person and I have to be alone with him until Sunday, so I would rather not even approach that can of worms. He’s been nice enough. I just don’t take it at face value because I’ve seen how he is when he talks about Brenda and some other people. So he’s likely talking about me when he gets the chance too. The less ammo I give him, the better. It doesn’t ultimately matter because I don’t know the people he talks to and I couldn’t give less of a shit what, specifically, they think but I guess I have still not given up caring what people in general think of me. I’m closer to getting over that than I used to be. It is a whole process. I’ll get there eventually.

But he baked some catfish filets last night and made some crawfish etoufĂ©e to go with. I’ve never had the latter and wasn’t ever inclined to try it because I was pretty sure it was full of onions and peppers. Well, I was right about the peppers. I’m okay with crawfish if I don’t have to peel them so basically it was pick crawfish out of the sauce and then scrape the peppers and things off the fish and eat that too. And FYI it was a prefab mix. I’ve seen his pantry. Nothing wrong with that (other than maybe some nutritional differences) but I didn’t want to convey the idea that he’d gone to all this trouble and I was turning up my nose. It’s like Cajun Hamburger Helper. There’s not an actual lot of work involved.

Went through my stuff somewhat with The Fifth Element playing on Tubi. I need to finish up tomorrow. Just have it done and ready because I still have to do laundry and it’ll be easier to subtract if I already have this stuff mostly done.

16 May 2024

There is nothing like some solitude with minimal pressure to do anything RIGHT FUCKING NOW, when you’ve got my sort of brain, to finally figure out things the most sensible way.

Okay. So. Last we discussed this, I was mulling over transferring all my files to my cobbled-together external hard drive to carry in my carry-on while leaving my laptop in my checked baggage. The plan was fine as far as it went. I was a little worried about someone stealing the fucker anyway and then knowing a hacker who could take all my info off (even if you format a drive, the info’s still there, and I wouldn’t have formatted), but apart from that.

Well, tonight (thank fuck I hadn’t started yet), I realized I had another option.

I could just yank the existing fucking hard drive.

And carry it in my carry-on. And still put the laptop itself in the checked bag.

DUH.

I even still have a teeny screwdriver that will help me get the machine apart and take its brain out. MMM. BRAINS. So basically all I have to do is set things up sometime Saturday night or maybe Sunday morning and I’ve got it fucking made.

Scary? You bet. Something could go wrong. But you know what? If something goes wrong I could get another fucking laptop and stick my current hard drive into my “external hard drive” housing, where I currently keep the drive from my LAST computer but I could swap them out. I DO have a bit of financial wiggle room. In a pinch, to replace the laptop, I would use it. I have already priced them at Walmart. It’s doable.

But I don’t think it will happen. And bonus? If someone does steal the laptop? It’ll be fucking useless to them HAHAHAHAHA.

Okay. That is a load off my mind.

Brenda stopped by earlier to check on me and we have worked out that she will stop by tomorrow again and we’ll go to Walmart. I have a few odds and ends I want to get that should make travel easier. Made a list already. Now I’m tired. ‘Night.

15 May 2024

Busy busy day.

Carrie nixed the morning ticket because she doesn’t get back from visiting Corey’s until 6pm-ish. She is fully aware we’re pretty much going to be turning around and going right back out the door, and is fine with that. So, good thing I didn’t buy the tickets yet. I’m making a lot of good calls lately. I can’t decide if those are offsetting my insanity in picking up and going to California, but I don’t really want an answer to that question yet.

Went with Carrie to her appointment, and Brenda went along (she seems better). Carrie watched her true crime and I fucked off on my phone. Nice to do it without Silently Judging sitting next to me like sitting and glaring at the waiting room would have been the superior course of action.

After that, we went to the post office on Bertrand. Bless their hearts, I went into the place four times with packages stacked on my little wheelie cart. There were two clerks at the counter and each got two runs. The only real hitch was that the two so-called “large flat rate” boxes I got from the Iota post office… were not flat-rate. So one of them cost me seventy bucks. There were a few others I could have wished were cheaper, but nothing catastrophic. I was hoping for a $300 run, I gave myself a mental cushion to $500 because I’d made $2000 off the car and could allow for it, and I think I got to $570ish? I can’t remember. Definitely over five hundred. When you consider it would have cost me more than $1800 to rent the smallest U-Haul truck because they don’t let you take their vans out of town, I got off light. The boxes (and one big envelope — and that was surprisingly cheap) are all numbered and I’ve listed them. We’ll see what comes in when I get to Crescent City. The only additional snag I might have to worry about besides something not getting to its destination is if it stresses L out, especially if there’s something she can’t quite lift. I hope not. I am not going to disturb that ant’s nest. I have bugged her enough and we will just have to wait and see. But mad props to the Bertrand post office in Lafayette for their professionalism. The woman in particular was very kind. I’m so tired of random idiots ragging on the USPS. I still feel the good far outweighs the bad.

(If you ever have to ship fifteen boxes — actually fourteen boxes and one big envelope — do what I did and use a little wheelie cart like you use for luggage, and then go in with a few boxes at a time and go to the end of the line every new time you walk in. It dilutes the work for the poor sod behind the counter to something more manageable and you don’t hog the line. Did not hear one grumble behind me the whole time I was there.)

After the post office we went to Sonic and got gigantic drinks because by then we were all dried out. Carrie also got fried cheese sticks. I have been very good the past few weeks, but I could eat three cheese sticks and not have a huge problem. So I did. Never had the Sonic ones. The seasoning they use is just [chef’s kiss]. I need to figure out a keto version that I can like. I have always had problems with using cheese sticks in frying and baking. The cheese wants to melt into everything. How do you do this. HOW.

While all this is going on, we’re all gabbing in the SUV. More stuff about my dad. The fact of his not driving came up in conversation and I mentioned what he’d told me, that he couldn’t mentally focus well anymore and that was why he’d given up his license. Guess what. From what Carrie understands, the man has had at least one DWI. She told me that in the last little while that he was still driving, she got in the car with him and noticed he had to breathe into something to start the car. She queried him about it — Carrie doesn’t have much of a filter — and he said something about having stopped at a bar on the way home from work and the cops had pulled him over as soon as he started driving again. Couched it like it was some kind of trap. I pointed out that they have to breathalyze you to bust you for DWI. They can’t just assume. People drive home from the fucking bars all the fucking time without having to get breathalyzed to start a fucking car. But, y’know, he lies. She knows he lies. She said as much. I want to say she mentioned him having had an accident at some point too, but don’t quote me on that. I did share with her about the time I was a teenager and Reba was going through her abuse recovery shit and suddenly felt the overwhelming need to talk with her sister about it, so nothing would do but that we alllllll had to go to where Linda lived, and we were in the Memphis area at the time and I want to say Linda was in St. Louis. Worst-case, Chicago. Anyway this was at night and we were bopping along up Interstate 55 with Dad steadily drinking and Reba not sober herself and bottles of various alcoholic beverages rolling around at my feet. Here comes a cop and pulls Dad over. He chatted with Dad a bit and probably noticed his breath and demeanor and suggested, “Mr. Seilhan, how about you let your wife drive.” And THAT WASN’T ANY BETTER, but I suspect the main reason he didn’t just bring Dad up on charges right there was he noticed us kids in the back seat and didn’t want to scare the shit out of us or get social services involved. That’s my theory. Dude’s probably long dead by now (he was middle-aged then) and I can’t prove anything. I could tell this was the first Carrie had heard of this incident, but it is testimony to how badly Dad has fucked everything up that she wasn’t surprised, either.

But everyone else’s gonna tell themselves I left because I’m lazy. Sure, Jan.

Then we stopped at Walmart on the way back. Carrie got gas and I got some more Atkins shakes (I have been living on those things, with varying degrees of whatever, for the past couple weeks) and a twelve-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper because I’ve been drinking up Carrie’s. I tried to use up the last of my gift cards but I just happened to wind up at a checkout that had a faulty hand-scanner. Well, I need to check my balances. Could be I used it all up already and didn’t know. I did have some balance, but not as much as I’d expected.

Carrie stopped at some random house in the Iota area after that and dropped off $20 because a former student of hers lives there and just graduated high school. It is this particular class and she got particularly attached to them and so she’s been giving each of the students $20 for a bit now as graduation gifts. And that is just the sort of person she is.

She got us all back to the house and I checked the mail and my carry-on bag’s here. It’ll do. I could wish for it to be slightly larger but it has a shoulder strap which will probably function as a cross-body, and it’s small enough I should be able to handle it easily.

Corey came over when he was done with his whatever, we exchanged greetings and hugs (damn, I don’t think I have seen him since he was in grade school and now he’s a husband and father???), and he and Carrie took off. Carrie told me before she left to call Brenda if I needed anything and texted me Brenda’s number. Brenda for her part looked in on me and reminded me to let her know if I needed anything. I think we’ve got that much sorted.

After they were gone, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the tickets. I am wowed by the technological advances in taking bus transit. I have both tickets on my phone AND in my email inbox and it’s basically scan the barcode the whole way, every time I change buses.

And now we wait. I feel a bit of a fanny staying here this many days waiting for Sunday, but if I use the time wisely then I can prepare properly. I don’t know if I will get all the prep done well, BUT, I’ll get some of it. I feel fairly confident about that. If I have to leave a few things here, oh fucking well. I’ll make sure they’re absolutely replaceable. Someone will find a use for them. Fair trade for the checked bag and wallet, I think.