10 May 2024

Still preparing to go. I have always hated moving, and I hate it even more when I’m the one who has to get everything ready, even though I am excellent at packing, especially when I have funds for all the proper materials. Hating getting ready to move is entirely my fault. I have a very bad habit of acquiring things I don’t need (entertaining myself is also sort of a need, but how much am I entertaining myself when I never use the entertaining item? Get your mind out of the gutter) and then not getting rid of them for years. The not-getting-rid part might not be so bad if I did not have the awful habit of once in a while running across said unused objects and thinking, “I had better keep that because I’ll use it eventually.” Reader, I do not use it eventually. I should be ashamed of myself but this is lazy materialism, not serial rape.

Long story short, I should already be able to pack three bags and go, with no more than one to three cartons of things to go to Goodwill because I needed them here but won’t need them without a car. Instead, I find myself triaging my belongings into Keep, Ship, or Goodwill, which makes everything take ten times longer than it ought to take. I don’t mean the selection process; that has mostly not been difficult. I mean containerizing the objects so that I can transport them.

I would still be faster at this effort than I currently am, but I’m terrified of selling the car. First there is the obvious reason: once I have sold the car, it will be literal years before I can acquire another one unless something really unexpected happens. Secondly, it would be just like Dad to tell me he changed his mind about the ultimatum the very fucking minute I get back to Carrie’s from Lake Charles. Not that I’ll give him many openings to discuss anything with me once I am out the door, but it is not outside the realm of possibility even so. Thirdly, and maybe my biggest problem, I am terrified they won’t pay me enough for the car. This factor more than any of the others has slowed me down considerably because I am afraid it will stop me in my tracks.

See, I need starting-out money. I figure that if I can possibly still have five hundred left over after I get where I’m going, I’ll be okay for several months. If the specific one I have in mind is available where I’m going, I’ll be switching to a cheaper phone service when I get there. Failing that, I’ll look for something similar. I will want a local number anyway — high time I ditched the Ohio one. I may even do research into changing my hosting service, as little as I want to do that because I have one website (hi, Rory) that will be an absolute bitch to move. Probably I will end up not doing it. If I don’t then, if my phone service switcharoo happens, I’ll be at about $60 a month in expenses since I will not be paying for auto insurance anymore. It will buy me time to either find a job or else get some self-employment income going OR both. I’m fine with both. Nothing that my future roommate needs me doing around the house is going to take up my entire day, and one of those chores isn’t going to be a thing until winter, and another will only be a thing when she’s out of town, and then there’s only one other one. And I think she goes out of town a few times a year, but she’s not CONSTANTLY gone. Like me, she is a homebody. Doggos will have five-star service whether I’m working or not. So if I end up with both a job and a side gig, whatever. I will not suddenly be liable for rent, I’m used to not having much, and I have to keep in mind that a move will happen again at some point, so I’m not going to want to acquire much. I’ll be able to save up a LOT.

(Not enough to retire on in seventeen years, DAD. But a lot just the same.)

If I only get around $1000 for the car, my other problem is that I need to ship that of my stuff which I intend to ship to her house. (Or to her P.O. box. Either way. We need to talk about that, actually.) I will use the cheapest methods possible, and clever little me decided to employ a few flat-rate Priority boxes for the denser stuff, but it’s still going to add up. I’m assuming about $20 a box right now, average. There are more than five. You get the idea.

IDEALLY I walk away from the car sale with a net amount of around $1500. One-third of that for the trip, one-third of that for the shipping, and then one-third of it to last me… some amount of time.

It helps that I seem to be done with periods. That’s a major expense right there, gone poof. I still like those Poise pads, but I can wear one of those per day and I’m fine. Sounds gross, but we already do that with underwear, so who fucking cares. It’s saving me money. That’s all I care about.

I will also use the last of my Walmart gift card balances to obtain noms for the trip. No reason I should waste my money on the road. There is a special place in hell for transit vendors who take advantage of a captive market to screw over low-income travelers. This is a longstanding problem and not likely to end today. I will just have to plan for it.

It even occurs to me that I should take ONE water bottle, and also take some flavor drops (the bottles for those are small), and be prepared to refill the bottle at stops. They have water fountains or, failing that, sinks in the restrooms. DAMN I’M BRILLIANT.

And then I catch myself sliding my reading glasses down my nose to look for my reading glasses. Never mind.

(That didn’t actually happen just now. But it’s happened before. Because of course it has.)

(Sliding down my nose? Yes. It’s like a weird form of bifocals. My mid-range vision is still okay and my distance vision is fair to middling — good enough to pass a DMV vision test — and anyway, reading glasses are designed for close work. I can’t focus on anything through them past about two feet away from my face, thus must slide my glasses down my nose to look far away. And that’s the weaker ones. The stronger ones are worse. Shorter focus field.)

ANYWAY. I could ask Dad for going-away money, but I haven’t even talked with him about leaving. (More on that in a minute.) My other option is on the “a little help” page here. I set up a new GoFundMe. I would rather not go begging like that, and if there were some way for me to offer little premiums like a doodle or whatever, I would do it, but I think I’ve said somewhere before that I’d be an idiot not to exploit all possible resources in a situation like this. It’s masochistic. I am not a masochist, just a complainer. There’s a huge difference. The masochist would be enjoying herself and thus NOT complaining. That aside, even little dribs and drabs here and there from the GoFundMe would help sustain me for a while. Look at it this way. You’re not funding some poor girl’s self-mutilation mastectomy. You get to help GFM give money to a terf. Feel smug. You’ve earned it.

I thought about doing some more Ubering and that was my first impulse, yes, but these fucking roads… I thought the southeast Columbus metro area was horrible. There are entire sections of Louisiana’s state highways where the pothole-patching IS the pavement. And of course it’s uneven, and my suspension is halfway to shot so I feel every fucking bump. I think my poor car has taken enough abuse. Hopefully Carvana will take good care of her and then whoever gets her next will be a retiree who just needs to run errands once a week. She’s earned a retirement herself.

(I know she is not literally female. But she mah bud. She saved my ass SO many times and, for a while, she was even home and safety. This is another reason I’m dreading the sale. That car is also the last place my daughter and I ever sat together to enjoy a meal: car picnic with sushi, natch. This is going to hurt. I fucking know it.)

Speaking of retirees. No, I have not talked with Dad about leaving. I do not even expect to be in his house past the end of the weekend. I’m not telling him and I’m not saying goodbye. He was a shit to me about the matter of the Ubering. First he was happy because he viewed it as me getting a job — which was fine, I never intended it to be my final stop, I just wanted a stopGAP so I could keep my bills paid until I found something better — and then, VERY SUDDENLY, he did a 180 and issued the ultimatum. You know what? I’m done with Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde can fuck right off. Dr. Jekyll appears to have kicked the bucket lots of years ago. I don’t need this shit. So he can think I’m mean all he wants. Everyone else can think I’m mean too. None of them ever had any real use for me anyway. I was an obligation. If I need to tell you how NOT fun it is to be viewed as an obligation, you need to get out more. And now I’m not that obligation anymore and oh boy, they all want me to know it. Read ya loud and clear, assholes. This is me, taking matters into my own hands. Hey, it’s not suicide. I will be leaving you with no mess to clean up. Not even my leftover books and things like last time. You’re fucking welcome.

It’s funny, actually. The situation at L’s will be such that I might finally be able to align my life more closely with what I want my values to be. Feminism is part of it but not the only thing. It has long vexed me that EITHER I can hang out with people who ARE NOT loony vegan genderdorks OR I can hang out with feminists but I couldn’t seem to accomplish both at once — at least, inasmuch as said loony vegan genderdorks claim to be feminist, and of course they aren’t. That problem’s about to be solved. Either I am in for the disillusionment of my fucking life or I’m in for some massive improvement in my circumstances. I really hope it’s the latter. The signs are encouraging.

Don’t count on me talking about my housemate much. There are safety issues involved, because we have a lunatic-overpopulation problem in this country and none of them are being kept in check when it comes to uppity women with a command of the facts. (Y’all quit acting like this is a difference of opinion. We are literally getting our lives ruined for TELLING THE TRUTH.) I also don’t anticipate a situation like the one with Matt and definitely not like the one with Dad. For one, I’ll actually be able to breathe the fucking air because L doesn’t smoke. It’ll be fucking great. And no animals pissing and shitting in the house either, other than hoomins using the toilet, unless someone has an accident. I expect the latter will be quite rare.

Okay. I got on here in the first place to test a couple external drives I found in my stuff, and I thought I had better provide an update to the latest festivities, but now it has turned into more procrastination. Let me get on with that other thing. ‘Later.

08 May 2024

So, while I don’t quite have a firm date yet, I have pretty much settled upon taking a bus all the way to the Left Coast unless something weird happens. Like, I’ll probably get a few more of those Bayou State scratch cards and see if I win that $4k after all. I doubt it will happen, but if it does, my ass is flying out. L, my strongly prospective housemate, advised me on how to get to Crescent City by airline instead of having to catch a bus in Medford. And I wouldn’t mind catching a bus in Medford, but if all planes is faster then let’s do that instead. This just isn’t terribly likely. I suspect my first two wins were a fluke. Even with much better odds than the Powerball.

Really, I don’t mind long road trips but if it’s a crowded bus or fuckery happens it could get unpleasant. I will do it anyway in the service of saving money, especially if I get fucked on the car. If a diabetic man twenty-two years older than me (Dad) can survive riding a bus from south Louisiana to central Ohio and then out to southern Oregon and then BACK to fucking Montana, I can do this. Come on.

I think I have some wiggle room on when to leave, because Carrie has invited me to stay over to avoid future angry interactions (she has known Dad something like thirty-five years; she knows how he is) and I am going to take her up on it just to make things easier, and I also want to see more of her before I go. But I need to get the car sold this week, so I absolutely must get rid of everything I am absolutely not going to be mailing or carrying over there. Goodwill’s going to fucking love me again. It’s all good. I thought about selling my sewing machine and keyboard, but… I am just so fucking sick and tired of dealing with people. They can’t even handle a simple thing like defining woman and man, they flake out on or dramatize the simplest personal interactions, and back when I offered things on Freecycle I got no-shows a lot and that shit was literally free. And that’s if I don’t get robbed. Might as well stay out of trouble, keep my stress in check, and do some good for humanity. I know Goodwill has issues, but they also employ people and help the disabled. It’s not all bad.

I need to get the car sold this week because I need some lead time to get the Greyhound ticket. I cannot fuck around with that and I also need to get luggage (no more carrying my clothes in bags!) and also ship my stuff off.

If I sound confident, it’s not on purpose. Part of me is screaming WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? YOU DON’T KNOW THESE PEOPLE IN MEATSPACE! YOU HAVE GONE MOST OF YOUR LIFE WITH NO CAR AND IT FUCKED YOU! But I’m living with someone I don’t know NOW and he’s got a little bit of a lying problem and a drinking problem and also a cruelty problem, and you can get just as fucked owning a car as you can going without one. I’ll be a mile from town and I need exercise. If I get enough money for the car, I’ll have enough left over to keep me for a bit after I get there. I will have internet at home, I will have desk space to work, I won’t have to travel all over creation just to get the simplest things done. And my roomie will not be constantly up my ass to entertain her somehow. Yes, please.

(The dogs may be up my ass to entertain them once they get used to me, but I may be able to head that off at the pass when I’m not in the mood for it by the simple expedient of closing my bedroom door. I have a feeling I may not be doing that a whole lot, though.)

I’m pissed. I thought I had $30 in the Uber account but it was more like $20. I don’t think this is anything shady on Uber’s part. I think I just glitched. I still have a decent amount of gas in the car and I shouldn’t need to tank up again before going to Lake Charles to sell it. I don’t want to do any more Ubering. Every time I drive those horrid roads I feel the car rattling apart just a little bit more — the suspension has been grumpy for a while. I know I have been paranoid about that for two and a half years, but you have to figure my paranoia will be justified eventually. So I am not sure what I will do for money if something comes up. Being this low on money will likely push me to Carrie’s sooner because I can’t just keep buying Atkins shakes. They are cheap meals (a four-pack is seven bucks and some change, five bucks and some change if I get the Walmart brand, and I drink two per meal because I’m too low-calorie as it is) but duh, every time I buy them I am spending money I need to keep. It’s going to get untenable if I don’t get out of this house soon. Eating the food in the house would push me into Dad’s path and we are just not going there. If he wanted a relationship with me, he should have quit fucking biting my head off.

I just remembered I’ve got something like $35 left in potential Walmart gift-card balance. Well, that’s good. That needs to be spent before I leave the state anyway because as soon as I cross that state line I don’t have Medicaid anymore until I apply for it again. Whose bright idea was it to have state-based public health insurance? I wanna slap ’em. But that’s my answer to needing noms until the car’s sold. More tape and boxes, definitely, if needed.

I am getting my shit sorted today — well, I got a start on it. I’m on hold right now because Dad was asleep when I got home and the one roll of packaging tape I have is NOISY when I try to unroll a piece. I know a lot of those brands make racket, but the one I just used up wasn’t like that. Duck brand I think? Small green dispenser. I don’t want to go all the way the fuck back to Jennings to get more Duck, and I can’t this time of night anyway. I’ll wait until he’s awake to make tape noises. He might still complain but at least it won’t be because I woke him up.

(I actually just got an idea to make it quieter… let me see about that first.)

I am aiming for what I tried to do when I left Matt’s house and not take things with me I can’t replace later, keeping in mind that if things go the way I hope they will go, I will have some money to buy a few things. I won’t want to go crazy with it but, for instance, the paper I want to use for portraits is less than five bucks a pad on Amazon. I’ll keep my pencils at least. That won’t be a problem. There is no way in hell I can take my fixatives with me — they are in aerosol cans and USPS would shit and I doubt Greyhound would like them either — but a can of that shouldn’t be more than another ten bucks. The thing with pencil portraits is the work you put into them. The raw materials are not a big fucking deal.

Oh shit, I’ll need a ruler too. AGAIN. Sigh.

At least this time I don’t have to worry about some idiot mailing me shit I don’t need. Matt got in his yuks two and a half years ago sending me boxes full of literal trash. Moving on now.

I just really hate having to get rid of things. I feel like I should change my name to Inanna.

Spent some time with Carrie today. Mostly it was just visiting (and I showed her a couple more Gary Meikle comedy reels… she couldn’t always understand him, but she definitely laughed in the right places), but we also talked some about my situation. She’s pissed at Dad. Understand that I have NOT been after her like “omg my dad is such a monster, please hate him” or any bullshit like that. They will remain friends unless he REALLY fucks up. I am completely fine with that. I have expressed my ire, absolutely, but I also tell her — and this is the truth — that I do get where he’s coming from. There is nothing actually wrong with him wanting me to be employed. It is not the premise I have an issue with, it is how he looks at it and responds to it. He does not have the answers to my problems that I actually need, especially when no one will fucking hire me and even if they did, there’s no way I can earn enough to be safe in retirement in just the next seventeen years, so he might as well calm the fuck down and let me figure it out because I literally have nothing left to lose. He doesn’t even know what the fuck is going on in most areas of my life but BOY DOES HE FEEL FREE TO JUDGE. Carrie places most of the blame on his drinking. I just mentioned above that they’ve been friends for thirty-five years. She knows how he is on the booze. She’s actually fussed at him about it and told him she can’t be around him when he’s drinking because of his behavior. He’s been in love with her for decades (she’s never felt the same about him, though she loves him as a friend and sort of a bonus brother, and she told him so) and if even her declared boundary hasn’t put him on the strait and narrow, well, don’t fucking blame me for the outcomes of his life because he doesn’t give two shits whether I’m around or not so what influence was I supposed to have, exactly?

She and Doug have talked about things too and while Doug has not been talking with me directly since I told him what is now going on, he’s also pissed at Dad because Dad directly broke a promise made to him when they were discussing me coming back down. So let’s piss off the favorite child too. Great going, Dad. Doug and I have had our shit in the past and I have no idea what’s coming up, especially with me living a whole lot closer to him before much longer, but he really went to bat for me on this one and Dad was totally unfair to him. I hope Doug’s not expecting a sudden epiphany. It’s not going to fucking happen. Dad is Dad. The end.

I’m glitching again but the tired kind of glitch. Let me see if I can grab a couple more things out of the front cabinet. I think I have two more boxes and the sewing machine there. And then maybe figure out getting my ass into bed. It’s way too hot here right now and I was uncomfortable last night, but maybe tonight will be better. At least it won’t be hot like this on the northern California coast. I never wanted to move to CA, but there are worse places. Opelousas, for instance. Rafah, definitely. [flips both middle fingers AND both middle toes in the general direction of Israel]

‘Later.

07 May 2024

At the Lafayette library again. I basically spent the day here yesterday alternating between looking things up and stress-scrolling (you can still scroll on a laptop. Sort of). I did some delivering today though, and will go back out and try to do more, but it really died down after my first two trips. Grumble.

I found out that I can maybe get $2000 for my car from Carvana, though it may be more like $1500 once they look at it, if I’m lucky. I don’t think I will get over there to sell it in the next seven days, and in fact I want to actually take it in and get eyeballs on it before they give me another offer. Because I don’t want them coming back on me later like “you sold us crap and now you owe us money” — when I sell this, I want it SOLD. Done. No additional drama.

Part of it is that if the car were in much better shape I’d almost not do this and I’d opt to drive to California instead, except I don’t know what the delivery market is in Crescent City, and I don’t know if I could earn enough money to both sustain me here and buy gas all the way there, and delivery on the way isn’t really an option because I’d have too much stuff in my car. I could get out of that one by getting rid of a lot of stuff first, which I am going to do anyway, but having to stop to deliver all the time is just going to make the trip longer and it’s already a 37-hour trip. We are talking probably three or four days. And sleeping in my car, or else probably getting motel rooms at $100 a pop. And going up the Rockies, and my car already did not have good get-up-and-go even before it started aging badly. It’s a feature, not a bug, with the Sonata.

Part of it is that if I can get at least $1500 for the car, I found out that if I get an airline ticket to the nearest biggish airport to Crescent City, which is just north in Oregon, and I get it in the middle of the week, it can be less than $400. It might still hit $400 with additional taxes and fees, but I will be surprised if it goes over five. Then I would take a bus to Crescent City and that should come out to less than fifty dollars. So I’d have $900 left over, worst-case. With it being a plane trip, even if I eat, that shouldn’t cost me more than an additional $20. Carrie has said she will take me to the airport, so no cab there. I will no longer be paying for auto insurance, either, so that should last me a while. Housemate has a car, housemate’s neighbor has a car and a truck, and when I get there I can buy a bicycle. I’ll be okay for a little while. The weather stays mild, too.

Driving — or worse, renting a U-Haul — would be a disaster. I’d get there with basically nothing. I might not even be able to swing a U-Haul if I get less than $2000 for the car.

This is weird. I’m looking at the Greyhound site, and it is telling me that there are no trips from Lafayette to Crescent City. BUT, if I search for Lafayette to Medford, which was also the nearest viable airport? Oh yeah. BUT. The destination in Medford if I took the bus from Lafayette is NOT at the airport. Which is where I would have to start from to take a bus from Medford to Crescent City.

But I just looked up info about local cabs and apparently there is a really good one in Medford. I think this might actually be my best bet. It’ll definitely leave me with much more money at the end.

Now it just comes down to deciding what day. I think at this point I need to focus on making money for food, gas, and postage. If I can keep those squared away, I’ll be all right.

(I also need some decent traveling bags. Because right now I have two: Jack and Shit.)

I may also finally try to sell something on Marketplace. I will photograph the Things Involved tonight so I can jump on that NOW, that way I won’t find myself waiting til the last minute to hit Goodwill if no one bites.

Okay. Let me try to make some more money. I hope.

06 May 2024

Am at the Jennings library. I need to look up some stuff and then go driving but wanted to check in.

I have this Facebook friend in northern California who is a published author, which is why I friended her (I think I sent the request): I like her writing. She also happens to be a terf and is plugged into that community, but years ago she caught the attention of the low-carb community thanks to her exposé of the health pitfalls of vegetarianism, so we’ve intersected at least twice.

Anyway, from time to time she advertises for a free roommate, as in she does not charge rent. She has a couple chores she can’t do, and she needs her dogs looked after while she is out of town. I have never looked into it because I thought, “yeah right, I’d have to share utility costs, surely.”

Well, she just happened recently to advertise again. It is not a thing where she constantly asks but never gets, just that people move in with her and then move out again later. This was another later like that. I still dismissed it at first because of the above rationale.

But after Dad blew up at me I gave things a good think. I DMed her last night, asked her some questions, and suddenly I have an option.

Here is what I am thinking. If I sold my car, I could find an alternate route to California — rent a UHaul van for my stuff, or get rid of most of my stuff before I sell the car and have Carrie take me to the nearest bus station. Either way. And then get out there and buy a bicycle and look for a job in town. I would also have lots of time to finally get that proofreading course done because my day wouldn’t be taken up in full-time job or delivery driving. (I will be surprised if the town she’s near has got much full-time stuff.) I could draw, too. Apparently there is a desk in the room.

It would be a real place to regroup and relaunch, in other words. And I have not had that up until now. Dad should have been that, but he was too busy being a paranoid hateful fucking control freak.

And no one’s going to expect me to be a fucking social butterfly. Bonus.

This is probably all going to hinge on what I can get for my car. If I can get at least $3k I will feel comfortable with it. It’s supposed to be worth $6k but I know how people are.

You’re going “Dana, you’re crazy,” but the actual crazy would be going back to Ohio with a half-gimpy car and no friends. If this works out then I will have Roommate Friend and then another possible friend up the way who stops by now and again (and he’s another writer I’ve followed for a long time and I really like his work). PLUS, given where it is, I’ll be a lot closer to Doug, so striking up an actual in-person relationship with one of the few relatives left who still likes me, also his kid, wouldn’t be a bad thing. Long as I don’t have to live with him because, after what happened when we were kids, if that one goes wrong it will go very, very wrong. Do not want, thank you, drive on through.

Okay. I have not had breakfast yet and I’m running a little bit behind. I might write more later, though it won’t appear here til tomorrow, probably. Unless I go to the Lafayette library again. You never know.

05 May 2024

Am at Dad’s house (I am not “at home,” I still have no fucking home) today doing laundry. Curious to see if he will ever fucking nap. It’s 2pm and I got up at 10am (didn’t mean to run that late, but I didn’t get enough sleep night before last, and I was feeling it by the time I got back last night… guess I was making up the time), and he hasn’t napped once.

If he’s hoping to pick another fight, it’s not happening. Or if it does happen, that will take great effort on his part. I’ve got protein shakes and I WILL stick with those all fucking day if that’s what it takes.

Yesterday was Star Wars Day, as in “May the Fourth be with you.”

Today is Revenge of the Fifth.

I like knowing things like that, but they make me sad, too. I felt like geeks were my community for most of my life, though I never thought it was a perfect situation; like nearly every other human social group, they’ve got a little bit of a woman-hating problem. But it has gotten to the point that now they are pretending not to know what a woman is, and some of the women in their community actively pretend to not be women now, and you’re a bigot if you notice. Their argument? Well, there are ninety genders on Planet Whatever in That One Television Show, so of course trans is a real thing here, in real life.

My 1950s-Westerns-bingeing dad thinks that liking things like Star Wars is childish — told you he’s an asshole — and I will never agree with that, but there IS a certain amount of childishness in the geek community. It would be less irritating if they did not also paint themselves as The Most Intelligent Social Group Who Will Save Humanity. My fat ass they will “save humanity.” They want to upload all our brains to computers. After spending half an hour ranting at you about the unstableness and lack of anti-hacker security of ALL the current popular computer (therefore also smartphone) operating systems. Make it make sense.

Anyway. I also happened to check out the three newest “saga” Star Wars films on DVD at the library on Thursday. I wasn’t even thinking about what yesterday was. I just thought, fuck it, I haven’t watched these through in a while, and they were all on the shelf, so I grabbed them. Dad always manages to interrupt me if they come on satellite and I’m watching them. I’m always nice about it — it’s HIS television, so I hand him the remotes when he gets up from his naps — but if I didn’t take the initiative, he’d ask for the remotes anyway. It’s happened a couple of times. If I’m watching on my laptop, he can’t do that. One, I’m in my room; two, it’s on my laptop; three, there’s no remote. Plus, if I have to step away, there is Pause. Suck it, Dad.

I’d be less spicy about this, but he’s up half the night when I’m in bed and watches whatever the fuck he wants then. Needs to feel more Lord of the Manor, I suppose, and especially now that he can barely do a fraction of what he used to be able to do. I am the wrong punching-bag for him to take his frustrations out on. I would have been his most sympathetic ally. (I did not say ABSOLUTELY sympathetic. I said MOST sympathetic, as in degrees. I would never have been 100% okay with his behavior.) As ever, he does this shit to himself. I wash my hands of it.

Oh, he can’t help himself? Get him declared incompetent then. Either he’s responsible for his actions or he needs to go to the veterans’ home. Fucking pick one. I’m not going to do it, because I’m already too much The Evil One, and not only in his opinion. Y’all think I’m shit? Fine. This is y’all’s mess now. Have fun.

I am not sure I will actually watch the DVDs now, though. I checked them out just before his shitstorm, and now I don’t think I would have the focus. I’m back in survival mode. Whee. So I guess I can go drop them off at the library tomorrow.

I need to edit yesterday’s post because I said his second bail was in 1997 when actually it was 2017. Had me a brain glitch, and those happen much more often when I’m upset. He suddenly decided to move to Montana in 2017, no (believable) explanation why. (“I’ve always wanted to live in Montana.” Uh-huh, and your reason for not doing this when you were more able-bodied is? He hadn’t had his initial kidney failure event yet, but he still wasn’t doing WELL.) I found out later that that was around the time Carrie got married to Stanford. I bet it was no coincidence and I bet I know why. My father has had a thing for Carrie since the late nineties or early aughts, and I noticed it even back then. How many actual Guy Friends of Women do any of us know about who ever bought the woman in question a diamond heart pendant? Yeah. That’s what I thought. Carrie for her part was astounded and then very thankful to have such a “good friend.” I think she knew but was trying to be class about it, since she was married at the time. Byron, at that point. The cheating fuck. I suspect Dad was thrilled when Carrie finally shitcanned Byron, which took a lot longer than it ought to have; one of the times I was here, she had left but not divorced him and was living in a mobile home in town. The final straw was when she got colon cancer maybe a decade ago and Byron started screwing around again. And this is why you dump them the first time they cheat. But I’m sure Dad thought it would finally be his turn. And then it wasn’t. And Dad didn’t want to be around to see her being happy with someone else. It’s possible he had always toyed with the idea of moving to Montana but told himself it was stupid, until suddenly he needed somewhere to go. (Tellingly, “needing somewhere to go” did not include the possibility of moving near either Doug or me. Remember that when he cries that his kids won’t talk to him anymore. Doug might, but I fucking won’t.) Sold his nice trailer and most of his belongings. Took off.

He was on the way there when he visited me in Ohio that year. Then he went to visit my brother Doug in Oregon. Then he went to Billings. And it would have worked out swimmingly had he paid any fucking attention whatsoever to his own medical regimen and asked the right questions, but someone fiddled where they should have faddled and he got the wrong dose of something and then wound up in kidney failure. He spent a lot of time in the hospital and then had to move back to Iota. And lo, here we are.

He does all this stupid shit and it is never his fault, then he looks at me and does not even know what I am doing and pronounces me a loser. Sure, Jan. Keep telling yourself that.

(I AM a loser, but not for whatever reasons he imagines.)

I suddenly find myself wondering how he behaved when Carrie got sick. Was he there for her the way he expects her to be there for him now? Because that was well before his kidney failure, obviously. She’s never mentioned, and he doesn’t talk about it. I first found out she was sick from Facebook. He knows, or he ought to know, that I consider her a family friend and he should have guessed I might want to know (I didn’t reach out to her, but only because I think what I post on Facebook would have offended her, and I wanted to leave that can of worms firmly sealed). He said nothing. The excuse of “I was freaked out because the woman I love was in danger of dying” only goes so far and he’d have never said that to me, anyway.

I get an idea that he mostly thinks of people in terms of Rules and doesn’t have much theory of mind. It’s one thing to try to interpret people’s motivations based on their behavior, but it is super difficult to set up a list of Rules by which to measure them and expect that list to always work. I don’t even try it. I have more like broad guidelines and then I try to take exceptions into account. I don’t know how good I am in the theory of mind department, but if I haven’t gotten totally pissed off at someone, I do try. In fact, it gets me into a lot of trouble because I give the wrong people the benefit of the doubt and then end up totally wrong about them, to my detriment. I don’t understand him at all. He just strikes me as perennially hateful. Like he gives people things as a transactional tactic so he can call in favors later, but doesn’t actually like those people. Except Carrie, and now he’s mad at her too. (I have been here since December and could count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen them interact, which is weird because she lives less than five minutes away. If he asked, she’d come over. He doesn’t ask. The same thing happened two and a half years ago.) He just needed someone to share his bank accounts in case something happens to him, and he doesn’t trust Matilda. If he and Carrie ever had a final falling-out or she suddenly died or something, I suppose he might turn to his other sister Emily, but that’d be a last resort. I have no idea why, but his idea for the humiliating anniversary present for Emily makes me think that’s true. That bullshit failed only because I delayed helping him put it together and then (I guess) he forgot about it. Or, best-case scenario and I’d be shocked, he had second thoughts and then thought I forgot and decided not to bring it up again.

He’s gonna be in a mess when I leave. But see what I said above about him doing this to himself.

Okay, enough of that shit. For now. (I very much doubt I am actually done.)

Yesterday, after I posted my post here, I went back out for a while to see if I could get any more deliveries. I can’t decide how I feel about that, because I ended up in OPELOUSAS.

Impression: There are a LOT of cool old buildings there… and most of them are empty. I don’t know if Opelousas is in the process of failing or has already failed. It’s sad to see.

Also, and I don’t mean this the wrong way, there were A LOT of black people. Like, more than the average. It makes me wonder about the general demographic history — did a lot of Louisiana black folks just happen to move to this one town? If so, what was the draw? I don’t wonder enough to research it (there are a lot of things I’ve been curious about in life and I’ve only looked up a fraction of them, and I have no internet access as I write this anyway), but it was hard to miss.

Also, and this isn’t Opelousas, but I took I-49 to get there and what the fucking fuck is up with all the fucking mansions on I-49? Both sides. Damn. I almost felt like I was back in Dublin or New Albany or something. It was unreal.

Anyway. The way that worked out was I had this one delivery that went out in that general direction and then, when I dropped it off, I got the first Opelousas call, and then when I dropped that off I got a second, and both the Opelousas deliveries I did were over $10 (each). I could have gotten more work there, but it was getting late and I wanted to head back. If I lived in Lafayette I’d have stayed and worked the area for a while. I don’t live in Lafayette and I needed to eat, so I noped out of there after Delivery Two.

By the end of everything, I had gotten almost to $50. I did indeed get Chick-Fil-A, exactly what I said I would get, though I’m not sure I will get it again, or at least not the kale. The kale wasn’t bad (and there is also cabbage in it), but I think they added sugar, and I don’t know why they call it crispy. Crispy implies dry, and this was wet. I wanted kale chips, not whatever that was. It was definitely crunchy, though, and you get chopped roasted nuts with it, which go nicely. I had $14 or $15 in cash which was more than enough to cover it and I was able to leave my earnings alone. Though $20 of that’s going to go poof tomorrow when I get gas again. I am probably done giving Dad rides, so I’m done letting him pay for gas. If it occurs to him to hand me money I won’t say no, but that’s not likely to happen. I’ll be stunned if it does.

Don’t take this as my final decision but I’ve got the skeleton of an idea and I might run with it.

I mentioned the job fair at a local nursing home. I’m going to see if my Humana points will cover putting together a job-fair outfit from Walmart. If not (because there aren’t enough — they’d pay for it, in theory), I’ll earn the money. Either way, I’ll go to the job fair. Let’s see if I actually get a job.

If I do, I’ll tell Dad and then bide my time. After I have some pay stubs together, I’ll see if that income-based apartment community in Iota has a vacancy. They did recently, but I can’t imagine that lasted. If they do at the point I’m talking about, I’ll put in an application. If I get it, I’ll move out of here. Won’t even tell him I’m going. Buh-bye, asshole. Browbeat someone else. I’m not your fucking punching bag.

In case that falls through, and I predict it will, I’ll just keep the job-fair outfit and hope that I can use it in Ohio.

I don’t want to be here, but I know now from experience how hard it is to make it in Ohio with no backup, when even the charities play games with your life. If I can get a toehold here, then fine. I’ll go along with it for a while and hope that I can move back to Ohio later. But if I can’t, Ohio is plan B.

So the nursing home is not my only possibility, but it’s the only one that’s going to keep me in Dad’s house long enough to get stable unless I manage to find something else this month. I am curious to see if his belief that showing up in person will get me hired holds any water. I don’t think it will, but let’s see. I literally have nothing to lose.

Of course, he could also kick me out tomorrow so I really don’t know what’s going to happen.

He’s yelling at me from the hall. “TAKE CARE OF YOUR CLOTHES.” He doesn’t know when I started them and the machine can’t have been done more than half an hour.

Right, Dad. I was gonna leave them wet so I’d have nothing to wear tomorrow.

Fucking nightmare.

Anyone who knows me and reads this also knows my mother’s alive, or at least she was in December when we last communicated. (No one on that side will tell me when she passes away. Trust.) She and her husband live in town now and apparently have a spare bedroom. She told me about the spare bedroom and the implication seems to be that I could crash there, at least temporarily, should I run into problems.

So here’s why I’m probably not going to do it.

Our relationship has been… fraught. She was accused of abusing or at least neglecting me when I was a toddler, which is why Dad got custody of me. I finally got to see her again when I was seven and spent the next three and a half, four years visiting her in the summers and at alternating holidays (sometimes Christmas, sometimes… I want to say Thanksgiving, but maybe spring break, which is longer? Can’t remember). Then Dad was deployed on an aircraft carrier when I was eleven and we moved to Missouri and I was told I could only write to my mother if I sent it to Dad to re-mail, and I would not be allowed to visit her at all. I decided I would not have my letters to my own fucking mother handled that way, so I shut everything down until Dad was back home. There was bad blood with her at times, both about that and about other times, like when I was in Iota but didn’t go see her. Then when I had my own kids, I caught her giving Thea Diet Dr. Pepper one day, and Thea was a year old. Then I heard about Mom lying to my brother Chan about his paternity, which he didn’t find out about until his actual father had passed away. (He’s a Pearl Jam fan, which is a really strange coincidence. Go listen to the song “Alive” and you’ll hear what I mean; that first verse is autobiographical for Eddie Vedder.) Then I heard Mom had stolen money from one of Chan’s kids. And I keep hearing rumors about drug use. People probably spread rumors about MY (nonexistent, except for caffeine and, right now, metformin) drug use so I take that with a salt quarry, but it could also be true. I won’t ask her, so I’ll probably never know.

Oh, I skipped something. Then there was my grandfather’s death and I wasn’t told about his medical crisis until three days into it when it was already too late to say goodbye. I barely made his funeral in time. Then there was my brother Chaise’s death and I had to hear about it from Dad, who is not even Chaise’s father. Then there was my grandmother’s death, and no one on that side of the family told me about it, and I’m not sure Dad even knew. I had to find out from the Find A Grave website. Weeks later. I bitched very publicly, on my Facebook, about people not telling me, and then Mom fired off an angry letter telling me off as if I’d been the one guilty of wrongdoing. Oh no you fucking don’t. So that was good for several years of no contact. Especially after I told her off right back.

It wasn’t like I never tried. I did try, and that’s probably why I’ve lost my one surviving maternal half-brother, because Chan has been at odds with her ever since the dead-father situation. But he would have known I was trying to maintain a relationship with her. He would have been offended, too. So I’m functionally down to one brother, and it wasn’t even worth the loss when you get down to the final tally, as I’ve never been able to depend on Mom for anything.

Because that’s the other bit. I have tried staying with her before, back in the ’00 crisis situation (I’ll put that here at some point). She “couldn’t afford” to have me stay, so I went to Dad’s. Even though she and her husband both get Social Security and possibly disability at this point (and he may be retired military as well, I can’t remember), she’s going to say she can’t afford me there again. Bet me.

Also? More importantly? I don’t want the only time I talk to her being when I need something. It didn’t used to be that way, but here in recent years it would end up that way. That’s not a good way to treat people. I don’t want to make it a habit. Either I need to strike up a relationship when I don’t need to live in her house or I need to leave her the fuck alone. Even if she doesn’t like it because she already lost Chan (and Chaise before him). It’s better this way.

So it is this weird mix of still being angry at her, particularly as she never admits wrongdoing past the initial reaction to her offense (she’ll admit when she does something, sometimes, but that’s as far as it goes), but also not wanting to be shitty to her (well, more shitty than the not talking to her thing), and I don’t know what I am supposed to do with that. I’m stuck. The end.

It occurs to me I could just write her a letter and tell her that. I might. Hopefully she still has her P.O. box. Even if she doesn’t, the post-office people are really good here (it helps that this town is still so small) and they might forward it to her. And then we’ll see. Maybe she should have a say in where this relationship winds up.

I wouldn’t even go there if not for my situation with Thea, which has given me a bit more insight into my mother’s and my estrangement. I suppose that makes that a mixed blessing. A backhanded compliment from the universe. Some bullshit like that. I’d rather have my daughter back in my life and also not have things fucked up with Mom, but I’ll take what I can get.

So, the health thing.

I have this blood-ketones meter I found on Amazon a few years back that was actually affordable. Problem is the strips expired before I used them all and I need to get more. I also don’t have any keto pee strips. So I can’t check whether I am in ketosis right now.

There is a possibility I could be. I do feel different, and I seem to be peeing a lot more, which is a sign of it. I just don’t feel different enough yet.

Something else I am wondering about is how this stuff all works when you’ve actually gone diabetic. I wonder that because my fasting sugars haven’t really improved. My postprandials are somewhat better, but it depends on what I intake. When it’s the Atkins shakes, and I have two per meal, that’s good for a twenty-point rise. That would be fine if I weren’t diabetic because say my fasting was 95, my postprandial would be 115 and that’s well within the safe margin. But post-supper with solid food it can go higher, about fifty points or so. Going back to the hypothetical fasting of 95, that’d be a 145 postprandial. I don’t want to go over 140. And more to the point, my fasting sugar is NOT 95. Right now it seems to want to be in the 150s, or maybe the 140s on a better day. This is not a safe situation. Even if I never see fastings of 190 anymore, and I did see those a few times before I began this experiment. But I also saw 140s and 150s most days, which is why I say my fasting sugars haven’t really improved.

But it’s useless to say ketosis isn’t helping when (1) there HAS been SOME improvement and (2) I don’t even know if I am in ketosis yet. And that’s another thing: it may take longer to get there anyway if you’re diabetic. I am really flying blind right now.

One benefit of being on Dad’s shit list is he’s not likely to yell at me for not wanting to eat crap, since I’m doing my utmost to stay out of his way. I’ll take it.

I should explain about the shakes. They allow me to be out and about and not buy crap to eat but, at the same time, get a good amount of protein into me. They also function as multivitamins, really. They’re kind of crap themselves, and if you looked at the ingredients list you’d see what I mean, but they’re not Doritos. It does bother me that my blood sugar goes up 20 points after two of them, but one shake is about 160 calories and 15g protein. I need more of both, and doubling the intake works fine for that.

I wonder if I’d do better on Keto Chow. My guess is “probably.” But the Atkins shakes are also cheaper. KC is about seven dollars a serving — I’ll check again when I’m online, but that’s what I remember — plus you have to buy the fat you’re supposed to add. A four-pack of Atkins shakes is less than $8 at Walmart and already has the fat in. I have to think about saving up to get out of here if it turns out I need to do that, and I should probably say “when,” because that’s what it’ll actually be. So I’m just going to have to be annoyed at the twenty-point spike. Ideally I reduce that, though. I’ll see if I can figure out how.

I’m not doing Atkins, though. I have nothing against Atkins, but I have my reasons. I just find their products useful for cutting sugar, and they tend not to be ridiculously expensive. More expensive than their high-carb equivalents, yes, and especially the candy, but that’s a given. The food industry uses carbs to pad their profit margins in the first place. Your food is killing you because it is cheap. Atkins shakes may be cheaper than Keto Chow, but they’re also not chocolate milk. Which, at this point in my life, if full-sugar, would make me very sick. Milk itself fucks me up pretty good.

Dear God this is long. Sorry about that. I have this longstanding pattern of writing less when less is going on, for I hope obvious reasons, and I really wish my longer posts had nicer things in them. That’s yet another project I suppose I had better work on. I wish it were all up to me, and I’m not one of those dipshits who thinks that if you don’t talk about the bad stuff, then it’s not really happening. But as a project, and for the sake of my mental health and my future (what’s left of it), I need to push harder to cut out the bad shit and bring in more good shit.

I don’t even know where to begin.

Sigh.