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.