Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Plugging along at StraighterLine

I’m halfway through Introduction to IT through StraighterLine, which transfers as Fundamentals of IT at WGU. It’s been a bit uphill both ways, but not in a snowstorm. My hours were cut at work, which you’d think would like life easier, but the amount of work we were expected to do didn’t change. We just had to do it in four days instead of five. Which. Huh.

Anyway, I’ve made it this far with fits and starts. It’s easy to see that I was tired for the network portion. I got frustrated and tried to speed through it.

Image showing current grade of 94% on StraighterLine class

Halfway there.

Hours go back to full time on the first of August, which is a mixed blessing just like everything this year. BUT on the upside, my schedule will be 9 hours Mon-Thurs, and a half day on Friday, which, SCORE, and we’ll still be doing a mix of work-from-home and going to the office. It’s all good.

Working from home has really taken my stress down. Turns out it’s easier to work with the public if I don’t actually have to physically be around the public.

Well, I’m not dead, yet.

Well, I’m not dead, yet, but I did get impressively sick and have to get the nasal swab test for the COVID-19 plague. It was less fun than a pony, but more fun than being bit by a pony. I lost a friend in early March to cancer, and another in early April to heart disease. Hoping 2021 is slightly less exciting than 2020.

On the upside, I’ve been at my job two-and-a-half years, and I make the same wage as someone less experienced, who was newly hired. No, really, that’s an upside, because it’s really lit a fire under my unmentionables to get more serious about a career change.

Et voila.

Image showing progress of StraighterLine course Intro to Technology.

I’m going through StraighterLine to get my feet wet, since my brain is full of cold molasses and hasn’t been warmed up to flow new information through in a while. Poor brain. StraighterLine seemed relatively low stakes, while still being useful and providing transferable credit. I was a PC tech from 2000 to 2008, and would like to get back into the industry in one form or another. Ideally, I’ll make this change in about a year or so. Hopefully the world will be merely smoldering by that time, rather than merrily burning.

Next year becomes never.

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: RUSH

I hear it all the time, about how we all need to slow down, stop rushing, stop hurrying, take a break. Sometimes, though, the day needs to be seized. Hard. Carpe testiculum.

A week ago, I found out someone special to me was in hospice, and, dear reader, I lost my damn mind. I doubly lost it when I ran my budget over and over, and just can’t make a visit happen. I have nothing left to sell that I don’t use for work. My budget is so tight that there is no furniture in my living room. No internet in my home. I keep the heat around 60*, and can just, just pay my electric bill.

I am deeply ashamed of my financial situation. I should have rushed that divorce, instead of sticking around for two more years while my ex continued to run up debt on nonsense. I should have rushed out of the relationship the first time he cheated. Some things don’t take deep thought.

Sometimes, we do need to rush. Sometimes, we do need to hurry along leaving a bad relationship, or making an important decision, or taking a class, or visiting a friend. At some point “next year” becomes “never,” because we run out of next years.

I should have rushed into every opportunity to visit friends and family, over the years.

I haven’t given up. I’m putting in for all the side work I can find, and have made sure my boss knows overtime is my friend. Run, don’t walk. Make sure the people special to you know how loved they are.

Image of a four way freeway at night.

Missing the Write 31 Days Challenge

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: CHALLENGE

I’ve been missing the Write 31 Days challenge, and the time I might have spent prepping for it this month. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself over it. What the heck, self? I played in 2012 and 2018, and wish I’d done it more frequently. I mean, there’s always next year, right?

Until there isn’t.

I periodically go through these times when I start thinking things like, “How many people have I already seen for the last time? How many places have I already visited for the last time, and didn’t even know it?” That there will always be more time is so taken for granted. Part of that is because I still have to function in the day-to-day. If I worry too much about how many Halloweens are left in my life (40? 30? 1?), I’ll stop planning for the future and just go eat pumpkin pie and fried chicken and walk along the river marveling at birds until I run out of money or my pancreas gasps its last. I don’t have the kind of job that I would go to even if I didn’t need to work, you know?

I know the kind of job I would like to have, but don’t know how to get there. And I get hung up on the idea that, even if I start today, will there be enough time left to me to be able to master the job? What about enough to just get really good at it? Maybe that’s not the way to look at the situation.

Is there enough time left for me to enjoy the kind of job I’d like? Yep. I think so. I signed up for a class (just the one) to at least get my brain moving again. I don’t know if it will lead where I want, but maybe it will lead where I need. Any way I look at it, it will be a challenge. It will be a challenge to get to, to participate in, and to learn the material. Maybe accepting the challenge of it is what I really need to learn. That discomfort.

Oh, and I think I’ll try out Inktober this year. It’s meant to be for artists, but I think it’s an opportunity to combine fountain pen ink doodling and writing. I don’t feel like the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is a good fit for me, though it does look interesting. And I truly don’t have the money to spend for registering, though I’m sure it’s worth every penny.

Are you writing/drawing/crafting/photographing this October as part of a challenge? My writing challenge last year, 31 Posts of Nope, was some of the most fun I’ve had writing.

PS. Speaking of challenges. I’m totally going to be able to pay all my bills this month, with three whole dollars left over!! I won’t be scrambling to scrape something together. My divorce was final one year ago yesterday, and this is the first month I can say that.

A sidewinding kite tail, again.

This week’s writing prompt is: AGAIN

I’ve shown up to the prompt, again. I’ve stared at my computer screen, again. I’ve gotten up an hour early to give myself no excuses, again. I brewed coffee, again. I fed the cats and will feed the dog, again. I’ll go to work, today. Again.

And it’s GLORIOUS.

You guys, I woke up on the right side of the dirt, and life gave me another “again.” I used to spend so much time and energy trying to convince a now ex-spouse that time is precious, and we should celebrate at every corner. He spent time and energy trying to convince me that routines and “agains” were soul-sucking.

No, we were not a match.

I like my agains. I like looking forward to Fall and Halloween, and how every new one tugs the previous ones like a kite with a sidewinding, cheery tail. The agains add to the richness of my nows. I like adding to my mental box of experience index cards, and marveling at how things link up. I’m old enough, and have added enough to that index, that I have joys sitting next to PTSD, and that wasn’t always true. Without agains I wouldn’t have balanced the used-to-bes.

So I’ve shown up to the prompt, again. I’ve stared at my computer screen, again. I’ve gotten up an hour early to give myself no excuses, again. I brewed coffee, again. I fed the cats and will feed the dog, again. I’ll go to work, today. Again.

Isn’t it great?

A bicycle with orange tires appears below the word "again." fiveminutefriday.com

And then, the snow.

This week’s writing prompt is: NEXT

Next is both a rock in my shoe and a double-espresso to my soul.

Next is cherry blossoms and leaf buds and rhododendron fireworks. Next is the marvel of infant garter snakes at both ends of twilight, soaking the last of the day from the sidewalk.

Next is sun and heat and stiff skin telling me I’ve definitely got a sunburn.

Next is humidity and heat that matches my own body, so it’s hard to breathe and hard to feel real and hard to know if I’m breathing at all, a stratified lake turning over, up and down suddenly a dizzying match.

Next is long days and pleasant nights and feeling the air like a cool drink as the leaves start to whisper a colorful change.

Next is the shock of realizing the leaves have changed, and the ground smells rich and the earthworms are out at night and pumpkins start popping up on porches like grinning mushrooms.

Next is wet feet and telling myself again that I should get a raincoat and the mud tries to steal my shoes. Next is the longing for fairylights and a snap in the morning air and the ancestral pull to migrate or die.

And then, the snow.

Some days are just green beans and mustard, and that’s OK.

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: CONVENIENT

What a prompt. My head’s going all over with it.

The first thing that comes to mind is convenient food. I hate it. I’m no food purist – more than one dinner has been cold canned green beans dipped in mustard and mayonnaise mixed together. I’m classy like that. But convenience food tastes good for a moment, then tastes bad, and I physically feel bad afterwards. I’ll take my I-grew-up-poor-and-this-is-soul-food-for-me green beans any day.

I will admit to having a weakness for someone else doing the grocery gathering. For about $5.00, there’s a grocery store here that will find and bag everything, and all I have to do is pick it up. I only get groceries every 4-6 weeks, so it’s not a big expense for convenience. My anxiety and (currently managed) major depressive disorder salute you, Fred Meyer.

Convenient. When I moved into my apartment in late 2014, the rent was $935. Now it’s $1275. It’s going to $1325 in September, and I’ll absolutely have to move. I’m not making as it is and have sold everything that can be sold, and breaking the lease would be about $1900. Who has that kind of money lying around? Convenient is staying, and I wish I could. I live in a third floor walk up. I don’t have people here to help me. I’ll have to sell what remains of my furniture, because I can’t move it. It’s going to suuuuck.

Convenient is typing my complaints instead of solving them. Luckily, I’ve been working on solving them, to help me get by until my lease is up in September. Again, if it could be sold, I sold it. I don’t have internet or a TV, and I share Netflix with a friend. Yes, that’s a luxury and not a necessity, and I feel guilty about it. The lights are only on when I need them, and the heat is not on. Coffee is rationed, y’all. Not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. I’ve reopened my Etsy shop in an attempt to slow the sinking, and am listing things every time the sun shines enough that I can take photos. Rainy pacific northwest, anyone?

It’s definitely not convenient to work a full day at children’s services, which is emotionally exhausting (and rewarding), then go home and hunt for a second job. I’m tired just thinking about all the applications I’ve submitted over the last few months. I took FOUR HOURS of evaluations just to qualify for an interview at one of those jobs, then didn’t get the job after interviewing. Not convenient.

I’ve really overrun my five minute limit, haven’t I? How perfectly inconvenient. Thanks for dropping by. Sorry about the rambling rant.

Bats at the umbrella factory

Meanwhile, back at the umbrella factory.

Last May, my landlord raised the renty by $50. On the first of this year, they raised it $85. In September, they’re going to raise it another $50.

I’m deeply tired of renting.

It’s not like it’s a fancy apartment. The only real amenities are that we can hang out in the apartment office and use the WiFi, and an alleged gym with a few weights and an elliptical.1

I need to discontinue my certification goal for bit, as finances are too tight. I’ll hopefully be able to come back it after September, as I’m not going to be able to afford to stay here once they raise rent again. With some luck, I’ll find a place cheap enough to have some financial wiggle room to get back into things.

In the meantime, NaNoCertMo will need to be on hiatus. See you soon, Bats.

Window and Freeway

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: INFLUENCE

Not gonna lie. The prompt doesn’t speak or spark, for me, but the point of the exercise is to build discipline around the practice of writing, to some extent. So. Here I am. Rock me like a hurricane.

Influence. I influence others. I am influenced. The environment I’m in on a daily basis has an influence on my life.

Ah.

There it is.

Living in Eugene, I can’t get away from the noise. I’m sitting my office in my apartment, and I can hear the road noise right through the wall. I’m in a residential area, and quite a ways from the freeway, and I can hear it at all hours. There’s no quiet.

I work in an office building where, for the first time in my entire career, I have access to a window. I work in the quiet, not having to listen to music someone else picked. I work with people who are competent and professional on the phones and when interacting with adopters and sponsors, and who are silly and fun when interacting with each other.

Reader, that environment has changed my life.

I went from abuse at home and abuse at work, to a peaceful home and a healing workplace. I won’t spell it out, but will just say that I’m learning to have peace in my heart, and to feel safe for the first time in a very long time.

Life is better.

The first FMF writing prompt for 2019 is: BETTER

Life is better.

It’s full of struggling to balance two jobs with taking care of elderly pets and trying to squeeze some time to live into that life. It’s getting up at 5:00 and going to bed at 10:00 even when I really really try to go to sleep earlier. It’s that threatening text from the ex that makes me panic and wrecks me for days. It’s struggling to find the calm inside me, even though the path is overgrown and someone changed all the signs and I’m not sure it’s even still in the same place I remember it being.

Life is better.

It’s better than living on eggshells wondering what I’m going to do/say/think/breathe wrong today, and what consequences it will have. It’s better then being locked up in anxiety all day, for days, waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall. It’s better than not knowing if I can count on help if I really really need it. At least now I know.

Life is full of sweet moments with pets and friends and new friends. It’s strung with finding out that I can still feel joy and interest and curiosity and actually am still capable of feeling contentment and safety. In this life there are fumbled ukuleles and long walks with friends and loving texts from friends, and a friend who, every time they go to Winco, plays the claw machine to win me a rubber duck. Life is full of Soon, and Look Here, and Have You Tried This, and Remember Doing This and Yes. Yes. Yes.

Life is better.

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