Timmy, the Cat, is Lost

He jumped off the balcony Tuesday morning.  And he won’t come when I call.  I hope and honestly believe he is still within 2 houses of this building.  I don’t think he will head toward the busy road.  He’s an anxious cat and doesn’t like loud noises.  Mostly the internet backs me up on this, “unless the cat bolts in a panic”.  So naturally my deeply anxious brain is playing that scenario often.

I’m sure he’s terrified out there and has been in deep regret, but no matter how much I either call or sit quietly he is not showing up.

I’ve been up all night for two nights – going out every couple of hours to walk around and call.  I’ve been leaving work early so I’m around the house more.  I’ve opened canned cat food while standing in the yard and just stood waiting for the smell to call him to me.    Each time I go out but I come back without him and I’m filled with despair.  I can’t stop crying.  It’s awful.

Even Her Calico Highness is worried and looking for him.

I’ve posted flyers and put them on the doors of the homes for half a block.  I posted it on Reddit, Next Door and Pawsboost and my friend put it on Facebook.  I also put him on Pawboost.  I told every kid I see on the street about it.  Kids are the ones outside most and who notice animals.   I don’t know if any of it matters.

He has no skills to be outside.  And worst is that this yard and the one behind belong to a feral cat and I don’t think she’s going to be nice to him.  And might scare him farther away.

I just want him to come to me when I call.  I’m an idiot for not teaching that.  As much or more so than leaving him unsupervised on the balcony.

Why don’t we yet live in an age where the microchip comes with GPS?  It could use body heat for power.  If only I could track him.  If I knew where he is in all the damn brush and debris around here I could catch him.

He’s such a dumb little bastard.  I’m sure he jumped because the damn squirrel who lives on the building was taunting him.  Fucking squirrel.  tim

The Week that Was & The Week that Will Be.

Last week had it’s holes.  I fell into the abyss on Tuesday.  Hard.  And unexpectedly.  I was feeling like I had avoided the usual reaction to my failure to visit with family last weekend.  I refused to wallow in my shame.  On Sunday I got quite a bit done around the house in the Noticeable Improvement Process.  On Monday I had a decent day at work.

And on Tuesday the reaction set in.  Stillness took over.  I called into work, which then feeds even more shame to the depression.

However, routine and a friend saved me.  I walk 3X a week with a friend.  In the mornings before work.  And on Wednesday, I woke up feeling all the weight of the depression but also the standard of early wake up for the walk and the expectation of my friend.  And those two things made me move.  I was not a happy mover but I moved.  And I went to work.

The worst part of depression is how much risk it puts me in for my job.  I’ve already lost one job to it.  Which ultimately led to homelessness.   And I just cannot lose this one.  I feel like there isn’t another opportunity for me after this.

So.  Despite Saturday being a black hole of misery and stillness, today will not be.  I will move.  The primary thing I’m going to do is go to the Farmer’s Market and buy some tomatoes and corn.  Because that will give me pleasure all week.  It also will make me get dressed.  Which I find is key to me getting stuff done.

I’ve decided I want to do a journal.  Geared around my theme for life.  Better.  That’s it.  Just everyday – make it better than it was.  Whether it’s my environment, my routine, my job, my health.  Whatever.  Better.  Not perfect.  Not 100%.  Better than it was.

It’s easy to think I’m going to do that – but I find it’s also easy to forget.  If I journal then I hold myself accountable.  I listen to a podcast called Cortex that talks about living life around a theme and using a journal.  I think I will use their journal solution.  So.  That’s the plan.

Puppet on a String

I was supposed to visit with family this weekend and did not.  Cousins were in from out of town.  Another cousin, local, is recovering from a liver transplant.  It was a good time to touch base and connect with family.

I skipped it.  This is a side effect of my depression.  I isolate.  Also any change in routine is hard for me to do.  It’s like I’m riding in a rut and I have to jump over the ruts to get into a new path.  The problem is that the ruts are deep because my brain’s preference is for the rut I’m in.  And so what appears to be a simple change is actually the mental equivalent of an Olympic high jump for me.

It’s the same thing that keeps me still when I can’t seem to get myself moving.  When I can’t get out of bed at all.   But in those times it’s more of a jump across a chasm in the dark.

I use these metaphors because it helps me to remember that my thoughts and actions are not my depression.  My thoughts and actions are often a result of my depression and often feed it in a self sustaining loop of yuck.  But they are just the manure and fodder not the cause, not the disease.

This is why therapy works.  Because if you starve depression of it’s fodder by changing your thought patterns and actions it recedes.  It’s not gone.  I’ve pretty well accepted that it will never be gone, but if I can gain control over actions and choices,  I’m no longer a marionette enslaved to the depression’s pulled strings.

chinese puppet
Photo by Min Thein on Pexels.com

This weekend I let it pull my strings.  I know why.  I was tired on Friday night and when I’m tired my ability to use will power to change course is weak at best.  Saturday I let myself sit still for too long.  And the rut got deep.  Then I let my thoughts justify the stillness and feed the depression.  And in the end,  I didn’t do a thing that matters.

This morning it is easy to feed the depression all my shame and self loathing over not visiting my family.  But that just gives the depression more fodder.  So instead I’m writing this post to remind myself – this is how this happened, this is how to manage it.  Don’t feed the depression.  Move Forward.  Focus on the movement.  Don’t sit still and wallow in the manure.

Taxes – I guess they are necessary, but Damn.

So, about a month ago, I discovered I’m not paying my taxes.  I was a bit startled as it appears to me that my checks are significantly reduced by various forms of governmental dipping.

Also surprised because I filled out the apparently necessary forms and what-nots that are required, because removing money from your check is not a sufficiently painful process and so once a year we all have to pour alcohol on the wound by filing forms.

oh no!

But despite enduring these things and finding at least nominal comfort in the  necessity of these monies being contributed to civilization maintenance purportedly done by the government; I have found that my city has an income tax.  But I have never had to fill out a City Tax Form.  I never knew it existed. Damn online tax filing services.

Also, why the fuck hasn’t the City been writing me nasty letters?  No wonder there are potholes with active fishing in this city.  No one is collecting the damn taxes.

My employer is not removing the tax from my check because I don’t live where I work.  Despite this being common in the US, it makes it complicated that I live in one City, State and work in a different City, State.

This has been happening for 6 years.  I’m not saying it’s terrifying, but I have been chased by bears with briefcases in my dreams fairly regularly since I realized this.  chased by bear

After doing some reading of the not entirely detailed description of these taxes, I am hoping, deeply, that the taxes I paid to the city where I work will be reciprocal to where I live.   Particularly because the taxes where I work are higher than where I live so in that case I owe nothing.

This would definitely be the case if I worked and lived in the same state.  It would also be the case if this was state tax.  But it’s City Tax in different states and reading up on that situation makes it just unclear enough to make me want to cry helplessly in a corner.  nononono

But I am happily in possession of a small amount of clear brain right now.  And so tomorrow I am taking the day off and making sure I don’t owe the city hundreds or thousands of dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest.   City Hall, here I come.

standing in line

Releasing Myself

I have been on the struggle bus for a year.  My brain, despite  various medication adjustments, just doesn’t want to climb out of the Abyss.   My focus sucks. Brain Grenades are a constant.  Stillness is prevalent.   My routines are the only thing I’ve held on to.

But those routines don’t keep the chaos at bay.  And when you ignore everything but cat care and taking out the kitchen garbage – the rest of the home slowly dissolves.

Every weekend I am sure I’m going to implement some improvement to my living space that will make it less chaotic.  Because I know that this mess is feeding my depression.  And every weekend, I don’t get out of the bed.  And things continue on, slowly creeping down the tube.

A few months ago I convinced my boss to give me remote access to the work systems so I could do some work at home.  It seemed like that would make certain stressful days less stressful.  The idea that I could always finish it at home seemed like a thing that would make me leave work on time.  And that would make me feel more mentally healthy.

But that just made a new thing to add to the pile of things I SHOULD do when I my brain was stuck in stillness and my body was stuck in the bed.

Then 3 weeks ago I splurged on a desk chair because the one I had was deeply uncomfortable – possibly due to having a distinct lean and no arms.  Curbside pickups have these issues.  I bought a new one at Staples.  They shipped it and I wasn’t home, so it was sent to an alternative location down the street from me.  No big deal.  Except when I picked it up – the box was just big enough and just heavy enough to be hard to handle.  If it had been smaller, it wouldn’t have been a problem.  If it had been lighter I could probably have managed – the but the combo made it hard.

The box lived in my car for 2 weeks as various friends offered to come over and help.  But that meant the apartment needed to be cleaned before I could accept their help.  So I refused.  I finally bought one of those clever straps with handles.  I had it for a week and still didn’t drag the damn box upstairs.

Then finally – last Thursday – I just did it.  And, like all such things, it turned out to be much easier than I expected.  The strappy handle was a miracle – heavily recommend to anyone.

But then the next obstacle – unbox and put together.  The plan was to do it on Saturday.  Nope.  Then Sunday.  I tricked my brain on Sunday by going to the Farmers Market.  It made me get dressed and get moving.  Once my brain was in that mode, I managed to unbox the chair.  But not assemble it.  So now – the apartment was not just fuzzy with cat hair – it was strewn with cardboard, plastic wrap and chair parts.  I went to bed depressed.

The next morning I was feeling a bit better.  Perhaps the small step had helped me.  Then my friend Chad started to text me.  Chad does more in an hour than I have done in the last year.  I wish I was as competent at ANYTHING as Chad is at every damn thing.  As we bantered over text and he shared his various chores I began to get a less heavy feeling about all my tasks.  And so I put together the chair.

I felt like a DIY god.  I get that feeling every time I have to assemble something and manage to do it.  I actually like assembling these sorts of things.  They are geared toward my skill level – ie none.  And yet somehow I manage to have a fully functional chair or whatever – when I’m done. ellie-front

I took that accomplishment energy and threw it into doing a bit of noticeable improvement to my apartment – vacuuming and sweeping.  I pulled together a couple of loads of laundry but was defeated by a neighbor doing it when I took it down.  I was going to do it this morning and completely forgot until I typed this.  My brain.  And then spent 4.5 hours doing work from home.  So I have a head start on what promised to be 2 days of busy busy work.

Today I woke up felt so much less of the weight on my shoulders.  The constant low level anxiety dreams still exist.  But the waking up was much less like the world was ending.  And day itself seems perfectly doable.

Sometimes clearing one obstacle, even if it’s not an obstacle you think is causing your problems, clears the path to a better place.   I hope this is path lasts a good long time.  It would be nice to get to a better place and stay for awhile.  emotions-1034916_960_720

 

Ripe Green Tomatoes

I have found manna from heaven and it ripe green tomatoes.  One of my friends that usually goes halvsies with me on tomato plants in the spring went to the farmers market and bought a couple of green tomatoes to try.  Ripe Green.  Not the unripe kind you use for fried green tomatoes.

She gave me one.  I ate it that night and it was like the heavens opened up.  So perfect.  Sweet.  But with plenty of tang.  It was just perfect.  I had sliced it for a sandwich.  I walked back into the kitchen and ate the last two slices over the sink like cookies.

So yesterday I went to that same farmers market with the intention of clearing them of all of the green tomatoes they would sell me.  But the booth that sold them didn’t bring any that day.  However it’s also a local farm with a store  and she thought I would find some there.  So I drove there.  Sold the last one that morning.

No idea when there would be more said the disinterested teenager.  Also did not know the name of the variety.  Teenagers be damned to hell.  Take an interest!!!  I have green tomato needs.

My friend said she would ask the owner the next time she goes by.  Because one thing is certain.  I’m growing this tomato next year.

I’ve done some research and it looks to me like it’s possibly called Green Giant.  Or Aunt Ruby’s German Green.  Or possibly Tennessee Green.  I have no idea.  And it matters.

So my week long craving for more of that tomato is thwarted.  Possibly for the next year if it is a determinate tomato.  Sigh.

I’m being forced to eat plain old red tomatoes.  I’ve had 5 in the last 24 hours.  I’m gorging on them.  I do love fresh ripe tomatoes.  Salt, Pepper and Jalapeno powder.  Jalapeno powder is a recent addition for me.  I recommend.  I don’t do much because I am not a fan of pain.  I’m OK with warm.  But the flavor is such a good pairing with tomato.  Hard Recommend.  You can also do Cayenne, but I like the flavor the jalapeno.

Anyway.  It’s been a hard week and this weekend I think I’m swinging back around.  Hopefully.  Maybe tomatoes are a treatment for depression?  Someone should do a study.

Staycation Life Update

staycation
image: Ron Mader

This week I’m off work.  Not doing anything except recovering my equilibrium.  I was feeling my mental state getting too close the edge of the abyss.  And I just did not want to fall in.  So I took off a week.

Already I’m feeling better.  So I think it was a good choice.

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I only have one, possibly two work related things I need to do.  One is to catch up a report that I’ve been neglecting all month.  It’s tedious and it’s easy to say to myself, I don’t have time today.   It’s supposed to be done daily.  I think I’ve got 5 days in the report so far.

The other is to possibly go into work for a visit from a tech guy for our reservation/dispatch system.  I have thoughts I want to share.  Many, many thoughts.

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I have become addicted to a game on my phone called Wordscapes.  Like I just started playing 3 weeks ago and I’m on level 1241. Each puzzle is a level.  I hate when computers  make pretending it’s not that bad impossible.  At least it’s a mind exercise, but it is far too easy to do the game rather than do my life.

I find it easier to break a habit by replacing it with another habit.  So I bought an embroidery kit to see if I can start a new habit to keep my life occupied.  At least there is a sense that I accomplished something tangible with the embroidering

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I’ve recently become obsessed with keyboards.  I want a mechanical one.  Like we had in the old days.  Where there was a tangible click when you pressed down.  And you could feel the key go all the way down.  And the keyboard wasn’t flat but had a pleasant upward curve.

I know it’s probably a bit more fatiguing to your hand if you have to type a lot, but I am mostly not typing long form.  I’m working in accounting software.  I mostly use 10key skills.  And doing 10 key wants to feel more like I associate with those horrible giant adding machines.  So I want to have a mechanical keyboard.

**************

I have decided that the small daily changes – like a different keyboard are the things that make life better. So many things in life that we just accept, but are not really that comfortable.  So I’m going to start paying attention to those things.  See if I can get my life to feel more like it’s moving smoothly, rather than being dragged over gravel.

 

To the Doctor or Not to the Doctor

That is the question.

I have Iritis.  Which can be summed up by saying my left eye waters and is deeply painful.  But only periodically.

It’s started a periodic.  The treatment is prednisone eye drops.  I have left over from last time, but I probably only have 4 or 5 drops left.

To get more I must visit the doctor.  I don’t enjoy doctors.  Mostly because getting my ass into a different pattern of action – ie going to the doctor’s office is hard.  Depression has this thing where it wants to keep doing what ever it is currently doing.  It’s super stupid.

Anywho.  Sometimes the pain goes away after just a few treatments.  Sometimes it lasts for more than a week and the drops take 3-4 days to touch the problem.

Also, and really kind of super important, even if it goes away before the drops run out, then I won’t have the back up drops for the next episode.  This means I would suffer for many days before I can get into see the doctor.

Finally – I don’t want to go because what if it’s worse.  What if I’m going blind?  What if the next step is some horror, like eye surgery or something???  Ignorance is not bliss, but it is a numb alternative to bad news.

This is definitely a boring post.  However it did help me work my brain through it’s spaghetti reasoning and come the to conclusion that I should call for an appointment.

sigh.

cranky kid

Reasons I want to Drink

My coworker in a 2 associate team is on vacation.  We recruit a backup for her from the call center.

It was a hectic day today.  I had a regularly scheduled person who helps on Mondays when we are Extremely busy.  Usually my coworker manages  her and I only have her for 3 or 4 hours.  But they changed her hours to match mine and damn it’s hard to manage someone inexperienced while trying to do your own job.

But.  That’s NOT the reason I want to drink.  The replacement co-worker pointed out that my regular coworker has not been marking sales tax on her invoicing for a very large account. Presumably the total amount billed is correct, I have not checked.  PLEASE UNIVERSE, LET THE BILLED AMOUNT BE CORRECT.   But because she has not been doing this, I have not reported those taxes collected and they have not been paid.

Taxes.  NOT paid.

The thing is – she did it correctly for about 7 months and then in March she just did it randomly and in April only 4 items and after that…

I have NO idea what was going on in her mind.  But I do know that I report the taxable payable amount to the owners of the company and they faithfully pay that amount to the state.

And it was wrong since March.  By a not insignificant amount.  This puts them in danger of audit and fines etc.

I love my co-worker.  But she works too fast.  That’s her key strength but it’s also her weakness.  I worry that her desire to get my work started before I arrive is causing her to let important things slide.  She likes to be the hero who helps people.

And I worry that telling my bosses that the last 4 months of tax reporting I did for them was wrong.  Because they will want to know why.  And then I will be throwing my friend under the bus.

She’s on vacation.  I talk to her regularly by text but I’m not going to ruin her vacation with this nightmare.  Still it’s giving me stomach issues.  I can’t tell them without telling her first.  But that’s a weeks wait.  sigh.

Drinking seems like a decent solution to get through the week.  If only it had no next day consequences.

 

Confession: I hate the Forth of July.

I live in a city and state that allows every Tom, Dick and Harry to shoot off fireworks.  And in my neighborhood, they do.   They start days before, often before dark and it goes on for weeks afterwards.

Loud unexpected noises make me jump and more than occasionally scream.  However, I haven’t screamed this year.   In the case of the fireworks – it sets all my fight or flight nerves on edge and I end up with some irrational anxiety over things I know won’t hurt me in my bedroom.

I have one neighbor who doesn’t go for the sparkly fireworks that go off with a muted pop.  He enjoys the bombs.  He sets them off days before and continues straight through.  And then just randomly during the summer he will get a hankering and just shoot off a dozen or so.  It a nightmare.

Last night another neighbor started his fireworks at 11 pm and kept it going to 1 am.  Thankfully it was all sparkly muted pops.  But still – its a bit much.

Then there’s the guy who in the midst of the biggest mess of fireworks going on all over the damn city pulls out a gun and starts shooting in the air.  Now, I know I’m being a killjoy here, but bullets shot straight up have to come down somewhere.  People have died that way too.  And that doesn’t even account for the blood alcohol level of someone handling a live weapon.  Well.  Lets face it.  I am a killjoy.

I don’t make a thing about it to anyone who is enjoying their family fireworks.  I just complain to friends and write a whining blog about it.

I just think that in a sane world – fireworks would only be handled by professionals.  And set off in public places far from me.

Grouchy Sara is grouchy.

ANNOYED HUSKY