Diagnosis

The doctor says I have sciatica. I’ve been given some heavy duty prescription NSAIDs, muscle relaxers, and some nerve/muscle drug used to treat fibromyalgia.

So my ass is home, on the couch, hoping that if I just be still and take the medicine, it will get better. I’m not one for lazing around, doing nothing.

step 1: surrender

When I first got clean, I had to thoroughly surrender to the idea that I was an addict and my life had become unmanageable. By the time I found my way to the rooms of 12-step fellowships, that unmanageability had become very apparent. My life had become painful, and I would have done anything to stop that pain.

Getting clean and working steps doesn’t mean I become perfect and my life is manageable each and every day. I’m still ratfuck crazy and don’t know when to stop–anything.

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been rather busy with some very physical labor. I’ve been feeling my body tell me to stop before I regretted overdoing it. I didn’t listen. Because people like me (addicts and alcoholics) don’t know when to stop.

Here I am tonight, unable to move from my position (flat on the couch) without serious pain. Pain so bad I cry. Pain so bad it’s affecting my daily routine. Because I wouldn’t stop.

So tonight, I’m having to surrender. My life has become unmanageable. Time to spend some quality time with my couch and try not to make it worse between now and Monday when I’m carrying my ass to a doctor. As much as I don’t want any steroids or pain meds, the pain of staying the same far outweighs the fear of medicines that alter my state of mind or cause insomnia.

Now, I’m going to go make out with my couch and binge watch “Supernatural” on Netflix.

Why the mess is a problem

We really borked up the yard a couple of weekends ago.

I lie. Borked up is understating the nature of the mess.

We clusterfucked a clusterfuck and then we didn’t finish putting things back together when we were done.

It’s a problem. And not just because it offends my insane need for cleanliness.

We have borked up the driveway so that a concrete truck can’t come pour our foundation slab. The tractor can’t be used to fix the driveway because it just makes more ruts everywhere because there is no solid ground, only mud everywhere.

Also? That’s a lot of standing water. The temperatures have been well above 70 lately. Warm weather + standing water = mosquito breeding ground. Which is bad enough on its own. When you add in the fact that there was untreated water running off from a leaky septic system a couple of weeks ago, you don’t get an additive effect–you get an exponential effect. The threat of mosquitos combined with the untreated septic water leaves us with the potential for an outbreak of disease rivaling the plague that killed off millions and millions of people in the dark ages. Well, either that or some sort of plague that reads like a chapter from the christian book of revelations in the bible.

So, even though I swore I wasn’t going to unfuck this, I’m slowly but surely taking a shovel to it and fixing the holes in the driveway and filling in the trenches that are full of standing water.

I’m tired, and I’m sick of lurching from crisis to crisis. I’m sick of nothing ever being finished, I’m sick of nothing ever being cleaned up. The only reason I’m actually unfucking this mess is because I am equally sick of living in an RV and want my little house built. I’m sick to death with having less countertop space than my coffee maker requires.

The realities of living tiny: I gave up

I’ve talked about the realities of living tiny. I’ve shared how little storage I have, I’ve written about how hard it is to escape the noise of Sunshine at sleep, I’ve talked about efficiency….

I was making the bed yesterday, and I got to thinking about how much I’ve given up on in the last 7 or so years since we started living in this tiny little space.

Starting with the bed. I used to have the spare pillows stuffed in pillow shams on our bed. I sometimes had little throw pillows that served no purpose other than to irritate the hell out of Sunshine when it was time to go to sleep. The pillow shams are now stashed under the bed, and there are no spare pillows to go in them. There are no little throw pillows any more. Hell, I’m doing good to actually get the bed sort of made-up looking.

That’s not all I’ve given up on.

I’ve given up on the idea of “a place for everything and everything in its place” because THERE ARE NO PLACES IN THIS RV. The few places that we do have to put stuffs and things are filled with Sunshine’s hoard of practical shit we need to hoard in case the black helicopters come and society collapses. It’s not fair, but that’s what I live with because I’m the one willing to let things go to make space for the hoard.

I’ve given up on baking, on cooking anything that requires more than one pot, on keeping more than a few days worth of food in the fridge, on having easy access to kitchen things I need. In many ways, I’ve given up on ever feeling normal. It is not normal to have 2 full cabinets and 2 half cabinets to store the shit normal people need to kitchen. I’ve given up on stocking up on dried goods and canned goods. I’ve given up on having all the clutter out of sight.

I’ve even given up on having hot and cold water in a timely manner. RVs are so poorly insulated, and the supply line rests on top of the ground. In winter, it takes a considerable amount of time to get warm water to come out of the tap, even when the hot water is on full blast and the cold water is off. We have the opposite problem in the summer, because we have to wait on the boiling hot water in the hose that supplies us to empty of all the water that has been baking in the Texas heat for hours on end.

It’s not just the idea of a normal life inside my own home that I’ve given up on. It’s the idea of community. We’ve been here almost a year, and only Mr & Mrs B have joined us. There are far too many days when I’m the only soul on the property to deal with cats, chickens, compost, and the myriad of other tiny little things that have to be done on a daily basis out here. I spent most of last summer engaged in a one-woman war against the out-of-control grass.  I’m losing hope that the Kitchen Magician lady will ever move out here, considering she’s been “arriving any day now” for over six months. That guy that visited recently hasn’t shown up either. I’m started to think that nobody is ever coming to join us.

I’ve given up on the idea that we will be able to have a peaceful existence out here, as it seems we do nothing more than lurch from crisis to crisis. Sunshine and I thought that we were going to be able to devote some time to building our little house, but that got waylaid by the septic system crisis (which was just another crisis in a never-ending stream of crises). Now the fucking yard and driveway are too torn up for a concrete truck and we can’t use the tractor to fix it because “it will fuck up the yard worse” (which is kind of stupid at this point since I”m looking around thinking WHAT FUCKING YARD, WE JUST DUG IT ALL THE FUCK UP but whatever).

side note: as I compose this, Sunshine has driven up from work because he had forgotten some important parts of his scaffolding here at the house from where we unloaded it for some unknown reason about a week ago. See, we lurch from crisis to crisis around here.

Obviously I’m having a wonderful morning. I’m achy, I’m sick thanks to cedar pollen, I’m tired; and I’m over this mess leftover from our last crisis. I suppose I’ll get outside and grab a shovel to start repairing the damage. At least I’ll be able to add something to my to-done list, right?

To-Done lists

The property is a giant muckhole, with standing water everywhere. We have standing water in places where we have not yet seen standing water on this property, probably because all of that digging left us with giant mounds of dirt and clay that disrupt the natural flow of water across the fields. Our trenches are half-filled with dirt and the rest of the way filled with water.

side note: The muck has delayed our progress on our little house. It seems that constant delays and setbacks are the norm around here as we lurch from crisis to crises. The employee that helped repair the septic system out here? Had been brought up here to help prep the site for the foundation pour and to go with Sunshine to gather the other pile of foam blocks that will become our insulation. That got waylaid when Mr B dug up most of the non-wooded portions of the property to fix all the things. Now? The drive that runs through the property is impassable for large vehicles, which means that we won’t be able to call a concrete crew to come pour our foundation since the truck can’t access the site. Since we are headed into the rainy season, it’s not likely to dry up enough for a concrete truck to come through anytime soon.

I used Sunshine’s card to buy a boot scraper last week and the damned thing has worked overtime since. All of my boots need a good cleaning, my floors need a good cleaning, there’s a never-ending stream of dirty laundry that needs a good cleaning, the floors of my car need a good cleaning–hell, it all needs a good cleaning.

Then there’s that compound bow that Sunshine bought for me. It sits in a corner, mocking me. My dumbbells are in the same corner, and they mock me. My shoulder is slowly improving, incrementally; however, the human body parts are so interconnected that working that shoulder also works that side of my neck and I am left constantly fighting a muscle-tension-induced headache that approaches migraine proportions.

The to-do lists seem never-ending. It’s all very overwhelming, and I try not to think about it much. I’d probably cry if I did.

I was whining about this overwhelming, never-ending, constantly growing to-do list on the internet the other day in a certain discussion forum that will remain nameless. A wonderful young lady (who shall also remain nameless, because anonymity) commiserated with me, and then she suggested something that should have been obvious for me. She suggested that, instead of focusing on the to-do list that never gets shorter, I should make a done list at the end of each day so that I can focus on progress and accomplishments. This was brilliant, and it is something that worked a lot for me in early recovery in the form of gratitude lists and such.

Now, I am my mother’s child, and I love me a good to-do list. I’m also the kind of idiot that HAS to make to-do lists, because if I don’t write it down then it’s likely it is not going to happen. However, in honor of that wonderful young lady, I am also going to maintain some done lists.

Because today’s to-do list is so overwhelming, I am going to start the day by adding something to the done list. I want a curb-less, door-less shower with a linear drain; this means that the drain is going to have to be large enough to make sure the water gets out of the shower fast. Sunshine put 3″ drain pipe under the shower, which is good. However, all of the linear shower drains that I have found at the big-box building supply stores have 2″ drain outlets. Sunshine got creative and found an linear outdoor drain that has a 3″ outlet (designed for outdoor applications) that we are going to use in the shower. It has a textured grate on top for some non-slip-ness in the shower; and it’s grey, which matches the color scheme I have chosen for the bathroom. Having this piece of the plumbing puzzle means that Sunshine can build the forms that will be necessary for the concrete pour to make sure that the concrete slab under the shower has the appropriate slope for good drainage.

side note: I’m not gonna lie, he’s a little bit irritated with me for sticking to my guns on this whole curbless shower that is level with the rest of the bathroom floor. However, because he understands my logic (not wanting curbs and door tracks and etcetera to hold moisture and grow mold, and a trip-free experience for when we get old and don’t want to trip over a curb), he’s putting in the extra time to plan ahead to make sure I get my trip-hazard-free curbless shower. This is why I love him. It also means that I will be much more flexible about some of the other choices ahead of us, as a concession to my stubborn-ness on this one.

I’ve also been struggling with this new haircut. It desperately needs a flat-iron, which I don’t have. I went a little too short, if the truth is told. Thank heaven my hair grows fast as hell. My girl Tia is sending me her chi iron that she doesn’t use any more, which will help greatly. Until it arrives, my hair has been the bane of my existence, all big and wavy in all the wrong places. So, until the flat iron arrives, I’ve been hating my hair. I reached out to some experts on the internet and been given some suggestions, and I tried one of them this morning. Sea salt texturizing spray. I think it has tamed the volume enough to keep me from wanting to just cram a hat or wrap on my head, at least for now.

So, there’s two things I can add to the done list (the drain, and a solution for my stupid hair), and my day has barely begun. I’m going to call that some serious winning, and I’m going to go see if I can get tired of winning today, because the struggle has been very real for the last couple of weeks.

 

Job Description

Apparently my job description has changed. Because apparently my workplace has changed.

I thought I worked at a produce stand. Until I got to work yesterday morning and saw what the boss had done.

murphy

This is Murphy. Murphy is a two week old baby goat. The boss is having to bottle feed the little goat. This little goat is the size of a fucking chihuahua right now. Murphy cries a lot. We finally got him to stop crying and take a nap in this box. Murphy is very cute.

But that isn’t all that the boss has done.

mollie and buddy.jpg

This is Buddy. Buddy is a little pig. Some kind of potbelly pig. Murphy is the boss’ new pig, because Chop-Chop died about a month or so ago. Chop-Chop got sick, and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, and he passed away while they were still trying to diagnose him. Buddy is currently about the same size as Mollie. As you can see, Mollie is not amused by Buddy. Mollie was not amused by Murphy, either. I think his crying upset her.

So, apparently, I now work at a petting zoo. There’s a cat, some chickens, a tiny little baby goat, and a wee little baby pig.

Wish me luck.

Physical Therapy

I decided to pick up my longbow not too long ago, and get out there with Sunshine and shoot arrows at shit. That led to him dragging me to the pawn shop to buy m a compound bow.

Sadly, I can’t even draw that bow he bought me. And he won’t adjust it so that it takes less effort. Well, he offered but I could tell he wasn’t real thrilled with the idea.

I’ve been lifting the dumbbells every day. Well, except for the last several days when we had so much digging going on because they dug up pretty much all of the yard because the septic system was leaking and they decided it was the perfect time to do almost every single digging project we could think up. I’ve been busy with a shovel, and I’ve been busy with laundry. Because everything has to be washed, and washed real good, after one has been digging in poo tainted mud.

Well, yesterday I finally got back around to the dumbbells.

It’s frustrating. My right side has no trouble with the basic exercises, and it has full range of motion. The left side? Not so much. I’m basically having to rebuild my left shoulder, arm, and the left side of my torso. And it hurts. I’ve got shortened tendons throughout my arm and shoulder from where I’ve favored that side of my body since around the turn of the millennium. It’s disheartening to know that the right side can do all sorts of things, but the left side has trouble holding a can of soup straight out to the side at shoulder height. It’s gotten to the point where I have to put on some edgy music to stay motivated to do the exercises that are more like physical therapy.

It makes me want to cry, because I realize just how far I have to go before I have any hope of actually being able to draw that bow.

I won’t give up, though. I really want to shoot shit with arrows. It makes less noise than a firearm, so it’s perfect for killing zombies and shit. I’ll also benefit greatly from the physical therapy that is slowly rebuilding my left side.

I just may cry a lot before I get there.