What’s The Haps, Chaps?

So, remember me complaining about certain people not preparing for the potential of not being able to come in to work? You might not, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, thankfully I was prepared. Because despite that someone’s assertion and confidence that they’d be working until May, they are now on medical leave.

Thankfully this also happened during the time I happened to be in town, so I was able to step in and take over. I’ve got a week in trying to get everything organized to my requirements, and I’ve got at least one more week to go. I’m moving as much as I can online in order to manage everything remotely and changing up processes to make them more efficient. Not that they were terribly inefficient before. They were efficient in an analog world, but not so in the digital world we now live in. And especially not in a world where I need to be able to access data from where ever I may be at any given time.

In fact, I need to go work on a spreadsheet right now.

(This is Day 7 of #100DaysToOffload.)

I Suck At Frienship

There. I said it. I suck at friendship.

And before you get all “Oh, no, it’s fine, you’re OK. You’re just … insert some kind of excuse here” on me, let me clarify a little: I am 100% okay with sucking at friendship. I don’t believe that I’m meant to be friendly.

Recently I ended an almost-3-year friendship. It was bound to happen, really. For many reasons.

  1. Recently all of our discussions revolved around a specific portion of her life. And despite the fact that I’d not only pointed this out (to be ignored), and changed the subject, it would immediately return to the original subject.
  2. Because of (1), I’d been annoyed at every attempt she made to converse. I’d literally roll my eyes at every notification I got on my phone, often followed by me muttering “What does she want now?”
  3. Did I mention I suck at friendship?
  4. Maybe there weren’t all that many reasons.

But I began to wonder what it was specifically about this friendship that made it hard to maintain (I mean, aside from the above). I have other friendships that have lasted far longer. And in my mind, I began to name them out and it hit me: every one of those friends were male.

I’m not your stereotypical female, so forgive me for breaking into stereotypes.

Female friendships are emotional investments. There’s an emotional bank where, if there’s not a deposit of emotions on a regular basis, the bank gets angry and resentful and then you have to invest more to make up for the lack of investment. One has to have quite a nest egg of emotional funds in order to keep up with that kind of thing.

And emotional funds are one thing I’ve lacked my entire life. I’m emotional-funds-poor.

There have been times where I’ve questioned whether I’m a sociopath or a narcissist.

Because all of the above? I don’t really care about.

I’m not a person who needs people. I’d make a very good hermit, and if I didn’t have a family, I’d ditch everyone and everything to live in the woods away from all humans.

The reason my male friendships have been entirely more successful than any female friendship I’ve ever had is because they require little-to-no emotional investment. Even when there’s a problem, or someone had a bad day, or is going through some shit, quiet camaraderie is perfectly acceptable. Much support can be conveyed simply through as simple statement like “Dude…”

Did I mention yet that I suck at friendship?

And no, it still doesn’t bother me.

(This is Day 6 of #100DaysToOffload.)

My Maternal History

TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses mental disorders, suicide, molestation, alcoholism, attempted murder, manslaughter, and just… a lot of bad things. If you are sensitive to any of these, please do NOT read further.

Today I talked with my mother and finally asked a lot of questions that I’d never asked before. I’m not sure if it was because I felt like I couldn’t or shouldn’t ask, because of their sensitive nature, or if I just really didn’t care enough to know. But today I asked. Some of the details I’m sharing below I did already know, but some is all brand new to me.

My maternal grandmother’s name was Marion. She married my grandfather Art sometime in the 1950s. My grandmother could not carry a pregnancy to term, with her longest term being 28 weeks (which was her pregnancy with my mother – her only successful pregnancy), and she had four children who died at birth, two girls, Cheryle Ann and Valerie, and two boys – I’m unsure of the boys’ names.

Around 1960, my grandmother’s father told my grandfather to leave my grandmother and mother and never have contact with them again. He was an alcoholic, and while I can’t be sure, there may have been other reasons as well for his demand that Art leave Marion and my mom (which I will discuss later.) My mother was 3 years old.

Even before my mother was born, there were clear issues. He had been charged with manslaughter when he hit a man who was walking along the road with his truck. There are also news articles I’ve since found that go into detail about incidents from my grandfather’s alcoholism, and I’m not sure he ever did stop drinking, but it took until after I was born for my mother to finally track him down and make contact with him. At that point, he was remarried and had a daughter, my half-aunt Bev.

My grandmother would remarry twice. Her second husband I don’t know a lot about other than his last name and that he had a son from a previous marriage. Her third husband was a philanderer. When my grandmother questioned him as to why he didn’t just leave her and marry his mistress, he responded “We’re just waiting for you to die.” When he did finally leave her, he put a bottle of alcohol and bottles of pills on her nightstand beside her bed.

My grandmother was bi-polar, and the act of him leaving the bottle and pills beside her bed lead to him being charged with attempted murder. That was my grandmother’s last marriage.

She’d attempted multiple times to commit suicide. Between pills and alcohol, at least two car wrecks (one of which resulted in the death of a passenger in her vehicle), she didn’t want to stay on this planet. It also was determined shortly after one of the incidents that she’d had multiple aneurysms.

After the death of her father, she’d disappear now and then, and she’d always turn up at the same spot – the oceanside where they’d spread his ashes. She’d go there to talk to him.

In an attempt to assist her with her bi-polar disorder, they gave her shock treatments. I’m not sure what effect they thought they would have, and I’m not sure if any of those treatments contributed to her aneurysms or not, but suffice it to say, she was not healed.

When my mother was 16, my grandmother was finally successful in her attempts to commit suicide. My mother was given the task of packing up their house, and then she was moved across country to live with an uncle that she really didn’t know. Shortly after moving in with him, he began sexually assaulting her.

My grandfather, having remarried and having another daughter with his second wife, was also a sexual predator. He molested his intellectually disabled daughter – we’re not certain of the length of time that this went on or when it started, but he was charged and convicted and spent time in prison. All of this came to light after my mother finally tracked him down, and he came with his wife and daughter to see us in Ontario.

Since we are unsure as to when his predation on my aunt started, it’s possible that this also could have been a factor in my great-grandfather demanding that he leave his wife and my mother when my mother was 3 years old. This is simply a theory.

It’s a lot to take in. Like I said, there are some things I already knew, some things that I’d had glimpses of, but there were some things I didn’t know.

My mother made a lot of mistakes in her life – and continues to make a lot of mistakes. I know a portion of these mistakes she’s made can be directly linked to her past, and while I do take that into consideration, I still have to take into consideration my own family and the effects her actions might have on them, so as of last year, I all but completely cut her out of my life.

I don’t know exactly why I decided to share this, or why I’ll be sharing the next post also (which has yet to be written, but I’ve decided it’s going to be written), other than for the sake of catharsis.

Please note: I am not the type of person to accept sympathy, especially in regards to situations like the above. If your response to this is an apology, please withhold it. Life is life, and bad things happen, and bad things result from those bad events. I just know that I needed to get all of this out.

(This is Day 5 of #100DaysToOffload.)

AITA? Yes. Yes, I am.

So, late 2020 I was here in SK on my break after a significant snowfall. My driveway had been mostly cleared, but the end was built up with the snow that the plow had so graciously left (mea culpa, I wasn’t here to deal with it before it froze). 

While I was in the house doing some work, I heard the neighbour’s snowblower out front and I look outside to see him snow-blowing the end of my driveway. What a gent! I immediately went out and insisted on giving him $100 for the work, I was VERY grateful. 

He said to me then, well, you know, I could keep on eye on your driveway and keep it clear for you while you’re away, and I thought, gee, what a nice man. And really, it was very nice. I accepted his offer. But see, being the silly person I am, I thought he was just offering. I didn’t think it was some kind of contract for services to be rendered. But that was dumb of me. I didn’t know this guy, and he didn’t know me, he didn’t owe me a thing. But none of that dawned on me until tonight.

After last night’s drama, and my subsequent police statement, I’ve been quite certain that I’ll be seeing some form of retaliation. Around here, that usually means a rock through a window, a knife in your tire, or some other form of vandalism. So, I’ve been regularly going out to check on my vehicle that’s parked in the driveway. On my last check, I noticed an envelope under my wipers. I had no idea what to expect.

I brought it inside and here it was a bill from my neighbour for the services he’d rendered so far. I got offended at first. He offered, how dare he then turn around and charge me for the work. I even sent a picture of the bill to my husband and scoffed at the idea that he would want payment. But, really, why WOULDN’T he want payment? And why would I get so offended over being billed for services rendered? The more I thought about it, the more I felt like an idiot. Getting mad over someone billing me for work they’ve done. Total asshole move.

Anyway, I took his bill and wrote a note at the bottom, thanking him for being so kind as to use his own time and equipment to make sure my driveway stayed clear, and then paid him double his ask. 

It’s strange the things we get offended about in our lives. I know I get pissed off about a lot of things. Stupid things. Unimportant things. But when God kicks me in the pants and tells me to get my act together, I’m glad for the lesson, because I know I needed it. 

(This is Day 4 of #100DaysToOffload.)

Trello

Have you heard of it?

Chances are if your employment existence resides primarily online, you have. If you haven’t, you’re probably asking: What is Trello?

The best way to describe Trello is by using their own words:

Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything, trusted by millions of people from all over the world.

https://trello.com/about

The base pieces of the app are boards, lists, and cards. On your board, you have lists, and within each list you have cards. These boards could serve an innumerable amount of purposes.

There are also multiple options for how you use Trello. You can have both personal boards and team boards, you can add functionality with a pay-option for Trello Gold, or you can upgrade your teams to Business Class (or if you’re some kind of power-user or require more options for your team, you could opt for Enterprise.)

When using the free version of Trello, you’re limited to 10 boards per team/person, 1 power-up (a fancy built-in integration) per board, and 50 command-runs per month of the built-in Butler feature (a BRILLIANT feature, I must add). Don’t let this discourage you, though, there is still so much you can do outside of the pay wall.

Another great aspect? It syncs across devices! You can access Trello in your favourite browser, download it on iOS and Android devices, or download the app on your PC or Mac.

Trello has been a (generally) consistent product in my life for at least 5 years now, whether I was utilizing it to the max, or just using it to store data.

Currently you can find me using it for the following processes:

  • my weekly work schedule
    • the built-in Butler function helps automate the card and list creation process so that keeping up and keeping tabs on all my to-dos is efficient
  • login data for all the corporate accounts
    • just logins, no passwords, that’s what a password manager is for
  • developing an in-house skill test for staff to take in order to qualify for higher positions
    • each list is a separate section of the test with each card title being the question, and the description being the answer
  • following up with a third-party developer as they design a website that is beyond my abilities to create
  • keeping track of software I’ve field-tested for various purposes and outlines of my thoughts on said software
  • boards to keep track of personal and professional ‘wins,’ mistakes by staff (so we can remember that it COULD be worse), and inside jokes for myself and my Girl Friday (my right hand lady)
  • homeschool process tracking
  • on-boarding processes
  • contact information across multiple locations
  • sales contacts
  • books I have read, am currently reading, or plan to read

As you can see, Trello is highly versatile. In the past, I’ve also used it to track customer appointments, manage outbound orders, art ideas, menu planning, grocery lists, weight loss tracking, and inspiration.

If you find yourself struggling to stay organized and on-task – look into Trello. It is such an easy way to manage most everything in your life. If you need inspiration or assistance, I’d be glad to help you out, just drop a comment below!

[This is Day 2 v. 2.0 (or Day 3) of #100DaysToOffload.]

[P.P.S.S.S.S. This post is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.]

Bleh.

It’s been made clear to me that my opinions or preferences for properties will not be taken into consideration in the purchase of the property. Since the only thing I’ll be doing is paying the property taxes and utilities, I have no real say in this decision at all.

So, I will offer no opinions and view no properties. They can buy what they want. I still have the house I’m currently in, even though it’s in the city and I hate it. At least it’s mine and mine alone.

(Addendum – added post-post: it appears I have less of a say than the non-existent horses.)

(This is Day 2 in #100DaysToOffload.)

2020 in Review

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

I went to Hawaii. My mother-in-law had mentioned to me one day in 2019 that she’d never been to Hawaii, and that her husband would probably never take her, so I booked everything and took her and my best friend and we had an amazing time. The day we were flying back from Hawaii, Justin Trudeau announced that Canadians needed to return home because of COVID-19.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

The only NYR that I ever make anymore is about reading. I did not reach my goal, but I do believe I read some high quality books.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant?

My best friend became pregnant with her very first child. I laugh about this because we’re fairly close in age, and she’s just starting out having kids, and I’m all done.

4. Did anyone close to you get married?

My friend Sara married my cousin!

5. Did anyone close to you die?

Two old friends died. One from COVID-19, the other from overdose.

6. Travel?

See (1). I miss Hawaii, too. The atmosphere was something I’d never experienced anywhere in any of my travels. The entire island was gorgeous, also, and nothing beats swimming in the ocean.

7. Did you move anywhere?

Surprisingly, I did not.

8. What was the best month?

February and March. Probably more March, as the entire family got COVID-19 in February after the man and I came back from Vegas.

9. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

I’d like more time to engage in my other pursuits – reading, painting, drawing, wood-burning. I don’t want to spend my entire year neck-deep in work.

10. What date(s) from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 8 to 14th. My trip to Hawaii.

11. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

It might be weird to say, but probably discovering that my great-grandfather was not actually my great-grandfather and then finding (and meeting!) some of my new-found family.

12. What was your biggest failure?

My biggest failure was allowing work to take control of so much of my life to the point that it was also affecting my health.

13. Did you suffer illness or injury?

COVID-19 and stress-related garbage.

14. What was the best thing you bought?

  1. My plants.
  2. My friend’s photos.
  3. My Raspberry Pi 400.

15. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Honestly, my oldest. He turned 16 in 2020, and other than base teenage angst, he really has done SO well this year. I love being able to discuss more important things with him.

16. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?

Not even going there.

17. Where did most of your money go?

Tea. Clothes. Plants. Tech.

18. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Hawaii. Also, moving. To the country. To eat a lot of peaches. Or rather, just to get away from humans.

19. What song(s) will always remind you of 2020?

Unfinished Business – Mumford & Sons
Take It All Back – Judah & The Lion
13 Beaches – Lana Del Rey

20. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or Sadder? Crabbier.
Richer or Poorer? Richer, I guess, but who cares?
Thinner or fatter? Fatter!

21. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d taken more time with the kids outside of the city, but with lockdowns and whatever… I also wish I’d read more.

22. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work. But I guess I was just doing what was required of me at the time.

23. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve/Day?

New Years Eve I was driving from North Battleford to Edmonton to come ring in the New Year with my kids (which I then did), and then New Years Day was spent being lazy.

24. What was an unexpected surprise?

Finding out that after 36 years of believing I was Italian, I discovered I’m actually Irish and that my great-grandmother carried on a years-long affair that resulted in at least 3 children.

25. Did you fall in love in 2020?

No.

26. What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

The in-house entertainment at The Rim restaurant in Hawaii.

27. What was your favorite TV program?

The Good Place. The Haunting of Hill House. The Haunting of Bly Manor. Manhunt: Unabomber.

28. Do you dislike anyone now that you didn’t dislike this time last year?

Probably, but those people aren’t worth the time to mention.

29. What was the best book you read?

I can’t pick a specific one, but surprisingly none of the ones that come to mind are fiction.
Waco – David Thibodeau, Leon Whiteson, Aviva Layton
The Worst Hard Time – Timothy Egan
Oswald Chambers – David McCasland
Becoming Nobody – Ram Dass
Highway of Tears – Jessica McDiarmid
Empire of the Summer Moon – SC Gwynne

30. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Lana Del Rey, Judah & The Lion, and the “Indie Christian” genre.

31. What did you want and get?

More pumpkins?

32. What did you want and not get?

To get out of the city and into the country.

33. What was your favorite film of this year?

I’ve watched many good movies this year, but none really strike me as being mentionable.

34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Uhhhhh, that was almost a year ago. But a few days later, I flew to Vegas to attend a lacrosse game (oh, I miss lacrosse!). That’s how I got COVID-19.

35. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A decrease in work, or a relocation.

36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

Pajama pants, snarky t-shirts, and quarantine bangs.

37. What kept you sane?

I… don’t know.

38. What political issue stirred you the most?

All of the bullshit. From all sides. But primarily from one specific side.

39. Who did you miss?

My dad. I did get to see him and we went out on a houseboat together (which was a DISASTER, but a memorable one), but I haven’t seen him since July and it’s killing me.

My brother and his wife and their girls. Because of COVID, I wasn’t allowed to see any of them when I went to visit my dad (my SIL is a nurse), so it has been a very long time since I’ve seen them.

40. Favorite new person?

His name is Miguel. That’s all I have to say right now.

Five things that 2020 taught me:

  1. The entire world and everything you know about it can change in an instant.
  2. “Appreciation of other artists (photographers, in my case) doesn’t mean you have to measure yourself by their work. Their opportunities, their brains, their budgets are not yours; do the best you can with what you have, learn, improve where you learn, keep doing your own thing. Art isn’t a zero-sum game.” (Stealing this from my twin because it is definitely something I’ve learned this year in my own art.)
  3. I really love plants. Even though I have a black thumb.
  4. To sleep in the middle of my bed.
  5. Alcohol makes me chill.

Five things you want to do in 2021:

  1. I want to move. I need to move. Out to the country. Away from humans and prying eyes.
  2. MORE ART.
  3. More reading.
  4. Visit my dad as much as COVID allows.
  5. Learn new skills.
  6. EXTRA: I want to start writing a book.

(This is post #1 in #100DaysToOffload for 2021.)

Hope Pt. 2

Everything always changes.

Oh well.

Hope

There is a house in the mountains of BC. It’s situated on 110 acres in between two mountain ranges, right along the Kootenay River. It’s picturesque – like something you’d find in a magazine.

I want it.

But we’ll see. Everything always changes.

What’s Wrong With You?

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this question in my life, I’d have a lot of nickels. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s (28, to be exact), that I actually discovered the answers to this question (and let me tell you, it was a significant relief to finally understand myself.)

Aspergers Syndrome

I had no idea about Aspergers until I was diagnosed with it. I knew about autism, and had taught a few autistic children in my time as a Sunday School teacher. But Aspergers? What on earth was it? What did it mean for me? After researching it, and finally understanding it, this was the biggest source of relief for me.

I spent most of my youth mentally exhausted from trying to blend in, to seem normal, to adapt to the ways of other young girls my age. I “lucked out” for a few years where all of my peers were male, who are far easier to adapt to, in my opinion. I won’t get into all the details of what Aspergers entails, but suffice it to say, reading the “symptoms” of Aspergers, especially those found in girls, was such a relief.

ADD

I kind of always assumed I had some form of ADD/ADHD. It wasn’t so much that I was hyperactive, but I’d be in the middle of a conversation with someone and completely zone out and think about something entirely different.

OCD

My OCD runs concurrent to my Aspergers. I was always accused of being OCD, but I didn’t really understand why. The mix of Aspergers, ADD, and OCD are really highlighted in my memories for the things I’d do when I was young, never fully understanding the urge, but always giving in to them.

ICD

My impulse control disorder comes in three flavours – none of which I’m going to expound on here. When I was diagnosed with ICD, I was also told that I probably shouldn’t drink, but honestly, when you’re dealing with what I’m dealing with, the alcohol sure makes things a lot lovelier.

Brain Damage

This is a fun one. Apparently, I have fairly extensive brain damage. I don’t remember what part of my brain is damaged, but given they placed the blame for the damage on the massive amount of concussions I’ve had in my life, I’m going to assume it’s either my frontal or temporal lobe. The damage apparently just makes all the above worse.

Conclusion

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Have your own alphabet diagnoses to expound upon? Comment or hit me up on Mastodon!

(This is Day 4 of #100DaysToOffload.)