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a mad, mad, thing
friday, december 28, 2008

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this year has been one of the worst on record for us. granted, it wasn't all bad -- there were little things here and there -- but it was generally a downward spiral that seemed to have no end.

the recession hit us before anyone realized there was a recession. the housing bubble popped for us near the end of last year, which means saxy wasn't working as much in january. not working much in january is typical for construction, and i think most people manage to save for it. we couldn't because we barely earned enough to pay the bills. and working less in a low work month? that hit hard. and things pretty much stayed hard for the rest of the year. work never picked up to where it should be, and i had stopped subbing for a number of reasons, so financially we were crashing harder than usual. i am so very grateful that we've had such an understanding landlord. without him, we'd have been on the streets long ago.

january also saw the start of my health issues that eventually led to me having a d&c and ending up meds that make me sweat like there's no tomorrow. granted, i'll take the sweating over the bleeding to death and being in bed all the time, but it's still uncomfortable, embarrassing, and frustrating. the whole mess also completely derailed some of my efforts to get healthy. i couldn't exercise without making it worse. and i was stupid about it too and kept hoping it would go away...and it kept faking me out for a week or so then come back in spades. and, of course, my iron issues returned as well. i've also dealt with huge, long bouts of depression, more this year than any other year since i was a teenager. finances, feelings of inadequacy, all kinds of crap just piled in on me. we also eventually discovered that i seem to have a touch of sad -- i need the sun, and there are weeks where the sun just isn't all that available in the winter months. add the hormonal stuff, and it's no wonder i was a mess, especially early in the year. now i have a fight on my hands just to get as healthy as i was before all this madness began, much less get healthier like i was trying to do when it hit. getting my strength and stamina back is going to be a real bitch, especially since i overheat so easy now -- which tends to make me sick (as we discovered yesterday when i was making christmas dinner). it's just depressing the upward climb on my health got a whole lot steeper this year.

an old friend did get in touch, but she has since fallen out of touch again. a few other old friends rejoined dii, and some have even managed to stick around. and some new friends helped us through some of the hard times this year, sending money and care packages when the financial end of things dove into total disaster. they may never know or understand how totally grateful i am for their help.

cars became a big issue for us this year. mcat's truck, which we couldn't afford anyway but was the only transportation we had, was repossessed early in the year, which made getting to work dicey for saxy. then a neighbor was willing to sell us a vehicle on time payments. unfortunately, that car ended up with more issues than we could afford, and the neighbor was such a damn flake, it was impossible to get anything taken care of. at the end of it all, though, it turned out that we somehow managed to qualify for a car loan. carmax really worked with us and the car, despite a few bumps (inexpensive bumps, thank god), is probably the best thing we've gotten since coming out here. as for flake, we've heard nothing since the car tanked and we no longer had money to give him. good riddance, as far as i'm concerned.

unfortunately, we got the new car during what ended up being a 3 month long unemployment for saxy. we've kept on top of the payments because we have to have a car, but it's not been easy. if not for saxy's parents and the friends i mentioned sending us care packages, we really could have ended up the street despite the nice landlord. he did find a job, but it has proven almost as frustrating as not having one since he has to finagle almost every check, he's not paid fairly to begin with, and there's a lot of ethical and legal issues. he's sticking with it because, well, what would you do in this economy? he tried to get a second job, but this job and a manager at target pretty much killed that option. survival has ended up being the theme of the year, and the struggle to do it has been the worst its ever been for us. those in the place to know keep warning that it will get worse before it gets better out there, and there are rumbles of closing down at saxy's job. hell, they've already dropped one of the patients that earned him more than anyone else. checks have steadily been getting smaller as they seem bent on making sure most of their drivers don't make more than the $350/week salary, if at all possible (and, yea, while still managing to have them drive 50-70 hours a week).

my relationship with my brother has finally been severed. he was a jackass towards my husband one too many times. hell, he's pretty much treated us all pretty badly one too many times: offering to do things and not following through, totally ignoring me as his sister, totally ignoring anything we said about what we could handle on the financial end of things, acting as if the disabilities in this family are not important, and just generally being a selfish prick. i know he helped us out by getting us out here, but the relationship with him as a person, as a "boss", has been toxic as hell, and he's never gotten why. after a few feeble attempts to be in some kind of contact with saxy, and screwing us over again, saxy finally put his foot down. he is not welcome here, and we are not interested in any kind of relationship with him what so ever.

we gained a new kitten and a ferret this year as well. both were strays, believe it or not. and rogue is 100% my baby. she's not fond of saxy and loves to sleep under the covers with me. i just hope she stays that way as she gets older and hits the kitty teens. i adore her. still love my vagner too, but he's now an "adult" kitty who isn't quite the snuggler he used to be...and seems to have attached to saxy as well. rogue looks like she's going to be all mine.

kitten's marriage completely disintegrated this year, but for most of the time she was stuck in hawaii with her husband. he alternated between total neglect and abusive behavior for most of the year, and still refuses to just do what's right. the escalation has been crazy, even after he finally managed to get her out of hawaii. he's continued to be threatening, withholding money, promises to send her things then reneges -- we suspect a lot of the keepsakes she had are just gone (which really upsets me since some of them are things like ornaments i MADE for her starting when she was a baby and ornaments we found for baby cat). i'm glad she's finally here where she's safe and loved, but his shit has got to stop. i know it probably won't -- he's too much of a control freak to just do the right thing, but really, i wish someone would kick his ass and make him do what's right anyway. i rarely have such anger for a person...hell, i rarely dislike a person as much as i've started disliking him. he seemed sweet enough when we first met him; and now he's just a prick.

the year started off badly for the relationship with jewel, but has improved steadily, mostly due to the man in her life reaching her in ways i never could seem to no matter what i tried. does she still have resentment there? yea, probably. are we still a little burned from all the bitching, blaming, and refusing to take responsibility? yep. but we're all working on it and things are getting better.

meanwhile, youngest's stealing has gotten worse and her grades tanked completely. we're still struggling with the first, along with issues concerning her responsibilities at home, but at least she's getting back on track for the second...i hope. she was doing really well, but her final report card for the semester will be the proof.

taz is probably the one person in the house who is doing the best. yea, we're starting to see teenage stuff rear its ugly head, but he's doing extraordinarily well in terms of development. he's adjusted to high school a lot faster than anyone expected. his only issue right now is fattening him up, and he doesn't seem to mind all the extra food that means he gets. ;)

we finally started working on eating habits in an attempt to get healthier. it started with me finally joining in the bento craze. i even bought the boxes! at first, saxy was resistant, but eventually he decided to give it a shot as long as it wasn't "cute". the thing about a properly made bento is that it is very filling even though it's so small it wouldn't seem like it. i'd like to cut the portions back even more, but it's not really necessary since the majority of the food ends up being fruits and vegetables. finding a farmer's market nearby has helped considerably with the healthy eating, bento boxes and even cutting our food bill down. where we used to spend around $200/week, we're now down to about $150. or were until kitten and baby cat moved in. we'll need to do some reevaluation of the food budget now that we don't have holidays to worry about.

i managed some really nice publishing credits this year, including my first pro sale (in nonfiction, but still a pro rate). and one of my old sales is still making a little money here and there -- i received a royalty check this week for an antho i figured wasn't going to earn my anymore. then i dropped working on short stories for awhile, and my novel remains unfinished. the health issues really made it hard to get anything done like i wanted -- i was too tired, too sick, had stuff to do for lilley press when i was able to get out of bed, and so on. i've not hit some of my more important goals for the year, and that is frustrating. i did manage to finally find a schedule that works for me in terms of balancing the editing job and my own writing, but the daily schedule itself is still being tinkered with. i also realized that i need to write new words every now and then to keep my sanity...and to keep from becoming a bitch.

lilley released its first two books, and they have been selling reasonably well considering how unknown we are. we've since released three others and have at least that many we're getting ready for future releases. no paycheck from them yet, but soon enough. this, of course, is the downside of working for royalties. there's also been a lot of issues and staff changes at lp because the owner has no head for business. fortunately, one of the staff members who left has come back and taken over the business end of things and the company is more stable. and i love my job. it was getting dicey there for a bit, but now that things are in someone else's hands so i don't have to worry about the business stuff that seemed to be getting ignored and otherwise screwed up, i am very happy with what i do.

so, yea, this year has been a mad, mad thing. crazy. some good, but a whole lot of bad (a lot of it little bits of bad that didn't make it into this entry). i'm glad it has ended on some good things -- the thanksgiving that we didn't think we'd have, the christmas we didn't think we'd have, and an upcoming anniversary that looks like it will be sans kids and with an excellent dinner -- but i'll be glad to leave it behind. i'm looking forward now, or trying to anyway, figuring out what my goals for next year are, already trying to think of ways to reach them. i know some of them will be tough, especially the financial ones (and especially if the job does go south), but i want to make life better for us. i always have. and this year was so bad, we can only go up from here. i'm determined to only go up from here. i don't want or need another mad, mad thing for next year. i just need a better one.


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