Tuesday Thoughts and Ramblings

Yesterday I bought Halloween costumes for the boys. For the oldest two, I took them over to the character themed union suits in the men’s section since they can be used as pajamas. It’s the same place I got my Grumpy Bear pajamas.

Batman and Deadpool were the choices. Why am I not surprised? Mom said they had them for Little Bear’s size but I didn’t see them. He ended up picking out Master Chief. Again, not surprised. Comic books and video games.

I also bought a bunch of cereal and grabbed dinner. Dad asked me why I didn’t put instant oatmeal on the shopping list if that’s what I wanted. Told him I didn’t think about it and the oatmeal I got was the limited addition flavors: pumpkin spice and gingerbread spice. I haven’t tried the gingerbread one before, but I bought 4 boxes of the pumpkin spice. I also grabbed two boxes of Rice Chex. No idea why, but it’s a comfort food for me. Also grabbed two big bags of candy and told the boys it’s for Halloween so the bags need to stay sealed until then. And I bought cheese and crackers.

Yes, hypomania is alive and well. This part of the reason why I don’t like going to a grocery store while in this state of mind. I can resist dropping money on just about anything except food. It would have been worse if I had gone in there with the intent of grocery shopping. Like I was able to window shop in the Hobby Lobby two days before without spending a dime, but the moment I step into Walmart I drop $200 – most of it in comfort food.

This was the first time Dad criticized buying all the food. I think it’s because they had just went grocery shopping. Dad buys stuff in bulk. The Latter-Day Saints teach you to keep a rotating food storage that will cover roughly a year. My dad keeps two years.

I don’t know how to explain why comparing these two shopping methods demonstrates the problem to me. I think it’s the underlying process. Everything I had bought aside from the costumes was out of impulse. His comment was just simply, “It’s a good thing she went in just for costumes.” I agree. There’s a reason I don’t go grocery shopping with my parents.

While Dad may not follow his shopping list perfectly, he at least goes in with a plan. It might drive Mom nuts that he will buy 4 mega jugs of laundry soap because it’s on sale, but it is the brand that we always use and with three boys in the house, it’s kind of dumb not to snag as much as they’ll allow you to when it’s almost $3 less than normal. Dish soap and coffee just went on sale for $2 less than the norm and so Dad plans to stock up on those next time around. Dad goes to places like Sam’s Club and watches the sales. Honestly, I’m surprised that he doesn’t do the coupon clipping too.

So why don’t I go shopping with my parents? Because of the three of us, my mom is the only one that tries to mitigate the impulse buying. And for whatever reason when you put me with my dad in any kind of grocery store, the cart gets out of control. Even Dad has acknowledged that. Somehow the two of us feed into each others’ impulses and we end up with twice as much unplanned extras than we should have gotten. Meanwhile, Mom will try to quietly edit the shopping list as we go in response to whatever the hell it is we put in the cart. Because… who wants to see a grown adult throw a tantrum over something not on the shopping list?

And no, I’m not trying to stick that all on Dad. I’m well aware that we tend to gang up on her when shopping. Kind of like how the boys pick up on when I’m in impulse mode and gang up on me in the grocery store. Mom got to watch that happen last night since we were also her ride home from work. She took the route of window shopping elsewhere and let me handle that mess on my own.

Which in retrospect I appreciate greatly, but at the time for whatever reason I kept fussing over her location like she was one of my kids. If I couldn’t see her, my brain freaked. She’s a grown woman, not my 8-year-old goblin, so why the hell did my brain insist on keeping tabs on her? Puts some new insight on possible reasons for why my mother responds to me the way she does.

Mental health isn’t just genetics. It’s learned behavior too. Both come from family. My mother came from a family of 14 kids. That’s a lot to keep track of on a level I can’t imagine. Three overwhelms me at times. Then she raised 5 of her own – 3 of which turned out to have disorders of some kind. And now I’m raising 3 with disorders. So yeah, that “mother hen syndrome” thing I came by honestly and I don’t think is going anywhere. Mom used to call me the mother hen back when I was a kid too. In some ways I’m glad that she didn’t break me of it, but other times I wish I had learned to chill more.

On the way home, her and I talked about the whole social thing Dad has been harping on me about. And the babysitting thing. I found out the reason Dad pushes so hard to babysit my brother’s kids is because they have had the worst luck in babysitters.

One strapped the youngest in a high chair and left him there for the entire day. His messy diaper ate his poor skin. Now according to Piggie, it only takes 15 minutes for the skin to start to degrade. This kid’s skin was RAW – like bleeding kind of raw. So no one could say that he hadn’t been left in that mess for long. To this day, they have the hardest time getting that kid into any kind of strapped seat. He won’t even sit in a booster chair at the table.

The final straw was when Dad got a phone call from his sister saying that the youngest was running amok outside without supervision. The kids were with a babysitter at that time. Now to be clear here, since I am against helicoptering children, their youngest isn’t even Kindergarten age right now. That’s not free range to me. That’s just reckless and irresponsible. More importantly, that’s not what my brother or his wife would do with their kids.

And now Dad no longer trusts anyone else to babysit even though it overwhelms him to no end. He now understands why back on campus, I didn’t have a babysitter. As it was, I had issues with the day care center there at times but I had always though it was due to my kiddos being special needs. But… come to think of it, Mom and Dad didn’t have babysitters for us very often.

The interesting thing that came up in that conversation with my mom is that she has spoken to a couple of people at the store that speak highly of a man that provides respite care for special needs kids. He used to be an active member of the church and given the fact I’m not an active member either for reasons, I’m not judging him for that. Just saying I remember him from my teen years and I had always thought he did well with the Primary kids (the youngest group). He still has his farm with all the animals and not surprisingly, these kids respond well to it.

So Mom said if I wanted or needed respite for any reason, this is the guy to ask. I don’t know if he’s part of the NAMI respite program, but people are telling my mom that he is a respite care provider. So this says something to me. As anyone with special needs children know, the “Mother Bear” instinct runs high and we would never speak highly of someone taking care of our kids unless they earned it.

So I’ll keep this info on the back burner. While I don’t often feel the need to be publicly social, it would be nice to go out and do something by myself, free of children, once in awhile. It would be nice to see Empty Head or Kindred play once in awhile. Hell, might even be fun to join a writer’s group or book club.

I’m thinking about all this because the topic of self care has been brewing in my head for awhile. It’s why I’m allowing myself the projects I’ve been delving into as of late. I have always been closely tied to the fine arts, even as a child, but until recently (as of last NaNoWriMo) I’ve always felt that it was unpermitted or inappropriate to “indulge” in. I’m aware that it’s largely a penniless job, but I’m essentially penniless anyway. So why not invest my time, energy, and resources in the things I enjoy and attempt to build an income of some kind with it?

My only problem is focus. My brain wants to learn and do all the things, all at once, all right now.

I haven’t been writing much because when I started this blog, it was mostly ranting. Yes, troubleshooting and problem solving was involved, but it all stemmed from the rants. We no longer live in an apartment with cruddy plumbing and a leaking ceiling with a landlord that has a business partner with a creepy wife that just lets herself in and snoop around. All three of the boys are stable and doing well. Yes, we have rough days, but nothing like the past few years before.

The divorce is underway too. Next month is the final pretrial hearing. If my husband is wise, he will get his end of the paperwork done. Otherwise he runs the risk of the court deciding for him. The legal policy is to send us to mediation, but in the last hearing the judge was annoyed that paperwork wasn’t finished if everything is mutual and I had to sit there and watch his lawyer apologize profusely. My husband didn’t even make a teleconference appearance that day.

While it is legal to have just the lawyer represent you, it doesn’t leave a good impression in the court when it comes to family law – and probably not with any kind of law for that matter. Hell, it didn’t leave a good impression on me and this is with me knowing that he’s stationed outside the country in a different time zone. All it did was deepen the message that we are not worth his time and energy. And no, don’t blame the military for this one. They have a strict policy when it comes to obeying family law. They’re not preventing him from showing up, nor are they hindering him in getting paperwork done. I did him a favor by telling the lawyer that he is dyslexic and that he needed to make sure that he understands the paperwork before signing it. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I know that my husband has a habit of just signing things without bothering to read it. This is too important and I don’t want to hear from him later that he didn’t understand, or didn’t realize, or whatever.

Anyway, once that’s settled money will be an even bigger issue than before. There will always be the back up plan of food service even though I’ve been unemployed for so damn long. Turn over rate in that industry has always been high so someone is always looking for a slot to fill. Finding a job has never been my problem. Burn out has always been my problem. It’s too easy to work ridiculous hours when hypomanic/manic. People encourage it, not realizing it’s actually part of an illness. But all that energy comes with a price and eventually you will crash. And when you crash in the workplace, there is unavoidable fall out. People expect you to continue to work those ridiculous hours you have been, not understanding why you can’t.

Hell, it wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I understood why this was happening with me. I didn’t understand why some months I could work swing shifts and double shifts everyday and other months I could barely keep up with part time. And maybe this is why we find so many people with Bipolar in the fine arts industry? Yes there are agents, publishers, and producers to deal with but for the most part the time table is yours to organize. The trick is designing a work ethic system that is consistently productive in order to get anywhere. That part is what I worry about: setting up a schedule that works for me that is still productive.

So far it takes me about a week to two weeks to animate a music video – and that’s with me working on it nearly every day, all day. Is that really something I want to invest time in when I also want to write? Can I do both, or must I chose one over the other?

And that’s not even getting into the allergic reaction that I had at the dinner table last night when I tried a new ready made salad from the deli. Scholar Owl mentioned that it tasted like there was lemon in there, but it didn’t register until Mom saw I was having trouble swallowing. Then my mouth started to burn and it got hard to breathe. Not a choking type of thing, but more like a seriously bad chest cold that makes you feel like you have a weight pressing down on you. I need to pay more attention.

So yes, self care has been on the forefront of my mind lately. How do you balance yourself so you don’t end up burned out? How do you reign in impulse – like while shopping? Being the genetically designed social creatures that we are, how do you get your social needs met (even when you don’t think you have those needs) successfully?

This is something I’ve been puzzling over the past few weeks while trying to find a sense of purpose for myself. What the hell do I want to do with myself now that I don’t need to invest everything into the boys and what’s the best way to go about it? It’s a different kind of chaos I’m not used to and sometimes I wonder of the real problem is my risk aversion. If so, what are the risks? That I fail in the fine arts and have to work a regular job? If I never try it and put myself out there, I will never have the chance to succeed. Logically, there is really nothing to lose.

I think for now I will stay the course and try to create a model of my own to use in vlogs. No matter how I slice it, I’m at the very bottom. I might as well try to work from home.

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