Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Selfish or Lazy

I had a run-in with one of my roommates today. She is frustrated by something I don’t do, which is mostly because it just doesn’t occur to me.

“I know you like to blame it on your bipolar, but I can’t tell if you’re being selfish or lazy,” she said.

Now I try very hard not to blame character flaws on being bipolar. Taking on too many projects, shopping too much, yeah those are bipolar. Not watering the pets, well, that’s just not thinking of it. Since my roommate handles it most of the time, it just hasn’t been on my radar.

So that brings us down to selfish or lazy. I don’t think it’s selfish. I’m not thinking of myself ahead of others, I’m just not thinking. It’s not a case of “that task is beneath me” so much as “oh, is that something people do?” Although I will own that there are a few times I feel like, that really isn’t my problem. But if I am asked to handle it, I generally do.

Like vacuuming. I don’t think the carpet looks bad but my roommate sometimes does. He won’t ask the other roommate to do it, but he’ll ask me. He asked me the other day with her in the room, and they were both so gleeful. “You have to learn to vacuum,” he said. “You have opposable thumbs, you should be able to work a lighter and run the vacuum.” (My inability to work a lighter is an on-going source of amusement. To me as well.) I know how to vacuum. The sound of the vacuum cleaner is very difficult for me. I grit my teeth the whole time it’s running. But it has been decided for me that this is my chore, and I don’t want to be responsible for it. Someone must vacuum while I am deployed for work. Let that person continue doing it.

Anyway. I’m not mad, just saying.

So my roommate is irritated that I don’t change out the pet water, more so because my cat dips her paws in it and that tracks in cat litter. I don’t blame it on my bipolar or on being selfish. I can’t even say I’m lazy about it, because it isn’t a decision to not do it. I simply don’t think of it. It doesn’t occur to me to water the pets. Now it has been brought to my attention. So my solution is, I will change out the water while I am making breakfast. The toaster takes 5 minutes and I am standing there with nothing to do, I can change the water.

I said as much to my roommate. It defused her anger. She seemed surprised. I suspect she is ascribing motives to me that just don’t exist. I am oblivious in this matter more than intentionally avoidant. It’s not that big a deal to me and it’s huge to her, so I can just add it to my list of morning tasks. Like scooping out the cat box every time I go to the bathroom. If I lived alone, it would be scooped maybe daily, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. But one of the roommates kept complaining about the smell so I scoop it more often. I don’t understand why cat poop in a cat box smells and cat poop in a trash can doesn’t, but whatever.

So we’re down to lazy and I don’t think I can even own that. Lazy to me is an intentional decision to do nothing. I am very seldom doing nothing. I am often doing things that don’t look important to the people around me — like writing this blog instead of emptying my suitcases — but that’s a matter of personal priorities, not laziness. Yes, I am comfortable in my bed with the suitcase on part of it, I don’t know why that’s a problem for my roommate, but it is.

The biggest thing that looks lazy I think is the state of my bedroom. It’s bad, I know it’s bad, but I don’t even know where to start. I get in there and look at it, and get overwhelmed and walk away. Lazy isn’t the word for that. I know it needs to happen, I just can’t seem to find a plan of attack. Though emptying the suitcases will make a difference, I’m sure. This is an example of me being avoidant. But I am doing other tasks, so it’s not lazy.

In other news, I joined a gym today. I will start tomorrow. I had to buy new sneakers because the inner soles are pulling up in my old pair. I guess I need to throw away the old pair, come to think of it. But yeah, I needed sneakers and a lock for the locker. I’ll pack up a bag in the morning and go before group.

I need to get out some of my received mail and take a picture of it for This Zine Has Issues. I wrote a piece for the second issue and the editor asked for the picture. I’m published in the first issue, woot woot! Now I need to reply to the letters.

I should hear by the end of the week about the 911 operator job. I kind of hope I don’t get it, because I want to do other things. But if they offer it, I will take it. I might just make it through the training and decide it’s not for me.

I am still owed a check from the job at Michael’s. I got the first check and the last check, but I am missing the one in the middle. I need to call them about getting a copy of my pay stub anyway, so I’ll just ask about getting another check.

Ah, the 10,000 things that shape daily life. Tomorrow is Monday, a new week with new things. And I will do them. I have a list and I will stay on track. Happy Monday.


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More Work

I am doing my best at work but I feel my shortcomings very sharply.

I tried to fill candy today, and was told to just run the register. Then I was waiting for a customer and I was told the coke refrigerator needed to be filled. Well I’ve never done that, I don’t even know where we keep the extra cokes. Of course then a customer appeared, so it was a moot point.

I just found out today that I’m supposed to be checking my hours online somewhere. First I heard of it. I have to find out more.

Also, I am not used to standing for so long. I didn’t notice my feet hurting because we are so busy, but my back sure gets sore.

Still, I am out there trying. I managed to pick up the phone a few times today so that was good.

I am trying to crochet some slippers. I did fingerless gloves that don’t exactly match, so I expect the slippers won’t exactly match either. I’m using long color change yarn so they won’t even be the same colors! But my feet are cold so I am giving it a shot. After the slippers, I’m back to hats. I ordered some yarn that should be here in a couple of days. I’m also going to work on a present for L. I can’t afford Christmas this year but I can probably make something. F won’t mind too much as long as I do something for L.

I might turn on the space heater in my room tonight. It’s that cold. I’m also thinking of acquiring an electric blanket, but with Charli peeing on my stuff, I’m not sure that’s wise.

I’m thinking of going to bed in a few minutes to see if I can get up early and do some art in the morning. My roommates keep the living room pretty dark — in fact, F would make it darker if L would let him — so I prefer to make art in the mornings when the light comes in the windows. It’s brighter then. I can see the colors clearly. Dim light gives everything a yellow-ish cast and I can think things blend that don’t actually match.

Looks like my daughter might be joining us for Turkey Day. National Gluttony Day, I guess it is. I enjoy getting together with family, but considering the history, I’m not sure how I feel about Thanksgiving as a holiday. Like Columbus Day. Some things are just gonna fall by the wayside.

I want some desert. I really want the coconut custard and sweet rice from Thai Thai. Or maybe some tiramisu. Or hot pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, talk about a sugar overload! Pecan pie is just about my favorite and I used to get it only at the holidays. Now my cousin’s kid has a tree nut allergy so we can’t have pecan pie. I guess it’s pretty serious, because frankly he’s old enough to simply not eat the pie, but some people can’t be around it at all.

Time for chocolate, then to bed.


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Working Again

I will be going back to work next week. I don’t know what day yet.

I passed the interview at Michael’s and they requested information for a background check. I know I’ll pass that, I just have to wait for them to do their due diligence. The manager thought it would be 24 to 48 hours, but then she remembered this was the weekend so it might take an extra day. Once I pass, they’ll let me know when I work.

I am also going to talk to W about what she does. She seems to think I could be pretty good at it. I just need more information about it.

It’s finally gotten chilly here in Texas. I know it won’t last, but I’m sure enjoying the cooler temperatures. I like shirts with sleeves. The best part is, the cats have become cuddly. I love their furry little bodies snuggled up against me. Charli has been sitting in my lap.

Charli and Komori nesting in a fuzzy blanket

There has been a certain amount of haggling over the fuzzy blanket. I sleep under it and I don’t mind sharing it with the kitties. However, the dogs also want to lay on it, which I do mind. Frankly, the dogs are smelly and make the blanket smell like dog. I assume cats are also smelly, but to me they have no odor. Perhaps I am prejudiced.

Tomorrow I have a DBSA staff meeting at 11. That seems pretty early but it means we’ll be done early too so the rest of the afternoon I’m planning on making art. I haven’t made anything in a while now, it’s time to get back to it. Maybe take a nap, but definitely make some art.

And do laundry. I should really do some laundry tonight but I’m not motivated. I need clean clothes for the rest of the weekend but the idea of doing laundry is just overwhelming. I’m actually thinking of taking a nap now, except that it’s so close to bedtime.

But I really need to use some of my art supplies. I just don’t have the energy to start now. I am going to settle into the sofa with the animals and watch Ancient Aliens. TV then bed sounds like a good idea.


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Some Days Are Not as Good as Others

I’m having kind of a crappy day.

I’ve been having kind of a crappy few days.

First of all, I went shopping. Shopping is bad. I spent $70 that I shouldn’t have spent on art supplies. They are still in my car in case I decide to return them, but I probably won’t.

Then this cough. I am still coughing. The doctor says allergy. Well, that’s fine, I’m not contagious. But it annoys the people around me. I can’t have a conversation. People back away. This is a nasty cough.

And the whole bed bug debacle. It’s not my fault this time, but I am still being blamed.

I was minding my own business, sitting on the sofa, when my roommate L comes up to me. “Did you poop when you went to the bathroom?” Well, no, I hadn’t, but I instantly felt accused of something. Turns out there was some kind of poo streak in the toilet and it mattered whether it was my fault.

Then L spent the day out of the house visiting family. When she came home, I was in the laundry room. I heard the dogs bark and came out. I had automatically locked the front door when I came through it, and I hadn’t turned on the outside light, so she was struggling to get into the house. I opened the door and got an earful. “I think of you at night and leave the light on and unlock the door,” she reminded me. I was more worried about exterminating bed bugs and my other roommate being sick. I didn’t think of the sun going down. And I certainly couldn’t have predicted that she’d come home when I was in the back of the house.

Today I came home and was met at the sofa by L. She was looking at me expectantly. I had no idea what the thing was. She pulled out a sheet that she uses for sitting on the sofa. “Is this your blood?” she demanded. I don’t know but I’m having my period so maybe. “I need you to check yourself,” she said, “this is just gross.” Well it wasn’t something I did on purpose, and it was so faint I didn’t even notice it until she pointed it out. I offered to wash the sheet, but she put it in her hamper.

F is on me about money. I know I owe the phone bill. Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get to the bank. I don’t appreciate being told to go to the bank. And I don’t appreciate being asked what I”m doing today with an agenda. He is counting nickels and dimes lately. I am not the bank. I thought we were friends but lately I feel like I am just a source of funds.

Now I know this will pass. I will get over my period and be less sensitive. Things will go back to normal. Money will work out.

My general horror about having a body won’t go away, I’m afraid, but I’m used to that. I won’t enumerate the grossnesses at this time. I’ll just try to convince myself it’s worth it to be able to pet the cat.

And tomorrow will be a different day.


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The Bed Bug Saga

About 2 years ago, a friend and I took a road trip. A couple of months later, we both ended up with bedbugs. We assume we both picked them up at a hotel while we were on the road.

My friend noticed the bugs right away and took steps and hasn’t had a problem since. Good for her!

Me, now, the bugs don’t bite me, or I don’t welt up when they do, so it took me a lot longer to notice there was a problem. (Mosquitoes don’t bite me either, I assume it’s blood type or psych meds or something I eat that renders me unappealing.)

Plus when I first noticed them, they were under the cats. I thought they were some kind of flea. I kept treating the cats to no avail.

Soon enough the bugs migrated throughout the house and became a problem for my roommates. We spent a long time working on getting it under control. I bought a LOT of bug death, since it was my fault that they got into the house.

For many months we have been bug free. But they are back.

Both of my roommates have complained of being bitten. I have no welts and haven’t felt itchy. However, the roommates’ response to this is, I must clean my room.

Because I am now the epicenter of bugs.

Today I spent several hours working on my room. I took the bed apart and sprayed (no bugs in the mattress corners, which my roommates were convinced I had). All the bedding is in the wash.

Spray the hallway, says my roommate, because they migrate.

You know what else they do? Lay eggs in the beds and soft furnishings of the house. Eggs that hatch in that location. Bugs that think of the sofa as home, not migrants from my room.

Oh, but they could be hiding between the dresser and the wall, say the roommates. Spray your whole room. Maybe you should spray up near where the walls and the ceiling meet.

So I have done these things. I figure, there are 2 possibilities: Either there are no bedbugs in which case I’ve done no harm. Or there are bugs I’m not seeing, in which case I’ve addressed the issue. And in either case, the roommates feel heard.

When they go out of town in a couple weeks, and I can sleep on the sofa, I will bug bomb the room. Which I do quarterly anyway. Just because.

So this is a cautionary tale of sorts. Don’t get bedbugs. They are nearly impossible to get rid of, and the reputation is even harder to shed.


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Quiet House

The house is quiet. One roommate is asleep already. The other has gone to her room to wait for a phone call. I have laundry in the washer, I wonder if I should move it to the dryer. The noise would break the quiet of the house.

It’s not unusual for a house to be quiet at half past midnight, but it’s unusual for this house.

F is disabled and doesn’t work, he doesn’t have to get up in the morning. L is retired and doesn’t work, she doesn’t have to get up in the morning. I am demobilized at the moment, I don’t have work tomorrow. I don’t need to get up in the morning. So usually we are up until all hours. No fixed schedule.

I often go to bed about now. I like waking up in the morning before everyone else and getting a calm start to the day. Now that’s still 9 am, not like I’m an early bird of any kind!

There’s something about being awake when everyone else is asleep. It’s peaceful. I feel like I’m watching over them, keeping night guard.

Most of the laundry in this load was hang-dry, so no dryer tonight. The few items that weren’t can wait for the morning.

My mind is clear to think about things with no distractions, but what I think about is, I like my wardrobe for the most part. It isn’t extensive but it reflects me.

What a shallow thing to think about! I could be planning to save the world or learning something, watching a TED talk. Instead I am doing laundry and being pleased with the contents of my closet.

So bizarre.

So small.

And yet the world and daily life are made up of small things. Making meals, petting the cat, writing this blog. None of it earth-shattering and all of it part of a life.

The way we spend out minutes is the way we spend our lives. I feel like I “should” be doing more, bigger, important stuff.

But what I do is facilitate groups. Love people who need to be loved. Hold space for those who simply need to be heard. Try to make the world a little better than when I got here, in some small way.

Beauty is small sometimes. Maybe I can add beauty in some way.

The trains go by outside like thunder in the silence. The cat snores delicately. The keyboard clicks. I will sleep soon. I listen to the rhythmic breathing of my roommates in their respective beds. My bed calls me.

So much to do in this peace. One more glass of water. One more chapter to read, One more tour of the house being sure everything is shut up for the night.

Then the house will settle into full silence, all of us asleep in the quiet and dark of sacred night.


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My Cat Is a Jerk But She Loves Me

I got very sick yesterday evening. Ended up in hospital, where they decided it was either food poisoning or a virus so they sent me home.

I had been visiting my friend Kelli, so I said my goodbyes and went to QT for some apple juice and Gatorade. I drank the apple juice and took a nap in the parking lot. I was just worn out from being sick.

I fell asleep about midnight and woke up about 3 am. I’m surprised nobody bothered me, like the police. But okay, nap was good. I got home about 45 minutes later.

Of course by then I needed to throw up the apple juice, so I projectile vomited all over the living room. I didn’t even remember until my roommate asked me about the stain on the carpet. How embarrassing. I mean, I just left a huge mess and climbed onto the sofa to pass out. I feel like I ruined the living room.

But she was nice about it. I think she wanted to be mad, but I am a little puny still, so she just got out the disinfectant. I didn’t even think of it having a viral load. I feel like crap about it. Or I would, if I was feeling better.

All I’ve done today is sleep. I’d swear I was on the Disney channel, I’ve seen movies like Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Beauty and the Beast. Well I haven’t really seen them, I’ve slept through them.

So this is me whining. I want a little more sympathy for being sick than I’ve gotten, but there it is.

Now my cat, Charli, hasn’t left me alone since I came home. She doesn’t sleep with me, but she sat on the arm of the sofa and guarded me. She also knocked everything but the computer off the table, and I think the only reason she left she computer alone is she likes to lay on it. It must be warm. I’m just glad I had the lid on the Gatorade.

You know you need Gatorade when it tastes like water. Usually it tastes like sweat.

Charli has patted me on the face and asked for attention this afternoon. She seemed really concerned about me, as much as a cat can seem concerned about anything. Momo kitty has just appeared and it laying on the table now.

Reminder, this is a folding tray table that I set up to use my computer. The cats like to lay on it; I don’t know why. So they push everything off. I had thought it was an accident. You know, they lay down and spread out and happen to push things off.

But no.

Today I saw Charli target certain items, like the mouse, and just push them over the edge. This is the most cat-like thing I’ve ever seen her do. So I am annoyed yet charmed, the usual opinion of cat lovers, I’m sure.

So pet love trumps bending over to pick things up. I’m thinking of another nap and Momo wants attention. I hope to feel better in a couple of hours.