Failure and Progress

Writing

When I went to the NaNoWriMo workshop at the local library, the presenter suggested we “write like it’s our job” and “get someone else to cook” for us.

To me that seemed like a pretty entitled perspective and reminded me, once again, that there is another privilege people don’t realize they have (in addition to cis-gendered, straight, white, etc.)– what I call “couple privilege.” 1) I already have a full time job, so no, I can’t write “like it’s my job,” nor do I have the ability to take a month off work like a writing article I recently read suggested. 2) I don’t have anyone to help me clean my house, let alone cook for me. I still have bills to pay, the litter box still needs to be cleaned every day, toilets need cleaning, and whatever the fuck else I do around here every damn day.

What the actual fuck? I’ve never heard more entitled, privileged advice in my life.

So, that being said– I have failed at NaNoWriMo. Yes, I know there are still four days of the month left, but there is no way I can write 50,000 words in that time. I haven’t even written 2,000 words. I’ve written an introduction and chapter 1– 1,737 words total. However, I have been plugging away at my outline. But it’s not just any outline; I’ve been utilizing the nice features of TreeLine by typing in extensive notes so by the time I’m finished, the book will practically write itself. I’ll just have to fill in the details and tell the story. I’m planning on this thing being 10 chapters and I’m just about finished with chapter 6 (the most difficult one, going on about my mid-late twenties, yikes). If I were to print my outline and all of its notes right now, unfinished, it’s 53 pages. If I were to print what I have and make it double-spaced like a manuscript is supposed to be, it would be at least 100 pages. Once I’m finished, I figure it’ll be around 120-150. That’s just the outline, so I’m thinking I won’t have any trouble writing a 300-page book, minimum.

So my goal of 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo? Failed miserably. The outline, however, should be finished by then and really, that’s the hard part. The hardest part of getting started, finishing an entire detailed outline, and writing an attention-grabbing introduction and informative, but not-too-long or boring backstory of chapter 1 will all be done. After that, it’s just a matter of me sitting down and typing out all of the memories that are inside my head. Some of them are still coming back, too. I’ve been remembering things that I’d forgotten happened.

When I go to my mom’s for Christmas this year I’d like to ask her some questions, but not allude to the fact that I’m writing a memoir. I don’t want her to know, at least not yet.

loved Ones

I was planning on focusing on nothing but exercise, diet, reading, and writing over my four-day Thanksgiving weekend, but a couple of important people in my life had other plans. I had set my phone on “unplug mode,” meaning it went to gray-scale, dimmed, turned all notifications off, and the sound off. It also blocks most apps on my phone so I can’t be tempted to get lost in the news or anything. Pretty much all I can do is use Spotify.

First what happened was I momentarily turned off unplug mode to see if I had any emails or text messages. I did have a text message and it was my beloved FWB (The Guy) texting me from his brother’s house in California to tell me he’d tested positive for Covid. He’d never had it before, so he said he wasn’t sure how it was going to play out. Like me when I first got it, he seemed nervous. He’d gone down there for Thanksgiving and ended up quarantined in his brother’s rec room, aka the garage. So he’s currently stuck on a couch in a garage alternating between sleeping and watching TV. He says he has only a slight cough and mild sore throat and not-too-runny nose. He says the worst part for him is the fatigue. He said he slept half of the day yesterday and couldn’t really get up off the couch. He is fully vaccinated and boosted, so I’m hopeful that it will run its course with no complications or lingering symptoms. He does seem a little worried, as a lot of us our age are when we get Covid for the first time. It’s such a wild card when you’re around the 50-year mark (I’m 48 and I think he’s 52).

Then yesterday morning as I was eating breakfast, my son called me (I let my son through the ‘do not disturb’ setting because he’s my son, so of course I do). He said, “Can you do me a big favor?” I said, “Whaaaaaaaaaat.” He asked if I’d take him to the Subaru dealership to test drive a 2016 Honda Civic they had for sale. He’d made an appointment for a test drive and had a wad of cash he’d withdrawn for a used car sale that fell through, so he also needed to deposit that into his checking account. I told him he should ask Subaru what forms of payment they take for a $12,000 down payment, and sure enough, it’s a cashier’s check. So I took him to the bank to deposit the cash and get a cashier’s check for $12,000 in case he decided to buy the car.

The car is a 2016 and has 72,000 miles on it, and it’s in good shape and has a clean record with only one previous owner. But man, that price tag of $17,000 just floored me for a car with that many miles. I know it’s a bad time to buy a used car, but holy shit! He did end up taking my advice, though, which was to a) not drain his entire savings, and b) not buy a shitty car from a total stranger. I suggested he find a good used car at a dealership where he can get its Carfax report and some kind of warranty. I told him it will probably be more than he has in savings, so to put down a large enough down payment to not have finance a lot, but still not empty the savings. He had $16,000 in savings so he put $12,000 down, leaving him with $4,000 left in savings. That’s not much, but it’s enough to cover a small emergency (they rent, so there’s that, at least– also, he’s still on my insurance and I have a ton of it like hospital indemnity and critical illness). My reasoning for that was also so that he could get an installment account on his credit record and work on building up good credit. As of right now his FICO score is 775, so he’s already in pretty good shape. Interest rates are high, so he’s going to throw extra money at it whenever he can. He’ll likely have it paid off in three years, not long before the warranty expires and it reaches 100k miles. So it’ll work out perfectly and I told him to make sure he takes very good care of it and to start saving for a down payment on a newer car someday. If he can eke 150k or even 200k miles out of the Honda, he’ll be able to save for longer.

One thing that does worry me quite a bit is the fact that his white blood cell count was low at his wellness exam. He had just had his Covid booster two weeks prior, so I’m hoping that was it. He was told to come back in a month to get it checked again. What prompted blood work was him being underweight and having difficulty gaining. So we’ll see how that turns out in a few weeks if I can get him to go back and get it tested again. Now that he has his own car, I can’t make sure he goes by driving him myself (unless he wants me to, but I doubt it).

Man, things are so tough for these kids. He makes $19/hour and his girlfriend makes $19.80 and they both work 40 hours a week, so they aren’t struggling despite their $1,545/month rent/W/S/T expense. Also, she works for a Kroger-owned store, so she gets a discount on Kroger brands and other things. He just got a $2,000 bonus from work, so that helped him out quite a bit. The kids are actually financially better off than I am. They can afford to put more in savings than I can, and I own my home, so I have a lot of huge expenses. This place was built in 1979 and all of my appliances except the fridge are from 2005, so they are all slowly dying. Of course I now have a 4-year-old breaker panel, 2-year-old water heater, 1-year-old heaters and new AC, but the rest of the appliances will need to be repaired rather than replaced as long as repair remains cheaper. In 2020 I had the heating element in the oven replaced.

Other Stuff

Speaking of appliances, I love how well my dryer is working now! I had someone out here to clean the vent after I had it fixed and the guy said it is no longer up to code and has leaks, so he taped up the leaks for the time being and my dryer air is at 25 mph and everything else looks good, so he bought me some time. The next time I’m due for a cleaning in 1-2 years, I’ll schedule an appointment to have all of the ducting replaced entirely rather than cleaned. The same is going to have to go for my fireplace– the next time I have my chimney swept, they’re going to tell me I need all new paneling (I have already been told I will the next visit).

Anyway… things are still going well with The Guy, although he is on vacation and out of town for a few weeks. After Thanksgiving at his brother’s he had plans to take his kids to Vegas and then Mexico, but I’m not sure how that is all going to work out now that he has Covid. At any rate, he and I are still seeing each other when we can and still texting regularly. We have great conversations over text and in person. The last time he was here I’d made chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot, had baked some cornbread, and made lemon squares for dessert. He loved all of it. 😉 The sex is still pretty great as well.

This is such a unique and unconventional relationship, and I love it. It’s nice to have finally found someone who wants the same things I do. We are not in a committed relationship and there is no expectation that it ever will be.  There is no expectation of it progressing to anything more serious, and there is no pressure. However, we aren’t distant, either. We don’t only text each other to plan sex. We text also to get to know one another better and have a pleasant conversation with a friend. When he comes over it’s not just sex, we usually have dinner as well whether I cook or we go out. We haven’t gone out anywhere else together, as he always only has a few hours. I think most of his time is spent working and with his kids, and that’s fine. I expect that someday I will want to spend a day or a weekend with him, but I’m not too worried about that now. If this were a traditional relationship, I’d describe it as “taking it slow.” There is also an emotional element, and I do believe it is love, but it’s kind of on the fence between romantic love and friendship love. It’s hard to explain, but the best way to describe it is an “in between” relationship. It’s not a commitment, but much more than a one-night stand or even fuck buddies. It’s honest-to-goodness friends with benefits; it’s how friends with benefits should be, and I have never been happier! The last time I was this happy was when I met my ex 16 years ago. It’s a different kind of happiness, too; it’s not the nerve-wracking butterflies and overwhelming excitement, it’s more of a contentment and satisfaction. It feels a lot healthier for both of us than the overwhelming excitement. I do miss him when he’s not here, but it’s not a gut-wrenching missing, it’s more subtle than that. I don’t quite know how to explain it. It just feels… emotionally healthy.

On December 7th we are having our first HOA holiday get-together in the clubhouse in an effort to foster a sense of community around here. I don’t know if anyone will show up, but there will be decorations, music, food and drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I’m bringing wine and fudge. So I’ve been making at least one batch of fudge every day during my time off. I’m splitting it between the HOA holiday party and my team at work. I’m also keeping some for myself as well as a stash for The Guy, assuming he beats Covid and gets home from his holidays safely. I am worried about him. He has become an important person in my life. It hasn’t exactly been a short time, either. We did start talking in April of this year. We met in September and nothing ever lasts for more than two months for me, so we’ll see if he gets sick of me soon. It has been eight weeks; two months has come and gone. Honestly, I could go on like this forever.

As for my own health, I believe I am completely over Covid now. I resolved the issue of low blood pressure by getting back on DHEA, which I had stopped taking because of the tumor on my left adrenal gland. I haven’t had any symptoms from that, so I decided I’d rather feel human again than worry about it. The DHEA brings my blood pressure, heart rate, and everything else back up to normal. It is a steroid, so I have to watch for side effects. So far the only one that bugs me, but not too much, is the random hairs that sprout from my chin and chest from time to time. Still, it’s not enough to make me quit taking it because having blood pressure that’s 95/47 and constant chills and fatigue is absolutely miserable. I cannot live like that. It does make me wonder if that tumor is having the opposite effect as what’s expected, like perhaps it’s inhibiting secretion of adrenaline. Who knows. Menopause can also do weird things, and I’ve been going through peri-menopause since at least 2018. But again, without a uterus, it’s anyone’s guess where I am in that whole process. Things get confusing when you’re dealing with Covid, menopause, and a 1.5 cm adrenal tumor all at once. I do also still have an appointment with a gastroenterologist next month. I’ll probably need a colonoscopy given my age, time since the last one, family history, and issues with diverticulitis so severely after Covid.

I’m just kind of like, fuck it, I give up. All I can do is exercise regularly, eat healthy, get plenty of water and sleep, take my medications, and hope for the best (or a quick and relatively painless death when it comes). I am making sure to tell those I love that I love them often, never take anyone or anything for granted, and do everything I need to do before my time is up to ensure my son has everything he needs and my story is told. All that’s left is the story– the memoir.

NaNoWriMo: Introduction (Rough Draft)

I didn’t end up finishing my outline; I got as far as Chapter 5: Early Twenties. I think I’ll just fill in the rest of the bullet points and notes as I go when I get to Chapter 6. I did include quite a bit of detail in Chapters 1-5. I’m using a free little app called TreeLine. I’ve had it for years and it’s still being updated. It’s highly customizable. I recommend it! Another app I’m using is called FocusWriter. It’s also free. It takes up your entire screen so that you’re not distracted by other things. It’s also customizable; I have mine set to a dark background with a little glowing light behind the page.  I did also get a discount on Scrivener with a coupon code from the NaNoWriMo site, but that’s a lot of software! I’ll see about learning how to use that once I’m ready to edit and self-publish.

Here’s TreeLine:

And FocusWriter:

The toolbar at the top only shows up when you hover over it.

The goal status at the bottom also only shows up when you hover over it. Of course those are default settings and you can choose to always have them showing. I like that it lets you set a daily goal of time or word count. I chose word count.

Here is my official Introduction. It’s a rough draft, but I spent quite a bit of time on it!

I only took this screenshot to show that you can scroll and scroll and scroll forever. There is a scrollbar on the right, but again, it only shows up when you hover over it unless you change that setting. These screenshots are only about half the screen. The background goes further to the left and right, taking up the entire screen.

If anyone can’t see those images for some reason, here’s the text of my Introduction:


Introduction

“Well do you know who the father is?”

First, a wave of humiliation came over me because I couldn’t afford to buy pictures of my newborn son. Then I became offended and angry because this woman had inserted herself into my personal life where she didn’t belong. Did she have any idea how hard it was to be an 18-year-old single mother, let alone endure the rest of the world constantly judging me? Yes, I know who “the father” is, you judgmental cunt. (I really didn’t at the time—I thought I did, but turned out to be wrong—but that was definitely none of her business.)

When I gave birth, the hospital staff had given me a collection of coupons for new parents. One of those coupons was for a free 8×10 photo at a fancy portrait studio, so I made my way there for my one free photo. The saleswoman was trying to pressure me into purchasing a portrait package I couldn’t afford and it was making me uncomfortable. Back then I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself. I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t have the money to buy any photos, so not only was I shamed for being an unwed mother, I was shamed for being poor as well. She asked me, “Don’t you think your baby’s grandparents would want pictures?” I told her my parents had plenty. That was when she brought up “the baby’s father’s parents” and whether I even knew who his father was.

That was one of many both humiliating and anger-inducing interactions I would experience as a single mother. It wasn’t even the first. The first one was as I was giving birth. I was on Medicaid, so I wound up with whomever was on call at the time and it was always sub-par care. The doctor who delivered my son said, as he came at me with a scalpel to perform an episiotomy and I flinched, “Relax. I haven’t even touched you yet.”

This is my story. It’s a true story about how difficult life can be when you grow up with a divorced mother who has undiagnosed and untreated Bipolar Disorder, a stodgy religious conservative father you rarely see, and no one to guide you. It’s a story of my tumultuous childhood and sordid teens and twenties. It’s a story of my own mental illness, the struggles it caused, the poor choices that and my unconventional upbringing caused me to make, and how I failed to cope for many years. It’s about how I dealt with the consequences, finally learned from my mistakes and how to cope with stress, and learned who I am and grew into who I am now. This is a story of my train wreck of a life and how I overcame the dreaded and ever-stigmatized diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

My hope is that someone, somewhere in a similar situation can learn from my mistakes or at the very least, not feel so alone in their struggle. Another purpose for writing this is to help those who do know me to understand me better. I’ve been told I’m difficult to get to know, but very few try for long enough to know the whole story. And last but definitely not least, I’m writing this for therapy and because it’s a “bucket list” item now that my will is finished.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.


And in other news on a different note– having more to do with my personal life– there is a guy. It’s the guy I wrote about before, the one I had messaged on OkCupid back in April and he kept procrastinating until I got so impatient he ghosted. He was the one who kept coming up with excuses not to meet and I was like, “WTF?” We’d been texting for about a month and I thought I’d waited long enough that my impatience was justified. We didn’t talk for about three months, then I texted him when I tested positive for Covid. I don’t know why I decided to reach out to him. I think I thought that maybe out of all the ones who had slipped through my fingers, he was the only one who truly cared about me despite his apprehension. All I said was, “I tested positive for Covid this morning.” Four days later he responded and apologized for “how things happened,” but again, dragged his feet. This time we argued about it– over text– for two full months. I do not know why I stuck around. I guess I had a gut feeling it was worth it. We finally met and it was worth it.

We’ve seen each other four times now, which is the most I’ve ever seen one guy since the summer of 2020 when I was dating the one who lived 90 miles away. You know the one– unreasonably fun, but unsustainable and I think he was doing the bad kind of drugs. Anyway, before any of my friends make any assumptions and get all excited… allow me to explain the “situation.” It is, in fact, a “situationship,” but it is consensual and the good kind that we both agree on. Neither of us are looking for (or want) a committed, monogamous relationship. Neither of us ever want cohabitation with anyone or to get married. We both want a true friend with benefits. I’m not talking about the FWB people say they want and it never works out that way. We are actually friends– good friends at this point. We don’t talk every day because he doesn’t text in real time. He sends essays. I send essays. We communicate in essay format and send texts every 1-4 days depending on how busy we are. We get together for dinner, conversation, and sex every one to 2 1/2 weeks, I’d say an average of about every week and a half. As far as commitment goes, we are purposely avoiding that. As far as sexual monogamy vs. non-monogamy… we haven’t discussed that yet. I think neither of us has brought it up because neither of us has met anyone else we’re interested in, nor do we have the time for more than one person. Right now we are both content with the way things are, just the two of us being honest-to-goodness friends with benefits. 🙂

Here’s an article about “situationships.”  I will say this: It doesn’t describe us exactly. Our relationship is undefined, but it’s that way on purpose. We do have consistency; we make plans to see each other on a regular basis. There’s no mention of the future because neither of us want anything more than what we have now. Our connection is definitely not superficial. He is incredibly sweet, reads all of my walls o’ text word for word, and when we’re together, he’s very affectionate. I have told him that I love him and when I did, he hugged me very tightly. He knows that despite my feelings, I do not and will not ever want more than what we currently have. It’s also not based on convenience, unless you count the fact that we both have full time jobs, homes to maintain, and family and friends. Of course as adults we can only see each other when it’s convenient, but he makes time for me. We are not exclusive, and we have both agreed on that because we both would rather be with someone because we want to be, not because we are obligated to out of commitment. We probably are only seeing each other right now, but that’s because we are both so busy and I don’t think he’s met anyone else he likes. Neither have I. As for the last point… there is follow-up with us. I may not hear from him for a few days, but he has said to me, “It doesn’t mean anything if I don’t write for a day or even a few days.” I actually trust this guy. It’s been seven months since we began talking and I’ve said things to him that would make anyone else think I’m crazy and run for the hills. But he’s still here. Conversely, any other woman would have given up and moved on, not put up with the dragging of his feet like I did.

He and I have some things in common– important things– and in some ways we are very different. He is politically progressive because duh, I would never date a conservative. He’s extremely intelligent, which goes without saying because I am hopelessly sapiosexual. My only reservation is that he drives a Tesla (hahahahahaha). I’m mostly joking. 😉 We do not like much of the same music.

Anyway, the point I’m working toward is that he has written two books! Neither have been published, he just wrote them and let them be. The way he described the first one made it sound like an autobiography or memoir. And the second sounds like it’s fiction based on reality. I told him I’m doing NaNoWriMo and he brought up his second book he needs to edit, and I playfully said, “It’s November 1st! Start it now, it’s not too late!” He actually decided to work on editing it this month. He said I can send him chapters of mine this month and he’ll send me chapters of his next month. (A sign that he wants to keep seeing me at least through next month?)

I’m incredibly happy with the way things are going between us. I love being with him.

The only thing I’m a little bit stressed out about right now is work. We are slammed with projects. We are supposed to be cross-training, but I’m doing more work in my secondary stuff than my trainee is doing in my primary stuff, so I feel like I’m just taking on more and more work when the whole point of training was for me to have help. Instead, I’m just doing 1.5x what I normally do. I still love my  job and eventually my manager will catch on that it’s too much; he’s good about that. It’s just that right now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. There are some big things coming up, too. The next couple of years are going to be crazy.

I got my Moderna bivalent Covid booster this week. I am a little concerned that I had absolutely zero side effects from it. My arm only felt as sore as it did with my flu shot, that’s it. My son got his with me and his arm was super sore and he ended up taking a day off work because he felt weak and had chills. But me? Nothing. For the last couple of days my lymph nodes in my neck have seemed bigger, but that’s it. The last shot kicked my ass, so I’m a little worried my immune system isn’t responding well to it.

Ok, it’s getting late. I should go. I am very behind on NaNoWriMo if I’m to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. Really my goal is to finish the entire book, regardless of word count. I should be at 10,000 words by now and I have only 587. I should be done with Chapters 1 & 2 by now and I’ve only done the Introduction. In my defense, I’ve been dealing with HOA stuff during most of my time off now that I’m treasurer and we’re looking at possibly suing a company who didn’t do what they said they’d do, yet they were paid in full. Today I had to prepare the Treasurer’s Report for our next meeting as well. And I spent Thursday evening with The Guy. ♥ 🙂 What I do have working in my favor is the fact that I have nothing planned for any weekends this month and no plans for Thanksgiving, which will give me four full days to write. And now that I’m done with the hardest part, the Introduction, the rest will flow from my brain through my fingertips. I think the hardest part is coming up with an attention-grabbing beginning that will make the reader want to keep reading rather than starting with, “I was born in blah, blah, blah…” and drone on about history like the book of Numbers in the bible. Heh.

A Ukrainian War Refugee Fixed My Dryer

It’s been a couple of weeks, so I guess an update is in order. I’ve been staying pretty busy and I’m ready for a break from it all. I can’t wait until Thanksgiving so I can have four days off and not have to do anything except write.

Last weekend I went to my son’s apartment. We walked over to the local hardware store and bought a new toilet fill valve and a set of those round plastic covers that go over the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. His were missing and he said the rust on the bolts was driving him crazy when he cleans the toilet. Turns out he’s the one who does most of the housework. Because he rents he could have just as easily submitted a maintenance request, but I thought this would be a good learning experience for him and it would definitely be faster and less intrusive than having a maintenance guy come in and do stuff. So we got a towel and a bucket and I tuned off the water, flushed the toilet and emptied the tank, and removed the old fill valve. Of course I had him watch and explained every step of what I was doing. The old fill valve was working fine and didn’t seem that old, but it was kind of gross and my son’s complaint was about some weird black film in the water. The thing was only $18.99 and I had a $5 off coupon, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to just replace it and have it be a learning opportunity for my kid.

I scrubbed out the inside of the tank because it was nasty. That was one of my son’s complaints– that the tank was gross and smelled bad. I didn’t smell anything, but I scrubbed a bunch of rust off of it and wiped out the gasket in the bottom under the flapper (that turned out to be the source of whatever the black stuff was) and rinsed it out really well. The water that came out was pretty gross. Then I showed him how to put the new fill valve in to see how tall it is, adjust it so it’s just the right height, and then install it. Then we reconnected the water hose and turned the water back on. We let the toilet fill, then I showed him how to adjust the water level so it’s 1/2″ below the top of the pipe. We bought the kind that lets you adjust the amount of water in the bowl as well, but he likes it really full. Apparently their water bill isn’t so high he’s concerned with that. Then of course we flushed it and waited to see if there were any leaks. Everything turned out perfectly!

After that I showed him how to clean his Cadet wall heaters. He figured out which breaker switch to flip (it was one 240 for both heaters) and I explained how important that step is. Then I showed him how to remove the grilles, carefully blow down behind the heating elements with compressed air, and vacuum out the fans. The most important part is not blowing the fans with compressed air and letting them spin. I did that once and it broke the fan which was why I ended up getting a new heater (although I needed a new one anyway because the old one was so inefficient). Then we scrubbed the grilles with hot soapy water, dried them, and put them back on and turned the breaker back on. We tested them out to make sure they worked and to burn off any remaining dust. Now he’s all good to go for winter.

This weekend I had my own adventure in home-owning, and it was unexpected. On Thursday afternoon I was washing my bedding and after the first load, my dryer stopped before the timer was finished. It has been doing that for a few years now, so I expected it. Typically after 30 minutes it’ll start making a loud noise and shut off. Usually everything is dry by then, so I remove the items and go about my business. I’ll have to wait a few hours for it to cool down to do another load, no biggie. Since I live alone now and do laundry every week, I’m never in a big hurry to wash anything special. The guys who cleaned my vent hose last year said it was probably because my hose has to be at a 90 degree angle and go up and over quite a ways in the attic before it goes out. They said my air speed in mph was good, though. I make sure to get that cleaned and keep my lint trap clean, but when the kids were here they put a ton of stress on the dryer by consistently drying huge loads despite me asking them not to.

Anyway, after that first load of bedding I waited for a few hours to dry my sheets. The dryer never came back on. I waited a few more… nothing. I draped the wet sheets over furniture to dry and the next morning, still nothing. When I turned the knob it would hum and smell like something was burning. I called a local appliance repair company and they had someone out as soon as yesterday morning. It was the worst case scenario– the motor. Of course since the pandemic and everything else, washers and dryers are not only in low supply, they are expensive as fuck. I looked at some, but I’m very limited in what I can buy because they have to be small and stackable, with the dryer controls on the front, not the top. Everything was upwards of $800. Not only that, but these things are upstairs and in my bathroom. And stacked. I’d rather avoid the hassle of not only that, but paying an exorbitant amount for a new dryer when I know damn well nothing is made as well as it used to be. And here in my area, warranty work is contracted out to a company that gets an average of 2.5 stars on Yelp. So many one-star reviews. I’d rather not…

So this guy comes out here and I notice he has an accent. Then he apologizes for not knowing much English and uses a translator app on his phone to communicate with me. I was intrigued, because it sounded like he was from Russia or Ukraine or somewhere around there. So I asked him where he was from. He said he was from Ukraine. I asked how long he’d been in the U.S., and he told me six months. Oh my goodness, the war in Ukraine has always felt so distant and surreal, you know, it’s hard to fathom something like that which I don’t see in person. But suddenly it really hit home for me, having this guy standing in my living room. I had to choke back the tears and I said, “Are you… OK?” He told me his wife and son are here as well, so I took that to mean he is. He is gainfully employed, so that seems like a positive thing for him.

He told me how much a new motor would cost, and even he was surprised at how expensive it was. I figured it would be, because the dryer was manufactured in 2003 and from what I can tell, purchased and installed in 2005. The older a thing is, the more expensive the parts because they are so hard to find. He said he would look around for the best price, order one, and the office would call me today or Monday. But a short time later, I got a text telling me that he was at a parts store and found one for $442 and that the total for repairs would be $642. Now that sounds like a lot– but a new dryer would not only be around $900, I’d have to find someone willing to haul it up a flight of stairs, install it, and haul off the old one. Suddenly $642 sounded like a steal, especially considering he would be here to replace it that night. So this guy came back that same day and replaced the motor. My dryer quit and was repaired and working again within 48 hours and at less than the cost of a new one. Unbelievable. I was wary at first because although they had an average of almost 5 stars on Yelp, there were only 44 reviews and they seemed too good to be true! They work around the clock, 24/7 and the owner personally thanks every reviewer. It’s almost too good to believe, but right now my dryer works and if anything happens in the next 60 days, they will come back and fix it at no charge.

In between all of that, after the diagnosis and before the repair, I had a three-hour NaNoWriMo workshop to attend at the local library that I’d signed up for. It was free, so I figured I’d better go. Out of about 12 of us, only two of us were still masked up, which felt a bit awkward. However, it’s been 11 months since my last booster and I’m getting another on Tuesday, so I definitely want to avoid getting Covid again before next week. The presenter was coughing and sucking on cough drops and I was sitting in the front row, which was a tad disconcerting. It was OK… I didn’t feel like I got a whole lot out of it because it was targeted toward an audience of writers who want to get published and sell books. I felt like anyone who wants to get published and sell books isn’t going to sign up for a free NaNoWriMo class, they’re going to do something more serious. Oh well, it was free and it got me out of the house.

I do still plan on attempting to write my memoir during the month of November, although the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a novel throughout the month. That’s a pretty tall order for someone who works a full time job and is a single homeowner, so I doubt I’ll make that goal. Anyway, a word count goal seems silly for a creative endeavor. At any rate, I will do my best to pound out many words and phrases of a memoir during the month of November with the goal of finishing a rough draft. I have been working on my outline, although only half of it is done. I have done the most difficult half, which is the beginning of my life up to about the late 20s. Sheesh. The rest of it will be easier. I may not even finish the outline, or I might work on it while I’m writing the rough draft, I don’t know. I’ve been adding a lot of detail, so I might just stop adding so much detail and lay out all the bullet points and call it good instead, so I can begin writing on Tuesday.

Any time I attempt a lofty goal and finish– whether it be college, buying a home, or running a marathon– even a nasty cross-country custody battle– I end up learning a lot about myself. So if anything, this will be a learning experience and it’s a memoir, so I’m sure it’ll dredge up a lot of memories and feelings and be quite therapeutic. Because of that, and because it will require me to be on a computer already, I’m considering writing a short blog entry after every writing session just to document how it’s going, what I’m feeling, and what I’m learning from the whole process.

So, enough of this for today. It’s 10:00, and that’s usually the time I eat breakfast. I’m weird that way… I eat breakfast around 10:00, have a snack in the afternoon rather than a lunch, and eat a regular dinner. Three meals a day just seems like so much food. You’d think I’d be thinner, but I have the metabolism of a sloth and that’s not an exaggeration.