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.
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.
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.