24 days until Christmas…

Today I’m sharing “Last Christmas” by Wham. Several years ago, when I worked at Tim Hortons, one of my coworkers used to sing “Last Christmas” for the whole Christmas season. She only knew a handful of lines and she muffed one every time but she sang with joy and enthusiasm.

25 days until Christmas…

This is one of my favourite Christmas carols although, ironically I didn’t know it’s name. I thought it was called “Christmas in 3/4 Time” and it’s actually called “The Christmas Waltz”. I found it by searching “Christmas in 3/4 Time” so I’m obviously not the only one under that impression. This is Bing Crosby’s version, which I enjoy far more than Frank Sinatra’s version.

The Ten Year Challenge…

Lately my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with photos of my friends from 2009 to today, leaving people to see the differences. I added mine but felt so much was missing, namely the history going along with the first picture and the growth leading to the last one. They say that a picture’s worth a thousand words but I think some words can really round out the story.

10 year challenge

In 2009 I’d just finished a job working at a call centre representing Sympatico, a Canadian internet company. I started off in the tech support department and moved to billing after half a year. The job paid good money (compared to minimum wage) and came with benefits. The downsides were leaving a 12 and 14 year old home alone until dinnertime. I couldn’t even call them until 5pm. And the extreme pressure. One pressure was time. Three minute bathroom breaks (even if you were on the far side of the building from the washrooms) and getting written up if you were 30 seconds late from any break. The second was also time but phone time. You had to clear security, fix the problem, and make a sale in 15 minutes for tech and ten for business. That had to include any phone calls to other departments, bill adjustments and, for tech support, getting people to unplug every phone jack, except for the one they were calling from *click*. Yeah, quite a few people disconnected the phone.

That summer I got a job at Tim Hortons, a Canadian doughnut store chain, it was still fast paced but not nearly as fast as the call centre. I quickly made friends and got to know the regulars, some of whom came in two and three times a day, every day. The constant movement helped me drop a lot of the weight I’d put on at the call centre (the weight loss was after this photo). I was extremely lucky that my managers were willing to work around my quirks (later diagnosed as autism).

We also lived several blocks away from my parents and sister in a three bedroom apartment in an apartment complex. It wasn’t the best place to live but it was convenient for transit and shopping.

Fast forward to today. I’m about 40 days away from moving into my tiny home and I got to see pictures of one of the units. It looked gorgeous. A spacious kitchen and laminate flooring. I’d hoped to see more of the living room but the two pictures were backlit by the patio doors so all I could see was a wall and the flooring. I won’t see my own place until I move so it was great to get a view of what it will look like.

I haven’t worked since 2016, the year I became suicidal, and am now on disability. It’s hard in some ways. The friends I made through work have faded away but I’ve made new friends in my groups. I’m lucky enough to live in a community with lots of supports and, even though I’m leaving some of my supports behind, I’ll have new supports where I move to.

In 2009 I was positive I was straight; any thoughts to the contrary were quashed immediately. I’ve spent the last five years learning and understanding my sexual orientation. 2009 me would have been both shocked and scared to find out I’m a panromantic asexual and, for a short time, had a girlfriend (who I’m still friends with).

I now have a 22 year old, a 24 year old, and a one year old grandchild, none of which are moving with me. I’m facing my first move alone (well alone with five cats). Colin was supposed to have a meeting for moving options on Monday but it got cancelled at the last minute. He has another meeting tomorrow. And Kait has her own tiny home and family now. It’s her turn to experience childhood second hand.

I’ve been exploring my new community along with my Mom. I’ve done a shop at the local grocery store to see if they have everything I need (they do). I’ve registered the cats at the local vet and myself at the local dentist, both right across the street from my new place. There’s also a pizzeria and a pub which has karaoke. It looks like a good place to settle down.

So much has changed these past 10 years, more than I could ever have anticipated. I can’t help but wonder what my life will be like in 2029!

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A filtered phone taken from one of the trails where I’m moving

Feeling down…

Inside my stomach feels like a ball of angst… all hard edges and uncomfortable. Otherwise everything else feels flat and bland. I click on a video and am bored with it after two minutes. I didn’t nap today even though I was up for two hours last night. Or more accurately because I was up for two hours last night. I don’t want to have a repeat tonight. But I don’t feel tired, at least I think I don’t. Usually I’m exhausted by now; today I’m just here. And here is a long grey stretch of nothingness.

My psychiatrist was pleased at how my depression was being handled last month but not happy with my anxiety. So he’s been slowly weaning me off Effexor and switching me to Zoloft to deal with both of them. So far it hasn’t. My anxiety feels okay, unless it’s been subsumed by depression. My depression, on the other hand, feels horrible. I’m not at suicidal yet but I wouldn’t be surprised. I mean, how much hopeless can I take before I start looking for a way out?

I know depression isn’t a fun conversation topic but it is a very real one. More than 300 million people world wide struggle with it. A significant amount don’t survive. It’s important for people to know they aren’t alone. There are people like them. There is help. As for me, I’ll be calling my psychiatrist’s office tomorrow to try and get an emergency appointment because the 10th seems so far away.

gentle with yourself

The Operation…

Yesterday found Colin and I up and getting ready at 7:15am. The cat carrier was ready to Colin’s liking, absolutely stuffed full of blankets so Blackie wouldn’t get cold (she’d overheated by the time she got to the vet). Then he looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t forget your bag!”

My bag? Oh my purse! I’ve never forgot my purse before and reminded him of that. Then we bundled up, stuck Blackie in her nest, and slogged out through the snow. We’d been standing at the bus stop for several minutes before I went to reach into my purse for a Kleenex and my purse wasn’t there. I’d left it at home. At that point the bus was due in one minute so there was no time to run home and grab it. I was pretty sure I could get on the bus, not so sure I could take the bus home. Colin was grudgingly willing to walk home with me but so grudgingly I knew I’d get attitude and snark the whole way back. So I walked home by myself instead, leaving Blackie and him at the bus stop.

I’d barely got home when my phone was ringing. It was the vet. Of course Colin had no idea when Blackie last drank or ate. That got sorted out and we were told to expect a call to pick her up around 4pm.

I’m in the middle of switching meds and am quite depressed at the moment so the afternoon was full of worst case scenarios. I was so relieved when I got the call at 3pm to say Blackie was awake and ready. When we got there, the vet assistant put her immediately into the carrier before giving us her instructions. Apparently her teeth were worse than they thought and she had several more removed than expected. It sure hasn’t stopped her energy though. She literally dove through the air when she saw me, she was so excited.

She’s on three different medications now. She does not take medication well by syringe. She writhes and squirms and contorts herself until she’s wriggled free. But she’s a hungry kitty and is willing to eat all her medication laced food (before wandering around the plate and eating Angel’s normal food).

I am so glad she’s still here and absolutely grateful for the vet and the Farley Foundation. My vet bill would have been $1060. I don’t have that money at all. As it is, I might have to pay $60. I can manage that.

I am so looking forward to moving into my new apartment with Blackie leading the way for the other kitties; she truly is the queen of our household. I’m looking forward to her nose licks and her imperious walks to get more wet cat food. You’re only twelve Blackie, I don’t want to lose you this soon.

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