Today was socks…

money for blogToday, well, today was something all right. Today reminds me of the saying, “If every day is a gift then today was socks” and not the fun and funky ones either, just those horrid scratchy “sport socks” with ragged toe seams.

I guess things really started on Thursday when I found out that online grocery shopping (with home delivery) is finally a thing in my area. We’ve joined the 90’s!!! So I got online in my fuzzy slippers and cozy nightie and went grocery shopping. It was great! I found almost everything I needed, picked a delivery time on Saturday, and hit “submit”. It almost immediately showed up in my bank account as a pending order. Pending orders just seem to sit there until the order ships then they plop down to the actual balance. They don’t show up in the balance before then so I’m regularly calculating my “real” balance but that isn’t a hardship.

Saturday rolled around and so did my order. Everything arrived except for my vegan black garlic nut cheese, it got substituted for artichoke and fine herb nut cheese… and I got credited for it. I was all excited about my $10 credit. The new charge went through but my original pending charge was still there, just chilling and pending. I called the grocery store yesterday and was informed that charge had been cancelled and it takes between three to five business days to disappear. I didn’t like seeing it there but it wasn’t causing any problems. Right? Right???

Then came this morning. I was having a great day. I got all my chores done before breakfast. I even brought my handful of Valentine’s Day decorations up from storage and put them up. I sat down at the computer with my cinnamon toast and mug of hot chocolate while I chatted with Colin… then I opened my bank account.

$45 NSF charge

What??? I had only one thing coming out of my account currently and that was my rent and I had over $100 on top of my rent still in my account. How could it bounce with that much money padding it? Meanwhile all that money was accounted for so the $45 was literally money I didn’t have. Cue a quick goodbye to Colin and a 45-minute long hold for my bank. The rep I spoke to was terrific. It turned out that the pending charge was the issue. Even though it does not show up in my balance on my end, it shows up in my balance on their end. So while I really did have enough money in my account, I ended up “short” by $7. They credited back the NSF fee then I called my landlord to ask them to hold off on taking my rent out again until the pending charge is gone. I’m hoping that worked. My landlord is a big mental health organization so I have to call my care team then they call me back and then they have to message the housing department and wait for a response. I’m going with no news is good news.

So, there I am, anxious and tired with my mind worrying about money issues but not entirely sure where to land, and I decided my best bet was to get myself a bowl of chips and a book and curl up in my swing chair to read. Pour the chips, go to grab my tablet, and the doorbell rings on my phone. It was the drug store delivery person dropping off a prescription. Picture me with ??? above my head. I hadn’t ordered anything. Turns out my psychiatrist sent in a prescription for lorazepam yesterday, which is great, and they filled it, good, and immediately delivered it, okay. I get all my other prescriptions delivered so that makes sense. It costs $17. Wait. What? And it’s non-refundable once it leaves the store. And now you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! So I called and now the fee is postponed until the end of the month when I actually have money and they’re going to call me from now on if something costs money instead of automatically sending it.

Come to think of it, it’s likely a good thing I’ve got that lorazepam prescription now because after today I really could use a couple! Or maybe I’ll just make curry and console myself with curry and a brownie (not simultaneously).

Finding joy…

There is a country store both my Mom and I like to visit. It truly is a country store, surrounded by farms. They’re easily spotted by the white chicken pickup truck parked on a large mound, complete with a giant egg in the back. There’s an old tractor resting beside the gravel parking lot for the kids to play on and the porch always has decor for sale. Inside is utter chaos. The front contains shelves and bins of food topped by decor (and a cafe to the side) while the back contains so very much decor… and some bins of food and a clothing area. It is a veritable labyrinth filled with everything from cute magnets to wooden baskets. Amidst all this is always a lit birch tree. I am drawn to it every time we shop there then repelled by the seventy dollar price tag. Each time I tell myself “next visit” but that next visit with money and determination never occurs.

Then there’s Marshalls, a store both Colin and I love. They get so many beautiful items and, at Christmas, also have lit birch trees. I check the Boxing Day sales every year but haven’t had any luck. They sell out before I get there. I bought a small silver battery operated tree for my bedside table but that’s just not the same.

This year is different. Sadly Marshalls and Winners are closed due to lockdown; really sadly because I have gift cards for them. They don’t have an online store either. Amazon’s trees were okay but they didn’t qualify for free shipping (even over $35) and the shipping was $22. But Chapters… now that was a different story. Their tree was 33% off and the shipping was only $10. My finances could handle it, the bills were paid, so I clicked the order button and waited until today when it arrived.

my viewI can’t think of much else to get for this tiny apartment. My walls are decorated, I have my furniture, I have my tree ♥, and I’m good for decor. The tree was, as they put it, the icing on the cake. Now I get to focus on filling my life with the less tangible things. Writing in here, chatting with friends, reading, petting the cats, talking to family, cooking yummy food (really… I made the most delicious carrot orange ginger soup tonight and added fresh dill to it). That’s one of my, well I’d call it a resolution but it’s more of a suggestion to myself. It basically sums up to being patient with myself and treating myself with kindness and grace. I do that with everyone else so why don’t I do it with me?

The birch tree is one of those kindnesses. It’s been years coming and years postponed. It might just be a material thing but it’s something that brings me joy and leaves a smile on my face. And on a gloomy day in January, that’s worth a lot.

Christmas chaos…

I had three days off in a row mid November and decided that would be the perfect time to decorate for Christmas. I just needed to take down our Hallowe’en decorations and convince Jeremy to move all zir RC car bits and computer parts to somewhere more inconspicuous than our couch and dining room table.

“Jeremy, we really need to clean up…”

“That’s a great idea!” zie interrupted enthusiastically. “I really need to give my room a thorough cleaning. It’ll probably be easier if the bed wasn’t in the way…”

This was so not what I had in mind!

This was so not what I had in mind!

And off zie went, dragging even more stuff into the living room while pushing the Hallowe’en decorations to, well just about anywhere (including under the couch). Luckily zie did clean up fairly quickly and we were able to bring up the decorations from storage the following evening.

Last year I figured I’d make decorating easier by leaving the tree set up with the lights and garland already in place. That way all we needed to do was put on the decorations. What could go wrong? That question was answered almost as soon as we opened the locker door.

“Mom? Did you notice the tree?” Jeremy asked.

At first I thought zie was talking about the two loose branches dangling from the side. No big deal, they’d be easy to fix. Then I looked down. The tree went to the storage locker with four plastic feet. Now it only had three. It leaned against the wall as if it had snuck into the eggnog and rum a month too early. I have no idea where it could have found alcohol but where ever that was, it had apparently left a foot. It was nowhere to be found in the locker; we even got on our hands and knees to look under the baseboard heater. And there was no way I could put our ornaments up unless I wanted to replace them all next year. I’ve been carefully collecting ornaments for the past thirty years so that would be a distinct no.

so many bins

Jeremy insisted on taking all the bins up at once while I carried up our tree. When we got back to our apartment I hurried to put the tree into the living room then came back down our front hall to let Jeremy in. Zie let zirself inside instead.

“I could have opened that for you,” I blurted as the door banged against zir skateboard.

“I’m a strong, independent woman,” Jeremy retorted.

Jeremy tossed zir hair back and placed a hand on zir hip, holding the bins steady with the other. “I can do it myself,” zie added cockily. Alrighty then.

I propped the tree up against the bookcase and informed Jeremy we were eating before doing anything about the tree. I don’t think well when I’m hungry. Theoretically we could run across the street to Value Village. It was early enough for them to be open and they might have a tree. But we’d only had this one for a couple of years and it was still good, aside from that damn foot. Maybe I could make a foot but it would have to not only be strong enough to support the tree but also bend to fit into the groove on the base of the trunk. If only we had a metal coat hanger… I got up and hurried to the closet. We didn’t but I found a sturdy plastic hanger and Jeremy’s wire cutters.

our recycled leg

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. At least the tree skirt covers it.

tree and living room

I’d say that the decorating fiasco is over except Jeremy’s now decided to rearrange all zir bins in the hallway closet, which means zie’s dragged half the contents of the closet into the living room and, for some bizarre reason, placed a bentwood rocker onto my bed. Blackie’s enjoying sleeping under it. There’s no way on earth I’d fit.

Then there’s the chaos of shopping.

I don’t like shopping. I don’t like crowds or noise and shopping seems to involve an abundance of both. One of my coworkers introduced me to an online China based website where I could order all sorts of items, which means shopping in my pjs at bedtime with no crowds (other than my cats). I immediately ordered a bunch of Jeremy’s presents including a wall art sticker which looks like a window into the Minecraft realm, a Five Nights at Freddy’s brass game token, and a small RC forklift (something Jeremy’s wanted for years). I also ordered a small purple RC car which fits into a soft drink can. This was back on the first day of September. It has yet to arrive. Neither has Jeremy’s light up gaming headphones. My new strand of glimmer lights haven’t arrived either. The good news is I have enough presents for Jeremy without them. I still want zir to have them though and not just because I’ve paid for them.

The presents which did arrive here promptly were the ones I bought for my nieces. I ordered them on a Saturday and had them show up that Monday, which would have been amazing if they were supposed to arrive here and not the other side of the country. Luckily my Mom shipped them with her gifts, reasoning that three little books wouldn’t cost anything to add in.

At least our Christmas outfits are sorted out. I have decent black jeans and several sparkly sweaters while Jeremy has teal leggings and my black velvet, glitter spangled top. I get the feeling sometimes that family thinks I’m pushing zir into feminine clothes. Meanwhile I gave zir the choice of three coats yesterday at Value Village and zie went immediately for a very feminine 50’s style coat in vivid purple with a double row of gold buttons. It sadly didn’t fit but zir next choice, a soft plum, did. It looks fabulous on zir.

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I booked a day off next week to shop for stocking stuffers and one last spontaneous gift. We were at the check out on Sunday when Jeremy spotted a stuffed animal zie absolutely had to have.

“OMG Mom… I need it! Look at how cute it is! Please!!! It’s only eight dollars and it’s adorable!”

“Ask for it for Christmas,” I replied idly as I flipped over the tag. It’s a phrase I say at least once a day for three months of the year. An orange Beanie Boo cat named Muffin, it wouldn’t be that hard to find again. Right?

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This is Tabitha…

This is Muffin

This is Muffin

I’m sensing a bit more chaos ahead.