Friday, November 27, 2009

Just saw the best comment on Ravelry

"I am beyond the need for a yarn diet. I need yarn gastric bypass at this point." - mollyknits

And having come home with 5 balls of yarn today, I am in total agreement. We went to three yarn stores today (and one of them twice) because one of my friends decided she wanted one more ball of something she bought when we went shopping on Saturday. So naturally the three of us needed to take a group excursion and spend hundreds of dollars. Well, I was good. At first. I managed to just pull up a chair and knit at The Knitting Experience and sit on the couch at Purl Diva. I've been to those stores so many times that I know what they have. That, and I was there six days ago. I suppose even I can manage that degree of restraint.

We went to a new store, though. Ewe and Me, also in Brunswick. Apparently I've gone by it a dozen times and never noticed it. OMG - great stuff! It always tickles me how there can be so many yarn shops in one area and they all sell different brands. I bought two different Regia sock yarns and this gorgeous Green Mountain Spinnery yarn in a rainbow color, called Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (well, that sold me), plus 10 buttons I'll need for my next projects.

That assumes, of course, I can ever knit again. I have somehow managed to fuck up BOTH elbows, presumably from knitting 35 squares a day on this ass rape of a blanket. Yesterday it was just the left. Wtf. And it's not like this even a good enough reason to stop knitting it for me. I just want it done so I can move on or order another ball of the blue if that turns out to be necessary. I guess there's worse things than pain. Or tendonitis. Only I can manage this level of bullshit.

I just got a call for a job interview. I applied to this place on August 13th. Look at your calendar. Yeah. They also called me a month ago for an interview, while I was out subbing. They told me to leave a message if I got the message after 3. Since I had to walk home, I always got home around 3. I left the message, and that was the last I ever heard of it. Until an hour ago. Bizarre, very bizarre. As far as I remember, it's working with kids with mental retardation, which I totally rock at. I'm just hoping it's right there in the office instead of going into homes. That's always... squicky. But, I can go to the interview, dust off my interviewin' suit, and try my best. If nothing else, I have something new and exciting to add to my work search log.

Friday, November 20, 2009

No shame.

It's time I admit something.

I just got my driver's license on November 5th. I'm 23 years old. I took the test many times and failed it many times. But it doesn't matter now. I have it, and a terrible chapter of my life is closed.

I was incredibly good at hiding this fact. I pretended to be way more into taking walks than I really was, I subsisted on rides from friends, I used the half-truth "I don't have a car," and I was far more of a hermit than I needed to be because I was too ashamed to ask for a ride. For 7 years, I just dealt with it. I had two close friends who didn't have theirs either. Unfortunately, then they got it. Suddenly, no one could sympathize with my struggle. Suddenly, I was alone. Suddenly, I was the weird one. WTF was wrong with me? Why wasn't I meant to drive?

I am an extremely nervous person. Shy, socially awkward, wracked by anxiety disorders. I know, it doesn't come over well on the internet. On the forum I'm most active in, I'm a sardonic, sassy, sarcastic, superstar. And the last few years, I've made huge strides that have made me into a much happier, healthier person. But for years, it was just as easy for me to avoid confrontation with my mother by not even trying to practice driving. When she'd chide me with ever-so-helpful advice like "you're going to kill children!" or threatening to leave me in a parking lot, you ungrateful little bitch, when I didn't pull into a space fast enough, I would completely break down. That would be the end of practicing for a long time. Then I'd take the test. We'd "practice" right before it, which was mostly just going around the route and being screamed at. I'd fail. We'd schedule a new test. We would not practice again. I'd fail. So I failed a serious amount of driving tests, but how could I not, if I didn't work on a damn thing between them?

This was tolerable in college. It was too expensive to have a car on campus, and we had a great free bus system. For a time, my boyfriend-at-the-time even had his pimpin' mint green Dodge Caravan (yeah, I didn't have to worry about him being a chick magnet with that thing) on campus and we were able to take that out. Then the moron went home to play D&D on a day the whole campus had shut down thanks to a snow storm and crashed it. So ends the car. As far as I know, he still doesn't have a replacement.

Friends and their parents offered me help, but I'd become so wrapped up in the idea that I was a horrible driver that I refused it. I thought they'd think less of me if they saw just how bad I "really" am at driving and then I wouldn't have friends, either. So I just wallowed in self pity.

I've been totally unable to get a job in Maine, where public transportation just doesn't exist. I was getting by on rides from my grandmother, but then she insisted on getting a job with weird hours that pays shit money, which meant there was no way I could work. We would make so much more money if I could be the one working and have a full time job, but there was no convincing her of this. I got back to subbing, and walked 45 minutes home each day (I was able to get rides in the morning). I was pretty good at working "yeah, it's a pretty bad day to walk home" into conversation at lunch so another sub would take pity on me and bring me home. But there was no guarantee this was going to work in the ridiculously long Maine winter. I was not looking forward to walking home in February/dying of frostbite. Finally, it was time to get fucking SERIOUS.

I threw myself at the two friends who had always offered. We had some practice sessions, which was mostly me driving all over creation to get used to their cars, coming up with my own practice ideas, working up the chutzpah to parallel park in a friend's car. I paid them for their time by paying for dinner out. I got some kickass empanadas out of the deal, but shit, it would have been so much cheaper to just get more lessons.

I took the test at the beginning of October. I aced the shit out of parallel parking, mostly thanks to practicing with my grandmother the day before, while she screamed at me while I devolved into hysterical sobbing. For once, this tactic actually worked. I can parallel park like it's my fucking job. The examiner I had was fantastic. He had given me permit #4 a month or two before. We got on great, but, of course, I still fucking failed. I didn't do my straight backing well and I didn't look over my shoulder when merging once. THAT'S IT. WHAT THE FUCK. He seemed to feel genuinely bad about failing me, though, and insisted that I put the form for a retest in the mail that very day. I did.

A month later, I was back there. I was so resigned to failure that I didn't really want to go, but I figured what the hell, why not. Jeremy and I had gone out the night before, despite the fact that I was horribly sick from some antibiotics, it was pitch black, and we hadn't really achieved much. I'm not sure if he caught on about why we had to go TONIGHT AND NOT TOMORROW, GOTTA GO RIGHT NOW. In October, I spent the night before my test crying and asking the internet for spiritual guidance without explaining why I was so miserable. This time, I spent the night before flirting via text message for 3 hours with a guy I had hooked up with the weekend before. I never let my mind go to the unpleasantness that was going to follow the next day, so I never got worked up with nerves and went to the test totally emotionally flat instead of a wreck. I later found out the dude lied to me and totally has a girlfriend, but, you know what? I think, to some degree, I have my license because of him, so I have no regrets.

When they called for the 1:00 road tests, I saw the man I had last time. I smiled at him and hoped so hard I'd get him again. I'd never had the same examiner twice, so I thought there might be some policy preventing that. Imagine my surprise (and glee) when he showed up at my car.

When I saw Albert, I knew I was going to pass. This guy was so gunning for me last time that I really believe that when he saw me back there, he insisted that he be my examiner. The test itself is kind of a half hour blur, but I actually had a nice time having a conversation with this guy. The first thing you do on the test is parallel park. I guess they like to have you fail right off the bat and then prolong your suffering a half hour. You get 3 tries to parallel park. Like I said, last time, I nailed it on the first try. This time, I did not. Awesome. Just. Fucking. Awesome. Apparently my grandmother was in the DMV window the whole time screaming at me to cut it harder. But my second try, I got it.

I think there was a shitload that I just didn't get right on the test, but, since I got all the big stuff (including, for the very first time in 7 years, straight fuckin' backing), Albert gave in. He may also be extremely sick of me. Imagine my astonishment when we came back from the test and he started filling out a much different form than the one I've always seen for "why your ass just failed yet again." I was silent; all I could do was smile. I was just too stunned to even react. Honestly, my first thought wasn't even "I have a license," it was "I never have to do this again." As soon as he was done writing it all out, he got out of the car and went to start his next exam. I squeaked out a "thank you" as he was asking the next scared teen to demonstrate their headlights. I'm almost a little sad I won't be seeing Albert any more; he's a good man.

After the test, I ran at full speed back into the building, told my grandmother, and we both jumped up and down and screamed a lot. The whole DMV was looking at me, but who the hell cares. I called my mom, screamed a lot more, and set up a time to meet her to pick up my birth certificate so I could come back and get my picture license. Then I called my aunt, who wasn't there. I left a message telling her to call me back because "I have news." My grandmother and I, at my insistence, went into Portland for ice cream. She drove, believe it or not. I was a little too shaky. As it was, she was near vomiting with glee (what the hell kind of reaction is that?) but it was probably still better for her to be the one behind the wheel. I did get to talk to my aunt later, and she asked when I wanted to go car shopping. omg.

As soon as I got home, I sent a message to all of my friends. The subject line was "Guess what we all have in common?" and the body was simply "Driver's licenses :)" - none of them knew I had the test that day. Much rejoicing ensued when everyone checked their e-mail. I was even invited out that night, but by no means ready to drive into Portland, let alone this crazy area with one way cobblestone streets.

That first afternoon, I went by myself to the library, post office, and bank. It was absolutely exhilarating. I had the radio up and Kelly Clarkson and I were screaming "My Life Would Suck Without You." How appropriate. I also enjoyed when I told someone "I just got my license an hour and a half ago!" and they asked if I had a car. Yes, they just give them out when you pass the test.

I didn't get my car until 6 days later ;)

That's a whole other story, but thanks to the kindness of my aunt's assistance and financial help, I am the proud owner of a 2008 Hyundai Accent GLS. Her name is Betty. I talk to her every time I walk by the window or get in/out of her. We had an extended conversation yesterday about our impending trip to Cumberland and North Yarmouth to look for some schools I'm going to sub in - now that I can get there any day of the week and by myself, I'm going to be able to work a lot more. While this isn't my actual car, here's just what she looks like:

She is a beauty. Massive trunk, CD player, AC, anti-lock brakes at my unyielding insistence, tan interior, 6 air bags, everything you could ever want. I never knew a material object could change my life so much, but the simple ability to go to the store in 5 minutes, not 90, and to not have to constantly keep my eye on the sky and wonder if I should duck in a building or not has been an immediate life changer.

So, why am I finally talking about it, aside from GRATUITOUS CAR BRAGGING? For so many years, I was ashamed to admit that I was "different." I made a lot of friends online that were older than me, had kids, had jobs, had husbands, and they had made due without a license, too. It made me realize I wasn't actually a freak and I didn't have anything to be ashamed of. I don't want anyone to feel like I did - I want people to take the bull by the horns and try to get what they want. And if they don't on the first, second, sixth try, no big deal. Shit happens. When the time is right, it'll happen. You just have to keep trying.

I'm so glad I did.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For someone without a job, I am somewhat lacking in free time.

I've been meaning to do a major post for two weeks. It just hasn't been happening. Right now, I'd love to, but I'm so invested in these socks I'm making for Julia. It took me a week to get the nerve up to actually cast on for the second sock. I did the entire foot in two nights, so I have that going for myself, and I'm working on the short row heel right now. Ideally, I'll have them done before knitting on Saturday so I can just bring my simple garter stitch blanket with me. It requires a lot of cutting and spit splicing, but at least it isn't herringbone stitch. Really, I can say that about anything at this point. "Well, I may have lost an arm in a shark attack, but at least I never have to worry about doing herringbone stitch again." It's a two row repeat, it shouldn't be this miserable; it's just so fiddly. Bleh.

Anyways, back to the grind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's actually working!

Thanks to the most recent destash my life binge, I know that I have a stapler and exactly where to locate it! No more turning in loose jumbles of job applications! fuck yeeeeeeeeeeeeah.

At some point, I owe you guys a real post. It should be coming tomorrow or late tonight, before I leave for the weekend again. It's been kind of a major week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm one of the lucky ones.

I don’t have insurance. So I don’t go to the doctor. Didn’t get my annual. I’m an asshole who can drop money on fancy yarn, movies, train tickets, but when it comes to medical issues, it's “eh, everything’s probably fine.”

Then I started peeing blood.

Some things… you give them priority.

I called the after hours line at the doctor last night and they paged him for me. He made me feel a lot better and offered to see me before the office was even open. He was wonderful when I had my appointment and made me feel safe. I did need a medication for a bladder infection. Thank God, it’s a common enough medication that there’s a generic and it’s not expensive. I was able to join my grocery store’s Healthy Saver Plus plan for $7, and as such, my pills were only $4. I can’t even IMAGINE what the appointment is going to cost, considering there was lab work; last time, a new patient consultation and wart removal was over $220 (but I had insurance). Considering I went in not knowing what this thing was, and afraid it was some sort of melanoma, $220 is nothing compared to what it could have been, let alone the future cost as I would subsequently become uninsurable thanks to a "pre-existing condition."

I just can’t believe people want prices to stay this high. The fact the grocery store can still turn a profit giving me a medication for $4 that they would normally sell for over $50 says volumes about what’s wrong with health care here. I know I’m very lucky to have plenty banked that will pay for the appointment, but had it been more serious and required IV antibiotics, I could have been bankrupted. I just can’t fathom that this is okay here.

I'm feeling much better now. My symptoms had begun to abate on their own last night, a fact which would normally make me say "well, I must be better, no need to go to a doctor," as I always have with past bladder infections. But, considering the massive scare I had last night, I decided this time, it wasn't worth the risk. If I had opted to save myself $2-300 by not going in, I could end up spending thousands of dollars later if the symptoms returned and were worse. But it's a gamble that so many of us are forced to take. A gamble that I never thought I'd be making. It makes me think about how much I took the ability to go to the doctor for granted. I was lucky to have the luxury, that it was a matter of a few dollars' copay, the inconvenience, or feeling like "'it's no big deal" that kept me from the doctor. Not "if they want to give me medication, I don't know if I can afford it."

I just can't understand why this is okay.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Started knitting too much to blog

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been kind of busy. I'm either caught up in some major knitting project, baking, or this past weekend, I was away, having the time of my life. I swear, I'll put up the pictures of my late October baking at some point.

Because of how wonderful my trip to Boston was, I decided it's time to get serious about getting out of here. While the reasonable thing to do would be to study for the GREs, when full of anxiety, I clean. Hell, I was on the phone with my best friend for two hours today, and I put her on speaker phone so I could bounce around my room at the same time. She and I used to get angry (usually at men) and clean the room when we lived together in college. We both had long black hair that would end up covering the rug. It was horrible; we needed to get angry more often.

Today's "get the hell out" list:

Fake glasses that went to a Harry Potter costume
A rubber bracelet
A watch with a dead battery that I will never replace because the watch was maybe $4
16 books at last count, possibly more
A roll on perfume from Bath and Body Works
3 posters
A washcloth
An assortment of cotton yarn for someone interested in it
a rub-on Harajuko Lovers perfume I was gifted
11 CDs
An ornament
A decorative note pad
A frisbee that once held cookies
9 VHS tapes which almost all contained recorded episodes of Trading Spaces - I was a little obsessed with Vern Yip in the show's heyday
3 DVDs
a key chain
Cords that don't appear to connect to a damn thing I still own
A mirror
A clock whose batteries died years ago
A sewing kit that looked mostly like jumbled up thread and a plastic thimble. I hate thimbles. I can't do a damn thing with one on.
A pencil pouch
A wooden puzzle of an elephant I made in middle school - don't be too impressed, it's three pieces.
A plastic Santa wind-up toy
A yellow fine point Sharpie - what can you possibly do with a yellow pen?
Pounds of construction paper
3 cardboard boxes
4 balls of yarn
That damn lava lamp with the burned out bulb - I'm never going to go look for an appliance bulb, and even if I do, it's not like it's going to class up an apartment

Needless to say, there are finally visible changes in my bedroom. I'm impressed by the sheer WEIGHT of the stuff I was taking out of there. I guess it's the weekend I spent with engineers and chemists, but I'm sort of fascinated by the total volume of crap I own, the pounds of clothes, surface area of all my donations to Goodwill, total free space that's now been cleared in my room, etc.

The cleaning is finally starting to feel like "it looks like I'm moving out." Not that that's inherently my goal or anything, and actually, I do need to scale it back a bit so it looks less obvious, because with another empty book shelf, I'm waiting for the question to be raised, "why are you doing all this anyways?" There's the additional truth that there's just no need to hang on to books I'm not going to read twice/picked up for free or cheap and could just as easily get at the library. There's a couple books that were so moving that I want to hang on to them, but as much as I enjoyed reading it, if I put Cannibal Killers in that category, there is something deeply wrong with me.

I just want it all gone. I just want it to be out of here. I want to be less attached to things. I want to stop spending. The next goal: get health care. I must qualify for low income health care, having no idea from one week to the next what my income is going to be. I'm so tired of thinking about wanting to go to the doctor but being afraid what it'll cost, or wondering if they'd even take me if I'm only paying out of pocket. The only thing that has me dreading applying for this sort of stuff is the part about proving your income. It's not like I can just attach a pay stub and that'll sum it up. Some weeks I make good money, some weeks I make no money. I never know what I'm going to be doing for work, and while I want to say 2 days a week is about average, it's still early in the school year. As they hire more subs, that 2 days a week could be 2 days every 3 weeks. Or I might end up working more, never know. I appreciate the randomness of my job, and I love that I have a variety of experiences, but it's a real bitch to try and plan around it.

Today was a nice day to walk home from work. I had to zip up my jacket and put my fingerless gloves on, but the sun was out and I felt peaceful. I was in a wonderful mood thinking about my weekend and walking is my zen time, anyways. I mean, it won't be once the cold temperatures start, but for now, I like getting what I can out of the ability to be outdoors. It was wonderful in Boston on Saturday - I was actually playing basketball in a tank top with my new friends. Warm and sunny and beautiful there. Couldn't ask for anything better than that. It was an incredible time; I can't stress that enough.

Worked the elementary school today. Had a kid who looked JUST like Kevin Bacon... freaked me out a little. I've got two more half days coming up this week. Not bad since I get to work, but kind of annoying to be up at 6:30 but done for the day at 11:30. Tomorrow's off, barring any 6 am phone calls. I like when the secretary gives me a little reprieve and doesn't call until 6:15. I feel like I'm wasting less time being up that much closer to my alarm time. I value sleep down to the minute, I guess. You'd think I'd go sooner at night. But that's when there's interesting people to talk to, or I can enjoy being left alone downstairs, in control of the remote or just having my alone time.

Grocery shopping and post office tomorrow, I think. Flu shot Wednesday. Let's hope I really did shake that fear of needles after all.