Wednesday, December 08, 2010

1 in 3

I was watching TV yesterday, and while I was looking through the guide to find something to watch, Glenn Beck was on, in his usual form. I would like to preface this blog by clarifying something: I do not have problems with Glenn Beck because I disagree with him. I disagree with a lot of people - Bill O'Reilly comes to mind. And while I do disagree with O'Reilly, and I find he can be condescending, I do not believe he is a bad person. I wouldn't mind sitting down and having a drink with him, just talking. But Glenn Beck is a different story. Glenn Beck is misinformed, and he preys upon the ignorance and fears of others. And yesterday, he crossed an unforgivable line.

Now, I could start this by diving head-first into the George Soros thing, but I'm not going to do that. For starters, it's fairly obvious that Beck crossed a line there. He lost countless sponsors, which he should be accustomed to by now, but the media and pundits have already covered this extensively, drawing parallels, comparing his words to typical anti-Semitic propaganda, and the like. Personally, I don't think Beck is informed enough to realize that what he said was essentially a reiteration of some of the most well known Nazi propaganda, but that is just my opinion. I don't think Beck is a Nazi by any stretch of the imagination, and I'd just as soon let sleeping dogs lie on that one. What he said was wrong, it preyed on the fears of his viewers, and was meant to incite some type of panic or distrust. That's the way this man operates. I don't believe his agenda goes further than that.

Yesterday, he was on one of his usual anti-liberal, anti-progressive rants. He uses the words "liberal" and "progressive" as though they were four-letter words. Progress is not a bad thing; quite the contrary. He had that usual tone of voice he has when he's speaking of one of the progressives or liberals - snide, disapproving, with an air that the individual is somehow dirty or tainted. And what was he referring to? EXTENDING THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF RAPE.

This is a hot-button issue for me. It should be for everyone, because violating someone should never be viewed as anything other than a despicable affront to the human collective. And before we go further down the rabbit hole that is my brain, let's just clear something up: rape is not about sex; it's about power. So what's wrong with extending the legal definition? What's wrong with making it easier to prosecute sex offenders? The statistics on sexual assualts and rape are astronomical: 1 in 3 women, and that statistic is easily five years old. And it isn't just women - this happens to men, too.

Of course, the general opinion is that men don't report it because they're embarrassed. Right. Because women are totally OK with it. Being violated in that way isn't embarrassing; it's paralyzing. Terrifying. It's a kind of fear and loneliness that I don't even have words for. It's a ripping away of innocence much like ripping a Band-Aid, quickly, almost so quickly you don't really remember it, but it keeps stinging after it's gone.

I vividly remember being in the newspaper office in college. We were running a story on sexual assault, and three female staffers - including me - were gathered around a computer reading it. One commented that the 1 in 3 statistic was high, too high to be accurate. My colleagues were quick to put this theory to the test: there were three of us there, and they knew they'd never been assaulted. Then there was a look in my direction, and I just nodded my head once. I didn't say anything, I just nodded. And for all of us, in that moment, the statistic became very real. It wasn't just 1 in 3, it was now our friends, coworkers, people we saw regularly.

But let's get back to the issue: extending the legal definition of rape. This seems like a no-brainer to me. This notion that rape is only a penis being forced into a vagina is outdated. We have several definitions of sex - does no one remember the Clinton years? And if it doesn't take penetration to be sex, it doesn't take penetration to be rape. It's an open and shut thing for me.

So, given the above information, one can easily see how Glenn Back's disdainful attitude toward this makes my blood boil in a special way. We, as a nation, have an epidemic of being unable to respect the rights - and bodies - of others. Violence, rape, sexual assault - they all run rampant. It's time we held our citizens to a higher standard, and that works both ways. We need laws that will empower people to come forward, and then we need those people to come forward.

Why don't people come forward? Well, there are a lot of theories, but I'm sure it's different for each person. For me, it was lack of support. When your family - your flesh and blood - tells you not to talk to the police because "it will just piss him (the offender) off" it kind of changes things for you. If you think that's something that's easy to bring up to anyone in your family in the first place, you are sorely mistaken. But when you actually summon the courage, months after the fact, and are told you shouldn't do anything about it, that leaves scars, too. It isn't something you can just sweep under the rug and pretend that it isn't there. And when you go to the on-campus counseling service, and knowing why you're there they send you to a male counselor, it kind of makes you want to jump on the desk and ask them what qualifications they have for counseling at all, when they clearly can't recognize that you certainly can't talk to a man about this. When you talk a campus officer just to see what protocol is, the officer urges you to come forward but warns that it will likely do no good, as it will be your word against someone else's. So you go back to your dorm room, you have panic attacks when you see his car on campus, and you carry a knife. Because the people who are supposed to protect you, who are supposed to look out for your well being, have abandoned you.

When I hear someone speak of extending the legal definition of rape as anything other than the right thing to do, I go a little nuts. You see, this isn't about me at all. I have cousins in college now, and I have others who will be headed that way soon. What was taken from me can never be returned, but we have a chance to make it a little less likely that it will happen to them. Most offenders have a progression - they usually don't start with penetration rape. If we can do something before it escalates, we can help to protect a generation. Anything less in unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A History of Violence ... Leads to a Future of Violence

Hockey season is back, and because I'm now living with my dad, there's a lot of hockey on the television. I always enjoyed going to Predators games, but, like baseball, I just can't get as jazzed about watching hockey at home compared to actually being at a game. But that isn't the reason for this post, as one might have guessed from the title. My main problem with hockey: fighting.

Before everyone gets up in arms over this, let me say that I've already heard that argument that it's part of the culture of the game. So what? And, more importantly, why? And, to be fair, it isn't just hockey. I find UFC to be beyond barbaric, and I really don't get the point of boxing. I mean, I GET the point is to knock out your opponent, but I just don't get how that has any value or purpose being a sport. But that is simply my opinion, and seeing as how the sport is fighting, the fighting aspect can't be eliminated.

But why can't grown men playing in a socially acceptable competitive sport refrain from punching one another, and why don't the officials stop these things? It's a penalty for obvious reasons, yet they don't break it up as soon as it happens. Usually it has to go on a while or someone has to get pulled to the ice before anyone skates in to stop it. My theory: people like to watch the fights. And, yes, I'm aware that that is the bigger problem.

Why do we rely on violence for entertainment? There are plenty of other societies in which hockey is played, and not all of these societies have the kind of violent nature that seems inherent in us. I do enjoy a violent movie, but I would have a far different opinion if I were watching film of an act of actual, real violence. Movie violence isn't real, and it's usually unbelievably over the top. It's easy to differentiate between the two.

If things don't go the way we want, should we resort to violence? At home? School? Work? Our kid's little league game? Where do we draw the line? When do we decide to change who we are in order to ensure a better life for who we will be? We're becoming desensitized to the things that should disturb us. It's entirely possibly that I'm a little too sensitive about this, as I recently brought up the use of phrases like "hit me/you up" and "hit me/you back" - and not just because I imagine that's how Kevin Federline talks. As a general rule, and I'm probably not alone here, I don't like anyone to refer to hitting me in any way, not hitting me up, hitting me back, or hitting that. No hitting. Choose better words - it's why we have so many.

But this pales in comparison to violence toward children. I can see the argument for spanking up to a certain age. Before children have a fully developed moral compass, and before they have the vocabulary and understanding to converse with adults, I understand giving a three-year-old child a smack on the hand when he or she is about to touch a hot stove. Studies show, however, that once a child reaches the age of five, the sense of right and wrong is there. Misbehaving at that point is intentional, meaning the child knows he or she is doing wrong. The important thing is that they understand why the rules are the way they are. But let's get back to the violence argument.

I've been told that I'll feel differently about this when I have children. I doubt that. There's a part of me that recognizes that I don't have the complete experience to say definitively what I will do as a parent. If I have a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a department store, I may feel a spanking is in order. I don't know for sure. But if I can't communicate with a seven-year-old without resorting to violence, maybe I shouldn't be a parent.

I don't think spanking is the equivalent of bad parenting. I understand it up to the age of five. After that, though, I just don't get it. I've had plenty of conversations with kids that age, and they're certainly capable of talking about and understanding right and wrong, appropriate behavior, and how they feel. But if we teach them that violence is how to control an other out-of-our-hands situation, we're really just increasing the odds that our children will grow up to be violent adults.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are

Today is National Coming Out Day, and I'm a bit torn by this. First, I am happy that we have a day devoted to such an important milestone in the lives of our friends and loved ones. But then I'm also disappointed, and a bit ashamed of us, that we have to have a day for it. Shouldn't our GLBT friends feel loved and accepted for who they are every day of the year? Shouldn't they be able to come forward without prejudice when they are ready, and shouldn't we, as a society, embrace them?

It saddens me that so many of our citizens are intolerant and/or afraid of 10% of our population, and I wonder why that is. No, it isn't because of God. And if I hear one more narrow-minded talking point about loving the sinner and hating the sin, you're going to need some towels to wipe up the mess that will come from my head exploding.

Now, some people may argue that this is human nature, this notion that love is and can only be between a man and a woman, that marriage and family is only husband and wife. But I do not believe that. And, what's more, I actually have something to support that.

You see, I'm what you may call the black sheep of my family, and if nothing else, I'm certainly the most liberal. And sometimes it seems I'm the only liberal. I love my family, but I don't always agree with them. I was also raised Church of Christ, and being me, one can see how that easily explains my special brand of crazy. But I digress. My cousin, who is 15 now (and don't think that makes me feel young because it certainly does not), was about 5 years old when my sister went to college. She and a friend from church were going to be roommates, and when my then 5-year-old cousin found out that were going to be living together, he asked if they were getting married.

Why did he ask that? Well, my theory is that, in his mind, when adults lived together, they were married. All the adults he knew who lived together were, and it only made sense to him that if my sister were sharing a residence with someone, they must be married, too. It's probably the same reason my other cousin, when she was about 2, called my high school boyfriend "Daddy" - every adult male in her life was called "Daddy" by someone.

My point is this - we aren't born with prejudice. It is learned, developed, cultivated, in the home and in the community. The proverb that it takes a village to raise a child certainly holds truth. If I were to ask my cousin today what he thinks about same-sex marriage, he would probably be opposed to it. So what changed? The village.

If you have children, or if you are thinking of having them, then please consider this: How many people are really raising your child? The scout leader, the Sunday school teacher, the school teacher, the babysitter, the families of their friends, the list goes on and on.

Be prepared to have that conversation with your child when it comes up. When you're at the park and two men are holding hands, think twice before calling someone a "fag" or muttering how "disgusting" it is, or how they shouldn't be "flaunting" their sexuality. Do you think men and women holding hands are flaunting their sexuality? What's the difference really?

And for those of you who are afraid that if you have a gay friend he or she will try to hit on you, relax. You are not that undesirable. Does every straight man or woman hit on you? I didn't think so.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Return to Blogging

I haven't blogged since I got out of the hospital, but it's time to get back on this thing. A lot has happened, but I'm just going to focus on the big one: I moved to Maryville, and I live with my dad, Laura, and Alex.

I made $150 in August because my night job fired me for being in the hospital. So I'm not behind on my bills, my phone will probably be cut off in a few weeks, and my next paycheck won't cover my car payment. One of my creditors had been taking money from my savings account, but they sent me a refund Brentwood. I haven't lived there in 5 months. But, at any rate, when that finally gets to me I can pay for my car and car insurance. Yay me.

And I'm lonely here all the time. I have no friends. I stay in bed, play on the computer, and watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because I am that awesome...and lame.

I'm becoming more and more obscure. I've barely talked to my family since I moved, I haven't really talked to any friends other than through Facebook chat, and I miss my boyfriend. That's all for now. I'm in pain, my insurance won't pay for PT, so I'm just going to lie here with an ice pack and wait for things to subside a little.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Enjoy Your Book. Folks Will Be in to Abuse You in a Minute"

I finished my book, actually. That's how long I was at Baptist today. You can read about all the medical stuff here.

But I'd like to elaborate on what it was like for me, queen of hospitals and normal test results, to be in a hospital scared. And I must say this is an accomplishment, as I have been in many a hospital and had more CTs, bloodwork, and X-rays than I can count, and they've all come back normal. So when I was told my bloodwork was abnormal and I'd need more testing on my lungs, I was worried.

Now, Tuesday night is when this started. I had normal blood Tuesday. Later that night, I had the chest pains, and what I am now certain was two minor instances when I stopped breathing. I am sure of this now because while at the hospital my oxygen level got down to 82 and set off that alarm a few times, and my breathing rate looked like a flatline a few times. It set off the alarm, too, because it got down to 5. Frightening stuff.

I talked to my Dad and Laura on the phone several times, and it is not lost on me that these are the only relatives concerned with my health. OK, yes, I know some other relatives pray for me. But praying for me isn't all you can do. It is if you're bedridden and mute or something, but we do have phones and e-mail and social networking and there are umpteen ways to say, "How are you feeling?" "how r u feeling" "Wendy feels good today." "(name here) likes this." But please don't ask "how r u feeling" - it just annoys me. I'm worth the time it takes to spell out 3-letter words.

Laura asked if anyone was with me. I told her no, and she seemed concerned that I was there all by myself waiting to find out if I had some kind of pulmonary embolism, which I didn't because, you know, here I am blogging instead of being in the morgue. Never did hear back from my mom. I texted her because I didn't know how long I'd be at Baptist, and I didn't want to use all of my cell phone battery because I no longer have a wall charger. But I'm not that surprised by this. I usually don't even bother telling family about health issues anymore, except my dad because he asks. But today was scary. I'm OK, but it was scary. And I could still have the beginnings of a blood clotting issue because my D-Dimers were high, and that means clotting issues. But it isn't in my lungs. I guess we'll figure it out someday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Billie Jean Is Not My Doctor

I posted this on my other blog, but it's worth repeating.

I had more injections today. First off, the woman who did my IV gave me a shot to numb my arm first. HA! I was all, "That really isn't necessary." Naturally, it didn't numb my arm, but I'm so used to needles at this point that I'm not phased regardless.

I woke up from the procedure AWAKE - I was wide the hell awake. After I told the nurse that all three of her had nice skin, I then said, "I'm way too cognizant." Also, I didn't slur the word "cognizant" - weird. I asked the doctor about it later, and he said they gave me some fentanyl, but the also gave me propofol, or as he called it, "the Michael Jackson drug." Apparently, this drug is sometimes called "milk of amnesia," which is funny because I usually forget the first hour or so after waking up, but not this.

The last two times I woke up after the procedure without my usual pain until about 6-8 hours later. Not this time. This time I felt it immediately. This freaks me out. They gave me more fentanyl in my IV before I left the hospital, but it didn't work. It's about 100 times stronger than morphine, so this is disturbing. I told them not to bother with morphine because it doesn't work.

So what happens now? The doctor wants to see me again in three weeks. If this doesn't work, they can try different injections or platelet enriched plasma. Oh good. I can't wait to be tortured some more. Oh, and my pain meds are WEAKER than last time. WTF, doctor?! I already have to chew them to get them to work fast enough, and, you know, that's disgusting, but when I'm at work and the pain gets worse, I don't have an hour or so to kill to wait for stuff to kick in, and I sure as hell can't go sit down. EVER.

Side note: I talked to my dad afterward. Laura's daughter is an NP, and she and Laura had been talking and said that at some point they won't be able to put me under anymore. Dr. Wasudev said they used the different drug this time because last time they had to keep giving me so much that if they used it again I could stop breathing, and they don't intubate for this procedure. But I've dealt with this so long that if surgery would actually help me, I'd let them do it even if they couldn't put me under. Which I know is really messed up but I just want this to be over already.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm Supposed to Be Getting Married Today

OK, well maybe not TODAY. But many years ago I decided I would get married on July 17, and I'd like to get married on a Saturday, so this is my last shot until 2021. I have 22 hours to get married, and I'm working a double today, so let's just call this dream one of those things that isn't going to happen and move forward.

Today, I start a new chapter in my life. It has something to do with moving on, on from all the pain, the past, everything I've been holding on to for so long because I was afraid to lose it. And everyone I've kept in my heart because I had nowhere else to put them.

I was remembering this moment a few years ago when I saw someone very special to me. I've had my moments in life, some good, some bad, but there isn't anything else I'd classify as a perfect moment except for this one. And if I could have chosen how I could have spent the last day or two with someone I love, I think it would have played out exactly as it did.

But things change, people change. We change our attitudes, our minds, our clothes, our beliefs. We change cities - sometimes countries and continents - and we change our hair. But, somewhere under all of that change, I like to think there are two people who, for just one moment in 2007, were perfectly happy.

I don't have moments like that anymore. I wish I did. The best I feel right now is when I meditate. It's the only time I don't feel anything, and for me, feeling nothing is as close to perfect as I'm going to get. So now, before I try to sleep before working a 14-hour day later, I will close my eyes, entwine my legs, and just simply exist, if only for a little while.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stealing My Identity Isn't Just Illegal, It's Also Really Stupid

Today, while I was eating lunch between jobs, the mail came. Now this in itself is no shock, as the mail comes daily (except Sundays). I got the usual stack of bills. I opened one, unfolded it, and immediately marveled at the amount. "645 dollars?!" Then I read the top of the page, which informed me that my payday loan was past due.

Uh, what payday loan? I don't take out loans, but if I did, I certainly wouldn't take out a payday loan. I called the collection agency, and boy did I find out all kinds of neat stuff! First, the woman verified the last four of my social and my birthday. OK, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get that information, right? Surely more is required for a loan of some kind. Turns out, more IS required, but this information apparently doesn't have to be even remotely related to the name and birthday.

Whoever took out this loan listed an employer and work address (Wal-Mart manager in Louisiana, by the way), home and cell phone numbers (both with a New Orleans area code), two references (yes, I now have their names and numbers), and, of course, the account number and routing number of where to send the money. And, you guessed it, I now have that information as well.

At this point, I'm furious, and also a bit perplexed as to how anyone using my social security number could possibly get a loan, even a payday loan. The woman at the collection agency was very helpful. She told me to contact the police, file a report, and then they would go from there. She also told me the loan was taken out on January 19, 2010. It went to collection on April 26, so it just barely missed being on the credit report I pulled for the bankruptcy. Which is another reason this was obviously not me - all of my debt is being taken care of in the bankruptcy. Also, I have never worked for Wal-Mart, and I've never lived in Louisiana. Hell, I've only been once, 10 years ago, because that's where we sailed from on the cruise.

I called the police, and after some phone tag, finally got through to make the report. I still have to call the New Orleans PD, because that is presumably where the crime was committed. But this isn't just a crime - it's an act of extreme stupidity. First off, I have absolutely horrific credit. My credit score is a sad face. Second, I'm going to catch you. I am well versed in my debt. If this had been a medical bill, then, yes, it's conceivable that one or two of those fell through the cracks, and I forgot about them. But this - an online payday loan in January (when my computer didn't even get Internet-ready again until April) - this is...wait for it...INCONCEIVABLE!

I looked up the customer service number for the Web site, and calling that woman was a complete waste of time. I told her that someone had fraudulently used my information to take out a loan, and I suppose I should have assumed that using words with more than two syllables would not go over well. She asked for my information, and then proceeded to say a lot of really stupid things.

"The address we have for you is the one you just gave me." OK, I know you're lying at this point, or, at least, I know you didn't have this address for me when the loan was taken out. First off, the collection agency mentioned nothing about an address being given, other than the Louisiana work address. They have my address because it's their job to track me down, and with a bankruptcy, it isn't that hard to do. But let's forget the obvious and get to my answer.

"I didn't live there in January." BOO-YAH! There is no way this person used my current address to take out a loan in January because I did not live at my current address in January. Ha! How do you like them apples?

I explained to the woman that I live in Tennessee, but the information used to get the loan (other than my social and birthday) was from a Louisiana area code, and, clearly, this was not me.

"We aren't authorized to give loans in Tennessee. It would have been denied."

OK, what part of "It wasn't me" is so hard to grasp? THE MONEY DIDN'T COME TO TENNESSEE! And, as you have already stated you cannot give loans in Tennessee, there is no possible way, according to you, that you could have had my address because then you would have known I was in Tennessee and would have denied me like a good little worker, right? RIGHT?!

"But it's weird that they would use all of your information."

IT'S NOT WEIRD AT ALL! IT'S FRAUD! That's the modus operandi of frauds! Jesus, lady, you work for a company that gives online payday loans. You can't possibly expect me to believe that this hasn't happened before.

I told her I had contacted the police and they would be in touch about it. Then I hung up because I don't possess the ability to jump through the phone and smack someone in the back of the head. But if I did have that ability, that is exactly what I would have done.

So now I wait. The Nashville police will turn it over to a detective, who will be in contact with New Orleans. I gave them the account number and routing numbers, as well as the phone numbers, so finding the person(s) should be fairly simple. And proving it was fraud is beyond easy. I hope the Web site tightens their security a bit. If they'll take a social security number of someone in one state who claims to have an employer in another, it's time to beef up the security. I assume this didn't require a state-issued ID or pay stubs or anything you should have to present before getting any kind of loan. And apparently the name on the bank account doesn't have to be at all related to the name on the loan. Well, that's reassuring.

Watch out, New Orleans! I will have my vengeance upon you! OK, probably not all of you, but at least one of you is in trouble. And, even though I have what I hope is your real telephone number, I have no powers that translate through a telephone, so I'll just let the cops handle this one. Oh, and I Googled the home number. It is definitely a landline in New Orleans, and I even got a nice picture of the residence, including the name of the street and the block. Those apples are even better now, aren't they?

Stealing My Identity Isn't Just Illegal, It's a

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Time for Me

Saturday I gave up clothes - we had a yard sale, and it definitely feels good having a little less stuff. Starting Sunday, I'm giving up half an hour each day to myself. I'm going to start each day with 15 minutes of meditation and end each day the same way. I know 30 minutes isn't much, but I need to start small. I'm horrible about taking time for myself, but I hope to gradually increase the amount of time I spend on me each day. I'm going to eventually incorporate yoga into it as well. I did inversions twice today, and even though I'm hurting, I know it was good for me.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Last Mango in Paris...A Reward for Your Bankruptcy

I'm making a decision, right here, right now, for all of the Internet to see: When I'm done with my bankruptcy, I will be taking my "Last Mango in Paris" trip finally!

Since hearing that song, I've wanted to live out as much of it as possible, and while I doubt I'm actually going to have a third-world girl in Buzios, I'm definitely going there.

I'll start out at Captain Tony's, of course, in the Florida Keys. My parents have been there, and have actually met Captain Tony. Next, I'll eat mango in Paris, head to Saigon via plane, and at some point, I'm going to be on a boat in China. Next is Buzios, Brazil (third-world girl optional), Wall Street (probably not going to have the high fashion model wife, though), then waking up dry beneath the African sky, just me and my Swiss Army knife.

I'm especially excited about Africa. I've wanted to go there for quite some time, and while I sometimes debate doing the Peace Corps thing, I know regardless I'd like to go to Africa. It fascinates me. It's time to follow la via dansante - the dancing life.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Today was full of drugs and pain so I'll make this quick: Tomorrow I'm giving up worrying. I will attempt, for the first time in my life, to go 24 hours without worrying. I'm not going to think about where I'm going to live, what I'm going to do with my life, how I'm going to pay this bill or that doctor. I'm just going to try to be centered, balanced, and enjoy the day.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

"Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help"

And sometimes quoting George Carlin is the best way to start a blog. It's true - brain damage is good for you. At least, it was good for me today. I woke up at pain level 8. Oh joy. Then I went to brush my teeth and came back to find the most annoying child ever in my room - don't worry, it wasn't one who lives here. Then I got rear-ended on the way to work. That came with a bad headache, but fear not! The ER doctor said, "Your head CT looks beautiful." Yup, even my brain is a sexy beast!

In all the concussion, I had to miss work. I tried to work, but I got really dizzy and nauseated, and it was hard for me to stand. Plus I was seeing auras around things and had a brief bout of double vision. They told me to call someone to take me to the hospital. That's when I had my sexy head CT. Go brain!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, which is surprising considering this is my fourth concussion. Seriously, how do I have higher brain function? Check out my last two concussions here and here.

I need to change some things in my life. I've been horribly dissatisfied for far too long, and I need to do something about it. I am going to do something for myself. I haven't done something for myself in a long time. The last vacation I had was in 2007, and I came home from the airport to furniture on the lawn because my dad was moving out. I think it would be good for me to get away from all of this for a while, just go somewhere, unwind, get away from the daily clusterfuck that is my life.

I need to dance again. I need to meditate more. I need to get rid of all the shit in my head that keeps me up at night. And I need to get rid of all of my shit. I have entirely too much stuff, and it all just takes up space and stresses me out. I don't need it, I don't have room for it, and I think I'd be a lot happier if I had less stuff. If nothing else, it'd be a hell of a lot easier to move.

I need to write more, and not just blogging, though I do need to do that more. I need to write the way I used to write every day. I have all of these thoughts in my head, and some of them are quite brilliant, and I need to devote time to that. I'm always happier when I write. It reminds me of my hopes and dreams, and sometimes it seems less hopeless and more dreamy when I'm writing.

I need to de-clutter my room, my life, my head - pretty much all of it. There's no time like the present, so I'm going to start giving things up every day. Some may be permanent, some temporary, but until I'm in a better place, I'm never going to be happier. The first thing I'm giving up is caffeine. For real. I've mostly given it up, but lately I've been having cherry Cokes at work, and I'll have Malibu & Coke when I go out. I love Coke. I love caffeine. But I don't need caffeine, and it isn't good for me. So, until further notice, I am 100% caffeine-free.

Now I'm going to read Eat, Pray, Love, because that movie looks good, and I imagine the book is even better.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, most of which has to do with my future. I've got to figure out what I'm going to do in August, how I'm going to get back to school if I ever can, and whether or not to pay $343 for 20 days of COBRA or just send those bills to the trustee.

I've asked for help in all of this, which is a big step for me because I generally prefer to fuck things up all by myself and then wonder why I'm in the same quagmire I was in before. But I haven't had much success there, and my dad is pretty much my only hope, although he's already doing more than his part by taking over my car payment.

I don't know why the rest of the family is distancing themselves so much. One of my aunts paid the retainer for my bankruptcy attorney. It's hard, though, that there isn't anything else people can or will do. I guess that whole "What would Jesus do?" thing doesn't apply here. I mean, Jesus would let me sleep on His couch. He'd probably build me a bed or something - carpenters are skillful like that.

I think they see me as a failure, and I suppose they would be right, on paper at least. I didn't graduate college (because I didn't have the money, and I won't go on that diatribe again but suffice it to say that I didn't grow up knowing I'd have to pay for my own college or I would have tried to come up with some sort of plan). I'm the only blue-collar worker in the family. I work. Everyone else goes to work. It's not that I don't think they work, too, but my work is physical. I don't have a desk. I don't even get to sit down. Ever. I'm on my feet for both jobs, I sweat a lot, I lift up to 70 pounds at a time - and I only weigh 110. Factor in the whole chronic musculoskeletal pain thing and one can see how my day is exponentially harder than most people's.

If I'm in pain at work, I take a pain pill. Why? Because I can't afford to miss work for being sick. I don't get paid to lie at home with ice packs and electrodes, so on the really bad days I bring those to work with me. One morning I came in and it was obvious I was sick. "You look like hell. Go home." I ended up in the hospital that night - shocking, I know - but I went to work that day anyway. And nobody seems to understand that every day is a struggle for me. I suppose if I were of the mindset that there's nothing medically wrong with me or that I "look OK" or "seem fine" I'd probably wonder what my deal was, too.

I look OK and seem fine because I don't externalize a lot of what I feel physically or emotionally if I can help it. I don't want people to see that. Nobody wants to see that. If they could see what I felt, people would be all weird around me I think. That's how it was in the wheelchair - no one treats you the same. Except, of course, my awesome friends, and my cousins who just thought it was fun to push me around in the wheelchair. But I digress.

I know I'm an adult. Believe me, I know that. I'm not able to support myself financially, and that's embarrassing. More embarrassing is having to ask your family for help. Even more embarrassing than that is when people say no. But I did support myself through college. I was fine until I got sick. Turns out, having a chronic condition pretty much sucks your bank account dry and puts a sizable dent in the ones of your friends.

All of this has got me thinking, and I'm OK with not being OK. I've accepted failure, which, aside from VOLCANOES, is my biggest fear. But nothing is scarier than volcanoes. They shoot out rock so hot it's liquid - count me the fuck out! And there are no volcanoes in East Tennessee, so if I have to go there - assuming I'm hopeless here and that it's an option - at least I won't have to outrun lava. I can avoid bill collectors, but lava would kick my ass.

I'm not independent. Not today, not anymore. I used to be, and it was nice. I'm not as dependent as when I was bed-ridden, but I can't really survive 100% on my own, either, and I accept that. Someday I will be able to, but not now. Now I need to focus on my health. I need to get better. I need to work less often if it's going to be on my feet. I need to continue getting enough sleep. I need to lay off the caffeine for real and do something about these thighs. Seriously, why didn't anyone tell me they looked like that? As soon as I get the green light for cardio, it is on.

I'm forcing myself to listen to happy music when I'm in the car. It's hard to be all pensive and introspective when there's a happy song on. I guess I'll try to keep that up. In the meantime, I'll just keep getting through each day until I can come up with a feasible long-term plan.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Facebooked My Therapist

Yep, I did that, after almost completely losing it. It's been a rough few days. I'm stressed about money, I'm in a lot of pain, and I miss Paw. Sigh.

So to cheer myself up, I'm indulging in some narcissism - one of my favorite things - and reading some old tweets. Maybe I'll make a post of tweets from my blog hiatus.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Panic! at the Yolos

Well, friends, I went back to work Friday after Thursday's procedure. I got to work, and let me say first off that they were really understanding about giving me time off for Paw's funeral.

But he isn't going to die every fucking week, and I'm really fucking tired of my hours getting cut. So I was originally scheduled 5 days this week. Then it got changed to 4, and this is after He Who Makes the Schedule went on a little tirade about how no one should change the schedule. Yes, friends, the irony is not lost on me. And I like He Who Makes the Schedule, but I like him a little less now that he's fucking with my money. Anyway, down to 4 days. Then Paw died and I had to take Monday off. Then I go in last night and discover I've been taken off of Sunday. WHAT THE BLEEDING HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Is this because I'm a girl, I have a medical disability, or people have the habit of dying inconveniently around me? Le sigh.

So I check out next week's schedule, and I'm working...wait for it...TWO FUCKING DAYS! Christ. Doing the math, I realize that at this rate, my net income for both jobs is going to be around $1000 a month. OK, and we know I spend about $500 on medical-related costs, but I'm going to be optimistic and say that these injections might keep me from going to the doctor as often, so I'm going to subtract $150 from that for copays I won't have to pay. So that leaves me with $650 for a month. Whoops! Gotta pay my car insurance and my phone bill. Now we're down to $450. And I still haven't put a roof over my head, food in my mouth, lights in my house, or gas in my car.

So I started having chest pains and shortness of breath. I figured it was either a reaction to the procedure or the onset of a panic attack. Nota bene: I've had two panic attacks in my life, they've both involved the Devil and were well justified. But seriously. As soon as I reduce my expenses, I reduce my income, leaving me only a little better off than I was. I have savings now, but I have to spend about half of that on insurance for June because the medical bills I've amassed cost more than my COBRA insurance cost.

When it comes to finding a place to live, I'm going to have to pay a LOT of money in deposits for an apartment and utilities because of my stellar credit. At this moment, I don't have the money for that, let alone a pet deposit. So what do I do friends? And don't say find another job. I've been looking for jobs for six months. I was lucky to find Chili's. I need a miracle. Any day now would be nice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are You There God? Or Is George Carlin the One Doing All This Shit to Me?

OK, is this some cruel cosmic joke? It's not news that my grandfather died, and that is certainly a tragedy. Then my laptop got all kinds of fucked up by about 24 different viruses and threats. It's on life support. It stops functioning at least once a day. AND NOW MY CAR WON'T START.

I drove home from work and parked as usual. Then I decided to go to the store to get stuff to make pie because I can't eat after midnight due to the procedure I'm having done. But my car wouldn't start.

When I try to start it, the dome light and dash lights flicker and it makes a continuous clicking sound. My CD player also clicks (there's a CD stuck in it - it's been there since 2007 - and if you try to eject it, it clicks). Naturally, seeing as I have lights, I assumed it wasn't the battery. Also, that battery is barely a year old. Tried to jump it anyway but nothing happened. The connectors were corroded, so we tried to clean them as best we could, but still nothing.

I work a double on Friday, so this really needs to get resolved Thursday so I can get to work. But when I wake up today, I'm headed to the hospital for injections and IV sedation. That means I can't drive for 24 hours, so I can't get a rental and if I can magically start my car I can't take it anywhere.

This comes right after I just put money into savings. I have savings. For the first time in about five fucking years. Possibly six. And I'm going to have to spend it to fix my stupid car so I can go to stupid work and oh I'm just so mad I could spit acid. Which might come in handy if it's battery acid.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Computer: I KILL YOU!

OK, so life has been less than peachy lately, but if there's one thing that is about to send me over the edge into CrazyTown, it's this laptop. IT WON'T OPEN .EXE FILES.

Wait, that wasn't nearly as dramatic as I'd intended. Once more, with feeling.


Much better. I'm sure we all remember downloading a .pdf at some point, and the explorer thing pops up and is all "Choose a program to open this file" and then you're all "Acrobat Reader" and then it works and everything is kitties and rainbows.

Well, when I try to run .exe files, it makes me pick a program. And my options are limited: Internet Explorer, Notepad, OpenOffice, 7-zip File Manager, Microsoft(C) Register Server, Windows Media Player, and Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

That. Is. It.

So, of course, I Googled this and found all sorts of programs guaranteed to open anything ever. Of course, they're all .exe files and thus COMPLETELY USELESS TO ME.

So if anyone can help me, let me know. I'll be the girl banging her head against the wall.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Facebook: How to Find out Your Grandfather Is Dead

Well, it's been a long few days. Paw died this morning. I woke up to a lot of texts, most of them from Twitter. One was from my mom asking me to call her when I woke up. Another was a Facebook update from my cousin stating that Paw was in a better place. I assume he meant heaven and not, you know, Disney World, so once again my family emergency was sent to my phone via Facebook update (which usually runs about two hours behind) before anyone actually told me. I called my mom, and she told me Paw had died, which at this point was just confirmation on what I had suspected.

I'm glad I saw him last night. I went after work, and I'm so glad Mike said he'd clean up for me so I could get to the hospital, because that was the last time I saw him alive. I kissed him goodnight, told him I was off all day today, and I'd already told him we would be OK before I went to work. Sandi and I were talking about how we thought he was ready, and I told her about my upcoming procedure that will hopefully help my pain. Even though he was sleeping, I figured Paw would hear enough of it to know that I'd be OK. He always worried about me. He once told me I was too young to have to go through all the surgeries and tests that I've had.

I really want to see my dad. My mom told me she doesn't want him at the funeral. And apparently what I need to get through this doesn't matter to anyone. You know how in Romeo and Juliet at the end the Montagues and Capulets stop fighting because of the tragedy? You know, "doth with their death bury their parents' strife." I think that's the exact line; if not, it's the gist. Well, that doesn't happen in my family. I think after this funeral I need a break from family..."family"...relatives I guess. I'm sure my mom doesn't see this the way I do, and I don't think she's intentionally trying to hurt me, but it doesn hurt me. He's my dad. He's famliy. And they're divorced, but my dad doesn't have a relationship with his dad. Paw was my dad's family for nearly three decades. And every time I went to visit him in the nursing home, he always asked about my dad. I think he'd want him there.

I don't even know if my dad would be able to go or not, or if he'd want to, but I know he would want to be there for Misty and me if we needed him. And now I'm just disillusioned, in a lot of pain, waiting for this all to sink in and hoping my pain pill kicks in before I completely lose it.

I've gotten a lot of support from a select few friends, but that's the circle I chose. And Twitter has been great. I don't know why, but I take a lot of comfort in knowing that there are people out there who care, even if we've never met. Twitter friends beat Facebook friends 90% of the time. A few people from my old church have reached out, too, and that's actually been helpful. Mostly Melissa, who was the only person in my youth group who didn't judge me for being different, didn't treat me any differently. She was always kind to me, whereas the rest of them mostly ignored me, made fun of me, or were indifferent. I guess that's why I go to therapy instead of church.

I'm getting off track. Let's sum up: Facebook = good for support, bad way to find out about family crises; Twitter = awesome; Family = unintentionally stressful; Friends = :)

Driving Lesson the First: DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES

First off, hello to my sister, who recently stumbled upon my blog, which is convenient because she's in this post. Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. It's much like the corners of my mind: a little dark, a little inappropriate, and not at all corner-shaped.

Moving on, let's talk about driving blind.

I got off work early tonight, so I went back to the hospital to see Paw for a bit before bed. I need to add that I am completely worn out. I was hoping to get home, maybe catch up on some Jeopardy!, but most likely blog myself to sleep. Here's what actually happened.

Remember when my eyes were stinging Tuesday?

The same thing happened today. I was driving home and was coming around the curve where 65/40/24 all merge into one giant drug trafficker's heaven interstate extravaganza and my eyes started the stinging again. It was so bad I had to close my eyes. Do you know what it's like to be going 65 mph and suddenly have to close your eyes because you can't stand the stinging when they're open? IT'S FUCKING SCARY. I was crying uncontrollably because there was no shoulder due to the merging of interstates. There was a bit of space/grass between the 40 and 65 sides, so I stopped there. There was already another car pulled over and one of those trucks with a blinking arrow on the back.

After mistakenly dialing 1 (voicemail) instead of 2 (sister on speed dial), I reached my sister and managed to get out through blubbering tears that I needed her to come get me and that I was near the Cumberland Science Museum (yes, I know it isn't called that anymore, but it'll always the the Cumberland Science Museum to me) but couldn't open my eyes to look around me for anything. She found me! Then we went to Baptist and thank God I wasn't dying or anything because we had to wait so long that by the time they called me back, I was able to open my eyes again. Same thing happened Tuesday - after 2 1/2 hours of closing my eyes, the stinging stopped.

The nurse said my eyes were pretty and kind of green and brown. Neat. Now let's fix them. He then told me he was giving me drops to numb my eyes. LIAR! That was the same effect Visine had. The doctor came in, stained my eyes, looked at my corneas/retinas/other eye stuff and said my eyes looked great.

So now what? "Follow up with your doctor." Yeah, I'll do that in a hurry. I don't have an eye doctor because I don't have vision insurance because I'm 20/20. Also, I don't think it's an eye issue. Today I was at work and the hospital all day. Tuesday I had an appointment and then stayed home. No common factors here. If it were irritation or something, I would think it would occur in the same place or something. I think my nerves are screwed and it's related somehow to the stinging in my hands from last Sunday.

But, the good news is, I didn't careen into anything while driving blind. Survival of the fittest!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Weak End

Yes, I get that this is an inappropriate pun, but I'm hiding behind my humor. Leave me alone and don't judge me!

Work was slow so I left after only being there 45 minutes. It really pissed me off until I saw I'd missed a call from my mom. The gist was that there isn't really anything they can do for Paw (which I kind of already assumed). They're tranferring care to hospice on the 18th. So now we wait.

I sat by him and held his hand for more than an hour. It's hard to watch. I can tell by his face that he's in pain. He's getting morphine every hour. His temperature was 103.7 and his oxygen and blood pressure are low. I see his face and I know he doesn't want to leave us, certainly not my grandmother, but he looks like he's crying with no tears. It rips me apart. And I don't know what to do about it other than blog, so here I am.

It seems we don't really end that differently than we begin. He can't take care of himself. He couldn't really talk tonight, though he did look at me a few times. And I swear I saw a smile and almost a laugh every now and then. I was trying to tell funny stories, and I was talking to him a lot. I know he knows me, and that matters a lot. I knew when he first went to the nursing home that there would come a time when he wouldn't know me, so I started wearing the same body spray scent every time I visited. I figured that later on down the road, he'd at least be able to recognize my smell. I think it worked.

I can't make sense of this. I tweeted about this earlier, saying that I was in no way ready for it, but I think he is. I can't bear to see him in pain. I asked the nurse to talk to the doctor about it, because with his fever so high there's no way he isn't miserable. He can't tell us, but I can see it. She said they'd see how the Tylenol worked with the morphine and then go from there.


By the by, when I'm on my deathbed, I will attack you if you give me Tylenol. I want strong drugs and lots of them. Put on some Buffy or West Wing, shoot me full of dilaudid or fentanyl, and watch as I drift into my happy place.

Anyhow, they said it could be any time over the next few days. And it's so unfair that the rest of the family can take off work and be there while I slave away working both jobs every day until my body is literally on the verge of shutting down. And I just want to hold his hand and tell him not to be afraid. I know, I know. I could probably get my shifts covered, but that doesn't work when you still haven't gotten your insurance paperwork so you're technically uninsured even though it will be retroactive and you're paying full price for scripts and still racking up doctor bills.

And none of this matters because someone I love is going to die very soon and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it but type out all the feelings I'm trying to hide from everyone else. That's it. I'll update again tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Few Possible Reasons Why I Might Stab You - Yes, YOU - in the Face

I'm making a commitment to update this more frequently. Perhaps some day I'll be a professional blogger! Right now, I'll settle for being totally awesome. In case anyone cares, my hands are still burning. But enough about that - you've got to be wondering why I might stab you - yes, YOU - in the face. Here are some reasons.

You hit on me via Facebook chat.
There aren't many things that irritate me as much as this, including burning hands. Facebook chat pickup attempts are far worse. First off, if you're going to Facebook IM me every time I log in, I am going to think you are a stalker. I will try to avoid you. I will also never, never, never meet you in person. Never. Granted, this only applies to people I haven't actually met. If I've met you, then odds are we're cool. But have you noticed that my relationship status is "It's Complicated?" That's code for "If you hit on me via Facebook chat, I will complicate YOUR FACE." Probably with stabbing.

I even once got a Facebook chat marriage proposal. This is, by far, the most absurd thing that has happened to me on the Internet in quite some time. This is exactly what happened. I know this because I was so amused by it that I copied and pasted it into a message to a friend. Laughs were had by all.

Facebook Chatter: so will you marry me

Me: definitely not

FC: why you think i'm not able to make u happy i think u spend with me one night you'll not forget me

Me: 1) I don't know you. 2) You have terrible grammar. 3) You seem to think spending one night with you will somehow happen and end well for you, so you're clearly delusional.

Delusions I could possibly deal with, but not the lack of knowing and bad grammar. Deal breaker.

Facebook Chatter then accused me of not liking immigrants, and I kindly replied that I dislike bad grammar despite national origin. No discrimination here!

You're a know-it-all, yet you don't know it all. You don't even know it a little.
I was blessed/cursed with being one of the few people on the planet with a functioning brain. This gives me the special super power of knowing when other people are full of shit. If you don't know something, don't pretend that you do. It's irritating to those of us who actually do know things. A prime example of this is when people use Latin incorrectly and/or pronounce it wrong. That drives me insane. People only do this in order to seem educated and/or pretentious. This might work on the average folk, but when you say "circa" and you mean "est" a little part of me dies. Then the audience has to clap to bring me back to life and, oh, wait, that's Tinkerbell. But you get my point. Stick to things you know, and strive to learn what you don't. Just don't fake it.

You don't call back ... and that's what I pay you for.
Of course, it's annoying to have calls go unreturned, but the people in my life have actual lives of their own that do not revolve around me, so it's usually days of phone tag before contact is established. Established - from the Latin est, meaning "it is" - see, learning is fun! This scenario, while frustrating at times, is perfectly acceptable. We all have busy lives - hell, even I take forever to call people back. It just happens.

Having said that, if you're my doctor, I'm paying you to be at my beck and call during business hours. If I call for a prescription refill, send it to the pharmacy. If I call about a change in symptoms, call me back and tell me what to do. If you're part of the Wendy-getting-better process, wait by your phone. I'm going to call.

You respond to my increased pain with the always frustrating, never fruitful question, "Are you wearing your back brace?"
This makes my skin crawl in a special way. When I call my doctor during a bad flare-up to see what type of medical attention, if any, is needed, I do not want to hear about my back brace. First off, if I'm calling you, I've already tried the brace. And the stretching. And the pills and the deep breathing and all the other useless crap you tell me to do before someone has to shoot me full of narcotics and send me home to wait to die lie around alternating heat and ice until the flare-up is gone.

My problems will not be solved by a back brace. Also, I'm not stupid. I'm not lying around in pain, staring a my back brace and not making the connection that maybe I should try that for a while. Furthermore, my pain problem is not my back. So quit with the back brace nonsense.

You use "me" and "myself" interchangeably, and they're clearly not.
This is especially prevalent on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, and I will not get into why I know that on here. "The teams going into the challenge are Douche and Bag and Ego and Myself."

What? Did you learn nothing in school? Myself is either reflective or intensive. Observe:

I myself love attacking unsuspecting strangers like a ninja.
I broke out of prison all by myself. Just like a ninja!

Yes, I know that's a sentence fragment. But I'm blogging here! And it's for added effect. If you knew the way I talked, you'd understand. Fragments are part of my charm. Just like a ninja!

I'm sure I'll think of a few more of these as the time passes, but for now, let me attempt this thing called sleep, which would be a lot easier if my doctor had called in some sleep meds.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Will You Think That You're All Alone When No One's There to Hold Your Hand?"

OK, I really need to start blogging again. A lot has happened lately, but tonight I'm just going to focus on what it's like to watch someone near the end of their life. You guessed it - it sucks!

Wednesday, Paw (my grandfather on my mom's side) had a heart attack...AND NOBODY CALLED ME. Thank goodness my 15-year-old cousin updates his Facebook frequently. Also, hospice got involved a few weeks ago...AND NOBODY CALLED ME. Are you noticing a trend here?

I went to the hospital after work Wednesday night. Around 11 they moved him to the cardiac ICU. We went up to see him, and the double doors were shut with visiting hours posted. When this issue came up, I responded, "Well, they're not guarding the door, so I'm going in." And I did. The rest of the family followed after I got the OK from the nurses, and we said goodnight and went home.

I spent a lot of time there Friday, but he wasn't really alert at all. He looked right at me Saturday, though, and he was talking some. He ate some today, so I think that's an improvement. We still aren't sure what's going on, but it's really hard to be there and be so helpless.

I didn't really cry until Saturday night at work. I was sweeping the walk-in and just started bawling. Luckily, no one saw. I've been doing pretty well with it. There are worse things than people dying in their late 70s I suppose. He hasn't really been able to do things for himself for the past few years because of the Parkinson's. But it doesn't make it easy, and watching my grandmother cry is quite possibly the most depressing thing ever.

My mom was really upset, too, for obvious reasons. And if something happens I want my dad there, which I'm sure will cause unnecessary drama. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like the only grown-up. But right now I just feel like a little kid, and I don't want to lose somebody I love, and I know it's going to happen and I can't do anything about it.

And, though I know it's totally selfish and inappropriate to say, it really irritates me that apparently it only matters if you have pain in my family and you're old. My mom was crying because of Paw being in pain. I understand that, of course, because pain and I are intimately acquainted. I don't want anyone to be in pain. But I've been in pain for the last two years. We had 9 people in Paw's room yesterday. Yet the number of times my family visited me during my 11 months in bed is less than 20. So I got a visit about twice a month on average. I don't mean to seem petty, but I need to get that off my chest.

I don't remember what it feels like not to hurt. I want so badly to feel something good, just for a little while. And I know I could take a few of these pills and probably feel as good as I'll ever feel, and I don't. I choose pain over pills almost every time, because I'm afraid of what happens if I choose pills. But I've been dealing with this for two years now, and to my credit I've avoided addiction, which I consider a great accomplishment because I'm doing this the hard way.

But nobody notices. Just the fact that I have pills freaks out my mom, who keeps insisting they need to take me off of them. They need to take me off of pain - then I won't need pills. I still have bad days where I have to take something to get through work, but most of the time I just suffer through it.

Then I look at my grandfather in the hospital, and he's not himself anymore. I know he's hurting, if not physically then psychologically. His medication gives him confusion, and I know he's scared and he probably feels alone. And I know there are things worse than death.

Trying to sleep now, which hasn't worked out for me lately. Here's hoping Dr. Williams can give me some valium or something so I can have some peace, if only for a fleeting moment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Internet, Sorry I Didn't Call Sooner

Finally got my computer fixed. All is well, and I will be updating this more. Hopefully.