Wednesday, May 31, 2017

H2Oh No

"You have a lot of water problems" her aunt texted her.

"Yeah, well it's an old building." she responded.

For a month her shower's water temperature had been acting up.  It went from super cold to scalding in a matter of seconds.  She had actually gotten burned several times.  She called into the handyman in the building several times, but it was only after her toilet overflowed that she actually met the handyman and pointed out how she'd put in several work orders and hadn't seen him.

After some texting with the landlord they called a plumber and set up an appointment for when the building was turning off the water anyway.

She hated strangers being in her space. The handyman had spent days fixing her toilet and stepped all over her bathmats with his dirty shoes.  She washed them, again after they had been washed after the great flood of 2017.

The plumber made them more dirty than ever before.  He also went and checked out her view with his muddy boots.  Her once white bathmats had turned almost black.

When he finally left she mopped up the places where she could see his shoes and cleaned up the rest of the damage.

He wasn't done of course...there was a hole and a plastic bag taped up where her tile should be surrounding the facet.  They were coming back in a few days to fix the rest of it.

On the flip side, the young filmmaker finally made time to come pick up the old TV that had been sitting in her studio for over a year.  The empty space where it had been opened up possibilities.  She offered her ex her desk, ask it was too big for her space and more than what she really needed.  She never used it unless she was working with Dusky.  They'd be better off with a smaller space.  Her ex was finally moving out of her mother's house and she wanted to be able to give him what she could so he could start over.

Looked like it was time to start redecorating.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Road to Recovery

"Men want to be needed...and they want to be left the hell alone too." PJ said to her.  It explained a lot of what they were discussing that night.

She finally felt well enough and her voice was almost back.  She was dying for a good conversation, so PJ was one of the first people she texted.  He was at the end of his hockey game and told her to head over and "bring something chocolate."

After a trip to 711 for some M&Ms and chocolate milk she arrived at his door.  They spent a few hours just talking about life and love, as he had just gotten engaged to AB.  It was a great conversation, much like the one that started her writing about her life again.  The kind where they could go on forever not realizing the world had changed around them.

She told him about her breakdown, about thinking that she should have stayed with her ex and how she had cried to Banana.

"You didn't tell anyone else though, right?" He asked.  She shook her head no, "not really."

"Well I'm glad you are on the other side of that.  It's hard to go through something like that alone and not come out the other side a little sad and lonely and worse for the wear.  Just like the pain in your throat, this will get better too."

She told him that it wasn't the sore throat but the referred ear pain that was currently getting her down.  He was unfamiliar with the term so she explained it to him.  She was happy to see that he found the concept as poetic as she did, and he wanted to write a poem about it.  She couldn't wait to read it.

Then he proceeded to tell her all the tips and tricks to get a toilet to stop overflowing.  At least that was one mistake she couldn't make again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Valiant Effort

The pain could only be described as excruciating. Even taking a sip of water shot pain up her neck and straight into her ears, making her tear up.  Her scabs scraped up against her uvula, causing her to choke and start coughing violently.  The nausea pills that came with the original round of meds stayed untouched in their bottle until the moment where the pain was so bad she almost always felt like she was going to throw up.

It became far too much to bare.  She couldn't function, and she couldn't take any more time off or she'd be unable to pay her rent the next month.

She felt weak, like an utter loser, but she called her doctor's office.  The nurse took pity on her sob story and said she would give her a "few more days" of hydrocodone.   At least it would help her to sleep.  She'd have to muscle through the work days as best she could. 

Then her period started.

After picking up far more than 3 days worth of meds, she went home and did all the laundry that had been piling up since her surgery.  She made her bed, one of her favorite things to do to make her space feel clean again.

The laundry had taken longer than she expected, and it was late as she was heading to bed, already a little off from the medicine.  Her toilet flushed, but as she was walking away she heard it bubble.  Curious, as it never seemed to be an issue before.  Everything looked okay, clean water in the bowl.  But the bubbling made her nervous.  She reached out and flushed again.

And it overflowed.

It kept going.  It wasn't stopping.  Her hazy mind panicked.  She tossed everything on the floor into the nearby tub and pulled down her freshly washed towels onto the ground.

It kept coming.  She became deathly afraid it would start to leak into the apartment below her.  She ran.

"Be Back in 10 Minutes" That infernal sign was up in place of her false sense of security guard at the front desk.  She looked all over the perimeter of the building, they were not out for a smoke break.  She called SD and rambled about her Titanic-Situation until the security guard showed up.

She told him hurry, there wasn't much time, call whoever he needed to call to shut off the water.  He calmly asked her if she owned or if she was a renter.


" a plumber?  If you are a renter we can't do anything without the owner's signing off on it.  I'll call the building handyman and see what he says."

"That's great.  Well it's about to be everyone's problem from my floor down if it doesn't stop, so you might want to help."  She gave him her apartment number and ran back upstairs.  SD said she would be on her way with towels.

The minimalist lifestyle was all fun and games until you try to clean up a mess with four towels.

She got back up to her apartment and left the front door open and slowly made her way around the corner.  She was again grateful that her apartment tilted, as all the water had made a clean turn around to make a puddle under her bed.  She moved the bed aside and exclaimed loudly at how much water had pooled around her floor.

She tried desperately to keep the water from going further.  SD walked in, handed her the towels, saw the puddle and said "Ohhhh....ohhhh...I'll go get my mop."

Shortly after the doorman came and, with the instructions from the handyman to turn off the shutoff valve, even if it had already stopped on it's own.  The doorman told her that the handyman would come around 7AM the next morning to take a look.

A half an hour later, every single absorbent fabric in her house was soaking wet and in her shower.  She was shaking like a leaf because her medication had worn off and she was again in agony. 

"Your voice sounds funny" SD told her.  It sounded like she was losing her voice, again.  She took a shot of her medicine, and 20 minutes later still didn't feel any relief.

She thanked SD a million times over, realizing in that moment that because she was so doped up she didn't think clearly about the situation at all.  She would have been cleaning up slowly all night, going downstairs to the laundry room to dry her 4 towels and start all over again.

SD left, and she moved her bed back to the lower side of the room.  She sat on her bed, in the most pain she'd been in in her life...and she started to cry.  This was her breaking point.

"I'm just so fucking done with my entire existence right now.  It's been such a rough recovery....hell such a rough year."  She messaged a friend.  "It's things like this that make me think I made a mistake.  I should have stayed with my ex.  Even if it was loveless and he basically took all my money...he never did anything vindictively. He would have been able to help me tonight.  I wouldn't have had to call SD practically in the middle of the night.  I'm a burden.  I can't take care of myself."

"Stop it.  You know that's not true." Her friend replied.  "It'll be tough for a bit but you'll get the hang of this and find someone better for you."

She tired herself out with worry over her life and slept until her alarm went off.

The handyman didn't show up until she was getting ready to leave for work.  She left them to do their work and told them the door would lock behind them when they left.

Walking to work she got a call from her doctor's office.  They were billing her the entire surgery because they couldn't find her insurance.

"We've already danced this dance.  Y'all almost canceled it because you couldn't find my insurance, and then you called me and said it was all good.  The surgery center has it because they billed me and I paid them on the day.  I'll give you the numbers again but I'm in the system."

She was sure she sounded plenty authoritative when her vocal range was still limited to "whiny Disney Princess." At least it matched her attitude about life in general these days.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Lost Week

She'd never had to take a whole week off to recover from anything before.  This week she expected to feel better but take the whole week off anyway, writing and catching up on movie's on KSL's Vudu account, and going through her Netflix and Hulu queue.

In reality, all she did was sleep.  People slipped by, in and out of her consciousness and her apartment, bringing her fries (the only food she seemed to be able to eat) and milkshakes.  Even BFF came by for a hot minute, although she figured it was more so that she could tell everyone else that she was being kind.

She had a Text-to-Speech app that she used with most people, in order to stay engaged in the conversation.  When she had multiple people over it was hard to interject, so she ended up just showing the person next to her.  They'd respond to her verbally, and she'd end up showing everyone.  It wasn't the best way to talk to people.

The liquid hydrocodone made her go into sensory overload, and she felt like she was in a different reality. The Walmart she walked into seemed too dark, it didn't feel like she had her headlights was taking away any pain she might be feeling, but at the cost of being able to go out and be a human.  Her pupils stayed tiny pinpricks at all times, and she was always just a tiny bit dizzy.  She never felt the slope in her apartment floor more in that week.

She felt as if she was underwater, and did nothing but try to escape it all by sleeping.  Watching TV hurt her eyes, so the movies and the binge watching TV shows became a distant memory quickly.  She couldn't even concentrate hard enough to read a book or write.

Then, right before she went back to work, the hydrocodone ran out.  The sensory overload got better, although it was still very much there.  But then the referred pain to the ears started.

In addition to not being able to eat anything much, she started to feel sick from everything she ate.  Everything started to make her nauseated and she hoped she would be able to get through the work week, which was going to be 14 days long.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sleeping Pukey

She had slept for 14 hours the day after her surgery.  Her doctor had said if she felt up to it she should get out and do something.  She felt after 14 hours she should be up to it, so she agreed to go to see a movie with PJ, BFF, SD and Banana.

The Marvel Superhero movie was funny and great...until the action began.  Her eyes weren't adjusting to the lights at all, and everything seemed to get louder and louder.

Her stomach churned.  Convulsed.  She closed her eyes and willed herself not to throw up.  Even with her eyes closed the movie was so bright.  She considered getting up. leaving...but knew if she got up she would throw up all over the strangers in her row.  She couldn't do that.

So she stuck it out, willfully blocking out the light and sound as best she could.

As they walked out of the movie, she got confused and walked the wrong way to the other side of the theatre with everyone.  She tried to sign that she was going to walk home, but PJ saw that she was struggling.

"Dizzy?  Nauseous?" He asked, and she nodded.  BFF and SD offered to drive her home, as they were next door in the parking garage.  Just the idea of going around and around in the garage made her reach out for PJ's shoulder.  He said that they would walk back to his truck and he would drive her the rest of the way home.

He made sure she was following closely behind, and reached out for her hand as he crossed the street in front of cars who seemed to have no intention of stopping.  He felt her falter back, afraid of getting hit by the oncoming traffic.

He glanced back and smiled at her, "Penny, you know I'm not going to put you in danger.  You are okay, come on."

He unlocked his passenger side door, and she reached over to unlock the driver's side of his old truck.  He thanked her, and kept her conscious throughout the short drive, talking about things just deep enough to keep her interested but shallow enough that her feeble mind could follow along.

They got to the loading zone of her building, and he hopped out and got the door for her.  He hugged her tight and said that if she got too dizzy to be alone to give him a call and he and AB would make up their couch for her and let her stay for a few days.

He was truly an angel sent from heaven to her.  She went back upstairs knowing she had a backup plan if she knew it, and she feel asleep despite her narrowly pupil-ed eyes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Breathless Part 2

3 hours had passed, and all she wanted to do was get out of there.  KSL was clearly uncomfortable, so she was trying to make it seem that she was okay so they could leave.  Her head was heavy and she could fall asleep right there, but she sat up and continued drinking water. 

But they still wouldn't let her leave, so they made fun of the cartoons they had on for the kids, and she sucked down as much water as she could.  She had two popsicles in hopes that it would send her home earlier.  She tried to ask if they would take her IV out, if she could go to the bathroom.  KSL helped her after telling her to "project" or "use her words" and she shot him a dirty look.  She should have expected something like that from him after not being able to speak.

Her nurse was good naturered and helped her out.  Finally it was time to go home, and the nurse was going over the medications with KSL.  She was trying to pay attention but her mind kept wandering until she heard "Happy Wife, Happy Life."


Was she assuming they were married to each other?  She looked over with laughter in her eyes at KSL.  She knew he wouldn't let it stand much longer, and the next time she mentioned it he quickly corrected her that they were just friends.

The nurse, with perfect comic timing, looked at both of them, then to her and said "Tell me the truth...he's the Uber driver isn't he?"

Her silent laugh mixed with his heartfelt laughter was a good way to end her stay.  He went to get the car and she got dressed and got into her wheelchair.

As they were taking the corners on the way out the nurse had to dig a little deeper.  "That KSL huh, what a good friend!  You could tell he cares about you.  We could all use a KSL in our life, huh?"

She was glad she wasn't facing the nurse so she couldn't see her roll her eyes.  If she only knew the extent of how crazy their friendship really was.

KSL opened the door to the car from the inside and reached back to pull out a giant bottle of water he'd bought for her.  She made the shape of a heart with her hands and signed "Thank you."  She was overwhelmed that he would do something that nice for her.

They made their way to the pharmacy.  On the way she got really sleepy, but couldn't verbalize it so she tried to rally and went inside the store.  She felt like she stood there forever before handing over her new insurance and her meds.  They said they would take about 35 minutes, and KSL suggested just going back to his place to wait it out.  Considering all she wanted to do was sleep she agreed.

They got back to his place and she snuggled up to him which he immediately rebuked.  She was too tired to be offended by it, and spent her energy trying to keep her head elevated as they watched some TV while he ate.  She gave him her drivers license and credit card, and he went back himself to get her scripts.

2 attempted naps later and he still wasn't back.  He texted they grabbed the wrong anti nausea pills, and a half an hour later he was grabbing milkshake stuff and heading back.

The mug he made the shake in was enormous, but seeing as how it was the only meal she'd have that day, she enjoyed it, as well as the movie they watched.  After it was over he decided to succumb to a nap and asked her if she wanted to do the same, where she wanted to go.  She knew that wherever she went he would go the opposite from his earlier reaction.  She indicated she didn't care and ended up on the couch.  She wasn't about to kick him out of his own bed, even if the couch was severely uncomfortable.

More uncomfortable was when his roommate came home later, though she was cordial before going into her room and closing the door.  She heard KSL's alarm go off in his bedroom, but he didn't come out.  She realized he had slept through it and went in to wake him.  She reached out to squeeze his arm, decided it was too intimate, and instead gave him a poke in the arm until he woke up.

He got ready and dropped her off at her apartment, minutes later her sister arrived to take care of her for the night.  She hadn't spent time with her sister for awhile, and it was nice to slip into the familiarity of someone bullying her into comfort as only her sister could.

Later the freshly engaged AB and PJ came by with a care package of pudding, popsicles, and mints for her.  She was overwhelmed with gratitude for her friends and their ability to care for her.

She hoped the rest of her convalescence would be just as comfortable.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Breathless Part 1

Tears came into her eyes as she felt the blood vessel burst.  They had tried the IV in her hand first, and it hadn't gone well.  The nurse held the pressure down to get it to stop bleeding, occasionally massaging it to get it to feel better.  It hurt like hell, but she was more upset that she was going to have to sit through another poking.

The second one, just below the crease of her elbow, hurt worse.  The nurse dug around for a vessel before popping another one, then decided to get the "master poker" who would get it in one go.  She was left to freak out by herself for a minute before they brought back KSL.  She noticed his agitation immediately and she asked what was wrong.

After a few minutes he confessed that he hated hospitals, after the ones he had to accompany his mother to and the ones he needed to be admitted to as well.  She was immediately exasperated with him...why would he let it get this far?  She needed someone to be calming her down, not the other way around. 

She told him he could wait out in the main waiting room, but he said it was fine.  She tried to get him to tell her a story, make both of them forget that an IV was sticking out of her arm, that she had a ridiculously oversized hairnet on.  It worked for awhile, then it was finally time to take her back after joking with the anesthesiologist about getting her appendix out too, since she was already doped up.

Her heart was beating so hard that when it was time for her to transfer herself onto the operating table, she got woozy.  "That stuff kicked in fast!"  She exclaimed.  The anesthesiologist again laughed at her.  After quite a bit of shuffling herself over and not also flashing everyone in the room at the same time, she got to the other table.  She was still adjusting her head onto the pillow provided, and then suddenly she was in recovery, still super woozy. She felt like she had awoken from a long nap, whereas before she had been under anesthesia, it was like no time had passed at all.

She took a deep breath in and was shocked at how much air was already in her lungs without much effort.  It was as if someone had finally replaced her old, thick vintage fabric curtains with....well with nothing.  Her throat was suddenly an open window into the outside world.  Even with everything swollen and throbbing from surgery, she was feeling amazing.  Better than amazing.

Which means she'd just be waiting for the other shoe to drop during her entire recovery.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Welcome to Your Tape, Side B

Earlier in the year someone from her hometown logged onto her blog for a minute.  She panicked and moved it.  A week later they had found it again, so she set it to private.  She accused KSL several times of him being the one to find it, but he denied it.

She put the blog under lock and key and continued to add to it while giving pass codes to her select two readers, her good friends.

She continued to write, but her life got a little hectic.  It went on.  Work was getting into the busy season, and more was put on her plate than she was able to take.  It didn't help that she was still in a rut, emotionally numb.  She tried her best to feel anything at all, but she couldn't.  She just couldn't bring herself to care, or even want to care.

Despondent seemed to be the right word for her feeling.  So despondent was her feeling going into the evening with KSL.  He was coming over to have a drink, she couldn't really get herself to care one way or another about it.

The evening was enjoyable enough, though he brought up the blog again.  She said she was keeping up with it even though it was basically locked up.

"Can I tell you something?" KSL asked.

"You were the one that found it." She said numbly.

"Yeah," He replied,  "I'd been reading it for months.  I actually miss reading it."

She was still too numb to really care.  But she did wonder.

"What are you even still doing here?  Why don't you hate me?"

His shrug was almost as dispassionate as how she felt at the moment.  "It was your truth in the moment.  Sure, I was mad at stuff, when you lied to my face."

"You get why I had to lie though?  You would've flipped out."

He shook off the statement, didn't address it.  "I just wanted the full story.  You weren't going to give me that.  Maybe in snippets, but I wanted the whole story."

Maybe it was best that this news was hitting her while she was too numb to care about it, about anything.

He noticed her lack of response, asked her what was wrong.  She couldn't verbalize it...she just didn't feel anymore.  There was no real reason to.

She was walking him out and they stopped in her alcove.  She was hugging him and thinking that again, she didn't want to let go.  She was done with the numbness and wanted to feel again.  But that was pretty unfair to ask of him.  But again, he seemed to know what she wanted.

The push and pull began.  He kissed her on her forehead, the "most innocuous place" he could find on her apparently small face.  When pushed he said that kissing her after his confession would be too something "out of a movie."

She gave him permission, and for what felt like the first time in a very long time, he kissed her.  It didn't feel like something he actually wanted to do.  It felt cheap.

It felt like something he was just doing, like an obligation.  She'd never know if he'd ever wanted to really kiss her.

He only kissed her because he knew that she had wanted it...because he'd read all about it.  For months.

Dusky had posted the other day that "Nude is when your clothes are off.  Naked is when your clothes are off and you're up to something."  He'd seen her both nude and naked.  Her soul was just sitting out there in the cold while he continued to wear a heavy jacket.  She would have taken feeling numb over this feeling. 

She stopped it before it went too far.  She felt even more like a warm body in this instance than in any of the previous ones.  She said he knew how she felt about it, and he mentioned that his love language was also physical touch, which confused her.  Was he trying to say sex would mean more to him in that moment?  She wasn't about to go chasing that thought tonight.  It was time for him to go home.

When he reassured her that everything was okay and he rubbed her shoulders was when she melted, her numbness finally fading.  She hadn't been touched like that since...New Years.  Her body had just been needing another human connection. Again, it had just been a hand hold that she needed, a squeeze.

The small shoulder rub almost brought her to tears.

Later she sat in front of her computer, pondering.  What did it really matter anymore?

"Fuck it.  It's back in it's original place.  Happy Reading"  She texted him.

"Why?  The 'fuck it' wording sounds like resignation rather than consent."

She smirked.  When did she give consent for him to read it the first time?

"Why can't it be both?" She asked.

So here it is.  Welcome to Your Tape KSL.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Daddy Issues

She was getting some Wanderlust and decided to head out of town once Namelsss had to cancel their date.  She told him that she was going to drive up to capitol.

"Seems like a long way for coffee." Nameless said.  This coming from the guy who had a job on the weekends a 4 hour car ride away.

Then she remembered MG giving her a hard time about her mini-road trips.  Why was it that she liked getting out of town so much?

As she cruised down the freeway she thought about it.  Most of her road trips had been with her family, but mostly with her father.  They would go up to the ghost town and check out the old headstones, play road games.

Road trips were her way of connecting with people.  There were people she didn't want to go on a road trip with ever...and there were also people that she wanted to in order to get closer to them, as a form of quality time.

They didn't always work...but she was always willing to go on another one.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Welcome to Your Tape-Side A

Her heart never really recovered from KSL sort of telling her she was hard to be around.  Who knows what he actually meant by it, but the "evidence" of it started to pop up in her life.

MG was still cranky from quitting smoking and both she and Goldie ganged up on her one day saying her hormones were all out of wack, and if she could look back on the past few months she'd see a pattern in her moods.  All this after they complained she wasn't talking enough.  She said she was just thinking...she was in a malaise she couldn't really explain but was trying to figure out.

God forbid she be a little quiet.  It was hard keeping up between the two chatting about BDSM while she was without anything to contribute.  God forbid she get lost in her own thoughts while being actively left out.

She felt the depression deepen.  She pulled away from her friends, dove into work.  There was tons of work to dive into.  When she did hang with her friends, she tried to insert positive statements occasionally enough to basically throw them off the trail.  They left her alone.

An incident that she should have shrugged off bothered her more than it should.  It seemed to illustrate how she shouldn't be around others anymore.  The numbness began.  The not caring.  She still didn't understand why, but she no longer really cared.

She watched Goldie's dog for a week and viewed most of 13 Reasons Why.  All those news stories about the show being trigging...she realized that they meant to the people who ignore suicide and not the people actually experiencing the suicidal thoughts.

"I can't talk about it for 24 hours.  It's still too raw." Goldie said, stopping all conversation about 13 Reasons.  She could understand Goldie being upset, as a good friend of hers had committed suicide earlier last year.

She thought back to how vindictive she felt when she had decided to commit suicide.  As a teenager it was a more "you'll be sorry" than the actuality of breaking people's hearts by her being gone.  Her mother would've been guilt-ridden, her father...when you are that far down in the darkness, you also think they'll be better off without you.  It'll be easier.

Because it's hard to be your friend.