Daily Post 135: Pre-Test

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I slept roughly 12 hours last night. For the past few days, I keep having dreams though I don’t remember much about them when I wake up. I know last nights had something to do with putting gas in my car and having an issue with being on the wrong side of the gas pumps. It also had something to do with the bicarb cartridges we use at work and the wall boxes where the acid and RO water comes from the hoses into the machines, only we didn’t need the machines for whatever reason. It had more to do with how the wall boxes were all the way on the other end of the wall, far away from where I was and what I was trying to do. There was something about waiting for the bell to ring so we could leave class to get to the buses on time like I was back in high school only I wasn’t that young. I was still me and how we were all crowded around the door waiting to leave, but the clock on the wall was fast so it was past the time for the bell to ring and everyone was frustrated, waiting, waiting, waiting, watching the second hand on the clock tick further and further past the time.

Yeah… weird dreams. I didn’t wake up with bad feelings about them. I guess I remember more about them then I thought. I do feel like I’m waiting and to be fair I really am.

I’m waiting to take my test today.

I don’t think I’m going to study more than I have. I don’t want to stress out and worry. I want to cross-stitch. I want to relax. I want to be lazy and be able to get through my day tomorrow since regardless of what I do on my test I’ll still have to go into work and it will be two full shifts of patients with just the float RN since the medical director is coming to our clinic tomorrow for our FHM meeting with my FA.

It’s going to be a busy and important day and I don’t really want to start it off with burnout from today.

So… no. No more studying. I’m going to do what I do and I’ll figure it out from there. If I don’t know it by now then I’m not going to know it in the next few hours anyway. My instructors felt like I knew the skills enough to check them off. They were confident in my abilities. I need to have some confidence in myself, too.

Ox called not long ago. He’s off work and headed home. I asked if he would be willing to go into town with me this evening. The thought of not going to this test by myself makes me feel better. I know that’s kind of selfish; having someone sit around for two hours doing nothing… but I wouldn’t be alone. I would have someone to look forward to seeing once I’m done. A hug regardless of what the outcome is. He’s agreed to drive us in so I don’t have to do that either. I can sit in the passenger seat and stare out the window and listen to music.

I need to stop at Walmart to get a wristwatch since I need that for the 20 seconds of handwashing I have to do for my test. After the test, I’m going to go return it because I don’t wear watches. We are also going to get food together and stop at GNC so I can have Bang for the coming weeks as well as stopping at the craft store so I can get more of the thread I need to finish his project. There are a few other things I might pick up while I’m there so I can finish the projects I have going on for my patients Christmas gifts.

I’m looking forward to all of that. I don’t care about the test, at least not in the same way.

I guess I really don’t know how I feel about it. What does becoming a CNA get me? The potential to do LPN, but I’m not thinking I’ll be able to start that in April since finances are still a thing. So I’m looking at either part-time in October or fulltime in April 2020. That’s so far away. CNA gets me nothing right now so I don’t feel any sense of accomplishment at the thought of passing my tests today. I get another piece of paper to go along with all of the other pieces of paper that I have.

Right Brain: Woo. I helped kill another tree. Go me…

I like the thought of not having to go back into town on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I like the sense of relief from knowing that the class is done. I like the thought of being able to stay home. I like the thought of being able to go to bed at a decent time again and not simply taking a three-hour nap before having to get up for work. I like the thought of doing nothing.

I know this test is a step towards something I want, but at the moment I don’t feel like I’m invested in it as much as I was in the beginning. I don’t care about the result anymore. I care about the aftermath. I care about recovering. I care about getting me back to where I was emotionally and mentally before taking on this two-month obligation. And in about seven hours I can start that. With Ox. He’s been so supportive through this whole section of our relationship and continues to be into today.

Just the thought of knowing I don’t have to worry about driving there makes everything else seem more manageable; more doable. I don’t have to worry about getting myself there. It’s taken care of. I don’t have to worry about fighting off a headache by driving back home in the dark. It’s taken care of. I don’t have to worry about whatever emotions will be there after my test because there will be someone in the parking lot waiting for me. I won’t be alone. It’s taken care of.

All I have to do is answer 50 multiple choice questions, then an hour later, prove that I know how to wash my hands properly and do five skills that I’ll have a total of five minutes to review. I can do them in any order I want. While I was studying last night I realized that I knew a lot of the “critical” steps for each skill.

I’ll be alright. This test can’t kill me. It can’t take my job away from me. It can’t take my home away from me. Or my car. This test can’t harm me in any way other than emotionally and mentally and that’s only if I let it.

So I’m not going to let it. I’m going to go enjoy cross stitching for a bit while watching more episodes of Bleach once Ox gets home. I’m going to take a really nice, long, hot shower before getting dressed to go get my watch. I might get a little something to eat to hold me over for those two hours. After that, I have a really nice evening to look forward to. I’ll be able to be productive and get in quality time.

It’s almost over and that knowledge, that fact, makes me want to cry a little bit with relief. I keep typing that word, but that’s what I feel. This heaviness that I didn’t really know was there is about to go away. All I have to do is keep going for a few more hours. I can do that. I can make it through this and then all that’s left is work and work is easy.

I know what’s expected of me. I know how to do my job and do it well. There might be a lot of it, but it’s known. It’s not scary or nebulous. It’s almost auto piolet in some regards. I come in. I set up the machines. I test the water room. I make sure the clinic is ready for my patients. I get to say good morning to them and chit chat and be interested in their lives. I get to ask about their plans for the weekend. I get to help them live. And then I get to clean everything up, close everything down, and go home.

Easy. Known. Safe. Routine.

I can do that. I want that.

I’m almost there.

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Daily Post 134: Procrastinating on Studying

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I passed my test last night. Got a 98 since I missed one question. You have to wait 10-20 minutes before taking someone’s oral temperature if they’ve just had something to drink. Not 5-10 minutes. You’re welcome.

I’ve officially completed my CNA course. I’m signed up to take my state skills test tomorrow at 6:30 pm. I have my state written test at 5:30 pm. I’ll know if I pass both of them before I leave campus.

I’m about to begin studying for my skills test. That’s a whole process in itself that I’ve talked to a few people about but I don’t think I’ve ever explained it here on my blog and for better or for worse, I don’t really feel like getting into it right now. Maybe the next time I write.

Work today wasn’t bad. It was the first time that we had nearly all of our patients back from the hospital. It was just me and my FA on the floor today and even though we didn’t have the extra nurse there to help things went fairly smoothly.

I’m still tired, though, and that tiredness eats away at everything. I should care more about my test tomorrow, but right now I sort of don’t. Whatever happens, will happen. Either I’ll fail, drink and cry about it and then figure out retesting. Or I’ll pass, drink and cry about it and then figure out what I want to do with my LPN course.

Jon and I have talked a fair amount this week. Ox and I have talked, too. We both think I’m contending with depression right now. Potentially burn out as well. I turned down working an extra shift this coming Saturday. See… I can say no… sometimes. Not without mild guilt, but since the only thing I want to do is hermit myself away from the world, the thought of having to give up any sort of time to be around people, even to grocery shop, is sort of a no-go right now.

I’ve been thinking about maybe going to the dojo on Saturday. If I took the shift it would have been a definite no and I wasn’t ok with that. I’m about to work a crapton of overtime in the next two weeks. I don’t want to give up one of the few days off that I’ll have. I need to go to my eye clinic and get a receipt for my lens fitting so I can actually get the rebate I was denied today. Jerks. I need to do laundry. I need to finish meal prepping for the next two weeks since I will have a single day off during each of them and I don’t want to spend any of that day having to do chores.

I need to take care of me a little bit more than what I’ve been doing. I think a lot of it comes back to sleep. Lack of sleep makes everything harder. If that means I need to give up the dojo for a little bit longer then I guess that’s what I need to do.

In a way, the coming weeks will be easier. All I’ll have to do is work. No worrying about tests or studying or discussion posts that are so lacking in content that there isn’t really anything worth replying to. The extra shifts are only about eight hours. I’ll have the rest of the day to myself. I could go to the gym to run or row. It would be beneficial to run since I want to take vacation in February to go to Florida and I could do the Warrior Dash while I’m there.

I’ve decided not to apply to go to a convention for work in March. Not sure if I wrote about that either. There was an opportunity that I think I’m going to pass on. I’m already going to be doing preceptor training sometime around April. I might get into this leadership course which would be a six-month investment. I just went to Dever… I think I’m ok with not doing something.

I think I’m ok with taking a step back for a little while. I think I would be ok with having days off that are legit full days off with no additional side / personal development obligations.

And with that, I’m off to go study so I can pass my tests on the first try and not have them looming over me.

Daily Post 133: Finally Back Home

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I’ve been back from Dever for a few days now. I got back Wednesday evening around 8:45. I drove home and saw Ox. We went to sleep only to wake back up at 3 in the morning. He headed to work and I drove to Fremont to cover a shift at the clinic there, then came back to Lincoln. Ox and I met up for lunch before going back home. We had Chinese at a place we’ve seen before. I really liked it and hope to continue to be able to go there on those special occasions where we go out.

Thursday evening I should have gone into the class for my last chance to participate in clinical, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed home that evening, going to bed early to wake back up and cover a shift at my own clinic Friday morning.

I was dead. Not one of those “I’m sort of tired but it will burn off as the day goes on” sort of deads. No. This was a physical barrier of, “I’m your body and you’re asking too much of me so I’m going to make you feel like crap for the whole day because fuck you for not taking better care of me,” sort of deads.

I was ridiculously slow at everything I did on Friday and the only reason we stayed on schedule was because it was me, the float RN, and my FA on the floor and both of them were running circles around me. I’m grateful for them pulling my slack because I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day without them.

It was good to see all of my patients after an entire week’s absence. I got to share my adventure with all of them and that most likely contributed to me being “behind”. All of the time I spent talking and catching up with people was time that I wasn’t working or making sure all of the tasks on my PCT checklist got done.

It was a pretty good day overall, just one where I knew right from waking up that surviving my day would be my main goal. Mission accomplished, if just barely.

The trip itself wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I ended up getting into Dever close to 4 pm. I messaged Chrys since I had time to kill that evening. I booked an Uber out to Aurora and spent the evening with her and her son. We had homemade spaghetti for dinner and EJ got to read me a few bedtime stories. Once her son was in bed we were able to chat for a bit before I had to get back to the hotel since I had an early morning to prepare for.

Overall, it was a fantastic way to decompress from the trip out there and a very nice last minute addition to the trip. Having some social time with someone I care about was definitely restorative and a pleasant break from my normal routine. I made it back to my hotel room around 9ish. I met my roommate for the event and was pleased that she seemed pretty nice. Her name was also Jen. Go figure. XD

The first day of the event was decent but long. I didn’t sleep well the night before and had to fight off a headache for most of the day. We got into things like the MBTI and communication skills and conflict resolution. All sorts of psychology things, so I was fairly engaged through most of it.

We created our own personal credos and then graded ourselves on how well we were living up to it currently. Balance was one of the things on mine and the area where I graded myself the lowest.

I’ve picked up a lot of overtime for the coming two weeks. This week is going to be my only “normal” week work wise and that’s still with having to take the final tests for my CNA class, so even it isn’t going to be all that restful.

I need to remember to maintain balance and to not burn myself out. I need the things that make me feel fulfilled and which recharge me. I need time to grocery shop and do laundry and meal prep. I need time to go to the dojo and the gym. I need time to sleep enough at night so I don’t limp through my days depending on coffee to survive. I need time with Ox to feel connected with him. I need time to have phone calls with Jon and the other people in my life that I love. I need time to cross-stitch and write.

I need “me time” and I can’t have that if all I do is work seven days a week.

So while I can’t really back out of the obligations I’ve already given myself, I can be more mindful going forward and that’s what I intend to do. The new year should see things being a bit smoother. The new tech will be with me for a few weeks to train on our machines. We just hired a new RN since the other one wasn’t working out. She has to give 30 days at her current job, but it should only take her about eight weeks to go through the training process. I’ve already talked to my FA about taking time off of work in February to visit Florida. I could see Jon. I could run the Warrior Dash that’s held there. Big Bad said he would be interested in running it with me. I guess that means I have to work on that whole running thing again so I don’t suck. I could see my old teammates and patients. I could see a handful of other people from my inner circle. I could have lunch at my sports bar.

There’s all sorts of things I could do that I’ve wanted to do. It gives me something to think about and look forward to.

Chrys ended up having Wednesday off since it was a federal holiday so she drove me to the airport. That was also a nice change of plans. Both the fight out and back were non-stop flights on fairly small planes so I got to have a window seat by myself rather than being stuck between two people the whole time.

When I got to work Friday I had an email saying I had made it to phase two of the leadership application process. I haven’t worked on it any more than the rough post I wrote the other day, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

As far as this weekend goes… I’ve paid bills. I’ve gone through my email inbox. I’ve gone through the pile of papers that was next to my computer desk. I’ve unpacked fully. I’ve done laundry. I’ve meal prepped and am back to doing low carb meals. I’ve sent a message through Facebook to my sensei explaining my extended absence. I’ve bought Christmas cards to give to my patients. I’ve cleaned and dusted my computer desk with plans to open up my computer tower to clean it out later in the week with Ox. Ox has also been extremely helpful. He’s washed the sheets for the bed which we made together. He’s helped me fold the laundry and put it away. He’s cleaned his own areas of the room so it’s not as cluttered or icky feeling anymore.

He went grocery shopping with me yesterday where we had lunch together, just us. We got a new shower curtain and bath mat set this morning while we were out getting aluminum foil which he set up for me while I put bacon on the cooking sheets for breakfast. Go, team!

Spotify sent out their end of year stuff. I’ve listened to something like 4500 new songs this year. That’s almost 12 songs a day. And here I thought I slacking on expanding my music selection.

I finished the fairy cross-stitch pattern I’ve been working on, so I’ll most likely make a post with all of those progress images. I’ve started a new project, but since it’s for Ox and he’s not allowed to see it under penalty of death, I won’t be posting progress images of that one either. I’ll save posting a completed image of it until after Christmas once he’s had a chance to open it.

My class is almost over. This coming Tuesday I have the final test for the class and I sign up for state testing. Thursday is the state written test and for those signed up, the state skills test. Everyone else will have to wait until the following Tuesday to complete their skills test. Part of me wants to go on Thursday and be done with it. The other part of me wants to wait until Tuesday so I have more time to freak out and/or study. Mostly freaking out though since I know that’s what I’ll do.

I really do have other things my time would be better invested in other than freaking out but there you go.

I’m sure there are other things I could write about in regards to my trip or the events leading up to my departure as well as the events since my return home, but I feel this post covers a lot of it.

Ox and I have been doing well. He was supportive of me while I was gone, including taking a phone call where I asked if I could be honest. He said yes and I admitted to wanting to come home while tears rolled down my cheeks. It wasn’t a bad trip, but when you’re an introvert surrounded by 650 other people, forced to participate in team trivia where they ask which Super Bowl did the Broncos most recently win… you kind of just want to curl up in bed under the blankets and hide. Only you can’t because then your roommate is going to want to know what’s wrong or think you’re weird and can’t handle human interaction.

Ox promised that I could come home and hearing those words, as silly as they may seem, made me feel more ok.

We’ve had a lot of sexy time since I’ve been back. Totally ok with all of it. Just yes. All of the yes.

Anywho, aside from feeling like I’m caught back up for the most part with life, I think that’s about it. For now, I’m going to go cross-stitch before working on some discussion posts for my class later in the day. The rest of today should be fairly calm and relaxing. No working on the addition. No trips into town. Just hanging out and resting before what should be a fairly normal day at work tomorrow.

This coming week is the calm before the storm, but I’m already planning for that. I have a container of chili in the freezer. I want to make a batch of chicken taco soup which freezes nicely as well. I want to prep well in advance since I’m going to have so little time in the next two weeks to truly meal prep. I’m doing a keto BLT salad this week which seems to be doing well. I tried it yesterday. I might add more bacon to it the next time I make it, but overall I think it turned out well which is good because it was cheap and simple to toss together. Another meal I can add to my arsenal for the coming battle.

It was a good trip, but I’m glad to be home. And with that, I’m off to continue with my decompressing.

Daily Post 132: A 16-Hour Surprise

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My energy is in high flux today because yesterday ended up being a surprise 16-hour shift.

The morning was alright. The float RN and I ran a little behind, but it wasn’t terrible. Around 7:30 when I went on break I saw I had a text message from one of the techs at the Cap City clinic. There was a tech who was supposed to work but wouldn’t be able to make it in because her flight got delayed. They wanted to know if I would be willing to close the Cap City clinic once I was done in Beatrice.

I was already tired and I hadn’t even survived change over yet. I really didn’t have a reason to say no, though. If I was already going to be tired and beaten by the end of my day then why not go for broke? It’s not like I was planning on going to the dojo that night anyway. I was already getting overtime. I would be compensated for travel time and gas to the other clinic and all I would really have to do its discontinue treatments, clean, and rinse the loop. I mean, it really wouldn’t be any added stress to my already potentially craptastic day…

I agreed to the shift and resigned to the fact that Saturday, today, I would most likely be beyond burnt out mentally and energy wise.

Change over at my clinic sucked but we did better than I thought we would. I’ve definitely had better days, but I’ve also had worse days so I’m not going to complain about how it went down. Take off at the end of the day was actually pretty smooth and I was able to get out of my clinic by 4:30. Woo.

I was able to make it all the way to Lincoln by 5:30. The other techs had already taken care of the closing chores and had prepped the water room for me which I appreciated. I closed with a nurse that I have met but have never really worked with one on one. The evening went smoothly and I’m glad to say that even though I don’t have to rinse the bicarb loop often since my clinic doesn’t have one, I’m getting better at it. I can manage my time more efficiently because I have a better idea on which parts take a while and where I can get something else accomplished during the “wait” steps.

I was able to get all of the stations cleaned up and closed down, lines and charts in the chairs, bio emptied, water room shut down, and bleach containers emptied and rinsed before the loop was done rinsing. I know that doesn’t mean much to anyone other than a fellow dialysis technician, but I’m going to sit here and feel like a badass because that’s pretty good. Totally high fiving myself with no shame. Especially since I haven’t rinsed a loop in a few months; not since the last time I covered at South Omaha.

Anywho, it was a long night and I was glad to finally, officially, clock out. I called Ox. He takes such good care of me. I was asking about dinner and he reminded me that there’s an Arby’s close to the clinic that I could stop and pick something up at since there wasn’t anything I really wanted at home because cooking after a 16-hour shift had a snowball’s chance in hell of happening. I picked up a brisket sandwich along with a small mint shake because fuck it. I earned it.

I drove home. I ate. I made a drink and even logged into WoW for a little bit. I’m having a hard time finding motivation to play the game since it feels pointless. I’m so far behind I don’t know where to start. I was in Discord for a bit trying to chat with guildmates, but I didn’t have it in me. I ended up getting up from the computer, not even bothering to log out of anything, and curled up next to Ox.

Ox: You’re going to fall asleep.
Me: Am not…

The next thing I knew I was waking up at 7:30 this morning… -_-;

So… I might have been more tired than I realized because I don’t remember falling asleep at all. That was pretty typical of when I worked 16-hour days in Orlando, though. I would sit down on the couch to decompress from my day and not realize I had fallen asleep until I was waking up hours later.

This morning has been rough to get started. I’ve been in and out of bed three times so far. Every time I get up to do something my body and mind veto my efforts. That, too, is typical. The small amounts of energy I recoup quickly deplete. Apathy has a strong foothold due to the burnout and the only remedy is time.

I’m happy to say that even with low energy stores I’ve already been a little productive. I’ve paid bills. Even with outright paying for the new keyboard and laptop I’m doing well. All of the extra overtime I’ll be getting on this paycheck will help balance that out, and once Jon gets his monthly expense check in December he’s agreed to pay me the $200 for the Surface I sold him a while ago, which is why I haven’t had a laptop.

I’ve called my eye doctor and let him know that I love the trial contacts he sent me home with. He wants to do a followup appointment to make sure the contacts are fitting my eyes correctly but he’s glad to hear that they feel extremely comfortable and that I am enjoying them. That appointment is set for December 1st, the weekend before I go out of town. It’s at 9:30 in the morning so that should get me up and out of bed and moving enough that the dojo shouldn’t be an issue. Not like it is today.

I didn’t go, which means it’s been over a week since I’ve gone. I’m ok with that though. I knew this week was going to be screwy with the holiday and with how yesterday ended up working out, I accepted the realization that I was choosing work over the dojo.

Since bills are paid my next action steps are to make a grocery list and shower so Ox and I can go shopping together. I’m not looking forward to being out and around people, but I’m glad that I won’t be having to face it all alone. We’re planning on going to an actual grocery store like Super Savers or Hyvee instead of going to Walmart like I normally do. Hopefully, that allows us to avoid most of the Black Friday shoppers that are still out and about since Black Friday is now apparently a weekend-long event. No resentment or anything about the holiday season fucking with my introvertedness. None what so ever…

Overall I think today will be alright. I need to be mindful of myself and respect my energy levels. I also need to be aware of when I’m being grouchy from over-stimulation because that’s a very real thing during days like this.

I was going to say that hopefully, tomorrow will be better, but that implies that today is or will be bad, and that’s not how I feel. Today will be itself and tomorrow be itself and even though they will be different from each other that difference doesn’t imply an inferiority or a badness that I need to apologize for. I’m recovering today and I think I’m recovering fairly well. Tomorrow I will be more recovered and able to do more.

Today will be a good day. A quiet day. A slow, low day.

Daily Post 131: A Thankful Test Drive

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It’s Thanksgiving.

Today has been a decent day. I’m currently typing on a new keyboard. Yep. That’s right. I finally replaced the refurbished keyboard with its finicky spacebar key that I’ve had since I got this desktop computer. My companion of so long. Part of me feels… something. Not really regret or a sense of “badness”. There wasn’t truly anything wrong with the keyboard but I’ve wanted a new one and now that I have it I guess I feel a little like I’m being less than responsible.

This new keyboard is still too new to know if I like it or not. The keys feel different. It feels as if it’s at a slightly different elevation angle with the footrests out. It’s not my old keyboard that I’ve had for almost 10 years and my fingers can feel the difference. The spacing is just ever so different. The clicking and crispness of the sound is foreign.

I’m not expecting this post to feel the same because of it. It’s essentially a test drive. The keyboard is wireless which is nice. It came with a new mouse which I’m also trying out. It slides differently than my old one. There will need to be a trial period were I adjust to the changes.

I also got a laptop. A 15-inch Chromebook. It was $200. For all that I complain about the credit card and how I can’t make progress on it, I realize these purchases may seem counterproductive and not in line with my goals or true wants.

I’m glad I have the laptop though. It’s currently charging and my next post will most likely be written on it.

Yesterday was a decent day at work. There’s not much to report on that front. I’m still waiting to get the itinerary for my trip. I still need to fill out the application for the leadership course. I still need to write the thank you letter to my FA for my raise. Our new patient will most likely start on Monday. Tomorrow is still most likely going to be a disaster. My goal in that regard is survival. I’m not planning to go to the dojo afterward. I’m planning to come home once I’m able to and be done with it all for the weekend.

I was supposed to go to the dojo yesterday but didn’t. I came home instead because the thought of being home felt better then being around people or waiting for two hours for my class to start with literally nothing to do. I couldn’t write since I didn’t have a laptop. I couldn’t do school work for the same reason. I didn’t have my cross-stitch with me which isn’t something I’ve thought about having with me since I never have free time. I don’t know why, but yesterday I didn’t want to be around anyone; not even at the dojo. I didn’t get as much of a sense of fulfillment about going and sweating and pushing myself to be a better me as I did at the thought of being home with Ox and spending the evening together with him gaming and me stitching while I watched Netflix.

So I came home instead. We ended up going to the gas station and getting a bottle of Jack Daniels and ingredients to make chip dip. We drank together. Sexy time happened. I spent a fair amount of time afterward crying and talking about mom.

I told him how it felt like every step I take forward, every success and accomplishment feels like a step away from her. It’s a step away from the hospital room where I held her hand. It’s like I’m leaving her there to die by her self and even though I know that’s not what’s happening I can’t make the feelings stop or change and I struggle with that so much. I know she’s already dead. How can I leave her somewhere to die? I’m living life and doing the thing she would want me to do so how am I betraying her?

I talked about some of the stories I have of her. It felt good to be drunk and to cry and to voice all of these things that are mostly thoughts inside of my head that eat away at me. I’m not the only one who knows about them anymore. Someone else knows and that makes it seem more bearable.

I know mom wants me to strive to be happy with the life that I have, but there’s always the grief side of the equation now that I have to figure out and make peace with. Getting my raise at work and getting back to my starting square income-wise is not a betrayal to her, but there is a very real part of me that thinks that way and I have to figure it out.

It was a good night, tears included.

I’ve felt more on top of my life since Monday. More secure. More capable. More like effort does pay off and is worth it. Throwing down the burden of responsibility for a night helped too I think. Having today off where I’ve literally had no obligations to anyone or anything has been nice and today I got some things for myself that I’ve wanted for a while. Since I’ve been writing so infrequently it feels like I’ve done that a lot recently but I think on a logical, timeline level, I really haven’t.

I got the punching bag and the bike rack. I have the dojo membership and the gym membership. I got new clothes and additional scrubs. I paid for my new license plate and the CNA class. I got new work shoes and the new Vibrams for my race. There was also the new pillows and sheets for the bed. The cooking set… Soon there will be the expense of additional contacts, but I have the HSA account with work for that so I’m not sure if it really counts…

I’ve done things for myself here and there in small doses, making sure it didn’t interfere with my monthly expenses and that everything still got paid. I might not have made the progress in certain financial areas like how I wanted, but I’ve taken care of things that needed to be done along with getting things that made my life feel better.

I’m thankful that I am at a point in my life where I can buy things and not have to hold my breath while I put gas into my car or alter my grocery list because what I originally wanted might have been too expensive and put me over budget.

I haven’t used the laptop yet so I don’t know for sure if it will be what I’m hoping it will be, but I’m content in knowing that I own it. I’m content that I’m the one who picked it out and that I’m the one who paid for it. It’s mine. 100% and I like that. I like the thought of the freedom it will give me. Saturdays after the dojo I could go to my new sports bar and write and pay bills and make my shopping list before going to Walmart and then heading home.

I’ve talked to my older brother today. It’s been the first time in a while. I got to tell him about all the developments with work. I got to tell him about the dojo. I finally told him about living with Ox and his family and how his kids seem to like me. I told him about minigolf and Stuffed Fables and the pumpkin patch. I told him about the heart attacks I’ve had about not knowing how to be a parent and the fulfillment of watching the kids share in my hobbies and learning new things.

He’s happy for me and I’m surprisingly relieved that he finally knows my whole situation. With my history of relationships, I’ve been hesitant to share that side of my life with anyone. My blog is my safe space. A phone or in person conversation where I could be judged or may have to defend myself is a different situation. I can’t blame people for worrying about me or wondering if I’m messing up again. This is the healthiest and most supportive relationship I have ever been in though, and I want people to trust me and hear me when I say those words.

I talked to Allison today as well. She had tried calling last night. We talked until my phone died. We have plans to try to talk later tonight since she had to get going for her Thanksgiving plans anyway, but if we can’t talk later we have backup plans to continue talking on Sunday. Jon and I chatted for a bit, and now here I am, charging my laptop and typing away about nothing all that important on a keyboard that I’m starting to get a feel for.

It’s been a nice day. The only things that I might still try to get accomplished are calling my dad and Chrys so I can be caught up with most of the people in my life.

I’ve put the clothes away, finally.

Ox brought a keyboard home for me on Tuesday which I never wrote about. Like, an actual musical keyboard. He found it while he was at work and remembered me talking about wanting one. He brought it home to see if it worked and it did, so I now also own a four and a half octave keyboard which currently has no designated home, but I own it. I can play music again for the first time in ten years. I honestly don’t remember how to place my fingers properly since I switched to percussion during middle and high school, but I still remember how to read music and I remember all of my scales and parts of the pieces I played during marching band. I can pick away at the keys and it pulls at something within myself to do it; something long dormant and that I’ve missed. I’m looking forward to going into town at some point to get a keyboard stand and a few books. I want a beginner book for sure so Lil’ Ox and I can play music together and maybe an intermediate book. I could buy the sheet music for Two Trees like I’ve wanted to since I first heard that song.

I don’t think there are words to express how much it meant to receive a gift like that. I haven’t talked about wanting to play music in so long, and even when I did I’m pretty sure it was more of an in passing comment. “It would be nice if one day…” sort of a thing. But he remembered that conversation and went out of his way when the opportunity presented itself. Even if the keyboard hadn’t ended up working it wouldn’t have mattered. Knowing that he thought of me, that he went out of his way to do something like that for me, still fills me with warmth. That soft warm feeling of being snuggled up in your favorite blanket. It could have been the crappiest day ever but in that moment everything is ok because you have that warm feeling protecting you and the familiar scents surrounding you.

It’s that type of feeling.

Things really are ok. I’m actually able to take care of myself and all areas of my life are fairly figured out and my living situation is a positive and supportive one and I really don’t know what to do with my life not being a complete and total clusterfuck of what the hell.

Thank you, Universe. Thank you for letting me be here. And thank you, mom. Thank you for raising me the way you did. Thank you for everything you did that went into me being the me I am.

Daily Post 130: Square One

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A lot has happened in the past 24 hours.

I worked at the Dodge clinic today in Fremont. Patient census said I should have left about 10:20. At 10:50, though, five patients were going to end their treatment within 6 minutes of each other. Since the FA was there I asked her what she wanted me to do. I didn’t want to leave and have my remaining teammates be screwed. I also didn’t want to stay and have people getting into trouble for having too many techs on the floor.

The FA was ok with me staying, so I stayed. I got out a little after 11. I called Ox and we decided to meet at home. We’re going to go into Lincoln later tonight to do some shopping (*cough winter pants cough*), and to get dinner together. I’m looking forward to it.

Currently, I’m sitting here eating lunch and writing to catch up on all of the developments in my life since nothing can happen gradually or spread out. Once I’m done eating and writing I’m going to go to the gym here at home to run.

I’ve been wearing compression socks at work for the past two days. I think they make a difference. My legs are less tired and my feet aren’t as sore in the morning. That’s something I’m still going to keep an eye on and be mindful of. Two days isn’t a lot to go off of or make a trend out of.

Tomorrow is a dojo day. I’m looking forward to that. Work should go alright since I’ll be working with my FA on the floor. Friday is going to be a disaster since I’ll be alone with the float RN. All FAs are being voluntold to take Friday off for the holiday. All I have to do is survive and then it will be the weekend. As long as I can make it through those 12 hours Friday, I’ll be alright.

I talked to Jon for a bit on the ride home. It’s becoming a bit of a routine for us to talk on Tuesdays and Thursdays since we both have very little going on in our lives on those days, at least in the mornings. It’s been nice. Normally I’m at home so I can sit outside and drink my coffee while I talk to him. Today it was pleasant having company on my drive home. I got to tell him about everything that’s happened and he’s happy for me.

Which, I guess I should stop being nebulous about events and get into everything that happened yesterday.

I woke up for work like normal. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. We got the clinic set up. We put our first shift patients on. I was with the float RN and my FA.

My FAs boss was scheduled to come to our clinic. That’s sort of a big deal. He’s stationed in Omaha, so it’s not like we’re nearby for him or anything. My FA came out to help during change over. She got me and the RN get to a pretty good spot before her boss showed up and she had to go have her meeting with him.

The RN and I should have been able to dance through the rest of the day. Most of the first shift patients were gone. Only one was left since he was having low standing blood pressures. He drives himself so it has to be above 100 systolic and 50 diastolic before we legally can let him leave.

Our ISO patient showed up, so the RN went to initiate his treatment. I stayed out on the floor cleaning and setting up for the remaining second shift patients who weren’t there yet. I had already initiated three of the second shift treatments.

Our ISO patient had to be stuck three times before his venous needle would work properly. Three times. Three.

And this is where I’m going to take a second and mildly rant as a dialysis technician.

What the actual hell? He has a super easy access. How can you mess up his venous needle? Like, for real. What. The. Hell.

I ended up having to swap places with the RN to finish initiating his treatment. It’s not like you can hop in and out of ISO. There PPE you have to put on. There’s handwashing you have to do. It’s time. Time is valuable. You don’t waste time. Having to restick anyone is time. Plus all the added stuff of it’s not good for the access and who wants to get stuck with three additional 15 gauge needles? I’m pretty sure no one, that’s who.

The third needle is the one I did and the one that ran smoothly. While I had been in the ISO room the RN got one of our other patients into his chair. He’s blind and requires assistance. The last patient we were set up for also needs assistance since she’s in a wheelchair at the moment. Instead of getting both patients into their chairs and making sure both machines were ready, she only got our blind patient; the one who has orders for only expert cannulators to canulate at the moment. So I was the only person, on the floor since my FA was still in her meeting, who could do his needles.

Fine. That’s ok. I don’t mind doing that. But nothing was ready for me when I got out of ISO. I still had to put all of his information into the machine and computer and clean his access and then do the cannulation. I don’t even know what the RN did while I was in the ISO room because it felt like literally nothing was done.

In the meantime, the machine for the other patient, the wheelchair patient, had failed its tests and had to be retested.

Right Brain: FML. Can nothing just go smoothly? For just a hot second could the RN touch something and have it not turn to ash? No… Oh… Well, fine. Fuck you too, Universe. Bring it.

I got the failed machine retesting while the RN went to the lobby for the patient. Once the machine was doing its thing I went over and got Mr. Blind going. The cannulation went smoothly. I got his headphones plugged in and made sure his TV was on the right channel so he could listen to Gun Smoke once it came on. I got his blanket spread out and his pillows situated.

Cool. I should have been done. There was no reason for the RN to have not been able to initiate our last patient. Only that didn’t go down how it should have either. Of course not. That whole “things turning to ash” thing… I guess the Universe took me up on my challenge.

That patient had a lab that was scheduled. Cool. Not an issue. You cannulate, attached an evac tube to the needle line, place the lab tube into the evac, draw the lab, disconnect the evac, attach the bloodline, initiate treatment. Standard. Routine. Nothing crazy or hard…

Universe: Hold my beer…

The f’ing evac tube wouldn’t come off. No joke. We even tried using pliers to twist it off since her access has such a short range. Having to recannulate would have been a nightmare. We would have had to pull her needle, wait for her to clot, then pray the RN hasn’t stuck her in such a way that we wouldn’t be able to get another needle in.

Well… that’s what we ended up having to do because of whatever she did with the f’ing evac tube.

Right Brain: I’m so sorry, Universe. I take it back. I take it back. Oh, God. Please. Just shoot me now. Please. Just end it. Please. Why, Universe? Why? What did I do to deserve this much suffering? On a Monday of all days… ;-;

I was able to recannulate her access and we got her treatment going. She was an hour late from her scheduled on time, though. It sucked. All of it from the time my FA left the floor went to hell in a handbasket and it wasn’t even a pretty handbasket with a bow on it.

No. It was a grimy, dirty handbasket that had been kicked around a few times and then stepped on just for good measure, and then used to beat me to a pulp. Yeah… It was that kind of a day. Beaten to death by a grimy, dirty beaten up handbasket sort of day.

I was so mentally dead by the time I got everything caught up. I just wanted to go to lunch, smoking through the whole 30 minutes of my break before having to go back onto the floor to end treatments and finish out the last five-ish hours of my day.

That’s about the time when my boss’s boss came out to the floor and wished us a happy Thanksgiving and went on his way.

Right Brain: Yeah. Thanks. Go die in a fire for stealing my FA from me, Jerkface. I mean, not really since I know none of this was your fault. But maybe just a little fire so I can feel better about myself and not be the only one suffering and having a shitty day.

As I was getting ready to step off the floor to go on my lunch break my FA came out and asked if I could talk to her. As we were heading into her office, with me contemplating what I was about to get yelled at talked to about, she asked me how it was going.

Me: Alright.
FA: So how is it really going?

I sat down in the chair across from her desk and sighed, rubbing my temples. I told her about ISO and our other restick. I told her that things really were fine and that I just needed five minutes to regroup since I hadn’t had a chance to decompress yet.

FA: Well that actually leads in perfectly to what I want to tell you. I just got done talking with Mr. Boss. We want to give you a raise for everything that you do.

Me: I love you guys so much.

She said they would be increasing my wage to $15 and that it was purely based on work performance and would not affect my yearly review in April. She said that she appreciates being able to depend on me to keep the clinic going for her and that I help make her job easier.

We ended up stepping outside and having a cigarette together. While we were outside I told her how I didn’t feel like I deserved the award I got. I told her that I, personally, feel like all I do is my job. Doing your job shouldn’t get you special recognition.

FA: Yeeesss… You do your job. But it’s the way you do it. It’s your attitude and how you carry yourself. There’s a difference between just doing your job and the way that YOU do your job.

I told her that I understood that, and that I was and am still grateful for her words at the meeting and even more so for the raise.

So yeah… I survived one of the worst changeovers I’ve had in a while and then got a 50 cent raise at the end of it.

That 50 cents equals out to the cost of my dojo membership. My FA gave me my dojo. That’s how I’m choosing to look at it since I’ve been sort of kicking myself about signing up for yet another financial obligation while I still have so much that I need to pay off.

My FA didn’t have to request an increase in my wage. Her boss didn’t have to approve it. But they did. They both went out of their way to make my life easier. I know it’s just money. It’s numbers. Digits in an excel sheet that affect the bottom line. But it’s more human than that. It’s a very real and tangible thing for me. It’s my recovery. It’s my social time. It’s my stress relief. It’s my coping mechanism for my grief.

I am beyond grateful.

I am now making what I considered my baseline. I started at Full Sail making a little more than 15 an hour, but since I started working for DaVita I have considered $15 my goal. If I could only get back to there. I wouldn’t be backtracked anymore. I would be back at my start at least.

And here I am, financially back to my starting line. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I actually feel like I’m doing things right. Switching careers wasn’t a fuck up. I can, and am, making it.

I went to lunch while my FA went to the floor and took over. The float RN went home. I called Ox while I was on break and told him about the meeting with my FA.

When I went back to the floor there was an email from another FA talking about how our region was going to be hosting a leadership class. It’s very selective and only a few people were going to be chosen to participate, but they were accepting applications until December 7th. I poked through all of the attachments, read all the requirements, and sat for a bit thinking about the email.

I asked my FA if she had seen the email. She hadn’t, so she poked around at it for a second. I asked her if it would be ok for me to apply.

She said yes. We talked about it more and how it worked well with me getting ready to become a trainer for the clinic and how it could open doors for me later to become something like the Clinical Coordinator once I’m an RN myself. Leadership doesn’t mean I have to be an FA she said. There are lots of other positions I might be interested in that this class would be applicable to.

Soooo…. we’re going to sit down before the end of the month and discuss it in more detail and fill out the application together.

If my application is selected, I will enter into phase two where I will have to write an essay. If they like my essay, I will get an in-person interview. If they like my interview, I’ll be one of about six people chosen for this leadership course.

My mind is still having a hard time wrapping around everything, but I can say I’m honestly interested in seeing where all of this leads. I’m actually looking forward to seeing my work future and how everything plays out.

Closing the clinic went smoothly, but then it always does when I work with my FA. I was able to make it to my eye appointment on time. I got my eyes dilated which sort of sucked, but since I’m new at this clinic they have no baseline for me. I figured I would do everything while I was already there.

They gave me a trial pair of contacts which I have in right now and I love them so much more than the ones I was using before. It’s not the prescription change. It’s how they feel. I’ve only ever had one brand of contacts. These are a different brand and they’re amazing. I don’t remember the name but I know they’re supposed to be more durable than the last brand I had. I mentioned how the first year I had contacts went fine, but that during this second year four of them had ripped on me and I was a little less than thrilled about the prospect of having to go through that again.

These new, trial ones are a brand the doctor recommended I try and even though it’s only been about 12 hours of me wearing them, I already know that I’m going to stick with them this time around. They just feel… better. If you’ve never worn contacts I don’t really know how else to explain it. The old ones didn’t hurt me or anything, but there is definitely a difference between the two and if given a choice these new ones are the ones I would recommend.

So yeah, once I figure out the name I’m sure I’ll write about it again, but the eye appointment went well and I should have more contacts before too long and so far my eyes are fine. No eye cancer to worry about or anything like that. Aside from needing contacts my eyes are healthy. Woo.

I stopped at the gas station afterward and got gas for my car so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning. I got Subway for dinner again since I was starving. Ox had me tell his parents about my raise. I stitched for a bit after dinner then went to sleep. And that was my day.

It felt like an exceedingly long day and here I am to the real part of it. The emotional part. The tears part. The mom part.

I’m back to square one, mom.

It’s taken me almost three years to do it, but I’m finally here. I don’t know what else to say other than I did it. I finally, really, truly did it. Everything from here will be forward progress.

I wish I could hug you. I wish I could beam a smile of pride and feel victorious while I have tears running down my face WITH you. I want it to be with you so much, mom. I want you to be here. I want you to know that I won and that I didn’t give up and that I’m finally back to where I started.

All those times that I told the Universe to go fuck itself and kept going when I wanted to give up has finally gotten me back to here. All those times I thought I was a fuck up when I first started in dialysis. All those times I questioned if I had picked the wrong career change.

This proves it to me; to us. I’m not a failure, mom. I’m a badass. I’m your badass. I’m your daughter and I will always be your daughter and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the days that are hard and that I struggle. I’m sorry for still wanting to quit sometimes. I’m sorry for being angry and sad and hurt. I didn’t quit, though, and I’m not going to quit, and not quitting got me back to here. Not quitting got me the dojo. Not quitting got me an amazing FA who supports me and cares about me not only as an employee but as a person. As a human. You would like her, mom.

I know you’re proud of me and I’m happy that you’re proud. I just wish so desperately that we could be together in person still. It’s always so confusing to be happy and yet so sad at the same time. I’m happy I’m here, mom, but I’m so sad that it’s not the same. I’m sad that you’re not alive and we can’t talk on the phone or go out to eat. I want it to be like old times, mom. I want to hear you. I want to see you. I want to feel your arms around me because you always gave the best hugs. I want your words and warmth.

But at least I know you still know. At least we have whatever it is that we have and that I know you’re proud of me; happy for me. I know you’re still with me and I’m sorry if sometimes it seems like I’m ungrateful and that it isn’t enough. It is, mom. I promise it is and that I still love you, mom. I love you so much. Forever and for always, mom. I promise. It will always be forever and for always.

Daily Post 129: Boxes

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Today started out a little rough. But I guess before I get into that I should go back to yesterday.

Yesterday started with a 3 am wake up alarm. I showered and had breakfast before having a cigarette with Ox and hopping into my car to drive an hour and a half to get to the Fremont clinic. I’m proud to say that even though it’s been a while since I’ve been to the clinic that the route felt familiar and I only needed my GPS as a confidence booster.

I worked with a nurse and a tech that I had never met before. They were both fairly nice though a bit distant. Not as warm or welcoming as other workers I’ve met but the day went fairly smoothly. I got to see one of the patients I really like and had a good conversation with another one. I spent most of the downtime in the back room making CVC packs.

I was able to leave around 10:30. I didn’t make it back to Lincoln until close to noon which meant I would have been late for the class at the dojo. Since it was a super cold and icky day I decided to come home instead. That worked out for the best since it started snowing out of nowhere shortly after I got home and didn’t let up until well into the evening.

Instead of doing anything with the addition or outside, Ox and I played World of Warcraft. I still have 14 days left on my subscription. I got to talk with one of my favorite guildmates for a while and run some dungeons with her. All in all, it was a good day. Low key while still being mildly productive what with work happening right from the get-go.

I didn’t cross-stitch and I didn’t write, but I was ok with both of those things not happening. I haven’t gamed in a while and I haven’t “hung out” socialized in what feels like even longer.

Sexy time happened. It was deeper than physical. More than mental. It reached into the emotional and though I hesitate to say it, spiritual side of things. As an INFJ I have no problem accepting that truth within myself or believing and being non-judgemental of others when anything spiritual is mentioned. There is this pervasive feeling of vulnerability verbalizing that truth out loud, though. Even to Ox. Even here, on my blog; my little corner of the Internet where I can say whatever I want.

One of the things I value about my relationship with Ox is how we “beta-test” experiences we share or situations we find ourselves in. We talk about whatever it is outside, on the front porch, usually while we smoke together. We talk about what we liked. What we didn’t like. What we’re still unsure about. What could have made it better.

Our beta-testing is a safe time. It’s open. It’s honest. It’s secure and unjudgemental. It’s information to help both of us continually improve because you can’t become a better you without feedback.

Even in the safety and security of our beta-test time it was hard for me to admit that our experience reached deeper into my self than any of our sexual encounters over the past 10 months.

My heart still feels broken from mom’s death. Talking about or acknowledging my heart in the emotional sense, is something I struggle with. I function. I live. I have found new passions in the form of martial arts, and I have gone back to old ones in the forms of gaming and cross-stitching. But loving someone as fully, as deeply, as unconditionally, as I did my mom scares me.

For most of these 10 months, I have harbored sadness because I have felt like I could not love Ox the way he deserves to be loved. I have thought my heart could no longer work that way. I can and could love, but not completely. Only in a distant, halfway broken way because everyone is going to die so what’s the point in opening myself up to that type of pain again?

I think maybe that’s changing. Maybe I’m not broken and I’ve just needed more time to heal. Maybe I needed the words he said last night. Maybe I needed someone to take me down to that deep dark place in myself where my pain and sorrow and brokenness regarding relationships resides and confront those things with me.

I have known logically for a while that I am not alone. Emotionally I have felt less alone as I keep moving forward and for the most part standing tall since mom died. But now I’m starting to feel it in the place where for so long I have felt my invisible wound that no one can see. The one in the center of my chest that’s circular and aches at the edges when my grief flares up and demands my energy and attention.

I’m starting to feel love and closeness in my heart. In my chakra. In my self. And that scares me. On some level it makes me want to cry from fear. The fear of feeling that horribly soul-crushing feeling of aloneness again. But there’s also feelings of safety and acceptance. Things I hadn’t realized I missed or was denying myself.

I know all of these emotions are things I need to work through. Just when it feels like I’m finally getting one area of my life and emotions organized I find another box that needs to be sorted through and the only way to sort something is to make a mess to see what all you have to work with.

I’m scared of this mess though, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. This box contains all of the soft, squishy, girly, emotional stuff. It’s the broken pieces of my heart. The one that was stabbed when Zane cheated on me while mom was in the hospital. The one that was yelled and cursed at. The one that was never good enough. The one that still has a hard time beating sometimes with the knowledge that mom is dead and I’m not.

It’s so much easier, safer, less painful to keep it incased and locked away, shoved into a dusty box tucked back into a dark corner with other, less important boxes burying it down and keeping it from sight.

But alas, that’s not how I want to live my life and that’s not how I want my relationships to be.

So here we are, back to being emotionally confused and working through shit. /sigh

It never ends, does it? ;-;

Since this is such a recent development, there really isn’t more to say about it right now. I feel better than I have in a while emotionally. I feel more connected and grounded in the present. I still have a lot to meditate on, and none of that is going to be figured out overnight. So I guess the best way to sum it up is that I’m still healing, but I actually feel like I’m making progress and I think it’s a very positive type of progress.

I was up until about 11 last night due to being irresponsible and gaming. Because of that, I wasn’t ready to start the day when I woke up at 6:40. I didn’t get out of bed until after 7 and even then I could tell I was a little on the grouchy side. I decided to curl back up in bed for a bit and I think that did the trick. The second attempt at the day was better. I felt more with it. There was more sexy time with Ox. There was an amazing breakfast and lots of chore productivity before I headed into town for my hair appointment.

The roads still had a bit of snow on them, so I got a little bit of experience driving in it on my own. I had the same hairdresser that I did the last time I got my roots bleached so we were able to talk about what’s been going on in our lives and our plans for the holiday season. It was a pleasant experience and I’m glad I got everything taken care of. I currently have dye soaking into my hair. I’ll eventually shower before bed to rinse it out.

I made a trip to GNC to get two more cases of Bang since they are buy one get one half off. I made a trip to Walmart that was way more frustrating than it needed to be. I survived and made it home, but just barely. I picked up some stuff for work while I was at the store since we’re making Thanksgiving care packages. I tried finding pants that I liked but that’s still a no-go. I’ve been wearing my scrub bottoms since those are the only pants I really own aside from two fairly thin yoga type pants. They don’t exactly cut it in 20-degree weather. Who knew?

I’ve finished all of my meal prep for the coming week and the laundry is dry. I should put it away but instead, I’m most likely going to run to the gas station with Ox and pick up Subway for dinner before coming home and gaming a bit before going to sleep. That may change to cross-stitching so I can finish watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood… We’ll see.

But yeah, overall it’s been a good weekend. I even made an eye appointment for tomorrow after work so I can get more contacts since I’m on my last pair.

And on that note, I’m going to go since I’m hungry.