If I had any doubts that I could have gone to my cousin's wedding, last night removed them. Yesterday the girls were making pancakes when they discovered we were out of milk. They could have biked down to the nearest gas station, but I had an idea so I took them to the store instead. I feel bad that they're missing out on what would have been a cool trip so I thought we could plan a short staycation here at home with an overnight stay at a local hotel. At the store I let them pick out some treats. It must be human nature to want more than you're currently getting because they were disappointed that I didn't buy even more goodies than I had in the basket. Last night I went on Craigslist to see if I could get a roommate or find someone who is looking for one. A woman named Wendy sent me a reply text, she works about forty minutes from where I'm at so the location isn't ideal, but it was a start and I'm glad I reached out. I found a place not too far from my sister, but the rent seems reasonable so I'm wondering if there's something wrong or it's in a sketchy neighborhood. A lot of students are looking for housing, but they're not in my area. Housing is expensive around here. I could move further toward the city or out toward less populated areas, but then I'd have further to drive.

Yesterday I called a couple of companies to get some estimates and diagnostics on what people think might be going on in the basement. A gentleman named John called back and asked me to describe the problem. Given the location and nature of the 'dirt' in my basement he's wondering if we have a clog in our sump pump somewhere. Water gets forced through the cement blocks, dirt accumulates, and mold starts growing on the dirt. This sounded very logical to me, but when my ex came over he said that our sump pump wasn't that old. I should have just left that comment alone. I shouldn't have said anything to him when he showed up unannounced and uninvited. I have to get better at realizing when he's baiting me because I got drawn into another disagreement that could have been avoided had I simply kept my mouth shut. While I was on Craigslist I poked around at volunteering positions. I read through the men seeking women ads and the women seeking men posts, there are a lot of really sad and broken people out there. My friends on Twitter were talking about how careful women have to be, this is true of people you don't meet on Craigslist, but you really have to wonder what is prompting some of these posts.

There were a lot of dope smokers, one guy was looking for a Pillow Princess, I laughed hard when I read that post which said he was a giver and liked to pamper women with oils and massasges. Another guy has an extra ticket to a Brewers game, but I would need to send pictures along with my height. Reading the posts made me realize that I have standards, and they're high. A post about a 'lil Cali girl' needing a place to stay was really scary. She's basically telling people online that she has no money and no car and it sounds like she's up or down for pretty much anything unless I interpreted what she wrote wrong. My ex took a picture of the couch in the living room and then asked if I wanted it which I thought was a pretty ridiculous question considering that if he takes it I won't be able to replace it. I don't really care if he does take it, but it's a statement piece and pretty much the one big piece of furniture I have in there. My rug, pillows, and artwork go with it as does my chair and small table. I probably should have told him I do want it, but I was so annoyed with him trying to be sneaky about it that I told him it was up to him. I'm getting better at realizing that when he points out a benefit for me, there's usually something in it for him that I'm not seeing.

I also know that it's better to let something go that has bad juju although the girls like it and it's really making me angry that he can't stop and consider how his actions may be affecting them. Every kid wants a stable home, there have been so many disruptions lately that this is just a new shock for them and it's going to get ruined in short order if he puts it in a place where secondhand smoke seeps through the walls, but it's his couch to wreck. He said he would come over on Saturday to get some of his stuff. I can get my things then which will be really nice even if they are smoky and might be ruined if I can't figure out a way to get the stench out of them. I'm pretty much to the point where I'm realizing how pointless a lot of the possessions I have are. I figure if he does take the couch people are not going to think well of him and that's a burden that I really wouldn't like for myself. I really admire generosity, but when something is given without a clear and clean conscience and no strings attached, it's not really a gift. A book I read talked about this and it really helped me see how in the past I wasn't giving from the heart which was a great lesson for me to start learning.

Last night my youngest was snuggling with me when she asked if I wanted to read the book she has been writing. I said that I did so we sat in bed together while I listened to what she had written. It was a tear jerker, the first line starts out asking if the reader has ever felt like everybody hates them. The title of her book is Heart of Stone and the name of the female protagonist won't be revealed unless my youngest changes her mind. My daughter writes from the heart which is something I wish I was better at. Her story is very authentic, that's how she feels, she told me that she came up with the idea because she was reading so many books where the hero was male and saw a need for a book that featured a female. I had a lot of fun shopping and cooking with the girls. It was really disappointing to have him come over, not really spend time with the girls, and to have him stand there baiting me and arguing with me in the kitchen after I asked him to email me since I didn't want to discuss these kinds of things in front of the girls. I went back on my own word and started talking and that's on me which is frustrating, but I can own it. 

Yesterday he acted like I shouldn't have taken back the flooring when the contractor and I didn't hear from him. Maybe I did panic, but I really can't believe I was dumb enough to buy flooring for someone who is treating me like this. I told him I would be willing to buy flooring if he would advance me the cash and now I'm reconsidering that since it means I have to drive back into Milwaukee and make a fifth trip to the store. I sent him a text last night that he still hasn't responded to and I hope he doens't think that I'm going to make his requests a priority when I receive them. When he told me he hadn't heard back from me about having the girls this week I told him that I realized he was too busy if he couldn't answer any of my calls, texts, or emails. I need to keep communication to the briefest minimum which is going to be hard for me because I'm so used to over-explaining and I'm chatty. I reveal things about my plan and myself that I don't intend to, I need to learn that a closed mouth catches no flies, and teach my children the same.

My back hurts, my eyes are sticky, I really don't feel like I slept very much at all last night and I'm praying so hard that this mold stuff gets cleared away soon. Someone sent me a message saying that my homeowners policy may cover mold remediation and even pay for alternate housing. This would truly be wonderful, but first I have to find out exactly what we're dealing with. I'm pretty sure that something is going on down in the basement, but it would be my luck that I'm just allergic to houseing where nobody else can find anything wrong with the indoor air quality and basement. I have a dehumidifier running constantly. I want to have the heating and cooling people out, I'm expecting him to balk at that even though he's already agreed to it, and it would be another situation where I'm not in a position to pay for those services myself. He doesn't think those people really do anything when they come out. I see a great deal of value in maintenance. Maybe those people aren't really worth what they're charging, but I've always gotten a great deal of peace of mind out of them coming out and checking up on things. The furnace is old and a lot of big problems start out as smaller ones that can sometimes be headed off with good routine service. 

It's really funny to me how he can make me question every single decision I make. I don't tend to be a real dollars person. I tend to spend my money to help myself feel better about things so while I could be getting scammed by heating and cooling service people, the peace of mind I get from it would almost be worth it. I'm sure there are dishonest companies out there, it's funny how he's willing to pay for car insurance that is more than twice what I would buy, but won't spend a couple hundred dollars on tuning up our furnace and air conditioner. I made an appointment to see a new doctor tomorrow. I have to go to Urgent Care today and I'm almost thinking that I will since I'm still having so much trouble breathing. I haven't heard back from him or the contractor so once again I don't know what the status of the little bathroom is, but I can't worry about that right now. For today I'm going to chill out, I spent yesterday in my comfy clothes and have no intention of exerting myself physically today although I would like to try and get in to see the chiropractor. 

I almost bought myself some sunflowers yesterday. I would have if I would have been feeling better, but the thought of lugging them outside was too much for me. One year my aunt came out and planted sunflowers on our hill. They grew very tall and Jill loved going out there and seeing them. They were mowed down the next year and I miss them to this day. I don't understand people who don't love plants. That's just not a mindset I can wrap my head around since they bring me so much joy although there is work involved, it's more than worth it to me to have cleaner air and greenery in and around my home. I think I would have been a very good gardener had I not lost hope and faith in myself, but I know that I can get that back and I'm doing things that are healing and restorative. Being sick is bringing a strange calm. It's hard to get too worked up over anything since I can't breathe very well and need to conserve all of the limited energy I have for that.

Being sick reduces my world to what is important and that's a valuable lesson right now. He's going to take the teak table, the girls are upset by that, but I told them that they could visit the couch and the table over at the condo. I think it's really important not to get too attached to the material things in life that are fleeting and can't really offer us the type of comfort and support that a hug or a kiss or a batch of pancakes made with love can. I was really proud of how the girls took some initiative yesterday. I spent quite a bit at the grocery store yesterday, but I have few regrets today. I'm going to talk to the girls about staying at a bed and breakfast or hotel in the area, it won't be the same as Michigan, but it will be something for all of us to look forward to and plan together. I'm tired of being such a doormat for someone else, and glad that I made the calls that I did yesterday. My family has been very supportive, surprisingly so, the house is clean, the girls are happy, we're having more and better talks, we'll get there, it just probably won't be today, and that's okay. Messages really help keep me going and give me some perspective. I'd like to thank people who touch base, it really means a lot to me. 

I did a "welcome to medicare" visit two weeks ago.

The woman came back yesterday for her pap smear. She came in the room laughing. "That sleep handout you gave me. It's so funny. We couldn't understand our kids sleeping until noon on the weekend when they were teens, but now we do. I'm sending it to my daughters."

"Really? I wrote it for a website and keep thinking I should rewrite it for clinic so it's not so sarcastic."

"No, it's funny. So much doctor stuff is boring. It's great to have something that makes me laugh."

"Well, good."

"I don't want to get a mammogram. Too much radiation."

"Well, mammograms have way less then CT scans and you can't walk by the emergency room with belly pain without getting a CT scan. I had to fight the ER once to keep them from doing a fifth one in a year on a patient. The nephrologist agreed."

I gave her the link to the US Preventative Task Force website, to read the evidence for and against mammograms herself. "I admit I am biased because my sister got breast cancer at 41."

I did a breast exam and the pap. "The mammogram can pick something up about a tenth the size that I can feel. We pick up stage 0 (carcinoma in situ), stage 1 and 2, and we used to only pick up stage 3 and 4."

"I'll think about it."

"I'm hoping the US Preventative Task Force is the most impartial, and at least they list their evidence. They now say that they can't tell the difference between doing a yearly mammogram and doing one every two years. The American Cancer Society had a fit, but that was the evidence based recommendation."

"Ok, thanks."



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