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Yesterday was an interesting day for several reasons. I lifted my self imposed Twitter break and went back online to chat with my friends. My youngest daughter was ill. I drove forty minutes out of my way to get a sheet of paper that my ex may or may not fill out so my daughter's health insurance premiums for which he is responsible will stop being drafted from my bank account. While I was buying my youngest white soda at the gas station I bought myself a cup of hot cocoa after a friendly attendant showed me how to use the machine. That was the first time I had ever done that and I admit it was a mistake. The high powered drink kept me awake most of the night. My oldest stayed up watching Orange is the New Black until almost eleven. I stopped at a small meat market to buy potato salad - I'm allergic to potatoes so I rarely bake them. My kids consider most potato dishes to be treats so that was a concession to them, something they could take in their lunches to feel more 'normal' at school. The last time I went shopping I bought some hot dogs. I almost never do this, but they were the beef kind, they were on sale, and I knew the girls would be surprised to see them and hopefully packing lunches would be less of an issue than it is when they complain that there's nothing in the house to eat. I wasted time looking for my daughter after school yesterday. I forgot I had told her I would be picking her up in a different place than I normally park and apologized to her. I tried to bring up the morning feelings and stress, but the conversation didn't really go anywhere so eventually I gave up and we drove in silence. Her sister cut her pretty badly on her arm. I verified that the cut had been inflicted by her sister and she hadn't done it herself. I talked to my sister about it who said she had a patient earlier in the day who had old scars - that made her sad so we discussed it a bit before I let her go when my ex called. 

My youngest had asked if I would work with her on her homework. I said that I would, we were almost finished when I could tell she was upset. She went into the living room so I sat on the couch next to her and tried to hug her while she cried. At first she wouldn't tell me what was wrong. Eventually I learned that her stomach hurt. Initially I thought it might be the hot dogs. I ate one and had a lot of stomach pain from it. I'm not sure why I thought that was a good idea, but sometimes I do that kind of thing because I've forgotten how a certain food has made me feel in the past since it's been so long since I've eaten it. I once watched a short interview with a woman who said her son never ate hot dogs. A lot of people thought that was weird, I was so proud of her and vowed to limit them. I can't do anything about anyone else, but I can make sure they don't enter my kitchen along with the rest of the foods I choose not to buy because feeling like crap when your stomach hurts makes everything worse. My oldest was Face Timing my ex's girlfriend when I went into her room. That upset me, but I didn't say anything to her about it. She's still sleeping even though she told me she wanted to leave for school in eight minutes. I did something that is kind of strange and now I'm thinking about ways to solve this particular problem. Every house has things that need to be done, ours is not exempt from that, but I've made things pretty easy for people around here. My oldest was asked to do the dishes since I made supper and her sister wasn't feeling well. I acknowledged that this was not fair and helped her organize the few dishes that were on the counter. Most of the time the house looks pretty clean, even when it's a downright disaster the girls are not motivated to clean, and again, all I can do is try and set a good example by tidying things up and keeping them clean myself. They need things to do and consequences when work isn't done and this is where I struggle.

Our thermometer isn't working so I don't know what sort of a temperature my youngest is running. Now I have to decide if I would like to replace the thermometer, try and buy a battery for it, or just live without one since we rarely need it and there's not much we really do for fevers anyways. There was one incident where I took my daughter in because her fever was so high, I pulled it out of her mouth at 103.7, she couldn't walk so I had to carry her. This doesn't seem like a thing I should forget, but I'm tired so my memory is cloudy, but I think she ended up getting some IV fluids. I know it was discussed, I know she was old enough to understand what an IV was and didn't want one, and I remember talking to the nurse who lobbied for it when her fever wasn't responding to the normal copacetics they had already administered. I remember feeling like a terrible mother. She had gotten up the night before and told me she wasn't feeling well. I sat up with her before putting her back to bed. She laid around the next day, perked up in the afternoon and by evening she was so sick that I took her in to be treated, realizing that what we were dealing with was beyond the realm of normal. She had been shivering and cold even though it was August, they wouldn't let her have a blanket at the hospital. This might have been the time that my middle sister came out to visit her, but I think I might be confusing that for the time when she wouldn't stop vomiting after several days so she had to be taken in to see if she needed to be admitted after losing more than ten percent of her body weight. We're very fortunate as far as illness goes. My children rarely vomit or come down with colds. My youngest has had pneumonia, they've both had a couple pretty serious illnesses that I've written about before, but considering their rough start in life and what some people deal with, I consider these bouts to be not as bad as they were when they were much younger and we didn't know about the food allergies and restrictions. It seemed like we were always sick back then, and that probably wasn't far from the truth.

I'm in a rambling mood today. Sometimes I have an agenda when I sit down, a lot of times I'm just relaying what's on my mind. I feel contemplative and reflective today, probably because I'm too tired for my mind to race the way it typically does. 

Update - I'm back from taking my oldest to school, driving to the grocery store, stopping at Walgreens, picking up a tea, and going to the bank. At the store I ran into a friend of mine I hadn't seen for a while. Her husband is being sentenced on the 22nd and she's going in for her divorce hearing on the 8th. This is a woman with serious problems in her life. I felt so bad for her when she was telling me that her son tells her he's sick to his stomach whenever he has homework to do. She lives at least forty minutes from her part-time job that is probably paying her minimum wage. Stuff like this is upsetting because there's nothing I can really do to help her and I feel like this situation could be improved if she could find a job closer to home and spend more time with her kids while her ex is on the way out. They didn't have whole chickens at the store so I bought some wings and other pieces. My daughter said she's feeling better which I'm very grateful for, she's watching a movie and gave me some hugs. She's so soft and sweet. Sometimes I wish I could be more like that. Before I left the store my friend stopped and handed me a glass jar full of freshly cut flowers. They were the castoffs from the ones she had been arranging earlier and the colors and design were just stunning. Getting those flowers totally made my day and it improved further when I stopped at the bank. It cost me $35 to make sure that draft doesn't go through anymore, but that money was well worth it in terms of how I felt about taking charge of my life again. My daughter asked if she could go in for a 'real' haircut. My mom gave the girls haircuts last time, I'm going to go in myself when I save up the money. It's just a good experience to go in and get your haircut and I feel like that's something I can do for her and myself. It won't be an every time thing, I don't want to make room in my budget for that, but every once in a while it can be our treat.

I don't want to get too into this because I'm in a pretty good mood, but reading Advice to Crisis Line Operators and an article that a friend of mine linked to about suicide awareness and prevention was..., I'm not sure how I feel about it. Good is not strong enough, great isn't the right word either. It just made me feel glad that there are people out there that others can call. I almost sent something to someone I know this week, but something held me back. I pictured myself hearing the news that a prominent ________ had been found and that really bothered me on my way to pick up my daughter from school. Sometimes people are just fine and I'm worrying needlessly. Sometimes they aren't fine, but that's not any of my business, or my problem. I've used some of those techniques, journaling, the unsent letter, prayer, reaching out to others, I've never called although I could have. Either I didn't feel like I was ready for that, or I didn't want to be talked out of anything. I've really appreciated a lot of the lizardinlaw posts, sometimes I think too much about what is wrong and how to fix it, just being able to go on Twitter last night was very therapeutic even though I overdid it. Today I drove around happily running my errands even though perhaps someone else would have been annoyed by that task list that took me several hours to complete. It's really simple things like being able to be the parent I want to be when my daughter is sick and not having to listen to someone else tell me that I'm babying and coddling her by keeping her home from school when she should suck it up and go in to take her science test feels like a tremendous accomplishment. I don't fault schools, but I really wish there was a place where people could get more relationship advice even on topics like friendship and who is a good friend and how to recognize when people are not being nice to you and how to deal with it, I feel like we have made strides, but we're not teaching people these life skills they may not be getting at home. But schools can't be responsible for everything either. Sometimes there just aren't good answers, we do what we can and I guess that's why I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge people in a more public fashion because crafting writeups takes time, effort, there's usually a certain degree of expertise and experience that goes into them, and this is a place where I can come and just be myself for the most part.

My daughter is lying down again. The socks I just bought her are too small. She's wearing her Bucky Badger sweatshirt that my sister bought her for Christmas. I sent and received a couple of texts today. It really can be that simple and easy to brighten the day of another person. Just a hey, how's it going, just checking in, what's new, hope you're feeling better, thinking of you; it can be a call, a text, an email, a note, saying it out loud to someone, leaving the radio on when it's a song they like instead of switching it to a song you'd rather be hearing. I'm listening to a couple hours of relaxing and healing piano music that is pretty much the perfect background music for writing and crying. I was thinking about the future when I drove, and for once it wasn't this gray ominous thing to survive and get through. Today I thought about where I want to live and what I want to be doing two years from now when my youngest starts high school. I forgot to buy Epson salts, my daughter and I can do that later if she's feeling up to it. I can leave her in the car if I have to although I really don't like doing that even though she's old enough. I thought about a lot of the people I know and have met. I was talking to my middle sister last night. There are nice guys out there and I can meet them or not, it's awakening to be thinking about men as people I want to spend time with when I'm not fearing how they're going to lash out next or how I'm going to manage when they're in another sullen and hostile mood. I made a character of mine stand up for some other people. I like writing about people and situations because that helps me. I think that's why I never really do anything with those stories. They're really just for me. I think they're for other people, I don't want criticism of things that have been my refuge and escape. It would really hurt my feelings on some level if I got the wrong type of criticism so even though every work can be improved and suggestions are welcome, I'm just not ready to go there on some level. It's interesting and funny to me that I started writing fiction to get away from my real life, now I feel more comfortable writing about that than showing other people the world I created for myself. I've got a lot to do and a lot I want to do, I feel like I could write for hours today, but for now, this is goodbye until we meet again.

Take care,

jess 

P.S. I'm so tired I just want to lie down and sink into the luxurious comfort of a bed that's free from him...

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