make tea not war

(no subject)

Today I think I am just very tired. I can’t do the rescue e-mails - I get so frustrated with people! The volume of email has gone from maybe 30-50 emails a day to over 100. At the height, we were getting 200+ emails a day - thankfully it’s slowed a bit.

It’s irritating as fuck, to be honest. I wrote out and created a whole webpage for the adoption process. There is an FAQ. There’s everything that’s needed for people to kind of self-serve and they just don’t. I’m one person against that many e-mails, a full time job, ten dogs, a boyfriend, a house that is ridiculously hilariously messy right now... As I write this, one person has sent ten e-mails. One, explaining that she wants to see the dog right away (yeah... no). Two detailing the child situation. One with photos of her yard. Another with photos of her house. Like... stop spamming me, what the fuck is wrong with you? Are you trying to convey excitement? Because all you’re doing is conveying craziness and an absolute lack of any kind of boundary. I will not respond to this person because it’s absolutely clear from past experience that these type of people, once responded to, will hound you to the grave if you don’t respond within 30 minutes.

I even created an auto response for general inquiries. Are you asking about adopting a dog? It has details on how to fill out an application. Are you inquiring about the process? Hey, it’s already in the e-mail. Please allow us 7-10 days to respond (seriously... I’m one person! We are all volunteer! Calm your tits!). We still get the serial e-mailers who are confident that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and if they e-mail 10 or 30 times, absolutely clogging up my inbox, they’ll get a response.

Except, I search their name in Gmail and send them all to the archive without looking. In rare cases, I block their e-mail entirely.

I was up until 10:30 last night working, and then all day today. Then class tonight. Then my mother calling and acting all depressed because I had class and she wanted to come over. They’re leaving for WI later this week I guess. I am relieved that maybe I can start the trauma processing therapy without interruption.

I don’t know. It’s a really off day. I spent some time outside, soaking in sun and heat, but it didn’t help. The air has that hot-wood green smell that comes with the first blush of summer. I never want to go back to work in the office. I like spending lunch taking a nap, or watching the dogs in the yard, or trying to clean something (I don’t often get far).
make tea not war

(no subject)

New guy and I had a good weekend. I basically blew off all social engagements (even with L) and we just hung out with each other. It still surprises me how much, after going on three years, I want him all to myself and how much I enjoy his company. I almost felt resentful that I had to share him... so I didn’t.

Friday night we attempted to watch Rocketman. I guess I was expecting more story and not an Elton John musical? I loved the beginning but the emotional moments were far too brief and flat. Eventually we stopped it without finishing it. Saturday, we spent much of the morning watching TV. New guy made breakfast with grits, eggs, and cheese, and we watched a new show called Love Island: Australia which is terrible but also hilarious. He did an impression of one of the “contestants” and I laughed so hard I almost peed myself. I went to work, brought Kaylee, and then after class came home and we continued just... not doing anything. Which was really, really nice. I took a two hour nap, we watched another movie, and then we went to bed.

Sunday, we decided to go to brunch. We had tentative plans but canceled them, got a delicious brunch at the Silver Diner, and then went to AC Moore to try to find some stuff for his mom’s birthday next weekend. I didn’t realize AC Moore was closing for good, now, but we took advantage of the sales and found 14 frames for our art that we got from comic cons. The art is a weird size - always 11x17” - and hard to find frames for. BUT! We found them. And they are matted. After that, we went home, and New Guy and I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. He wanted to help, so I “taught” him how. His obvious swooning delight after he tried one was worth the two hour wait.

And today, of course, is the gun rights rally on the capitol. I work about 3 miles from there, straight up Broad, and I’m not terribly happy about it since idk, the FAA banned drones within 2 miles of the capitol because of threats of “armed drones” and I passed 18 buses going into the city on my way to work. Behind me as I drove on 64 there was a van with four guys dressed in paramilitary outfits and sunglasses. They had Maryland places (BA 7999... for posterity) and the guy in the front seat was checking every overpass and every cop car that we passed like he was being followed. I was going the speed limit and they followed me at an exact respectful distance for nearly 10 miles, so I had plenty of time to observe them.

At work, it’s not 11am yet and people are keyed up and watching the news. I didn’t feel safe parking in a tight spot so I am parked semi-illegally in our lot with easy access to leave if need be. I envy people that have never had to worry seriously about their personal safety. I hope no one has leftover NYE firecrackers downtown today.
tea

Life with anxiety

This is life with anxiety.

Normal people: huh, a letter from the US Eastern District Court. I wonder what that’s about?

Me, with anxiety: I can see I have a letter from the US District Court. But, because of the USPS informed delivery service, I don’t know what it is. What could it be?? Maybe I am being sued. All of my records for the rescue are in storage. Could it be that?? Did my ex declare bankruptcy?? Fuck, I have to get through the house sale first. How long to bankruptcies take? What if it’s a summons? Don’t they have to deliver that by sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong but maybe I did and I forgot about it. Maybe I broke the law. What if I did something wrong?

I called and asked. It’s a jury pool update form. Not worth the panic attack.

scary bird

Just do a little favor for me

All my life, I've been very, very careful with "favors". I don't like it
when people do "favors" for me, it makes me uncomfortable. If it's a
romantic relationship, that's one thing, but for most things it makes me
desperately uneasy and I look for the first opportunity I can to discharge
the favor. I do not mind doing them for other people, really, because I
never keep a ledger of the outgoing favors or expect people to remember
them at some point. Maybe that's what makes me such a terrible negotiator.

In the last month, four people have asked me to do favors for them. No big
deal, right, except that they are for things in a more "official" capacity.
One lady is a volunteer for SOHO, and wanted me to adopt a dog to her
friends (who are great, honestly, but the dog already had an adoption trial
lined up). She was angry with me when I told her look, we've already
started lining up homes. But this would mean SO MUCH to her friends, and
she's done ALL OF THIS for SOHO, so why couldn't I bend the rules here?
Because I can't. And I won't. Fuck.

There's always people trying to use a personal connection to me to get dogs
into rescue. Most of the time, I don't mind, but when it's L? A VERY
personal friend? That shit pisses me off. She had this new girl she's
working with send me 2 dogs that are neither herding dogs nor particularly
adoptable. When I'm in vet bill crisis for the dogs I've already taken in,
I can't take in "not particularly adoptable". It sucks, and I feel for her,
and I WISH things could be different, but it's not fiscally responsible for
me.

The unfortunate part of rescue is that to pay for the heartworm treatments
and the fungus removals and the expensive, expensive medical shit to save a
dog's life, I've GOT to take in other adoptable dogs that may just need
vaccines, a spay or neuter, and some minor stuff that will net us a
"profit" of a whole whopping $25 on their adoption, which will in turn be
spent on the huge medical cases. L knows this, but that doesn't keep her
from sending people to me.

Most of the time I'm happy to try to help, but I am stretched fucking THIN
right now between rescue, being her board member, dogs going in for
medical, trying to make up for lost time at work, court, divorce, college,
my job, and a second job at the SPCA. And little stuff is sending me over
the edge.

So when she sends me a message that says "F. hasn't heard from you about
those dogs that she sent you photos of and that you might have fosters for.
Can you get back to her? Thanks." I want to tell her to fuck off, I've got
better things to do, and no, I'm not going to fucking respond, why doesn't
SHE help ME out and let her know I'm fucking DONE right now. What comes out
is "Sure. After I get through with the other 500 unread emails I have.
Thanks."

I know I've taken on too much. I get it. Trying to remain organized and
keep my head is hard right now. Time management is becoming a familiar
skill. The SPCA wants me to pick up more classes because a bunch of
trainers quit over their non-breeding policy. I know I'm being bitchy. I
know I'm tired and having nightmares at night and not sleeping well, so I'm
trying to be cognizant of this fact that I'm not the most polite person
right now.

But damn. Come on people. Give me a freaking break! Don't use a personal
connection to try to shoe-horn dogs into rescue. Jesus.
scary bird

School shooting

I remember going to school right after the Columbine massacre. It was
unusually quiet. People were rushing to class, the hallways that didn't
normally empty out until right after class started were already empty.
Classroom doors were shut, even those that were normally open. I felt that
pervading, creeping anxiety that was unfamiliar to me at the time, but is
an old friend now. People edged away from the "weird kids" in class.

I was what - sixteen? I was in college. I had to go back to my high school
later that day to return my books. I was scared to go back. I canceled my
advisory appointment and cautiously eyed my classmates.

Any one of them could snap, I remember telling myself. Anyone one of them
could plan to murder us all.

It was sobering and panic-inducing all at once.

I limited my trips back to my high school after that, afraid that I could
be targeted.

Even now, I think about it when the new guy and I talk about having kids
(still on the "no" side of the fence, both of us, I believe). It is one of
the reasons for "no". No because the father who tried to kill the
gymnastics teacher in court would be me. No because the mother that
wouldn't leave her child's graveside in Columbine would be me. No because
the mother that fought police to get inside of Virginia Tech after it was
locked down would be me.

It is a small percentage, I know. It's tiny compared to the amount of kids
that die in car accidents, or from the wrong medication. But it's still
there.
scary bird

A new venue, the same law

I filed for, and received, a preliminary protective order today. Again.
Different county, different judge. This time, I explained things as evenly
as I could, going with the most recent incident and then backing up to what
precipitated everything, saying that it had only taken him five days to
begin harassing me again.

He had a few questions at first, why this county (the most recent incident
gave them jurisdiction), who my "friend" was that I was visiting (I know he
saw through that to "boyfriend", and I quickly followed that up with how
long W and I had been separated and that we had a separation agreement).
But as I delved deeper into the separation, when W left, the events
directly thereafter, he didn't ask any more questions. He listened, wrote
things down, and I was in there for maybe five or ten minutes when he said
he was issuing the preliminary protective order, and the reason for his
decision was that W was once again stalking me, and last time, had
attempted to buy a gun the last time I had a protective order served, for
which he served time, and this was reason enough to give me the protection
of the state until a full hearing could be held.

The decision was swift and caught me off guard. I expected more questions.

It's hard to feel in any way comfortable or satisfied with any of this,
because it just means that I have another thing to "do". Another thing to
be wary of. I was stupid, beyond stupid, to have ever spoken with him, to
have expected to deal with this "like adults". It's obvious he's not
competent enough to do so.

I know that there's minimal evidence for me to get a permanent order, but I
have more than I had last time. I have the e-mail, the saved text messages.
There are no overt threats, of course, he learned from that the last time,
but all I have to do is wait. The waiting is the hard part, because I never
know when he's going to "show up" somewhere. I'm going to point out the law
this time and pound the fuck out of it. Do I have a reasonable fear? I
don't give a fuck what he says the gun was for, you don't buy a rifle to
dispatch yourself (I've been told that plenty of people try but it's not
exactly the "weapon of choice").

So now it's just a waiting game. For him to screw up or for the court date.
scary bird

Panic (written 1/11, posting now)

I'm trying to keep my head right now.

There is so much and I need to shake it all out of my head.

If anyone asks, this is what's going on right now:

One: I can't sleep well. The hearing with my ex is in a week and a half for
the permanent protective order. He's a real asshole, so I could see the
protective order being removed and him coming back and hanging around the
neighborhood again. I am praying that my sole piece of good evidence - him
attempting to purchase a firearm directly after I got a protective order -
will be enough for a judge to grant me a permanent one.

The court advocate did warn me it's difficult to get a permanent order, and
that I'd need evidence. I have virtually nothing - everything was verbal,
and he NEVER threatened me with other people present - other than this one,
hopefully very important, fact.

So what I need to do with this is: stop torturing myself and let it go. If
it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm sure he will do something within
a couple of weeks that will necessitate the whole process over again, or
get himself put in jail again. Yes, he's going to make me out to be a
horrible person during the hearing. It will be fine. Just be calm and
professional when it happens and quit losing sleep over something that you
can't change.

Two: Dogs. Dogs dogs dogs. Raining dogs. Two in LA that my contact down
there wants me to take. Is strong-arming me to take. It's ok. Sometimes I
need to be strongarmed with this stuff. But I've got three medical cases
right now and she wants me to take another and I'm trying to figure out if
I can find the funding (I probably can) and a foster (up in the air).

Maybe I could move one of my fosters over to... someone. Move Clancy to
Sarah and the new guy to T? Then take the new guy back for the HW treatment
we will have to do? It's always a freaking puzzle. This is where I need me
BOD - to help me organize this stuff. It's like a spiderweb and a chess
board in my head.

What I need to do is: chill, pray, and hope I won't have 9 dogs at my
house. I can't leave that guy behind.

Three: Things with the actual New Guy. I'm trying to figure out how to tell
him I'm falling/have fallen for him. I get depressed when I have to leave.
I left last night around midnight because I had to take care of my dogs,
which I was proud of myself for resisting the urge to stay, but at the same
time led to this unutterable sadness in me. I hate when we spend almost
every moment of the weekend together and then Sunday night or Monday rolls
around and we part. I know it's necessary. I know it's only been three
months. I know we live in separate households. But for a few hours I feel
like I can't breathe because I want him there so badly.

To be clear, I'm fine being alone, when I've been alone for a bit. It's
just the adjustment from together to separate that I'm having a tough time
with. Maybe it's just because I've been *with* someone in my home, and then
I'm alone again...?

What I need to do is: just tell him. Maybe he feels the same.
scary bird

Upon the re-read / chronicling the failure of my marriage

So. Today, I've been going over my journal, mainly because I wanted to port
it out and post my entries into Evernote into one long cohesive thing,
including the things that I keep in Google (which are not as funny, and are
more "notes" about life so I can search and don't forget too much). But
I've been reading them... and the more I read, the more distressing it is.

The last four months, while financially stressful, have been... kind of
amazing. Like someone was holding my head underwater and I finally fought
them off and came up for air. Seriously. Despite the legal issues and the
divorce and having to go to court and oh, yeah, W fighting the divorce...
it's been amazing. Like I can breathe. Like someone finally opened the
dusty blinds of an inner home and now sunlight is pouring in. It's not all
because of the new guy, though a substantial part is. It's also because I
don't have that negativity that W brought into my life.

I read over entry after entry with his day-to-day pettiness and cruelty.
The threats of leaving, starting back in 2015 (!!). Why did it take me two
years, TWO YEARS, to figure out that the only thing I needed from him was
for him to leave? Why was I so unhappy? So many entries with the word
"depression" in them.

Do you know we had sex once in three years? ONCE? Why did I let myself
withstand that unhappiness and loneliness? Did you know that I've been
looking for a divorce for TWO YEARS? Two years. Two years of unhappiness
and waiting for him to finally leave me. Holy. Fuck. Y'all.

I am an amazing person for just having withstood that bullshit for so long,
but also a stubborn idiot for thinking I had to.

I knew that some day I'd want to go back and see myself in person, shake
myself and say, "What took you so long?"

Now I just want to hug her and let her cry. Oh my god, past self, it's so
much better on the other side. Worries and all, it is SO much better. When
you don't dread going home, like you said you did. Or you don't get bitched
at because you didn't buy the right potato chips. Or you can go home and
turn the music up and clean at 11pm because you WANT to. Or no one is
sitting there, drinking the Nth beer, calling you lazy...

I am devastated for myself, the time I wasted glorifying tiny rays of
sunshine and snippets of happiness instead of opening up the blinds and
letting it in. How I lifted up the tiny things that made me happy or
satisfied and ignored the storm above my head. I've always been able to
find happiness even in the most dire of circumstances but ... this
self-imposed isolation...

I want to post everything somewhere, publicly, where maybe it will help
someone else.

Please, please don't stay if you are so deeply unhappy, for so long. Don't.
Just don't. There is SO much more to life on the other side. Some of you
have told me this. I was like "yeah, I know." But I didn't know. I didn't.
I was existing. I was taking some happiness from small things. But I wasn't
happy. I wasn't myself. And then I told him to leave, finally, that I
wouldn't be asking him back and while it set in motion the more terrifying
things that have happened in my life, it was also like jumping from the top
of a building and realizing that I had wings.

In the movie Maleficent, she's deeply unhappy without her wings. Trapped,
hunted, feared (I liked this movie, even the corny parts). You root for her
to win, for her to gain back her freedom and her autonomy. I never thought
that I'd think of it as a metaphor. That someone was given my wings and I
held *myself* hostage for them. And then I finally broke free and it was
awesome and terrible all at once.

I am still fighting to free myself from all of those bonds but I wouldn't
trade one minute of freedom for the depressing sameness day after day. I
wouldn't trade one second of love and affection for slightly more financial
security.

I will never go back to that. Ever.

I cried the other day with my mother because I was angry with her for
sheltering and helping W. I finally told her. "It's going to be okay," she
said. "Mid summer, you'll be divorced and free of all of this." And it gave
me the sliver of hope I needed to grasp at that dark moment, to pull myself
back up.

I wrote two years ago, when W had been talking about leaving me for about
six months and using it as a tool to manipulate me, that if I had to define
the perfect man, it would be the one that made me feel invincible, the one
that I could count on to be at my side and providing cover fire, not
cowering and not commanding, an equal and nothing more or less, a man that
would fight for me as much as I fought for him. I wrote in the same entry
that I would rather be alone than accept less, that I needed more than just
marking time on my prison cell of a marriage.

I needed to be free. I don't know what I learned in the intervening two
years, unless it was what a test of loyalty and fortitude looked like.

God help me, but I will never do that again. I will never live in
unhappiness like I was then. I can't. I've discovered the world beyond that
misery.

It wasn't worth it. Not even a little bit. I'm not shackling my wings for
anyone, ever again.
scary bird

Rescue Dramars

I feel so dumb sometimes. I added two people to my board for the rescue
last year. Both of them wanted to do fundraising. Great, thought I, I hate
asking people for money and these people can do it for me!

Money I have raised for the rescue in 2017: $4180.00
Money they have raised for the rescue in 2017: $100.

Instead, it appears they are using their positions to create drama. One of
them adopted two dogs from us in 2016. One had known issues with anxiety,
and was on an anti-anxiety drug. The other had known issues with epilepsy,
and was on phenobarbitol. Both are older dogs, estimated to be 7-8 years
old when she adopted (9-10 in age now). Now, Board Member 1 wants the
rescue to pay for evaluation of the anxious dog who has now, two years
later, bitten a couple of people and killed her cat. It's sad, yes, but she
has completely failed to implement any of the training we have suggested.
She hasn't even, to my knowledge, tried.

Board member 2 is supporting her. Board member 2 just adopted out another
dog and has caused, at each dog she has fostered, a metric buttload of hard
feelings and hurt relationships with adopters by not contacting them. Every
dog she fosters comes with a LOT of drama. Now, she's stirring up drama
with board member 1 about this evaluation, saying we should do it under
"outreach" (not what outreach is for). I've pointed out that having SOHO
pay for a board member's expenses for her LONG ADOPTED DOG looks really
shady. She said that I get food paid for by the rescue for my foster dogs,
how is it different? Really? I've gotten food paid for for the last MONTH,
out of three years of fostering, because frankly, funds are a bit tight and
my three foster dogs are eating nearly twice as much as my own four dogs,
AND were we paying me like any other foster to reimburse for reasonable
expenses, they'd be compensating me $90 per month for all three, instead of
a $44 bag of food.

So board member 3 and 4 and I have gotten together and are planning to
possibly remove them from the board of directors permanently. This will
cause some hard feelings but as neither is truly very active in the rescue
community, not a lot of long-term pain I think. I've had worse, anyway.

And I never thought I'd be praying for a dog to have pyometra. Yesterday,
one of the fosters let me know that her foster dog was acting strangely and
asked permission to take her in to the vet. Of course, absolutely, let me
know how it goes... blood work on kidney and liver was ok, but WBC was off
the charts. The vet said that oh, it's maybe a uterine infection or
cancer...

I've never prayed for pyometra, but stranger things have happened.

Turns out, it is pyometra, and she's going in to have her infected uterus
removed tomorrow, thank god. I have never been so relieved in my life. I
hate, hate, hate making end of life decisions for foster dogs. It's
supposed to be the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in their lives,
not the final page. And if she's doing well for now, that would mean
finding a hospice home for her, which is equally sad. I hate asking someone
"Will you help this dying dog live a good life, just for a little while?"

Reason #2 why I foster a lot of the high risk dogs in the rescue myself. I
can shoulder the burden. I hate asking others to.

Anyway... life goes on. If I can get ahold of my financial situation
better, I wouldn't be doing badly...