Archive | January, 2018

Everyday Chaos

30 Jan

I’m cleaning my bedroom for the first time in a while, not only because I’ve noticed that it’s a pigsty, but also because I shall soon finally assemble the bed frame I purchased a year ago.

On the bed, I’ve found many cough drops, cough drop wrappers, a cat toy (a felt owl on a stick), pillows galore, a still-packaged new bedspread, a purple cat hoodie, some unopened snail mail, headphones, Doctor Who post-it notes, Feminism post-it notes, two glasses cases, used facial tissues, and thirty-five books. I’ve read portions of most of those books and finished several.

Maybe being disorganized is a part of being a creative person? Yesterday, when I told someone that my procrastination was one of the excuses The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy used to hyper-criticize me, she pointed out that procrastination is common among creatives.

VirginiaSolnit

Hippies, Apartments, Cats

28 Jan

I dreamed that I was one of three friends in our twenties–they were a pair of blond hippies, one a tall and slender male with long hair and a beard, and maybe they were a couple. We had plans to meet up at a restaurant, and I got there first and was sitting at a round table and picturing them and thinking of them. The restaurant was kind of crowded, and there was a large group right behind me. I thought about how people tended to disapprove of the three of us, because of our insistence on hanging out together, only three of us, and not joining larger groups.

I think I had a dream set in a theater. Yes, I went in through a side door and was in a dark hallway….

I had a dream in which I lived in a charming old apartment like in St. Louis but much larger, with guest rooms. I was outdoors chatting with someone, when I noticed–I think through a chain-link fence–that my cats Vita and Virginia got outdoors. So I excused myself and headed back to my apartment, went inside, and went in the back yard.

x-xutgy-evsSAOUuY6faWcu_43fEY5gXfx4SCxo8Pd0pX92IB

Next I was inside and seeing the many doorways of the apartment. It had hardwood floors and white walls and old-fashioned paneled, white doors. I got to the back door, which strangely was ajar. Outside, I spotted Virginia again right away; it was a small yard, and she was in the center. But she was with a little grey tabby kitten instead of Vita. There was a deep hole, and down inside the hole was a woman wearing a work helmet. She was suspended from a rope.

The kitten ran for the hole and fell in, past the woman, to my utter horror. But it was okay and came back up, and I picked the kitten up off the grass and felt very relieved and conversed a bit about it with the woman, but without mentioning this wasn’t my kitten. It was a little weird–I acted as though this were my kitten.

Climate Change is Climate Change is Climate Change

9 Jan

I wrote the following to my senators and representative:

Donald Dump nominated climate change denier Kathleen Hartnett White to run the Council on Environmental Quality. Like all his nominees, she is exactly the opposite of someone ideal for the position. Anyone who still denies climate change does so out of greed. Maybe they’re from another planet, since they don’t care about this one. Obviously, nobody like White should have any part in any country’s environmental policies.

Who are the people most hurt by climate change? Poor people who live in coastal regions and will see their homes underwater. Oligarch Dump is old enough to be dead by mid-century and plenty wealthy enough to choose real estate that won’t be underwater when all the ice caps have melted. He caters to unethical corporations that use the very fuels contributing to climate change. No matter what lies Dump uses about creating jobs, real long-term employment for many is available through climate-friendly sources of energy. His motivations come down to this: greed.

Please do all you can to prevent Kathleen Hartnett White from getting any position with the Council on Environmental Quality. The absurdity, like with all Dump’s nominations, is unfathomable.

Disappointing Cat-Sitter

6 Jan

In the past, I’ve had local friends to cat-sit for me or to exchange cat-sitting services. During my last few years in Portland, I had a frenemy who–though it was a nightmare to be close to her–was a good cat-sitter who spent hours with my cats. (True, because she was sitting in front of my tv much of that time, I received receipts from Amazon video for episodes of The Walking Dead, a show she knew I dislike.)

During my month with family in Phoenix this December and early January, a professional cat-sitter took care of my cats.

I was at the farmer’s market and was in the process of purchasing groceries, when my brother handed me his smartphone and said that my cat sitter called him. I found this very odd; why didn’t she call me instead of him? I also assumed it must be an emergency, since she had said she would communicate via texting.

I took the phone, and next thing I know, this human I hired was castigating me for not answering messages I never received. Meanwhile, I was trying to pay for my groceries via square, and the seller had to ask me at least twice what my zip code was. I must have missed half of what The Cat-Sitter from Hell said, because I paused to give him my zip code before I continued listening to her arrogant and condescending lecture.

At first, when she was blowing up at me for not answering my phone or text messages, I assumed she meant there was a huge emergency and she’d been calling and texting in the twenty minutes since I left the house and began walking my brother’s dog toward the farmer’s market. During that time, my phone was in the bag at my side. I don’t constantly, 24/7, keep my phone in my hand with the volume full-blast. I made the mistake of saying, “I didn’t know you were trying to contact me. My phone is in my bag.” I glanced down toward the purse I was carrying.

In response to that, the bully blew up at me, going on about how I’m her client (who would have guessed, since that’s not how you should treat people who are over-paying you) and should have read the guidelines and follow them and I shouldn’t be leaving my phone in a bag (as if I left it in my suitcase and ignored it since I arrived in Phoenix) and blaah blaah blaah. I went into shock and reverted to being the little girl whom my narcissistic and sociopathic relatives conditioned decades ago. It didn’t occur to me to tell her off right back.

When I said, “You said you would text me,” she continued her tirade, claiming that she’d been texting and calling and emailing. If someone texts me, I receive a notification. If I’d gotten any text notifications from her, I would have noticed. I double-checked my phone and confirmed it. “The last text message from you was on December 8.” She then started rattling off dates that she had allegedly texted me, but I definitely had no such messages, and I had no voice mail messages from her.

My brother then mentioned that he tried to call me yesterday and the call went straight to voice mail. Still in shock that someone I made the mistake of hiring was giving me a condescending lecture and lashing out at me, I quickly realized that I was having a phone problem, and I spelled this out to her. She was somewhat mollified but didn’t apologize. I repeatedly said I’d call Sprint and find out what was going on, and that it must be my phone service.

Throughout this phone call—outdoors in public, surrounded by people and attempting to purchase groceries—I was profoundly agitated. By the time I hung up, I was deeply shaken and wished to hide. I didn’t want to be around humans. I was in this state for the rest of the day, and the indignation and fury didn’t arrive until the evening. It takes a while for shock to wear off, something that toxic humans use to their advantage, because otherwise I’d be able to promptly tell them off.

It seems she was primarily trying to contact me because she didn’t find the huge plastic bin full of kibble, even though I put it in what I thought was an obvious spot.

My brother or sister-in-law suggested that I turn off my phone and turn it back on again, so I did that. Apparently by flying to a different time zone, I stopped receiving calls and text messages.

The cat-sitter eventually gave a gruff and brief half-assed apology in a text message that I did receive; that is, after I turned my phone off, waited a few seconds, and turned it back on, it was flooded with messages. Meanwhile, she should have apologized a lot more profusely than that…not that I’ll ever hire her again under any circumstances. Her arrogance and self-entitlement are extreme, like that of every narcissist and narcissistic sociopath I’ve known; ditto countless white males whether or not they have personality disorders.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me that my phone wasn’t working properly. I had been surprised she didn’t text more frequently, but I guessed it must be a good sign, that everything was going smoothly. I didn’t assume that she would text me every single day, so it didn’t seem suspicious. In short, I didn’t know that my phone wasn’t working, and my having a technological problem is no excuse to lash out at me. I had once or twice considered texting her to see how things were going, but I told myself that she had a very busy schedule and I didn’t want to come across as high-maintenance. I really, really dislike this person and can’t believe I hired her as my cat-sitter—but she had good reviews on Yelp and seemed highly qualified.

On the phone, I was too shocked and confused to point out that her behavior was inappropriate. Toxic people are very fortunate that they typically render me shocked and confused.

I didn’t dump a sociopath, move away from Portland, and practically become a recluse so that other arrogant bullies could give me condescending lectures and castigate me for things beyond my control.

People should treat you with respect if you pay them money…of course, they should do so whether or not you pay them. This should be a no-brainer. This situation further confirmed that humans who have little or no empathy think it’s okay to treat empaths, or at least empaths who are not white males, like crap. Good job making sure I remain jaded.

In hindsight, I should have asked more questions before scheduling with this cat-sitter. It wasn’t until the appointment one week before my trip that she said, “I don’t have time to stay this time of year. I have too many clients.” My outgoing cats need a lot of attention. When I returned, they’d gained a lot of weight and were desperate for attention, suggesting that they spent the month eating and sleeping.

It looks like it will be a long time before I leave town for more than two nights. I still don’t feel ready to make new, close friends; the very thought brings up horrible memories of that frenemy. When I get back into foreign travel–or just visit family in Phoenix: I need to either hire another professional sitter or have reached a stage at which I’m close enough to at least one or two local friends with whom I can exchange cat/dog sitting. But narcissists and narcissistic sociopaths are the humanoids who are drawn to me, and I absolutely want no more such monsters in my life.

Return to Normal Life

4 Jan

Yesterday evening I arrived at home after spending a month with family in Phoenix, AZ.

SugEKYVFjVDHxOI_TSd7C3l6Pb6PHdQjIEhJwWxlTRApX92IB

I was startled at how much weight the cats gained; the cat sitter didn’t have time to hang out with the cats and dashed in, fed them, and changed their litter boxes, and these are very sociable cats, so I figure they spent most of the time eating and sleeping. Fortunately, now that I’m with them, they’re happy again, aside from my attempting to turn them into indoor cats.

I knew the return to cold weather would be a shock; the highs in Phoenix were between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time I was there, and when I arrived in Oregon, it was thirty-seven degrees; but at least there isn’t any ice.

What I didn’t anticipate was that returning to my own house, where I live alone with cats, and returning to normal life, would be something of a shock. I felt somewhat disappointed and lonely after a month as a houseguest, even though I’m not compelled to live with people, only with cats, and I’ve read that this is typical of empaths. I also felt overwhelmed with the home improvements and cleaning up that the house needs. It has a new quirk: the door to the hall closet (or cupboard under the stairs) no longer clicks shut. The lack of central heat is a considerable problem; even the house in Phoenix has central heat.

Fx2VAGKr3VzxetkbWlNnB0vRCnJyLche5g_zKPqoKukpX92IB

The cats are extremely cuddly and fight over my lap. I can and shall get used to this life again. Dressing in layers helps.

On the front porch were two bins of mail, in addition to many packages, so I’ve been streaming the second season of The Crown while sorting through snail mail and cuddling the cats. That first night, one cat purred ecstatically, while another cat sat nearby and stared jealously. They took turns doing this; Virginia sprawled out on her back, and facing us was her sister Vita, huddled on a chair and glaring. Fortunately, they’re handling the situation better today; Virginia and Gabriel both occupied my lap without any growls from Gabriel, perhaps for the first time ever. I’m making a point of staying at home as much as I can, to reassure them.