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Writing amid Household Problems

25 Jul

July 22:

Well… last night I read yet another rejection letter for a gothic novel that I consider my best novel so far. Guess it doesn’t matter how much I revise and edit it. Anyway, I meant to query magazines/ journals today… and discovered that my WiFi decided to say, “Fuck you! So what if you pay Comcast way too much? You don’t get to have WiFi!” Restarting my laptop… unplugging and unplugging my modem… pushing the button on top of my modem… nothing worked. The instructions on my computer screen mentioned connecting the modem and the laptop with an Ethernet cable–but I don’t have a spare.

Did I not pay my overpriced Comcast/Xfinity bill? Maybe I need to dig through snail mail and check…. And maybe I need to take a look at the surge protector somewhere under my tv cabinet.

And then there’s the bathtub full of dirty water. Well, about three inches, that is. It has something to do with my hair clogging the drain. The plunger has brought up a lot but not solved the problem. So my last shower was in the back bathroom (which requires stepping on a stool to climb in). I do pull Cousin It out of the drain from time to time, but apparently Cousin It finally succeeded in committing suicide.

I need to call a plumber… but first I’m gradually cleaning and tidying rooms that the plumber would see. That’s the living room, the hallway, and the bathroom. (I can close doors down the hallway.)

I say gradually because I’m doing this at cooler times, when I’m less likely to pour with sweat. I intend to do a bunch this evening, or basically… night.

Nice thing about all this craziness–plus my obsessive “This is what fascism looks like” news reading/watching, I’m scarcely brooding about toxic people. Barely, though it slips in from time to time.

Reading Mexican Gothic has inspired me to steep “Theater Patron” in more gothic atmosphere. It admittedly increases the word count, but it’s all for the best. Something to keep in mind in many of the Margot/Roland/Vincent stories. (“Theater Patron” is one of many, and I’ve been revising it for publication.)

July 23:

My main focus today is house cleaning (yuck) because I intend to call both the plumber and Comcast tomorrow.

The standing water has mostly drained, but there’s still some–and that’s after days, maybe a week. I’ve lost track.

The WiFi is still nonexistent—pretending as though my network doesn’t exist—it isn’t even a choice. No, I’m not trying to use a neighbor’s WiFi–I want my own back! It’s frustrating. I wanted to submit stories to magazines/journals yesterday, but I couldn’t use the internet on my laptop. The only internet is on my phone.

Brooding about certain toxic people… I think one narcissist showering me with verbal abuse, projecting, and pathetically trying to gaslight me right before Oregon began officially socially distancing… is triggering in part because of a certain narcissistic sociopath who used all the same techniques… but was far more skilled at manipulation. That’s a motivation to resume working on the novel inspired by said narcissistic sociopath. It’s better to do that earlier in the day, not in the evening. I don’t wish to go to bed in a rage.

I took a break from housecleaning. I had dinner while streaming Trevor Noah and resumed working on a fun, humorous fantasy novel—changing the novel from past tense to present tense. This has been a gradual process, of course, since it’s over 92,000 words.

I still need to take some things out to the trash and recycling and sweep the floor of the living room, hallway, and bathroom. The bathroom floor might also need some scrubbing.

It’s pathetic that all this is happening at once—the clogged bathtub drain, the shower curtain rod falling down repeatedly, the WiFi not working. Plus I still need to get on with putting up that curtain rod in the library and making library curtains and cleaning the mildew from the wall in the back apartment and painting over that with anti-mold primer…..

Meanwhile, I have memories of a narcissistic sociopath in my head, accusing me of being incapable of functioning—a variation on how my narcissist mother made me feel incompetent starting when I was four years old and helped paint the living room. The accusation of incompetence is tied in with my need for respect and acceptance.

July 24:

I’m revising an old story to submit online and have several internet folders open to magazines/literary journals. I’d like to submit more than one story today, but I’m compelled to edit/revise stories before submitting them, especially if it’s been a while since I worked on them.

I called about the WiFi, and it’s working: Comcast needed to reset the modem. How random. I called the plumbing company, and they have someone coming Monday afternoon. Such a relief to have all that taken care of—also a relief that I have two bathtubs.

A Game of Cat and Mouse

24 Jul

Gabriel found the cute little mouse Vita brought into the house a few days ago. (Vita and Gabriel are both little black cats.)

Vita carried it in her mouth—from the back apartment, so she must have used a magic portal. Yowling as she does when she brings me a creature (dead or alive), she had a mouse hanging out of her mouth. She carried it to the hallway and set it on the floor.

The mouse scurried away and slipped under the closed closet door.

Three alert cats sat in the hallway staring at the space under the closet door.

I opened that door and took stuff out of it (clothing, suitcase). One of the cats slipped into the closet as soon as I removed the suitcase, and I feared the mouse wasn’t long for this world. I bent down and spotted the mouse… and moved some more items out of the closet.

The mouse dashed out of the closet, scurried along the floor, and slipped under the guestroom door.

Well.

Tonight I saw the mouse for the first time since then.

I heard playful cat noises and stood up see Gabriel and Haedrig squatting in front of the shoe rack and staring under it. When Haedrig saw me coming, he ran up the stairs. Gabriel batted at something under the shoe rack.

I knew the mouse must be down there, but also noticed lots of cat hair, so I grabbed the dustpan and brush and ended up cleaning up under the shoe rack.

I was returning from a visit to the kitchen trash, when the mouse darted out for a second and Gabriel went for it. The mouse darted back under the shoe rack.

Half an hour later, I heard frantic squeaks and called out, “Hey!”

The mouse hung from Gabriel’s mouth. He walked up to the landing and dropped the mouse (probably because of my protests). The mouse darted to a corner and sat with Gabriel watching it. I reached for Gabriel, and the mouse ran back to the shoe rack.

I haven’t seen the mouse since then.stonedVita

(This is a picture of Vita on catnip… not with a mouse.)

Anxiety… and Funny Cats

5 Jun

I just remembered: I forgot to do laundry. I could do it now… or wait until tomorrow….

Brooding about toxic people. They’re not worth it. A pandemic and a revolution and that’s what I’m brooding about. No, that’s the other thing I’m brooding about in addition to the pandemic and revolution and white supremacy. Lots to brood and panic over.

Not sure I’ve gotten through a day this week without crying a little. The crying is when the pandemic and riots and all that are on my mind, not empathy-less assholes.

Nasal congestion, a little phlegm, and very little coughing, so I’m getting better and might be up to taking tonic again starting tomorrow. Of course, I could also be Typhoid Mary–asymptomatic with coronavirus.

#

A few minutes ago, I was pressing pieces of sleeves for my 1890s tea gown.

Virginia was dozing on the chair inches away from me. She didn’t react when I sprayed the bottle of spray starch. When I push the top button, it hisses a bit like a cat.

In contrast, Gabriel was sitting in the doorway and watching me the first time he heard the spray starch hiss. He jumped and ran out of the room and down the stairs.

Gabriel soon returned, and while he walked into the room, the spray starch hissed again. Gabriel jumped, turned, and ran back down the stairs.

Bad Roommate Dream

27 Apr

My lower back is a bit achy, which might explain why I dreamed that I was a witch who put a curse on an enemy, giving them an achy back.

I had a dream in which I had two roommates. One of them was this rather conventional blond woman. She and I were in the laundry room, I think, and she owned the house we lived in. She was bustling around and having a monologue…. during which she said, “You’re a lazy roommate, but at least you can afford to pay the rent.” I froze in shock. She kept talking. She also continued bustling about and soon left the room.

At some point, I had processed enough to be walking around the house and grumbling. “If I’m so lazy, how do you explain the fact that I’m writing the first draft of a 90,000-word novel in only one month?! Oh, yeah, that’s really lazy!”

Next I was out and about in an urban area on a gray day. I parked in an alley, I think. I needed time to process, and now I was furious at the judgmental roommate and knew I’d be moving out as soon as possible.

I found myself at what may have been a yoga studio—an event was going to start soon, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t staying for it. I was walking in the opposite direction from everyone else in an alley leading into the yoga studio. Someone skinny paused in walking to do a yoga pose right there on the spot in the middle of the alley. I wondered if I could still do that yoga pose and knew better than to try it in front of others. The accusation of laziness was fresh in my mind.

At some point, I was one of three women who were wandering in an alley kind of lost. I wasn’t sure where my car was and was trying to remember where I parked. I ended up, still in an alley, where there was a concrete-looking building with a lot of clutter, junk, and people standing in line. One of them was a woman I had been walking with in the alley. Even though she was in line and I was in the alley and intended to continue searching for my car, I was still talking with her and vented about my asshole roommate. I may have said something about how I was going to start packing up and searching for an apartment today.

I woke up in a foul mood and remembered an occasion when a bunch of toxic relatives had, as usual, broken into my house and sat around my living room and accused me of being lazy. I was shocked and speechless in reaction. This was a time when I was working a minimum of 40 hours a week at a thankless job… and when I wasn’t at that job, I was writing, sculpting, or meditating. How does that fit the description of “lazy”? I was writing, among other things, a 500-page novel about those same relatives who thought themselves entitled to break into my house and take their personality disorders out on me.

Camp Nanowrimo and… Summer is Coming

20 Apr

I’m definitely behind in my Nanowrimo novel. It’s open in front of me right now and I’m adding a tension-filled sort of dialogue scene right now (Vita distracted me and now this). Hopefully I’ll make more progress tonight–maybe even get ahead again–but just catching up would be good.

I feel like procrastinating on things, including that novel. Like just reading this novel and using the bicycle desk and maybe binge watching something … when I need to be so much more productive.

Mind on home improvement stuff and house cleaning and organizing—but I don’t want to do it when it’s warm, and it would make sense to wait until next month, since I’m participating in Camp Nanowrimo now… but of course I need to get the house ready for summer. I just ordered some fans and cooling stuff.

#

I moved a chair across the hallway from the sewing room to the bedroom, and Gabriel is delighted–rolling around on the chair, playing with its back. He’s acting like he’s never seen it before.

For two summers, I’ve used a portable air conditioner in the upstairs bedroom. But the window won’t open, for whatever reason. I’ll try again—I don’t need to turn on the AC for a while yet—but I’m going to rearrange the sewing room so I can set up the AC there.

I just ordered three fans online–getting ready for summer, climate change and pandemic style.

Pandemic Shut-in Diary Entry

14 Apr

It turns out that if I’m wearing pockets while using the exercise bike… and put my phone in a pocket… the pedometer on my phone registers my exercise as walking (at least, if I’m doing it vigorously). Best to do it while reading nonfiction or streaming online, not while reading or writing fiction. So much for my multitasking skills.

I woke before 4 am and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while. I think I fell asleep shortly before my alarm went off at 7 am (trash & recycling). Oddly, I was so fatigued today that I slept all afternoon. With contented cats.

Dreams about Houses and Stairs

13 Apr

I had two dreams in which I had trouble climbing up staircases.

In one, I was at a university and came to this one staircase in the “Tibetan wing” of a vast building that was all white inside. I figured this staircase would lead to the same floor as my dorm room (to wherever I wished to go). But I kept going and going—it was odd, with two burgundy steps followed by several feet of white flooring—so a landing every two steps—and when I was really high up and had been climbing for some time, I felt dizzy and precarious and anxious. There was no bannister or handrail, I finally realized, and I saw I was almost at a floor that had classrooms with glass walls. I doubted it would lead to the comfort of my dorm room, after all. I considered heading back down but didn’t wish to go down those stairs. I think I was about to sit down on a step when I woke up.

 

(I’m sure I had that dream because last night I was reading an ebook about improving self-esteem and I know I need to seriously work in that and become my own best friend. I think that if I have good, healthy self-esteem, I won’t care about the opinions of toxic assholes and therefore won’t be so devastated by them. Also, it will be easier to brush it off and know for certain that the sick and twisted version of me they invented is bullshit.)

 

I had a dream in which I had a large and quirky house and had gotten some renovations done recently. There was a section on the left side of the house (left if you’re in the front yard and facing the front). Until recently, there’d been a little side room in which I had to take a metal flight of stairs for a few steps, not more than 6 steps, before walking some distance and getting to another staircase. Early in the dream, I was taking that staircase and found it annoying.)

Well, thanks to the renovation, I now had a long and high-ceilinged and white-walled room, like a wide corridor, that led to a plain white staircase.

At the end of the dream, I was showing the room to a male contractor and talking about these changes with some pride.

Nightmares during a Pandemic

7 Mar

I dreamed that I lived in a large Victorian Queen Anne house in a fairly rural area. The house had a wrap-around porch and a stone foundation with a basement. Because the house was built on a slope, the basement had an exterior side door.

At some point I had a visitor who was a friend.

Toward the end of the dream, I heard people on the front porch. I was in the basement and didn’t want to talk to them. I wanted to hide. I slipped out of the basement side door without locking it and ended up… where? Under the front porch? On the porch? It seems like I ended up on the wrap-around porch, which doesn’t make sense if I was trying to avoid people whom I thought were at the front door.

Wherever I was, I witnessed a group of about six people slip in through the basement door I left open! They were breaking into my house.

Enraged, I went after them.

I went into the basement and grabbed a long piece of wood leaning against a wall and, yelling, “Get out of my house!” or something like that, charged at one man. A struggle ensued, with me pushing his throat and him against the wall while the others watched (or ran away?).

A male friend or acquaintance of mine came up behind me and tried to be the voice of reason, I guess. He said, “Don’t kill him! You’d end up in prison!” I just felt angrier.

 

I dreamed that my brother and I were in a car in a parking lot. We were having a conversation… and we may have been talking about the past, when we lived in Indiana.

He said something about Britney Spears. Confused, I knit my brow and said, “But… I don’t think Britney Spears was around in the 80s.”

Completely out of the blue, he yelled at me—how typical—I don’t remember what. His rage made no sense and creeped me out (what else is new?). He got out of the car.

I recovered from my shock enough—only after the asshole got out of the car—to become enraged and, giving him the finger with both hands and yelling repeatedly… well, something very vituperative that I won’t repeat hear. He ignored me

 

(Last night I was revising one of those autobiographical novels inspired by toxic people. That could well have triggered that dream, even though it was a different perpetual playground  bully. I am so sick of empathy-challenged perpetual playground bullies who harbor a bizarre delusion that they’re entitled to use me as their doormat/verbal and psychological punching bag and that it’s somehow magically my duty to be their doormat/punching bag. I was sick of them before the 1980s ended.

One of those Victorian Mansion Dreams

31 Jul

I dreamed that I was reading a novel that took place in a series of apartments or a large old house that had been or was being turned into apartments.

But it shifted, so that I was one of two people who lived at/ owned a big Queen Anne Victorian house and a bunch of apartments or condos on the same block. In other words, it was no longer a novel, and I was a key player in the story.

The other person was a tall and slender guy. We were on the property, outdoors, behind the gorgeous, gingerbread-like house; it was white with blue gingerbread trim and many dormers and gables. He asked where I wanted to live: in one of the more modern condos, or in the front house. I said I wanted to live in the house.

We went inside, and the interior needed a lot of attention. At the very least, the place was covered in dust and cobwebs. I think there was some old furniture, though it wasn’t fully furnished. I said, “We need several mops and brooms.” Next I was carrying a mop and a broom across a mostly unfurnished room with large, arched windows. I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of work needed, but I was anticipating some people coming and helping.

Dreams: Baby Lizard and a Mansion’s Elevator

20 Jul

I dreamed there were two fathers with a baby girl, at an airport, and the baby was perched on one of the father’s shoulders. Maybe she was a toddler.

People were coming and going.

Another man came along and too easily put a clear plastic bag over the baby’s head and took her away. I witnessed this and chased after him. I think another man was with him.

The baby managed to get away from them, but as she reached the tile floor, she changed into four tiny green things. One of them scurried off to a far corner, under chairs.

I picked up the less animated green things–all tiny, slimy curls about the size of inch worms.

The other one was quickly growing as I attempted to catch it. It was looking more and more like a lizard.

By the time the two fathers had her again, she was several inches long. They began discussing where they should put her, first believing a tub full of water would work, but one of them thought of their swimming pool, so that’s what they decided on.

 

I had a dream in which I was one of several people staying at a huge mansion. It was surrounded by trees, lovely grounds, and had many bay windows and such. I think it was brown and half-timbered.

In front of the house, some distance away, we (about six people) were on a grassy and tree-filled slope that I think overlooked a brook.

Suddenly a crowd of people ran toward us. I thought we’d be trampled. I looked up at the house and saw a few people, here and there, looking out windows.

The crowd surrounded us. I stood with my arms up in the air and yelled, “Don’t trample us!” I was surrounded and wanted to get back inside the house. I knew a huge crisis was happening and had the impression that many if not all these people would need shelter in the house.

Next I was right in front of the house, with lots of other people, and I hoped that I locked my bedroom door, because I didn’t want any of these people to rob me.

Next I was in a front hall, and people were rushing to the three elevator doors. I thought they looked flimsy. A couple people got in an elevator and closed the door, not waiting for me.

The next person to try that, passing me and getting into an elevator, was a dark-haired young woman. I caught up and got in the elevator with her–only to discover that it was tiny. In the center was a cardboard folding screen. I felt claustrophobic, but still felt do when I got on the other side of the screen, and she stayed on the first side. I told her it feels claustrophobic. I also said, “My room is on the second floor. I think. Or maybe it’s the third floor.” I couldn’t remember.

She pushed some buttons, I thought, and asked how this elevator worked, but I’d never used it previously. I looked at the wall and saw mysterious switches that looked decades old. We waited, and it didn’t feel like it was moving.

Next I was looking behind me, and there was a mezzanine with lots of people seated at tables. I was confused, because it was as though the back wall of the elevator had vanished. But it took a while to occur to either of us that we should get out of the elevator and take the stairs. I tried to remember what the stairs looked like and where they were, and I came up blank.