The last two weeks have been the most challenging and daunting of the experiment to date, hands down. It’s been crazy. It’s been demoralizing, and…it’s been brutal.
I had to dig deep and make serious use of my other super power – raw, unbridled stubbornness. It paid off. It’s amazing how often sheer stubbornness can carry the day. You just have to resign yourself to not stopping, and I. Do. Not. Stop.
There have been times – dark times in my past where I’ve found myself curled up in a ball on the pavement (or dirt), covered in sweat and blood and sometimes, my own vomit. No kidding, and it was during those times that I discovered a three-pronged secret to getting through it.
- Believe, and resign yourself to the fact that help’s not coming. The cavalry’s not going to suddenly appear over the hill to save you. God’s not going to send angels to rescue you; if you’re going to get through, then you HAVE TO find it within yourself to get your feet back under you and move.
- Use the pain. Eat it like fuel. Let it power you. Yeah, there will be a price to pay for that, but that’s for later. In the here and now, you have to MOVE, so use what you have to make that happen. If all you’ve got it pain, use that.
- If the first two aren’t enough, berate yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’m struggling with something that I’ll cuss myself out under my breath and tell myself what a weak ass loser I am. It makes me angry, and that anger ALSO becomes fuel. There’s a price to be paid for that too, but again, when you’re feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed into inaction, you use whatever you can to break out and deal with the consequences later.
Bottom line: I. Do. Not. Stop. Not ever. At this point, it has become an ingrained part of my personality. It’s like armor. A second skin. There’s a great comfort and certainty in that.
The last two weeks have tested my limits on that front.
As you know from the last report, I was already struggling with a depression, and then…just when I didn’t imagine things could get any worse, of course they did!
So – I did what I do. I took it on the chin, grabbed the biggest metaphorical club I could find, and beat the ever-living shit out of the situation until it started to behave, and this time, pleasantly enough, I had some help. The cavalry DID arrive. That was cool. Unexpected and not the norm for me, but cool.
Here are the particulars.
A bland, generic day. A bit tired from the beach trip, but still managed to churn out some good work. Surprisingly not cold. I’m enjoying the warmer weather, especially since the beach was nice and warm.
Breakfast: Multigrain cereal (one serving) 180 calories
Lunch: Can of ravioli – 440 calories – bleh. I can’t believe I used to like this stuff as a kid. Definitely keeping it as trading stock. Kinda gross.
Dinner: can of beefaroni (had a few mixed in with the ravioli – marginally better. May keep the few cans I have and trade the ravioli) 420 calories – Using some pork and making some white bean chili for tomorrow!
Half Coffee: 150 calories
Total: 1190 calories
Cooler, but still warmer than I was expecting. Another solid writing day! Sharon coming up tomorrow! Placed my big Amazon Prime order – Sharon’s Christmas, which includes a new LG G7 Thinq phone. Since her B-day is in Jan, she’s getting the phone as an early B-day present and a badass walking stick (bo staff, for all intents and purposes) and a fun book I think she’ll enjoy called “Griffin and Sabine.” I can write that here because she doesn’t read my blog. LOL
Took a break from the writing to get MY new phone (Pixel 3) set up on Google Fi. Will test and if it works well up here, will cancel my existing plan.
Early results are looking good! New number, can text and call from up here. Liking it. Will try it out for a few days and see how it goes.
Breakfast: Chili 1 serving (2700 for all, so 540 here)
Lunch: 2 helpings of chili 1080 calories
Dinner: 2 helpings of chili – 1080 calories
Half Coffee: 150
Total: 2850 calories
Wrote most of the day, and Sharon arrived late in the evening. We did some shopping (Wal-Mart) and got a little Christmas tree and some cat toys to decorate it with. A cat tree! She brought salad makings and we had a lovely dinner together and fell asleep watching Battlestar Galactica on Amazon Prime after decorating the little tree.
Lunch: 2 boxed rigatoni dinners (540)
Dinner: Salad (w/chicken on top) (est. 1150)
Half coffee: 150 calories
Total: 1840 calories
Wednesday 11.21.2018 – Death (or at least close call) by Mister! – Didn’t see that one coming!
(these entries, I had to come back and write later, once my vision started to return)
So – everybody who knows me knows what my Kryptonite is. I’m a big, burly guy. When I’m wearing by badass oilskin, I kinda look like a mountain.
But everyone has weaknesses. One of mine is coconut.
Sharon brought me a present when she came to see me, in the form of some scented oil for my mister. She got it from someone who makes stuff like that by hand – better than the oils you can get from the store. Lemongrass scented. I was looking forward to trying it, so Sharon loaded up the mister and turned it on for me while I was knocking out some writing.
The mister sits on my desk, about two feet from me as I write. When the mist started coming out of the top, I leaned in to take a whiff.
Right away, I knew that was a bad idea.
My eyes…my entire FACE started burning.
Sharon powered it down, and I didn’t get a huge dose, but it was more than enough, and the damage had been done.
Apparently, the oil had been made using coconut oil as a base. It was something I hadn’t even thought about. Hadn’t even considered.
There was no way that was going to go away on its own. That wasn’t something a dose of home brew treatments and Benadryl would fix, so Sharon bundled me up and got me to the ER, where we spent most of the night doing steroid shots, IV drips, eye and nose irrigations and other fun things.
It was a very long night. For both of us. Wasn’t her fault but she felt horrible about it. ☹
Although the treatments outlined above helped, there were obvious limits to how much it helped, and for the rest, I’d just have to ride it out, so – I did what I do. I dug deep.
One thing I’ll say is that physical pain banishes depression. Hard to be sad when your nerve endings are screaming, so just like that, the depression was gone. I’m not sure it was a good trade, because I couldn’t see and hurt like hell (again) but – yeah. At least I wasn’t depressed any more.
Breakfast: Multigrain cereal (360 calories)
Lunch: Salad w/ Italian dressing (approx.. 500 calories)
Dinner: Nothing except an antibiotic drip
Total: 860 calories
Thursday 11.22.2018 – Thanksgiving Day
Sharon drove me to her parents for the big feast. Originally, the plan was for me to drive down separately and come back later in the evening, but…I couldn’t see – well, I could sorta see, but certainly not well enough to drive.
Plans changed. We adapted. The revised plan was that I would camp out in the guest room at Sharon’s parents house for a few days to give the prescriptions I got post-ER had a chance to work.
Independence is a Very Big Deal for me. I do not like being somewhere without my car. I do not like being unable to come and go as I please, but in this case, I went with it. The car was of no use to me in my condition, and I had nowhere to go or be. All I had to do was try and enjoy the feasting and focus on healing, so that’s where I put my attention.
The food smelled and tasted wonderful. Despite the condition of my eyes and the pain, it was a good day. No trace of depression.
Caffeine withdrawal headache all day today, on top of the other stuff. Fun times.
Breakfast: Multigrain cereal – 2 servings (360 calories)
Lunch: Bag of mixed nuts for the road (my last – Sharon clued me into the fact that I’d be getting a resupply as a Christmas present) (650 calories)
Dinner: Thanksgiving feast! Broccoli, Green Bean Casserole, Ham, Turkey, Stuffing, and PIE!! (Pecan Pie) – not quite as good as granny’s but I did not say as much. Granny has several decades of added experience, after all. Still – it was delicious (estimating at 2k calories)
Total: 3010 calories
Headache continuing unabated. A dead day, spent recovering, feasting on leftovers, and “watching” movies on my laptop (which mostly amounted to listening to them).
Some good movies in this batch, including:
- And something called “The Monster Project” (all Amazon Prime vids)
Low budget, all, but interesting.
Sharon placed a call to my neighbor Mike on my behalf and asked if they could do some emergency cat sitting for me. They readily agreed. That detail got missed when the Eyesaster struck. I freaked out when I realized, but Sharon had my back, and theirs. Was glad.
Breakfast: Bowl of chicken soup (270 calories)
Lunch: Giant ham sammich and side salad (est. 1100 calories)
Dinner: Basically a smaller version of yesterday’s feast (1200 calories)
Total: 2570 calories
Not sure how or why I got a reprieve yesterday but today was bad. Physically ill. Throwing up. Sweating. Swelling in my right eye holding steady. Left eye is getting worse.
Lunch: leftovers (500)
Dinner: leftovers (1000)
Total: 1500 calories
The worst day. I don’t think I got out of bed. Don’t remember eating, but Sharon said I had some slices of ham. Marking that down for lunch.
Lunch: Ham (maybe 300 calories)
Total: 300 calories
Another brutal day, but slightly better than yesterday. Didn’t move or do much of anything. Right eye almost useful, left eye continuing to swell. I remember spending some time messing with the “eyelid hive” in front of the mirror, but to no avail.
Lunch: small salad (300 Calories)
Dinner: ham (300 calories)
Total: 600 calories
Weird day. I can see out of my right eye again. Left eye…dunno. Sealed shut, and I FELT the hive break open. Since my eye was sealed shut, the goop didn’t have anywhere to go but…into my eye, and presumably, back into my system.
I hallucinated today. I’m gonna guess it was a combination of the fever, the meds, and the goop coursing back into my system.
Some of the hallucinations were good. Pleasant. Others were interesting. I saw a flyover of the farm I will one day own. A windmill. Solar panels gleaming in the sun. It was like I was a drone, doing a flyover of the property.
That was fun.
Some of the hallucinations were darker. We won’t talk about those, but…yeah. Some of them were bad. Nuff said.
I made an Executive Decision and announced that THIS was officially one of “Sharon’s Songs.” She was not amused. 😀
Lunch: salad (300)
Dinner: turkey, veg, pie (1100)
Total: 1400 calories
Holy Cow. I can see again.
My left eye is open again and although it’s fuzzy and blurry, I can SEE out of both eyes! Think I might actually live.
Got on the computer today and contacted my regular clients to give them the 411. Knocked out a couple of tiny assignments, which marks the first time I’ve done any actual work in what feels like forever. This month is going to be a disaster. Don’t care. Will deal with the fallout of that later.
Good movies in today’s batch, including:
- The Sheol Express (short film – fascinating)
- And Ex Machina – was on a sci fi kick today. (all Amazon Prime Vids)
Breakfast: chicken soup (270 calories)
Lunch: salad (500 calories)
Dinner: salad and PIE! (1000 calories)
Total: 1770 Calories
I think it’s time to go back home. The worst seems to be over, and I can see again. Hitching a ride back to my little farmhouse.
The ride seemed long, and the house, having been powered down for a few days had a chill over it that took several hours to work off, but everything rumbled back to life reliably enough and I actually spent the day working.
Fortunately, I had some six cent a word work to do (mostly I write for four cents a word, but some topics require a bit more prep and research), so I focused on that.
Managed to have an almost productive day.
Also came back with lots of leftovers which Sharon’s mom had tossed into the freezer for me after the feast. I’m swimming in cold cut ham and turkey, broccoli and green bean casserole.
Before I left, I had placed a big Christmas Amazon order and bought Sharon a new LG Thinq 7 phone. The various packages arrived while I was gone. Mike’s kids had them all arranged under the kitty Christmas tree for me when I got home. Will unbox and take a closer look later.
Lunch: Salad (500)
Dinner: Thanksgiving leftovers (800)
Half Coffee: 150 calories
Total: 1450 calories
I didn’t sleep. In a bid to try and rescue the month, I turned off Amazon Prime, no music, no distractions of any kind and had an epic writing day.
My hands were screaming by the end, but I DID, on the last day of the month, manage to turn the disaster of a month into a slightly below average month, and that’s not nothing.
Breakfast: Tomato soup (225 calories)
Lunch: salad (500)
Dinner: Thanksgiving leftovers (1100)
Half Coffee: 150 calories
Total: 1975 calories
Another epic writing day, but I did take some time to unbox the various goodies from the Amazon trip. Got a battery charger and two spare batteries for the drone Sharon got me for my b-day. Supposedly, you could charge the drone with your phone charger, but it wouldn’t do it for me. This should help, so – more drone test flights in my future!
Also got Sharon’s Christmas presents. Started working on the phone to get it ready for her. Will add her to my Google Fi plan. Called and cancelled my “other” cell service.
Got the phone set up. Writing this at midnight. It’s working but – no phone number. Wait time is 2+ hours for Google support. Will finish this entry, wait on the phone and try to get the last of the phone setup done. Next time I see Sharon, I wanna be able to deliver her new phone to her!
Had a couple of good Amazon Prime movies playing in the background today while I was working my tail off:
- God’s Not Dead
- Thanks for Sharing
- And An American Terror
An even mix of genres today. Entertaining.
Breakfast: Protein shake (300 calories)
Lunch: Salad (500 calories)
Dinner: Yet more Thanksgiving leftovers (1000)
Half Coffee 150 calories
Total: 1950 calories
Month End Summary
And that brings us to the end of the month. Productivity wise, it was below average, but better than it could have been, thanks to some heroic last-minute writing.
Food wise, I’m doing better. Eating healthier, with help from Sharon and her family and will continue my plan to use the freeze dried stocks more intermittently than I had been before. Stockpiles are holding up well, again, in the short term, bolstered by the fact that I got a good haul of supplies from Sharon’s family in the form of Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m not complaining. In my opinion, that’s exactly how a real world situation would unfold.
People helping each other when and as needed.
Debt wise, it was a disaster. Unexpected medical expenses and Christmas spending sent the debt shooting back up to $15,400 (from $13,300 last month).
I also drained what little I had in savings – well, left ten bucks in there to keep the account open, but I’m calling it zero.
On the flip side, I DID manage to put $2k more into the Long-Term Investment (LTI) account. This then, is the picture at month’s end:
Debts: $15,400 ($4700) + ($4400) + ($6300 – prosper loan)
Savings: $0/$32,000 (down payment money for farm)
Moving Money: $140/$4500 (3.1%)
LTI: $18000/$20000 (90%)
Plan for December: Got to add another $2k to LTI, so not much attention will be paid to the debt reduction in December. Hopefully, barring any other health mishaps, I can at least hold the line, and possibly reduce it marginally, but the priority will be to reach the LTI marker and call that project done. Once it IS done, all attention will turn to eliminating the debt.
Standing trade deals
Just the one. Bust two pallets a month for 2 gals of milk, half a dozen eggs and a venison steak.
Shaken and down, but not out. Firing back with both barrels. I. Do. Not. Stop.