43!

The high today is 43 degrees! 43! Bring on the swim suits!

We had a power outage yesterday and everyone here was saying that if your power goes out, turn of your heat unit so that when everything comes back on it doesn’t blow the system. Our downstairs unit was already failing miserably, leaving the interior temp at a balmy 51. The upstairs was working better, but still…brrrrrr. I turned off the units, grabbed my laptop, and headed to a coffee shop to work.

I was there for a bit over 2 hours and when I came back home the downstairs was 46 degrees! 46! That’s only 3 degrees higher than the temps are supposed to get today! But it was 26 degrees higher than the highs yesterday, so, I guess I should have been grateful?

And of course the van has a stubborn a/c that won’t turn off so I couldn’t even seek refuge on any commute. IT IS COLD EVERYWHERE IN MY LIFE.

But today? Today I get to “warm up” and I am SO excited! Finally! Temps above freezing! I think I’m going to get groceries just because I can actually tolerate the 4-mile drive to Target.

Hope all of you guys are staying warm. I think most of us are finally getting a reprieve today from Mother Nature. But if you’re not – if you’re still freezing – I’m sorry. I won’t take my 43 degrees for granted today.

Getting It Off My Chest

Okay. I’m in a funk because the universe keeps taking giant poops on my head and I feel like I need to just get it all off my chest in one #FirstWorldProblems type entry so I an let it go and quit crying in local parking lots.

(Yes. That happened. I’m sufficiently ashamed.)

I mean, we are lucky. We have a house. We have a kid in college. We have races and cars and we know we are VERY lucky. BUT STILL. To make it all work this year we have already cut back a lot. We are both driving older cars, mine has 160K miles on it and Donnie’s is 7ish years old. We dropped cable. We only eat out on Saturday nights. We dropped our Botanical Garden memberships and I don’t go to boot camp anymore. We have already cut a LOT to make ends meet. And then? It got better.

Shit That Has Fallen On Our Heads In The Last Month Or Two.

  • Donnie’s car had a major transmission fail.
  • Eliah’s laptop needed repairing.
  • Donnie’s phone which was already an older model due to breaking his newer one, fell in the toilet.
  • Donnie needed physical therapy a couple times a week for an injury at $25 a visit.
  • Repeated bills from both my surgeries and Wes’s several months ago. They keep popping up, here and there.
  • The a/c won’t turn off on the van. Meaning the heat won’t turn on. It’s Alabama, not Minnesota, but it’s still damn cold to have car with no heat.
  • The kicker…we found out yesterday that a LARGE (to us) chunk of money that we were counting on for a big necessity in our life? Is no long accessible. So we had to basically deplete what little savings we had.

Basically, we made all of these cuts. Then all of this crazy shit happened. And then more crazy shit happened depleting our savings and I found myself crying in the parking lot while ordering not one but TWO milkshakes from Wendy’s.

Which I paid for by counting out quarters from my change cup.

I mean. Logically? I know it’s SO LAME to complain. So many people have so many bigger problems. But I just can’t shake the funk and I just wanted to itemize the shit that has fallen on our heads so I could say: HERE IT IS, I’M PISSED OFF AT THE UNIVERSE. QUIT POOPING ON US.

Especially E. He is already on a $10/week budget in college meaning his “fun” money covers the periodic movie or cup of coffee and that’s about it. He knows he’s lucky, but it’s hard to say, “No” all the time when your friends ask you to do stuff. There’s a new fraternity coming to Montevallo and he was thinking about pledging but that’s completely out now, obviously.

Anyway. #FirstWorldProblems, I know. But I had to put it out there. AGAIN. I feel like every 3 weeks I’m like, “Oh…poor me…my life is so hard…” And I’m sorry. But I gotta throw it out there for a few hours just to see if it makes me feel a little less overwhelmed right now.

I am not a big blogger by any means. I don’t make any money on this site right here. Sometimes I write on OTHER sites where I might make some money, but this site makes me nothing. It has no ads and no sponsored content. And I don’t even really have the type of traffic to support either if I wanted to make money.

YET STILL…I get emails like this all the time:

Hello,

My name is [REDACTED] and I’m interested in publishing an article on your site Miss Zoot.

The article would be of the highest quality and it would be perfectly suited for your website meeting any requirements/guidelines you might have. I would want to include one link in the article to my client’s website. This is a bingo website that is highly authoritative.

Would this be at all possible? Please do get in touch.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

[REDACTED]

What in the hell? There is no way anyone ever responds in the affirmative to these emails, right? They are SO generic in reference to what they want to write and don’t even give a topic that the article will cover. YET! It’s always a great fit for my blog and very informative! BUT THEY NEVER GIVE ACTUAL CONTENT. It’s just some sort of random article that will match my blog and be useful!

Why wouldn’t I say “SURE!”

There’s NEVER any compensation mentioned. NEVER EVER. So, they want to write this generic article about GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT (I’m thinking “Scraping Content From Other Sites” would be a good title.) and not pay me ONE PENNY for putting it on my site. What is in it for me? Just their wonderful content about their mysterious (but informative!) subject? Like – I’m so desperate for words over here I’ll just take it just because? Do people do that?

A LINK TO A BINGO SITE? What in the hell? Why would I want that on my blog? Surrounded by words about my kids and my running and my grief. BINGO? SERIOUSLY?

And here’s the thing – the people who DO say “Yes” to those kind of proposals? Can not in ANY WAY actually be writing a personal blog. Which is very obvious that’s what mine is. A personal blog. If there are people out there who do accept these type of proposals for whatever reason, they are NOT writing about their marathon training, or their grief over their dead Dad, or their reproductive issues. One click to my site and you see it’s a VERY personal site, in what world would ANY of that proposal appeal to me? I don’t even have ads on my site and those might make me a few cents a month – why would I want someone else’s words for NO MONEY?

WEIRDOS.

I get these type of emails at least 2-3 times a week. Sometimes they even follow-up on them which has to be automated because there’s no way someone says, “Hmmm…I’m suprised she didn’t take us up on this. Let’s try again…” without even clicking on my blog first. And they always call my site “Miss Zoot” which means I’m on some database somewhere of bloggers to pester and that’s the “Name” of my site. I would like to find who put my name/site on that database and find who sent it out to hundreds of PR people and then I’d like to give them ugly looks.

Another variation which isn’t QUITE as ludicrous but that I find just as irritating is the, “Hey! Help us promote this author by going out and buying the book yourself and then reading it and then talking about it on you blog!” I get those at least once or twice a month. Now, I wouldn’t mind an Advanced Reader Copy of books from my favorite authors, so I don’t hate those emails as much but they’re not even offering me ARCs. They’re just telling me to go BUY the book and then READ it and then TALK about it! It might fit my blog a bit more and does seem a bit more specific but still – does anyone see that and go “OH WOW! I’m totally going to do JUST THAT!”

I just think the people who respond to those type of emails are NOT running personal blogs. And I wish they’d look at the link ONE TIME before they emailed me to see, “This girl blogs for her own personal reasons. She’s not desperate for content and she doesn’t make money off her site.” These are all things I think you could see with ONE CLICK on my front page and then see there’s NO POINT in emailing me.

*sigh*

Okay. Sorry about that rant. I feel much better now.

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Attacking The Krazee Head-On

Well…so the “Let’s vent to avoid more Eating Of The Feelings!” thing did NOT go well. I mean, it didn’t help that I got my first Kill Yo’self tweet, but in general my life is just stressful right now. And venting might have made it worse.

And can I tell you the WORST part of my life right now? It’s 3:43am, I woke up at 3am (naturally…because when I’m stressed I can’t sleep more than 5 hours at a time) and discovered that I FORGOT TO BUY MY COFFEE CREAMER. I have backup creamer, the little miniature cups, but it is NOT the same and I like my coffee a certain way and THIS WAY IS NOT IT. It is really hard to greet a day with a positive attitude (at 3am no less) when you can’t have your coffee the way you like it.

Part of my problem is – as my friend Michelle put it yesterday – I have “I’m suffering from ‘too much to do’ paralysis.” The second she said that I was like, “OH MY GOD. ME TOO.” I think that’s my problem. I mean, I’m so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done before Christmas, or hell – before the end of today – that I periodically found myself dazed, walking in circles, and eating straight from the jar of peanut butter.

So. I decided to take aggressive action towards my mood.

I’m going to try make use of my bullet journal and try to organize my To Do list in a timeline of deadlines etc so I can tackle things in the right priority today. I make general “to do” lists – but today I’m going to try to prioritize them a bit and create a timeline so I can see if it’s possible to even get it all done in time, and if it’s not? Make the adjustments necessary.

I printed up an email sent to me yesterday by long-time blog friend Robin. (Sidenote: If you ever think about emailing a blogger some encouragement? Do it. I have done it to bloggers I read dozens of times because it means so much when people do it for me.) The note was encouraging and joyful and helped remind me that – even when I feel like a binge-eating mess of anxiety and uselessness – there are still good things I have done and good things I can do. I’m going to hang the email on my fridge, put it in my purse, whatever I need to – to keep it as reminder that I’m not ALWAYS 100% Anxiety wrapped in Crazy wrapped in Stress wrapped in Exhaustion.

I made brownies at 3am. Why? Because part of my cause of anxiety is that I hate Christmas time with kids in school. There are always parents that do BIG things for teachers and even BIG things for classmates (Wes got gift bags yesterday with actual toys in them…they were given to every kid in his class by a parent) and I don’t do either. I mean, I guess we could if we shifted the Christmas budget around – but I really don’t want to do that. It’s not like we’re spending tons on the kids. E wanted two $70 Lady Gaga tickets for Christmas, we had to discuss this in advance because if we couldn’t do that he was going to try to do it with his own money, so we did it. And that’s basically his Christmas right there. It’s not like we have tons of extra to budget for classroom/teacher gifts. AND EVERYONE ELSE DOING SO MUCH MORE STRESSES ME OUT. So! My point? I made brownies. I’m going to give them brownies inside a coffee mug from my own collection (I know. Pitiful.) and I bought a $1 ornament to tie to the handle. I’m also going to send a nice letter, which I hope balances out the cheapness of the gift. But – either way – at least the kids are bringing something so that helps a tad bit with the guilt.

I’m going to honestly block out Facebook today. I work from home and it just stays open on my computer all day. It’s just one of the tabs that’s open and when I need to clear my brain of code/design/web crap I click over and unwind so I can re-focus. Today? I’m not going to do that. There are so many people who I truly like/respect/admire who have been voicing that the agree with Phil and The Bible and that they stand by him and what he believes (That the gay people in my family that I would die for are going to Hell) Edited to add: I wanted to make sure my point is understood, I may not have phrased it well. That is what PHIL believes. Not what CHRISTIANS as a WHOLE believe. There are more pro-marriage equality Christians in my life than not, so I don’t want anyone to ever think I’d clump them into the same group. and it just makes my heart hurt. I want to message them and say, “Hey. Let’s go to dinner some time. Let me tell you about [insert gay friend/family member’s name here, there are plenty] or even better, let me introduce you to [awesome gay people] and then see how you hold to that belief.” Because – in my heart – I believe if they knew our stories, if they looked into the eyes of the people we love and saw how truly beautiful they are – regardless of who they are attracted to – they would change their minds.

BUT – I can’t do that. First of all – I respect the privacy of my gay friends and family too much to use them as my tools. Second? My heartbreak would be unbearable if – even after that – these people I really like still believed these people were going to Hell. I’m just going to close out Facebook for another day and continue to believe their minds would be changed if they knew my family and my friends. So! No Facebook tab! If my brain gets fuzzy I’ll do 5 pushups.

I’m going to stay in my pajamas as long as possible. This has NOTHING to do with productivity and has EVERYTHING to do with comfort. One of the perks of working from home is the uniform and today I’m going to take advantage of that. There’s nothing I love more than my flannel snowflake pants and my fuzzy houseshoes. I’ll be donning that until I’m forced to enter the public for whatever reason. If that doesn’t bring me joy and peace? NOTHING WILL.

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Maybe This Will Stop Me From Eating My Feelings

I’ve had a stressful week. I’m holding in a lot of ranting because I don’t like spewing negative energy into the world but OH MY GOD…I have been EATING ALL OF MY FEELINGS for three days. We’re talking about 3 days of 5000 calories or more. I’m telling you – I take my binge eating very seriously.

I think I need to let it out. I’ve let a bit out here and there, mainly on Twitter, but I think I just need to unload my stress so I can maybe try to eat LESS than a week’s worth of calories in one day. Also? It’s 3am and I’ve been up for 45 minutes already. I’m not sleeping well either. So…as much as I hate to add negativity out in the interwebs where there’s plenty already, and as much as I hate to complain about all of my first-world problems, I think I need to LET IT OUT or I may lose my mind.

The Queen Of First World Problems

We are already living on a NO-ROOM-FOR-SURPRISES Budget until we sell our house and we’ve had several unexpected expenses this month. A stupid service charge from Comcast which we’re trying to fight but we can’t even quit their service because no one else can give us the service we need to allow me to work from home. E got invited by his bestie to escort her to a debutant ball so we need to rent him a tux. (He’s working, but he needs that money for college.) Donnie’s car’s transmission crapped out this week. E’s laptop died. Donnie’s been having to go to PT at $25/visit twice a week. I mean – ALL OF THIS IN DECEMBER. When we’re already trying to make Christmas work (which we budget ahead of time a little bit) on a tight budget. I WANT TO CRY ALL OF THE TEARS. I actually used a gift card given to me for presents. I mean – TOTALLY #firstworldproblems: Oh! I had to use the gift card for someone else insted of me! – but STILL – SO STRESSFUL.

Stop Pooping On Joy Part 40 Million

Someone ranted on Facebook yesterday about how “Love Actually” is NOT the best Christmas movie ever and they continued to tear it apart scene by scene. LISTEN. STOP POOPING ON PEOPLE’S HARMLESS JOY. The Pooping On the Elf On The Shelf has been making me cranky daily, but SERIOUSLY? People loving a MOVIE is affecting your life HOW, exactly? I mean, if you don’t understand why people like something either A) Rant someplace where people you like won’t get their feelings hurt, C) Express your differing opinion softly, without insulting those who like it: “I don’t like that thing that everyone else likes. But I can’t claim great taste because I lurve me some Beiber.” B) Just don’t rant about it because WHO CARES?

I mean – like I said on Twitter – I didn’t really like Seinfeld when it was on. It just wasn’t my type of show. And I got SNARKY about it and self-righteous and this was just in my group of friends. Not on FB. And finally someone kinda quietly said, “I like that show.” And I felt AWFUL. I realized that I was like, “I just don’t get it. That show is so dumb. Oh my god. How do people like it.” And BAM! Someone in that room liked it and I totally hurt their feelings. JEEZUS, PEOPLE. Opinions are NOT FACT. No one can REALLY prove what is the best Christmas movie ever. SO STOP ARGUING ABOUT IT. BAH! (Someone sent me a link to this video which has some NSFW audio but is SPOT ON.)

This Is Not About Freedom Of Speech

Okay. And the last one. The one that I saw first thing when I woke up this morning and have since decided to stay the HELL away from Facebook today: Getting Fired For Publicly Saying Something That Might Hurt The Bottom Line Of The Business That Employees You Is Not Infringing On Your Freedom Of Speech. It Is Actually CAPITALISM. It’s A Business Responding To Consumers Which Is What They Are Supposed To Do If You Are A Fan Of Capitalism.

I mean, come on! I have people in my life who I would DIE for – that’s how close they are to me – and they are gay. It is NO SECRET that I do not tolerate ignorance or hatred towards the LGBT community. This is an issue near and dear to me because I would do anything in my power to help my gay friends and family achieve happiness and equality. BUT THIS IS NOT ABOUT THAT. This rant is about everyone posting about this like it’s a freedom-of-speech issue. BAH.

Edited to add: I had a graphic here that I edited that had me getting totally snarky about people posting about this like it’s a Freedom of Speech issue. I sent that graphic to twitter where someone promptly told me to “off myself”. Therefore, I removed that graphic from this blog because while I stand by my words – this is NOT a freedom of speech issue – I also don’t like people telling me to kill myself. So, you know…I’m censoring myself. DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

So! I’ll be avoiding Facebook until this passes because I don’t want to unfriend people before Christmas. I don’t want to know who is going to “Stand By Phil” and his ignorant statements about people I love. If you stand by Phil? You do NOT stand by me and my loved ones. And that would break my heart, so I’d rather not know where you’re standing at all. In my head every one of my friends supports my gay family wholeheartedly – I’d like to keep the dream alive. I’m hoping this ignorance will allow me to avoid more binge eating today.

Actually…I’m just going to avoid social media of all types today. It won’t help my money issues, but it will help my anger when people poop on innocent joy, and it will help my anger when people vocalize their support for someone who publicly criticizes people I would die for.

If anything happens I need to know about. Just pop over here and let me know. Thanks. Otherwise? I’ll be in LaLa Land where everyone lets people like whatever crappy things they like – without persecution; and NO ONE supports people who publicly vocalize ignorant views about groups of people I love.