Adventures in Adulting

Due to circumstances of the physical, mental, and social variety, there are many things that I, a fully formed adult, have not yet done on my own.  Given certain limitations over the past 20 years, I am a little late to some of the parties.  For instance, my credit score.  I don’t have one.  Well, I do, but I am what is called “credit unscorable,” meaning I have very little activity, credit-wise.  But, I do have a little debt.  My husband is “credit invisible,” meaning he has absolutely no credit history, and no debt attributed to his score.  That is at least something we can build on, I knew none of this until I started looking for an apartment, another grown-ass human thing I never really did before.

Now, this is not my first apartment, but in the past it was different.  It was desperate.  First, there was an emotionally unstable anciet landlady who barely spoke English and tried to evict us for “no GD reason,” as per the cops that showed up Easter Sunday to make sure we were out.  So, we moved quickly to a dump that was available and rented out by an LLC who kicked us out 2 years later to renovate (I’ve yet to see that happen, PS.)  So, again, desperate, we move to a place owned by a landlord who makes unstable landlady look like my lovable grandmother and literally causes both my husband and I to catch a PTSD diagnosis from our respective psychiatrists.  Desperation again, and I find this place:  a nice apartment just the right size at the right price with a good landlord who makes me feel at ease. 

Now, six years later, and time for change.  The rent elsewhere has skyrocketed, and they know they are losing money on us.  We know we have outgrown where we are.  And so, I make the decision, for the first time, to move on.  What I want is for them to fix this place up and get more money for it.  That might sound weird, but this has been my home for six years, and I want only good things for it and the people who provided it to me.  When the billion bucks was on the table for all of us last week, Mark and I were talking about what we would do with a bunch of money…not even a billion, but enough.  I’d leave some for my landlords, so they could update.  Like a thank you, because it might be their house, but for a while, it was my home.  And their kindness over the years helped heal some of the scars left on me from my previous landlord.  I am appreciative. 

But I am broke, so instead I’m just going to try to clean the hell out of the carpet, which has seen 6 years of my kids growing up and God knows how long of the family of toddlers that lived here before us.  I am PRAYING there are decent hardwoods underneath this thing for them.

But I digress…

So in looking for an apartment, sans desperation for once, I am encountering moments of adulthood I was not previously familiar with.  Like, credit scores, and their total ineffectuality when it comes to renting property.  Why, landlords of Buffalo, does my credit score apply? Just ask for a rental receipt.  I don’t know how you budget, but rent always gets priority in my house.  I will take a shutoff notification from the electric company and I will take a deferral on my student loan and I will take some bread from the food pantry, but you can be absolutely certain I paid my rent.  But no one keeps track of that.

Then I go to a showing and learn of a software called Avail that lets landlords use rent payments to apply to your credit score.  I don’t know why EVERYONE isn’t using this, but if they were…I wouldn’t be looking to rent an apartment right now.  I’d be taking out a loan with my good credit to put a down payment on a house that’s mortgage is HALF MY CURRENT RENT.

It’s a flippin’ scam, kids.  Adulthood is a scam.

Y’know, I’ve yet to buy a car that I didn’t find on Craigslist, also.  I can’t wait for that day, I’m sure my head will explode in a similar fashion.

Anyhoo…I continue with my apartment hunt.  I plan to be out the last week of September, so if anyone in the Buffalo area knows of anything available then…hit me up.  Unless they want a credit score, in which case they can GTFO.

Toe Trouble

So, on Thursday I decided I wanted to go down by the creek and kill an hour fishing.  I do this on occasion in the afternoons when I don’t have anything going on, and I find it to be a really good stress reliever for me.  Afterwards, I went to Aldi’s to pick up some dinner, and as I am pushing the cart through the store, I think to myself: “Gee, my foot kind of aches…probably shouldn’t have worn flip flops today.”  I continue shopping.

I drive to Mark’s work and pick him up, and then head home.  I take my shoes off, not thinking about the pain in my foot because it really does just feel like I needed to take my shoes off. I go about making dinner.  When everything is in the oven, I think “huh, my foot still kind of hurts.”  It hurt the way a toenail that need to be cut does, so I grabbed the nail clippers and took a look at the toe in question.

The toe in question was caked in blood.

Vague panic as I cleaned it up and thought of my dead Aunt Ka.  One day, before she was dead, naturally, she stepped on a nail that went straight through her shoe and into her heel.  She walked around all day with that nail in her foot, completely unaware due to diabetic neuropathy.  At the end of the day, she noticed her shoe was filled with blood, and went to have the nail removed.  This story horrified me as a child, because I just could not fathom how you wouldn’t notice a flippin’ nail in your foot!

Welp, I too have diabetic neuropathy, so of course I didn’t notice that I had practically sliced off my middle toe.  If you don’t want to know what it looked like, skip the remainder of this paragraph…ohmygod it was like a sliced hot dog.  You know Beeker, from the Muppets?  It looked like his MOUTH.

Anyhoo, I started panicking something fierce.  I think it was shock, and some rush of chemicals to the brain, because all of a sudden, I was going a mile a minute and couldn’t sit still, my thoughts racing faster than my quick speech, and my hands shook like I was freezing. It was bizarre, and somehow, I drove myself to the WellNow to get it looked at, walking in the front door and telling the nurse at the desk that I hurt my foot.  She picked up immediately that I was not in a well state, both physically or mentally, and they took me to a room where a nurse cleaned it and calmed me and then told me I would need stitches.

Still freaking out, they took me to a procedure room and the doctor came in and took a look.  He told me that since I am diabetic, and since I was at the creek, and since they have no earthly idea what did this to me, he can’t stitch it because it would make for a greater risk of infection.  If they closed bacteria up in there, I could lose the toe, especially being diabetic.  So instead, I got some glue and some steri-strips and a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  I was told to keep it dry and rest for a few days, which I did, more or less…resting has never been my strong suit.  I mean, I spent all yesterday morning on my feet at my new jobby.  Fortunately, there was little to no pain and I didn’t even need Tylenol when I got home.

So, yeah…I have no idea what happened.  I surmise that something cut me at the creek…what, I’ve no clue.  The doctor said it was a clean cut like a razor or knife, not like a rock or stick or something sharp in nature.  And too big to be a fishing lure or something like that.  Whatever it was, it was super sharp.  But I hobble on.

Anyhoo, that’s all for today, just a tale about my toe.  Happy Tuesday. 

Even on the Bad Days

I had some topics ready to go today, but I don’t feel like it.  Today it has been cloudy and gray, and my mood has reflected the weather. 

I had therapy yesterday for the first time in a long time.  I unloaded everything onto her, and she agreed with my self-diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder, and then she remarked that most people in my situation of unyielding stress would have given up by now. She called me strong and resilient, echoing the sentiments I often receive from my mother, who calls me the strongest woman she knows.  But…was there another option?  My friend Carey gets this comment a lot, too, and always answers the same: what else am I supposed to do?  Seriously.  We would like to know.

Both of us do not agree with the concept of suicide, ergo neither of us consider that an option right off the bat.  And then there is the other options…I could have a breakdown and spend a little time “on vacation.”  Or I could simply choose not to get out of bed in the morning.  And yes, sometimes, both seem like viable options.  But they aren’t.

Because if you stay in bed, it can’t get better…there’s no opportunity for improvement.  And if you check out, same thing…it’s just running away.  If you truly want it to get better you have to stand up and fight, and put in the work to make it better.  You have to be strong.  You have to be resilient. There is no other option.

Because of the stigma of mental illness, many people think my diagnoses make me weak.  On the contrary, nothing has made me stronger than having to battle my own stupid brain chemistry every single day. 

So, I like to think, on days like today, that while I am tired (oh-so-very tired,) I am still strong.  While I might not write the big blog post I intended, I can still write something…even if I don’t really want to.  Because I have to push on, no matter what.

There are no other options.

Housekeeping: So I have paid for my domain names, so you can still find me at hamneggs17.com and brigidhannon.com!  My plans still need funding, however, so feel free to drop me a tip in the jar to the right.  (Also, if my pages get wonky any time in the next month, let me know.  I’m not sure how many premium features I am using at the moment.)  Also, and this is kind of unrelated, but I have a job interview tomorrow which would be super helpful right about now, so fingers crossed.

Oh, look!  The sun came out!

“Friends” in High Places

I wrote some time ago about my mother, and the fact that she was in a semi-coma after complications following a quadruple bypass.  While her condition has improved in many ways, she remains in the hospital, though she will likely be transferred to a rehab soon.  I visit, and she knows it’s me because she smiles or kisses my cheek, but I can’t talk to her.  She can’t speak, and I can’t carry a one-sided conversation very well.  It has been months since I have heard my mother’s voice.

Driving home from taking Mark to work this morning, I remembered something kind of silly about my mom; one of our morning conversations that wasn’t about anything pertinent or serious.  It was October of 2019, and I came in that morning all a flutter, because this:

DO YOU KLNOW WHO THAT IS??

That is the one and only Mr. Joseph Gordon Levitt, former child actor turned Hollywood star, now CEO of a social art platform built to connect creatives.  I am a BIG FAN, and have been since I was a 12-year-old watching 3rd Rock from the Sun. He was one of the folks I followed on Twitter early on, because Twitter suggested him to me.  Over the years, I watched as he started hyping HitRECord, and eventually I checked it out for myself.  Then I made my first post, and tweeted about it, just to drum up a reader or two…lo and behold, the above photo.

Anyhoo, when I tell my mother this, she finds it fascinating, because she finds Twitter fascinating.  She once asked if she should get an account, and I said no, and she replied, “well, if the *President* is on there, maybe I don’t want to be.”  Still, she loved hearing about the connections I was making around the world via my Twitter, and Joe Levitt is definitely her favorite. As time went on, she would check in.

“How’s your friend Joe?”  
“Who is Joe?”  
“From Hollywood.”  
“Ma, Nick lives in Hollywood; I don’t know a Joe.”  
“From that John Lithgow show…”

Sometimes I play along.

“Oh, he’s great, got a new film coming out.  Focusing a lot on HitRECord, too.”  
“Oh, good for him!”

Listen. I obviously do not know Joseph Gordon Levitt, but I think it’s adorable that mom sort of thinks I do.  And given current circumstances, I am loving that I thought of this little memory this morning, because it reminds me of all the fun, silly things about my mother that I have been missing, 

I won’t lie to you and tell you that the road is getting easier, because it is not.  It is still very much an uphill climb.  But at least I have moments along the way where I can throw my head back and laugh.

No Magic Words

You know that feeling when someone passes away, but you don’t really know them, and you feel for the people that have lost them?  That’s me this week.

As the usual reader knows, my brother-from-another-mother is a man named Kevin.  A brief backstory on Kevin’s family tells us that he was adopted.  In his early teen years, he discovered he had two sisters, Jessica and Melissa.  This delighted the boy who wanted family, as all kids do, and he was happy.  Over the years, he has grown closer to both of them.  I know Jess pretty well, as we are almost the same age and she lives in state, while Melissa, the youngest, has been elsewhere for some time.  We’d met a few times, but I don’t know her the way I know Jess.

The other night, I woke up around 2am, for no reason. There was a text from Kev on my phone, stating that his little sister had died.  I knew he meant Melissa, in the way that I sometimes know things.  He wasn’t awake at 2am, but I wanted to hop in my car and drive to his house and hug him, because ohmygod, I would be crushed. 

I was a little crushed.  She was too young, it was a tragic accident, and it hurts when someone you know passes, no matter what your relationship.  And then, I ached for Jessica, who grew up alongside her sister, and Kevin, who I think always wanted that chance, to grow with siblings.  I mean, we always had each other, and I consider him to be the brother I never had, but it isn’t the same, especially when you’re an adopted kid looking for some sort of tether to your heritage. 

He went to Tennessee the next day, where Melissa lived.  Were it a decade ago, I would have dropped what I was doing and gone with him, but alas, it is not.  Instead, I went to work, but I worried all day.  I worried for my friend, and hoped he would be alright out there, and when he came home, he described the whole experience as “intense,” and I suppose that is probably the best word to use.  I felt intensely when I heard she was gone, not for myself, but for her siblings that loved her so much.  I felt sad because I always meant to hang out with her, for real, as adults…and I will never get that chance.  But furthermore, her family will never get the chance to see her grow and change and become more herself, and that is what makes me sad. 

I am sad for my friend Jessica.  I am heartbroken for my brother, Kevin.  But I have no direct contact to Melissa, so I feel almost fraudulent in my emotions, as though I have no right to have them.  Alas, I know, through years of therapy, that all emotions are valid, and embracing them isn’t the end of the world.  So, I will accept that I feel terrible, but I know it is only because people I love are hurting. 

Perhaps the gods will grant me some magic words to say to make it all better.  Probably not, though.

Edit: Melissa’s gofundme can be found here.

Death of a Smile

Housekeeping first:

By next week, my domain names will expire, because I haven’t enough cash for the webhosting bills. So it will be back to wordpress.com/hamneggs716 and wordpress.com/brigidhannon for a bit, until finances are situated. Thing is, we are very strapped and have to move apartments during a rent spike, so this is not the month for this bill. If you would like to help out, I would direct you to the tip jar link on this page, where you can make a donation that will go directly towards writing expenses, like this damn domain bill. Also, CashApp for Ham ‘N Eggs is: $hamneggs716. (Just throwing it out there.) But in the meantime, I will have to scale it back a bit.

Anyhoo…here’s a blog:

In middle school., we learned about eating disorders.

I myself was an overeater-I discovered the why and what of it all and was able to heal from the trauma that caused it, and find healthier ways of eating.  This took years, but I came to have a good relationship with food.  But this isn’t about having an eating disorder, it’s about what that health class in 6th grade stuck up inside my brain, one little fact that fixed with me for some reason: bulimia teeth. 

I learned that when you were bulimic, sometimes, your teeth rotted and chipped due to the profuse vomiting.  I don’t know why this stuck in my head…probably because the universe is an author, and we love to foreshadow. 

I was rewatching one of my TikTok’s when I noticed it.  My teeth were…not right.  Now, you have to know two things going in: 1, I have always had perfect teeth.  “Movie star teeth,” my dentist called them.  2, I have more body and appearance confidence than I have any right to have considering I spent my adolescence as a fat, four-eyed, balding weirdo.  Since about 8th grade, I have eschewed beauty culture for body positivity, embracing the “you be you” side of the lens. 

Well, folks: my teeth are screwed up from vomiting due to gastroparesis and I’m super insecure about it.

They have eroded a little.  There are cavities.  There are a couple of chips in the back.  They are weak, and discolored, and I am self-conscious for the first time in a long while.  I have found that it is super easy to love the skin you’re in…until you don’t.  Until you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the face staring back.

I want my glasses back, too.  I like not wearing them, especially when watching a movie at night, but I hate having to put on specs to read, and I wish I could just wear a pair all the time.  I can, actually, I just haven’t gotten the prescription yet.  I was on the fence; now I think I’m over it. 

Because since not having my glasses, I have noticed my teeth. So maybe they are connected.  Probably.

E tells me I have a beautiful smile every time she sees me, and the flaws are hardly noticeable, because she knows I am insecure regarding it, and she wants to reinforce that I am beautiful to her no matter what…I know I am.  I love her for her efforts.  Still, I see my once perfect smile eroded, and I only think the worst.

I have to call a dentist, but I’m scared.  Scared it will hurt, scared it will take time and money, scared I won’t like the result.  But I don’t like what I have right now, and it will only get worse, so I have to human-up and do it.

In the meantime, I will be smiling with my mouth closed, because I am self-conscious, and battling with insecurities I haven’t felt in years.  I am damn near 40, and yet, I feel like I am 12 again when I look at my smile, and feel that old familiar pull of frustration and shame that comes with not seeing yourself the way you want to.  Someday, I hope I look in the mirror again and smile…maybe with fixed teeth, maybe without. 

Either way, I will work on trying to accept myself, because even when you are 40, body image is a bitch.

Her World on Fire

My 12 year old is aware.

My 12 year old is aware that the world is on fire no matter how many times you tell her it isn’t. She knows that a gun has more rights than her body-she mentioned it in passing. She mentioned it like it was a book she had read or a movie she had watched.

When RBG died, I cried. My husband held me in the middle of a NY state forest and promised me it would be alright, that he would always stand by my decisions like the tall trees surrounding us. I loved him for this; I hated him for this. I loved that he would be my protector, but I hated that I would need one.

The day my city died started out different for the women, but afternoon tragedy kept that story off the evening news. The morning had brought sunlight and screaming, there before our City Hall.  I stood with the fiercest of women, sounding off our rage as we paraded through the downtown streets.  We were full of fire and fury, and freedom.

No tears came on June 24th.  Only a quiet and expected rage, growing deeper each passing day, waiting.  Deep puddles of sadness splotched about my neighborhood as I passed sisters on the streets, just as enraged as I was.

My husband maintains his stance: my body is mine.  I thank him, but that is not enough- not enough to say it to my face. Say it to theirs-say it to every man in your life.  Make them shout it from the rooftops.

They want so much to be our protectors, it seems.  And yet, given the opportunity, given the information, given the instructions-still we see no assistance.   Still we see no change.  They could be our superheroes, if they weren’t so afraid of the opinions of one another.

It’s been a little while now, and the tears came eventually and sporadically.  Once processed, action becomes the call, urging me to offer whatever I can.  I look for protest-I look for dissent.  I no longer trust you, because you can’t trust me-that’s what they are telling us.

You think we can’t be trusted.  You thnk your mother-sister-daughter-friend can’t be trusted. 

And my 12 year old?  She is aware. 

Stress Monster

Acute stress disorder.  I was diagnosed with this once, after what I suppose could be deemed a traumatic event.  It’s like short-term PTSD.  It resides in a different timeframe, so you can develop it anywhere from days to months after the event.  PTSD takes longer.

There’s lots of symptoms for both, but I will focus on my own, the major one being vomiting.  I throw up when I’m stressed, I already know this; it is a hazard of gastroparesis.  Alas, it should not be landing me in the hospital.

Over the past two weeks, I have had a LOT of stressors.  I think that the “smaller” stress compiled itself, and launched me into acute stress disorder again.  It feels the same as last time.  And of course, I’m sitting here wondering what traumatic event could possibly have brought this on and, oh yeah…my mother.

I am happy to report that her chest is now closed up, infections are gone, and she will finally be leaving the ICU after three months.  I am less happy to report that I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been puking every day, and am consumed with racing thoughts.  I put a call in to my doc and counselor, so hopefully someone will get back to me today, because this is absolutely ridiculous.

I really wish I had more to write about right now.  Truth is, I do, but my fingers are numb.  I want to write about camp, which starts Sunday, but honestly, I’ve got work to do on that front that kind of takes precedence over a longer blog post.  No, I don’t know when I will be updating next, as I will be working nonstop next week, but I will catch you when I catch you.

Can’t turn that into another stressor: CANNOT.

Ode to a Tip Jar

Ode to a Tip Jar 

A ringing noise upon my ear
tells me that an email's here,
so, I look to see, and sure enough-
a WordPress logo, bold and tough!
Oh, perhaps has someone read my tome?
I wonder aloud as I start to roam
my way around the website’s format,
hoping to find a like or comment.
But look! Oh no! It bears bad news!
No, not a troll with too tight shoes,
no, not a bot trying to sell me a cruise;
it’s the company telling me it’s time for my dues!
But woe is me, I’m out of work,
and what little is coming is already marked,
so, what is a writer-girl to do
when her tip jar is empty
and her wallet is, too?
Shill yourself, honey, sell them a book!
Better yet, a Patreon subscription-those are off the hook!
Or if they really love you, the tip jar they will find…
to the very right of the blog page, no waiting in line.
See, usually it doesn’t matter, I get by on what I get,
but I lose quite a chunk if certain needs are not met,
like the webhosting bill that comes due every July
and makes me suddenly want to vomit and cry.
So here I am asking a favor of you,
my dearest readers, I hope you come through,
and offer to me maybe a buck or two,
so I can keep this site running for me and for you.
Ok, now that my rhyme is done,
I’m off to pen some delirium,
because I just got a new notification
and it has brought me great exasperation.
So hopefully you find some happy in your day,
because mine is slowly ebbing away,
and I urge you please to consider a donation,
so I can keep on writing these quotations.


Solicitous Histrionics

Open a dictionary. Pick a word. Now close it.

Open it again.  Pick another word.  Close it.

Now, write a poem using those two words.

This is a fun little game taught to me by my favorite local poet, Justin Karcher.  Back in January, I discovered he would be doing a workshop at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and my mother was kind enough to purchase me a ticket.  It was in May, so it was a long wait.  There were only 9 or 10 of us, but it was great…to me at least, who had never been to a writing workshop of any kind. 

One of the first questions he posed was what poetry meant to us.  It’s a simple concept, I suppose, but if you don’t have a grasp of what your craft means to you, then what are you even doing? I responded to this question with a poem of my own, naturally:

Poetry
By Brigid Hannon

Poetry is my voice, 
louder in word than in action.
My pen on paper. 
or my mouth and teeth and tongue,
no different from each other.
Each meter should lift darkness into light. 
Each verse should move a heart to break, 
each stanza another gasp from muted lips-
poetry is power and 
opinion and 
might-
the never ceasing beat 
of our living hearts.

Now, a lot of Justin’s stuff has to do with our shared home of Buffalo, NY, which may be why I love it so much.  I have long held a hope to write a collection of just Buffalo poems, so when he said we would be writing poems about “home” in some fashion, I was delighted.  I started free writing some thoughts down, and eventually I took those bones and pieced them together into a skeleton of a poem, which I took home with me to work on further.  I knew it wasn’t the sort I could pound out in an hour-long class.  I did, however, write this little guy as well, which I have no intention of doing anything with, so I might as well share it with you here:
Safe Shoes
Also by Brigid Hannon

No flip-flops today;
no sandals.
Sneakers?  But no...
laces come untied.
Little ones, so scared,
and yet prepared,
and I cannot choose a shoe.

An adult counterpart,
I've no active training.
"Where's the exit," I ask myself,
looking to the black sturdy Sketchers
I picked out,
with rubber soles and no laces-
shoes that keep me safe,
like I keep little souls who find me,
willing to sacrifice for such.

She tells me she likes her school;
she feels safe:
"We hardly ever have a lockdown." 
Hardly.
Look to the ground to keep from crying, 
seeing only sturdy safe shoes-
shoes that make me RUN.

Anyway, the workshop was lovely.  I went home and worked on my main poem for a bit, and when it was done, I emailed it to Justin to show him.  A few days later, he got back to me and asked if he could publish it in the June edition of Ghost City Press, which is the mag where I published my first poem, so, I mean…yeah, dude.  Of course.
So, in honor of that, I made a TikTok for it, which I will share at the end of this post.  It is a poem about my city, but also about my grandparents.  We were supposed to write about what home means to us, and my city is my home, where I would not live were it not for my grandparents, who gave me this wonderful home without even realizing it.  
Finally, I tried to write a poem using the dictionary game, and I tell you, friend-I have failed.  I have been drowning in the words “solicitous histrionics” for weeks now, because those are the two words that noodled their way out of the book and into my brain.  Eventually, I will write that poem-it will probably be a weird one.
So, that’s all for today, I think.  Happy Monday!