It Really Is The Little Things In Life…

I know the statement above is pretty much a no brainer to a lot of you out there, but it isn’t so easy for me to see it that way a lot of the time. I get stuck in the hustle of our, not really chosen but adapted to, RV living, ever hovering around the poverty line or below it. It’s a bit much and can completely consume one if they let it, which I can admit I completely do. I never ever saw this as my life, or anything like it, remotely. It’s definitely been an experience, with so much incredible learning along the way, about life, about myself the most I think, and about perspective. I’m not the same woman who moved into that ’68 Winnebago almost 10 years ago, completely broken, grasping at hope, barely, stepping into the darkness with no idea what comes next. And quite crazy about it. No. Really. Crazy. Trust me.

January 20, 2019, we will have been doing the RV dance for 10 years. 10 years! That one is pretty heavy for me. It makes me catch my breath, close my eyes, think everything and nothing all at once. There is part of me that wants to put a judgement on it, on 10 years of RV living, but how could I place judgement on what has been my life for this long? I see this life from the inside of it. I can also see it from the outside. I think I spend too much time seeing it from the outside and judging it. This is a life so far removed from anything I could have ever imagined even existed before it became my life. I have spent a lot of time feeling broken, abandoned, unloved, lost, confused, unequipped, alone. I have put down a lot of things, beliefs, that I had once believed were a part of who I was, maybe who a part of me still is. Maybe not. I have been in survival mode and being who I had been was not seeming to be a benefit to moving forward.

I’m not saying all of the changes in me have been bad ones. I have learned so many wonderful, amazing things about myself, and about growing up. The relationship that continues to grow, sometimes bumpy, more and more smoothly over time, with my husband. He is such a gift. He is also my biggest bane sometimes but I think the is part of the long-term living with another human, especially in as small of quarters as we do. Plus, we are two thinking, opinionated, smart individuals. There is bound to be perspective differences. We are learning to not try to convert the other to our way of thinking but allowing them to describe it so each understands the others point of view. At least, that’s the goal. The bumps are smaller, the smooth more easy to maintain and return to. I think that is called growing together, or something like that.

So, I’ve been…extremely depressed lately. (No. I’m ok. Working it through.) I’m in a weird spot, an uncomfortable spot and I’m at a loss. No. I’m refusing to decide what to do and move forward. I’m allowing myself to sit in fear of doing anything because, so far, I feel like a failure in all that I have ever tried to be successful at. I can no longer do the things I have done to stay alive – construction, house cleaning, landscaping, etc. – because I have beaten this body up and it is fighting back now. The things I know how to do, that I gravitate toward when looking for work, only to remember, “oh right. i can’t do that anymore.” I terrified to try anything new. The idea of not knowing what I am doing in front of other people makes me panic. The thought of getting something wrong in front of other people is … I don’t know how to get past this but I’m trying to figure it out. I apparently don’t have that issue with writing on here. I think it still feels so private, I guess. Or, I’ve been coming here to vent for a few years now. Kind of like going to a good friend.

Anyway, I am sitting here in the RV, alone. Lance and the dogs are off walking, a really good long walk – something they all have been needing to go do, just them. I didn’t want to go because I was feeling like I had the need to be alone. Alone alone. No dogs, no husband, just me. He walks them every morning and I usually sleep through it or get about an hour of me and coffee time, which is great, but this time feels different. Anyway, I was putting things away, cleaning up a bit, which is an ongoing thing in an RV, if you were wondering. You’re never really done for very long. You get used to it. I picked up the new body wash I had gotten, reading the label as I headed toward my shower bag. I don’t know why but it made me smile. It’s just a lavender and honey body wash, smells great, works great. But I felt overwhelmed with…satisfaction?…in the moment. Then the toothpaste caused the same feeling. Natural toothpaste. Looking at the fuzzy blanket we bought at Costco that is soooo soft and large enough for each of us to be blanket hogs. I became overwhelmed with gratitude for my life, all of it, the good, the bad, the devastating, the long lasting…mistaken beliefs, the stories I have told myself and believed. For a moment, I had absolutely no judgement of my life except joy.

It’s a great moment and I know that life is still life. Things are going to be what they will be. But, today, I am having a really awesome glass full – no halves here please – day. How’s your day going?

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Just FYI…

new post on When Pigs Fly RV!! Hope everyone is doing well!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Thinking…

I am coming to realize that I have become very apathetic about my life. I mean, it’s not like I don’t care if things aren’t going the way I would like, but I find that… Well, OK, maybe I don’t really care. I do but I really don’t. I’m feeling tapped out on the caring of how things go for me. God, that sounds really bad.

I honestly can say that I am not feeling suicidal. I haven’t had a single suicidal thought for months now, which is somewhat amazing for me. Its nice. With the absence of those thoughts I would think that perhaps there would be some more positive thoughts that would replace them. Maybe that is happening and I just don’t know how to recognize it, yet.

Since getting out of the hospital at the end of June, I have noticed a couple of things that are different about me. Before, organizing the bills, scheduling payments, etc were things that I did quite well…I was on top of making those things happen. Now, I have no idea what’s due when. I have to look each week. Sometimes, I find that there is something due right then, or the next day, and it’s a bit of a scramble. Gratefully, at the moment, Lance can get paid every day if he wants. I prefer to bank as many work days as possible before he gets paid since its so much easier to distribute the cash to where it goes along with making sure we have what we need to stay alive. Still, I seem to be able to only pre-plan what needs to be outgoing for about a week. More than that and I start to get confused. Frustrating, in a way, but this is also another area I seem to be becoming apathetic toward.

Another thing I’ve noticed that is different is my ambition. I am usually researching things I want to know more about, learning new ways (to me) to make money, stuff on the RV, dogs, etc., but I haven’t really been doing that either. The times that I have, I am done with it before I really get into it. Really not the me I had gotten used to.

On the upside, I find I’m more distracted by nature. I get lost in the beauty, the flow from leaf to branch, the collage of earth tones, the life, the centeredness. It opens thoughts, sparks dreams, day dreams, of a different life, a life I can feel. I think about writing, taking pictures, but, mostly, I think about what the hell am I doing? A couple of days ago, an event happened that has really put me in the middle of thinking about these things.

My brother-in-law’s wife’s son took his own life the other day. He had been having a hard time getting and staying clean. A few weeks to a month ago, he had gotten out of treatment for drug addiction. Unfortunately, it was apparent that he wasn’t done. He had totaled his vehicle and had given some unbelievable story about how it had happened. There were visible signs he was using again. It is believed that, while in a meth-induced psychosis at the home of someone he knew, he took his life.

My heart breaks for the pain his parents are going through. I wish I had the right words to say to lessen its intensity but I know there just aren’t any. I also feel somewhat hypocritical since I have attempted suicide before. Regardless, I feel… heartbroken for them, heartbroken for him. When I found out, I wrote his name on a candle, anointed it with some rosemary and neroli oils, and set it in a candle holder to burn. It didn’t burn away like the other candles I have put in this holder. It was all I could do.

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Enzo Update…

 

Photo of atrophied muscles on Enzo's head

Photo of atrophied muscles on Enzo’s head

Enzo did really great at the vet on Friday. I had been a little bit concerned because Enzo likes to take his time to decide if he likes you or not before friending up to you. He never did completely warm up to the vet but there were no growls or anything.

So, after listing and describing the possibilities of what is going on with the muscles on Enzo’s head, and repeatedly mentioning that he didn’t want to send us for an MRI at this point because it costs so much ($3000!), he prescribed a steroid for Enzo to start taking and we would reassess in two weeks.

During the descriptions of the possibilities, it became apparent that one of the main symptoms of all but one included both sides of the head, which Enzo is not experiencing. What one does that leave? Well, the tumor, of course, and after the way Enzo was on Monday, I think my dog’s expiration date is much sooner than his normal life expectancy would indicate. My heart is breaking.

On Monday, Enzo spent most of the day on the bed sleeping. This is not unnormal, really. The dogs go on their morning walk, come home, eat some breakfast, then take naps throughout the day until we go for our evening walk. Sometimes, we will play during the day, but Monday was not one of those days. Lance assures me he didn’t notice anything different with Enzo on the morning walk.

When it was getting close to the evening walk time, I took the dogs outside to go potty and wander while Lance and I got ready to go. The second Enzo took the steps to go outside, I knew something was off. He didn’t seem to have his balance. I watched him walk around outside and it quickly became apparent that he was disoriented, definitely was not balanced on his feet, and he wanted to just lay down. Even when Lance’s brother came over, Enzo did not get up. Seeing as Enzo has decided that he really likes Travis, Enzo not getting up is something to pay attention to.

I knelt on the ground next to Enzo and checked for any swollen glands. Nothing. After talking about it for a bit, we decided we would go ahead with the walk and see how he did. Maybe he just needed to get going. It wasn’t far into the walk that it became apparent this was not going to be our usual walk.

All three dogs are usually clipped onto Lance’s belt when we walk. For this walk, I had to separate Enzo out because he wasn’t keeping up and he was getting tangled in the leashes. No biggie. I took his leash and we walked together, only much slower than Lance and the other two. My poor dog really wasn’t doing very well. We strolled to where we usually throw the ball for the dogs. Enzo barely played.

Now, Enzo loves to play but definitely is not as…obsessed with it as his brother Achilles is. He will go get the ball a few times then decide to lay off to the side with his ball for a few minutes and then get up and play some more. Monday, he tried. I was throwing gently for him so it was easier for him to get. Enzo noticed and took the ball to Lance to throw. Lance threw it and watching my poor off balance dog carefully choose his steps as quickly as he could, trying to show us all was well even though it wasn’t, was heart breaking. After throwing the ball usually comes the meat of the walk. Monday, after throwing the ball for the dogs, we headed back to the van. There was no way Enzo was going to make it through the whole thing.

At one point as we were walking back to the van, I started messaging my friend. She used to work in a shelter and has unbelievable amounts of knowledge. After telling her how Enzo was, she asked me a number of questions, then suggested a simple neurological test to try. The test was a little uncertain in outcome – right in the middle of that’s good and uh oh. Realizing I was panicking about my dog, I let my friend know that I was going to call the vet in the morning.

After letting the vet know how Monday had gone for Enzo, the vet said it was time to schedule an appointment with the neurologist. Crap. I don’t have that kind of money. I can’t borrow that money, either. If I came up with it and they confirm Enzo has a tumor, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to afford whatever treatments they would suggest. There are a lot of what they would advise to deal with a tumor I just wouldn’t do, anyway, but I know I wouldn’t be able to pay to have the tumor surgically removed unless I found someone to buy one of my well used kidneys.

We have decided to look into CBDs for Enzo. Honestly, with the research I’ve done so far, I am starting to think giving CBDs to all three dogs isn’t a bad idea. I still need to talk with the vet and I am continuing to give Enzo the steroids with my fingers crossed.

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Emotional, My Enzo…

I find that I cry all the time these days. Ok. Maybe not all of the time but more than is normal, for me, and more than I am comfortable with. What is going on with me? Is this just part of menopause or is it something else?

Today, as I was walking into PetSmart to get the kids some dewormer, a dog was coming out of the store. Two people, obviously his owners, are outside coaxing and cooing, offering a favorite treat. As the dog came up to the woman, her face melted and she began to cry, throwing her arms around him. This was not a joyful cry. You could see it all over her face, and, since the dog had gray around his mouth, I am guessing this was an end of the road type thing. I had to fight bursting into tears. I’m not taking just plain ole sympathy tears, but deep, heart broken sobs, and the feeling didn’t go away within a few minutes of wandering around looking at the wonderful things for my pups. I walked out of the store maybe 20 minutes later and was still choking back tears.

I may be a bit sensitive to this setting, at the moment. My beloved Enzo is going to the vet tomorrow. The muscles on the top, left side of his head and cheek have atrophied. At first I thought he had just hurt himself somehow and wasn’t too worried. Ok. I was trying to not be too worried. I guess it’s been about 5 or 6 days since I felt the difference in his head, then saw it, while we were on our nightly walk.

Money hasn’t always been something that is very fluid in my life. I try to avoid the vet as much as possible – we buy their annual shots at the feed store and administer them ourselves; if I can heal something naturally at home, I do. It’s not that i have anything against going to the vet. It’s more cost effective my way and my dogs tend to be pretty healthy.

Now, I know there are those out there that will think I am neglecting my dogs in some way because I do not take them into the vet unless it is something beyond my scope of abilities to deal with. For those people, if you would like to pay for the annual vet visit for my three, I’ll let you know what vet we use. If you don’t, you can keep your judgments to yourself, thank you very much.

Anyway, the day after noticing the muscle changes on Enzo’s head, I broke down and did a Google search: my dog’s head is caving in. I was actually surprised to find the search results included different forums with people asking the exact same question. I probably spent about an hour and a half to two hours researching and cross checking the search results:

Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM)

Tumor

Possibly something else – bad, infected tooth, etc.

MMM is treatable with corticosteroids. I think by now everyone knows how tumors are dealt with. Something else – this could be simple or empty the pockets for the foreseeable future.

I’m praying for simple. I’m praying for affordable. I’m praying I’m not going to be down a dog because I won’t have the money to pay for his treatments. I’m praying and I’m scared.

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Sleep and Getting Ready to be Mobile, Again…

I’ve been sleeping through the night lately!! Its been great waking up and seeing the clock say something reasonable, like 6:00 am. I put the comforter back on the bed the other night and had the most beautiful sleep I have had in quite some time, waking up fully rested, refreshed, and loving the day. I’d love to say every morning since has been just as beautiful but that’s not the case, though I have to admit that I have definitely had the greatest start to my days seeing the time on the clock when I wake up.

As much as I’m loving this sleeping through the whole night, there are some drawbacks I hadn’t foreseen. I find that I am somewhat missing my alone time that I had during those early morning hours. I don’t have a lot of time to just spend by myself, not having to take care of anything or anyone and those early mornings at least gave me that. I’m not saying I would necessarily trade one for the other but…well, I guess I’ll just have to figure out how to carve out some time for myself during the day.

The other drawback is that, despite getting a full night’s rest, if I sit down for more than 10 minutes, I’m nodding out. I’m not sure what that is about, and its a little bit frustrating. I love a good nap, but falling asleep sitting up is not something I would put in the ‘good nap’ category. The first few times it happened I had just thought that it was probably happening due to how long I went through my early waking times, but I’ve been sleeping solid for about a week or so now and I’m still finding that I’m falling asleep after about 10 minutes of inactivity. Am I just that bored with my life or is something else going on? I don’t know and I think I have put as much worry into that as I feel I am going to. It will sort itself out or I’ll come to see that it isn’t and either decide it doesn’t matter – welcome to my new schedule of events – or I’ll talk with the doctor to make sure all is well.

Marilyn roof middle

after scraping, before coating

We finally have Marilyn’s roof completely sealed!! It looks so nice!! Yes, we really need to put a new roof on her but, for now, this is the fix and it is amazing. I love knowing that we will no longer need to put tarps on her whenever it looks like we might get some rain. This is also wonderful because we are not supposed to tarp off while in the campground system. Once I replace the alternator on Marilyn, we are ready to head back into system and I am ever so looking forward to that.

final coat

final coat

 

 

It’s been good staying at Lance’s brother Travis’s place. We haven’t had to move, we have had the time to take care of some of the bigger grievances with Marilyn, and it gave us some time to really talk about some of our mobile plans. We had already done this before, but I feel that we have a much better idea of what forward from here looks like in our minds. Also, since we have been reduced to electricity hook-up only here now, having full hook-ups again is going to be great. Hell! Having running water, again, is going to be a huge blessing.

That’s one thing I can say RV life has given me – a better appreciation for some of the things that get taken for granted, like running water, a city sewer system, storage space. There are many more, but these are the ones that jump immediately to mind. After being parked for nearly 5 years, we are finding that we have gotten used to the ability to have certain things, many certain things, and, though we have purged a huge amount before the move, during the move, after the move, we are seeing that there is still more that needs to go. There just isn’t room and, honestly, with our current game plan, we just don’t need most of it.

Sometimes I wish we had a newer rig for a multitude of reasons, one of the main one’s being storage space. That’s one of the drawbacks to Marilyn being 40 years old – these rigs had about zero storage space. There were made for the weekend warrior, not the full-timer. Plus, I think we have become a society that feels they need to have more even on those weekend get-aways. Or maybe life has just has more to it now. Either way, the storage space I’ve seen in the newer RVs is amazing!! I’ll admit that I have storage space envy leading to storage space fantasies. Everything should have a place to go and there are some things it would be nice to be able to buy in bulk if for no other reason than the savings it presents. Oh well. That is not where we are at this point. Maybe some day.

I’ve started another blog. It only has two posts, so far. The topic is full-time RV-ing on the less financially stable end of things – WhenPigsFlyRV. I decided to start the blog after reading a bunch of other blogs about full-time RV-ing. Though those blogs are great but, from what I can tell, these are people who have chosen to full-time RV. Ok. Sure. We choose full-time by not choosing to change it, but we did not initially choose it. Another difference I have seen on the blogs is a lot of these people had a house and other belongings to sell in order to make full-time happen, along with some funding to get going. Again, not us, and I have seen so many others that are full-timing it that quite definitely did not have that advantage either and are continuing to struggle just to make the less expensive RV life work.

That’s another thing. Sure, RV life is supposed to be a cheaper way to live, and it is for us as well, for the most part. Our higher expenses come when anything goes wrong with the rig. I’m certain it is probably less expensive for us to fix things on our RV than it is to fix things on a newer model, but things are more likely going to need to be fixed on our RV than a newer one, meaning money going out more often. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong about that one. It definitely feels right though. Then there is usually the lack of funding for repairs. Any that come up need to be saved up for in order to fix. I know it sounds like I am whining, and perhaps I am a little bit. Getting ready to leave here has me in newer RV envy, I guess.

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The New Sleep, RV update, ‘Do Not Disturb’…

My sleep pattern is all messed up still but I’ve got a system that I think is working for me. Well, at least for getting sleep. My usual wake up times are 2:30 and around 3:30 am but instead of just staying up for the rest of the day I have been going back to bed about a couple or 3 hours after I wake up. The great thing is that these ‘naps’ usually last for about as long as I was awake. Unfortunately, this sometimes leaves me wanting to take a nap in the early afternoon. It’s almost as if I have limited awake time before I need to sleep and recharge.

For the most part, currently, this isn’t too horrible. I’m not working and, other than trying to figure out how to get into the remote work force, I’m not really looking because I have no idea where I will be in about 3-ish weeks when we leave Lance’s brother’s place. I’ll get that figured out, I hope. With my sleep pattern, I wouldn’t really be able to work a regular job anyway – I’d be falling asleep on the job. I can’t wait until this all gets sorted out because I’m getting a bit stir crazy during the hours I am awake. Ugh.

I had a mechanic come out on Saturday to do an extended diagnosis on the RV. It turns out that the brand new alternator we bought when we were stuck on the side of the off ramp a few months ago isn’t working. Well that sucks. At least I’ve kept the receipt and can take it back so it won’t be more out going money. After I replace that, I just need to find a hi-torque starter with the electrical connection on the right side. I think I found one but it will be hard to know for sure until I have it in my hands. The only thing other than the starter that I want to pick up is the deep sump transmission pan. It’s not going to do a whole lot but with the larger fluid capacity it will help the transmission stay a little cooler. which should help overall a bit.

We put the base coat on the roof yesterday. Now, we wait a couple of days and put the first layer of flex coat on. I have to check the bucket to see how long we have to wait to put on the second layer of flex coat but, by next weekend, we should be ready to go back into the campground system, again. Its going to be so nice to not need to tarp off anymore, especially since they really don’t allow that in system.

I have to admit that I am actually looking forward to going back into system. Where we are parked at Lance’s brother’s place, we only have electric hook-up and can no longer dump our tanks here – something about dry drains or something like that. We make things work this way but… well, lets just say its come time for us to move forward. Lance’s brother gave us until the end of this month, originally, but we are ready, emotionally, to move on. No, nothing bad has happened. We still have until the end of the month. It’s just time, for all involved. They need their space back, we need ours, no bad feelings anywhere.

I’ve had my phone on ‘do not disturb’ for the past 3 weeks or so and I have to say I’m liking the quiet. I find I am so less attached to my phone, even forgetting it at home sometimes or not knowing where I put it down. I’ve figured out how to let certain phone calls through so I now have it set where phone calls from the kids, my husband, and my best friend still make the phone ring. Well, unless they are using Facebook to call. I check voicemail a few times a day to see if any of the calls I don’t hear were important. I don’t know if this is some form of isolation but it has definitely made me a bit less electronically obsessed.

 

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Much Needed Sleep; Working on “What Now?”…

Sleep! Glorious sleep! The last two nights have been amazing! The night before last I ended up getting 6 hours of sleep (woot!) and then, last night, I slept for 7 1/2 hours!!!!! SO excited about this. It seems a bit early for stopping the meds to be having an effect, yet, but it truly is the only thing that has changed. Whatever it is, I have gotten some real sleep and I’m feeling pretty great this morning. Finally.

Do I believe this is the end of the sleeping problems? I’m hoping so. I think it may be a bit premature to believe I have solved this issue but what a grand thing that would be! Fingers are crossed, super crossed, that is for sure.

I have reached a point in this whole not working thing where I am bored beyond reason. Sure, I’m piddle paddling around with this thing or that, things that need to be done, things I’ve wanted to have the time to complete, but, as entertained as I believed these things would keep me, they are all starting to feel like the chores they truly are. Ugh. When did my plans of fun begin to include chores???

I’ve been researching some things that I think I would like to write about, and that has been one thing that keeps me interested. The down side to all the research is opening up a new Google Doc to begin writing and feeling stuck after about 2-3 paragraphs. Or worse yet, writing a couple of sentences and having no idea what way to go next, what to write next. I have kept the examples of these for potential future use, but how does one start submitting articles and such when they can’t get to the end of them? Frustrating a bit, but I’m just trying to go with being satisfied with knowing that I am writing, which should bring me to writing something I can submit, to everyone, fingers crossed, praying, hoping, please, please, please. Once I make it past this first hurdle I know I’ll be fine, even if the nervousness of submission may never disappear.

I really need to sit down and write out a list of the different things I have planned for my husband and me to try. We are both looking to get out of the work we have always done since both of us have bodies that are worn out from that work. I have a few ideas, ones Lance and I have discussed as possibilities. Since everything is in the planning phases there’s nothing really to discuss, yet.

I’m anxious for us to get started with some of these ideas, but there are steps to each process before moving forward. Its times like these that I realize just how much I am an instant gratification type person. Its weird, too. I’m more than willing to put in the work but I want the end results now it would appear. Oh well…just keep moving forward and everything will mesh together eventually. Right?

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No Rest for the…Sleep Deprived?

I think I really screwed up yesterday. I didn’t end up taking a nap, for a number of reasons but mostly just because I didn’t feel I had the time or whatever to fit it in. I look back at yesterday now and realize there was plenty of time. I paid for the misjudgment last night.

I crawled into bed dead tired at about 9, my usual time, expecting to sleep until at the very least 4, but I was aiming for 5. How far did I make it? 12:28 am. Damnit. Not only was did I wake up at that time but I was AWAKE – almost as if I had slept a good solid 8 hours or something. Ugh. Fine! Coffee. I stayed up until around 5:30 am then laid back down in bed with the hopes of catching some more zzz’s. Thankfully, I slept another 2 1/2 hours. YAY! I’ll shoot for a nap here in a little bit.

This sleep thing has gotten to be a bit much. I have stopped taking my meds (today is day 2) thinking that maybe its my meds keeping me from my sleep, despite having sleep problems before going into the hospital. My reasoning is the sleeplessness, or disturbed sleep, has gotten worse, in my opinion. I know it’s too early to tell if this is going to make a difference, but I’m hoping. I’d wait until I could get in to see a doctor before starting with doctoring myself but its over a month before they can see me (new patient). I need to figure this out now.

Part of me feels that I am getting used to this new (I guess it’s not so new anymore) sleep pattern. Maybe this is what sleep looks like for me now – a few hours after going to bed at night, a morning nap, an afternoon nap. This doesn’t sound like a great schedule but if I can still get a normal amount of things done in a day, I guess I’m ok with it. I’m not sure how this would work with working but if I’m working remotely there shouldn’t be a problem. Right? Now, to get that remote job.

Why is this so hard in today’s work market? It sounds like a no brainer to me but apparently I am out of the loop of what’s a no brainer these days. The anxiety I have over talking to people I don’t know has somewhat to do with my struggle but, also, remote work seems to be an insider thing: if you”re not already doing it, no one really coughs up the info you need to move forward. Or maybe I am defeated too easily when looking for work. I’m sure that is part of it. I don’t do rejection, even the potential of rejection, well.

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