2020’s never-ending surprises

Charlene and I were enjoying the company of some friends while roasting marshmallows last night when I got a phone call from my father. He informed me that my meemaw (grandma) was in the ER. Her rate was suspiciously low (35 bpm) and they did not know why.

She did not spend the night in the ER and she slept in her own bed last night. Everything seems to be okay today, but they will visit a cardiologist tomorrow if they can get an appointment.

The thought “it can’t get worse” has not crossed my mind in months- it’s 2020 and I expect each month to be worse than the last at this point. It’s just more of waiting on the enevitable doom each month; what does Satan have planned for me this month?

Other than the random bouts of unfortunate events, I suppose we’re still doing well. We just sold our dining room table, futon, and some Legos on FB Marketplace. My fiance got a new desk, so I am taking her old one. The dining room table hasn’t been used in months for its intended purpose and it is too large for this apartment anyway, so I decided to do away with it.

The rest of today will be spent on schoolwork and decluttering the area underneath our bed. I might step into the closet as well, but that might be a beast for another day..

2020 continues to suck.

Before I get into why 2020 is still the worst year ever, I want to say that I am actually fine. I would say that instead of being stuck in a pit of sadness, I am just in disbelief at how an already terrible year just defies all odds and continues to get worse and worse.

In my previous post, I mentioned my concern about a friend of mine who is an alcoholic. I also said that I hoped he would successfully detox at home and not repeat what happened in February of this year (a seizure).

Well, he had another seizure. He was taken to the hospital on Sunday and he is now (Tuesday) back at home continuing to self-detox. He isn’t out of the woods yet and there is still a chance that he will admit himself to a facility; however, I really don’t think he will. He is one of the most stubborn people I know. Anyway, that is one sucky thing.

The second sucky thing is that my fiancé’s grandmother just died. The grandmother lives in the Philippines, so she can’t be there for the funeral. This is the second family member she has lost this year. I lost a family member and a good friend this year as well, so this has been a record year.

One piece of good news is that my fiancé and I have decided that instead of renting and apartment next time we move, we will be renting a house. It’s a decision that is keeping me planning and excited, so I always think of that.

I think this is also a good time to mention that when I started to talk about “the woman I was seeing” back in August of last year, I named her Chelsea on this blog to protect her identity in case things didn’t work out; however, as you all know, we are now engaged and I think it is okay to tell you all her real name: Charlene. My fiancé’s name is Charlene. I had no idea that when I swiped right, I was swiping right on my future wife, but I’m so incredibly glad I did. I am also glad that she swiped back, haha. I look forward to documenting more of our adventures.

Spooky Season is Upon Us!!!

Okay, let’s be real: 2020 has been the spookiest year yet; however, now the fun type of spookiness begins.

I LOVE OCTOBER! I LOVE FALL! I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

I have always been a huge fan of Halloween because I think witches are cool, I love making themed baked goods, and dressing up is always a good time. I just sent out an email to my coworkers letting them know that I am hosting a virtual bake off! I’m so pumped!

I’ve been trying to find black dresses at thrift stores, but I have had no luck. I also visited Goodwill in search of Halloween décor, but I failed in my mission. I just really don’t want to spend money on brand new items when there are so many homeless used ones.

This weekend, I will begin baking Halloween cookies and I will decorate them with my fiancé and best friend. We will also be dog-sitting for my grandma, but she is not food aggressive or interested in it all, so this should be fine.

I just found out that next semester (my final semester: WOOHOO!!!!) will most likely all be online again, just like this semester. As long as my classes are asynchronous I am perfectly fine with that.

Because me and my lady have been trying to lose weight, I’ve really been holding myself back in the baking area. We also go walking every evening and I think we will pick up jump roping or following workout videos again soon. We are flying to California for Christmas and I am going to meet her family for the first time (in person- I have met them many times virtually). We both want to look somewhat in shape and I would just love to fit back into my jeans again. That is all I ask. Screw abs, I just want my pants back!

My next weight and measurements check in is in about 4 weeks, so I will let ya’ll know then if we have managed to make any progress.

This year has sucked a lot.

I want to begin by saying that 2020 hasn’t been ALL bad, but damn, it’s been rough.

I got a call yesterday that a good friend of mine died on July 31st. She was 78 years old and she died after what seemed like a successful surgery. Her husband, also a good friend to me, called me right before my girlfriend and I were going for a walk.

I’m okay, but it’s just sad. It’s one more shitty thing to add to this year.

Also, last weekend was a packed weekend for me and my lady. On Saturday we had plans to visit my grandmother and walk her very energetic dog for her. On Sunday, my mom, my sister, my stepdad, and my best friend were going to come over to grill out with us.

So, once we arrived at my grandma’s house on Saturday, I ran inside to pick up the dog. On my way out, she asked me if I would be able to stay and help her out with a few things. I said that I was sorry, but I [for once in my life] had to clean the house and start meal-prepping for Sunday. I usually say yes to my grandma because I normally have nothing going on. She was obviously not pleased with my answer, but didn’t say anything in that moment.

About an hour later, when we got back to her house, I ran inside again to drop off the dog and say good-bye. I found her putting chemicals into her pool and I told her about Cleo’s (the dog) behavior at the dog park. While I was talking, my grandma wasn’t really looking at me and when she did respond, she was very short with me.

She started making little jabs about how no one ever has time for her and that none of my family ever helps her out, etc. She also told me that I am free to go to now since I clearly have better things to do.

Disclaimer: this behavior is very normal for my grandma. She is super emotional, super sensitive, and has no problem making people feel sorry for things they didn’t even do. This day was just a shock to me because out of everyone in the family, I have been there for her the most, even spending a week at a time with her and helping her with outdoor and indoor work.

Anyway, I told her that I did not appreciate being guilt-tripped and that I help her out every time she asks, but I just couldn’t do that today. She pouted and told me to go then, go do the other things I had to do.

I walked out and I was definitely upset because, like I said, I have helped my grandmother out more than anyone. I also never ask for anything, unlike other family members. It was just really hurtful that she would talk to me like that.

Additionally, I will admit that it is very difficult to want to help out this grandmother anyway because she is the most vocal about her belief that my being gay is simply a phase and also that she prays for me and my sin daily. She has spoken to her church about me and outed me to them without my knowing. She referred to me to her friend as “the granddaughter that thinks she’s gay”. During Christmas two years ago, she met my girlfriend at the time and told me that she was lovely, but that she still prayed for me.

It’s an ongoing battle with this grandmother, and she’s always been quirky, but lately it’s just gotten more and more exhausting being around her.

COVID-19, BLM, Working From Home and Virtual Learning

Much has happened since early May- the last time I wrote a post. I will bullet point some events below and expand on them further down.

  • My bosses moved back to France and I will probably be working from home through early 2021.
  • My university has announced a “blended learning” plan for the upcoming Fall semester. Some people will have mostly online classes, but I wasn’t as lucky. It is possible for things to change, but for the time being, I will be on campus as per usual. Woohoo.
  • Georgia is now #8 in the United States for highest COVID-19 cases and I live in the 2nd highest county AND I go to school in the highest county.
  • I am at my heaviest weight and none of my jeans fit. I mostly wear rompers because they are easy, loose-fitting, and breezy in this summer heat.
  • My partner and I participated in a protest in Atlanta in June for BLM. We went with some other friends and it was a really nice experience. So many people were there (all wearing masks!) with their animals and kids and homemade signs- it was truly a wonderful sight.
  • My sister has temporarily moved back to GA from FL (just in time, am I right??), but she will be returning in August.
  • I have finished the PS4 game Horizon Zero Dawn and I recommend it to everyone.
  • I got into a tussle on Facebook with my aunt. I am not one to engage with people on FB, but she commented on one of my posts and I replied.
  • I am set to graduate college next year (FINALLY!!!) and I am researching companies I want to apply at. I am also researching how much money people in HR normally make because I wouldn’t even know if I am being undercut.
  • I bought a new laptop (crying face) for $840 because my old one kept shutting down on me and I can’t have that happen during an exam or during something work-related.
  • I made the BEST strawberry cake last week and I am making it again in cupcake form tonight.

So, to expand on a few things:

In case there was ever any doubt about where I stand: Black lives matter. Black trans lives matter. Black lives matter. If you don’t understand those sentences, please see the image below:

Why you should stop saying “all lives matter,” explained in 9 ...
Kris Straub/Chainsawsuit

If you still don’t understand, I literally cannot and will not spend any more energy explaining this.

Moving on.

Overall, I don’t care about my weight until I hit the point where my pants no longer fit, and, well, we’ve hit that point. I don’t really know what my plan is next month; I’m thinking it will involve lots of leggings, sweatpants, and dresses. The wintertime concerns me because I need to dress a little more warmly and most of my comfy clothes are rather thin. I have a friend who was going to get married in September, but I think it’s being pushed back. I started trying to lose weight about one month ago, but I’ve seen minimal change. The wedding gave me a nice deadline and motivation, but I fear that that has now left. We’ll see what happens.

The Facebook Tussle: The post in question was a screenshot of a tweet that the GA governor sent out requesting for everyone to please wear masks. Above this screenshot I wrote something about how it was the dumbest thing I had seen all day because just hours before I had seen that Governor Kemp was suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms for issuing a mask mandate. My aunt got upset because she felt like the mandate was taking her rights away and also cloth masks apparently may be more harmful than helpful, so people shouldn’t be forced to wear them. I laughed when I read “rights being taken away” and “rights slowly being stripped away” because from an LGBTQ person’s perspective, I know much more about not having rights than she does. That was just a small portion of the thread of conversation, though. As mentioned above, she went on to say that cloth masks might not be as protective as we think. This prompted me to DM her for the sources that claim this. She sent me an email chain from a woman I assume to be part of her homeschooling group; this woman put together a very extensive document full of links to various articles and studies (some are pro-mask and most are anti-mask, or at least questioning-mask). I was intrigued and I started reading. I got through the first 6. I didn’t just read the summary and quotes that were pulled by the lady, I clicked on the actual links and read the entire article/study. And I found some issues. I didn’t relay any of my findings to my aunt because I didn’t want to argue about it any more and I’m not interested in trying to change someone’s mind who doesn’t want their mind to be changed. Anyway, there were a multitude of flaws in those first 5 articles ranging from the actual authors redacting what they had written to data being used from 1920 to describe the current situation in California. There was also a study that revealed the most promising results of the anti-mask argument, but then I saw it was only relevant to healthcare workers in Vietnam AND they did not monitor hand hygiene AND all data was self-reported- lots of space for human error. I then just stopped reading. Personally, I believe that a cloth mask does not directly prevent COVID-19; however, I do believe that a properly washed and a properly worn cloth mask will greatly reduce the chance of transmission. Ultimately, it is up to the wearer to regularly clean both the mask and their hands.

So, I was planning on staying with the company I currently work for for at least another 2-4 years; however, I am not making the amount of money I want to be making. If I left this company, I would be leaving a lot behind: flexibility, autonomy, fantastic bosses and coworkers- the culture is really amazing. The problem is that I am getting older and eventually (soonish) I want to rent/buy a house with my partner. I want to adopt dogs. I want to have reliable health insurance. I want more job security. Unless my company steps in up in the next 12 months, I am heavily considering going elsewhere. Of course, it could take me a while to get a job- I have friends who graduated two years ago who are still applying day after day after day and it is so discouraging. I hope I have better luck.

I think that is all the expanding I wish to do tonight. I hope everyone has been doing alright and while things are quick scary in the US right now, I feel that a great majority has come together more than ever before to not just take action, but also to listen and to understand people who they were previously indifferent towards. Support Black businesses, recycle your plastics, and don’t be an asshole.

No Regrets

I lived in Germany with my mother’s parents from October 2017 to March 2018. I decided to do a semester at the local university and simultaneously spend some time with grandparents that I only got to see once a year- and that was if I was lucky.

My grandfather passed away about a week and a half ago. He was 84. He was also in the largest police choir in east Hesse for several decades… I want to say about 50 years… he LOVED music and singing!

In December, he asked me if I wanted to attend the Christmas concert they always put on with the children’s choir each year. My grandmother warned me that the children’s choir wasn’t particularly good and that I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to.

It didn’t take me long to agree to go because I knew I’d probably never get the chance to see him perform again and I didn’t even know the next time I’d be able to go to Germany. I haven’t been back since I left in March 2018, so looking back, I am SO incredibly happy that I was able to see him perform.

The children’s choir was very boring, yes, but the police choir was awesome. There was also a soloist who sang Hallelujah and it even brought some of the kids to tears- so cute.

The last picture I have of me and my grandpa is one with my grandma as well. We were at a family member’s birthday party and it was a very social and very exciting event- I had a blast. And my grandpa looked so happy!

Even though we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, I still have an amazing relationship with my grandparents. We text and video-chat and it was really important to me to study over there/live over there at one point in my life. I’m really really glad I was able to make that happen.

A Sad and Anxious First Day of School

Yesterday was day one of my Spring 2020 semester. I had only one class at 12:30pm. As per usual, I arrived an hour and a half early to make time for traffic, me getting lost, and any other emergency situations.

Turns out that I made the right decision in getting to campus ridiculously early because I spent 40 minutes trying to find parking that wasn’t full and would also accept my budget card that I just loaded $105 on. I finally found the sketchiest parking deck on campus; it also happened to be the one furthest from my class, so I got a nice walk in too.

The actual class was fine, but because of it being a new professor, new classmates, new room, new seat, etc., I was feeling a little jittery. I also hadn’t eaten enough or drank enough water- that’s on me. The whole parking situation didn’t help either, of course.

Unfortunately, my German grandfather also just died- as I was walking to class, actually, my mother texted me and my sister. So, that sucks. My mom just got back from Germany 5 days ago and now she’s going back for the funeral.

I have one of my evening classes today. I am trying to plan where to park because when I get out of my class it will be dark. I will attempt to park where I normally park because it’ll be after normal hours and the deck will hopefully not be full at that time.

Work update: work is going well, I hope they’ll ask me to be full-time soon.

Welcome to the New Year!

I must begin my first post of 2020 by saying that I was unfortunate enough to end my holidays with some not so great news: my German grandfather is in a coma with meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. He’s in his mid 80s, so it doesn’t look great. My mother flew home on December 24th and she’s coming back tomorrow. He hasn’t woken up yet, but she has to return to work.

I spent the last week of December dog sitting and taking care of my sick girlfriend; fast forward a few days and it was her taking care of a sick me.

A fever, a cough, some vomiting, a visit to urgent care, and an ear infection later, I am on day 4 of antibiotics and day 2 of being back at work. I am still coughing up a storm, but overall I feel much better.

Our Christmas tree is still up, our apartment looks a fright, and I haven’t baked in what feels like months! I also made an extensive physical and mental list of things I want in 2020 for myself and for my relationship with Chelsea (spoiler: it involves lots of travel!), but I haven’t had a chance to start on any of it on account of my getting sick.

I was supposed to have 4 teeth removed yesterday, but I had to reschedule that, so that’s happening next Friday. Woohoo. Braces are still on for January 30th.

School begins next Monday. I am taking 4 classes. 3 of them are HR classes and 1 of them is a marketing class. I am excited, but I am nervous because 2 of my classes are evening classes; I go to school in downtown Atlanta and I park in a parking garage that is known for armed robberies and assaults. With the days becoming dark very early, I’ll have to watch my back walking to and from my car and class.

I shall now bake brownies!

Feeling a Little Low

The 2019 Fall semester is finally over. I ended the year with 2 As, 2 Bs, and 1 C. I realized too late- with the help of people who care about me- that I started the school year with too much on my plate. I was able to drop one of my classes, but, in reality, I should have never taken 6 to begin with; I think 3 or 4 would have been more reasonable considering I’d been away from college for almost 2 years.

2 of my friends recently graduated. I suppose that 1 of them should be considered more of an acquaintance now because we haven’t hung out regularly since 2016. There were others that I went to high school with that graduated this May, too. While I’ve come slowly come to the decision to let myself run only on my timeline, I still find it difficult to look at photos of people who started college at the same time as I did, but only one of us is done. I don’t doubt my capabilities of finishing school and I don’t regret my choice to take a break from it, but my desire to be done with my degree is still very strong.

This was the first semester that I finally got a professor I felt was worth my time and money. She made class interactive, educational, and overall enjoyable. The topics were applicable to both school and work. She gave real-life examples and encouraged questions and discussions. I’m glad I had her because, in short, I hate school and that hasn’t changed. She made the first semester back a better experience and she made the decision to sign up for more classes just a tad easier, too.

I’ve had a lot of family stuff go on this year- more than usual, it seems. As always, I am never really in the conflict/situation, but I am the neutral party, the middleman, you get it. The most pressing “thing” is currently my youngest sister and my family expects me to “talk some sense into her” when I see her on Monday. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve given my two cents, but I try not to be too overbearing.

Work has been fine. I felt that they hinted at a promotion a few months back, but I feel that I misunderstood. I also gave a co-worker (on behalf of my boss’) a $1400 bonus. The co-worker is moving to California, and I’m sure they just wanted to thank her for her time and wish her the best. I feel the same, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I wan’t expecting the rest of us to get something. The last payroll was already run (by yours truly) last Wednesday, so there is little chance of the situation changing.

On to my teeth. Braces, braces, braces. The usual pain of braces came and went in a matter of days. However, the pain inside of my jaw and into my head has not left. I believe it is because the braces are trying to straighten teeth when there is no room to straighten them to. I am getting 4 teeth pulled on January 6th, but until then, they’re just pushing on each other and causing me daily and nightly pain. It’s great.

I am currently dog-sitting. I’ve dog-sat for this family for several years and they’ve been in 3 different houses. Normally, there is a note with an envelope of cash. This time, there was just a note. I won’t say anything until they return because there has been a previous occasion where I was paid after the fact.

The other family I am dog-sitting for on the 26th just texted me asking if $25/night was good. In the past, I charged $40. I said $25 was fine because the too-nice-person-that-lives-inside-of-me was saying, “it’s the holidays, what if they can’t afford more?” Obviously, this was the wrong answer, but here we are.

This post is just a big complaining session and I am aware of that. I am usually quite vocal about my appreciation of my friends, family, and other joys in my life, but this semester has been hard. It’s also not been fun being apart from my girlfriend; she’s visiting her family in California until the 27th, so I’m flying solo down here.

I’m sure it’s just going to be one of those days for me. It’ll get better once I’m with my family, I’m sure.

My Holiday Thus Far

The Holiday Season began, for me, the moment October kissed us goodbye. My girlfriend and I were given a 3 foot Christmas Tree by my grandparents and we set that sucker up immediately. That same day, my Meemaw also invited Chelsea to Thanksgiving. I’ve never had a partner at Thanksgiving, so this was an exciting first.

So, Thanksgiving comes around. My entire immediate family was actually not in town. My mother and stepdad were in Florida. My dad and stepmom were hosting their own Thanksgiving elsewhere (we did end up visiting them later). My sister was also in Florida and got to spend some time with mom.

Ever since my therapist told me to go into the holiday season with a more open mind, I wasn’t as nervous as I might have been otherwise about introducing my girlfriend to the family. This half of my family is quite conservative and religious; however, we actually had a wonderful time. The only person who I felt gave us a little bit of a hard time was my aunt, but I don’t think it was meant maliciously.

As Thanksgiving came to an end and the Christmas music crept through our radios, I started baking and planning and, as of yesterday, making eggnog. In fact, I’ve decided to conduct an experiment and make many types of eggnog in order to find the one that reigns over them all. There will be a few non-alcoholic versions due to the fact that my girlfriend doesn’t like to consume what she thinks tastes like medicine. I mean, she’s not wrong- many medicines contain alcohol.

Anyway, Chelsea leaves for California next week and I will begin dog-sitting, spending time with mom, and then dog-sitting some more. My work has demanded that no one work the week of Christmas, so I had to come up with another form of income. School has also come to an end and I am actually really looking forward to next semester even though this one just about killed me. I have one final exam tomorrow (on a Saturday!!??) at 4:15pm. I’m not thrilled about it, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Happy holidays, everyone!