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Frustration

I am frustrated. With my life. With my health. With a lack of options.
AWOL
That may explain why I haven't written anything since July 2. I was working with a blog guy - super knowledgeable - about how to make this a better experience for readers. But, he had some family stuff come

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Status of the Marital Union: Chapter 4

Hot damn! It’s been FOUR years!

Four years ago, Mr. Lyndsy and I signed the paperwork legally tying us together as a couple. It’s a weird day for us to celebrate, because for us, it was just a formality. December 29, 2013 was the day we knew that we’d be together forever. We didn’t cement it with paperwork earlier for practical reasons, chiefly that we were hoping that I’d find a job in Qatar and they’d treat me like an expat instead of a local (which would give me a housing allowance and maybe a transportation allowance too).

We weren’t even going to have any family with us because it was just paperwork, but they insisted. Hilariously, they were all more dressed up than we were.

With our parents!

My God, we are BORING

What I’ve learned is that we are a boring couple. We’re basically homebodies, addicted to Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. We play the LEGO video games together, go to movies, and occasionally go out to dinner. If there’s nothing for us to do together, Mr. Lyndsy hangs out in the living room playing video games and I hang out on the computer in the bedroom.

Thrilling, I know.

Thousands of Miles

Over the past four years, we’ve flown over 100,000 miles to visit our homes in Florida and Brazil. Many of those miles I’ve flown by myself while Mr. Lyndsy worked. We also took a trip to the Netherlands in September 2015, which was a blast. We need to travel more, but given that Mr. Lyndsy doesn’t get much time off during the school year, and because we like to travel to see family when we’re off, we don’t get other places too often. We are planning to spend next summer traveling Europe by train with my mom. We’re hoping to hit all 27 countries on the Eurail pass.

Surgery, Surgery, Surgery

I feel so bad for Mr. Lyndsy. Three months before we got married, I had the spinal fusion that left me with foot drop. In June 2015, I had the tendon transfer to correct the foot drop. In October 2017, I had a hysterectomy to stop bleeding (which had been going on for about six months before the surgery). Then, in November 2017, I had surgery to correct a deviated septum and open up my sinuses. In between the surgeries, I’ve had a number of medical conditions develop and/or get worse: depression, anxiety, ADHD, fibromyalgia, and lupus.

Living with and caring for a spouse with chronic medical conditions is a pain in the ass. However, Mr. Lyndsy takes it all in stride. He knew I had some problems before we got married, but that didn’t bother him. He doesn’t believe that they impede our lives or our relationship. We’re fortunate that he earns enough that I don’t have to be pushed to find a full-time job, which gives me a chance to figure out how I can be the healthiest version of myself. I know many couples where the well spouse doesn’t look at it the same way. I am very lucky.

Still Not Hard

People told me that marriage would get hard once the honeymoon phase wore off. It still isn’t hard though I don’t believe we’re still in the honeymoon phase. For the first time since we’ve been married, I got mad at Mr. Lyndsy. It was probably just the compounded effect of illness and irritation, but I was MAD. Like, spitting mad. Leaving me to deal with trying to get a yellow fever shot (and suffer through the side effects), get the apartment cleaned up and ready for a month-long vacancy, and trying to get myself to the airport was just more than I could handle. Not to mention that I totally forgot about my damn income taxes.

But, one time of being mad in four years is pretty good. After I told him how pissed off I was, Mr. Lyndsy felt really bad. I know that when something like that happens, he will remember it going forward and not do it again. I’m also quite sure that I’ve driven him mad a time or two. He hates it when I don’t take enough care of myself and has no problem telling me about it.

The Exception to the Exception to the Rule

We’ve been described as the exception to the exception to the rule by more than a few people. People are surprised that we got married after knowing each other for less than nine months (and spending just about 25 days together in person). People are surprised that we’re still happy after I moved 8,000 miles from the United States to the Middle East. My mother in particular is shocked that we’re still happy, even though my chronic illness is a giant pain in the ass.

What we have is something anyone could have. It just requires a lot of honesty with the self, with the other person, and knowing what you want or don’t want. We just about never compromise. I know that people say the key to any successful marriage is compromise, but we try to avoid it. Most of the time, we want the same things. Because we’d been very open about what matters most to us from the beginning, we knew that it would be rare that we would need to compromise.

I think the key to a successful marriage is different.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~Mignon

I don’t know about Mr. Lyndsy, but I have most definitely fallen in love with him multiple times since we got married. Seeing him with our small dogs melted my heart. His anger at people who were intentionally being nasty to me. His nearly fighting a guy who got in my face (after I’d gone all Wifey Bear on the guy for saying something nasty about him).

He is still the best thing I have ever done with my life. No one else in my life has ever been so invested in my happiness and wellbeing. Even when I’m not keen on taking care of me, he’s there, making sure I do.

I hope everyone who reads this finds their exception to the exception to the rule.

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You may be a Spoonie if you’re sick and don’t know it

Spoonie sickness goes a little like this…

Who feels like utter trash this week? Me! Tired to the max. Stomach rebellion (who doesn’t love diarrhea?). Special stuff coming out my nose. All over pain from my neck down to my feet. MY FEET. When I’m laying down! Without having spent time on them!

Turns out, I’ve been sick. I was describing some of my symptoms to friends and more than one suggested I may have the flu. Gave it some thought. Could be the flu.

Spoonies have too much going on already

That’s one of the problems with being a Spoonie. When I complained to my endocrinologist that I was still fatigued, he told me I may just have to accept that I will always be chronically fatigued. I have joint pain a lot of the time, but the pain level isn’t usually above a 5. I had a septoplasty with maxillary antrostomy in November 2017 because I had chronic sinus infections and wasn’t really able to breathe through my nose. I’m used to having sinus pain or something constantly coming out of my nose.

Spoonies have to pay so much closer attention to our bodies because we’re already such a mess to begin with. Mr. Lyndsy starts sneezing and coughing, and I get the Vitamin C out of the cabinet for him. I know he’s got a cold. His stomach turns sideways on him and he’s probably eaten something dodgy.

Me? Not so much. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, lupus, diabetes, and chronic pain leftover from back surgery could have been causing all of it. Before I started on meds, my upper back and shoulder pain was almost unbearable. Same for the small joint pain in my hands and feet.

But I have been taking medications which alleviate a lot of the problems. Cymbalta helps with the joint pain. My ADHD med (Concerta) helps with the fatigue. Plaquenil (probable lupus) cuts the small joint pain. I’m somewhat functional a good portion of the time. Not this past week.

Maybe I figured it out?

What tipped me off that something out of the ordinary may be going on was the sinus pain, which I haven’t had it since the surgery. I shot some saline-type stuff up my nose and it lessened. Hoped it was just a quick thing, like a sinus infection in the making, and that pushing whatever was in there out would fix it. But my nose kept running and things kept coming out.

It’s SO much worse when you’re already feeling crappy

When your pain is already at a steady 4-5 every day, a jump up to a 7 or 8, or constant pain is agony. I start at a baseline already elevated above what’s “normal.” Throw in excessive bathroom time and nasty snot and it’s a real party. I haven’t been able to do anything about the body pain. Even taking all of my medications, my knees, hips, hands, and feet are in constant agony. Holding my phone, typing, laying down, sitting up – it all hurts.

I’ve been so tired. I haven’t done much of anything all week because I didn’t have the energy. I spent the week in bed, binge watching The Queen on Netflix (Ugh, Prince Philip!) and reading. I’m not saying I’m usually on the go or anything like that, but this is extra sloth-like.

I almost feel like I need to do a daily symptom check and keep track so I can figure out when something else is going on more quickly. That way I could maybe have hopped in to the doctor to see if there was something else I could take or something else I could do to feel better.

It’s easing up a little now, but I have to be careful not to push it or I will be right back to being totally laid out.

The TL;DR is that when you’re a Spoonie and you get a cold, it’s not just a cold.

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5 Reasons You Should Hire People with Tattoos and Piercings

I have friends who own businesses who wouldn’t consider hiring anyone with visible tattoos or non-lobe/multiple lobe piercings. I’m here to tell you that it’s a mistake if the only reason they’re not being hired is because of the body art.

I should mention that I have three piercings in each earlobe, three cartilage piercings in my left ear and two in my right, tragus piercings in both ears, a rook piercing in my left ear (the right will be done soon), and a nose piercing. I also have 18 tattoos. None of the tattoos are large, but some are visible even when I’m work-attired.

Why you should hire my decorated sisters and brothers:

  1. I’m awesome. Those same friends who wouldn’t hire someone with tats/piercings probably would hire me. They know me and know that I’m pretty damn great when it comes to being a good employee. I learn quickly, go above and beyond, and am a joy to have in the office. I can’t be the only decorated person with those qualities. If you know one, there have to be more.
  2. We are patient. Piercings can take a while to heal. My cartilage piercings took a full year (each of the three times I got them) to heal. They were painful. I got one ear done and waited until that ear mostly healed to get the other ear done. Then it was another year of pain. At least the piercings are done quickly. Tattoos, depending on how big and/or detailed can take hours over multiple sessions to complete. My biggest tattoo took an hour to complete and it was incredibly painful to finish. This was after I’d done three smaller tattoos. It’s the only time I’ve ever wanted to stop.
  3. We are creative. All types of body modification require some kind of creativity. We look at our bodies and see not what’s there, but what we feel should be there to fully express who we are. We get that picture in our minds and either design the tattoos ourselves, or know what to tell an artist to create. It takes a special person to see something where there isn’t anything.
  4. We know all about commitment. Tattoos and piercings require commitment. There’s a dose of pain involved in both. We don’t go after that just for fun (okay, most people don’t). Piercings will heal, but you may have a mark. Tattoos are hard to get rid of. You can cover it with another tattoo or try laser tattoo removal, which doesn’t always erase things completely. We go into a tattoo or piercing knowing and expecting that it will stay with us forever.
  5. We know who we are. Body modification like tattoos and piercings are extensions of who we know ourselves to be. Everyone has their own reasons for picking certain tattoos, but they generally all have meaning behind them. Even the tattoos people get at 18 when they’re out from under their parents’ watchful eyes. Sometimes what we value changes, but at the time the ink went onto the body, it meant something.

For fun, I’ll share my tattoos with you.

My first tattoos were an infinity symbol and heart to represent infinite love. Initially I’d wanted the infinity symbol in the heart, but as it turns out, that’s the international symbol for polyamory. Since that’s not my life, I opted for two separate tattoos.

Heart tattoo

Infinity symbol

I have a shamrock on the inside of my left ankle to represent my stepfather, one of the most insane American-Irish I’ve ever met. He had a shamrock on his right bicep. If you look closely, you can see the shamrock is made up of three hearts.

Shamrock Tatttoo

On the inside of my right ankle is a ladybug whose body is a heart. My mom and the women in her family all rock the ladybug style. Since you wouldn’t catch me wearing anything with a ladybug on it, this is my tribute to them.

Ladybug tattoo

After I met my husband I wanted to pay tribute to him, so I got the word “bliss” tattooed over the arch of my left foot. That’s how he described our relationship. (You’d have to ask him if he still describes it that way. I’m not sure if my tendency to forget to shave my armpits gets in the way of the bliss.) The dot over the “i” is a heart.

Bliss tattoo

Near the elbows of both arms, I have Celtic symbols. On my left is the Celtic tree of life (with a heart at the core) and on the left is the triskelion (also with a heart at the core) which represents progression and personal growth.

Celtic Tree of Life

Celtic triskelion

I have a spoon with a heart in it on the inside of my right wrist to remind me to take care of myself and my many medical conditions.

 

Spoonie tattoo

On the inside of my left wrist is a light bulb with a heart filament. This is my way of representing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate.; only love can do that.” It’s a reminder to myself to go into each day with love.

MLK Tattoo

As happens to many married folk, I gained weight after we said “I do.” My wedding band no longer felt good cutting off circulation to my finger, so I stopped wearing it. I decided that it was a little screwed up that Mr. Lyndsy was wearing his band and I wasn’t wearing one, so I got a ring with a heart tattooed on my ring finger.

Wedding band tattoo

My left foot tattoo represents the people who have made a serious impact on my life over the years. They’re each represented by something different. I have plans to add something else soon.

Friend tattoo

Garth Brooks’s song “Standing Outside the Fire” has been a motto for my life. I’m the kind of person who likes to dive on it, even it means I’m going to get burned. The flaming heart is me getting right on in there.

Standing Outside the Fire

The three paws (with hearts as the base) on my left hip represent my fur children: Buddy is blue (the halo to show he’s gone to doggy heaven), Kizzy is purple, and Mica is pink. I love those furkids even though they’ve gone to live with other people while I’m in the desert. The important thing is that they’re happy.

Furkids tattoo

The bow on the outside of my left leg is my way of accepting the nasty scars left over from my tendon transfer surgery. I can pick up my foot, but it’s pretty obvious that the doctor was not a plastic surgeon.

I’ve dealt with severe depression since 2007 and more than once have considered making an exit from life. To show that I ended up choosing otherwise, I have the semicolon tattoo on the outside of my left leg. I didn’t love the regular semicolon, so I turned it into a heart and comma, and attached it to a balloon to show rising spirits.

Semicolon Remix

I love rainbows and sometimes need a reminder to dance and enjoy. The tattoos on my left inner arm are all about expressing joy. They’re little people I started drawing back in high school (I think) and I’ve always loved how happy they look. They each have a heart core with a different color.

I’m a big fan of unicorns, probably because I think I’m pretty magical. This unicorn’s name is cupcake and she is throwing some wicked shade. She’s got a My Little Pony style cutie mark that’s a heart. I also have a unicorn horn on my middle finger. I’ll let you figure that one out.

Cupcake throwing shade

Beware the Horn

After the first two, I designed all of these myself. I don’t think I’m an artist, but I wanted what was on my body to have been created by me. There’s only one where the tattoo artist made any changes, and I’m okay with them (the flaming heart). I waited until I was 32 to get any, since I wanted to be sure, but I’ve wanted them since I was 18. They serve as reminders of who I am and what I value in life. And there will be more. Many more.

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Why We Should Repeal the Second Amendment

John Paul Stevens, a retired Supreme Court Justice, wrote an insightful opinion piece about why we should repeal the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. I completely agree with him.

Our system of laws in the United States is based on the common law and the idea that once a

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It’s Stormy: Bad weather for Trump and Cohen

The much-anticipated interview with Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) aired last night. I didn’t watch it because I didn’t want to waste an hour of my time, but I did read the transcript of the interview.

I have some thoughts. First, why wouldn’t Trump just admit he slept with her? It happened in 2006. He was doing The Apprentice back then and no one cared about his lack of morals. In October 2016, we all already knew that he sexually assaults women when he feels like it. Over ten women had come forward to tell us that what Trump told Billy Bush is exactly how he approached them. Unless it’s that he’s upset because she wouldn’t sleep with him after that… That seems more like his personality. She didn’t fall all over herself to be with The Donald again, so it must never have happened in the first place.

Second, does anyone actually believe he didn’t sleep with her? Trump’s marriages end in affairs. He met Marla Maples while he was on vacation with his wife and family in 1989. They married in 1993 and separated in 1997. At some point in the late 1990s, possibly while he was still with Marla, he started dating Celia Midelfart. He was at a party with Celia when he met his current wife, Melania, and asked for her phone number. It doesn’t seem that monogamy is something The Donald enjoys. It’s particularly brutal that Melania had recently given birth to their sun, but Stormy isn’t the only one who will say that he was looking for love elsewhere in that timeframe.

Third, Michael Cohen admits he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her from making “accusations.” I suppose he was suggesting that he didn’t want false accusations to affect The Donald and the campaign so close to Election Day; better to pay her to keep quiet. Not that any accusations at that point were affecting him. The people supporting him weren’t moved by the countless other allegations, why would this story change anything?

By that time, the Billy Bush tape was out, women had come forward to tell the public that Trump assaulted them. Cheating on your wife, especially one who’s just given birth, never looks good, Stormy Daniels doesn’t say that he sexually assaulted her, but rather that they’d had consensual sex. (I disagree with her characterization of the encounter. She says she didn’t say no, but she didn’t want to do it but felt like she had to. That’s assault.) The campaign could have gone with the “he doesn’t have to assault women to get what he wants, they give it to him freely” and said that he’s changed his ways since then and is happily committed to Melania. (People do love redemption stories!)

But really, who pays $130,000 to cover up a lie? If Stormy Daniels had been lying, they could have thrown her career out for the media to feast on. There’s a pretty good chance that the voters would have looked at her adult film career and knocked her credibility based on that. We aren’t exactly a sexually progressive country.

Fourth, Michael Cohen is a liar. I don’t give a damn who your clients are, lawyers do not come out of pocket for their clients. Also, there is no way he made that payout without talking to The Donald about it. For a settlement to happen in any case, a lawyer MUST have the consent of their client (since the client has to execute the agreement). Lawyers cannot make a deal like that without consent. Perhaps Cohen’s not concerned with ethics and was willing to execute the agreement without client consent, but I don’t believe he shells out any money on his own without the expectation that it would be paid back.

Fifth, Cohen’s story that he acted on his own really makes no sense when you consider that he’s worked for the Trump Organization since at least 2011. The Trump Organization seems like a disaster when it comes to personal/professional relationships. Trump and his kids ARE the Organization. Given that Cohen used his Trump Organization email address when negotiating the settlement with Stormy Daniels, it’s hard to believe that Trump and/or the Trump Organization wasn’t involved. It would be more believable that he acted alone if he worked at a private firm.

Overall, the interview told us nothing we didn’t already know. We knew that The Donald’s has  issues with marital fidelity. We knew he believes he can take whatever he wants from women. We knew he thinks he’s a ladies man. We knew that he doesn’t play by any laws that apply to him. We knew the people who worked for him (and still do) are of questionable character.

What the Stormy Daniels interview has done is distract us from the real issues. Bill Clinton taught us that what a president does in his personal life doesn’t matter to most people, but when other things are going on, it can serve as a great distraction from something that matters more. Like obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

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Gaslighting isn’t cool

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

Chances are good that someone has tried to gaslight you, but you may not have known what it was called at the time. I’ve got quite a bit of experience with it, having been in a relationship and lived with a narcissist. Since narcissists always want to look good and because they are happy to do it at your expense, gaslighting is a common tactic.

Here’s an example:

Person A: You know, if you just lost some weight, you’d be beautiful.
Person B: Ouch, that’s kind of harsh.

Sometime later….

Person B: You really hurt my feelings when you told me I’d be beautiful IF I lost some weight.
Persona A: I never said that.
Person B: Yes, you did.
Person A: No, I didn’t.
Person B (losing it a little): Yes, you did. We were on our way to the mall when you said it. It was the weekend The Avengers was released.
Person B: I don’t remember saying it, and I don’t think I did, but if I did, I was only trying to help.

My ex kicked me in the chest and the next day, when he asked what the bruise was from, and I told him that he kicked me, he said, “You mean from when you ran into the door.”

We either start to believe what they’re saying or we are exhausted trying to prove they’re wrong. The point is that they aren’t going to suddenly come around and agree. For whatever reason, they’ve latched on to their view of things and will not be shaken.

They’re wrong for what they’re doing. It’s cruel. It’s dehumanizing. It’s unhealthy for us to be around them.

And even when you can see it for what it is, it doesn’t make it easier to deal with. I have a feeling that a lot of gaslighting comes from projection, where someone is putting on you their own issues/flaws/etc. When they call you a bully, but really, they’re the one doing the bullying. Or when they accuse you of being secretive or lying, it’s really them.

Even if you stand up against them, things aren’t likely to change. It just becomes yet another thing to try to manipulate you about. They turn the focus onto you and your response to them, rather than owing their behavior. They’re launching attitude right and left, but when you dare point that out, they tell you that you need to drop your attitude.

It’s crazy-making. It’s exhausting. It’s ridiculous.

I am curious how it is that people come to be this way; the old argument between nurture and nature. Or, is it a combination of the two? What kind of environment exists in a child’s home that lead the child to eventually manipulate and control others? And what happens to the kids who grow up with parents who regularly gaslight others? Do they grow up to gaslight others too? Are there psychic hurts that make them unable to behave any other way? What does this do to the world at large?

I don’t know that any of those questions can ever be answered with wide application. People are all so different and all of our experiences are so unique. But is there a common thread? Can we pick out a few things, point to them and say, “Yes, these are things to look out for”?

We have so many big issues we need to address, but we can’t get to them if we can’t get through the manipulations of others. I once heard a statistic that as much as 2% of the population is sociopaths (also a group who will gaslight people). This doesn’t mean that 2% of the population are serial killers. Sociopaths are also ruthless business types, probably attorneys too. They’re the type of people who don’t care who they step on or over to get where they want to go. If these are the people running companies and governments, we won’t ever get to any kind of peace in the world.

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Yes, still tired

I think I mentioned before that my endocrinologist told me that I may have to just accept that I will be chronically fatigued. I didn’t want to accept that and still don’t. It sort of sucks to know that no matter what you do, you’re going to be tired. You’re going to wake up still tired. It’s exhausting to know that.

I met someone yesterday who recommended nutrition function/response testing. There’s nowhere to do it here, so it’ll have to wait until I’m in the US. She highly recommended it, saying it made a HUGE difference for her in how she felt, how much she weighed. She’s a competitive bodybuilder though, so we are working from a different baseline. She did say that her mom, who has RA, found tremendous relief. It’s woo-woo, but I’m going to give it a try when I’m in Florida.

Anyway, this week has totally kicked my ass. I needed to be at the doctor on Sunday by 9. I was late, but that was okay because they didn’t have me in the system (they put me in for this coming Sunday instead), and the doctor wasn’t even there. I had book club that morning so I went back at 1:30pm to see the shrink and get my crazy meds. I think I got home around 3pm.

Nothing on Monday, but I think I started cleaning because I knew I wanted to move furniture. Tuesday was a board meeting that started at 10am and I got home around 1:30 or 2. Then I did move furniture around. I put a tabletop on my bad foot. It still hurts, but not as much as it would if I actually had feeling in most of my foot.

Wednesday was a delicious lunch at The Melting Pot and then back home around 3. I watched The Looming Tower with Mr. Lyndsy and then stayed up to finish cleaning up the second bedroom because we had someone coming to clean today. Between that and the addictive phone games I play, I was up super late and had to be up way early for me so I could let the AC repair people in. I have to say, when you live in the hot ass desert, the AC repair guys are the most valuable people you will ever find. Of course, one of their fixes didn’t work and the living room AC isn’t actually blowing cool air. They’ll be back. (We also need someone to come fix the hot water heater in the kitchen since it’s leaking from a place I can’t find, there’s a leak in the sink in the kitchen, and there’s a leak of unknown origin in the bathroom. It’s not good.)

This morning I needed to be at the mall in case new people came to join our group. Usually a couple other people come and hang out, but I was there by myself today, which was actually okay because I was tired as fuck and had things to work out in my brain, to-do lists to create, and I love people watching. It’s creepy when you’re with people and you’re people watching other people, unless your companions are also creepy people watchers.

But now, now I’m tired. I need a nap. The thought of doing anything productive is basically just causing me to seize up. I have made more progress on my newest cross stitch, I’ve read more of The Zookeeper’s Wife, and I’m making more progress in listening to East of Eden. What I have come to realize is that I am not a fan of John Steinbeck books. I cannot get into them. I started East of Eden reading, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to get all the way through it if I had to read it all myself. So I borrowed the audiobook from the library and now have it on 1.75x speed. For about 14 hours I had to keep it on regular speed because I couldn’t follow the voice. Now that I’m more used to it I’ve cranked it up. I only have like 11 hours to go. (HOW DOES ANYONE WRITE A 26 HOUR BOOK??)

I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I were trying to work a traditional 9-5 office job. Between being at work and traveling to work, I think I’d be dead every day I got home. My body’s just like, ‘WHOA! Hey now! Let’s not overdo this.”

I did move our “dining room table” into the bedroom and have created a desk nook so that maybe sometime soon, I can try to work “normally.” I expect it’s going to be painful and exhausting, but I want to try.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Really, probably not.