welcome home

Week 13 – April 26, 2016
The weekly silly pics are less silly and more watching my hair grow.

Dear Internet,

I’ve stayed consistent with the silly pictures goal and just posted week 13. So too with the gratitude and happy lists, though I will admit the last few weeks I’ve been posting one massive gratitude and a few happy things as nothing at this time in my life can compare my gratefulness of getting a job and finally starting a life of my own.


The fates have finally bestowed their approval of my life and allowed me to get a job.

I am going to be straight up honest here: I had my doubts. I cried for a few days about this new adventure. I have not lived alone since 2005. I am going to an area where I will know people but we’re not intimate friends. Yet.

Lots of questions and anxieties abound.

  • What if my new gig fired me?
  • What if my contract doesn’t get picked up?
  • What if I hate my job?

The “what ifs” kept stacking up and everything was almost to overwhelming to bear.

I can’t do this, I thought. I’m too scared, too old, too something.

But then I reminded myself of all the big jumps I’ve taken like moving to San Francisco alone when I was 25. Moving back to Grand Rapids more than once without knowing a single soul. Solo cross country trips without nary a thought.

The list of what I could, can, and have done began to overtake the “what if” stack. There were a lot of things I’ve jumped to that turned out to be good, I could do this.

Once I told my fucking anxieties to take a hike, I knew I had this.


The job is located in New York, in Westchester county, which is near the New York / Connecticut state lines. After laughing manicaly at the $3K price tag for one bedroom apartments in the area, I started looking at close-ish Connecticut towns / villages / cities to call home.

Connecticut, like most states along on the eastern seaboard, have their larger cities along the coast. 95, which runs from Florida to the Canadian province of New Brunswick, follows along the coast making the hop from Boston, New York City, and so on pretty easy. This makes sense as many of these towns were originally ports for trading and shit during the early days of the formation of the US.

There are a few cities inland but I wanted to be near the action on the coast. I decided to concentrate on areas around Norwalk and a few towns north. My qualifiers were fairly simple: Within an hour commute to work; Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Stew Leonard’s near by; close to a MINI dealership; easy access to Metro North, and an apartment community1.

Norwalk fit the bill perfectly.

I massaged the numbers, I cut out things that were possibly not needed. I looked for cheaper apartments but in the end I just couldn’t make it work. Even after cutting things to the bone, I would end up – $47 a month. Yes, I would be in the red with no savings, no emergency funds, nothing to help me out if the world fell apart. There would also be no going out to eat, no entertainment, no fun.

It was that bad2.

It seemed holy unfair I received a job offer, with decent pay, and I couldn’t afford to live in the area I desired.

For a brief moment I thought about rejecting the offer and staying put in L-ville. I would throw myself at recruiters and start the process of slowly integrating myself into the workforce before venturing out in the big, wide, scary world.

We all know I do nothing by halves. It’s either both feet or nothing at all.

After pulling myself together and looking at my options, I started researching apartments in Danbury.

Danbury is in south-western Connecticut. Not quite on the gold coast but close enough. Instead of the 50-70 minute commute I would have from Norwalk, the commute from Danbury is 30-45. Community apartment rents were significantly cheaper. I was close to 84, an interstate that connected me to work fairly quickly (the drive from Norwalk would have been mostly back roads) and I could get to a Metro North station tout suite. There was a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a Stew Leonard’s nearby and I was equidistant between two MINI dealerships.

I heard from various people Danbury was a borderline shit hole. There was huge crime problems3. When I was there in December for my job interview at a local university, it was rainy, miserable, and what I saw looked sketch. My Google Earth stalking of the downtown area made me side-eye. How in the fuck was I going to ever live here (if I got that job) if the area seemed below my standards4?

Here I was five months later and I needed to live somewhere that was relatively cheaper than what I was seeing in Norwalk, Westchester County (and New York as a whole) was out, and I wanted to be in a fairly decent sized city.

Much to my chagrin5, Danbury it is.

I started the search for Danbury apartments. The community I looked at in Norwalk has a sister community in Danbury so I made an appointment to tour the facility the Saturday after I arrived. A few other communities popped up on my radar which I put in way down on the reserve list as the Google and Yelp reviews were terrible. I started to fret I wasn’t going to find a place a live until I stumbled across the City Center of Danbury site and I felt like I had come home.

The first thing I noticed was the images of downtown places and markers were markedly different than what was on Google Earth. There also seemed to be a fairly decent list of things to shop, eat, and live.

I went back and talked to a few friends again about the area. The downtown core was booming and people seemed to love it. There were loads of amenities downtown like parks were also enticing. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

I had forgotten this site existed even though I scoped it out in December. I found I was intrigued with a few of the apartment places, particularly with 1 Kennedy Flats.

This complex caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, the rent was within my budget even with the amenities and pet fees added on and it was cheaper by $350 than the places in Norwalk, which meant I could eek out some kind of life outside of work AND pay my bills. Second, it was located in what seemed to be a thriving downtown and I really wanted to make sure the walk score of where ever I lived was above 75. The complex was across from the downtown park (Connecticuters seem big on these main square parks which is fine by me!), it has reserved parking, an on community storage area, a gym for me to work out in, a pool (time to get out that fat girl bikini!), gas appliances, fake wood floors, and walking distance to everything.

Sold.

It wasn’t just the apartments accoutrements and location of the community that sold me on living in Danbury, but also everything else going on the city.

  • The public library is a 7 minute walk from my apartment
  • There is a hackerspace and it to is located downtown
  • The mall looks pretty decent and it has the ever necessary Apple store
  • There is a local minor league hockey team and the arena is within walking distance
  • A sports arena that does soccer and lacrosse (only local leagued)
  • And a mutherfuckin’ rugby leagued team that also has a leagued woman’s team (Fuck. Yes.)
  • I could get to NYC in about an hour (hello museums!)

I am relieved.

Of course moving in is not going to be exactly smooth. I’ve reserved the apartment and paid for the first month without stepping a foot onto the property so there is a chance of me not liking the place or location. My stuff isn’t scheduled to arrive until a week or two after I arrive. I will be without home internet for a week, which means I had to up my data plan6 to survive. The only furniture I will have is my bed and that’s it for at least a week. (An IKEA trip is already in the works.) Daily household items I have are boxed up and won’t arrive until the move AND there is a longer than my arm list of daily household items I know I don’t have and will need, primarily while my stuff is in transit, which means I’m spending more cash.

I should say it’s not “had doubts” but “have doubts.” Moving is stressful. Borrowing and spending more cash on the move is stressful. Starting a new job is stressful7. The dog’s anxiety on a new place and a 1000 mile road trip is stressful.

My medicating and talking therapists are convinced I can handle this. I’m tough. I’ve been mentally healthy for quite awhile now so I’m less likely to breakdown if shit happens. Even my close friends feel I can do this. And if I do cry, or get upset, or feel anxiety about everything happening, that is totally normal — remember it’s how I handle it determines whether or not I’m mentally healthy.

I’ve fucking got this.

xoxo,
Lisa


1. I wanted a community over living in a private home apartment / owing a home as I wanted all the trappings of what a community offered such as 24 hour maintenance, on site gym, guaranteed parking, and washer/dryer in unit. I wanted to be catered to and not have to worry about a fucking thing.
2. It was around this time I was crying a lot and my anxiety, understandably, was through the roof.
3. When I think of Connecticut, I don’t think of “crime” or “gangs” or anything nefarious — after living in Detroit and Oakland the rest of the country seems like small potatoes.
4. I readily admit I am a privledge asshole. Living with TheExHusband at his condo for the last eight months has raised my bar on what I want / don’t want in my life style and Danbury seemed fairly far from that making that reach. Turns out I was wrong.
5. I associate things with things. Memories with music, people with smells, and so on. Pre-me 2005, TheBassist dated a woman who lived in Danbury and she went batshit crazy when the relationship ended (She stalked me for awhile.). Even without direct association, Danbury has always equaled batshit crazy to me. Yes, this is silly.
6. I have a 2gig a month plan which is normally more than enough for my phone data needs. I am paying an extra $40 or $60 (I forget which) to bump that up to 18gigs month. If I don’t, the overage, per gig, on my original plan is $15. So I’ll be able to hotspot my laptop, conservatively, but not kill myself with the overage charges.
7. Everyone is apparently really excited I’m coming and there is plans for everyone to meet me on my first day. No pressure, none at all.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2014, 2012

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making it rain

Dear Internet,

I got a job.

A real, in my field, letter of interest signed and sealed with a start date job.

Here’s the bittersweetness: I’ll be living in Connecticut.

OH! The irony.

So the gig is as a digital archivist in a corporate setting.1 I’ll be working with the processing and corporate archivists on a large project that is scheduled to run until the end of the year with an option to be picked up in 2017. I signed an NDA so I cannot tell you who I am working for.

I’m nervous. Excited. Grateful. Nervous. Lots of other emotions.

My start date is May 9th.

I am going to have to wear PANTS (which is anything not Chucks, t-shirts, or jeans). I will be out in the world interacting with other people. I will be paying taxes!2 I will be contributing to society.

I get to be an adult with my own things, my own place, and my own decisions to make.

It’s preeetttyyy exciting.

I made the announcement on Facebook on Thursday and nearly half of my Facebook BFFs liked/loved and some commented on the post. SO MANY PEOPLE are rooting for me. I never thought in a million years I would have this large of a fan base, but there you go — I have proof I am loved and wanted.

I’m leaving L-ville on May 4th, arriving in Connecticut on May 5th. I’m lining up the usual apartment and hotel shenanigans. I’m packing and getting business done here.

I’ve got a lot of shit to do.

Another great thing? I don’t have to look for a job! First time in 18 months I do not have to feel dehumanized and dejected on the job front. Oh happy day!

There is a kind of creepy part to this equation.

The weekend before I heard from the corporation in regards to scheduling my first interview, I decided to color my hair one color and take out my nose ring. That Monday I got the email with the request for the phone interview that afternoon. If I was moving forward they would reach out to my references and schedule the video interview.

References were checked Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

They got in touch with me Tuesday afternoon to schedule the video interview for that Friday. After the video interview, the next process would be for them to confer, make their recommendation, and move forward with the candidate of their choosing. I would know by the end of the following week (April 22).

A few days after the interview, I had a discussion with TheExHusband on the need for more profesh clothes as it was spring, nearing summer, and my interview clothes were for fall and winter. He gave me a budget to work with, I surveyed my closet, bought flexible items to fill in the gaps of what I was missing. Clothes had been ordered before I even knew my status.

Thursday the 21st (nearly a week since the video interview), I followed up to find out my status and they said they would let me know as soon as they knew.

They called me that afternoon and I missed the call. We rescheduled the call for 5:15PM and within three minutes they asked if I was still interested and if so, they would like to extend the offer to me. I said yes and here we are!

Time from interview to acceptance: less than two weeks.

Academia can learn a thing or two about the hiring process.


So let’s get to what everyone wants to really know more than about the job: What about TheBassist?

Good question and not unsurprisingly the number one question I’ve received (privately) after my I AM PAYING TAXES announcement. (People worry about me and I love it and I am wholeheartedly always grateful.)

What about him indeed.

On occasion I’ve thought about different scenarios in different contexts if he got back in touch. As my mental wellbeing started to lean more towards being healthy than the crazy, my attitude went from “this is what I would I totally do” (see pre-Wellbutrin) to “I’ll deal with it when it happens. I’ve got shit to do” (see post-Wellbutrin).

Before I continue, let me make one thing clear: I am not getting in touch with him. I’ll be living an hour south of him so the likelihood of us running into each other is pretty slim.

But there is a catch: Many of his local close friends love me and can’t wait to integrate me into their social scene. I’m beyond flattered (and grateful) so I had to put some thought into a scenario where TheBassist and I end up in the same place.3

At first, my thought was, “Oh. No. I hope his friends understand I am not ready to be around him” and “I could never be friends with him after everything that has happened.” When those thoughts started creeping, I took to my journal to write it out.

Within a couple of pages, I had a 180 degree turnaround about the situation.

It’s pretty clear the last year has taken a toil on my psyche and mental health. My self-respect and dignity are making a comeback. I love the sassy me.

Making these wide gestures of “oh no, look at me” is creating drama, even unintentionally. As we’ve seen, even unintentional drama serves no one (especially me). So then I thought, “You know. I can pull up my big girl panties and handle this like a champ. If we’re in the same place at the same time, I can be gracious and kind. It hurts no one and being cruel has never been my forte. It serves no purpose.”

And the job, the move, and everything else? It’s none of his business. It’s my life and he has no say in it.

It came to me I had a choice: I could be a spoilt child having a tantrum or I could be graceful and keep my dignity intact.

I choose the later.

Once I came to that conclusion in my journal, I signed off for the evening and went to bed.


I’m a catch. I’m adorable. I’m funny. I can converse on a variety of topics. I’m kind to people. I’m loyal and I can be naughty as fuck when needed. The list of my good qualities and personality endeavours is as long as I am tall

(I am humble too.)

But there is a crazy Lisa and a mentally healthy Lisa. He came in the beginning of the crazy. If he can’t strip that away, disregard whatever fantasy (I believe) he had of me, and see the real me. Well, his loss.


I will be gracious and kind if I come across him in social situations. But to be coffee meeting friends? No. To wish him ill will? No. To cause drama and strife? No. Do I wish him to have a good life? Absolutely.

Will feelings about what has transpired hurt? Of course they will — my therapist assured me this is normal. How I respond to these feelings is what dictates whether or not my mental health is, well, healthy. To start out a bit panicky about the prospect of running into him in social situations and to come to the conclusion I’ll be fine and the situation will be fine is what differs from then to now.

I will be okay.


I’ve got a hunch he’s seeing someone. No one has told me, and I had asked them not to, so my hunch could be unfounded. But I’ve got a feeling and sometimes my feelings are right. Of course it hurts my heart a little bit to know he could be with someone or he’s pursuing someone. It has been six months since the break-up and while I have taken time out of the dating world to handle self-care it does not behold him to do the same.

In the end, all I’ve wanted was for him to be happy and for me, obviously, to make him happy. If I’m not the person who can do that, I hope he finds someone who can love him the way he wants and needs to be loved and to find happiness in that person. That is all I’ve ever wanted.

As for me? I’m a grown ass woman and I’ve got shit to do.

xoxo,
Lisa


1. I swore until the ends of time I could never work corporate. Well end time is nigh and I’ve got to make it rain.
2. A friend of mine who is an accountant swore he’s never heard someone get excited about paying taxes before. It’s how I roll.
3. I give myself ideas of potential scenarios to get a vague idea of of how I would react to that situation. I like being, to some extent, prepared for eventualities. It’s what I do.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2000

Want to be the first in the know when a new entry posts?
Subscribe to the mailing list, Bloglovin’, or
follow via RSS. Want Lisa goodness but less
frequently? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator.
Want to start at the beginning?
Buy my book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998

I need to be in the town where they know what I’m like and don’t mind

Dear Internet,

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a serious update, thus it’s time to keep everyone abreast of what’s happening in my little world.

First up, I’m moving. Again.

I’ve been holed up in Kentucky these last six weeks, staying with TEH, as I’ve run out of day to day living money.The GR apartment was pre-paid for a year and I received my refund for the remaining six months, but that would only cover monthly expenses sans rent/food so it was time to go. The plans is I would be responsible for paying my bills and TEH would cover food/housing/gas. (We have the weirdest divorce, ever.) One of the conditions of me living here was keeping up daily chores and job hunting, which I’ve been doing with aplomb.

TEH decided to head up to the cabin for a month or so, starting in the first week of August, in which I would fly to CT to stay with TheBassist as I could not take a break from job hunting. Then TEH decided he was going to go up later than planned after which my open return ticket had been purchased. Since we’re now looking at me being out in CT for roughly two months now, I decided to cancel and swap the ticket over to TheBassist, whose flying out here on Sunday with planning on driving to CT that day.

Follow that? Okay good.

Right now my packing is skilled enough that it’s frightening. If you ever need help to pack for a trip or a house, I’m your girl.

Speaking of jobs, as of July 30th I am up to 113 applications from everything to librarianing to content curation and (now) retail (bookstores). I’m also heavily looking for positions as a tech/copywriting/content. No stone unturned and etc.

My interview rate is about one in ten, which is above average. I often get second interviews and then! Rejection. One place rescind an offer 24 hours later after extending said offer exclaiming I did not “show enough interest in the job” though I drove an hour one way for a 30 minute interview. So yep, totally not interested. I was shopping for apartments in Lexington, KY when they called to rescind the offer. Was it because of the case?

Probably.

Speaking of writing, I sold my first writing piece to a web ‘zine and I’m super excited about it (natch). I cannot publish the piece here nor do I know when it’s going to be published, but I can tell you the title is, “How I Divorced My Mother in Three Easy Steps.” It is non-fiction and clocks in at about 1800 words before editing. My beta-readers said, “It’s impossibly dark.”, so that should give you an idea of the atmosphere of the content. As always, I keep it real.

In other writing news, I’m doing reviews for No Flying No Tights, mainly in adult graphic novels. I assumed I had spread the word for this but apparently not! This is not a paid gig, but it will help with my bibliography (or clips) page. I’m super excited about this possibility.

Flipping back to the job thread, I am using Udemy.com to build my own education, concentrating on front end web development, content, and SEO to extend my skills. TEH and I purchased bundles from them over the years as well as taking advantage of free classes is allowing me to do this on the cheap. I know, I know. I KNOW. I was on the defense war path that coding was not the only technical thing and yet, here we are! I do apologize deeply to those who got tired of that schtick. It’s pretty clear a lot of jobs require some if not all of these for the typical unicorn they are trying to catch, so why not?

Mentally, things have been more or less okay. Last week was awful with the mania where I was hopping off the walls while crying for entire days. The only recourse, at the time, was to drug up on Klonopin and sleep with Ted E. Bear.

Things came to a head when TEH and TheBassist both insisted I up my Lamictal to the last dosage as approved by doctor in Grand Rapids and take myself to the free clinic to talk to someone.

The free clinic in Louisville is designed mainly for the homeless and those on their last hopes. As a walk-in, I was told they could see me when first available slot came open. Four hours later I requested more info to discover the therapists were all at lunch and they closed at 3:30. Would I liked ot make an appointment? Sure, why not. Okay, we can fit you in two weeks. Two weeks? Yes. What if I came back tomorrow? You’ll have to start the waiting process all over again.

(…)

I called six places in Louisville and every single one was booked out for weeks and months. If I was suicidal, which I wasn’t but I was in crisis, I could check myself in at the local emergency room who could throw me in a locked ward for 48-72 hours. THEN I could get help.

(I don’t know if I told you all this but I was stuck on the east coast during a massive blizzard back in January with an appointment with a medicating therapist in GR the following day. I called and canceled and explained why, they said they couldn’t fit me for another five months. This is an emergency I insisted. Doesn’t matter they said. When I finally say said medicating therapist and told her about the run up, she said they had policies in place and times open for just things. It should not have taken me five months to see her.)

Thankfully I had an appointment set in CT JUST IN CASE if I happened to come back that same time, so I’ll be okay in CT. I’m also set up in CT with a local bipolar support group.

I’ve, and others, have said over and over again the state of mental health wouldn’t be this tenuous unless the pain was physical and obvious. It’s frustrating, anxiety inducing, and pointless. But that is a rant for another day.

That’s pretty much it for me at this time and juncture. Sunday is the 12 hour drive day so it might be a few days before I post here again. Happy weekend everyone.

 

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2014, 2012, 2012, 2008