Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just to end on a down note

I was supposed to deposit a check in the bank for my mother today.

Because heating system I couldn't do it in the morning.

I live on a hill.  An up side of this is that it's possible to move heavy things into my basement without using any stairs.  A down side of this is that the stairs therefore didn't need to be designed as a way to move stuff into the basement.  So repair guy wanted a look at where things could potentially be brought in.  This was pointless as it's the very back end of the house and there is no shoveled path to get there.

Anyway... to show him this meant walking through the giant puddle on the floor which left me with wet feet and wet pants.  (I was barefoot.)

After he left I talked to my mother and one of the things that I said was that, with heating stuff done for the day (and doom looming) I could bring the check to the bank.  It seemed a reasonable thing to say, all I had to do was change into dry clothes, put on shoes, put on socks, and walk to the bank.

It took me a while to get that sorted out.  Did I mention that in all the depressing news I forgot my medication? (and Lonespark reminded me and everything)  That tends to make it more difficult to accomplish stuff.

The house tends to freeze under, not over.  Feet in water on the basement's concrete floor are the coldest fucking thing in the house, as you might imagine.

So my smallest toes were going numb, as they are wont to do.

By the time I had shoes and socks on I'd forgotten about the check and the bank.

The bank is across the street from my street.  If you stand in my street and look straight down it you see the bank's parking lot.  My house is third from the corner (counting the house on the corner.)  All of this is to say that the bank is very easy to get to.

Give me five minutes and I'll have more than enough time to get there.

So, naturally, my mother didn't mention the check and the bank again until the bank had been closed for 40 minutes.

Which works out wonderfully because whenever I'm in a state of despair I always think, "You know what I could use right now?  A giant helping of guilt."

I can't deliver it tomorrow because I have to head out at 6-AM-ish to get to school on time and the bank doesn't open until 8:30 AM.


I'm currently in the process of draining water from the pipes of the house in hopes that they will not freeze and burst.

The furnace, for that is what I call it in spite of it being a boiler, is the lowest point of the water system in the house.

This leads to an interesting feature.

After the faucets were opened and allowed to run dry (itself taking place after the water into the house had been shut off) the easiest way to drain the water still in the pipes (that being the vast majority of the water) was/is through the furnace.

It can't hold enough water to safely heat the house.  It can still hold a shitload of water.

Draining it is no easy task.  Made all the more difficult by the fact that the only tools I have to use for the draining process (that is to say the only containers small enough to get to the bottom drain) are designed to hold two pounds of yogurt.   They're not very big.


Here's an added bit of fun:

I haven't paid for tuition yet.  I've always said that I was planning on handling it myself and I was confident that if financial catastrophes got the fuck out of my way I could manage it.

But if I don't have a house to live and work in that kind of fucks with my plans.

So $6,000 dollars to replace the boiler and be able to stay in my home.  But, if I don't manage to get that money fast enough (which assumes I get it at all and that is not, on the whole, likely) then I have absolutely no plans for paying for tuition (approximately $4,000) that involve "I can make this work while homeless" as a premise.  So round it off to a nice $10,000.

Remember what I said last post about the term for this situation?  Yeah.

Anyway, this looks to be near the last night I get to spend in my house, the heat already in here simply can't last more than a day or two given the cold outside, so tomorrow I'll head out before dawn, and I have no fucking clue what will become of me after that.  I'll go to classes, none of which I'll be prepared for (do you think I had any time to do school work today?) and when they end I don't know.  I'm lost.

There's some possibility I might be able to set up electric heaters and make some part of my house livable.  So maybe I can come back come nightfall.

Otherwise I have to go to stay with my father or my sister.  Neither of these things is good.  I've been bullied and mistreated a lot in my life, but the majority of the emotional scars I carry with me are from the abuse those two have heaped on me.  The infuriating part is that they don't even realize, and will not allow themselves to realize, that it is abuse.


Some part of me wants to believe that somehow I'll wake up to an email letting me know that a $6,000 dollar donation came in, I can replace the boiler, stay in my house, (away from my father and sister), escape the possibility of losing the house entirely, move on, and not be in fear of the future.

I know it's not going to happen, and what's more I know it's too much to ask.  The truth is that everything should have fallen apart ages ago.  Every time something went wrong and donations kept me going before was a miracle into itself.  That streak could never have hoped to continue regardless.

Even if this weren't the single biggest crisis to hit me since I started Stealing Commas, even if it weren't so much bigger than every one before in terms of dollar value and dead serious and immediate because the heat is going away in accordance with thermal dynamics and the house will stop being livable in a day or two with no debt-holder to negotiate wiggle room with, the end was going to come no matter what.

Mathematically I should have been able to make things work, but in the end I was always coming up short.  Part of it was the strain of tuition, but university was good for my mental health so I kept going.  Part of it was that I've never abandoned the hope that I'd be able to support myself and so I've invested in trying to make that happen (and always failed.)  But there also has to be the question of how long a streak of bad luck can go on before you have to stop calling it "bad luck" and just rename it "luck".

Hopes I had of keeping my house or being free from the more abusive members of my family have always been false hopes.  If it weren't the boiler breaking it would have been something else, because there never really was actual hope.  The constant parade of crises would have made that clear but I refused to admit that to myself because sometimes there's value in believing a lie.  No good would have come from acknowledging that there was never any hope to begin with.  So it was easier to pretend that hope existed.

I still want to pretend.  That's why part of me is trying to convince myself that some massive donation might yet come.

And that, I think, is the note that I want to end on.

So not actually a down note, in spite of the title I've given this post.

Why a donation?

Why not hope that some other thing will magically make everything all right?

Because I've had miracles before.  Once I paid money that I should have saved into tuition, and it left me without money for heating oil.  A donation from a reader gave me heat through the winter.

My computer died and it looked like I was going to have to give up Stealing Commas since I couldn't afford to replace it and I knew that I wouldn't be able to make it work if I didn't have a computer with internet access at my home.  Reader donations let me buy a new one.

And there's a bunch of cases like that.  I've never been long without something going very wrong in a way only money could solve.

And something started to happen.  When I kept on getting through in spite of there being no reasonable way it could be expected, because of reader help every time, the image of impossible hope started to change from something amorphous into something much clearer.

When the only way to make it through something was a miracle what that looked like, my personal vision of a miracle, started to be you: the readers.

That's what you've been for me.  My personal miracles.

If this is the last post here, I want that to be what you take away from it.  I should have lost my house a long time ago.  I shouldn't have been able to replace my computer.  I shouldn't be able to be writing this right now because I should be homeless and computerless.

The fact that I can even say this ought to be an impossibility.

But you, the readers, have done the impossible for me.  It's not just the donations.  You've given me hope when I had none, you've helped me through things just by being there, by being out there reading, by having an interest in what I had to say.

I don't want anyone to feel like they're less deserving or less important because they didn't click the donate button, that's not what I'm trying to get at here.

What I want to make clear is this: each and every person who is a reader of this blog has made a profound and important difference in my life.

My desire to keep my childhood home and to keep away from my less than stellar family members was doomed from the start, but for three and one third years I've been able to act like it wasn't.  For three and one third years I've been able to be a writer with a following.

That time wasn't wasted.  It was wonderful.  When I started this my depression wasn't even being treated.  This is where I started.  You've taken me from there to here.

Thank you all.


  1. You're welcome.

    Goodbye, and good luck.

  2. Reading your blog has helped me, too. You're welcome, and thank you.

  3. Please do check your email.