What Is It With You People and Camping?!

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In case you are wondering, or happened to notice, I have decided to divide my blogs into two categories: Serious and Not Serious. I think both appeal to totally different people, and I have a definite desire to write both. So, going forward, all my spiritual, life-transition-y stuff will be on my normal blog (clduncan75 or courtneyloreanne) and all my funny, relation-shippy ones will be here, at all the dirty laundry. I have had both for ages, I just haven’t used this one in forever.

So, the other day, one of my best girl-friends was here having dinner with me, and we were talking about her new guy, and what a good time they were having together (as people tend to do in the fun, exciting beginning of things). He either had or was going to take her for a drive “down the coast”. For those of you who do not live here and are not familiar with what this means, let me explain…going “down the coast” is sort of a rite of passage for people new to the area, teenagers who have just gotten their drivers license’s and want to give their parents ulcers, and couples who are in the first stages of loooovve. “Down the coast” for us is Highway one to Big Sur, some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. People come from everywhere to see the Bixby Bridge and the “Rugged Coastline”. People who live here like it, too, but we are so used to all the beauty dripping off of everything that we spend most of our drive “down the coast” battling road rage directed toward the idiot tourists in front of us. They invariably are awe-struck by the dramatic scenery, therefore driving nine miles per hour, seemingly incapable of pulling off into one of the MANY, MANY lookout points along the way.

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Anyway, I digress. The point is, he was going to (or maybe had? I really need to start trying to be a better listener) take her for the prerequisite drive down the coast, and in the midst of their planning (or doing, damn it) he said “And we can go check out this great camping spot I know about!” All excited like- he was so excited, in fact, that he missed the sound of a million tires coming to a shrieking halt- or maybe he missed it because it was only in her head. That was probably it. You see, like me, my girlfriend is not a “camper”. As she said, “My idea of roughing it is a Motel 6.”. Although I have definitely stayed in places so bad that they made the Motel 6 look like four star accommodations (someday I will tell you about this place called the “Wagon Wheel” in Salinas, but not today, or “The Artichoke Inn” in Castroville, although some names will have to be changed for that one. ūüôā ) I get what she is trying to say. Basically, camping kind of sucks.

Still, in the spirit of fairness, I found myself taking the total opposite approach…for a minute. I was like “Well, you know, just try to keep an open mind…I mean, it could be fun. I try it over and over again, no matter how bad it sucks.” And that is when it all started rushing back to me. I immediately started listing all the totally true reasons why camping is the worst thing EVER, while still in the weird, incompatible voice of one who is singing something’s praises. “I mean, so what if it cost’s like five hundred dollars for groceries that will be 90% ruined by the time you reach your destination, thanks to melting ice (tell me you’ve never suffered through a sandwich so wet you didn’t even need to chew it to get it down!), and even then, with everything you bought, you ALWAYS forget something majorly important…And so what if the remaining 10% of edible food you have is rendered barely edible because it gets burned over a campfire (think raw potato home fries)?”

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By now, she is looking at me like I am nuts of course, but I believe this shit, you guys! I have had maybe two really good camping experiences in my entire life, and you know why those were good? Because I was like eight years old! I didn’t have to do anything! I could play with pine cones and enjoy myself! There was a lake! When you are eight, you don’t need much besides a body of water deeper than a bathtub to get excited about. Well, I am not 8, and I do not appreciate camping. Now, I will continue to tell you why:

I work a full time job, forty hours a week, every week of my life, and shall continue to do so until I either hit the lottery, get a five figure book contract with lots of perks, or reach the age of 65. I do this so that I can continue to live in a home with plumbing, electricity, cable TV, internet, and…oh yeah, WALLS. I get a few weeks of paid vacation every year. Why the HELL would I want to spend those weeks downgrading?! I mean seriously!

Why would anyone want to drive out to the middle of nowhere, (after spending hundreds on ruined groceries, as I spoke of previously), then spend a good three hours working their asses off to build a flimsy ass tent, assemble sandwiches garnished with dirt, and build a campfire to then sit around staring at each other? Then, off to “bed” on a shitty air mattress that invariably deflates thanks to some stupid sharp rock you missed carving into it. Do you lie there listening to the sounds of the great outdoors? Hell, no. You fall asleep to the sound of the people in neighboring tents, farting, coughing, getting busy…and the drunks down the row who are puking and blaring music and fighting with the park rangers who ask them to settle down.

But, then morning comes, and as soon as your neck unlocks and your hips unfreeze, you have coffee to look forward to. Oh, wait, no you don’t, you forgot the coffee, didn’t you? So, you grab your toiletries, most of which have now leaked out into a useless, wonderful smelling puddle in the bottom of the bag, and hobble over to the community shower, trying to ignore the terrible smell wafting out of the toilets five feet away. This is when you actually feel grateful that you had no coffee, as it would be nearly impossible to poo while simultaneously holding your breath AND feeling a steady breeze blow up your ass. At least, for me, it is.¬†

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You know, I am going to leave it there- quite frankly, I am getting upset just writing this. I am sure there are many camping supporters and enthusiasts out there, and I bet every single one of them are thinking the same thing: “You’ve just never been camping WITH ME!” The reason I think this is true is because I have heard this countless times. Unfortunately, I have believed it. Even more unfortunately, it has never been proven true. So before you even say “I’d make it fun for you.” Let me tell you this: You wouldn’t, you couldn’t. Not in a box, not with a fox, not in the air, not anywhere- I do not like green eggs and ham (or camping). I do not like it, Sam I am.

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Ah, yes, Hostility…there you are!

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God, it’s been so long since I have visited this blog, I honestly couldn’t even tell you what any of my posts here are about. At least, not specifically, anyway. I know I started this blog as a place to write less publicly about the more personal things in my life (ie, my insane love life and my juvenile delinquent teenager, and perhaps flash backs of my dysfunctional upbringing, or my orgiastic, drug saturated early and not as early adulthood). By “less publicly”, I mean “not posted on facebook”…that way, at least I’m not announcing my latest perspective on how awful I think my family is in a place where other family, friends, and people I barely remember from grade school, can access it. ¬†However, I stopped the love revelations a while back, and when I came back to blogging again, I just didn’t feel like anything I had to say was not fine on my original blog. Clduncan75, in case you didn’t know, also accessible as The Me Project.

Anyway, I just had to do this tonight- I am so, so bummed out by what I am finally having to absolutely admit to myself. Most of the world who are familiar with my rocky, broken relationship story will not be at all surprised, I know- but I really believed, in my heart of hearts, that if ONLY we could both be clean and sober, both be making money, both be on the same page, that we could finally click, fit together right, and live happily for a while, at least, if not ever after. And finally, we did all of that-cleaned up our lives and selves, for REAL, not just me and him pretending to. I continued my work, while he got a fantastic job, making bank, with the added bonus of working in remote locations that required him to stay out of town ninety percent of the time. This was a bonus because I think we needed-I KNOW I needed- to work some shit out on our own, without the other’s presence around.

For a while, it has been really, really nice between us, the majority of the time. We talk daily, pretty briefly, we seemed, at least, to be growing fonder with the absence. I thought I’d really gained a better appreciation for all he actually did do when he lived here, and he seemed to also see me in a more forgiving light. We’d meet up on most weekends, and just hang out, mellow, by the hotel pool. We’d have a little, annoying, tiff here and there, but nothing I felt like getting all heated about. It was not exciting, but it was nice, and nice was wonderful after years of “excitement”, I’ll tell ya.

Lately, I’ve grown sick of driving every weekend, so I sat a couple out-the past two, actually. This last weekend, he came here-home-for the first time in months. I had the house as clean as it’s ever been, and even the backyard was swept and dog poo free, in honor of his arrival. I had him a key made, and changed the sheets on my bed…I finally even shaved my various parts, which was really out of hand. I have got to keep up on that shit, man, because that was terrible! I will say, it was totally worth it, though. I was fragrant and silky and smooth as a baby’s butt, all over, and when he got home at a little past midnight, he appreciated my efforts quite enthusiastically. I had been kind of nervous about him coming home, and when it went so well, I was relieved. I told myself “This will be a good weekend.”

Fuck, was I wrong. I know I shouldn’t do this flaw fest gripe a-thon, but I have to get this out. It’s making me nutso, walking around with my thoughts swimming every which way like drunken fish with ADHD. He really doesn’t seem to have changed very much at all. That is the biggest shocker. I am so totally different when I am clean from when I am not, there is no way NOT to notice. He seems a little less whacko and more aware of logical, normal behavior. Other than that, it’s all old stuff. By day two, he had implied that I was causing our two year old’s behavior by something I was doing, not something that was part of her development. He undermined my discipline of her RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER, causing me to lose all her affection right on the spot. It was a daddy love-fest from that moment on-why not? He gives in to her every whim. Brother. It was all I could do not to go completely off the deep end over that, but somehow I managed not to. Plus, I was jealous as hell over the kids change of allegiance and cold hearted shutting out of ME…the one who does everything, every other day of her life. I know that’s dumb, but it’s sadly true, too.

Then, his criticism and poor opinion of me and everything about my life, the things I do, and all that I speak, think, choose, and believe began starting up again. I had forgotten how completely I despised that passive aggressive sort of mumbled disapproval BS of his. It makes me feel so crazy mad, so low and mean, that I may has well have been who I always was, too. I tolerated it Saturday, Sunday, and Monday…but when he was ¬†still here today, and really getting back to his crappy ways, I LOST it. Like I haven’t in a long, long time. I was aware that I was out of control, and that nothing he’d done so early in the morning had earned such a spectacle in return, but I didn’t care. I was letting him have it for all the shit I’d let go for days, and for the peace he decimated, and the happiness I’d sustained over these months that he had single handedly run off.

We upset Camryn pretty badly with that fight- it got ugly at the end when I was taunting him to make good on his bullying threats, getting in my face and menacing me with his face full of hatred. My stubborn streak won’t let a man scare me like that-I was itching for a fight, not caring that I’d surely lose pretty badly. As there was no where else to go besides jail at that point, we knocked it off. But it was ruined, all of it, and no apologies were going to help. After weeks of peacefulness and calm. for both of us, separately-it was awful to be miserable again, with each other.

I can’t be with someone like him, and that’s just that. He won’t be different later, and I can’t get okay with him as he is. I act like an irritating, word twisting, little brat around him, and I hate ME, too. I wanted this to work, but it isn’t going to. And the more time I waste trying to get somewhere with something that is immovable, the less time I have to find something good. I want something good. Someone who likes me, and whom I can like myself ¬†around.Being angry is such a waste of time. I’m not even mad at him, I’m annoyed with myself for not seeing the truth sooner.

So now we’ll see if I actually do anything about this, or if I just drag it out even longer. I really don’t see any point of continuing, other than fear of dying alone. At least if I’m alone, I won’t have to worry about one of us murdering the other…that is really a possibility, I think.

Letter to Myself

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Dear Me-

This is a letter from that other part of you, the one that is always giving you practical advice that you don’t listen to. The part that is logical, not emotional. The part that you hear clearly when you are doing well, and can’t seem to hear at all when you are in trouble. You know, kind of like you are right now.

I’m not talking about running-from-the-law kind of trouble; I’m talking about something maybe even worse…the paralyzing fear of necessary change kind of trouble. The awareness that bitter resentment is a weight that is crushing you, and the seeming inability to do anything about it kind of trouble. The ceaseless, consuming worry and crippling self doubt kind of trouble. Any of this sound familiar to you? Good. At least we are on the same page.

I am not here to criticize you- God knows you have cornered the market on that one. Nope, I am here to insist, kindly, that you stop all that. I am here to remind you who you are and review the facts. Number one of these is this: You are absolutely going through a hard, troubling time of your life. None of the ways you are reacting to this are unusual or uncommon. None of them are even that bad-it just feels that way because you are dealing ¬†with it alone and in private, which is not something you have ever done. I generally take offense when people say “Don’t be so hard on yourself!” because I think people aren’t nearly hard enough on themselves, but in this case, I need to relent-enough is enough. You are learning some HARD lessons right now.

Now, I want to address this- what is with all of this fear, lately? This morning, when you called your office to tell them you would not be in because the baby is sick and you really didn’t want to leave her, you were scared. You felt like you were lying, when clearly, you have a very ill baby who needs breathing treatments several times a day. You were afraid of your boss giving you a hard time, lecturing you, and about what they may be saying about you in the office. Why? You are a grown woman, and you have a right to use your paid leave to care for your kids. Your boss is your boss, not your mother…and for that matter, even your mother doesn’t get to call the shots anymore. No, you are in charge, and it is really important that you realize this.

For all your brave talk and posturing, you are scared shitless to close the door on this “relationship” you are in, too. Again, why? All the things I listed above are at play here-fear of change, resentment, self doubt, worry…yet logically, you know that this man is a drain on you mentally, emotionally, and definitely financially. And yet…You have been hanging yourself up on those “And yet’s” for the better part of five years now, and it is DESTROYING you. I am not being dramatic. When have you ever felt so bad, for so long? The FACT is, he is toxic for you, and that toxin is spreading into everything. Your job is to care for yourself, and your children. He is neither of those. Waste no more time arguing when you know there is no hope of resolution. Disengage, and when the first comes, let him go.

This is YOUR life- not your colleagues, your friends, your neighbors-YOURS. You are ¬†responsible for doing what you think is best, and what will make you happy. People will disagree, will give you advice you didn’t ask for, try to discourage you. Ignore them, and remember that YOU know better than anyone what is right for you. Everyone has an opinion about who you are- stop letting that interfere with YOUR opinion of you. Remember how strong and resilient you are- you have survived your own terrible past, overcome unbelievable obstacles with unheard of speed, all with your own inner resources. You can surely navigate this. If only you would decide to.

Once upon a time, you believed wholeheartedly in yourself, when you had every reason not to. Now, with so many reasons to have faith in who you are, you can’t believe it. I am hoping that this helps you to see clearly again, and to return to that place of faith in yourself that pushes you forward. You are all I’ve got. I’m depending on you.

Love,

Me.

Reflections on a Trainwreck

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Let me begin by saying this: Sweet little baby Jesus, I am tired this morning. Like, out of my fucking mind WASTED tired, only without the substances which may have once caused/prolonged/, and/or eradicated, eventually, the tiredness. Wasted, but not in the inebriated beyond belief sense, the wrung-out, nothing left, completely spent way.

I can count on two hands the number of times I have had trouble sleeping in my life- when I was actually trying to sleep, that is. One of my biggest fears is that I’ll develop insomnia someday, although why a person who can fall asleep in a bowling alley on a busy night ,WITHOUT the help of alcohol or other depressants, would bother with this fear, I don’t know. Then, nights like last night come along, and I feel perhaps my fear is not so far fetched. I don’t think I slept a solid hour last night. I drooled every time my face hit the mattress, so I know I was on the verge of sleep, but never did I tip over into it…the worst part is, it’s not that I can’t sleep, it’s that my little one can’t sleep. For the past few weeks, she sleeps about four hours, then she’s wide awake, from about midnight until four or five every morning.

This wasn’t a problem (for me, at least) when she was just lying there quietly, not bothering anyone. But now she has discovered that it’s lonely being awake all by herself, and she wants things- things like a drink, a binky- not that binky, the OTHER one, a new diaper, a different blanket, the TV on, the TV off, a different bed…and hey! Can we just color, mama? NO. No, Camryn, we can’t color, it’s night-night time, please go to sleep, mommy is going to make you go sleep outside with Lucy if you don’t LAY DOWN. Like, NOW! Holy Moses, I nearly lost it so many times last night and said things one does not say to a sweet & good nature’d toddler such as mine. Or any kind of toddler, I guess. But whatever.

Gee, 353 words in and I’m not even addressing my point, here. Other than being tired, I somehow also got myself mixed up in some family dramatics, and am sorely regretting it now. As I knew immediately that I would. I tend to steer clear of gossip and the rifts between people in family (and everywhere, actually) because I a) usually just think they are both stupid, and I don’t give a shit about their issues; b) I’m not there, so I am never getting the whole story, no matter who I’m talking to, and furthermore, I did not get on the phone with you to hear about this shit that I don’t even care about, and c) it never just ends once you finally put your two cents in- as a matter of fact, it’s like signing the permission slip for total involvement. So that is why I stay out of stuff, except I didn’t, and much correspondence ensued.

Here’s the deal. My mom and another family member (by marriage) don’t get along. Also, my brother and the person don’t get along, and apparently ME and the person don’t get along. Mostly though, we just don’t interact, which has worked out fine as far as I can tell. But the other day, I noticed some stuff on this persons facebook page which, clearly, seemed to be about my mom, only without actually saying it was my mom. This was New Years day, I had PMS and was lying in my bed, all disgruntled and yucky. I called my mom and read this to her (my first mistake, probably), and then, after mulling it over for hours, I got mad enough that I constructed a not-too-nice post which I felt confident enough to send…only deciding at the last second to make it a message and not a public post.

The minute I hit send, I was sorry I did it. Not because I felt bad about anything I said- I didn’t, and don’t even now. I felt bad because I knew that the only thing that would come of it would be more trouble. Nothing was going to be resolved by my words- if anything, it’d be far worse now. And sure enough, the message from me was forwarded to another person, who forwarded it back to my mom (who thought it was hilarious, by the way, which didn’t help matters much, either) with my message now on it, the recipients message, and, making a full circle, my ¬†moms message when you forwarded it to me. Five or six days later, emails are coming in, ultimatums are being made, major fights are happening, and I still don’t really think any of it is worth all the effort. My opinion is that my mom goes through way too much unhappiness where she is to stay there, and she ought to throw the towel in and come back here where she was always happy in the first place. Problem solved, right? Of course, I am not emotionally involved in any of it, so it’s clear to me what the solution is. Easier said than done, I know.

Anyway, against my better judgement, I scanned through one of the letters from “The girl from whence the problem originated” and she said something about my “trainwreck of a life”, to which I, oddly, took offense to. I say “oddly” because clearly, my life does have some overtones of trainwreckedness to it, and I know this. I also always sort of suspected that my life appeared this way to outsiders, and it’s kind of a relief to have it out in the open. I just want to add a side note or two to the title of “Train Wreck”, and then you can use it freely. First of all, I have a (possibly bad) habit of¬†over-exaggerating¬†the goings on in my life, probably to make them seem funnier or more interesting. Possibly for attention, as well. The problem with this is that sometimes even I forget that things aren’t so bad as I say, and then things get really confusing around here. So I will try to stay a little closer to the truth in the future. Second, my PAST was a train wreck. I acknowledge this as fact, I accept it for what it was, and I have moved on. If you want to hang on to that shit, be my guest, but you can’t hurt me, if that’s what you are trying to do, by throwing it back at me. I have no secrets, and I lived through it-I told it all to YOU. There are no skeletons in my closet.

And finally, this- that train wreck led me to every good and beautiful thing my life is made of today. I had to climb a little higher than most to get back on top, but I did it, and my successes mean a lot more to me because I get to see how far I’ve come. Everyone has times of struggle and trouble and failure in their lives-I overcame mine with flying colors. If you think you will be the exception, you better keep your eyes open. Your day will come, not because you deserve it, but because you are human, and we are all messy little machines. Best of luck! Talk to you all soon!

This is Me, Asking You for Help

Hello all-

So the circus of Christmas has left town, leaving me sick and probably five pounds heavier in it’s wake. Seriously, though, I am sick. So sick that this may be my shortest blog ever.

SSO is sick, and my little one had to go to the ER yesterday to have an abscess the size of a golf ball incised on her tiny little bottom. I feel like I am breathing through a straw. And to make matters even worse, my house is an outrageous, atrocious, filthy mess again. I had it so nice, spent the past weeks getting it done, and now it looks like I never did anything.

I feel outraged and hopeless and helpless against this fucking mess. I just cannot, for the life of me, ever seem to keep it together. I am totally out of ideas. This is my cry of help to you guys- I need advice, badly. Please respond with your ideas. Any I use, I will write about with links to your blogs.

I am begging you all for help. Thanks.

The Morning Storm

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I like to think of myself as someone that I am not- it is easy to be this person here, on paper, or whatever you want to call this- in my writing, I guess. I can be funny and witty, kind and introspective, all of the things I want you to see.

But here, in my real life-life, in my home and my kitchen and out in the world, I am just this fucked up, flawed, controlling person, afraid of being hoodwinked, terrified of being vulnerable. I am moody and volatile, and altogether less than fun, with my insistence upon duking it out, yelling and pushing and then getting my way and feeling awful about it.

I was so angry this morning- what has it been, one, maybe two weeks since SSO and I slapped the latest band-aid on our PTSD stricken relationship? And already, three nights running now, he is back out on the couch, we are arguing, me yelling, him retreating, which enrages me and makes me look like a way bigger asshole than him(at least to the baby, who always takes his side, which just makes me feel even worse about yelling).

You have to understand, though…five years is such a long time to be going through the exact same shit you were going through FIVE YEARS ago. Some of the time, I feel like a lunatic for still putting up with it. A lot of the time I feel tricked by him, confused into submission and complacency, hurt by my own gullibility. Some of the time, I feel shamed by my need to shape him, my lack of acceptance. Most of the time, I just feel tired and annoyed. ¬†A lot of the time, I blow things way out of proportion.

Like this morning, for example. I had one of my old-school fits, the kind I usually need to have consumed massive quantities of narcotics to work myself into. Not today, though. Old clean and sober me was just about foaming at the mouth, pushed farther into craziness by his passive aggression and his trying to get away from me while I was melting down (how dare he!?).

So, as I followed him from room to room like a rabid monkey, screeching for his attention, he did something unthinkable. He made a joke. My response, so caught off guard was I, was to…gasp! LAUGH. ¬†I mean, this could have been such a bad and death inducing call on his part, but, in a moment of grace, it became a gift. The ice was practically broken- definitely cracked, at least.

So, after a raging tempest that threatened to destroy everything this morning- horrible insults, me telling him I never wanted to be with him anyway, him telling me he only pretended to love me because I was a horrible parent and he didn’t want to leave the baby alone with me, here we stood, in our daughters room, giggling. I don’t even remember what the joke WAS, it really doesn’t matter.

Suddenly, as quickly as any storm passes, it was over. Quiet, bright, all of the world between us, washed clean, new. I sat on the front step and watched as he left with the baby for work, all of us blowing kisses to each other, waving.  It occurred to me the way the ocean must feel after the winds die down- calm, open, already forgetting the wild storm as it is passing.

Everything Just Sucks, Sometimes.

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Do you ever wake up in a bad effing mood, sometimes, for no reason at all? And then, say for instance, you can’t find your cigarettes, and when you do, like half of them are missing, and you know you didn’t smoke that much, and you are pretty sure your daughter and her best friend and her boyfriend have been ripping you off while you slept? Then, while you are sitting on the front step, finally having a smoke, even though you totally know you need to quit, if not for your own health, then to piss off the teenagers who are stealing from you, you realize that you haven’t eaten a vegetable in weeks- at least, not one that wasn’t smashed between a sesame seed bun and a slab of “meat”. So that makes you feel worse. ¬†Not as bad as the fact that there is no coffee in the whole gosh darned house, however.

Killing two birds with one stone, you decide to work off some of ¬†that fast food AND get some coffee while simultaneously taking your semi-retarded dog for a walk…except you can’t find the leash. After screaming at the dog (who, by the way, probably would have told you where the leash was IF she could talk) and screaming at SSO, who you are already mad at because he slept on the couch AGAIN, you finally find the leash in a vase on the counter in the kitchen. Well, duh, any sane person would have looked there first, right? So, dogs on the leash, walking out the door, oops, wait…money.

You go back in the house, look in your purse, look everywhere, can’t find your effing wallet now. Something really needs to change around here. Every little thing shouldn’t be so HARD, you think. You scream at SSO some more, you scream at the dog to quit stalking you, you find your wallet on top of the file cabinet in your bedroom. You no longer want coffee. You ¬†no longer want to own a dog, let alone walk one. You hate every person in the house for no particular reason. You check the calendar. It is not anywhere near time for your period. Perfect.

Some days just suck, for no reason other than they do. I’m going back to bed- if I can find it.