This blog has been on hiatus mostly because I've been having too much fun to want to post. Among other things, I haven't posted about holiday baking, because I get bored about five seconds after deciding to upload photos. So! No photos yet. We'll see about later this week.
[Two-week summary after the cut. It's long.]
I can say I've been doing well in some ways, and not so well in others. I spent the first week of my winter break at my mother's house, where I currently do not have a room due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. I was sleeping on the couch. I tried sharing my mom's bed, twice, only to conclude, twice, that I have a hard time sleeping when the person next to me is snoring. The couch is comfy, but it's also in the living room, where everyone hangs out until they go to bed. I can't believe I'm saying this as the only person on a college schedule (everyone else is older), but I was usually ready to go to bed hours before they were. Also featured at my mother's house, at least until my mother found a tv headset, was Faux News, almost all the time, except when Two and a Half Men or some other show were on. My uncle, you see, is staying at my mother's apartment until she gets on her feet enough to be able to pay for the place by herself. This is also why I don't have a room right now.
For the holidays, I had a gift opening Skype conference right after I finished my last (extended) paper. We were supposed to wait until the first night of Hanukkah, but we wanted to celebrate my freedom from the semester. On Christmas Eve, I went to a family thing at my father's sister's house. It was nice, in part because there were two different tables seating about six people each, so it wasn't all "you youngest two get to sit on the couch while the rest of us sit together" as it was at my grandmother's house in previous years. It was pretty fun in general, though.
For Christmas, I was at my mother's house. A different friend was supposed to come for dinner so that I would have an ally there, but he never showed up. (Oh well.) I somehow ended up giving a nine-year-old her first guitar lesson, a few picks, and my guitar tuner. I also tuned her guitar for her, since it didn't come pre-tuned and I'm the only one in the family with a musical bent. Luckily for my brother, whose girlfriend's daughter it was (his step-daughter, except they're only dating, so not really), I was willing to be put on the spot and give her the lesson. It was kind of fun, though. I like talking music, and I improvised with Ode to Joy, which was the only song I could remember. I don't know guitar chords; I tried to teach myself classical guitar, which starts with notes instead of chords, and never got very far. At the end of the night I had a colored Sponge-Bob as a present, which was pretty cool.
[TW family problems]
If only I got along with my family as well as I get along with a nine-year-old who wants to learn guitar. Dinner ended in a fight with a male family member who decided, among other things, that I don't have a real job and the tax credit I get for going to school means I have things "easy". I shut myself in my mother's room and tried not to cry, and started watching an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place to distract myself, only to have this relative walk in (there's no lock), refuse to leave, and start shouting at me. No one else noticed, apparently, that he had trapped me in a room and tried to bully me. He called me names. I shouted at him back, finally, and told him that his idea that 20 is too old to cry is bullshit and that I have every right to be upset, and that yes, I was on my fucking period and miserable already when almost a dozen people showed up at the two-bedroom apartment we were in. I don't handle crowds well, particularly when there's alcohol and unknown adults and children involved, even more particularly at a social gathering I feel forced to be at. I furthermore don't like being argued with over things that seem exceedingly stupid. (More on this later.) Among the things I was told in return: I'm condescending, a bitch, oversensitive, emotional.
I fully realize that I react to this relative badly, very frequently. He treats me with no respect and jumps to conclusions about things, and then wonders why I get pissy. So I have very little respect for him left, and as a result treat him that way. I am not the kind of person who can hide an intense dislike, particularly when I can't get away from the person in question.
So, two days later, after I had gone to the hospital for an ultrasound and some bloodwork that the GI doctor ordered (everything came back normal), I went to stay with some friends in a town that's about a 45 minute drive from my hometown. I am much happier here. One of them, A, had the week off because she works at a high school and it was on break. The first night I was there was the last night of Hanukkah, and I lit a menorah for the first time. I was very excited! The rest of the week, we ended up doing a lot of random and fun things, like shopping (I have new shoes! They're Sketchers Shape-Ups! Also winter boots, because I needed a new pair that actually keeps water out and is warm and not terrible for my feet.), cooking (well, I watched at least), watching Buffy and Supernatural (the latter of which I was picking out a lot of bit characters in the first couple episodes of season 1 who went on to do recurring roles in a lot of different paranormal-themed shows I watch), reading, working, and things I've forgotten. It was fun, all around.
I like both A and A's wife M, and they seem to enjoy my company. They've been threatening to keep me because I do dishes, which neither of them particularly likes doing. We all went to a New Year's Eve party that was board-games and food themed, had fun. We played a 6-hour game of Apples to Apples until we went through all of the red cards in an enormous party-pack. By that point, it was 3am. I'm glad I wasn't the designated driver, because one, the hour was very late/early, and two, there was fog and black ice all over the place (who knew? New England in January gets cold and icy; in related news, our abnormally warm November and December seem to be over in favor of a usually cold January). My first time attending a New Year's Eve party? Totally worth it.
[TW] And now schedules are more or less back to normal. School started locally today (Tues), so I was left on my own for the first time. I went home because my mother seemed to be missing me and because I had a couple of errands to run in town. I stayed just long enough to remember why I left and get into another brief argument. It would seem that [male relative] was making assumptions about my finances based on his roommate's college experience. His roommate is older than me, I think going for a second BA (?), and getting a degree in Chemistry, which the government seems to value higher than a liberal arts degree like mine. Also? I'm younger and have some serious fuckery involving taxes every year over whether I have to file as dependent or independent. My mother talking about the tax credit is actually what started the argument this time. I am really sick of the things my [male relative] assumes and says about my life. Not just the ableist things he says; also the anti-education stance he seems determined to hold, even without realizing what he's doing. Seriously, no one else tells me I'm condescending. I think it's related to our relative education levels, but I'm not sure. It could just be him. [/TW]
[New TW--car troubles] At any rate. I left a few hours after I arrived, made stops at the post office, library, and Barnes and Noble, and then got halfway to my destination before having my car inform me that it was going to stop working now, thank you very much. Best guess: transmission problems, and a visibly cracked belt. The first time, I heard a high-pitched squealing noise, and then suddenly saw my needle jump to 4k RPMs. At 40 miles an hour. I pulled over, and thankfully my brakes worked fine. I called my mother, and then my dad. Was attempting to check my transmission fluid when a cop pulled up behind me, brought a flashlight, and then offered to follow me for a while in case it happened again. I continued on. Simultaneously hit rush hour and a state highway, and had to pull over again within one exit. Thankfully, I already had my hazard lights on, because I very quickly realized that the reason my rpms were suddenly going wild was that my gears were shifting on their own and putting me in neutral. I watched my speedometer drop from ~60mph to 20mph before I pulled over after the next exit ramp. (I probably should have taken the exit, but that would have been too logical.) I called my friend A to tell her I was having problems. She asked if I had AAA. I remembered that I had Geico's emergency roadside assistance number, and called them. They found a tow company and gave them my location, and Geico told me they would pay for the first 10 miles of towing. Yayness.
At that point, I had four different people trying to check on me, and ended up having A contact two of them while I was still on the line with Geico. (I had no idea Blackberries could text and talk at the same time; this was a useful discovery. I later used it to make a note of the tow truck's number while talking to the Geico lady.) In the end, M ended up coming to find me and keep me company. She showed up just before the tow truck did, and then led the tow truck to two different possible service stations. The first one couldn't service such a complex problem (they do oil changes and basic maintenance) and the second one was closed. The Mobile station had a mechanic and the usual convenience store, so I dropped my keys off with the cashier and gave him my info. I'll find out what's going to happen in the morning. Luckily I have a little spare cash saved up. Sadly, I had just done the math to see that I have ~$100 that wasn't claimed by bills or textbooks or in my savings account. I suspect that's all going to be gone very soon. *sigh* Well, on the bright side, I had friends close by willing and able to help me sort through solving the first problem (getting myself and my car off the highway without risking my life or car to drive farther), and tomorrow will bring a new day. We'll see how it goes.
And I'm in a safe place, for now, despite pressure from family to stay with them. I'm probably okay for finances, I just most likely won't have much to spare for a while. And I have good friends taking care of me. In three weeks, I can go back to school, even, and then I'll be in my own space again.
And so it goes. Hopefully I'll have some less wordy posts later this week, maybe even tomorrow. Pictures, cats, actual medical discussion, things like that.