Chaos Attraction

As Usual, Am Bloody Busy

2004-11-29, 9:31 p.m.

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It's been a long time. What have I been up to?

(a) NaNoWriMo, of course. Happily, I managed to finish that today. Yaaaaay! I even got writing done on Thanksgiving day (i.e. the one day of the weekend that I sort-of get left alone), which is flabbergasting all by itself.
I have a lot of missing parts to it. I normally write in order, but Jess of course hit 50,000 two weeks before me and didn't want to write any more, so there's scenes I can't get to without her. Oh well. I managed to BS around to hit the word count, at least.
This novel makes me more nervous than compared to the other years I won because it's so piecemeal, and unlike other years, I didn't even GET to the middle in writing it. Who knows if it'll ever get finished, but does it matter very much? Probably not.
I say this every year, but I think it sucks that NaNo is in November, and December holiday crap totally prevents you from keeping up momentum and writing any more.

(b) Craft fair. I didn't sell a thing. I suck. I wasted so much money working on stuff for this year that I am not doing the fair again. Financially, it was a giant suck. I think I'll just end up giving away the pieces for Christmas or something.

(c) Jury duty. Every year since I graduated, I get called, every year I got out by narrower margins, this year was so obviously My Year to get on a jury. And sure enough, I got called right away into the jury box and had no excuses whatsoever to get out of it.
I am writing entries about this a la Sars, but of course I can't post them until after it's all over. Which is going to be approximately Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how long deliberation takes. We haven't started it yet and will tomorrow, so who knows.

(d) Knitting. I'm working on this as fast as I can, which is going better now that purling isn't involved. Hell, I've had even more time than usual to work on it due to jury duty. And I'm still not going to be caught up with everyone else when they're all ready to attach arms and middle on Thursday. Hell, I don't have the ARMS done. I'm still trying to finish the middle- and I'm halfway through that. Dammit. This is frustrating even when it's going well. I'm wondering if I'll even be able to learn without being ready to do the same as everyone else.

(e) Thanksgiving. This was alternately frustrating and good. But first I got jerked around a bit. Sunday night before this, Mom had decided that she didn't want to deal with the Sunday night traffic of bringing me back, and would I mind awfully if they dropped me off at my apartment Friday night? Oh no, I wouldn't mind at all, I said. I'd love to have some time to finish my projects. Every year with NaNo I pretty much have to write off those four days of the holiday because my family wants my attention, and I was delighted to think I could get stuff done.
But, of course, in my family, things are not that easy. Because by Monday morning, this had been reconsidered. "Dad looked so sad and disappointed when he found out you weren't going to be with us the whole four days." Silly me, when the idea had been suggested, I should have known better than to be honest! I should have been begging to be taken home to the bosom of my loving family! But what can I argue against "Your dying father wants to see you", especially when on top of the "sad and disappointed", there was "You're always ignoring us at Thanksgiving." So I begged and pleaded to be allowed to come home, and 24 hours later she deigned to have me come home.
Wednesday night I got a ride home with my cousin Alicia and her Danish law school roommate, Line (pronounced "Lina", so I'm just gonna spell it that way to keep track of that, mmkay?). Lina was all eager to hear about the jury process in America. When we were at the gas station, Alicia asked me how often I'd been expected to come home during college, because *her* parents get upset if she didn't come home every single weekend. And just like I had going on in college, her boyfriend is all "Why are you letting them jerk you around like that?" Oh, flashbacks.

Being at my nice aunt's house is much, much easier to deal with than being home with the parents or with the PITA relatives. Most of the time I can just go be one of the kids (though in this case, the kids are 26, 20, 17, and 13, with a 25-year-old thrown in this year) without always being The Disabled One's Kid, Dealing With His Shit (literally). I rudely got all resentful whenever Mom would drag me away to feed Dad because she wanted to go do something else. I'm such a nice child :P
While I'm at my aunt's, it's very low key. The kids mostly sat around talking or watching TV while I knitted or *gasp!* worked on the novel, and had a good time. The food was good. I got to sleep a bit and watch very interesting things on cable television.
My cousin Kristen is writing college essays and had everyone check hers. One of them is about how dealing with all of our sick and decrepit and losing-their-minds relatives led her to getting a guide dog, because she felt like she had to do *something* and there's nothing that can be done to help our family. Sniff. I didn't know she felt that way, especially since compared to me she hasn't had to deal with as much of it.
And speaking of Kristen, there was a big ol' hullabaloo one night around midnight when she disappeared and couldn't be found. Aunt Susie was totally losing it- "she's been kidnapped from the house!", just the way my mom would. Turns out she was in the garage talking on the phone. Mom was all, "She was talking about The Family badly, wasn't she?" Gaaah. And people wonder when I tell them that no, I can't talk to them at all when I'm with my parents. Guess why?
I really dreaded having to be alone with my parents the rest of the weekend. I knew the second we were all alone, Trouble would start to ensue. Hell, even before we left she was guilt-tripping me into taking an old sewing desk of my grandmother's (which is minus the sewing machine, which Aunt Susie took and kept). And adding to the fun, I lost my cell phone at my aunt's house (still haven't gotten it back yet). Sure enough, she started in on me for not correcting Kristen's essays right, not talking to my cousins enough to her satisfaction, etc. We had a blowout on Saturday about how I'm a bad person, etc., etc., etc, and I think I ended up yelling something like, "You're always telling me I'm wrong no matter what I do," and she ended up apologizing for it. I don't expect that to last, though.
I think I've managed to figure out a way to avoid major blowouts on a weekend stay, though: don't take a shower at my mom's house. Because every time I do, that's when she starts going crazy at me for not having the towels placed precisely right and the shower not wiped down completely dry and the goddamned shower mat isn't perfectly babysat, and then we fight the rest of the day. But going dirty all weekend, she kept calm. So now I know: just wait until I get home to shower. Hell, who in the olde hometown cares if I'm dirty, right?
As usual, every hour spent at home in the house is stressful. She wanted me to install crap on her computers, which would have taken ten minutes TOTAL to install on all three, had it not been such a pain in the ass to get Mom to get what I was doing, to get her to move the computer to somewhere I could access it, and then figuring out how to get her Windows crap registered when her computer doesn't go online. Gaaaaah. Oh, and did I mention that she bought me a copy of "He's Just Not That Into You?" She made me watch the Oprah episode on it (God forbid Mom NOT buy me something she saw on Oprah), and when I said the whole thing was stupid, she was all, "Oh. I should take it back, huh?" Damn, and that was probably going to be my only surprise Christmas gift this year, too.
Oh, and she told me that after Dad dies, she wants to move to the Sacramento area to be closer to me and Aunt Susie. *sigh* I should have known that one. And she wants me back as soon as possible on a weekend so I can set up the Christmas tree.

But to finish this entry off, there's some good news mixed in with the whining. After being dragged around shopping for two days, I suspect I am now completely broke, but I got all of my presents bought for Dad. He is totally done! And since he's the worst to shop for, I feel like a giant load has been taken off already. A few other folks got gifts too, so that works out.
And the free days off we were supposed to be getting at work are now apparently being taken back due to contract negotiations, so I won't have to stay at home with the parents for a week and a half after all! I'm probably the only person who DOESN'T want to spend more time with her family, but there you go.
And I got home 45 minutes earlier than usual Sunday night...only to find that in my absence, there was a drunken party...involving furniture smashing. Heather had this crappy little night table thing she'd stuck out in the living room that was kind of falling apart anyway, and it is now in bits and pieces all over the carpet. Apparently one of the drunken partygoers got dumped recently and needed to smash SOMETHING, and...there you go.
Some days I just don't know what to make of things.

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