16/52 – Adversity&Determination

If the road is easy, chances are you’re going to wrong way. – Terry Goodkind

The road I’m currently on certainly isn’t an easy one. I feel like I keep stumbling over my own feet and walking right into spider webs. And I forgot to bring snacks!

Last Friday morning, I signed into my health insurance portal with the intent of making a payment to bring my account up to speed,  because I’d fallen a month behind. Once I signed in; however, I was greeted with a little message stating that I could not make an online payment due to a change in my account status. Well, that was unexpected. I did some snooping around in my account and discovered that my coverage was canceled as of March 31st of this year. Erm . . . what?

Immediately, I checked my bank history and saw the payments I’d been making.

Dismayed, I called the customer service number only to be told that the office wasn’t open until nine. Okay, that’s the same time I start work, but I’ll just take a long lunch and get this issue sorted out and my health insurance reinstated, because I can prove I’ve been making the payments, despite being a month behind. There’s such a thing as grace.

Lunch time, call in, speak to a very nice young man who places me on a brief hold and returns sounding genuinely sorry for me. “I’m sorry, ma’am. The cancellation wasn’t in error. You haven’t made the minimum required monthly payments at all this year.” He explained that I’d been paying roughly $90 a month, which was my bill amount last year, but my minimum payment had increased to roughly $91 at the start of the year.

I have no idea how I didn’t know that. I explained to him that I never received notice of paying the wrong amount and always just got emailed receipts that thanked me for paying. He couldn’t do anything else, though, except let me know that my $90 from April and May would be sent back to me via check within the next ten business days. He also transferred me to a not-so-nice woman who put in a ticket for a special enrollment period for me in an attempt to get it reinstated on the basis of my confusion over the total due. It will be thirty days before I know the outcome of that.

My first instinct was just to call it quits and curl into a little ball of self pity.

But I took a deep breath and took a step back and asked myself . . . what can I do?

Not in a sarcastic way, not in a self-defeating way, not as a throwaway, but really.

And I came up with a few options. All of which were better than nothing. I actually made a plan of action. Determined how I was going to handle this situation now that I was in it, instead of spending time dwelling on the problem itself. I looked for the solution.

First, I’m going to deposit the refunded money into my savings account. I’m going to add to that the amount that I’d planned to pay when I originally signed in. In thirty days, if my health insurance does not get reinstated, I will continue to deposit the $90 dollars I would have put towards it into my savings account, instead. I will not let it turn into Starbucks coffees or Redbox movie rentals or day trips to Daytona. I’ll have about $810 in savings at the end of the year, from putting my “health insurance” bill into it.

If my hasty research into the matter is correct, then that will be more than I need to cover the tax penalty I would be charged for not having insurance for nine months. If, that is, I actually get charged the tax penalty, which I may not. My income has dropped drastically, since I started school. I may qualify for hardship status. In either case – fine or no fine – I am prepared for the situation. If I don’t get fined, then I’ll be starting the new year with more in savings than I’ve ever had.

  • I won’t continue to pay my health insurance bill into my saving account after December, even though taxes are filed later than that, because I’ll get insurance again during open enrollment at the end of the year.

The true downside, of course, is that I won’t have health insurance during the next six months, if it doesn’t get reinstated. That sucks, for a couple of reasons. I have asthma and keep an emergency inhaler on hand for . . . well . . . emergencies. I have about a third of my current one left, which will last me – maybe – the next three months or so. I also; however, have two daily use inhalers saved from when I went to the doctor and he prescribed them. I don’t like taking them, which I know isn’t good, but if I do start taking them as I’m supposed to, they should be enough to keep my lungs and bronchi in good shape for the next three months, which saves my emergency inhaler for the last three months. I also have access to a nebulizer and albuterol, if needed.

I won’t die, essentially, from not having health insurance. Indeed, from the age of eighteen to twenty-four I did not have health insurance. I managed. Not always comfortably, but always adequately.

The other downside, the one I’m really upset about, is that if the insurance isn’t reinstated at the end of thirty days, I will have to confess to Him that I messed up and lost it. He isn’t going to be happy, because he will be concerned for my health. I will, at least, have a plan to present to him. I think he will appreciate that and the fact that I was able to think things through and not just freak out.

A few months ago, this situation would have derailed me for weeks. There would have been tears and panic and eventually acceptance, but no real solution formed. Now, I can deal with this bear in the middle of the road without losing my head. I’ll skirt around it and be more vigilant in the future. I won’t get eaten by it.

Adversity is defined as difficulties or misfortune. Determine is a firmness of purpose, or resolve. I may face other adversity during the next six months as I continue along my Road to Elsewhere, but I am determined that I will make it to the end of the road.

At which time, I’m sure there will be other roads to explore.

10/52 – Aspirations & Fears

Aspiration: A hope or ambition of achieving something.

Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is likely a threat.

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The other day one of my classmates, Twinlee, said, “Oh my god. You should just type mine up, too. You’ve got the words!” This was in reference to a small group project we were working on making a PowerPoint for during some down time in lab.

I was startled into admitting something that hasn’t come up yet. “I like to write.”

That’s something of an understatement. I’ve been writing short stories since the first grade. Have, actually, written three novels of more than 150 pages – two of which were part of a truly awful series that I did when I was about fourteen. The third was, I think, pretty okay. It was my NaNoWriMo novel four years ago. At present, I have two novel ideas that are tumbling around in the back of my mind.

I’ve always thought of it as both a good and a bad thing that I don’t ever have to search for an idea. Truth be told, sitting here, I’ve actually got closer to a dozen potential story/novel ideas, but only two are developed enough to be considered, practically speaking.

At Twinlee’s probing, I admitted as much as the above, and confessed something else. “Part of the reason I decided to go into nursing,” I let her know, “is due to the fact that I could work three twelve hour shifts, and then go home and write for four solid days, if I want.” She was, I think, both impressed and bemused.

It’s true though. When I was a kid, I expected to grow up to be a photo journalist, because I like to write, take pictures, and travel. As I got older, that somehow turned into something that I felt was impractical. It’s not that anyone ever told me, “You can’t do that.” It just . . . became a non-option, along the way.

My aspiration, I suppose you could say, is still to become a novelist. I don’t even let myself dream of real success, most of the time, but it’s fun to imagine seeing one of my novels on a bookshelf. Maybe even to daydream about seeing someone wander over to it and pick up while I stand there, pretending not to notice.

Of course, I don’t really think a person can have an aspiration without experiencing some parallel fear. Not only of failure, necessarily, but of the sheer possibility of success.

People fail all the time. It’s not unexpected. There are protocols, procedures, and policies in place to help people deal with failing. We have so many expressions and saying relating to failure that it’s not really something scary, in and of itself, at least not at a core level, for me.

“Why do we fall? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”

The prospect of accomplishing something successfully is, realistically, more scary to me than failing is, because I’m not sure what would come next. Fear of the unknown is the biggest fear I have, and failing isn’t something that’s unknown . . . success is.

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I haven’t written much since starting school, aside from homework and this blog, because I’ve been trying to narrow my focus to becoming a nurse . . . which is, honestly, an aspiration in itself. I’ll have two weeks off though, starting on the sixteenth and I keep thinking about trying to pound out a rough draft, at least, in that time.

A rough draft in two weeks would seem like a tall order, except the one I mean to write is one that I’ve had in my mind for years and it’s so ready to be written that it’ll feel just like typing out the outline of a movie I’ve watched a million and one times.

Of course, I don’t really know what I’d do with the draft once I finished it. I’ve never actually gone through the process of revising one. Now that I’m thinking about it, working to revise the school assignments I’ve done isn’t that dissimilar. Well, aside from the fact that the school assignments aren’t more than ten pages long . . .

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Also, as an end to this post, which was sort of off on a tangent, and as a follow-up to the post earlier today, I didn’t end up getting naked. He came home from work early, we had lunch . . . and then there was sex, but I got to keep most of my clothes on. Compromise exists, even in dynamics with heavy M/s connotations.

6/52 – Clear Credit Cards

I waited longer than some people I know to get a credit card. In fact, I didn’t get my first until the beginning of last year, when I was twenty-four. I didn’t exactly do it through a conventional route, either. I opened a second bank account in order to get a secured card through that bank (which is a national chain, versus my usual state credit union that I use as my primary account and that I’ve banked with since I was seventeen).

That card has a limit of $300. Since it’s secured, I can raise it pretty much at will – up to $1,000 – but I haven’t felt the need to do so. My other card, I got just four months ago and it also has a $300 limit. This past Christmas, I nearly maxed both of those cards out, for the first time. It made me nervous, having them both full, so the first thing I did with my tax return was pay both of them off again.

The other money went straight to my SO, to make up for my portion of the bills, since I’ve been so slammed with school that I’m down to working just 20 hours a week.

I expected to feel relieved once the cards were paid off, and I do. I also feel somewhat accomplished, even though one of the cards has a regular bill paid with it every month and will get hit another $50 within the next couple of weeks.

I did not expect to feel so much temptation.

For instance, I badly want to purchase a new desk. A “big girl desk” that will replace the one that I’ve had for six years. The age of my current desk isn’t really my problem (even though it’s showing in some chipped and peeling paint). My problem is that the desk is simply too small to accommodate all of the stuff that has come with nursing school. At present, the binders I use on a daily basis live on the ottoman, along with my two clipboards, drug guide, backpack, and various office supplies.

My desk is at capacity with just my computer monitor, a lamp, and two letter trays on it.

It’s more of a writing desk that I have forced to be a computer desk, really.

The desk I have my eye on is currently on sale for $289 at Staples. It’s an L-shaped desk which is an instant upgrade, but it also has a hutch built in with ample storage for all of my office supplies, my school books, and even my SO’s desk clutter – bills, keys, ect.

I didn’t expect to want to put something on the credit card that would max it out right away and I’m struggling with the urge to get the desk now. The dilemma of it being on sale versus the fact that I just paid off the card is making me go in circles, trying to decide the smart course of action. Really, I know what that is . . . keep what I’ve got and don’t use what’s meant to be an emergency card on what is clearly not an emergency situation.

Adulting is hard, sometimes. Trying to balance wants and needs.

The desk is a want, clearly. Having the card available for emergencies is a need, clearly.

In eight more months, I will graduate and I will hopefully get a job that will pay me almost double what I make now. And then I will be able to afford to get a new desk, if I still want/need a new desk. Patience. It’s a virtue, apparently.

2/52

As someone who usually likes to keep things neat – if not, precisely, organized – I was alarmed to realize that it’s somehow already the 22nd of January. I’ve been marking off days in my planner, but I’m only writing down my assignments the Sunday of the week they’re due and it’s created a strange sense of time being on a standstill. I’m literally looking at my days as a series of tasks, rather than a compilation of hours, and it seems surreal that it’s already just a few days before February.

(Speaking of which, I am one of those strange people who doesn’t mind seeing all the Valentine’s day stuff already in stock at my local Wal-Mart. Why? Because I absolutely adore giant stuffed animals. Seeing them always cheers me up and I have high hopes of getting one from Him this year. Plus, I like chocolate. And Valentine’s day is second only to Hall-o-Ween in terms of yummy chocolate goodness being available in bulk.)

I digress . . .

I’d intended to write weekly, this year, but I’m slightly behind on that. Still, I’m considering this 2/52 and as long as I make it to 52/52 posts by the end of the year, I’ll consider myself successful. I also have managed to stick $5 into my saving account from each paycheck. Granted, this only brings me to a measly $30 in savings (literally), but it’s still progress. My bills are all paid or on track to be paid on time as well . . . which I’m impressed by, because I’ve only worked a total of about 40 hours so far this month.

Ah. The demands of nursing school. I am a part of my graduating class’s Facebook group. It’s a convenient way to keep in touch with my classmates about what assignments we’re working on, who’s in which group for projects, and the occasional bit of humor.

Two things on the page made me laugh, this week.

The first was one of the e-cards that keep popping up. It showed a cartoon nurse and read, “I don’t post on Facebook when I eat dessert, because it didn’t happen, if it’s not documented.” The second was a picture of some male celebrity (Ryan Reynolds, maybe?) looked both skeptical and uncomfortable. It was captioned, “When people ask my why I chose nursing . . . It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The first one made me laugh, because all of the instructors are stressing the importance of documenting – our actions, our findings, our plans. We’re told to keep in mind that not documenting can lead to medical errors and patient endangerment and the loss of our licence. Which, ten months and several thousand dollars into the program, is one of our biggest fears, because it makes it all for naught, in the end.

The second one made me laugh, because it’s so brutally true. I can think back and remember all of my reasons for deciding to choose nursing. The money, flexible hours, having a friend in the program, the money, the job prospects, the benefits, the money . . . and, of course, getting to help people in a tangible way. Now, after three quarters and a lot of stress, it’s easy to lose track of why it is I’m actually putting myself through this madness and mayhem. As others noted on the post . . . it feels like we’re drowning and we’ve lost sight of the island paradise we were initially swimming towards.

There’s a few reasons for that. The stress of having two lectures, two labs, and two clinical portions . . . and all the associated homework, exams, and hands on experiences. Trying to still find time to work enough hours to make ends meet. Needing to also arrange time for all the “other” stuff – sleep, meals, family, blogging. Twenty-four hours doesn’t seem like enough time to fit in everything.

Even now, as I type, it’s ten in the morning and I’ve already finished two online quizzes, written in my assignments for the week, and had “breakfast” (a can of Vienna sausages and half a tube of Principles – don’t judge me). I still need to get a lot of other stuff done though. Which means . . . it’s time for . . . a list!

To Do List for 1.22.17

  • Write a two page paper about patient safety using three peer reviewed articles, an approved organization, and APA formatting.
  • Clean the apartment – at least do dishes, take out trash, and tidy up in general.
  • Make lunch for he and I . . . probably pasta salad.
  • Return our latest Redbox rental movie.
  • Print out flashcards for my Pharmacology exam.
  • Make flashcards for my Fundamentals exam.
  • Study both sets of said flashcards.
  • Make sure my school uniform is clean and pressed, and pack for clinical.

It doesn’t seem so daunting, like that. Which is good. Inaccurate, but good.

Third Quarter Jitters

In the United States, there’s arguably always been a “pioneer” mentality. For all that America is a melting pot of people from different cultures, we’re known collectively as individuals who value foresight, innovation, and the willingness to take a risk . . . or several. Personally, I’ve always been more of a reflector and – while I do appreciate innovation- I tend to take comfort in the familiar.

I’ve never been someone who could be accused of being an adrenaline junkie and “play it safe,” could be my catch phrase. The things I enjoy that some people may consider unnecessarily risky – like riding motorcycles in my “vanilla” life, or breath play in my kinky life – are things that I don’t actually view as dangerous.

I’ve been in only one motorcycle accident, but three car wrecks.

And I’ve never felt my life was at stake during breath play.

Realistically, I can count the number of risks I’ve taken on one hand. And I’m not talking about small scale stuff like eating raw cookie dough or getting an asymmetrical hair cut. I’m talking about the big, life-changing stuff. The stuff that you can’t sleep on, because the opportunity won’t be around come sunrise. The stuff that’s now or never.

I consider one of those risks my decision to go into school for nursing. For someone else, that type of decision might not have been a big deal, or they might have felt that they had plenty of time to consider the option. Hell, they might’ve not even lost any sleep over it.

For me, it was like deciding to jump out of a tree without knowing whether or not I’d fall or fly. I threw myself out into open space and couldn’t consider the possibility that I might not succeed, because the other alternative was splat.

Even now, two quarters (or six months) into school, I still feel like I might just be floating on a thermal. I haven’t looked down for fear of the height I’m at. All I can do is keep my eyes closed and hope that my flailing is actually doing something. I know I’ll have to come back to Earth eventually, but the question of whether or not it’s a graceful landing or one that’s disastrous is yet to be determined. I don’t even have a parachute, or plan b.

So far, I’ve taken some standard prerequisite courses and some career specifics courses. I’ve passed Structure and Function, Human Growth and Development, Dimensions of Nursing Practice,  Anatomy I and II (and the accompanying labs), Algebra, and English. I haven’t gotten anything lower than a B, overall. But I’m still finding myself nervous about this next quarter. And I’m not quite sure why.

This quarter, I’m scheduled to take Conflict Resolution, Introduction to Microbiology (and the lab), Nutritional Principles in Nursing, and Allied Health (and the lab). It’s a total of 13 credit hours – plus the Conflict Resolution course, which is competency based and technically counts as an additional 4 credits. My scrubs came in the mail on Friday and so did my brand new “nursing” shoes. (Sketchers: Slip-Resistant Relaxed Fit women’s shoes in white – AKA: The Most Expensive Shoes I’ve Ever Bought.)

I think the fact that this is the first quarter I’ll have to wear my scrubs is making this “real” to me. Prior to this – despite having taken Dimensions of Nursing Practice – it just felt like school. It didn’t feel directionless necessarily, but it didn’t feel like the end goal of becoming a nurse was something tangible. Now it is and that’s a little terrifying.

Also, in that same fashion, this is the first quarter in which I will have classes at the campus, beyond just my labs for anatomy. I’m not sure why, but having a lab at the campus feels different than having an actual class there. Possibly, that’s because the labs weren’t overseen by an actual teacher, in the stricter sense of the word. They were merely supervised by someone who was there largely just to prevent us from damaging campus property and/or improperly handling the dead cats we used for our dissections.

Another reason I’m more worried about this quarter than the other quarters might have to do with the fact that D – who was the one who largely encouraged me to start school – has intentionally flunked himself out. He couldn’t handle balancing work and school, he got placed on academic probation, and he just didn’t bother showing up for his final exams or last week of classes. He still intends to finish school . . . but he doesn’t plan to start back up until next fall – at which time I’ll (presumably) be just a quarter away from graduating.

The prospect of graduating is an interesting one as well – seeing as I left high school to get my GED at the start of my senior year of high school. And, given that graduating school is only part of what it takes to actually become a nurse, I’m even more nervous.

Overall, I’m not sure what to expect from the next week. I won’t have a campus class until Thursday. I don’t even know which of the two campuses in town I’ll be going to. I’m not sure how my boss will respond when I actually am out for a cumulative day (between Thursday and Friday). I don’t know what the first day of classes will be like. A part of me is hoping that it will be like high school, where day one is just a day to introduce yourself and get the list of what you’ll need for the other weeks of the class. That’s a little nerve wracking too though, because I’m not one that’s ever found making friends to be easier and I never know what to saw during the introduction phase of things.

I’m trying to not over think things.

I don’t want to get so caught up in looking for potential hurdles that I end up tripping over my own shoe-laces.

Getting Orientated

Today is Monday, but for once I’m not dreading everything that entails.

Possibly because I will only be at work for three and a half hours, this morning. And then another two hours and fifteen minutes, tonight. In between that will be my Orientation for school. And I am so excited that I think today will probably fly by in a Friday-like manner.

Though my friend and conspirator, D, will be going to the Orientation as well, we’re going there separately. He works much closer to the campus than I do and he’ll be leaving work at noon rather than 12:30. He’ll basically get a fully hour to hang around while I will get there with about fifteen minutes to spare. I like being punctual. Especially when nervous.

My mother very kindly agree to pick me up and give me a ride to the Orientation, because I don’t drive and don’t really want to rely on D – just in case he bails, for some reason.

Even though he was the one who encouraged me to try nursing school, because he didn’t want to go through it alone, he’s actually been the one slacking on the enrollment requirements. All I’ve got left is getting a TB chest x-ray on Wednesday or Thursday, getting my second Varicella shot on the 12th, and finishing up my financial aid stuff. He’s still got to get most of his immunizations, his CPR certification, his TB x-ray, and his financial aid stuff. He’s got roughly until the 12th to complete everything.

I don’t know that he’s going to make that deadline. I might be going through school on my own, at least during the Spring Semester. A couple of month ago, when I first started seriously considering going, I was terrified even at the thought of going to the Nursing Information session – with him. Now, I’m telling him that I’m going to start with or without him, because I’ve vested too much energy into striving to make the April start.

Initially, I expected to quit work right away and simply go to school full time.

Now, however, I’m going to attempt to hold down my full time job while also doing 12 credit hours a semester. I don’t know how well this is going to work out, but I feel obligated to make an effort. I have several friends who have stressed to me that it will be next to impossible to work at all during my second year of the RN Associate’s degree program at the college, but that just makes me more determined to attempt to get through it during the first year – or at least during part of it. I want to try, anyway.

It occurred to me, the other day, that I have been gainfully employed since I was nineteen. I worked at Chili’s as a hostess and back of house prep person for three years and then transitioned straight to working at the call center that I still work at. I hit my two-year anniversary there on March 3rd. Which seems insane, because it feels sorta like yesterday.

I am used to having money available – even if it’s only five dollars to splurge on Starbucks (like I totally did this morning, given that I woke up at 6:00 with my SO and still need to kill an hour and a half before I actually have to start heading to work). Not having my own funds will be strange. Not knowing exactly how I’ll pay my bills is absolute agony.

My SO will cover whatever I can’t. I’m aware of that. I’m his and he intends to take care of me. But I don’t want him to be responsible for all of my bills – which total about $750.

I pay half of rent, cable, and electric. I pay for our car insurance. I pay my phone bill and health insurance and for the up-keep of my pets (two snakes and two cats). I take turns with him on paying for grocery trips and eating out and other misc. activities.

Not doing that will feel like I’m not holding up my end of our dynamic – even though finances are only one aspect of it and something that he never stresses over. As he often points out to me, his money is my money is our money. And even though I only have $35 in the bank as of this moment, he has about $3,000 saved up – not including credit cards and a line of credit that total about $3,500 on their own. We will not starve, essentially. And I won’t need to decide between canceling my phone bill or the cable. He’s got it covered.

In a way, I love that feeling of security. On the other hand, I wish I could do more to help.

Which, he reminds me, I am. I’m going to school to start a new profession that will benefit both of us in real, lasting ways (assuming all goes well, of course). I’m working to become a better me – both for myself and for him. He’s there to support me, he says. To help.

I appreciate that way more than I can ever hope to adequately explain to him.

So. Instead of stressing today, because of trying to see too far ahead, I’m going to live in the moment. I’m going to look at the future as an abstract that will never actually come to pass – because as soon as it does, it will be the past in the very next second. That’s not to say that I’m not a bit nervous about going to the Orientation – I am. But I’m not sick-to-my-stomach like I was before the Nursing Information session. This time, I am feeling tentatively optimistic, instead of feeling dread and uncertainty.

*And on a side note, regarding my Breaking Rules post . . . I ended up wearing flip-flops. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? There are almost always options that you didn’t think of.

Summerizing the Complex

Whoever said that imagination is both a gift and a curse was spot on, I think.

I took a leap this morning and started working on one of my five different novel ideas for the first time in several months. Since I now have this very handy new tablet/laptop, I feel comfortable starting to work on those again. I picked the one that I think will be the second easiest to get on paper, if not get published (a girl can dream, right?).

There are a few different schools of thought on the types of people who attempt to write novels (or anything, really). There are those who write freely, without a fully realized frame for their story; there are those who write after extensive outlining; and there are those who do some combination of the above.

When I was younger – twelve or thirteen – I was definitely the first one. In fact, I wrote the hectic first drafts of an entire trilogy when I was that age – a grand total of about six hundred pages of Number 12 Times New Roman teen-aged angst. One of my greatest sorrows was losing all of that work when my computer crashed . . . even if it was just an intense teen-style drama.

I didn’t commit myself fully to another novel endeavor until I was  seventeen and that was somewhat outlined, but really had no driving plot and the characters were – in retrospect – very one dimensional, because I focused too much on the back ground stories that didn’t actually make it into the draft. I ended up losing most of that work, too, when my sister’s dog used my USB drive as a chew-toy.

The next time I decided to sit down and attempt a novel, I was twenty and finished a 60,000 word first draft for NaNoWriMo. I created an outline using a modified version of the Snow-Flake Method and was (and am still) pretty happy with the rough draft. But it has now been four years since I wrote it. I still like it. I like the characters and I like the imagery, but I feel, now, that it is part of a larger series and I’m not quite ready to dive back into that particular world.

That particular one is one of the Five. I think of this group of novel ideas as the Five, because they have been consistently rolling around in my mind for the past several years. There’s something nearly mythic to them, now, because I feel so familiar with them and yet have never managed to fully finish any of them.

In list form, they are most simply summarized as:

  1. The horror/dry comedy about a twenty-something who can see the invisible monsters . . . you know, those things that go bump in the night. As if things aren’t already complicated, she has to deal with an incredibly attractive Irish transplant who has his own shadowy past. (This is the one I have the finished rough draft for.)
  2. The coming of age story. A seventeen year old wins a scholarship opportunity through a global corporation – it’s an all expenses paid education in exchange for participating in a three month product trial. The only catch is that the product seems to have a mind of it’s own.
  3. The quirky romance in which a large family’s matriarch dies . . . willing her entire estate to her estranged granddaughter . . . with a few conditions.
  4. The introspective supernatural drama in which an Atheistic woman finds herself haunted by the same individuals who seemed to drive her mother to insanity and an untimely death. A stranger approaches her with an unusual offer.
  5. The darker under-ground type of story. A suicidal young woman determined to live for the sake of her family is shaken by the premise of the newest hit reality show, but things are never as simple as they seem and she finds herself torn between the concepts of personal freedom and doing what’s right for the majority.

Of course, these five summaries are not all encompassing of the stories themselves. The first doesn’t include mention of the quirky mentor-character, because he’s far from central to the story. And the third doesn’t brush on the actual conditions that are entailed.

The fifth is the one I’m actually working on, currently. And it’s my intent to outline it fully. I’m going to be totally loyal to the Snow-Flake Method, this time around. I know the essential story. I got as far as finishing the prologue and getting some key scenes in mind, last year, but ended up letting it drop to the side when I became busier with work and accidentally killed my old laptop (suffice it to say that it was lactose intolerant).

I’ve toyed with doing it as a script and I’ve toyed with doing it as a novel, but I feel that I’ll be happier doing it as a novel, even though I really think it would make a cool movie (I always visual the film-making style of Ink, when I start daydreaming about that).

The first step in the Snow-Flake Method is to write a one sentence summary of your story. My one sentence summary is a bit wordy, compared to the concise ones used as examples in the method. It’s difficult for me to break my idea down into one core line. I am too close, almost, to the little details of the story and it’s hard for me to detach from the ancillary bits enough to form a simple statement about the entirety.

The method recommends taking an hour to develop this one sentence summary. I spent about an hour and a half (while also watching Youtube clips from the Atheist Experience). I came up with this: A suicidal young woman determined to live for the sake of her family is shaken by the premise of the newest hit reality show, but things are never as simple as they seem and she finds herself torn between the concepts of personal freedom and doing what’s right for the majority. (Yes, that is what is typed above.)

This is much longer than the ideal one sentence summary.

A better summary might be, “A suicidal young woman is tempted by the premise of a new reality show, but  her plans are waylaid by a crisis that seems like it will leave her the caretaker of her younger sisters.” Or even, “A new reality show seems to be the solution to a suicidal young woman’s problem, but life intervenes in unexpected ways.”

All three of those are simplified versions of a more complex story. They all have their own merits, I suppose, but the first one is the one I like the best, as the writer, because I feel it does the most justice to the plot – even though it also leaves a lot out. Probably, the best one from a TV Guide perspective would be the third one, because of how short it is, even though the second has the more emotional hook.

The only thing I really don’t like about the last option is how very vague it is. “Unexpected ways,” is almost unbearably open-ended and my understanding of the one sentence summary is that it’s supposed to include more details . . . just briefly. *sigh*

Hopefully, the next stage of the Snow-Flake Method will be a bit easier for my to wrap my brain around. Also, please don’t attempt to utilize any of the above mentioned plots (though elements of all of them are common and, of course, not subject to being any one person’s intellectual property). I’ll be sad if someone else publishes my ideas before I get around to them. Though I’m sure I would not be the first person to procrastinate their way out of a theoretical publishing deal.

*Also, it’s the first day of Spring! Yay for new flowers and butterflies!

 

Small Frustrations

This feels like an endless day.

Woke up at 5:45. Made my Significant Other coffee and breakfast (nothing fancy). Left the house with him at 6:30. He dropped me off at Starbucks, because I had ambitions of going to work today – didn’t happen, because I ended up throwing up my Java Chip and half a bagel.

Decided to walk home, because it’s only two miles (well, 1.89 to be exact). The heat and the exertion felt good even though it made me even sicker. Made it all the way to my front door before I remembered that I don’t have a key – my purse was stolen along with my keys and I haven’t gotten a copy from my SO yet.

Had to call him to get let in. He was glad of the midday break from the office, but had to go back to finish up a few things. While he was gone, I managed to get the trash out and do some general cleaning up. He’s home for the day, now. Snoring on the couch while I type this and wait for laundry to finish drying.

Dinner will be corned beef and cabbage at one of his favorite restaurants. I would personally much rather stay home, but he looks forward to St. Patrick’s day every year for this one thing and I know he’d rather me go. I’ll sit and watch him eat and try not to look too miserable.

Then it’ll be back home to do another load of laundry before bed. Given how I’m feeling, I’m pretty sure I won’t be going to work tomorrow. I’m not precisely unhappy about that, but I am kinda sick of being dizzy and nauseous.

On the plus side, I was able to talk to my school advisor and have figured out why they hadn’t received my FAFSA information – I accidentally filed for the 2016-2017 school year instead of the 2015-2016 school year. That’s been corrected and should be processed within the next few days.

I keep reminding myself . . . progress . . . forward momentum . . . one thing at a time . . . and don’t forget to breath . . . .

Terminal Velocity

Just last night, I heard something on TV that made me pause. I actually pointed it out to my Significant Other, because I was so impressed by it and it seemed so brutally true.

I think it was on the FoodNetwork. Pretty sure it was. One of the competition shows that they seem to always play reruns of. A contestant on the show was talking about how his father was his inspiration for trying out for the show, because he’d told him, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

                        Leap, and the net will appear.

I’ve looked the quote up – for the purposes of this post. The man who said it was John Burroughs. And, by and large, the people who seem to have latched onto this quote are in agreement that it doesn’t encourage recklessness, but foresight and imagination.

I don’t know if it’s a sign of my current mental state that this quote struck me as being so poignant, or if I would have noticed it last year, or the year before. I’m sure that it wouldn’t have meant so much to me, six months ago; however, because six months ago I had not really thought about leaping without first seeing the net.

It was only about five months ago that I started to consider that option. And it was only two months ago that I was making a post about my worries related to taking the first step toward that option. The Nursing Information Session at Rasmussen College was the metaphorical Point A on my internal Map to Elsewhere.

It went well, by the way, in case that was something you wondered about. It was not terribly scary or nerve-wracking. And, in retrospect, I was positively silly to have been so concerned about that one small thing, but in retrospect a lot of things seem that way, I suppose.

—*—

Everyone knows the quote about having the best intentions go awry . . . well I’d intended to regularly post throughout my journey. And I still do. But I was waylaid. It occurs to me, now, that such things invariably happen during adventures and along quests, but it still felt like I was blind-sided . . . which, I suppose, is also common.

I posted, two months ago, that my dog was dying. Well, she did die. That thought is still enough to make me cringe and tear-up and feel like my heart is sinking. She died the day after I made that post. It happened without me being there and I didn’t really get the chance to say good-bye to her properly, but I’ve got a picture of her on my desk and I’ve reached the point where I can smile at how goofy it is. She’s got her head half-way in a giant McDonald’s bag – getting high on the smell of fresh french-fries, I guess.

Anyway, that shook me up. And so I didn’t post again, after that, and didn’t really come onto this site very much, because it reminded me that she’d been alive when I last posted. Which made me sad, because I missed her so strongly, still.

But enough time has passed that I no longer feel quite so awful about it. And enough other things have been happening that I haven’t been able to continue to dwell on death and mortality and some of the injustices of those general subjects.

—*—

Now, I guess you could say, I am traveling from Point A to Point B.

The Nursing Information Session is behind me and the Nursing Orientation is ahead of me . . . but there are a few required stops along the way – again, as there often are.

Before I can actually say with any sort of true certainty that I am enrolled in school to earn an associate’s degree in Professional Nursing (basically, before I can say that I am going to school to become an RN), I must first complete Rasmussen’s enrollment requirements – the last of which is actually attending the Nursing Orientation.

I’m fairly sure that all of the requirements are actually pretty standard for any nursing program. I’ve had to upload proof that I am fully immunized (which has included having to get a Flu Shot and a TDP booster), proof that I am physically and mentally capable of meeting the demands of the nursing program (more or less a standard physical with a few questions about my motivation and state of mind), proof that I am CPR certified through the American Heart Association (which was its own adventure and which deserves its own post, actually) . . .  oh! And also proof that I have no criminal history and am not wanted by the FBI or some such.

The only things that I have yet to complete on the handy check-list that they gave me at the Nursing information session are things that I am – mostly – sure I will be able to finish by the end of this next week.

I still need to upload proof that I did actually get the Flu Shot and TDP booster, I need to get my high-school transcripts from the appropriate government office building (which is conveniently on my way to work), I have to complete my second back-ground check (in case the first one missed something?), and I still have to complete my TB skin test.

The TB skin test has actually been the most interesting part of the process, but that’s mainly because it was the thing that I’ve never had before and I did not look it up in advance, and thus did not have any idea what to expect. I will go to have the results of the first portion read tomorrow morning, before work. And then I will return to to the Health Department on Friday of next week to have the second one started.

—*—

I do feel as though I have made the leap. And I made the comment to my Significant Other that I feel as though I’ve reached terminal velocity. I am traveling as fast as I am able to . . . and it feels as though I am now suspended in relative comfort.

There’s still this feeling of breathless anticipation that’s sort of scary . . . but  . . . it’s liberating, too. I’ve made the jump and now gravity is doing what it will. It doesn’t seem reckless to believe there’s a net somewhere just past the edge of my vision.

It feels like it makes perfect sense, actually.

 

Map to Elsewhere

The first sentence is always the hardest.

I’m more familiar with endings than I am with beginnings. All questions are answered within an ending . . . even if the lack of an answer is all that’s left. I can take comfort in the finality of the last line of a story, or the end notes of  a melody. Closure.

But the question of how to begin is – in itself – overwhelmingly open. I wrote approximately a dozen different sentences before I more or less gave up and wrote the above sentence out of sheer creative desperation. It’s the truth, at least, if nothing else.

It doesn’t actually help that this isn’t technically the first post I’ve made under this blog name. I actually had several posts that I wrote a few months ago. But I deleted them all and took a sort of twisted pleasure in that – it was kind of like finally clipping off a stray thread that’d been tickling me all day.

The posts weren’t bad. But they weren’t really anything else, either. At the least, if this attempt isn’t good, it will have been honest. And I believe that there’s always some goodness to be found in utter honesty – even if it’s cloaked in awful discomfort.

*—–*

I actually meant to begin again with this particular blog earlier in the month. I wasn’t aiming for the first, exactly, but I didn’t mean to put it off until the fifteenth, either.

Tomorrow is, actually, a pretty important day for me. It’s the day that I take my first step toward something new . . . which, for me, also means that it feels like the first step off a cliff. I’ve been told the fall isn’t that bad and that there’s enough water at the bottom to make for a safe landing, but . . . it’s still a little nerve wracking.

Okay. It’s a lot nerve wracking.

Tomorrow morning, I will wake up at 8:00 A.M. – even though it’s Saturday which is my only day off with the other that is significant in my life. I usually reserve Saturday morning for lounging around in bed watching HGTV re-runs and listening to him snore, but this is a pretty important morning, so I’ll sacrifice that.

I’ll spend fifteen minutes in the shower and then another ten trying to decide what one should wear when taking a leap of faith. I’ll probably settle on a pair of jeans and a nice shirt – even though I’ve already worn the jeans once this week and don’t particularly like any of my nice shirts. I’ll wear sneakers, because it’s them or what my other refers to as my “stripper heels.” Probably, I’ll wear mis-matched socks, because it’s a comfort thing, for me.

D – my friend of eight years – will pick me up from the apartment at 8:30 . . . which will probably turn into 8:45. He’s jumping off the cliff with me, but we’ll have breakfast first. Probably at a little place downtown called the Lunchbox. He’ll flirt with the waitresses and I’ll chew my nails and drink coffee like a mad-woman.

We’ll kill an hour – him with the flirting, me with the coffee. And then we’ll travel to Point A on my map to . . . ELSEWHERE . . . (If there was a cheesy t-shirt sold in the souvenir shop of ELSEWHERE it would say, “Where things are better than over there!“)

And then I will trust that he knows where the hell we’re going, because he’s very good with directions and I’m pretty bad with them. We’ll get there and I will have drunk so much coffee that I’ll either be sick to my stomach or bouncing off the walls.

And where is there place? Point A on the map to ELSEWHERE? It’s actually something that sounds rather boring, rather mundane, rather . . . simple . . .

It’s the 10:00 A.M. Nursing Information Session being held by Rasmussen College.

See? A long boring name, but . . . I’m pretty fucking nervous.

Never did I ever expect that I would be attending such a thing. At least not with the intent to actually get information about nursing. I mean . . . I never even considered being a nurse until . . . October? I think it was in October.

D had decided – after one of his friends graduated from Rasmussen with a BS in Nursing – that he wanted to do a 180 from being an engineer to a nurse. And I decided – after listening to him go on about it for three months – that it sounded like a good idea.

Or at least like a chance at a good idea.

So. I’ve spent the past three and a half months thinking about this whole concept of me as a nurse. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is a potentially good idea – maybe even a potentially great one. It’s not ideal (there is a very disappointed five-year-old me still pouting over the fact that I’m probably never gonna be a ballerina), but it’s actually a lot better than some of the alternatives I can think up.

In a lot of ways I’m scoffing at my fear over this first step. But it really is Point A of an itinerary  that will – hopefully – take me on a journey that lasts at least 18 months – the time that it takes to earn an Associates Degree in Nursing from Rasmussen.

I can’t really think that far ahead, just now. I’m taking this one move at a time.

But . . . this feels like a good thing. Risky and impulsive and terrifying, too, but . . . sometimes change requires that . . . even when it’s change for the better. Maybe especially when it’s change for the better!