If anything can go wrong, it will.


It’s Been Awhile

There has been a lot going on in my life, and in Alex‘s, since  last I wrote. Some of the reason that I haven’t written is because a fair bit of the things that have happened haven’t been the most pleasant of subjects.

I’m not sure where, exactly, to start.

My heart’s been in pieces, it feels, ever since I came back.  Naturally I miss Alex, but aside from that there’s been the issues with my mom.  Her mental state is perplexing, to put it mildly.  She is agitated, unhappy all the time.  She can’t remember anything.  There are physical issues, as well. No balance or coordination.  It’s all just so confusing, and no doctor seems able to find a reason for it.

And then there’s the other thing. The one I don’t want to talk about so much, but that comes to mind every. single. day.  The one that hurts at least as much as being separated from Alex again.

When something tragic happens to you, the people who love you usually rally around you, and try to comfort you, try to find the right things to say or do to help you through it, make you feel better.   It’s just that sometimes there is nothing that will make you feel better, except perhaps, time.

And then of course there’s also the well-meaning things that people say that are meant to be helpful and comforting, but which only hurt more and make you sadder, or even angry.  There have been more than a few well-meaning things said to me that only served to hurt and anger me in the past months.

I need time.  I guess.

LDR: The Struggle Is Real

… and Netflix is making that struggle just a little more difficult.

Alex and I try to find as many things that we can do together in the time we get to share. We play games (World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Mordheim: City of the Damned to name a few), we watch films and shows together.  Or at least, we have been.  And maybe, just maybe we’ve been circumventing some rules in order to do that.

There exist easy to use extensions and add-ons that will “trick” sites into thinking that you’re browsing from a location you’re not actually in.  So, I, for example, could use that to make it appear I’m browsing from the UK.  Or Alex could make it appear he was browsing from the US.  This has always allowed us to synchronise films and shows that we both enjoy and given us something to do together.

As of recently, though, Netflix has announced that they are cracking down on the types of add-ons and extensions that make appearing to be browsing from somewhere else simple.

As I mentioned already, Alex and I have been circumventing some rules, and I recognise that we don’t get to be righteously indignant about the forthcoming changes. It does make me a bit sad, though, that in a world where we could be so much more connected, where we could watch films and shows with loved ones far away it all boils down to greed and licensing fees.

It’s not limited to Netflix, either.  We used to watch old episodes of Ridiculousness together, also – they weren’t even the most current ones – but now MTV requires that you log in with your cable provider to do this.

Being in a long distance relationship is so very difficult, and to lose little things that made it a tiny bit more tolerable just sort of stinks.  That’s really all there is to it. It stinks.

I have never been much of a fan of television, though, and I own the films I love best, so I guess Netflix is saving me some money.

Back In The US

First, let me state for the record that I owe the poor ticket agent for the Heathrow Express an apology.  Their fares changed between the last time Alex had used their services, so he in fact, did not overcharge me. 

Second, I wish I was still in Cornwall.  Obviously it’s primarily because I wish I was still with Alex, but there’s also the beauty and charm of the place itself that I miss. It might be easier to overlook those things when it’s your every day, but I think it’s something I’ll never take for granted.

The trip back, though. Oh, let me tell you about the trip back…

Alex saw me off at the St. Erth train station, where I caught the sleeper to Paddington.  It was the hardest thing to get on that train and watch Alex waving goodbye from the platform.  Thinking about it right now even makes me cry, but I had a face full of tears and snot as the train pulled away.  Not a pretty sight, I’m sure, and people who were already on the train gave me such looks.  Sympathetic looks, to be sure, but it’s still not particularly fun to be sort of just stared at.  The trip to Paddington was largely uneventful, though, aside from my heart breaking into millions of tiny pieces.

I was disappointed to know that I didn’t have to go through customs to exit, as I desperately wanted to encounter the same grumpy early-morning agent and be slightly smug about the fact that I had  not been a drain on England’s economy in any way, having not worked a bit and only spending money, and that I was leaving as promised. Of course, it might be a bit of a blessing, though, as I was still crying by that time (you’d think a person would run out of tears) and she’d probably have just asked me what that was all about.

I boarded the plane at Heathrow on time, where we then sat for two hours because the right engine wouldn’t start.  Yes, that’s such a reassuring thing to have happen when you get on a giant tube that’s going to shoot you 36,000 feet into the air and carry you over the Atlantic.  However, it turned out – after two hours of just sitting – that the engine would in fact start just fine, as long as it was started “manually”, and we were deemed safe to fly, as long as someone filled out some paperwork about it.

My connecting flight at Chicago was meant to be caught after a layover of only nearly three hours, though, so when you factor in the time for everyone to collect their bags, get off the plane, and the time it would take to get to another gate, I knew before take-off that I wasn’t going to catch my connection.  I wasn’t a happy camper.  I left St. Erth just before 10 pm, arrived at Heathrow just before 6 am, for a flight that was due to take off at just before 9 am (but didn’t).  You can imagine by this time I was tired and cranky.

You know what, though? For all the little complaints I have about the travel time, having the back of my seat kicked over and over by small children (on every single flight), and all of it, I had the best three months of my life. All I want now is to turn around and go right back.

… oh, there’s photos.  And many  more stories. Give me time.

Dear Shannon

Hello. It’s me. Or that is to say, it’s you. An older, hopefully slightly wiser you. Me.

I want to talk to you about a few things that, from this end, are still on the horizon for you.

You’ve just had your heart broken by someone that you had put all of your time, energy, faith, and hope into. He let you down, and left you when you needed someone the most.

Be patient. It’s true what they say about good things coming to those who wait.

It’s okay that you feel heartbroken.  You’re allowed. I promise you, though, that it won’t always be that way. Soon, very soon, someone is going to come along who will help you understand why the relationship you’re lamenting the end of just didn’t work out.

It wasn’t meant to be.

There is something, someone, so much better for you about to come along. I promise.

He won’t live anywhere near you. In fact, he’ll be 4,132 miles away, and there will be times that the distance is so hard. Don’t give up.

You will get scared. You will because you will love him so much. You will worry that he won’t be able to handle the miles that separate you. You will worry that he will find someone nearby to take your place in his heart. You will lie awake at night and obsess over all the things that might happen, all the ways in which you might not be enough for him.

I wish you wouldn’t. And he will wish you wouldn’t, too.

Be brave. Be confident. When he tells you that he loves you, take him at his word, because as you will eventually see, he will never give you reason to doubt.

Don’t let jealousy or fear get the better of you. Understand that in his eyes, there is nothing and no one who could ever take your place. Nothing and no one who is “better” than you.

Take notice of how much you love him and how happy he makes you, and never take those things for granted. Never take it for granted that he knows how you think or feel about him, either. It may not seem like it, but he gets scared, too. Take the time to remind him, often, how much you love and appreciate him.

You will argue sometimes. It happens to all couples. Understand that in the same way that you still love him when you are upset and frustrated, he loves you, too. Don’t assume that he is going to give up on you because of an argument. Or two. Or ten. Don’t hold him accountable for the way you’ve been treated by others.  Don’t think that he will be just the same, because he is not.

Cherish every bit of time that you get to spend together. The time zone difference between the two of you will be hell. Six hours difference means that you will only get a few hours in any given day, particularly weekdays. Make the most of your time together.

Mostly, though, be brave. This one,  he’s The One. The one that you’re going to spend forever with. The one who is going to work just as hard as you will, right by your side, to make it work.

Remember that love is not just a thing that you feel, but something that you do. Keep falling in love with him every day. You will see, by his words and his actions, that he does the same for you.

Preparing To Travel

I’m just going to put it right out there and say that I’m a nervous, anxious sort of person.  At least about a fair few things.

I don’t like heights.  And by this I mean that I don’t even care to use step-stools or to stand on a chair to reach something on the upper shelves of my cabinets.

I’m no fan of small spaces. You’ll never find me hiding in a closet, even if it’s the last place to go in a zombie apocalypse. I’d just let the damn zombies have me for dinner, because I’m far less afraid of them than I am of being in a small space.

I am not particularly brilliant at talking to strangers.  I wish that all I meant by this is that I’m not particularly good at making conversation, but no, I really mean that I get anxious and nervous at the thought of having to approach someone I don’t know and speak to them, at all.  Even to ask for directions.

I don’t like public restrooms. It’s not that I freak out about germs; I wash my hands and if there aren’t seat covers for the toilets, I will hover, but I don’t think this is particularly abnormal behaviour when it comes to public facilities. I just can’t proceed to do what you’re meant to do in a restroom where other people are already present or could enter the room at any moment.

So, why am I getting on a plane, allowing myself to be packed like a sardine in with a lot of strangers, and shot tens of thousands of feet into the air for many hours? (At least the airplane’s restroom isn’t a public restroom, even if it is ridiculously small).  Obviously I love my fiance significantly more than I fear any of those things.

Because of his work schedule, Alex is not going to be meeting me at the airport. So I get to try to figure out how to get myself from London to St. Erth all by my little lonesome. Alex assures me this is easy. In fact, here are Alex‘s directions:

Directions from Airport to St. Erth

I still think I may wind up lost. In a foreign country. 4,132 miles from home.

At least I (mostly?) speak the language.

It’s just a little over a week before I leave, and I’m still waiting on the suitcase I purchased to be delivered. After Alex‘s trip here, I realised that I definitely needed a little suitcase on little wheels so as not to have to haul anything particularly heavy through huge airports. And I’m way too nervous about lost luggage to check anything.   I think I might need some of those plastic bags you hook your vacuum up to to suck all the air out of them to manage to fit everything I’m going to need into the thing, though. I’m going to live for 3 months out of a suitcase designed to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane.

But, I get to be with Alex.  Provided I don’t get lost. So I’m really not complaining. It’s completely worth it.

Seriously, I’m Not Dead

I swore when I started this blog that I was going to keep it going. Thankfully, it was a vow I was making to myself, so I don’t feel too terribly guilty about having been “missing in action”.

Okay, I feel a little bit guilty.

Life has been, to say the least, interesting and busy around these parts.

My cousin Dylan, who is very often left in my care, has broken bones. I’m pleased to say that these things didn’t happen on my watch, but… the poor kid. As if the first break wasn’t enough, he took a baseball to the face and now has his jaw wired shut.  He’s living on apple sauce, pudding, jello, mashed potatoes, and broth. Oh, and occasionally, ice cream.

And then there’s my father. My father whom I have very mixed feelings about. I love him, but I don’t like him very much. Contact is thankfully minimal, because he’s in prison in South Carolina, more than 1,000 miles away, but what contact there is is often unpleasant.

I’m not particularly religious, but every time my father lands in jail, he rediscovers G-d. When he does, he feels the need to “share the good news”.  What baffles me about this is that he knows full well how I feel about the subject of religion, he knows that I’ve heard “the good news”, and whatnot, and made an informed decision, and knows that the subject is a sore one with me, and yet still continues to push. He’s sent me a bible, a book by … Joseph Prince, I think it is? and plans on sending me another bible. Because apparently I need more than one. Let’s just ignore the fact that I have three or four of them already – the KJV which is neatly bound with the rest of the LDS scriptures, a women’s devotional one, and the NLV. There are several bibles in this house should I wish to read one.

Perhaps the most stressful thing to happen recently, though, is The Great Travel Agency Ordeal of 2015.

Yes, it is such a big deal that it’s a named event. A capitalised named event.

Continue reading

Trip (Please Don’t Fall)

Love Potion

Alex has booked his flight to come visit me for two weeks.

For my part, I can hardly contain myself. Every time I think about it, my heart starts to race.

The last time we tried this getting together thing, it ended disastrously. I either hit my head and had a seizure, or I had a seizure and hit my head; I can’t recall much past feeling a bit funny as I was walking through the airport in Houston, Texas, so the order in which it happened is unclear. (He thinks I’m clumsy enough that I may have just tripped over my own two feet and hit my head first).

So, I’m crossing my fingers and my toes that this time everything goes smoothly. I mean, he’s a little less accident prone than I am (I think), so I imagine his odds of arriving in one piece are significantly higher than mine.

We’ll be celebrating our one year anniversary during his visit. I think it adds a very nice sense of occasion, of course, but it would be a special occasion if he showed up on any given day. A stormy Monday would be the best day ever, if it was the day he showed up. For the record, I hate storms and Mondays.

I can hardly believe it’s been almost a whole year that we’ve been together. I just hope it’s the first of many, many more.

It’s six weeks yet to go before he gets here, and already I’m wondering how I’m going to bear seeing him off at the airport when it’s time for him to leave. I joke that I’m just not going to let him leave, but must confess I may only be half joking. I probably shouldn’t be admitting to that, because now if I drug him and chain him to the basement wall, well… you know. I’ve left a trail of evidence.

Where Does He Go?!

My to-do list feels like it’s ten miles long.

I have work that needs done. Piles of photographs that need to be scanned, restored, put on CD/DVD and sent back to their owners. All the little personal side projects that I’m working on. Books waiting to be read. Dishes that need done. Laundry to wash. Cats that need their claws filed down.

Right now, though, I just want a break, so I thought it might be fun to share a little story about my absolute favourite subject, which is of course, Alex.

One of the odd little things that we do, being in a long distance relationship, is to fall asleep with Skype still running at night. Well, at least it’s night for one of us. Even if I don’t fall asleep before he does (and you might be surprised to learn that I usually do, what with it being 5 p.m. here when it’s 11 p.m. there), it’s comforting to me to listen to him breathe. Or snore. You know, which ever thing. It’s comforting.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not a morning person. I’ve got nothing on Alex, though. I get up when my alarm goes off, the first time, more often than not. Alex will hit that snooze button five times before he actually gets up! In his defence, though, at least he plans for it, setting his alarm nearly a full hour ahead of when he actually has to get up.

I usually set my alarm for about 10 minutes before Alex‘s first one, so that I can get up and get a nice hot cup of tea and avoid being a real grouch to him first thing in the morning. By the time his alarm goes off, he’s usually aware that I’m already awake, and occasionally he’ll mumble that he loves me, or tell me “good morning, beautiful”.

The other morning, though, his alarm went off and boy, was he cranky.  He hit the snooze and practically shouted at me, “I told you not to feed the turtles”.

What the fuck?!

I giggled a little and proceeded with the morning routine, which mostly consists of checking in on the blogs I read.

Ten minutes later, Alex‘s alarm goes off again, and once again clearly very irritated with me, he says, “Leave the laser monkeys alone”!

Laser monkeys?!

By that time I was sitting at my computer absolutely losing my shit. I had to mute the microphone so as not to disturb him with my laughter.

Eventually, his final alarm went off, and he groaned and started to get up. I waited to see if he was going to enlighten me as to what the problem with feeding the turtles was, or what would happen if I absolutely couldn’t leave the laser monkeys alone, but, nothing in the way of explanation was offered.

In fact, not another word about turtles or laser monkeys was mentioned until he got home from work that evening and I demanded to know what the hell was going on.

Naturally, he had no idea what I was talking about.

I sure would love to know where it is he goes when he’s off to dreamland, but apparently, even he doesn’t have a clue.

Okay, I’m Sorry. I’m A Jerk.

So the very first post in my blog was on Valentine’s day, and it basically consisted of me bitching. I did mention that I’m (incredibly) grateful for my boyfriend, but even so… lots of bitching.

I don’t want to do that. I’ve been miserable about missing my flight to London. It’s a legitimate reason to be unhappy, I think, because I’ve been dating Alex since May of last year, and I desperately want to get to him, but I really ought to be counting my blessings right now.

Firstly, I still have Alex. We’ve still got each other. Secondly, I had a seizure and hit my head. I’ve already experienced some really severe head trauma (it’s a rather long story, but my cousin shoved me down the basement stairs), and I’m very lucky that I’m in as good shape as I am at the moment. Thirdly, Alex is now making plans to come here as soon as he possibly can, so it’s not like we’re not going to get to spend the time together, despite my terrible luck.

Honestly, the universe is out to get me, but I still have a ton of things to be happy about.

Fuck It

Tard's Valentine

Because… no.

When it comes right down to it, I should be happy today. I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend who, perhaps miraculously, thinks that I’m wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy about that; very fortunate to have him in my life.

But, today, I was supposed to be with him, and I’m not.

Alex (that would be the boyfriend in question here, keep up, okay?) is still 4,000+ miles away, though. He’s in Cornwall, I’m in the Cornhusker State. I was meant to arrive in London yesterday morning. Two weeks. I was supposed to get two weeks with the man of my dreams, covering today, Valentine’s day, and my birthday, next week.

And it all went to shit because I just had to go and have a seizure and hit my head.

So fuck it. Fuck Valentine’s day. Try as I might to count all the things that I have to be happy about right now, it’s not working. I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be today.

Is it really too much to ask to spend Valentine’s day with the one you love?