Apr 13, 2017

20: A Year in Review

Well holy fuck, that sure is my age now.

Today is my 20th birthday. I am officially twenty years old today. No more teens. God damn.

Hello to anyone out there who still actually checks every once in a while! Thank you for not completely giving up on me. I've been meaning to post on here since the end of August, but as you can see that certainly did not happen. It's essentially been a full year since my last update, which I'm pretty sure is the longest I've ever gone without posting, whoops.

I suppose a good place to start would be summer 2016, which I intended to post about in October.

Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking of applying to a summer camp counsellor position at a summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth? Well, I got the job!! I spent my last week of June and my first week of July at camp, with one week for training and one week for camp respectively. It was beyond a phenomenal experience. I don't even know where to start describing it. All of my fellow counsellors were spectacular people, and the camp director and assistant camp director were really amazing as well! The campers blew me away, we had such a diverse group, ranging from twelve years old to seventeen, and one eighteen year old camper as well. They gave me so much hope for the future of our community. Which is weird to think about, since I was one of the two youngest counsellors, since 19 was the youngest you could be to apply (there was one other counsellor my age). I will be returning as a counsellor this year as well! Camp this year is in August, and we've expanded to add another week, so I'll be away from home for most of August.

When I got back from camp, it was right into the grind at the art studio (where I still work to this day). It was day camp time.

Absolute pandemonium. It's a slight exaggeration, but god that place was a fucking mess. See, here's the deal. My boss, the owner, got a "dream job offer" in June, which she took, so she was no longer running the business full time. This meant that it was up to myself and two other summer staff to run the summer camp basically all by ourselves. Three of us for a Monday to Friday 9-4 (plus before and after care when needed) summer camp. Three fucking people! We were so understaffed but she refused to hire anyone else. She also refused to shift enough people, because she couldn't fucking pay us if she shifted enough people, i.e. having two staff all day for a group of 13 kids instead of two staff in the morning only.

Not only were we short-staffed, but there were a series of other disasters connected to her leaving as well. She was still the one buying supplies. She was the one who was supposed to keep us fucking stocked up. Yet we still had to walk to the grocery store and buy fucking paper towels for weeks at a time because she wasn't buying us paper towel in time (we usually use 12-packs of brown paper towel roles, not the fucking expensive-ass brand name sponge towels). We were running out of paper towel regularly, because you tend to use a lot of paper towel in an art studio where you're housing 10-16 kids all-day-every-fucking-day. We went for some days completely without paper towel because there was only one person scheduled for the day, and you can't just leave eight kids alone in an art studio to go buy paper towel.

That would be incident number one. The following incident was even worse. Our bathroom door has a lock, much like any decent bathroom door. However, we do not have they key for this lock. That's right, we don't have the fucking key, and according to the owner we never fucking did in the first place. Why she would't replace the locks immediately after she purchased the business nearly four years ago completely bewilders me. Long story short, the bathroom door got shut while the handle was locked, and surprise surprise, we now have no accessible bathroom. There is a way to pry the damn thing open, but I'd only ever seen my boss do it. Luckily this was near the end of the day, and we do have another sink for kids to wash their hands, so that wasn't the issue, but like, not having a toilet is kind of a big problem. I show up the next morning, entirely ignorant to the locked bathroom because I hadn't been working the day before, and only found out about this when my partner for the morning showed up and asked if the owner had come and opened the bathroom door for us. Eventually we figured out how to get it open from what I remembered of watching the owner (we had to pry it open with a screwdriver) but not before parents started arriving, which was really fucking embarrassing.

You think not having a bathroom is bad? The third mess takes the fucking cake. So I show up for work on a Wednesday morning, having been off the day before, and I see that our mini fridge is outside of the studio. Slightly baffled, I waited until my partner for the day showed up and asked her why the fridge was outside. Herself and yesterday's morning shift had found that it was frozen shut, so they thawed it out. Only to find that the inside was... full of moldy food. Fucking disgusting! And it smelled horrible. They got rid of as much of the old food as possible but there was still a little mold on one of the shelves that they hadn't touched (and rightfully so, as cleaning that fucking mess is not their fucking job and our boss should really be taking care of her fucking business). They had left it outside so it could finish thawing and finish airing out. When I texted the owner about what to do with this broken moldy fridge, she just told us to bring it back in and not plug it in. So there it sits, to this day, under the counter in our tiny kitchen.

Cherry on top! Here's a bonus from a P.A. day camp I ran in October. Remember when we had no bathroom because the door was locked? That's a hoot, eh? Well, we had no bathroom again! But this time, it was because the toilet was clogged. We have a plunger, two actually, but guess what? They're both from the fucking dollar store!!!! Absolutely fucking useless pieces of garbage. They did nothing!

I texted the owner like "What the fuck my guy" (not in those exact words of course) and she told me where to find the emergency contact for the superintendent. After digging through a pile of papers to find the emergency contact numbers, I call the guy and he's like, "not my problem call a plumber." !!?!???!??!?!?!?!??!?! Pardon fucking me but isn't building maintenance such as this actually literally your job????

I told my boss his response, but in the meantime there's a kid who really needs to go, and can't hold it because she had surgery on her vagina (a fact which she had proudly proclaimed to the group while we were doing our morning project) and holding it could burst the stitches or damage the incision or something like that, I don't remember exactly what she said but that's the gist.

It's me and eight children. It's raining outside and our toilet is busted and this kid needs to go now. So I had to wrangle them all up, and walk them to the Starbucks in the plaza, the closest accessible bathroom. Me and eight very excitable children, restless from staying inside because of the rain. In a fucking Starbucks.

I got them all to use the bathroom while we were there because I wasn't sure when our issue would be fixed in the studio, since the super basically told us to fuck off. I explained our situation to the staff, who were understanding but seemed mildly annoyed at the disturbance and I think also pitied me greatly (which I fucking deserved, because this was hell). They were loud, they were bouncing all over the place, they were touching everything... And then there was me in the middle of this mess, going "[name] don't touch that, [name] stay with the group, [name] don't go downstairs, [name] okay that's it you have to hold my hand until we get back to the studio."

Shortly after getting back to the studio I got a text from my boss that said nothing but "He's coming to look at it." He came and fixed the toilet and told us to buy a new plunger because the dollar store ones are trash.

As a cherry on top of this cherry on top, while relaying this story to another staff member, she informed me that they only reason we had two plungers in the first place was because she had a similar situation. She informed the owner that the dollar store plunger didn't work. And the owner just went out and bought another fucking dollar store plunger.

Okay, enough about work, I am so fucking sick of that entire situation.

Let's simmer down a little. There's one more important thing I need to talk about with regards to summer before I get into the school year. My nanna, my mom's mom, passed away on August 5th. This was after going into cardiac arrest half-way through July. She had good signs, but she ended up in palliative care by the end of July.

We got one last miracle though (and I use that in the most non-religious sense, meaning the happening of a statistically improbable event). She woke up. She fucking woke up in palliative care. She had one last burst before fading quickly over the next week or so, but she woke up, she was lucid, we got to talk to her. I got to talk to her and tell her I love her one last time, and hear her say I love you too. We went to visit her in the hospital two days after she woke up but she was already slipping back. She kept asking my dad if he wanted a coffee, or if anyone wanted tea, which is exactly what she did every time we came to visit, we'd come inside and get settled and she'd offer us coffee and tea.

That was the last time I got to see her, beating heart and all. She looked weird at the funeral, her skin was yellow and they did her makeup weird, she never wore makeup.

That's been a tough adjustment, especially for my nannu and my mom. My nannu lives alone now, so my mom and her sister have been taking turns visiting frequently. They've also been helping him adjust to housework, which my nanna also did. They got married in the '50s after all, so my nannu never really learned to cook or clean. He's starting to get the hang of cooking, but I think it just doesn't occur to him to clean, so mostly my mom does a little cleaning every time she goes. He gets pretty lonely, and he calls us at least twice a day with questions, or to tell my dad about something he heard on the news, or to tell my mom about his latest kitchen creation (which is usually some odd and ungodly combination of ingredients that he somehow enjoys).

My mom is doing okay, but the whole ordeal was completely exhausting for her. Luckily she was off for the summer when all of this happened, so she didn't have to worry about work with all this going on, and she was able to be up at the hospital every day. Her and my nanna used to talk on the phone every night, without fail. Now she calls my nannu every evening, no matter how many phone calls they've had over the day, which is just as well.

No good way to transition out of that, really. Anyway, here's school.

My second year went okay. I'm still struggling socially on campus and I hate being there, but my courses were good. I did intro to psychology this year and registered for my psychology minor so I am now well on my way to that. My two studio courses were a life drawing course called drawing from the model and a sculpture course called introduction to mould making. They were really cool! I'm super happy with my studios this year.

Well this sucks, but I don't really have much else to say about my second year of university. Stuff happened. I got good grades, somehow, despite being a mildly depressed and wholly demotivated sack of shit. Yeah.

Current events? Current events.

Rose and I are coming up on our four year anniversary this Saturday! Which we will be spending with my family for an easter dinner, oh well. We're going out to dinner next Tuesday to celebrate.

We didn't end up moving in together. Long story short, the closer the day got the more I realised that it was a bad idea for me to leave home, and when my nanna passed away that was the nail in the coffin. I was talking with my dad about it after I decided not to and he told me that my mom once said to him that she was so scared she was going to lose her mom and her child at the same time. I think I made the right choice. There were other reasons as well, but I've exhausted them all talking them out with Rose, who was very, very upset with my decision, and I can't blame them.

But we are still here, them downtown for uni and myself with my parents in our hometown, going on four years. The plan is for me to move out after I graduate university. My post-grad plans for art therapy school require me to move downtown, so there will be no pussyfooting even if I'm still not ready.

Health things! I was reminded of this by the appointment card sitting next to my computer monitor. I had my most recent lupus appointment just this past Tuesday. In the past year my body has rejected two different immunosuppressants and is most likely currently in the process of rejecting another one. My body, lucky me, is hyper-sensitive to immunosuppressants, so even the smallest dose cuts my white count below a healthy level. The third one I'm trying right now is dancing a fine line, and I will find out where I fall with it come my next blood test in one month.

My GI bullshit continues to be bullshit, and doctors continue not to care. I went to see a gastroenterologist, who shoved a camera in my stomach and told me nothing was wrong because she couldn't find anything. She also told me it seemed like "a little bit of IBS" and proceeded to not diagnose me with IBS. Then she said a colonoscopy would probably not find anything, but get in touch with me if you want one, bye. On top of this, recent studies on long-term use have found that one of the medications I was on for this shit causes a heightened risk of a possibly life threatening stomach infection as well as heightened risk of dementia, so I dropped that one, and dropped the other one after finding out the statistics for dependency with long-term use. Essentially, I am back at square one.

I have been spending my spare time doing a number of things. The lolita hobby I mentioned a while back is still a thing. I have purchased a weekend pass for an anime convention for the first time ever, despite the fact that I don't actually watch a lot of anime. I will be sharing a hotel room with a friend for the weekend. That's the last weekend of May. I have also been rereading Homestuck, a monolith task which I completed last week, so I guess I'm not really doing that any more. I have played an assload of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I got back into it after the Welcome Amiibo update came out in November. And I have not been playing Sims, though I intend to now that I have a lot more time on my hands. That seems to have been the pattern the past few years, school ends and I dive back into my game in hours-long sessions. May or may not post about that.

I guess that's kind of it? This is a long post, though I've probably missed something. Ah well.

I'm not going to promise to post more often, but I will say that I certainly hope I do.

Until next time.

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