Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Oxford Comma

Summer seems to be winding down, only two and a half weeks until school starts which is unfathomable. I feel like I never got into the rhythm of summer. There were fits and starts but it never felt fluid. It seemed to always be too rainy or too hot, otherwise I can’t quite figure out why all those summer BBQs and get together’s never happened. Why the projects never got done. Where the warm summer nights roaming around the city went.

Nine months after treatment ended and I’m at loose ends, I’ve not settled into a new normal. I’m still fighting against a tide that is slowly pulling me in, to someplace that looks like, I know not, and it’s a little scary. A good portion of my income came from selling my work at shows and events. At the time I got sick, I was wanting to do this less, in favor of building up my wholesale business, I was sick of schlepping stuff around, but we do what we have to do. While friends kept my seasonal shop open, providing income while I was sick, my wholesale and consignment accounts dried up, my website became more and more out of date and overwhelming to deal with.

This summer I did what has always been my best show, figuring I could get through it to provide some desperate summer income. Turns out I made about a quarter of what I usually make there and got so over-exhausted I couldn’t lift my tent into my car for the first time ever. E-Z up tents really aren’t very heavy and this thing I’ve lugged around for years with ease was suddenly cemented to the pavement. I was so overheated, I threw up when I got home and could barely function for days. I shared a tent at a different show with a friend, to avoid the tent lugging but again, didn’t make much at all, not worth the work and exhaustion. Then they started an “artists pavilion” at WaterFire, our famous downtown event that draws tens of thousands. They were offering spots with tents, weights and lights already set up, so I figured that was perfect, I could manage that, and it’s a five minute drive from home.

I worked that last night, from 4p.m. to midnight, sales were just o.k. despite the throngs of people and packed tent from start to finish, I know some folks did fabulously, so I can’t blame the event at all, it just seems to be me. I feel like the Elves when they’re leaving Middle Earth, their time there is over, it just is. My time doing this is over, for so many, many reasons, and mostly because it just is like it or not. It's really not a decision any more, it just is.

After the event, I was rush, rush, rushing to pack up because the staff was hurrying to break down tents, and I didn’t want to hold them up or be in the way. I got my car loaded up, checked and double checked that everything was in safely, slammed the door and promptly, and quite efficiently took out my back window with a piece of metal gridwall that was sticking out an inch too far.

The creepy part is that I checked that it was in. Did my eyes trick me in the dark? Or did my eyes send the wrong information to my brain? I didn’t forget to check, I checked and still got it wrong. The sound of that tinted glass shattering was like the King of Gondor saying, and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

My building has taken away a third of the space I use for Craftopia, and is charging me near the same rental fee, refusing to budge an inch, so there goes that income stream. The winter farmer’s market traffic that I depend on for my store’s foot traffic is losing the same space, so they’ll now be split into another part of the building which will dilute the foot traffic I get, also not good, not good at all. Each and every income stream I’ve spent years building is dwindling and I don’t know what my other options are.

I tried to apply for disability, but while from my whole working life I have a nice heap of social security credits, I don’t have enough credits in the past ten years because of being a stay-at-home mom, and then biz on the side thing. I love how politicians pay lip service to “being a mom is the most important job you can do”, but you're fucked if anything goes wrong, you are no more than the sum of your credits.

The whole social security system is rigged {like so many other things} against anyone that stays home with their kids for a good chunk of time. One’s social security payments will be based on a consecutive 35 year block of work. If you’ve been a stay-at-home, then likely, your work history is an income/no income sandwich with the zeros in the middle, therefore cutting into your 35 year block either way you slice it. Divorced former stay-at-home mom, and you are seriously on your own.

The tall one came home from camp yesterday, finally, I was so excited to see him, but I was working the event. He called and told me that a bunch of the counselors were hanging out at one of their houses in Cranston {a nearby suburb}, and could he go and sleep over. I was sad I wouldn’t see him yet, but I’m not gonna inflict that on the kid, so sure, of course he can go to Cranston as long as he gets a ride home. After unloading my glass filled car which entailed stomping back and forth through the perpetual puddle that is my sidewalk due to summer-long water main work, I sat down, now in the wee hours of the morning to confirm that my teenager was indeed where he was supposed to be. I recently put a geo locator on both the kids phones, both for safety and for truth checking and oddly, his phone was turned off which is very unusual and raised my suspicions. After a sleepless night of excruciating leg and foot cramps I checked this morning and lo and behold, Mr. when-have-I-ever-given-you-a-reason-not-to-trust-me is two and a half hours away in Connecticut.

Let the senior year games begin. While I’m disappointed in him, I’m mostly disappointed that I don’t get my perfect moment of seeing him, seeing him in my state of I-really-miss-you, with accompanying full and happy heart. I have a very pissed off heart right now.

Pissed off, demoralized, generally befuddled, and scraped up by little pieces of window glass.

However, on the topic of the Oxford comma, I use them. I didn’t used to, I rejected them entirely and didn’t even know they were legal. But when I discovered them, I started to use them more and more and now I absolutely, positively always use them. I like them a lot.

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