[Comic] Unicorn 2/100

So here’s unicorn #2 and a sneaky extra. The scraggy looking one is a sketch I found in an old book while packing for the move, and I decided to include it because it fit the theme, but not include it in the numbered drawings because the plan is to, well, draw 100 of these glorious bastards.

On a side note, we’re about 2 car trips from being finished with the move, thank god. I am entirely over having to hear the screech of packing tape and hauling boxes of crap. The weather has also become entirely hormonal here and we’re swinging between jumper-wearing-cold with rain and t-shirt-and-shorts stinking hot, so my body is going absolutely nuts, but we’re getting there. Only just one more week until we’re settled…

[Journal] A not so short update.

I’ll be honest with you all. I have actually been avoiding my blog lately because I feel that, in order to post anything else, I owe a update of what’s been happening for me to be so quiet since my last post. To put things bluntly, all hell has broken lose on our end and I feel like I’m clutching at straws trying to deal with it all.

It started with the move from our old place to this one. For a bit of context, Manthing and I now live in a block of 10 town houses. They’re basically built on top of each other and, even though ours is one of two fee-standing ones, I can still hear my neighbours picking their nose at 3am. Anyway. Naturally we organise it all and the weather goes full retard. Torrential rain, flash flooding and weather warnings now bring up memories of moving house for me. The guys we hired worked well enough, though they decided to make snarky remarks at the new house about how tight we were, making them do their job by taking a few light shelves and boxes upstairs.

Manthing made his own snippy comment about how I had a disability and that’s why we hired them, otherwise we’d be doing it ourselves, and the eldest asked what it was. Manthing simply said it was like Arthritis. Of course, the mover couldn’t shut his mouth, so he said that he had Arthritis in his knee and took Prednisone and that fixed him right up, that I should try it. Manthing said I did and not only did it not help, that it made things worse. That shut them up. It really upset me, though, and for two reasons. One, we were paying their wages. The least they could do was keep their asshole opinions to themselves, or hold their tongues until we were out of earshot. Mostly, it was the fact that everyone seems entitled to comment on MY health lately. These guys moved my mobility gear. They shifted my scooter and my wheelchair and asked who it belonged to. They knew it was mine and yet still decided to act like my health was somehow their problem. Like I wasn’t affected enough to pay someone to help us make our lives a little easier. I could go on, but if I get bogged down in this, I won’t get to the rest of the update.

After that fiasco came the Unpackening. Living out of cardboard boxes is not what I’d call fun. It’s like trying to use the bathroom and knowing the toilet paper is in one of sixteen boxes. You really need to pee, but you can’t until you go through and hope to god you find the bog roll in time. Every square inch of the garage was filled by boxes and property. The lounge room, the bedroom, the office. All boxes. There’s standing room for maybe three adults (with no concept of personal space) in my office. Everywhere I look, cardboard boxes are grinning at me and we can’t do a god damn thing about it (see: I’ll get to that bit of the story).

We had been in the new place two nights when a friend came over to visit. He mentioned that it looked like someone had put mud on my car. Turns out some shitbags had not only covered my bonnet in coffee grounds, but either they, or some other assholes, had also broken into my car.  They had gone through the glove box, thrown shit around, tried to take the radio…  Two nights and my car (which had been parked on the street under a street light right near the driveway to our complex) had already been broken into and vandalised. Straight after that, I got an alarm fitted to my car. In the two weeks we’ve been here, it’s been set off three times. One of which was by a very loud truck driving past and another by one of the residents here reversing into me and driving off like the spineless fuck they are.

At this point I’ve got that “I’m done with this shit” feeling. We hadn’t even made it to our first week and already had shit going wrong. I didn’t want to see where we stood by Friday if this was how things were going. That week, we found out that the previous tenants had sanded the walls here rather than washing them. I learned this the hard way. When we moved in, I simply thought my allergies were due to some external force. We had actually picked this place due to the tiles and low-pile carpets being brilliant for my allergies because they didn’t hold onto dust well. In fact, the whole property is pretty damn new and that all worked in our favour. Anyway, I was unpacking and hanging up stuff in the wardrobe. I had changed my mind about where a hanging rack was going and moved some clothing, only to find white all over the raised crinkles in a skirt. I thought WTF. I remember throwing this in the wash. Another dress had the same issue. They had been touching the walls. I touched the wall myself and my hand came away covered in stupidly fine white powder. I touched another wall. The same thing. I went through the house, rubbing my hand on all the walls and found that for 80% of them, it was the same story. We were living in a house filled with micro particles of paint dust. They were in the carpet, on the wall, in my clothing and in the bedding. You couldn’t walk without kicking them up. I tried to vacuum them, but even my HEPA filter couldn’t cope and I had an asthma attack on the stairs. We decide for our own safety, we’re not going to unpack anything else. We’re already going to have to clean a fuckload of stuff once the issue gets fixed.

We report this to the real estate. Two weeks it took them. Two weeks with me crawling up their arse every few days. “Oh, can you send us some photos?” they said almost a week after I reported it. “Oh, we’ll get back to you” the following Monday. By this point, I’m having to take antihistamines every night to just sleep in my own bed. I’m waking up with nose bleeds. I’ve got all the signs of a sinus infection and I’ve got a serious cough. I’m fed up with their inaction. I walk into the office and the woman sees me. Gives me the “Oh fuck you’re actually here” look and proceeds to tell me that she was just about to call us, honest. The landlord has decided he’s “unwilling” to take any action on the issue. The agent looks at us and says there’s nothing she can do. I look at her utterly dumbfounded. I’m almost CERTAIN my rights as a tenant are being shat on here, but I’m not 100%. She says we’ll need to get it done ourselves. We walk out before I hit rage mode.

I spend the next two days calling up the tenancy advice line, fair trading and the works. I find out that not only am I in the right for asking the landlord to clean the house, but it’s is his legal obligation. Inaction on his part is a breach of both the tenancy agreement and our lease in three different places, and that our real estate are utterly spineless.

At this point we have three options.
1. We foot the roughly $400 cleaning bill to get the carpets wet/dry vac’d and shampoo’d and stay quiet, good little tenants.
2. We take the landlord before the tribunal so they can force him to clean the place. That’s going to take weeks at best, and all the while I’m living in what is effectively a toxic environment.
3. We give them a termination notice which states that the landlord has broken the lease in these places so we’re free to break the contract ourselves without having to pay the two thousand dollar fee.

We were advised by another real estate run by a friend’s parents that number three is our best option. If the landlord has already broken lease in the two weeks we’ve been here, imagine what shit will go down over the year we signed up for (which is another no-no on the part of our present real estate!). I have to agree. The complex is filthy. The bins are constantly trashed with rotten food thrown everywhere, nobody seems to care. In the lease we’re entitled to a quiet and clean place to live.  I’ll get to that point in a moment. But yes, three seems like the good option, even if it means we have to move again so soon. The problem is that it’s not quite that simple. You see, if we put in our notice of termination, the landlord HAS to agree to it. If he doesn’t want to clean the property he’s legally obliged to clean, I can’t imagine he’s going to want to have his source of rent leave. Which, by the way is $430 a WEEK. Yeah, that’s about the average house price here these days.

If he doesn’t agree, the matter STILL has to go before the tribunal and then they allocate the 14 day in which we have to leave (all the while still living in this dust nightmare). But guess what. We need somewhere to live lined up in those 14 days. Most places here take a week to process your application and then another week to actually sign you up for the lease, and nobody is going to accept someone still in a legally-binding clusterfuck like this one. So, basically we’re screwed if we do and we’re screwed if we don’t.

In between this mess, I’ve been organising a competition to help raise money for a charity that works for people with depression. Amusingly enough, my depression hit again the night before the event. The day was a complete and utter fuckup. As one discerning gentleman put it, it was a “blender in a brothel”. The woman that was supposed to organise it didn’t, I got flamed for 45 minutes from the organisers of the event we were at because our tiny little costumers group didn’t have fucking tanks and an airship. Where the fuck were we going to get them!? The whole thing was a nightmare. We got rained out by a freak storm, chased out of the mountains by a fire and then came home to more bullshit.

Yesterday after the fiasco I had to call the local police station about the kids next door. I won’t go into specifics, but there have been 4 families moving into the four units at the front, and one next to us. Each house has something like 4-5 children. Yesterday they ALL decided to play in the backyard of the place next to us. Now this isn’t an issue for me. What caused an issue was when they started throwing rocks at our corrugated steel fence, across the driveway at the neighbours house and at their god damn car. I mean, who the fuck does that? Anyway, I was out hanging up washing in the backyard when I heard the rocks being thrown. It was fucking loud. I asked the kids not to do that. Naturally the little fuckers didn’t. At some point they had thrown a ball into my backyard so I took it around to the front door to return it and also speak to the mother. Four doorbells later, she gets her arse out of the garage (where they had loud music blaring) and answers the door. I try to explain to her (because English isn’t her first language) that her little darlings have been little arseholes and are about to smash someone’s window and piss off the neighbours. She denies the whole thing, even when I show her the rocks in the driveway and under the car. The kids, all 7 of them, pile out into the driveway and deny everything. I go back inside, defeated. Not five minutes later the rock throwing starts again with rocks being pelted at the fence and at my back window, as well as the other targets. They also start screaming like blue murder, bring out recorders and blowing them until they screech and generally carrying on like feral animals in a backyard that’s less than 3m from my own. I put in a formal noise complaint but don’t ask the police to show up because they’ll know it’s me and I’m honestly afraid of retribution.

So right now I’m tired, fucking angry and stuck between a rock and a hard place with all of this. I have no idea what we’re going to do and, given that it’s Sunday here, I’m stuck with a day of inactivity where I can’t sort anything out because our agent doesn’t come into work until Tuesday. This isn’t including the fucking horrid pain flare I’ve had through the lot of it.

I need a hug.

Through the other side

You may have noticed it’s been quite some time since I last posted here in my little blog. In case you missed out on the news, I moved house between now and the last time I bothered you all. The new place is wonderful and has made life a lot easier in certain aspects of my life, including my health. I now have have a house with minimal stairs, LOTS of space for when I’m having my bad days, my own personal bathroom so I don’t have to make a trek across the mountains to use the bathroom of a night, and I also have access to a BATH.

It’s amazing how much these little things can make a difference. I’m finding that, now we’re settling in, I can self-manage my health issues better (when they’re manageable, but I’ll get to that), my stress levels have gone down in regards to petty household stuff, and I now actually have the space to move and breathe. I no longer feel like a sardine in a tiny little can.

This is what our bed feels like now. Not actually our bed, but god does it feel big.

Manthing is also doing much better now that we’re out of our old house. He especially likes the fact that I no longer have to climb over him to get out of bed when I need to use the bathroom of a night. We can have the double bed with access to both sides 😀 I also no longer have to bother him to put the phone on charge or to pass me things I need since I have my own bedside table. See what I mean when I was saying it’s all about the little things?

So, the new house is great. We live in a nice quiet area. I’m not kidding. We’re actually across the road from a cemetery here, but it’s amazingly peaceful and not at all creepy. Rather than the usual grave stones, we’re across from the family garden section, so our view is of well-tended gardens, sandstone boulders and manicured lawns. Mind you, they DO have the barbed wire on the fence facing IN, so in the event of a zombie uprising, we should at least have time to grab our pointed sticks.

Now, speaking of manageable health issues, the move didn’t go very smoothly. I learned the hard way what my body’s ‘hard’ limits are. In terms of BDSM, hard limits are anything you WILL NOT do under any circumstances. In this instance, my body’s hard limits are being pushed to a certain point, going without rest and being shunted along on energy drinks. I had minimal rest, a major pain flare the week before the move, Shark Week also decided to show up for it’s once-every-six-month visit that same week and I was so run down it wasn’t funny. However, half the people that said they’d offer us help for the move bailed on us and we were left with myself, Manthing, our other housemate and one other friend over the weekend of the move. To put it frankly, it was bullshit, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

To cut to the chase, I ended up in hospital with heart palpitations, headspins and my body generally giving me a big “FUCK YOU!”. I got strapped to a 24-hour EKG (that was a very un-fun experience, as was trying to wash the contact goo off afterwards), I pushed myself into another massive flare up and basically slept for a week afterwards.

Quoth the body…

It took me almost two weeks to recover from that stupidity and I’ve learned my lesson in that area. However, my body is still punishing me. Because of that incident, I’ve had a big follow-on Fibro flare up and my Chronic Fatigue is presently kicking my arse. I’m heading into what we call the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ week where my CFS basically renders me bedridden and otherwise useless until I rest as much as my Evil Overlords demand. At the same time, I’ve had to get two ugly ingrown toenails dug out, so my left big toe looks like it lost a fight with a blender (and feels about the same) and my ladyparts are having some kind of spastic attack where I’m now lactating out of just one breast. Fucked if I know why. I’ve had the blood tests and the ultrasounds and they’ve all come back negative for chest-bursters and hormonal reasons, so it seems that my body is just exercising it’s right to hit that next level of crazy.

On top of all of these things, I’ve had some massive financial issues hit me lately. See, I finally got accepted for Disability Pension. Over here, it’s not an easy process at all. It involves more scrutiny than a full cavity search at the airport, and less humanity. I won’t go into details, but the point is that I finally got confirmation that I had been granted the payments. This in itself was a wonderful thing as I wouldn’t have to worry about where my next rent payment was coming from and I wouldn’t have to beg my mother to cover the cost of my medications. The amount I was granted was also enough for us to afford a better place – see: where we live presently. So things were looking up. We moved out, it was fantastic and I was finally getting somewhere. I was paying off people I owed, I was going to be able to afford access to the heated pools at the local gym in a few months and, god forbid, I’d be able to put a bit of money into my business.

Twice they screwed up my paperwork and I hunted them down to make sure they corrected it both times. The third time they screwed me around, they changed my payrate to less than half of what I was getting (and what I was promised!), AFTER we had already signed a 6-month lease for the new property and had moved out. I spent 6 hours on phone calls to various departments, different social workers and generally being degraded by the people on the other end of the phone. Long story short, they had screwed up initially, and had done so HARD. In point of fact they had actually lied to me about the rate I’d be getting. Yes, the one I confirmed twice with them and the one I based my decisions off.

So things are a little complicated now. I’m in a new and more expensive house, I have stuff I can no longer afford, I can’t get certain basic needs met and I’m struggling to make ends meet. On the upside, I still have my pension card so my mother no longer has to pay for my medication. They still cost me about $100 a month, even with the subsidies, but all of my money goes towards that now. The really shitty bit is that Manthing and I sat down and worked this out. My payments were cut because of his wages. If he lost his job and became my full-time carer here, my rate would go back up, he’d get the full amount and we’d actually be bringing in more than he’s earning at the moment. Mind you, he’s earning a dollar above minimum wage which is the stupid bit. I still don’t understand how a Government can allow it’s most vulnerable people to essentially rot when there’s no option for them to return to work. I’m trying to get the business up and running again as quickly as I can after the move, but with all the health issues you can imagine just how easy that is.

So I’m here trying to manage my day-to-day life with Queen HateYourFace throwing a wobbly (yes, I’m referring to my body), trying to balance household finances and not let it eat at me, and on top of it all, because of how run down I’ve been, I’ve also had massive depression issues :/ Depression is one of those stupid things that everyone seems to know about but nobody really seems to know what it involves. It’s like knowing that Mister Smith down the road has this issue where he farts a lot, but you don’t really know why, nor do you bother to question it.

To give you an insight into depression in my case – as I must impress upon you all that it is different for each and every person – imagine all the worst things about yourself, take a picture, and put that over every mirror in the house. You’ve also got this little gnome that follows you around the house and kicks you in your joints (because there is a physical side associated with depression) when you’re not looking. He also spits, swears, points out everything that’s wrong in the house and is the voice in your ear telling you everything you’ve failed at, everything you can’t do and all the things you should be miserable about.

You’re a sick, useless butt head. You smell, you’re ugly and nobody loves you. Yeah, even that guy you’ve lived with for 3 years. He’s sick of your shit. Everyone’s sick of your shit. You’ll never amount to anything because you’re always the sick one and nobody wants to deal with that. Best of all, guess what? You can’t do a damn thing about it!

– Grognar the shitfaced Gnome

So I’m here dealing with all these physical issues beating me up. On top of that, the chemical imbalance in my brain has decided to help tag team me as well. Fortunately I’m really lucky living where I do. I’m one of those privileged people that has access to a reasonable free healthcare system and, because of that, access to a therapist. She and I have done a lot of talking about the issues at hand and have been able to identify key points I beat myself up over. We’ve worked out a plan of attack, per se, and I’m slowly working on kicking Grognar’s hairy little arse out of my house. All the other issues will be dealt with later once I have a stable head back on my shoulders.

I know this has probably been a bit of a marathon read, but for someone that doesn’t normally blog I can assure you that it’s been just as much of an endurance event. As part of my commitment to kick depression’s arse and get my shit back on track, I’ve promise to keep this blog active and see every post as an achievement, whether it’s a written post, a meme or a comic I’ve drawn. I can’t promise a post every day or even every few days, but I will do what I can and I have nothing but the greatest admiration and gratitude for those of you that have followed my blog (all 40 of you. That’s utterly insane!) because it’s you people that have made me commit to getting my story out there. It’s because I know that someone somewhere will read this that I will continue writing, and I’m going to learn to love doing it for my own reasons as we go.

I do actually have a slightly more bright post lined up for you all in the next few days 🙂 I’m also making a point of getting back into drawing my little single-page comics since they’ve been so well received here.

I honestly hope you’ve all been keeping well in my absence and I’d love to hear what you’ve all been up to, even if you’d prefer to message me privately. I’d really love to get to know you all!

Anyhoo, it’s late here and my bed is making sexy eyes at me. I think it’s time I go and get some shut-eye.

– Abigail

“Enter title here” or “blogging for dummies”

So, it’s 11:39pm and I can’t sleep. Too much random pain happening in my body right now for me to relax, too tired to properly focus.

I’ve spent the last week packing boxes and moving entire rooms in prep for the house move we’re going to do at the beginning of next month. Mostly looking forward to the fact that I get to have a bath when I’m sore and restless. To be honest, I just want the move to be over and done with already. I’m sick of the anticipation and waiting, even though it’s only been about a week and a half. I really don’t mind the idea of just spending a few days sleeping rather than forcing myself to get up and get stuff done.

Problem is, I’m one of these stupid people that can’t stay still. I find it very difficult to take time off from what I’m doing, even if my body or my brain needs it. I’m in the bad habit of always having to be gogogo until I crash, and even then it usually takes Manthing giving me a firm scolding for me to give in and just chill out for a little.

So, I admit, I overdid it today. By a fair margin. I woke up in pain, I knew I needed to take it easy but my motivation said otherwise and now it’s almost midnight, I’m serioulsy exhausted but in too much discomfort to sleep. That’s another problem. I’m used to pain now so anything that’s less than the level of “I’m seriously hurting, I should take something for this” (see anything between a 2 and a 4 on the pain scale) is just counted as discomfort. You know what also makes me uncomfortable? Taking painkillers. I hate the fishbowl head feeling of having wet sand for a brain. I hate the dizziness I get left with. I hate the fact that the brain and the rest of my body don’t want to communicate and I hate the way it wears off and the pain seeps back in. Anyway, I’m rambling.

I’ve been ordered to try and make a blog post a day – be it a comic, a written post or even a photo – just to try and document how I’m dealing with my pain levels and life in general, so here’s tonight’s post. Enjoy.

I’ll write something more witty tomorrow when I don’t feel like arse.