azurelunatic: "catch me if I fall", shooting star (R.E.M.)
One brave green shoot pushes through the muck;
more will soon follow.
There will still be storytime at the library next week.
The librarian will still be found wearing a plush ladybug.
Somewhere, a child will move from baby to toddler
in pursuit of that bubble, just out of reach.


(Mostly written in early February.)
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Friday: I woke up at a sensible hour, and did housework. Purple emailed me about the afternoon's beer bash, and I collected myself to go to that. I was running a little late, but made it at last, just before Purple arrived himself. I ran into a few people, and saw people from my old team sitting around the fire pit.

I collected with them there, and Purple soon joined me.

One of my old team had been going through some significant personal changes; she talked a little about that. I gave her reciprocal information, and my card with my real name, and the information to join the tech-slack. (Later, I would ping a former colleague who had done some pioneering work on that process in this workplace, and thank her, since it sounded like my old teammate had gone through a much better experience with the workplace bureaucracy than the former colleague had.)

She and Purple proceeded to talk synthesizer projects until she left to catch her train.

I will need to email my old manager about when to visit in the next few weeks.

The food offerings were surprisingly edible for the context. It was corned beef and cabbage sandwiches with slightly inexplicably rubbery rolls, some under-fried potato-and-cabbage fried things (tasty, but with the consistency of glue), various very green vegetables (cucumber, peas, broccoli, asparagus, and possibly more), cheese soup, and ... green hummus. No green beer, though.

It was a gorgeous evening, not quite too warm. We were joined by the Scruffy Canadian briefly. Someone who I thought might be the Cute Receptionist wandered by. Since I'd missed connecting with her the last time I thought I saw her, when she got close enough I called the name. In case it was her.

It was her. We caught up a bit. Purple teased me.

We hailed lb as he was headed out of the office with his deep dish pizza leftovers. There was a good chat, including some wtf-ery over a github thread that a new arrival in channel had shared (and participated in). There are some statements, such as "An SJW's work is never done", which have radically different meanings based on the context of the person who said it, and since we don't know them that well yet, we are uncertain whether this person is working for the greater good, or complaining about people working for the greater good.

There were dinner plans. I nearly accidentally left my phone in Purple's office until it tweeted.

Dinner was nice. We really should go to the Thai restaurant near the Trader Joe's more often, since it's delicious, close, and reasonably priced. Despite the bell peppers, prawns, and peanuts in nearly everything. (I am attempting to figure out whether peanuts take the surface of my mouth off the way walnuts do, because that would just be ... perfect.)

The Signal app has resolved some of its issues for voice calls, and my partner and I were able to talk nearly all the way home. It only cut out at the place that still gets me a lot on regular network calls, where 35 joins 280 by San Andreas Lake.

It's lovely to say a sleepy goodnight to my partner as we both settle into our beds, and go to sleep with the connection open, knowing that the other is there. I swapped my old Douchebag Headphone (the around-the-neck model with the earbuds) for one that purportedly connects to two devices automatically (it did not, but it wasn't a downgrade) and thus my partner got my old one. (It so happens that I'm the one who digs leading-edge tech, and they like to squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of old tech, so we are an excellent pair there.) They are enjoying it. I was delighted when I saw them in it, because the colors are accidentally representative of both of our favorites.


Saturday started out quietly, with various audio and video chat. One of the video chat things was marred by no helpful audio coming through from the other end; I should have reset when I noticed that it wasn't doing so well.

A friend just had some technically-minor surgery, and I had made plans to go over and say hello and congratulate this weekend. There was a little bit of plan-changing, but in the end I went over there in the afternoon and said hello and such. My aunt had stopped by with some fabric for me and some cashew butter for them. Due to the placement of the surgery, we kept ourselves to heartfelt arm-clasps and some back-patting.

When I got back down to the street, I discovered that a Very Large Pickup Truck had pulled up alongside me with its hazard lights on. Unfortunately, the driver was nowhere in sight, and I wasn't sure if I had enough room to pull out. (I was parallel parked, with a sedan nearly touching my bumper in the back, and a Prius a good distance in front of me, and less than a car length of space on the diagonal to get out.) I decided that I would make one try at it, and if I didn't have clearance that I was comfortable with, I would stop and wait for the driver to return.

It turned out that even though I think there was only one foot of clearance on each side, I was able to get out. (My partner cheered me on.)

I wound up picking up dinner on my way home. They did manage to get my order wrong, although in a different way to what I thought: I thought they'd gotten the wrong thing to the right receipt entry; they had in fact gotten the order entirely wrong from the receipt on down. The replacement was also subtly wrong, but I was not going to argue at that point. (My partner, who had been on the phone the entire time, heard my order and was able to verify that if it was a hallucination that I'd said that, it was a shared hallucination.)


The calendar sharing is going well so far.

There had been an incident. (My partner and I arranged a date; it hadn't gone in their calendar because they thought they'd remember it. Unfortunately, three people managed to step square in each other's complicated traumas, and it took a while to recover. With a lot of communication and crying.) After that, I shared my social calendar with my partner (not the full-on calendar with the specifics on the doctor appointments and such). I also shared the "shadow calendar" I'd made for them, the one that has their work schedule and all the stuff that they tell me about when we're planning our weeks. It's not yet time for us to share a single social calendar.

My partner has shared that calendar on with the friends they're staying with until the situation with the ex gets cleared up. They're not quite comfortable sharing it with others ... just yet. That may change, as the weeks go on.

Today, I'm setting up the week to come, and doing the various communication that goes with it. It's not sexy or glamorous, but it's the little bits of caring contact that helps sustain a relationship. I have to remember to translate the four to five calendar entries that make up one doctor-type appointment into a single block in the social time, ideally when entering it, but at minimum when setting up the week to come.

My attention deficit disorder was diagnosed in the fall of 2015. For a while, I'm not sure exactly how long, I've had to start with the actual time of the actual event I'm going to, and schedule backwards and forwards from that, in order to make sure I have a fair chance of getting there on time and in good order.

First I enter the event, with its actual duration.

Then I figure out where I'm going to be before the event, and figure out how long it takes me to get to that place from the place I am going to be before that. (It usually takes me an hour or so to get from home to any given place in the city of San Francisco; 45 minutes to get to old-work; an hour to get further down-peninsula; anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to get across the Bay.) I make a separate calendar entry for the transit time, with a little wiggle room.

I figure out where the next place I need to be is, and I do the same thing for that side.

I then give myself an hour's notice to start getting ready, even if I'm scheduled for something else at that time.

If it looks like it's close to my likely sleep time, I count back an hour further and allocate that as wake-up time. (If I haven't slept enough, I will use the wake-up time for an extra hour of sleep, and try to do any complicated prep the night before. Using a checklist, if possible. Sometimes this warrants an entry of its own.)

If it's early enough, I will count back eight hours from the wake time, and schedule that as sleep.
When it's a scheduled sleep time, I will have to schedule myself a bedtime reminder, which is an hour before sleep.

Sometimes, there's a chance that events will run long. In the case of my regular dentist, they've been known to run an hour late. So for them, I schedule in that buffer time. Just in case.

If it's a doctor appointment, the actual appointment goes in my bright red non-negotiable deadlines calendar, and all the ancillary things get in my main calendar. If it's not a doctor or similar, the main event goes directly in my personal calendar.

When it's something that's going to affect my social calendar, the fore and aft transit times and the event itself get globbed into one block of time that I'm unavailable for other events. Since my social calendar can be shared with people who don't need any personal details, unless it's a public(-ish) event, it gets described in vague terms. Dr. X at this address on this floor for this purpose gets vague-ed into "Doctor Appointment."

Stuff in my partner's shadow calendar get vague-ed up the same way. Why yes, my partner is going to X event at Y venue, there is a topic, and they're going with Z. That is "With Z at [vague description]." Or "Date with Z." Before my partner shared the calendar with their hosts, I scrubbed back through and edited a few items that I'd put on there, which had a little too much detail for general consumption. Even so, their hosts were clearly reading through past events, because I overheard Ms. Documentation read out the title of one (with some questions), and I promptly collapsed in giggles. Oh, dear.


There are two current crocheting projects, one of them started a while back. The older one is the penis-based sex ed hat, a sequel to the vagina-based one. So far I have urethra, bladder, glans, some ductwork, and I need to stuff the first testicle before I can close it up. (The testicle is blue, naturally.) I will probably put a drawstring or something on the scrotum so the testes can be examined easily.

The other one is a lace nightgown out of black #10 crochet-cotton thread. I'm putting #6 clear blue-green iris beads on it here and there. We'll see how long I take to finish that one. The beads are in a narrow prescription bottle that fits nicely inside the ball of thread.

I have been going back to paper to-do lists for daily use, and attempting to scan them into my image archives. I've started dating them so I have a better idea of how things went. It's been a fairly reasonable system for reminding me of what I need to get done, and I can move things forward in a helpful way. Sometimes I start pages ahead of time for stuff that needs to be done on a specific date.


After a week and a half of the new meds, I am encouraged at what they're doing with my sleep. That may wind up being a separate entry.
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  • Thu, 13:31: RT @UrsulaV: Grace is found in bread lines and in the old guy who splits his last cigarette with you when you're both dying in the gutter.
  • Thu, 13:36: @oakandsage https://t.co/aYrwuXChBB
  • Thu, 14:37: RT @drmagoo: Sick people wearing bracelets that say "Please Don't Help Me, I Can't Aftord It" is everything wrong with the US. https://t.co
  • Thu, 14:38: RT @stillwellgray: If the US is going to check our phones to cross the border, I repeat my demand Americans show us their vaccination recor…
  • Thu, 17:17: RT @choochoobear: If you oppose abortion but will are silent while programs like Meals on Wheels get slashed, you're not pro-life. Stop pre…
  • Fri, 08:49: RT @kjhealy: An American guy named Mulvaney, wearing Shamrock for St Pat's, angrily insisting famine relief is not a priority in his budget…
  • Fri, 09:23: RT @BadHombreNPS: Don't forget: -Cuts Environmental Protections -Cuts Science -Cuts National Park Budget -Uses tax money 2 put up wife i…
  • Fri, 09:23: RT @andreagrimes: hi, taxpayer here happy to pay for 1. meals for old folks 2. abortions 3. housing you can take it out of the Giant Dea…
  • Fri, 09:31: RT @meakoopa: this painting of Martin Luther striding away from the 95 theses like an action star w an explosion behind him is extremely hi…
  • Fri, 09:34: RT @matociquala: Retweet if you've ever missed a meal--or more than one--due to poverty.
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Last we properly heard, my partner was preparing for a highly emotionally charged stealth departure to achieve a separation from their abusive ex. (The situation is complicated. Once you get to more than one of the following, you've got a problem: home ownership, bitter breakup, long-term relationship, state-specific laws on property division, laws on property division that vary based on the type of relationship, intimate partner abuse, and probably factors that I'm forgetting and/or don't care to mention.)

As we have possibly come to appreciate, getting out of abusive relationships is hard as fuck. I would like to point out here that I did not in fact "get myself out of" my relationship with Shawn. Shawn asked me for a sexual favor, rudely ) and then told me that he and his new girlfriend were monogamous now, and thereby broke up with me. #classy

Some of the steps. )

There was a document, the Book of Shitty Compromises. Read more... )

That, friends, is what we call a shitty compromise.

My partner was training themselves to notice when they were making a shitty compromise for the sake of homeland tranquility, or at least, non-esclation. They weren't necessarily challenging their ex on things, or doing what they would truly prefer to do, but they were keeping track of those times and things in the Book of Shitty Compromises.

Also in the Book of Shitty Compromises was a checklist, the checklist of things that would have to be done in order to achieve physical separation.

In my professional life, I am pretty confident in my ability to handle logistics for things like little two-day professional conferences for a hundred or so people. That's a lot of moving parts, and (due to past experience) I can't count on me actually being there for every step of the way to direct all the people who are going to need directing. This means checklists.

I am also not the person who is the last word on decisions for this stuff. That means coaxing preferences and event visions out of the people who are actually in charge of that. Sometimes this means coaxing logistical details out of people who are used to executing the event but aren't used to articulating what exactly is needed. Sometimes that means going "Okay, when you say X, what do you have to do to make X happen?" and then, "So when you say you 'just do Y', who do you talk to about that? When does that happen? How do they know where they have to be?"

I brought those skills to bear on my partner. Y'all, if you've never had someone grill you for ... quite a while ... on the details of what you'll actually need to do in order to leave an abusive ex? This is not easy. This is very, very, very not easy. We weren't sure if I was putting too much pressure, not enough, or on the wrong place. And I am so fucking proud of them.

They thought they wouldn't be ready in January. I saw the signs of increasing restiveness in them, and ... wanted to make sure that as much as could be done, was done. Just in case there had to be an unexpected leap.

Saturday the 7th of January, they realized that they'd been pushed too far, that they were still (so, so very) scared, but they were more scared at the prospect of spending another month subjected to the ex's whims and demands and escalation. (And the ex had started escalating again. Verbal abuse, and impossible demands for the terms of the breakup.)

Having started the process to gather muscle to help move and pizza funds (much appreciated, thank you all so much), we realized that one of the bottlenecks was that my partner would have to be in about five places at once if this was going to be conducted as a pinpoint operation and possibly in the presence of the ex.

One of the ex's skills is an attention to detail that includes noticing changes (stuff moved, stuff removed) in the household. My partner got enough grief from a few small changes that they knew pre-packing was a non-starter. So they were left with a few days of tense anticipation but with few actionable items. They also weren't sure how many boxes they'd need; I am the one with the advanced spatial logic skills in this relationship.

My partner was also not rescuing all of their stuff. If they were, it would have been more work, but simpler: pack it all up and go, sort it out later. This was somewhat more strategic: pack up the stuff in order of priority, starting with the stuff that my partner would need for a few weeks crashing with a friend, and going in descending order of priority (of stuff that was theirs and would be hard to replace, expensive to replace, and easy for the ex to mess with if the ex was being vengeful) until either packing materials or time ran out. This meant that my partner had to tell people who they possibly didn't know all that well what to pack, and I could see this getting in the way of everything. They'd have to be running about from room to room directing, when it might take the entire time to corner the Antisocial Cat and get her in the travel cage.

"Can you take pictures of the stuff you want to pack?" I asked. "That won't disturb anything, but maybe I can start estimating the volume or something."

That, they could do. So as part of my organization process in the estimation, I wound up preparing a visual packing list.

I will probably use similar methods to prepare a packing list for myself, when it's my turn to move, since it turned out so well. (My partner can perhaps, at some point, give details on how it worked on their end.)

Read more... )

We gathered support: people with vehicles, people to pack, pizza money. (And a little bit of tea-and-chocolate money that was a holiday gift from a friend of mine.) They confirmed that their friends not quite an hour's drive away were still available to host them. They confirmed maximum availability. I blocked their ex on Facebook before posting a call for help, and tagged people who I suspected wouldn't be able to help, but who might have friends who would be able to help. There were a few people, and one of them was able to help with the unloading.

They went to see the lawyers, and signed papers and paid money for the lawyers' help in getting the ex out of their house and returning their house to them. There was no turning back now. (They still had fears and reservations, and still thought that this might be too cruel to do to the ex. Despite everything the ex had done, and the ex's continual show of bad faith.)

I realized a few things.

My partner was about to do the most terrifying thing of their life.
My partner was about to do the most terrifying thing of their life, not knowing whether their ex was going to be present to interfere.
My partner was about to do something that terrified the snot out of them, and would be entirely absorbed in the process, and therefore unavailable to do anything except engage with the process.
I was too far away to help, and my presence would only burn money and exacarbate any problems with the ex.
I was not going to be okay in the slightest. (I would prove to be less okay than the night before my surgery.)
I was going to need someone to physically be with me, so I wouldn't be alone for this.
Purple had the plague, and couldn't do dinner.
[personal profile] quartzpebble had another engagement that night.
[personal profile] jd could be available after work. I arranged to pick him up from the Caltrain station, and thence to get pizza.

The day came. Tuesday, the 10th of January. The ex had been planning to run some errands. My partner wasn't sure whether the ex would complete the errands before move time. As of 4pm, the ex hadn't left for those errands. My partner wasn't sure whether the ex would have left for those errands by move time. The ex had also asked my partner to do a grocery run, and my partner wasn't sure if that would leave time to pick up one of the people helping move.

I gently suggested that since nothing on the grocery list was super ultra urgent, perhaps the ex could pick up their own god damn groceries the following day.

"Even now, despite everything planned for tonight, I am still in the mode of doing what they want."

Read more... )

And my partner and their cat were safely ensconced in the spare room of some friends, and everyone was safe.


The ex, of course, tried to call (the call was not answered), and texted.
Read more... )

And my partner's terror, slowly, began to ebb, with every day that their ex didn't show up to throw a lawn tantrum at work.

And we are okay.

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4/3/17 12:00
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Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺

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