the write(r) stuff

I’m in an odds ‘n’ ends — emphasis on odd(s) 😉 — mood.

Not the Right / Write Stuff

Nothin’ like being invisible amongst your brethren.

There’s an informal writing group that gathers at a cafe Sunday mornings. I wish I liked the facilitator C. but I don’t. From the get-go, she’s been unfriendly, cold and cliquish. I’m completely invisible in her presence. She’d likely give me the time of day if I asked but no more. Meanwhile, she’s chatty and engaging with her buddies (including Chris, whom I also don’t like, find him off-putting, arrogant and uninterested in others).

It’s not a matter of familiarity breeds friendliness with her. She’s just a cold fish who warms up (as much as a cold fish can) to only those in her clique.

I recoil from cliques, which are inherently female in nature. Perhaps you’ve noticed that men don’t form cliques. Cliques are hurtful and mean and by their innate exclusivity judgmental and isolating. My loner nature is not perturbed by being on the outside of anything. I simply don’t relate to female cliques. Never have. Even as a small child, I stood on the outside looking in. And then I looked the other way going “whatever.” 😀 That’s that.

Anyhow, point is that I’d love to find a writers’ group in Prescott that is sisterly / brotherly, not cliquey. Odds are I’ll need to start one myself. A writing group — the RIGHT writing group — would do me a lot of good. Give me a place to express that I don’t have, to network and be amongst my brethren because the group with C. ain’t it. (p.s. the cliquishness extends to other group members, not only her.)

d … o … w … n

I’ve been under the giant thumb of that deadly beast named Depression recently. A complex topic to be sure that I’d dare not even attempt to explore in a blog post! Loneliness, isolation, boredom, sadness, grief, anger, pain … they all play a part. I wish I had a way to release the few key players once and for all. Wish I knew what that way is.

Self-expression is so hard for me when pressed and oppressed and suppressed under the Depression’s beastly weight. Though I’m not gifted or particularly skilled at artistic renderings in images (i.e., drawing), I’m very visual.

The beast of Depression appears in my visual eye / imagination as in parts dragon and amphibious monster thick gray and watery … a bloated and swollen lifeless monster who hangs languishing in the deepest darkest unseen and frigid sea floor … never ever seen by human eye, never and it is for that reason that the sea monster was born …

bloated gray sea monster = unseen

and the dragon thin wiry angry pissed off REALLY pissed off at many things the world the parents people fucking people circumstances outside her choice and/or control being born not being seen by anyone from infancy raging raging raging at the UNFAIRNESS of life at bad people winning and good people losing at the stupidity of people at having to be back here on earth at all hating hating hating that karma brings her back forces her back hating all the morons who populate the planet and not being able to do a DAMN thing about it being powerless and inept at fixing stupidity and everything else that ails the planet.

suffering.

feeling wholly all suffering

and from that pain: anger and rage.

the wiry thin intelligent smart aware dragon: the pain of the world borne by the dragon.

gray amphibian in the deepest darkest under waters: unseen
wiry thin smart fiery dragon: the world’s suffering

… and that is how the beast of Depression appears. got no more to say for now.

Cable One: The new confessional box

You have something you gotta get off your chest … a matter weighing heavy on your heart … one you need to confess and you need assurance the news’ll go no farther … forget the confessional box. Never mind the priest, minister, therapist or friend.

Go to Cable One. Whatever you share in writing, you’re certain to get no response. Correction: no personal response. You WILL get this standardized one that goes like this:

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/

“For any additional assistance, please feel free to contact our Sales Department, toll-free, at 1-877-MY-CABLE (877-692-2253).

“The Sales Department is available during the hours of 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday and will be happy to assist you.”

How do I know? I wrote a letter (email) about an issue. Doesn’t matter what the issue was. It matters that I took the time to sit down and put computerized pen to paper and articulate an experience with Cable One Internet Co. in a thoughtful and concise manner.

In response, I received diddly squat. Correction: a diddley squat impersonal sales pitch that doesn’t address the issue one iota.

What I received is a response indicating they didn’t friggin’ hear a single thing I said. Probably didn’t even read the letter.

Bet it arrived in an in-box and some Cable One customer service rep who can’t be bothered with the “customer” or “service” aspects of the position pushed a button and whoosh! went the irrelevant standardized reply.

Why do I fucking bother to reach out or try to make myself heard?

Don’t answer that, I know why. This isn’t about me doing anything wrong or out of line. It’s about Cable One.

Cable One has a page on its site designed specifically for comments, input, feedback.

So the question isn’t why do I fucking bother to reach out and communicate. Question is, why do they fucking bother to have a page for feedback when all you get is some stupid standardized impersonal response?

Examples. Say you write:

Dear Cable One: My Internet service has been dark for a week. I’m writing this on dial-up at the library. It’s taking half an hour for this to go through but I really need your help to get my home service going.

They’d reply:

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/.”

Dear Cable One: I’m interested in signing up with your Internet service. But can I get it out here in Wheatfields, Iowa? Please let me know so I can spend my hard-earned money wisely.

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/.”

Dear Cable One: My cat just died. I’m bawling my eyes out.

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/.”

“Dear Cable One: I’ve been a customer for 15 years and always very happy with your service. I just won $2 million in the lottery and as a show of gratitude, I’d like to set up a scholarship fund to help children of Cable One employees who might not otherwise be able to attend college. Can you direct me to the right person?”

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/.”

“To Cable One: I’m curious. Do human beings actually read these letters? Do you respond appropriately and personally or send off an auto-response? “

“Thank you for contacting support. Many sales questions can be answered via the following website: http://www.cableone.net/.”

See what I mean about Cable One being the ideal confessional box? No matter what you say, it will stay in the room. Yours. It’ll go nowhere.

on boxes, bad roommates and becoming freeeeeee!!!

Boxes for tables.

Boxes arranged in neat organized stacks against walls and in corners to make any German proud.

Some things put away. Like plates, mugs, health products, shoes, winter bedding. Items still to be put away await their right place in neatly organized fashion inside boxes.

In the unfolding of a new home — and it very much is an unfolding, for me — things find their place as if ordered by divine design.

In the chaos of a residential transition, in the universe made temporarily of boxes and bags and my belongings in them, one could ask me for an item — a hammer, for example, particular pair of socks, a pair of tweezers … and I could tell you which box it’s in, within a 1% statistical margin of error.

Not only could I point to the box but tell you where in the box it is!

Such precision, mindfulness, thoughtfulness and reasoning in organized packing are gifts cultivated both through lifetimes and this particular lifetime of nomadic spirit and, i reckon, 51 moves. I’d need to sit down, sift through memory to arrive at the exact number. But you get the idea. I’ve moved a fucking lot!

And no relation to the military. The first question I’m asked if the topic of multiple moves comes up! I’ve oft regretted that I didn’t join the military (navy). I fully understand the reasons I didn’t. It was a very conscious decision made at the time so I can’t hold it against myself or claim youthful ignorance. Even as a small child, I was never ignorant, though ignorance would’ve made my life far easier to bear!

But back to boxes and moving!

While you wouldn’t know it by my blog, I just moved into a studio! Exactly a week ago, come to think of it.

My own space! No roommates! NO ROOMMATES! NO ROOMMATES! NO ROOMMATES! If you tuned your ear to the sky, you’ll assuredly catch those exhalations carried by universal winds!

This marks my re-entry into living alone in 3+ years. It’s been a journey through hell with roommates, a few excepted, all the more sweetening the return to solo living.

A new chapter is begun and a journey of discovery. And the discovery is I. So much of my adulthood with roommates has been spent conforming to others. Conforming to their baggage, their issues, their homes, their rules — fair or unfair, reasonable or unreasonable, hurtful or kind, sane or insane.

In their domain, under their roofs and in the midst of their baggage, I’ve been lucky to eke out a tiny space for myself; sometimes hardly that. A space … a small space … a corner in a room … a couple square feet inside a closet.

Hard to move. Can’t breathe. Cannot be.

When the door to this sweet studio opened, as if by a miracle as if by the hand of Spirit, a week after the assault by the roommate in the former abode, I could hardly contain the excitement. The possibility to live alone again … to be free, from Judy, certainly, as well as the years of unpleasant roommates (to put it conservatively) and the toxic dynamics, the majority of ’em … my hopes were raised … but not soooo high as to be devastatingly crestfallen if it didn’t go through. I’m a product of life’s disappointments to be sure.

It went through! As evidenced by my sitting here in my studio, on one of my two pieces of furniture — the first being a bed that I had to buy, more on that another post — a blue vinyl patio lounge chair purchased recently for a buck at a garage sale!

And boxes for tables.

Ain’t a bad way to live. After all, I’m highly accustomed to living as a nomad. To owning little so I can pick up and move, sometimes in an emergency to escape danger created by another’s madness, sometimes on a dime.

As boxes containing expertly-organized contents get shifted from one end of the studio to another … over from this corner to that corner … in the most natural unfolding of “everything has a place and everything in its place” … and every thing gets its place in my presence! … I circle back to a message I was getting to earlier …

a journey of discovery is begun. And the discovery is I. Freed from the confines, controls and torments of roommates, I get to number 1 breathe. And next, create from scratch a space and place of my own. One that reflects me.

And I’ll be honest. I don’t know who that person is. I don’t REALLY know what a home environment that reflects ME looks like. Like a wild bird released from a cage who is to learn how to fly again, so am I. The inner artiste is now unboxed and free to ask the questions:

What appeals to ME in a home? What colors do I adore? What fabrics? Textures? What type of furnishings? Those things that people take for granted are precious to me for my long imprisonment in spaces and places defined and dictated (often cruelly) by others.

I’m excited. I’m ready. Ready for this new journey. Ready to grow. Ready to discover. I’m eager to create.

Bad Bolt Internet! Blasted Bad Bolt!

Some companies you just wanna strangle.

Bolt Internet.

In Prescott, Arizona. What a sorry lot of losers and BS artists.

I’ve the good fortune of living in an apartment building I love. No complaints about the landlord, fellow residents, location, apartment. I feel quite blessed and watched over from above to be here.

Unfortunately — let me emphasize — unfortunately, the building is wired with Bolt Internet.

I could launch into a tirade about the CRAP service — “service” that Bolt provides. About:

* Dropped signals: routine.
* Technical service: Laughable. Inept. Available only during business hours M-F.

What happens if it goes out on a Sunday? You’ll be staring at dried paint on your walls. You’ll get no one. I stand corrected. You WILL get a voice on the other end. An answering machine. Big fucking whoop.

* Their “tech” visits to address problems? Um, did you randomly pick Joe Public off the streets, slip him a $50, dress him in a Bolt Internet uniform, hand him an officially-looking laptop and instruct him on the lingo toward convincing a customer that all tests indicate the signal’s swell and … wait for it … “you should be sailing on the Internet now.”

BULLSHIT!! Bullshit, Bolt!! I’ve ample evidence to prove otherwise.

* Speed tests. Bolt Internet doesn’t want you to know — and they certainly won’t tell you! — that you can test download and upload speeds online.

Ookla’s speediest.net is among the biggest and brightest of the bunch. It’s a handy user-friendly measuring tool to check whether your ISP is delivering the speed it claims … the speed … wait for it … that YOU are paying for.

My landlord pays some obscene amount of money — around $1,000 a year. So he’s in Bolt’s top third or fourth tier: Bolt’s Streaming Plus ($75/mo.) or Lightning plan ($90) at 3 Mbps or 5 Mbps, respectively.

I know, I know. Utterly ridiculous, those prices for basically dial-up speeds in the 1990’s! Can you pronounce greed and spell out s-c-a-m?

My landlord’s not techie and unfortunately he swallows Bolt’s BS bait every time.

So I’ve been running multiple speed tests at random times mornings, afternoons and nights and recording the results.

What’s alarming, though not a bit surprising, is that Bolt’s top download speed is … wait for it …

A WHOPPING 1 Mbps!!

WOW! A speed like that could send the hat off your head sailing into the horizon, never to be worn again!!

Across all tests, Bolt has never exceeded 1 Mbps. And it rarely achieves that. It’s posted as low as 0.44 — I kid you not.

Bolt’s average download speed: 0.81 Mbps.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. WRONG. WITH. THIS. PICTURE! ! ? !

I keep telling my landlord: Bolt is crap. They’re taking you for a ride. He’s paying BIG bucks for 0.81 Mbps?!?! Speeds like that, you may as well walk your email over to your recipients.

0.81. Know the average download speed in Arizona? (There are sites that provide state-by-state averages too.) 34.43 Mbps.

And then there’s big Bolt with its piddly 0.81. Pathetic. Dirty rotten scoundrels for charging for it.

Bolt Internet, you should be ASHAMED. Ashamed to market yourselves as a “service” and to make false claims about speed. Ashamed to receive money for service that is unreliable, unsteady, subpar and ridiculously overpriced for the speed and services provided.

You’ve been found out by me and others. It’s my goal to spread the word out and warn people that what is promised is far, far from what is delivered.

“Bad” is hardly an apt descriptor. Abysmal. Dismal. Insufficient. Junky. Low-grade. Meager. Rotten. Shoddy. Take your pick, each applies.

Were it my call, I’d dump Bolt in half a heartbeat and switch to Cable One, which provides the best, fastest and most reliable Internet service available in the Prescott (AZ) region.

Unfortunately, my landlord’s techie ignorance work against him and all residents and in favor of Bolt. Bad Bolt. Blasted Bad Bolt.

The fight for my wings and my freedom

Now … now I getta say it! … what I didn’t getta say in the months living with her … the roommate … the Queen Dictator:

F-U!!

Lemme say it once more, this time spelled out, it’s just that much fun!

F-U! Fuck you!

I am free!! Living with Judy — the name now safe to reveal from the veiled moniker of “Rudy with a J” — is done. Gjort. Geddan. Fatto. C’est fini.

Was less a bitter “parting” than a rude one. A risky one and potentially dangerous, for me. Highly potentially illegal, on her part. Irrational, unpredictable, a loose cannon in my midst. Yes, I feared for my safety every step in those final weeks toward the exit door.

A Medal Deserved

As far as undercover moves go, I did brilliantly. I truly did {well-deserved pat on the back}. Away from the enemy I advanced with stealth, strategy and silence. Smarts too. No reason to rehash the planning of the great escape, they’re on record in a prior post. Plus it’ll make a remarkable story for a domestic violence publication.

Even the best-laid plans and actions can meet their, what, demise, a demand for rerouting, when the enemy appears face to face. Judy really likes that, that face-to-face confrontation. Unabashed angry loud intimidating threatening confrontation. It’s who she is.

Trouble’s in Town

Uh oh. Trouble. I sense it Saturday. I lose a precious and irreplaceable hour to move a carload move when Judy doesn’t leave to feed her mother. Since she’s otherwise home essentially all the time, my only other opportunity is to pack a carload at midnight when she’s sleeping. Or not. She’s an insomniac. And her suddenly appearing in the dead of night at the front door while I’m hauling boxes … there’s just no clever explanation, only the obvious. And the obvious WILL light her blaze.

Trapped. Think she’s onto me. Wouldn’t be hard since items I’ve had here and there around the place have suddenly gone missing. Judy’s virtually planted herself in the living room right outside my bedroom, busying herself with cleaning and iPad use.

Trapped. I can’t leave my room without her noticing from her Central Watchpoint: her chair in the living room.

Uh oh. This isn’t good. I’m forced to abandon moving a carload this afternoon, leaving double the workload at midnight. Double the risk of noise. Double the risk of insomniac Judy appearing at the front door in the midst. Double the danger.

Enemy Lies in Wait

It’s 1.15 p.m. Trapped inside my room with Judy hovering, my heart races boombooombooombooom boom! I’ve got a 1:30 commitment and I’m outta here for the rest of the day. Standard modus operandi, I spend no time here except to sleep, bathe and pack. Been how long since I even had a meal here? I won’t be back ’til after midnight to pack a couple loads and make up for the hour lost by Judy’s presence.

Aaaaaaaaaaa-ttack!

It takes no time at all.

With my duo backpacks and sundries packed for the next 12 hours outta the house, I march the 15 feet to the front door, skilled soldier that I am.

“What are your intentions?” From the center of the living room, from the throne, the Queen Dictator has spoken. In a voice loud, threatening — not commanding, threatening, they’re not the same — and intimidating.

Those 15 feet become awfully long suddenly. Keep walking. Do not respond. Keep walking. It’s tense. It’s not that I’m traipsing into a minefield. Rather, the danger lies at the rear. The enemy could launch an attack. Toss a grenade after I’ve already covered that ground. To me, an attack from the rear from an enemy already encountered is scarier than one out front.

I’m out the door. “I gotta go,” I say, calmly, firmly. Fact. Simple.

“I know you’re moving.” She’s angry. She’s fishing for an argument. I do NOT take the bait.

Threat Turned-Up

I keep walking the distance to my car. Judy, risen from her throne, follows me. Uh-oh. She’s known to cross boundaries, get violent.

Keep walking. Keep walking. Do not engage. “I’ve got to go.”

“Why don’t you move out tomorrow?! Make it easier on everyone?!” She’s ramped up, following me, shouting across the driveways.

Same response. “I’ve got to go.” Calm, cool, unengaged.

“How about if I change the locks?!” she yells.

The threat alone is illegal. Changing the locks — fucking illegal. You’re guaranteeing police action and court case that I’ll absolutely win if you do.

It’ll be a damn inconvenient if you do. I’m out tonight after work. And plain stupid. Why change the locks on someone you want outta there? Makes no sense. But Judy and rationality, not partners.

I’m in my car. Whew! I bail, eyes riveted to the rear-view mirror. Just in case. No knowing how far she’ll go.

I bop into my new apartment for 15 seconds to retrieve something. I’m freaking out. Did Judy follow me? Was she a couple cars behind so I didn’t see her? My imagination kicks into overdrive, fueled by fear and experience, raw direct experience, of what people are capable of. Irrational controlling frightening females in particular.

Deep down I feel Judy couldn’t be bothered to suddenly hop in her car to follow me. She’s smart but not all that bright. Aggressive and violent on her home turf; off it, I dunno …

Will She or Won’t She?

Nerves taut, I work my evening shift with one question eating away: “Will she or won’t she change the locks? Will I or won’t I be able to get in the house to get my stuff moved out. T-O-N-I-G-H-T” After work – after midnight.

The law’s on my side. I’m paid up through August 31. I’ve got both lease and signed rent receipt. If I get back and discover Judy’s changed the locks, I’ll call the police. {I enter number in cell phone.}

Every move I make is within the bounds of the law, which I studied thoroughly, even breaking in to retrieve my belongings. If a police officer is needed to protect me and deal with her illegal eviction, so be it.

And the Answer Is …

I arrive around 12:30 in the morning … first check my bedroom window — it’s as I left it. Insert the front-door key. The lock unlatches.

Whew.

For the next 1-1/2 hours in the pitch-black of a dark moon, I move! move! move! move! I’ve already got the boxes — part of my advance planning and preparations for a piecemeal move. Piecemeal no longer. Now it’s O-N on.

No wait. No delay. No more quiet-as-a-mouse packing and moving in the dead of night while Judy doesn’t sleep. There’s no reason to be here. Not one. There’s no desire to spend another moment or night here. Go! Go! Go! Out out out! I’m free!

Last Words: Laughable

Then there’s … what’s this? A note taped to my door. Don’t even bother reading it. Just pack! pack! pack! Go! Go! Go!

Some 10 minutes later, I open up the paper. The typed message reads essentially: “It’s obvious your intention is to move without 30 days’ notice.”

{insert response: You’re damn right! Law allows immediate termination of lease without financial penalties or obligations in cases of domestic violence. Which includes your assault and battery! Which unbeknownst to you is on record at the police station.}

“You have until Sunday at 5 p.m. (read: 17 hours from now) to get your things out. After that you will no longer have access to my house.”

What a fucking bitch ignorant of the law! That’s an ILLEGAL eviction! Prosecutable in a court of law AND with hefty penalties too. I’ve read the state’s tenant-landlord laws. My landlord — also my roommate — clearly hasn’t.

If this went to court, she wouldn’t have the toenail of a pinky toe to stand on! I know the laws. Every document I’ve got backs me up. Every move I’m making, ditto. I’ve also got her assault on police record. Yet she’s barking like a fucking mean-ass pit bull. She thinks HER dictates are the end-all be-all. It’s laughable. Pathetic. She’s pathetic. And sad.

The Midnight Rambler Worker

While a part of me wants to toss her note into the deserved trashcan, I jam it into a back pocket — just in case I see her in court one day — and resume pack! pack! packing! Work! Work! Work!

It’s more stuff than, a heavier load than I’d thought … yet masterful and seasoned nomadic spirit and mover that I am, I get EVERYTHING into the Subaru — bless my Subaru! — and STILL retain a measure of window viewing for safety.

Though at this late hour the streets are emptying and my new place is an easy drive, my integrity as a driver forbids me from leaving no side and rear vision. I’m weird that way — especially amongst self-absorbed Americans — putting a premium on responsibility and safety for myself and others on the road.

O-U-T in Bold Neon Lights

After 1-1/2 hours of the fastest packing I’ve ever completed in a lifetime of moving — around 51 by now — at 2 in the a.m., I am home free!!

There’s NO chance that Judy, who’s assuredly overheard me packing and thankfully brokered no interference — is following me.

There’s no chance of her finding out where I live.

There’s no chance of ever returning to her house. Or with God as my witness seeing her again (save in a courtroom but odds are slim enough as to be no cause for worry.)

I am free!

My abuser is in my rear-view mirror and slated to fade into a memory … a bad and acidic taste in the mouth that time and my own healing shall cleanse.

Shouting from the Rooftops

I am free!

Of controls. Of her controlling nature. Her rage and abuses. Irrationality and unpredictability.

I am free of the treats and fears of what did happen and might happen and what COULD happen in her domain. Of how much she could escalate. I am free of HER terms under HER roof and in the space I paid for … to live in safety and modicum of peace. Ha!

I am free of Judy the Queen Dictator and her unabashed loud, controlling and violent rule.

I am free!

Safe in my new place. FREE OF ROOMMATES.

God bless me and god bless it all, everything that happened.

Let the healing flow.

ssssshhhh. i’m the samurai mouse on the move.

Strategy. Stealth. Silence.

I’m a samurai on the move. Literally.

The time is arrived to make my exit from the house of the loud queen dictator, also my abuser and roommate who committed assault almost two weeks ago.

My safety through the move, and regaining it once I’ve moved, is paramount. I cannot risk inflaming the roommate or endangering myself further, knowing not what she’s capable of, thus she’s unaware that I’m springing. Mum’s the word.

Strategy and silence. I can pack only when she’s absent form the house, which is rarely. Her working at home doesn’t support my cause. Fortunately she goes to feed her mother in the assisted living facility — bless her heart for doing that — every day at noon.

For that hour she’s away, I work fast ‘n’ furiously, organizing, packing, even cleaning as I go to save myself the need later.

And yes, regardless of her abusiveness and overall hellish experience this has been, I’m leaving the space shiny, clean — in fact far cleaner than I found it — and readied for the next roommate’s occupancy. Because that’s who I am. Where spaces and places are concerned, always the highest road even when people treat me like dirt.

Nighttime is the only other opportunity to pack. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever packed up a place making veritably no sound at all. It is a challenge, even for one with natural strong stealth powers!

To be successful, one must practice hyper-vigilence. In my situation, that means ears attuned to even the slightest change in sound in the house. The roommate crossing the living room (adjoining my bedroom). Because the floor’s carpeted and thus muffling of footsteps, a super-keen ear is called for.

Or a light switched on in living room or kitchen. A signal to stop. And be still. And breathe breathe breathe.

Last night I was up into the wee hours packing stealthily and got quite a lot done under the constraints. I can make no sound that might awaken the roommate who — and here’s a complicating factor — has oft spoken of her troubles sleeping. Fits and starts the night through.

See, packing in the midst of a snoring grumbling bear’s a whole different ballgame than that where the players are all insomniacs!

Which adds additional pressure to be quiet as a mouse and hyper-attentive (an additional stressor) as I go about doing what is needed: exiting asap.

I have to plan and conduct this move around the roommate’s schedule. At this moment, I’m watching the clock. It’s coming up on noon. Within the next 30 minutes, she should be leaving to feed her mother.

I’ll wait briefly to make sure she doesn’t U-turn for a forgotten item … then spring into action. Pull the car up to the front door driveway … and fast! fast! fast! load in the heaviest boxes. Reason is their loading is the most challenging and apt to return huffing and puffing.

And huffing and puffing I can’t have — I can have no sounds — during my only other open slot for multiple car trips: around midnight, when she’s in bed.

One hour around noon.

A couple hours around midnight.

These are my only slots for packing and moving! Depending on how much I can accomplish within those constraints, this process of clearing two rooms plus all that’s mine in the kitchen may require a few days. Piecemeal moving it is.

Speaking of the kitchen, that’s an essential ingredient in the strategy. Since I must maintain appearances of “nothing’s different, everything’s status quo,” I can pack the kitchen only at noontime when she’s gone … and only as my final load, as I’m turning in the key.

Because, well, you know. She opens the fridge and freezer. Finds everything on my half gone! All the foods in my cupboards, boom! Vanished! Pretty obvious something’s up!

I could pen an ebook on the strategy of moving in silence and stealth. It could be useful for anyone needing to flee abuse or violence in the home!

However, I’ve got one thing that most people don’t have. No, not a bevy of friends supporting me (I don’t). Not a magic wand (I wish! Sorta.) Neither genuine suprahuman powers of invisibility.

What I’ve got that most people don’t — ESPECIALLY folks in their late 50s like me! — is:

minimal stuff.

No bed. No furniture. Everything I own can be trekked by a Subaru AND is carry-able by me alone. Heavy some of it? Yep, you bet!!!

However, in my nomadic spirit, fierce independence, minimalism and exceptional anti-clutter nazi-ism, I’ve designed it at this time of my life to be able to move and need no one. And to move on a dime.

Or a chargeable misdemeanor of assault and battery as the/this case may be …

sssshhhh. in the hush of the night go I …

Wow! wow! and wow!

And wow again! Because it’s a 4-wows day!

It’s happening. It’s really happening! I’m a heartbeat — or four — from moving! I found, in a week’s time after the assault by my roommate, a new place to live! Plus some days for the paperwork, checking references & background and other required processing.

So call it two weeks and we’re good!

Not just a place to live did I find but a space I’ve been wanting and needing for a long time. Years. A small studio in a 1928 original boarding house that’s been divvied-up into odd-shaped apartments.

This is my re-entry into living alone since 2011, when I escaped Washington state/ Tacoma to save my life, literally.

The years since with roommates — don’t even wanna count the number! — and horror stories in varying degrees. I’m too happy to dampen the mood with recounting ’em even in brief so will mention only the “highlights.”

*There was the crazy mother-daughter team in Denver where the old woman cornered me in my room and threatened to call the police on some shit that in her self-delusional mind I’d done. “I know the police officer personally,” she threatened. She finally left my room and from then on my only time there was to sleep.

Otherwise I was spent ALL DAY every day hanging in cafes and killing time until I moved into a place that was little better it turned out!

* There was the woman, also dangerously unbalanced, I discovered, who changed the locks on me. In a blizzard. In Denver. The night before I was to start a new job. Leaving me homeless. In a blizzard. Or did I mention that?

Still pains me terribly to talk about it or remember it. It’s on the record, however, the crazed unstable woman who changed the locks in a blizzard and left me homeless the day before I started a new job. Then there was …

* … the woman roommate who stalked me. In the house. She was a liar and scary-controlling to boot. In the middle of the night while the other two roommates slept, she’d go through the shared areas of the house and put everything back into Home and Gardens picture-perfect position. If the bottle of dish soap was opened or slightly ajar, she’d fix it in the middle of the night. In the morning, you’d find the lid closed and the bottle facing picture-perfect straight. It was as if insane invisible gnomes lived there and rearranged things during the darkest of night.

Once she dumped out my pot of coffee, then with a straight convincing face told the main roommate / house owner that she hadn’t done it. And he believed her!

Never mind her CHEAP rose perfume she slathered on. So hideous that it triggered a severe respiratory/asthmatic attack and sent me puking in the toilet. I had to ask her to stop wearing it. Made no difference. Her scent was on EVERYTHING she owned and permeated the house.

I’ve always wondered what happened to those two and whether Christopher ever woke up to the dangerous woman that she is.

* The current roommate, a raging lunatic, who assaulted me in the living room. Unlike cases in Colorado, this time I filed a police report. It was / is the right thing to do and may help my cause later if it comes to that.

What do all these traumas across Denver metro and Arizona have in common?

Women. They assaulting ones, the crazed ones, the psychotic, the truly unstable and dangerous and dangerously unpredictable ones: all women. Enough said.

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All the more glorious my impending move!! Tomorrow the lease. Then a furtive move under cover in the night when she sleeps to maintain my safety and prevent inflaming the roommate who knows not that I’m moving.

State law permits an immediate termination of the lease without penalties or $ obligations beyond those accrued to date of departure in cases of domestic abuse. Hers is assault and battery, which is prosecutable in civil court.

Since I’m not litigious — and hence hugely modern-day un-American!! person, I’m forgoing that option in favor of breaking all connections with the house and her. Forgoing that option in favor of moving forward. Forgoing that option in favor of inner peace.

Allllllmost there!! Alllmost free!