My most memorable birthday was 19.
The pattern at work seems to have gone from wildly crazy busy to totally dead. Today was appeared to be a day off, but didn’t happen. But, money comes in when once works, so I took it.
In the middle of a call today, I got the other line: my doctor has moved my appointment from the previous time to quite literally as soon as the place opens. I’m not sure if I should be concerned or not.
It’s been difficult to get into the beat of prose lately. Things have been happening otherwise, not what was planned.
I need to get into gear. And hopefully before I get any crap news from my doctors.
The weather has begun to behave oddly. Storms blowing in but not the kind with the giant whooshing and boom. Minor boom. Too minor. Local meteorologists are a little worried it’s too tame.
This stretch of days off gave me a chance to rest my legs, sure, but there are other issues. Like that mass. It’s causing new problems.
Rather than think about that I’ll focus on my writing, I think.
This is a candid of last night’s Lockout Debacle. There is strong language.
I had a feeling that there was a problem when I reached for the keys and l got a roll of quarters instead. What I didn’t realize was how bad it’d get.
After a significant round of inventing expletives I called work, the last place I remembered having my keys. I attempted to walk the desk through the combination lock but — and this was a shock — she’d never used one before. A guest did it eventually, but… no keys.
I invent expletives for a bit longer before calling in the building president to get the emergency unlock service, and learn two things: 1, the price has tripled and 2, the guy is AWOL. Three other people are waiting for the unlock guy—two since two PM. As I find a live outlet to charge my phone a neighbor offers couch space—which I reluctantly take him up on, I mean it meant no cold hallway.
I realize something is up when he turns the music from classic rap to classic bedroom R&B. But he’s got another neighbor over too so he isn’t planning… Right…?
Apropos of nothing: “That can’t be your hair.” From the other neighbor who was over, an old dude.
With an offended look I yank on my ponytail hard enough to jerk my head sideways a bit.
“Okay, it’s real, my bad.”
Out of nowhere, Neighbourly Guy: “That hair though, what else is you?”
“I’m looking at your ends there and our hair, it don’t do that . You ain’t all nigga is you?”
I try to figure out how one would put “gun” in their tone of voice; edge isn’t going to cut (heh) it. “I don’t see why that has anything to do with anything but my mother was Native American and why are you close up in my head enough to notice the only thing that makes it clear?”
” I unno, jus’ something I been thinking about. Can I touch it?”
I’m going to allow my fellow readers of color the moment of horror here: WE’VE GOT THEM TOO.
I am currently far enough away from my computer that I don’t have access to my “OH HELL NO” cat gif. Just imagine it here.
“I—deh—no you may NOT. WHAT HELL.”
“Well, see, I been thinking bout it and, like, the one dude you have over sometimes don’t be around no more, like now maybe—”
You heard that sound right? The tires screeching to a halt? I’m putting the brakes on.
“No?” He sounded offended.
“I’m not interested in you like that.”
“Well see I was just thinking maybe—”
FUCK ME, I’VE ATTRACTED ANOTHER FAKE NICE GUY.
“I am not interested in you like that.”
“But if the other guy is gone now—”
At this point I’m liveblogging, texting three people, and have sent The Signal to a pair of friends.
“Tell you what. I’m going to go get a smoke, and you go think about it.”
The door closes. I mutter “Shite.”
Three minutes after getting the alert my ride out is here I steal out of the creeper’s apartment. My Vibrams are ninja quiet on the tile—for which I am thankful, as a cursory glance off the corner hall shows me he’s smoking there. I curse under my breath and press myself into the deep dip provided by the elevator door, holding my breath. The damn thing arrives too slowly for my liking, but then I am off and away, unseen.
In the ultimate cliché I jump into the car and shout “DRIVE! GO!” before ducking low until we clear the property.
The key people never called.
The thing about being really poor is that when you don’t make enough money to get yourself something nice for your birthday, it’s a mild disappointment. There is another thing about that fact: when you manage to make just enough to pay off all of the bills that you have that month, you still manage to feel accomplished.
This month is one of those.
I looked at this week’s paycheck and for a moment felt accomplished. I made an amount of money that had a two in the leading number slot instead of a one. I felt like I was getting somewhere. Then I sat down and did the math, and realized that I hadn’t had as much money as I thought.
You know, I actually don’t make enough money to save money for a rainy day—or, really, even a sunny day, most of the time. There just isn’t that much cushion. Especially when you live in such a situation when your rent isn’t even static. Mine’s about to go up for no other reason than it does: it goes up when the season gets better, so that it stays at a rate of 30% of my adjusted income. The little box that I had for my savings is going to be the thing that helps me pay the bills this month.
I’d meant it to be for something else, but that can wait for another day.
…I’d like to do something nice for my birthday, but I just don’t have the money to do so.
And frankly, just getting there and wanting to still be around at that point will be enough for me at this point.
Among other things.
The last few months have been ridiculous.
My fibro pills had their dose doubled. Without me seeing the doctor first. That’s one thing.
A couch I had brought into replace the bed and OLD couch turned out to be infested with bedbugs. Once I got rid of the couch and got rid of the bugs, it turned out that the entire building had them and it’s still fight that is going on. It also turns out that I’m allergic to those motherfuckers, and it took prescription antihistamines and sort of breaking the usual rules to get rid of the bitey bastards.
My knees have gotten worse, probably because fibro. The pain from it has spread to my hands, making typing more difficult than it used to be.
A crack has appeared in the load-bearing wall of my apartment.
*sips tea* On the upside, I’ve gone an entire week now without seeing one of those little six-legged bitey bastards. It’s a good sign.
Since I was about 10, I’ve loved tea. I LIKED it before—preferred it iced, not oversweet most of the time; if it was to be sweet SWEET tea it had better be strong enough to knock over a godsdamned house, that’s to be sure. I’ve been basically fiending on it since we accidentally discovered it would work on my ADHD instead of the drugs.
I couldn’t focus, and one day my uncle asked me if I’d tried this tea right here, this green tea that was just really freaking strong that he couldn’t figure out how to make potable to save his life, and in the week it took to figure out how to brew Ceylon teas (remember, we’re Black Americans living in Black America, and this is the mid 90’s at the time, there aren’t resources in our area for tea at the time other than the occasional Claudia-centric Babysitters Club book), the both of us were so mellow and focused that my dad–his brother–wondered if we’d been replaced with pod people. This same week was my appointment for my suspected ADHD. Having heard about this alphabet soup my uncle comes with, as does an aunt. My doctor notices how much more mellow and focused I’ve become, and Unc and I mention the tea adventure. That’s where we learn the beginnings of tea research, and how stimulants (like the ADD/ADHD pills and caffeine) work in managing this thing.
We take one look at each other and go, “Makes sense.”
Dad and the aunt that went with us take one look at each other and go, “Whut?”
Since then my tea fascination has only expanded, from strictly “this is delicious” to “So if this ails you I can throw this that and the other into a pot and have a fix for you, yeah?” That brings us to the bonus section here: a tea review!
No, this is not a comically large spoon or a comically small cup. I typically drink my tea from demitasse-sized or espresso-sized cups, and if I sweeten it I don’t use much—excepting my Lousiana-style iced tea, which is strong enough to knock a house over and sweet enough to convince an idiot not to blackmail your friend. The clarity is very nice, and the scent is crisp, almost coffee-like.
At first I thought it was my brewing method—
But I’d run a cycle of CLR through the thing, which removes hard water deposits from the brewer, and the carafe had received the same treatment. Little tip: when you use this cleaning method, run a second full carafe of plain water through the machine before you brew anything, to prevent any chemical from getting into your cuppa.
Little known trick: If you own a little four-cup Mr. Coffee-style brewer, you have one of the best ways to brew loose leaf tea out there already. Because the water is never AT boil, it’s nigh impossible to cook your tea to death and overbrew it. Further, your leaves have plenty of room in the filter to expand, and you don’t have to monitor temperatures quite as obsessively.
Oh, right, don’t forget to use a filter. Otherwise you have a reeeeeeeeeeeeal bitch to clean up. As an added bonus you can get a second full-strength brew out of those leaves, just like if you used a tea ball or other more traditional infusion method.
This is only a teaspoon and a half of leaves. The general rule is a teaspoon of leaves per person per pot and an extra for the pot (assuming you’re brewing traditionally.) I like strong tea but decided to go with the usual strength. They expand like whoa, and you can see why I said to use a filter if you’re going the Mr Coffee (renamed Mr. Tea for me here) route. In fact, the presene of Ceylon in this blend means you have wicked tannins, and they’ll bake up as hot tea tends to do to them. If you want to minimize the staining in your mugs and the amount of tannin floating around (because it does aggregate), double up. Use two filters. (No more than two. You’ll flood the brew basket.)
Taste 1, straight: STRONG. assertive and coffee-like almost. It’s potent, and has this light but sweet air that almost doesn’t need anything.
Taste 2, with monkfruit sweetener: This is a VERY EASY TO OVERSWEETEN tea. I only used a slxth of a packet and it was overdoing it. If you sweeten this, make it a strong cup.
Taste 3, with sweet cream and a little sugar: OKAY, STOP. WHAT GAVE YOU THE RIGHT.
This is delicious. Sweetening it by itself is NO for me. It just DOESN’T WORK. But with cream, OH GOOD GRIEF. I’d brewed the entire four-cup (translation: four-person intended) thing and drunk two thirds of it like this, just shotgunning one after the other in disbelief. Adding cream to this tea gives it a nutty, almond-like richness. It becomes like a dessert that you want to eat.
Verdict: If you like a black tea for all occasious, aren’t frightened off by loose leaf tea, and suspect that you might be a liiiiiiiitle bit of a tea snob (I will willingly admit that I am), GET THIS TEA. If you’re curious about what good tea tastes like, GET THIS TEA. If you like te, GET THIS TEA.
TL;DR: GET THIS TEA.