Anti-zen

I’m no theologist or anything but I’m pretty sure I’ve read that the big tenet about being zen is that desire is the root of all suffering, so the aim is to get to a point where you don’t desire anything and are happy with what you have.

On one hand, being happy with what you have sounds like a wonderful state to be in, and a noble idea to aspire to.

On the other hand, I’m still on a low-key shopping rampage, finally loosening up after years of being poor and money-anxious and letting myself live a little, and it’s fucking great. It’s tremendous. Shopping has become a bona fide hobby. I have all kinds of shit favourited/wishlisted on several different websites and I love the whole process of realizing on a whim that I want something*, tracking down some items that fit that niche, narrowing the selection down to something I really really want, buying it, and eagerly waiting for it to arrive. And it’s not just about the chase, for me; I don’t lose interest in the items once I actually have them. I mean I guess I end up loving some of the things more than others but I seriously do think about my various beautiful purchases almost every day and feel thrilled to have them. I frequently go through my little dragon’s hoard of sterling silver rings just to look at them, even if I’m about to go to bed or something and won’t be actually wearing any of them anytime soon.

And, as I said before, spending money on myself is doing nice things for my self esteem. Last night I finally made my first order from eShakti.com – a site that makes custom dresses to your measurements – because they had a bunch of items substantially discounted. The idea of having cool-looking clothes that fit is just a total fucking gamechanger for me. You have no idea. Clothes shopping has been frustrating enough to drive me to tears since I was fourteen years old and I’m in my mid-40s now. I’d resigned myself mostly to just finding black clothes that didn’t fit too badly and then springing for funky accessories to spice them up, because weirdly proportioned though I am, I’m still reliably able to fit my body parts into normal human bracelets, rings, necklaces, and scarves, and nail polish works on my fingernails just fine.

But I could have clothes that look good on me. Clothes I don’t constantly have to tug at in order to be comfortable or covered, because they fit. Clothes that people actually compliment me on. Holy shit.

So I’m embracing the anti-zen. Desire (when there’s a possibility of actually getting it met) is not being much of a cause of suffering for me right now. It’s pretty fucking great, actually. It’s motivating me to work more and harder at my job and thrilling me with all the tantalizing possibilities of things I could own.

Wheeeeeeee!

 

*The other day I randomly thought “y’know what’s cool-looking? Stag beetles (an actual species of beetle that has big antlers on its head). I’d like a necklace with a stag beetle theme. I’m certain such things exist. Let’s see what Etsy comes up with.” And Etsy came up with an item that was way cooler than anything I’d been picturing and I bought it and now it is mine.

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A bunch of TMI about warts

For years now I’ve been convinced I have some (new) autoimmune issue going on.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease and indeed, when I stopped eating gluten and my intestines had a chance to bounce back, suddenly my body was healing from cuts/scrapes/bruises faster than ever before. Even a knee injury from five(?) years before cleared up – I’d slipped on some ice and gotten nerve damage or something and there had been a numb/tingly spot on my kneecap ever since. And one day after quitting gluten I realized it was gone. I also have a scar on my arm that I suddenly noticed was a lot less chunky/raised/noticeable than it used to be (and it was an old enough scar that in theory it had reached its final form long ago).

But around 2016(?) I noticed that once again I wasn’t healing fast. I smacked my shin into the edge of a park bench and the resulting bruise and swelling lasted eight months or more.  I went to a dietician to see if maybe I was somehow eating something with gluten in it and not realizing, or if I had some new food sensitivity that was fucking me up. She mostly seemed like an idiot though and I didn’t get any real answers.

Big dietary changes suck (especially complicated ones where I constantly have to look up whether or not I can eat a particular thing) so it took me another three years to try the low FODMAP diet even though I knew it existed this whole time. But here I am, being all low in FODMAPs n shit for two or three weeks now.

Meanwhile: I’ve had a wart on the bottom of my foot for years. I’ve gone to the doctor and had it frozen on three different occasions (and one of those “occasions” encompasses two or three sessions) and in-between those appointments I’ve tried to get rid of it myself using drugstore stuff. Also, in order to better get these various products to penetrate right to the heart of the fucking thing, I would take scissors and cut off as much of the wart as I could. I could only go so deep before it hurt and I had to stop, but the thing regularly generated a thick protective layer of callusy-feeling dead skin, so a certain amount of snipping was easy. Sometimes I’d scissor the wart down a bit even when I wasn’t trying to burn or freeze it, just because the crust had built up enough that it impeded comfortable walking. At one point I had a kit that included acid to burn warts and a canister of stuff for freezing them and I diligently used both of those things on this wart, one after the other, every night for an entire week (and trimmed that fucker first within an inch of its life). The skin around the wart got so tender I walked with a limp, but the wart was still there. It was invincible.

Coincidentally, the last time I went to the doctor for freezing, she told me it’s not even the liquid nitrogen that kills the wart per se, it’s that the damage from the freezing makes the body focus harder on healing the area and the immune system itself is what clears the wart.

That last freezing was months ago btw and I haven’t used my home wart removal kit since then, either.

Last night or the night before I could feel the wart’s little “hat” of crusty dead skin underfoot when I was walking around the apartment so I once again trimmed everything down. And you guys. YOU GUYS. I think the wart might be gone. When I cut off as much of the dead skin as I could, there was no core of bubbly evil blackness in the middle of it (click here for an internet picture of what I’m talking about. It is obviously a bit gross so brace yourself). The skin underneath just looks like…skin!

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this is happening right when I’ve been on a special diet for a couple of weeks.

And now I’m wondering if the repeated buildup of dead skin wasn’t just par for the course with having a wart – maybe it was my body trying to push the bacteria out of me and clear the wart up and it couldn’t do it because of…whatever food has been fucking me up that I have now stopped eating.

Also, I’m pretty sure my skin is clearing up. Usually I have zits all over my arms and legs and there seem to be a lot fewer of them right now (which also happened when I went off gluten and soy protein back in the day). Also my rosacea is currently less crusty/red/intrusive than it often gets, but it tends to go through cycles so I don’t wanna be too quick to attribute that to the diet. If it ever stops being red at all, that will mean something. Or even if it keeps on being faintly red but doesn’t get worse if I get stressed out.

 

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Love Languages

I’m sure I’ve posted before about how a summary of the book The Five Love Languages totally changed my life. The premise is basically 1) everyone has specific things that make them feel loved. 2) you and your partner’s things might not be the same. 3) people tend to do to unto others as they would have others do unto them – which can lead to anger/bitterness/mismatches as one or both halves of a couple expresses love for the other one, but not in the right way for that person, so they don’t feel loved. This explains a big chunk of what went wrong in my marriage: I’m 99% sure the thing my ex needed to receive from me was “acts of service” – for me to do little things to make his life easier. My health issues precluded this, though, so I’d lavish him with compliments and mushy stuff instead – and he doesn’t really give a shit about verbal affection. Meanwhile his resentment toward me made him never want to have sex with me and sex/touch is the huge thing that makes me feel loved, so…

It’s now my standard practice to ask each new partner what their “love languages” are, but despite that I still default to thinking other people have the same ones as me, I guess. Or else I second-guess things.

For The Dandy’s birthday last year I made a point of taking him out and treating him to dinner, gelato, and clubbing because I looooove that he treats me to outings all the time and I wanted to give him that same buzz, that same feeling of being taken care of. Turns out that this isn’t how his brain works; this year, I tentatively budgeted $200 for his gift and $200 for us to go out together, but a bunch of the stuff on his gift list was over $200 so I began to wonder if I should allocate my funds differently. I asked “what’s more important to you, a present or a night out?” and he immediately said “present.” Oh. Well then.

Even presents aren’t that important to The Dandy. I mean I’d imagine if I just didn’t give him anything for his birthday he’d be sad just on principle, but the fact of the matter is he makes a lot of money and can get what he wants when he wants. Me buying him a gift isn’t the only way he is likely to procure that item, like it is for me when I ask him to buy me something expensive. And someone using their initiative and imagination to come up with a gift for him doesn’t register as thoughtful or exciting to him because he has extremely specific tastes and chances are whatever someone improvises for him won’t actually be something he likes.

I’ve realized that I have a pattern of buying expensive (by my standards) things for people I really love, expressly because I’m fairly poor and really cheap so I’m wanting to show how much I care about someone by sacrificing for them. I bought a boyfriend a $250 custom ring for his birthday one time…another boyfriend was obsessed with Honda Precidias and I very nearly put a downpayment on one for him as a gift (I thought better of it because he hadn’t actually had any plans to buy a car so this gift would have been “surprise! Now you have to make monthly payments for god knows how long!”). Both of these incidents were when I was in my late teens, btw. I worked part-time back then. I made six dollars an hour.

Again, though – The Dandy makes a lot of money. And he’s never been poor in his entire life. He sort of doesn’t understand the concept of not having money – not in any real way. Thus I’ve realized that if I bought him some huge-ass, multi-thousand-dollar thing he’s been wanting, he wouldn’t be humbled by my epic sacrifice. He wouldn’t even lose his mind with excitement the way I would if he bought me something I wanted that was that expensive (I flat out don’t spend that kind of money on myself, so him buying it would be the only way I would have it). He’d just be like “Oh cool – I was gonna save up for a couple of months to get this, and now you’ve saved me that time. That’s convenient. Thanks!”

So I’m glad I didn’t do my epic sacrifice thing with him. I would have been disappointed by how it landed.

In related news, I’ve had a lot of time off lately but I’ve been depressed and anxious and not making good use of it. Just sitting around planning more things I wanna buy myself, really. And despite all evidence that money means almost nothing to The Dandy, I still worry that he secretly hates me for not chipping in more on expenses. I also worry that he’s begun secretly hating me for how little stuff I’m doing around the house, and/or that he hates that I’m agoraphobic and never go anywhere.

I’ve been feeling a bit better and more energetic lately and decided I would try to make up for my general uselessness. We’re running low on cat food so I was going to go out and buy some tomorrow. A sacrifice born out of love, you see, because I don’t want to spend money and I don’t ever want to leave the house and I hate carrying heavy shit and I’d be doing all three of those things.

But then I caught myself and decided I’d better ask The Dandy what would make him happiest. So I said “If I were going to do some household thing in the near future, what would make you the happiest? I was thinking of going on a cat food run tomorrow.”

The Dandy said “Nah, I can pick up cat food on my way home from work, that’s easy. I’d rather you tidied up the dining room area because it’s cluttered in there and we’re about to get that new dining set from my mom.”

Well shit, somehow I did not see that one coming. I’m glad I asked.

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More weight talk

This is definitely not a post you want to read if you’re triggered by eating disorder/body/food talk. Be warned.

I didn’t intend this blog to be about my weight or body particularly, nor did I intend it to be a file folder of info I might need to check later. But I happened to mention my weight and/or measurements a few times in passing over the years and it’s been interesting to see this. Like, sometimes I’ll be reading old posts for whatever reason and stumble over one that mentions my waist measurement and I’m like “Oh weird – I thought I was the same size as now for the past few years but apparently in spring of 2017 I was thinner.”

So anyway, in case I wanna remember this later, here are some things going on with this low FODMAP diet I’m trying to do.

For the first couple of days of this experiment I ate pretty much just eggs, salmon, mayonnaise, salad greens, red pepper, and plain milk chocolate (oh and sometimes the green drink I make from strawberries, orange juice, spinach, maple syrup and powdered peanut butter). And suddenly I looked thin as hell. 32″ waist or maybe just a fraction bigger. So it seems like the low FODMAP thing has some merit for me, probably.

Soon after that I ate a bunch of chicken (but nothing else different, I don’t think) and I didn’t bloat up to the three-months-pregnant look that had become typical for me, but I feel like I got a bit thicker compared to when my sole source of animal flesh was salmon (The Dandy agrees, but it didn’t occur to me to measure and see for sure) and my stomach felt a little bit burbly. CHICKEN DOESN’T EVEN HAVE ANY DAMN FODMAPS IN IT, which leads me to the tentative and depressing conclusion that there may well be foods that make me bloat for reasons other than the FODMAP thing.

But the effects of the chicken were so subtle that I began to wonder if I was imagining them, and also I think I ate a couple of other mildly questionable things around the same time (a handful of potato chips whose flavouring might have FODMAPy stuff in it but I didn’t bother researching because I assumed the amount would be negligible; a bunch of chocolate with coconut in it and the internet can’t entirely decide whether coconut has unacceptable FODMAP levels or not). So I went back to the original food lineup for a couple of days. My waist quickly seemed to look smaller again, although (oddly) never smaller than 33″. Maybe I was extra-thin at the very beginning just from my body being shocked by the big changes, and now I’ve bounced back and 33″ is where I level off. I dunno.

Here’s an unexpected thing, though: I weighed around 206-207lbs for quite a while. Then back in April I weighed myself and was startled to find I was 211lbs. I’ve been as high as 215 a couple of times since then. After just four or five days doing this stupid low FODMAP diet, I weighed myself and found that I was back to 206lbs again. This morning I was 205.6lbs. I haven’t been lower than 206 in months.

So now I’m intrigued. I’m not skimping on food at all – I eat when I’m hungry and keep going til I’m full, and I’ve been having a fair bit of mayonnaise and chocolate – and yet I seem to be losing weight. I can think of two possible reasons:

  1. I think I read somewhere that, for some people, being sensitive to a particular food will cause them to hold onto calories more, somehow? So when they stop eating the thing, they effortlessly lose weight. I would honestly love if that were the case. I’ve mostly made my peace with being the weight that I am (as long as my stomach isn’t all bloated up like a fucking basketball!) but it would be nice to be thinner and it would be especially nice to get thinner by just cutting out one or two foods and still eating as much as I want of everything else.
  2. One of the foods I cut out was dairy (aside from whatever’s in the chocolate I’ve been eating). I used to eat cheese pretty much every day, and ice cream most days, too. So maybe just in cutting those things out, I’ve eliminated so many calories from my diet that weight is coming off me? But that doesn’t entirely make sense to me. I’m still eating a fair bit of mayonnaise and chocolate. I’m hardly on any kind of low fat diet. Also, I tried to restrict my calories some back in March or so to absolutely no effect. But maybe I’m currently eating less mayonnaise than I think I am; perhaps being on a diet (even just a low FODMAP diet) is making me more aware of my intake in general and I’m scaling some stuff back without realizing it.

Today I feel my digestive stuff has leveled out from me paring back to basics for like three days or so, so I’m eating a whole shitload of Miss Vickie’s Sweet Chili and Sour Cream chips (but otherwise not deviating from the original diet) to see if that does anything to my gut.

After that’s established, I’ll go back to basics yet again and once my gut is reset I’ll try chicken again.

After that experiment, maybe cheese.

We’ll see what happens.

 

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More food restrictions. Wheeee!

For years now I’ve been intermittently displeased with how thick my waist has gotten, and intermittently felt fat.

I figured out a while back that it’s not even really a weight gain issue, it’s bloating. When I “felt fat” it wasn’t in the sense of “I think I look fat” it’s that…okay, you know how when you stand up straight there’s a certain amount of tightening your ab muscles that goes with that? I couldn’t tighten my abs/suck in my stomach the way I used to. The bloating in my stomach pushed out against my abs so that I couldn’t. The outward pressure in my belly is what made me physically feel fat. I’d try to suck in my gut but it was like there was a bowling ball in there preventing it. That’ll make a person feel pretty bulbous.

And I’d go for weeks on end looking in the mirror every day like “Ugh, I am putting on weight in my midsection” but then one day I’d randomly wake up looking 20lbs thinner. But I’d weigh the same as the day before. This is what made me realize I was bloating. Oh also on a few occasions I was looking super fat but then I had a ridiculous 45-second continuous fart and was thin again afterward, which is sort of a dead giveaway.

It’s funny because when I saw a gastroenterologist about this, she said most people experience pain with bloating. I don’t. Maybe I’ve been having gastrointestinal issues for so long that my stomach is stretchier than other people’s, I dunno. Anyway, the gastroenterologist wanted to do the camera-down-the-throat thing to me and that’s one of my biggest phobias so I said let’s not do that just yet; I’d try the low FODMAP diet first.

FODMAP is an acronym that I can’t remember what it stands for right now but it basically refers to certain kinds of sugars in food (the F is almost certainly for fructose). Some people don’t handle certain sugars very well, and they ferment in your stomach, causing gas and bloating. The low FODMAP diet is basically an “elimination diet” where you start off avoiding all the various kinds of FODMAPs and then add stuff back in one at a time to figure out what’s bothering your gut.

For some reason, the first few times I read about this diet, I missed the part where some people are only sensitive to one kind of FODMAP and the diet is a temporary thing to narrow shit down so you know the specific things to avoid. I thought you had to just go off all the FODMAPs forever and ever. Which is maybe why it’s taken me this long to actually do the diet. I’ve been on a vegetarian, vegan, Akins, and paleo diet at various times in my life and for the past bunch of years I’ve pretty much an omnivore except no gluten or soy protein. Food restriction has been a big part of my life for decades now and I’m kind of burned out on it TBH. I didn’t love the idea of having to cut more things out.

But yeah. It’s been maybe a week, and I am (comparatively) as thin as a little toothpick. I’m gonna try to stay strict about this for another week or so just to make sure it’s not a coincidence (I don’t think it is; I’ve been consistently thin for more days in a row right now than I have been in years) and then I’ll start adding things back in very slowly and one at a time.

I miss cheese a lot. The lists I’ve seen of low- vs high-FODMAP foods generally say that hard cheeses are okay and soft cheeses are not. The cheese I eat most often is mild marble cheese, which is on the squishier side but not super oozy like brie or anything so I don’t know if it counts as “soft” or not. But I eat this cheese more consistently than just about any other potentially FODMAP-y food I can think of, so if anything is a candidate in making me all bloaty practically every day, it’s that.

One thing I didn’t expect (but probably should have; it’s pretty logical) was that this diet is giving me a bit more energy. Or maybe energy is not quite the right word…basically what I’m trying to say is, in practice I’m being as lazy as ever, but if I picture myself going on the exercise bike or doing some situps I don’t feel as “ugh” about it as I normally would. Which is understandable. Who wants to exercise when they feel like there’s a bowling ball in their stomach? Especially any sort of exercise that engages the abdominals, which is a lot of them?

So anyway, we’ll see what happens. I hope that the FODMAP thing does in fact turn out to be my issue (if I remain on the strict part of the diet but my gut blows up anyway, I’ll be back to square one of not knowing wtf is wrong with me) and that it’s only one or two things that fuck me up (so I don’t have to restrict my diet too much, going forward).

 

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WOOT

Over dinner today The Dandy mentioned that he’s still getting severance cheques from his old job (they’re paying it in regular paycheque form rather than a lump sum) and he’ll be getting his first cheque soon from his new job. So there’s overlap to the tune of several thousand dollars.

I feel more confident now in guessing that The Dandy is not going to belatedly ask me for money for that $1,200 veterinary bill.

Ohhhhh my god that’s such a load of stress off my mind.

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Shiny shiny consumerism

It would be awesome if The Dandy acted like a full-out sugar daddy and bought me stuff when I mentioned wanting it. It has bothered me sometimes that he doesn’t, TBH. I know that sounds entitled as shit but the fact is, he makes exponentially more than I do and has even said he would like it if I dressed better – so the obvious solution here is to buy me some outfits we both like, yes? But he doesn’t buy me clothes unless I specifically ask for something for a birthday or Christmas gift. Also he’s seen me stressing out over not being able to afford things I want or need and hasn’t stepped in, even though he could easily have solved my problem. Easily.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I’d buy my partner stuff. I actually really love getting someone a thing I know they really want, plus I don’t like to see someone I love get stressed out over being poor, plus them stressing out over being poor while I live in the same apartment as them and constantly buy myself big-ticket items would seem kinda gauche.

But anyway. This all matters less and less since The Dandy told me outright that the few ~$200 vet bills he paid for are pretty much nothing to him and he doesn’t want me to reimburse him at all.

Bastardcat had his big dental surgery on Tuesday and that cost around $1200 and The Dandy paid for that, too, mostly by dint of arriving at the vet’s office first I guess. If we’d convened there to pick up Bastardcat at the same time, I don’t know if he would have glanced over at me to settle up the bill or what. Once I caught up with The Dandy and we had Bastardcat safely home, I told The Dandy to let me know if he wants me to give him any money for the bill. He acknowledged me with the smallest possible awkward grunt. It stresses me out that he never just says “It’s okay; I got this.” As it stands, I don’t know if he’s covering the vet appointment; I just know he hasn’t asked me to reimburse him yet. I suspect if he was going to ask for some money back, he would have by now; it’s been a few days. But I’m not positive.

But yeah. I think he’s covering pretty much all of the vet expenses (except I stepped up and paid for the visit that happened while The Dandy was laid off), and he’s clearly comfortable buying me groceries – in the beginning he would do big grocery trips where he’d pay for food for the whole household, but I felt weird getting stuff that I knew only I would eat. But he encouraged me to (“Aren’t you out of drinkable yogurts?”). And since then there have been several times when I asked to go grocery shopping because we were out of some things I like, and when he said ok I thought he meant he had stuff he wanted to get, too, but we ended up buying just stuff for me and he paid. There have also been several times when we were at a grocery store or drug store and I asked “is there anything you want? I have a big wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket…” and he either kept his items to an absolute minimum or insisted there was nothing he wanted. Other times, I’ve been like “Hey we’re almost out of cat food but I can probably drop by the store after work if you want” (alone, which means I use my money) and he’s like “Nah, we can just go tonight” (if we both go, that means he’s buying and I’m just keeping him company so it’s less of a chore).

And since not paying for groceries, cat supplies, or vet bills (and paying majorly reduced rent) has freed up a shit-ton of my money and I’m slowly learning to unclench and actually spend it, it means I’m buying myself a steady trickle of fun stuff. And The Dandy takes an interest in the things I buy without ever giving off a bitter vibe of “How dare you buy that instead of contributing to groceries you bitch.”

I’m not sure he would have been like this in the beginning ( but I wasn’t nearly as comfortable asking him to buy me stuff* as I later became, so I’ll never know). I suspect he was wary of being taken advantage of, wary of this turning into another Dandette situation, maybe even not feeling close enough to me yet to fully want to help and take care of me. But things shifted over time and here we are.

All of this to say: that pair of custom boots The Dandy bought me for my birthday back in April are finally done and they are fucking amazing! So, I immediately told the guy I wanted to buy another pair of boots from him in a different style. Those are now underway and will probably be done faster than that first pair. I’m not sure yet exactly how much they’re gonna end up being, but I’m betting around $600. Definitely no more than $800. And I can buy these for myself because, thanks to The Dandy, I’m finally not in desperate financial straits anymore.

I absolutely need more custom boots after this pair, too, but with how long these things can take sometimes I think I’ll ask for my third pair for Christmas. I have an idea for a very fancy pair of boots that could very well cost $1,000. When I asked The Dandy if that was outside of his budget for Christmas or birthday gifts for me, he said no, he’s willing. 😀 😀 😀

Although upon reflection I feel that it would be better to get something more practical first. So, for Christmas I’ll probably ask for more of an everyday pair (that is still a wee bit more expensive than I’m comfortable paying for myself – honestly, when I paid just over $600 for that first pair I just about hyperventilated at the cash register**). Perhaps I’ll ask for the wildly expensive and flashy ones for my birthday. And sometime in there I might buy myself yet another pair of the marginally cheaper and still very practical boots that they make.

To be clear, this is not me being super extravagant (although who the fuck cares if I was? The Dandy and I both earn our money fair and square and money is for spending). As far as everyday footwear goes, I’m down to one pair of running shoes and one pair of boots that’s beaten to absolute shit and the left sole is coming off (well, now I also have one pair of glorious custom boots). That’s it. And my feet are shaped and sized oddly enough that it’s really hard to find footwear that doesn’t hurt me. Often I’ve ended up spending $300, anyway, to get a decent-quality pair of off-the-rack leather boots that still fit me a bit weirdly but at least didn’t actively rip my feet up to the bleeding point or crunch my toes into a throbbing angry blob.

need footwear right now. And skipping the whole bullshit shopping process is well worth a few hundred bucks extra to me.

 

*The Dandy doesn’t talk about our money imbalance openly, and the one time I brought it up, he looked like he would die of awkwardness. So everything is wrapped in elaborate layers of code. I’m not exactly saying “buy me X!” per se; I’m saying “I crave sushi.” But was I mean is “are you willing to take me out to sushi? Because I want some but quite honestly I will never be willing to spend the money on it.” If he replies “why don’t we go to that sushi place on Main Street?” that means “yes, I’m willing.” It’s a whole thing.

**It was technically The Dandy’s money paying for those, or mostly The Dandy’s money. My portion of the rent for April was slated to be around $450, and the boots I wanted started at $425, so The Dandy told me to just not pay him any rent that month and then buy the boots with my own debit card. I did not realize that the boots would end up being so much more than $425, in the end. I opted not to come home and ask The Dandy to fork over another $200, given that he’s paid all of Bastardcat’s vet bills so recently. 😛

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