Monday, June 26, 2017

Media Transparency Discussion Series: Introduction

A new study recently came out that states in big bold headlines that the two sides of the political coin, Democrats and Republicans, hold vastly different opinions of the media. Whereas the Left is inclined to trust the media and have faith in it's integrity, the Right mostly believes the opposite. This has many disturbing implications for both sides. Is that trust in the integrity of media misplaced for the Democrats? And for the Conservatives, is that lack of faith a sign of something much darker? What happened to make this dichotomy a reality? In order to properly answer these questions, there needs to be a clear understanding of how mass media functions today, followed by a discussion of how to handle problems with the system, and ultimately on how to reconcile across the aisle.

To begin organizing our framework, let's attempt to define what the "Media" is. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “The main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively.” That differs from mass media, which is defined as “technology that is intended to reach a mass audience. It is the primary means of communication used to reach the vast majority of the general public. The most common platforms for mass media are newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. The general public typically relies on the mass media to provide information regarding political issues, social issues, entertainment, and news in pop culture.” That is a much more loaded definition. For our purposes, we define the media according to it's dictionary definition, as the laws regarding how it functions treat it as such, however that definition provides no context for determining the answers to the questions established in our opening paragraph.

We need to understand what this big gloopy thing,"The Media", is and how it functions (funding, information dissemination, ethics, etc.). From that baseline, we get into the nitty gritty and begin unraveling what laws and policies govern what the media can/can’t, or will/won’t do with regards to it’s reporting. It is also vital to explain how different types of media function within these parameters (public vs. private). To do this, we will look at a collection of news sources case studies and examine them through the framework established above. At the end of this series, we will move into a discussion of media bias, transparency, how the current political climate in America has been impacted, and strategies to counter misinformation.

We will stick to media that is focused on news distribution, as opposed to social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and books for our first series. News is distributed most often through TV, Radio, Newspapers, and the wide open Internet. Most Americans get their news from television networks, the big three being Fox Network Corporation, CNN and MSNBC. We will be examining those, as well as looking at NPR, and The New York Times because according to studies performed by Pew Research, most of those who identify as Liberal get their news from those two sources in addition to the three mentioned formerly.

With luck and a lot of research, I hope to make this very complicated and extremely vital topic a little less murky.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goal Setting Review

Last December (2015), my fiancee and I decided to set OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for 2016. I don't recall exactly how this came about but we had set a goal to attempt to buy a house in January of 2016, and I think we just decided to attempt to do something with our time now that we had stable living conditions (whoo not super impoverished! Take that neoliberalist regime?).

Okay, that's a little too simplified. Maybe that is how it was for my fiancee, but for me, it was a rough culmination of months of thinking. You see, 2014 was very hard. I had bounced from job to job, desperately trying to make money, climb out of poverty, and contribute to society. I could not afford to fuck up, I had no home to bounce back to after college, my parents were as poor or poorer than I was. I had student loans. When I was between jobs, I spent all my time alone at home, applying to as many jobs as I could. Here's a screenshot of my Applied Jobs folder from that time. Next time you shit on your friends or kids who are looking for entry level positions, maybe you'll remember this:

(That's not even close to all of them)
Those were the worst times, you'd put in a bunch of effort, calling, writing letters, applying through their automated systems. You'd do interviews, never get a call back, etc. The hours I spent just feeling like the absolute scum of the Earth were some of the worst I've ever had. I contemplated ending it. I am serious here. I thought about killing myself because I couldn't find a job, or the jobs I did get paid little and were shit. My self worth was tied up in what I did to make money. How fucking insane does that sound in the written word?
On a day just like any other at that time, I read something and I suddenly made the connection. I was more than money. Money is a social power construct. I wasn't just a job, just some fucking numbers on a check. Even if I never made another dollar, that didn't mean that I wasn't worthy of living, that didn't mean that I couldn't do other things. Just because I was poor didn't mean that I couldn't contribute to art, or go hiking, or learn to make really good food. How much money I made didn't make me a good or happy person. My boyfriend (now fiancee) had been telling me this for months, but it wasn't clicking. I had grown up to believe that money was everything because we never had enough.

I survived 2014 because I had a great support network of friends, family, and most importantly, aid from the government. I stress that last part. Without the food stamps, medical care, and low student loans that the great state of California and the USA at large had given to me, I would be in a hell hole today, or dead. In January of 2015, I managed to find a job that I liked and paid me well. I was able to pay off my student loans, and have, for the very first time in my entire life, more than $1000 in my bank account. I actually cried when I filled out the paperwork to enroll on my employer's health care plan. I was not on Medi-Cal for the first time in my entire life. I could afford to go to the dentist (I wrote a whole saga about that here). Despite me being more than money, money is power, and having even a little bit of that power makes all the goddamn difference. You are more than a paycheck, but a paycheck makes it easier to live.

The last couple of months leading up to December 2015 had been very strange for me. I had some income, I was debt free. I spent a few months adjusting to my new life, trying to figure out what I was doing or supposed to do. I realized that just going to work and coming home wasn't enough for me. I work in hospice care. While I am not a nurse, I read notes and speak with people who used our services (patients, family members, etc.). I am in the business of helping people handle the end of their lives. It very slowly occurred to me that the future is really just a bunch of todays and that if all I did was wait until the next day, or just put something into the vague category of "I want to do that someday" that I never would. I wanted to do a lot of things.

I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same typical American town, and we were too poor to go anywhere or do much. When I was a kid, it never occurred to me to actually try and go anywhere or do much of anything, because I knew we wouldn't have the money or the time, so why bother right then? Just file it away in someday, or brush it off.

Suddenly, I had some income. I had some time. I didn't have to spend every night lying awake thinking about whether or not I would have food, or if I could afford rent, or how much I hate I felt about myself, about market economics, about state sanctioned poverty. Pile that on top of my revelation that money wouldn't give me meaning, and that just having an income wouldn't make me a better person and I began to look for something more.

Thus in December, my fiancee was introduced to OKRs at his job. He told me about them, and we decided to set some for ourselves.

The goals were created on the fly and intended to take us through the year, and we separated them into joint goals and individual goals as seen below.

Joint Goals:
  • Buy a fucking house
  • Hike twice a month (24 times for the year)
  • Run eight miles a week
  • Bike instead of drive for one weekend of the month
  • Take a parkour/acroyoga class
  • Improve our art skills judged by a Jan-Dec comparison
  • Go camping 4 times
  • Fly somewhere round trip
  • Go ice skating once/month
  • Start storyboarding for a creative project
My personal goals:
  • Write a grant
  • Read two books a month
  • Learn Spanish
  • Finish the book I was working on
  • Work on this blog
Well it's December 31st, 2016 and our scorecard is:
  • Hiked 18 times
  • I read 25 books 
  • Practiced Spanish every day this year, relearned math (all the way up through Algebra 1), started learning Japanese (152 day practicing streak whoo!)
  • Bought the goddamn house 
  • Actually did improve in the art department, did a 30 day art challenge even
  • Finished my book
  • Did not drive for a weekend for 5 months
  • Stopped running once we started buying the house, about April
  • Found two camping locations, but have yet to get the required gear
  • Stopped going ice skating once we started buying the house
  • Didn't write a grant, but did create multiple pieces of design collateral
  • I wrote more of this blog than I ever have before. I made 11 entire blog posts! (this is where you clap goddamn it)
  • Realized that parkour/acroyoga classes cost a lot of money when you're trying to buy a house
  • Jesus fucking flying costs so much money in America
We knew we probably wouldn't make all of these goals. The point of OKRs is to set really ambitious goals and make an attempt to meet them, then reassess after the set time period has elapsed.

Setting these goals has changed my life. I feel satisfied. I always feel like I'm doing something. Even if I have a fucking awful day, I am able to say something like "At least I did some Spanish today" or "At least I read some of my book today." I have more faith in myself that I can do something if I try. Most importantly, I have a better idea of what I actually do want to do. I discovered that I hardcore love languages. I also really enjoy drawing architecture.

That being said, this shit is challenging as fuck. There were days when I want to straight up fucking die. Fall down and not get up.


Judging things on a yearly basis is too large of a time scale for our brains to handle. This time we have big overarching goals for the year, but were breaking them down to a quarterly basis.

Go in with a plan. A clear, concrete plan. Without one, you will make every excuse to get around what you're doing, because you're tired or you had a hard day, or you want to binge watch Ghost in the Shell. Take the time to put in those details. Plan in advance where you are hiking and for how long. I had my fiancee write a program to determine how many pages I had to read a day in order to read 24 books in a year.

Put things on a calendar and set reminders. For the love of god, why did I only find out that Asana has Google Calendar integration in December?! Keep your goals on something that you can access from anywhere at any time. Checking them often is really helpful to staying on track.

We underestimated the difficulty of many of the goals. We didn't realize that buying a house and working on it would eat most of our time (jesus fuck, fuck painting). Camping requires finding places and reserving spots. It also requires certain equipment. Hiking also requires planning, but you don't have to reserve a spot for it, and you don't necessarily need equipment.

Exercising is really important, but it is the first thing you let go. It's especially hard to manage when you don't know what you are doing. You really really need to have a plan here. You have to take the long view and figure out exactly what you're doing. No excuses whatsoever here. A class is great because then all you have to do is go to the class, you don't have to plan out every single exercise and the exact weight amounts, and time it exactly. The instructor does that for you.

As much fun as it was to read 25 books this year, it was too much. For 2017, I am going to cut it down to 12. I need time after work to do other things like crying and cleaning.

Break the big goals into little ones. That "Rome wasn't built in a day" shit is actually accurate.

Setting goals has been amazing for my financial planning. This is probably tangental, but it has been really useful to have a budgeting program and figure out my plan for retirement and only stay up half the night thinking about it, instead of the whole night. This is something everyone needs to learn how to do. Financial education is more important than knowing who the President is (not to say they aren't related).

Things that I didn't like:

Sometimes things just felt too regimented. Wake up, go to work, come home, cook, read, Spanish/math/Japanese, repeat. I think this can be better dealt with by having a better understanding of your time and energy levels.

People look at you like you're a crazy person when you show them your book list, or talk to them about the goals you've set. This one isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something I noticed.

Planning everything is a job in-and-of itself. Try to pick one day a month and just push through those 6 hours. Spreading it out is a good way to fail.

It was hard to fit additional things into your schedule. For example, I realized that I find knitting to be fun, and I wanted to make a beanie, but didn't because I could never fit it in around all the other stuff I was doing on a daily basis.

Taking a break was almost impossible. The house really killed my motivation, and there were weeks when I would come home from work and only have time to do my goals and then pass out. I had very little time to unwind or watch a TV show, or even just stare blankly at a wall.

Things I liked:

Learning something new every day, 'nuff said.

Taking the long view is actually quite calming. It takes practice, but it takes a load off your shoulders. I recently wrote up my first ever five year plan. It's ambitious, and I don't know how much I'll actually accomplish, but just trying will get me farther than filing it into the "someday" folder.

I felt like I had some semblance of control over my life. Even though we have Trump now, I could still wake up in the morning and be like "Alright, how do I say "I have a basement you can hide in." in Spanish? (Tengo un sotano eso puede te ocultar.)

Feeling like every day presents some new challenge, even if the action is similar made life a little less monotonous. I feel healthy and happy mentally. I always have a purpose. Something to strive for. I feel like I'm getting somewhere, even though that somewhere is just a better version of myself.

Would I do this again? 

Yes. I plan to set OKRs for the rest of my life. I feel on track. I feel like I am improving as a person every day. I learn something new every day. I can look back at the end of the year and say "holy shit what happened?" but in a good way (though 2016 has made that really hard). That's something I've never felt before.

So here's to 2017. I know on many fronts (social, economic, environmental) it'll be shit, but that doesn't mean I have to stop doing what I'm doing to be better for myself.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Post Move Life

I survived the move.

Being a homeowner is almost the same as renting. I still have chores, I still have to go grocery shopping, I still have to work out, and accomplish some kind of personal goal that makes me feel like a person and not a robot.

But there are differences and new challenges. I actually have to care about my neighbors. I have to care about having earthquake insurance. I have to care about my plumbing, my electrical, my roof, my backyard.

There is a never-ending slew of projects. Right now it's redoing the sewer lateral, and painting two rooms to prep for my next challenge of being a landlord. After that, it's make the backyard stop looking like an empty weed filled lot, make the in-law unit an actual living space, make the front yard look less like someone went to Mars and then just dumped the red rocks they stole all over it.

Those are just incoming/ongoing projects. That doesn't include figuring out new furniture arrangements, making sure the tree in front is trimmed, or learning to sleep with new sounds.

It hasn't been bad, though it hasn't all been good either. It's been mostly okay with special days of awful, like when we found out that the sewer lateral estimate that came in our disclosure packet was off by about $7k, or when we thought about redoing the electrical and that turned out to be $25k.

We also learned that we have to draw a line somewhere when renting out rooms to friends. They have to actually have a job that they don't intend to quit a day after signing the lease. They need to understand the legal ramifications of entering a lease. It's difficult. I suppose that's why you don't go into business with friends.

The added responsibilities of homeownership pile up quickly. There's all the maintenance, and the new loyalty to your neighborhood. You don't want to be the shit house on the street bringing down property values, your neighbors glaring at you as they scuttle about their carefully made front yards. You want the nearby elementary school to be good. You want the local businesses to thrive. You have to care about zoning and property taxes, sex offenders, and environmental regulations.

The important thing is to pick your battles like any good general. You choose what weekends are house work, and what weekends are for you, and you realize that it will be a long time, maybe even never, that the latter will greatly outnumber the former.

It's a challenge that isn't for the faint of heart, I think that people should talk to their doctors before they attempt to buy a house.

The real thing is what you decide to do once you get a clean bill of health.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Change Comes Quickly

Saying Goodbye.

I know it's just an apartment. It's just walls and crappy fake hardwood floors. Insulation and plumbing. It's a structure, walls roof and doors.

But for three years it's been mine.

For three years, I have lived here in my apartment. I got engaged within it, hosted my first big family Thanksgiving. I know I will have the memories, but breaking up with my apartment to move onto to something better (hopefully).

My house will be an investment. I don't love it yet. The HGTV feelings will never happen, but I hope that in three years, I will love my house as much as I love my apartment.
I hope I love my new neighborhood as much as I love this one. I hope that I can adjust to this new period quickly and without too much heartache.

As I sit here, in probably my last hours in my apartment alone, with it relatively unpacked up, I try to find solace in my changing life. As I pack boxes of books, art, clothing and wonder where to put them, I find myself wishing I wasn't leaving. It's hard.

It isn't just the new neighborhood, the new house with it's creaks and groans. It's the new responsibilities. Suddenly I have all this responsibility. I have to take care of things when they break, I have to do it, not just call my landlord and wait. I have property taxes to worry about, and I have to actually get to know my neighbors. I can't just up and leave anytime now. I know how whiny and privledged all this sounds, bite me.

My fiancee finds all this freeing I think, but it scares me. I feel so young to be taking this step. This step into more advanced adulthood. No one in my family has owned a house before. I am the flagship. They look at me differently now.

Packing up my life is harder than it was the last time. It's harder than when I left for college, leaving my friends, my mom alone in a shite neighborhood. It's harder than when my roommates and I split at my last house and not on particularly great terms. It's harder than flip-flopping between jobs and feeling like I am a waste of life on the downturns.

I don't like looking at my now empty bookshelves. I don't like looking at the boxes stacked in my living room. I feel oddly homeless. My apartment is beginning to feel like a stranger, like a friend that you've drifted from. My new house is big and empty, a stranger who is just beginning to become a friend.

The whole moving process is an exercise in exhaustion. Last week we spent 75 hours in 5 days prepping the new house for us to move in. It still needs more work, but my body, mind, and soul have no energy to give.
I'm sick of this. I want to be happy and excited, after all, I have no choice. It's happening.

It's happening.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Life Long Ache

Screeching metal, harsh chemical smell of burnt rubber, bits of shrapnel bouncing off of my goggles as I struggle to breathe through the my nose, harsh light shining straight into my eyes.

To be clear, I'm sitting in a chair at my Dentists'.

The first memory I have of visiting the dentist is screaming in a chair as a man rips one of my teeth out without numbing my mouth. My mother sits in the corner on one of those metal spindly chairs that you most commonly see stacked in corners in a school gym. She didn't know he was going to pull a tooth. Neither did I.
He was white, tall, and the hair on top of his head appeared to be migrating to his arms instead. I can remember the event as if I am watching it from someone else's eyes. The screaming child, the nurse with a face mask holding her legs down as she desperately tried to get away. Her mother, eyes wide with horror, pale, disbelief in what was happening plastered across her face.

Dentist, large, crushing my lower jaw in one hand to keep my six year old mouth open, eyes empty like a shark, gloved hands covered in blood as he wrenches a tooth out with pliers.

I bled for days, and the clearly demarcated bruises in the shape of fingertips on my jaw made me hide my face for days. My mom swore over and over, like a mantra to herself, that we'd never go back to him, and my father would clench his hands into fists whenever he looked at my face.
My mom called the Better Business Bureau, and searched for help from any organization willing to pursue a lawsuit, but to no end. Why?

Because my family made less than $20,000 a year. Because we were on Medi-Cal, and that meant that we should count our blessings that we had access to any dental coverage at all.

Being poor meant that I rarely saw a dentist growing up. I didn't know how to properly floss, or how often to brush. If there was pain, I had to deal with it, because we didn't have the money to cover the copay, or we couldn't take time off work. My teeth were yellow, so I hid them in photos. It wasn't only lack of proper dental hygiene that caused issues, inadequate access to good sources of nutrition also had an effect.

One of the most shocking (to me, now that I have had time to experience life on the other side) things I experienced was when I sat with my mother at the social services office to complain about the dental service we had received. We got a dispassionate and rude response from the overweight woman on the other side of the desk who said "Well, you get what you pay for." At the time, this was a normal, hell, even acceptable response. We just nodded our heads in dull acceptance, and moved on to the next issue like getting denied food stamps, or questioned endlessly about why my mother didn't accept a part-time job that would actually have made us poorer had she taken it. This was the 90s, when the Clintons had pushed through a slew of welfare reforms that crushed my family in it's grips.

As I got older, the dread of the dentist only increased. Every time I went, I left with a mouth full of bright metal fillings, often with no warning, or explanation. More people with eyes that basically glazed over when they looked at me. In fact, one time the dentist I had drilled holes into my teeth while looking at his assistant and talked about the baseball game he had just seen. He didn't even ask my name when I sat in his chair.

If only I had known that the worst was yet to come.

Flash back about 6 months ago. I have, for the first time in my life, real dental insurance. I no longer have to rely on Medi-Cal for the first time in my entire life. My place of employment offers good benefits, and I decided to pay a visit to a dentist of my choice to find out the state of my teeth.

After searching Yelp, and scouring other review sites, I settled on a dentist near my home. The first thing I noticed upon walking through the door was the bright happy lighting, and the comfy, homey, waiting room chairs. The receptionist was friendly and gave me a very in-depth sheet of information to fill out. I had never received one like it before. It not only had questions about my medical past, but a bunch of questions about me as a person. My wait time was minutes instead of hours, and the assistant asked me lots of questions about my dental habits, and thoughtfully answered any questions I had, even the ones like "How Do I Brush Properly?". She took a few x-rays and then I met him, my dentist. Tall, with dark frizzy hair and kind eyes, he went over my x-rays patiently with me.

That's when "it" appeared. There, in the back of my mouth, molar number 19. I stared at the x-ray image before me. It did not look like my other teeth. The inside of it was all metal, right down to the roots. Almost comically, I turned, and looking my dentist in the eye, I said "What is that?"

He looked at me in surprise and said, "That is a root canal."

Apparently, some dentist I had had in the past had performed a major dental operation upon my tooth, and I had not even been told. It was uncapped/crowned, which it is not supposed to be because then plague and bacteria can and will get in and infect the roots and bone, possibly causing abscess, and a weakening of the bone structure and nerve damage.
I had no idea how old it was, or who performed it. After many repeat visits, I was sent to an Endospecialist for a retreatment of the tooth, which means removing the old root canal, and redoing it in hopes of preserving the tooth. This is no easy operation, and that's where my blog post began.

As my Endospecialist proceeded retreating my tooth, she discovered that the root canal had not even been finished, and that they had placed in plastic pins instead of the proper material, and were encased in rubber, that she then had to MELT off of my tooth in order to remove the pins. I have to be on antibiotics, and I have two or three more visits with her/my dentist in order to finish the procedure, if it even works. I may end up having to have it pulled, or get major surgery in order to put in an implant.
But I am lucky. My tooth never abscessed, or shattered down the middle, my jaw bone never cracked.

What fills me with rage is that some PIECE OF SHIT out there caused this, the hours of pain, the hundreds of dollars in medical bills, the stress. HE did not ask for my permission to rip out the inside of one of my teeth. HE did not inform me that that was what was occurring, nor did he communicate to his assistants, or me, that there was to be a follow up crowning, or completion. He went into my mouth, destroyed one of my teeth, which I obviously need, and did not even CARE ENOUGH TO INFORM ME or MY MOTHER.
He didn't care about me as a person, I was just a fucking number that maybe paid his fucking wage. I was just another stupid, uneducated, fucking Welfare Leech.

Because when you are poor, dentists don't give a SHIT about you.

Now that I make a decent living, and have had doctors who care, and dentists who send me fucking birthday cards in the mail, let me fucking tell you.

It. Is. Wrong.

It is wrong that the poor are prevented from getting proper dental care. It is wrong that the dentists we see rip out our teeth without explanation. It is wrong that they perform unnecessary procedures that endanger our lives. It is wrong that the very systems designed to help us instead ignore our cries and tell us instead that "we get what we pay for."

The scarring in my mouth will never leave me. I will always have problems with this tooth, and it will serve me well as a reminder to never, EVER, forget where I came from. Like the metal in my mouth, poverty will stick with me as long as I live.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

21 Days of Withdrawl

Well, we continue to move forward with the house, and now just have to wait 21 days of anxious non-being before we can get court approved and buy the fucking house.

Slowly I am letting go of the apartment. The way the fan always turns on in the bathrooms, the noise loud and abrasive, waking you in the middle of the night. The way the floor is a weird squishy hardwood, and the planks will separate and catch your socks sometimes, like the time it ripped a hole in our brand new sheets because they fell off the bed. The way our landlord writes racist comments in letters to us (okay, this is not endearing at all, but it is hilarious.). The weird driveway block (cement kitkats?) that doesn't allow us to pull all the way into our driveway and scrapes the bottom of the car if we get too close.

I guess I have to magnify all the little irritating things to huge proportions, so it feels like relief when we leave. Rather like the way you break-up with someone, or how you get over an ex.

But I am still attached. I still smile thinking of our apartment, but don't yet smile when I think of the house. The house is a stranger, or a friend that you are beginning to find attractive. It's an unknown entity. You don't know how it sounds at night, or the people it hangs around, what outfits it looks good or bad in. You haven't been privy to see it's strange and cute birthmarks, or... it's scars. Despite that weird ass phrasing, that is exactly what it feels like.

We're filming our apartment this weekend. We have one for every year we have lived here, and...well, this one is important. It's like that final family vacation before your siblings leave for college, or your parents split up, or your grandparents pas away. It's the physical representation of the way you want to remember your home.

I regretted the way I left the last place I truly lived. I didn't even spend the night in my bedroom that had been my home for ten years. I regret that. I regret not taking the time to say goodbye.

I won't let that happen to this place. To this part of my life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bankrupt it Up

This last month has been another 180. We visited a house on a whim, and actually liked it.

Of course, because it is us, it couldn't just be a normal house. No, of course the only house that we have seen that we actually like couldn't be simple. Oh no. Not us.

This house is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy sale is complicated. You need a judge to approve you buying the house. Instead of the seller, you have a trustee who has to take the best offer on the table. Once your offer is accepted, due to some arcane as fuck laws, you have to wait 21 days with your offer listed publicly and during that 21 days, a random person could come in and be like "oho! I like this!" and outbid you. Once you make it through the 21 days, you have to get the judge's approval and it proceeds from there mostly like a normal sale.

Long time to actually purchase the house (for us)
Complicated so it keep a lot of competition at bay
Potentially a good deal on a home because the court who became the seller just wants to get rid of it

The house almost definitely has something wrong with it
You could get your offer accepted and then get outbid in the 21 day period and you're out like $1k because you spent money on inspections
You have to wait 21 days
You need court approval

This process doesn't sound too complicated. I'm keeping it simple here. But just figuring this out was hell. There is almost no information on this process online. I spent 2 weeks attempting to understand the basics. The most helpful thing I found was a 2 page pdf from some random nobody lawyer in the middle of the US that gave a short sort of overview. We even spoke to a lawyer type person who was literally no help to us at all. In fact, I could argue that he gave us false information.

The Fiancee and I have given three whole extensions, and written two counter offers for this place. The trustee takes 7 billion years to get back to us, even exasperating the listing agent.

I would love to be able to sue the court system for the emotional, mental and physical stress this process of their has placed on me.

The truth is that I thought I would be able to continue to enjoy my current neighborhood for basically another year. I am not ready to say goodbye to where I live. I love my neighborhood. It's perfect. There is a library and a park basically across the street, it's close to public transit, it is around the corner from an elementary school, and a senior center. the street is a bike boulevard.

I love it here. I love it so much. I broke down at work on my lunch break and cried my eyes out in a bathroom stall, trying to be quiet because my coworkers are allowed to shit in peace.

I am aware that it isn't like I'll never come back. I even like the neighborhood that this house is in. It's cute and up and coming. It has good restaurants. There isn't a library though, and the parks aren't very close. But there are a couple of good elementary schools, and it has like 6 bus lines the pick up on the corner. The houses in the neighborhood are nice.

But it isn't here. It isn't the place I got engaged in, or where I hosted my first family Thanksgiving. It isn't where I said goodbye to my best friend when he moved to New York. It isn't where I've hosted countless games nights, and parties, where I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time, where I ran my first 5k, where I started to find myself, to be comfortable with me.

But the house, if we get it could be a new place for memories. I could own a pet, grow a real garden, my mom could move out of her shit hole neighborhood, I could be a landlord.

No it wouldn't be the same, and I know I won't stay here forever. But I don't know how to say goodbye.
I don't want to.
I'm not ready.

But who ever really is?