So, I’m now in western New York at my brother’s place, having come through Chicago and Toledo.

Really quick: I drove from where I live in the mountains to Denver last Tuesday. It. was. awful. Had I known the conditions, I wouldn’t have gone. The snowstorm made it hard to see, hard to drive, hard to anything. I have driven in bad conditions before, but not alone. That, I think, was the hardest part. Knowing that if something happened, I was all alone. That said, the Kia Rio I rented did pretty well. I realized this as I passed an 18 wheeler at 5 mph while it was spinning its chain-covered wheels and was only drifting further to the side.

I drove from Denver to Chicago in a day. 16 hours on the road. I told myself I’d drive until I was tired, and that didn’t happen until about 40 miles south of Chicago. I will say, I think doing stretches and jumping jacks at every stop really helped. I didn’t load up on caffeine (just the normal coffee I drink, and I tried drinking a soda, but didn’t finish), and drank only water for the majority of the drive. So, jumping jacks for the win so far on this road trip.

Chicago: Went to a fabric OUTLET and ‘bout lost my damn mind. Went to the Garfield Conservatory and wanted SO MANY of the plants! And I went the National Museum of Mexican Art, which was AMAZING and free. I had never been, and was just so impressed with their collection. After that, it was all seeing family, having the same kind of conversations, etc.

I stopped in Toledo before coming here, and my brother had said that it would probably be messy and he’d probably be napping on the couch. It was 3:30.

When I got here, I knocked. I rang the doorbell. No answer. So I let myself in and he was asleep on the couch. I woke him up gently, and he nearly punched me. I didn’t mean to startle him, but he woke up arms swinging.

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Also, his place is trashed. Not just messy. Legos all over the kitchen, a bottle of soy sauce spilled across the counter, dishes in the sink, dishes on the counter, empty food boxes all over, play dough in the carpet, toys/clothes/beer and mini whisky bottles/socks/tissues all over the floor, the bathroom is kinda gross. He said he loses it a bit when he has to hand his kids over, so this only happened in the last few days, but it did not.

So I’m going to be cleaning today for a few hours. And that might take care of the first floor. We’ll see.

However, he’s gearing up to fight for custody. She’s making some mistakes lately, including getting a job and quitting a few days later because it conflicts with the time she sees the new boyfriend, so she lost her unemployment benefits. Also, there was discussion about my brother going back to the house she’s in because he’s on the lease, so she moved to have him taken off the lease. Except, she doesn’t have a job, so she lied on the application and listed the place she was let go from back in January. The landlord found out when he ran the check, so she’s getting a 3 day notice to cure on Thursday, followed by 30 days to vacate, so she’s losing her place to live soon. So he thinks he can get primary custody of the girls, and possibly more than 50% if she doesn’t have a place to live or a job.

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So that’s the road trip update. Onto cleaning, then Target, then some thrift stores.

ETA: in the middle of all this, my mom and I had a disagreement and she hung up on me and wouldn’t answer my calls. This kind of thing has been happening more and more, where if I don’t do what she tells me (not asks) to do, she gets mad and or passive aggressive. So I told her over text that her behavior was unacceptable. We haven’t talked for almost a week now.