The setting: Jen's house. Yes, I haven't seen her for more than ten minutes since last Christmas, so maybe you can see why this is strange already.
The dream: it's the middle of the night, Jen's asleep in the tub, snoring loudly enough to be audible, and I'm tiptoeing around the downstairs, trying not to wake her up. The way I felt was basically the same as I would feel if I were there and awake under identical circumstances. I had some unknown need to be there, and I knew if I got caught I would be in actual, real, call-the-police trouble, which was causing me a lot of anxiety and a fair amount of panic. I have no idea what my intention was, but I went up the stairs to her bedroom, and over to the window. If it matters, the window was on the far side of the wall instead of being roughly in the middle. Feeling like I had to get out before she woke up and I was discovered, I fiddled with the window and managed to slide it open (I can't remember if it's a sliding window in real life, but it was in the dream), and started to climb out. With superhuman grip, I grasped the windowsill with my fingertips, lowering myself down slowly, until I was able to touch some ledge above the kitchen window with my feet, and continue to lower myself down to the ground the same way I'd started. Skip a beat (let's say I was startling myself enough to be woken up slightly), and I'm back inside, skulking through the living room again, still listening to the sound of her sleeping, and mentally berating myself for being stupid enough to go back inside once again risking getting caught after I'd successfully made it out without waking her.
And that's about it. In dream-time, it felt absolutely real. Near the end, I started to piece together that it couldn't possibly actually be happening, and I must be dreaming, shortly after which I woke up and was slightly relieved, but it was still so weird and unsettling that it stuck with me all day. As I was recalling before I scared myself to bed, there's absolutely no way or reason I could or would be there like that. To humor the thought, it is absolutely inconceivable, even in the tiniest amount, that I went to bed, and somehow, without waking myself up, sleep-walked all the way over there, through a locked door, and then climbed down the side or her house, let myself back in, and went back home to bed just in time to wake up and realize it was a dream. In the black of night versus the beginning light of day when I went to bed, at that. Now that I've typed everything out, the feeling is starting to fade, and I guess that's mainly why I wanted to write this entry, but that says nothing for how real it felt. Looking at it realistically, I'd probably have found her in bed upstairs wondering what the hell I was doing, if I even made it past Conner's room without attracting his attention, and things might even not be the same around there as I remember them being, but it was just so real and unsettling. Like I already said, I know it was only a dream, but in the unlikely event you see this, Jen, I'm sorry I dreamt I broke into your house. I wish I knew what's wrong with me.
Setting the dream aside, the next big thing on my mind is money, and how I feel like I don't have enough right now. For the most part, that's because it's Christmastime, and that's always an expensive time of year, but thinking back to Christmas a year ago, it feels so much different. Last year, I managed to put four digits into my savings in the month of December, and still have lots of gifts to give everybody. This year, I'm having to dip into what I don't want to touch to buy things that aren't even presents, and while I have a good pile of stuff to wrap, it's nowhere near as much as before. What's more, I realized a couple days ago I don't have a single thing for Trish yet. Oh, sure, I spent over $100 on something I knew she'd really want, only to find out Adam already got her the same thing, which, while I am able to return, I probably won't get a refund for until after Christmas. Another layer this year is Naomi and Ty aren't here anymore, after moving to the states to live with Ty's parents until they can afford their own place (long story). I don't want to exclude them, so I thought I'd send them some money via Paypal on Christmas day, but even that's going to require some serious budgeting. So what happened? Why is this year so different?
Item the first: my hours at work are not the same as they were before. This time in 2018, I was working 5 shifts / 45 hours a week, and bringing home just over a thousand dollars bi-weekly. This year, I'm getting three to four shifts a week depending, and my highest pay to date has been ~$900. I haven't been complaining about that, because the cost of less hours and less money is having two other full time overnight people, meaning it's no longer just me and the baker after 4am, but new as of just yesterday, I'm losing an hour and a half on at least one shift. I've decided to give them a pass for now, because it's not worth my time going in and making a fuss over a one-time thing, but if it happens again, I'm going to talk to somebody in management.
Item the second: I've been probably spending too much money unnecessarily lately. To my credit, there's a certain thing I've been doing without for several months now, that I was previously spending at least $100 a month on, but in its place, I have been buying merch. Lapfox / Halley Labs merch, specifically. Due to Emma's personal situation, there's been a new CD or cassette tape each month this year so far, and I've been there for every one I could get my
Item the third: personal expenses. Nothing at all like the $100+ monthly expense mentioned above, this one mostly refers to food. Well, food, and I bought a new laptop a month or so ago, which was almost a $700 setback. Back to food, though, I've been going to 7-11 a lot lately. My days off from work usually come in pairs, and I never fail to make it up there for $6~$15 worth of snacks at least one of the two, sometimes both. Also in the category of food is all the chips and popcorn and other movie-type snacks for whenever Mom comes over here. To be fair, I enjoy having her here to watch a movie now and then, but it seems like every time we have plans, I head up to Food Basics (my own choice, to be fair) and spend at least $10 on things to munch on. $10 could be worse, and it's worth it when you consider what it's going to, but I'm starting to feel like it would be fine if she brought a bag of microwave popcorn from here and I figured out my own food from my freezers full of stuff every other time or something.
Outside of those three things, I try to be as responsible as I can for money though. My change jar of quarters, loonies, and toonies is almost full again, I still have some money in savings, and I don't spend unnecessarily outside of the things listed above... I need to step back and take stock of what I have and what I can expect (namely from work), and do my best to function inside of those constraints. I already went on about it in a previous entry, but one thing I really need to do is start going out for walks again. Monday night before work, I went out to Walmart, Dollarama, and Real Canadian Superstore to get Christmas present wrapping supplies, and a bunch of other stuff I was low on, and the satisfaction I felt just from that walk lasted all night and then some. It's gotten too easy to convince myself that sitting around at home staring at my laptop all night is the best thing to do, since it's the lowest-effort option.
It's getting close to 8am now, so I should try to wrap this up soon, but there's one other, distinctly personal topic that's been gnawing at me for a while (and you watch I'll be here well after 8 writing now). Where I'm at in life. My birthday is coming up next week. Friday the 13th, to be precise. I'll be 35. Halfway to 70, if that means anything, and I just... don't know.
Work wise, although I'm at a different place than I started out, I'm still working a minimum-wage job, on not the greatest hours (but they work for me), for not the best pay in the world (but it works for me and could be worse). I think back to when I was in college, and while I don't doubt that Computer Programming wasn't my true calling in life, I wonder where I could've ended up if I'd cared and applied myself more. Where work itself is concerned, I can do my job, and according to the people I work with, I do it exceptionally well, but here's the catch: for working a customer service job, I despise customers. To be fair, once I've done everything I need to do within the night and move onto the extra tasks, they're alright, and I don't mind them, but I'm honestly surprised my attitude some nights hasn't seen somebody complain about me yet. I say I like to work in the back because I feel like I can get more done there, and that's true, but the other, unstated part is that's the area where I'm less likely to be disturbed. Overall though, my approach to customers is something only I can choose to focus on correcting, and I intend to try exercising what patience I can, before there are consequences. For work as a whole, I honestly wonder if there's some job out there, available in this city, that I could get with the experience that I have, that would be overall better than where I'm at now. Is that selfish? Should I be happy with what I have? Probably, yes, but I see myself being Beth's age, still doing the same work, never having enough money to retire, and it's an... uncomfortable prospect.
Personal life-wise, I'll be 35 in a week, and so far, I've been in one relationship, which crashed and burned owing entirely to the sort of person I was back then. I say "back then" because I like to think I've somewhat learned from my mistakes, and that I'm trying to be a better person for them, but I don't know if I'll ever be back there again. Not with the same person, of course, but in general. I'm not even saying that's something I want right now, but it is something I think about often. It's a conversation I need to find the guts to sit down and have with Mom and Dad, because I think about how they must think of me, and (now it's getting uncomfortable) how I don't have a girlfriend, let alone plans for a family or anything. Now, I know, I know, I can't put that responsibility on myself. I can't say that the expectation of me from the moment I was born was to one day meet a girl, and get married, then have kids and settle down (or whatever order that happens in), but like I said, I think about it alot. From Mom and Dad's perspective especially, I don't want to be seen as the son who had his whole future ahead of him then kinda fizzled out. Even now, I'm assuming alot, and I'm probably going to cringe remembering this in the morning and want to delete the whole thing, but I feel like I should be so much farther along right now. Back before the old store closed at work, one of the nighttime regulars actually slipped me a note telling me how she liked me in a "more than friends way", and hoped I felt the same, and I ended up writing her a note in reply saying that while I was flattered, my feelings on relationships were "confused" due to past experiences, and that I didn't want to hurt anybody else with that confusion. That's where I'm at in life. Different as I am and things are nowadays, my experiences getting to where I am have affected me enough that I don't trust myself as far as being with another person. To take a huge step back, this is an enormous, wonderful world, and if there's one thing Youtube has taught me, it's that no matter how strange, there's somebody out there for whom strange is their normal, but I wish it was easier finding and getting to know those people.
Setting aside the whole relationships thing, I still don't have a vehicle, either. Yeah, they're expensive, both upfront, and for upkeep, but considering how often I take the SUV out nowadays, I should try to find something of my own, shouldn't I?
Still on the topic of things with Mom and Dad, religion is another topic that I don't know how to talk to them about. Dad gave me a couple devotional books back in September which I said I'd read (never looked at them), and then other one just a couple days ago, and not only do I not know how to approach the topic, I'm kind of afraid to for fear of alienating him / them for not caring about something they believe so strongly in. Then again, while I'm not going to air their dirty laundry, there was apparently a situation a little while back where Dad called Mom a "fake Christian", which is all kinds of eye-roll worthy. I keep telling myself that it's worse, if anything, to give them false impressions, but at the same time, what's the biggest benefit to be gained from sitting down and telling them both the cold, hard truth? Coming clean? Freeing myself of that guilt? I'd honestly rather just keep things going the way they are now. I don't necessarily believe in Heaven, but if such a place exists, I feel like entrance should be granted based on your actions in life rather than your beliefs.
See? The cut was totally necessary. I'm sure it's after 8 now, but I refuse to look at the clock since I want to wake up for 2, and the less I know about the time the better. I've said pretty much all I wanted to as well, so now it's time to log into LiveJournal for the first time in forever, post this, and lay back down, hopefully to good, wholesome dreams. Tomorrow's activities are going to include going to Commercial Copy Center to get return information for that package printed, mailing out the package at the post office and hopefully picking up another one (or two), putting up my Christmas tree, going for a walk, and even wrapping some presents after the rest of everything is all said and done, if I have the energy.
Regardless, it's nice to have plans, and things to look forward to. Even better is finally getting most to all of this stuff off my chest, since it's clearly been building up. Maybe next time, something more positive <3