Saturday, May 27, 2023

Good Morning Raccoon

Raising a child, I have discovered, is comparable to wrestling a band of rabid, feral, raccoons. There is snarling, biting, scratching, spitting, foaming at the mouth, and washing of the hands. Sometimes both figuratively and literally speaking. The other morning whilst trying desperately to get my child ready for school she locked herself in the pantry! IN. THE. PANTRY.  Baby Belle refused to come out and I could hear her little feral raccoon ass in there foraging for food in the dark. While I'm trying to figure out how to get the door open she sneaks out and tears out of the kitchen at a speed only achieved by fighter jets giggling the whole way. She takes her showers at night so all I have to do is put clothes on her in the morning, do her hair, brush her teeth, medicate her, make sure she eats something, give her, her water bottle, and push her out the door.  She seems hell-bent on making this process as painful as possible though. 
Rabid Feral Raccoon

I finally managed to herd the wild raccoon into the living to get dressed and it's tough because her medications haven't hit yet and she cannot focus on any one thing for more than the briefest of moments. BB decides she doesn't like the outfit we have picked out today and a meltdown ensues. She falls to the floor like she has no bones in her body, completely crumpled. I picked this outfit because I hate her, and I want her to be cold in her classroom she wails from her new position on the floor. Huge crocodile tears streaming down her face as she rolls around in false agony. Very dramatic. I'm able to talk her down from this by changing the outfit slightly and packing a cardigan into her backpack. We are happy again. When I am brushing her hair out she starts telling me about some little girl drama happening with two of her little friends. When I attempt to make the suggestion that these girls are not her friends if they treat her that way, she explodes with anger. BB snatches the brush from my hand and stomps off. I pinch the bridge of my nose and pray for strength. At least she's gone to brush her teeth, so there's that.  
A hairbrush much like this.

Several minutes later she returns, brush in hand, with this look on her face... she says to me "Mommy, I'm sorry I got mad at you. I shouldn't have said that stuff. I love you." Ah... the medications have kicked in. Now my mini Sybil is a little more reasonable.  I tell her I love her too and always will no matter what. There are hugs exchanged and I offer to quickly do her hair and she agrees.  I ask her to get two hairbands. She tells me I only need one because I'm not doing that fancy ponytail she just wants a plain ponytail. (If I do a plain one her hair is  hanging in her face before lunch.) I attempt to explain this to my baby raccoon but she stubbornly crosses her arms and pokes out her bottom lip; so much for reasonable.  We begin to argue. I finally get my two hairbands and her little ass back in the chair but I had to take away her whole life to do it. No tablet, no tv, no desserts, no sweets, no phone, no nothing... Now I feel like a jerk and a tool.  She's back to telling me how much I hate her.  I finish her hair.
Look at the little pouty face... that's not my kid.

With her water bottle made and tucked into her backpack, she wolfs down a breakfast bar and some milk.  It's time to go her ride is here.  Bye Boo Boo! Have a great day! Bye, Mommy I love you!  All is right with the world again and she trots off to school. I meanwhile, am exhausted, mentally and physically. It's like this every morning now. I have to take time to regroup after she goes off to school. I drink my coffee and almost meditate.  God forbid I have somewhere to be too, then everything erupts into sheer chaos and disruption. My ADD kicks up and then it's a case of the blind leading the blind. I haven't taken my medication much earlier than she has; so I am not much better off.  The only difference is I have lived with it longer, mostly unmedicated than she has.  It's hard but it isn't undoable. Girls experience ADHD so differently than boys, it comes with anxiety and a sense of perfectionism, and a need to people please. All that extra energy is poured into that which makes these little girls a hot mess sometimes.  (And the big girls who have it too.) 
What it would look like...

We shall have to cover the car ride home and evenings with raccoons another time. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Awake: Where I've been for awhile.

Waking up after six days in a coma is not like waking up from a deep sleep. It is not as though you have had a long rest and you feel great. There’s no big stretch, smile, flinging open the shutters to a bright and shiny day. It is violent and deeply confusing and downright scary.
The first realization I made upon waking up was that I felt uncomfortable. It was a sensation as though I had been powered down and was now being rebooted. It was not like waking up. I remember hearing voices, my mother’s voice, talking….. at first I could not figure out the words, everything was jumbled and blurry sounding. Then like vision, my hearing slowly came into focus and they were talking about me and my staus. I willed my body to move; catching the attention of my mother. Then it’s the questions both mine and theirs. Namely, the nurse wanted to know what I had taken to cause all this. I mean I can’t even see right because of the ointment they rub in your eyes and here they are accusing me of drug use. I just burst into tears because I hadn’t taken anything. Livvie and I had gone to the park and it had been a relatively good day. I have no clue as to what set off all of this that they were explaining to me how I got to the ICU with all these tubes coming out of me. A lot of tubes coming out of my head would have to be removed before I could even move properly, but it would be three days before that happened.
I remember being most disturbed by the sense of the loss of time. This gap in my personal calendar was so bizarre, everyone talked about things that had happened and I was just stagnant. I am having trouble finding the words to explain how it feels to lose any significant time gap. Again, this isn’t like falling asleep hard and waking up thinking it’s the next day. This is much more like being turned off and rebooted; complete and total darkness. Maybe the best analogy is the one in the movie Get Out where he just falls into a hole inside himself. Sometimes you can hear things sometimes they tell me you dream…. I don’t remember any of that, I just remember the nothing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

His real name is Mike: a Cautionary Tale

 It started out easy enough, just an innocent DM on Instagram. Ordinarily, I would ignore a random guy sliding into my DMs but we had mutual friends so I thought we must have gone to school together. So I replied, I was kind of talking to someone at the time so it didn't go anywhere at first but we would chat back and forth and I got to know him. 

Josh, was funny and good-looking, in the Navy and from my hometown. As it turned out we had not gone to school together; it was just a fluke that we shared mutual friends. He was a total thirst trap though so I understood how they got onto his followers list. Presently stationed in Djibouti he was coming home in June and was really looking forward to it.  He told me he had just completed the nurse practitioner program and worked in the hospital there on base.  Even though when I ran his pictures by my friend who was married to a Navy man for many years she said that his rank, and job didn't match what he was telling me.  He had told me he was a Captain but his insignia was only showing petty officer and that he was a chaplain.  His reasoning for this was that all his pictures were taken before his deployment and the completion of his nursing program and promotion. He couldn't take any on his deployment because of the no cameras rule. So his entire IG account was running on old pictures, according to him. 


When I questioned Josh about my doubts he explained it all away.  Foolishly I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  When things ended with the other guy I was talking to Josh admitted he wanted a shot with me. I had reservations but I moved ahead, charmed by his humor and kind words.  His English was spotty sometimes, but he said this was because he was born and raised in Italy, before moving to the US at the age of 12, though he had forgotten all his Italian.  He was insistent he had fallen for me and we were meant for each other.  I wasn't so sure, but I let him talk his talk. When he finally built up to saying he loved me I admit I said it back; I was vulnerable and I fell for his act hook, line, and sinker. 

He asked me to do him a favor. Sure, what's that? Do you have CashApp? Yes, but I'm not sending you any money... No he said, "I'm going to send you money." Shocked, I asked why. He said he needed me to buy cryptocurrency with it and send it back to him. I asked him why he couldn't do this himself and it had something to do with base restrictions and blended into an explanation of how they use cryptocurrency for everything to avoid exchange rates. Thinking this was a one time thing, I agreed and gave him my handle. $20 appears in my account and I converted it for him.  The next day, I woke up to $150 waiting to be accepted and a message from him asking me to do it again.  I sent him a message telling him that he was not allowed to abuse my account like this, that he had to ask me before he just dumped money on me like this.  I obligingly went ahead and converted the money.  A few hours later more money showed up, with a text asking if I could do it again.  This time I got angry and told him he was violating my boundaries.  At the time I was busy and could not stop to be his crypto banker.  He would have to wait until it was convenient  for me to do it.  That's when the guilt started. 

Josh started laying in the guilt about how it only took a few seconds to do, I couldn't pause whatever I was doing for a few seconds? I must not love him as much as he thought. Surely I am lying about my feelings for him.  I fell for it and just did the conversion. Waking up the next morning to only to find deposits totaling $900 in my CashApp. I was livid. I was being used and I didn't like it, not to mention something about this felt shady as fuck. The money was coming from all these random people but all going back to Josh? I told him I wouldn't do it anymore. I refused and if anymore money showed up I would refund it immediately. He became angry and told me I didn't love him and wanted him to starve and live without basic necessities. What, the Navy doesn't feed you? 


He said if he wanted snacks he had to buy them, and he has to buy all his own toiletries.  That's what he claims he uses the cryptocurrency for. The random people sending the money are family members of other service members sending them money and he converts it for a fee and distributes it to that service member. It was his side business. How generous of him. I backed down and converted the $900 to cryptocurrency. It still didn't feel right to me no matter what he said.  My gut was telling me this was off, no it was screaming at me that something was off about this whole thing and I wasn't listening.

One day he tells me he wants to help support my daughter and I because he cares about me and he doesn't like my present situation.  He announced he was sending me a check, all I had to do was take it to get it cashed at the Walmart Money Center (I didn't even know such a place existed) and deposit in the bank. Once the cash was deposited I would keep a certain amount and send the remainder back to him as cryptocurrency.  I was like, sure your going send me a check, whatever. Lo and behold a few days later a check did appear for $1600! I tried to cash it at the Walmart as instructed but the check couldn't be read by the check reader at the Money Center.  My gut dropped.  I think I knew then what was coming.  When I told Josh that the check couldn't be read, he agreed I should just go to my bank to cash it.  Upon arriving at my bank I was told that because my account was relatively new a cash deposit of this size would need manager approval.  They asked me to wait.  I go and sit down.  The bank manager comes out and asks me where I got that check,  I tell her my boyfriend sent it to me.  She sighed deeply.  She asked me to follow her to her office where she offered me a seat.  She then asked me if I had been with my boyfriend long, if I had seen him or talked to him in person, and if I knew the person who had signed the check? I had not been with him long. We had only seen each other in pictures because he said his mission protocols wouldn't allow video chats or cameras of any kind.  He told me the person who signed the check was his business manager who handled his business interests and trust fund.  

The bank manager looked me dead in the eye and said "This check is a fake."  She asked me if I had ever heard of a Sweetheart Scam.  I had not. She went on to ask "He wanted you to cash this and deposit it, keep some, and send him the rest?"  Cold just washed over me as I realized my gut was right the whole time. Isn't it always? The check she said, would bounce, and I would be liable for the money not him; he would get away with the money and off scot free.  My face and burned with embarrassment and anger. Her recommendation was that I choose not to deposit it and take it to the police.  I told her I had a child and I would absolutely not be depositing the check and yes I would be going to the police. So I left the bank and got in the car and went straight to the police station and filed a police report.  I even gave them the picture of the driver's license he sent me to prove his identity.  I gave them everything I had.  I locked all three of my credit reports.  When  I left the Police Department I had about 80 texts from Josh wanting to know where I was, what happened, what about the check, hello? 

I told him the check was fake. I told him I'd been to the police; that I'd given them everything. Josh went ballistic, absolutely nuclear. He said he didn't believe me that I must have cashed the check and pocketed all the money for myself. That I never sent him anything proving I even went to all these places I claimed I went to. That I was lying about all of this just to get his money. How dare I go to the police! When he calmed down I started getting texts about how I didn't really love him and now he could never love another woman ever again because of me. He could never trust anyone ever again, I had ruined that for him. In my mailbox when I got home was another check, another arrived the next day.  I blocked his messages, as advised by the police but he would just message me from another number or email.  Blocking him became exhausting. Josh would pop up everywhere and I didn't always immediately register it was him because it would be different platforms and I'd receive a message and respond cheerfully and he would sour it instantly by saying he could see I was living a happy life without him. BOOM... it's Josh. Block. 

One day after another attempted contact I got curious.  I got online and found a website called Social Catfish.  It's a website that for a small fee allows you to deep search the web with an image in order to confirm someone's identity.  So I took one of his images and I ran it.  Boy was I shocked at what came back! First was a CBS News segment on people's images being used for romance scams with this guy... named Mike Sency, but wait it was Josh, except this was the real person. Josh Nanos, @dadinkjosh, is a fake person. He steals images from Mike Sency's IG page and posts them with the exact same caption and everything verbatim and then passes himself off as him. Which is disturbing on multiple levels, first he is not this guy Mike, second he is pretending to be a service member and garnering attention for that of IG, third he is clearly running a scam operation under the guise of this man's face.  This man is a chaplain for the Navy and deserves better than that.  He is actually a hilarious guy and quite handsome, I only wish I had actually met him instead of Josh.  I did try sending Mike a DM telling him about Josh so he could report him but he hasn't even looked at it.  He has a very large page and I'm sure he gets tons of rando girls messaging him all the time.  He probably never even noticed my message. I at least made the effort though. 

Not Josh

So there it is my cautionary tale of woe. Don't answer those random DMs kiddos mmmkay? It's probably some dude in Djibouti trying to scam you... or some crazy chick trying to tell you about the guy that scammed her pretending to be you.