Boot and Rally

Of course, it has been a few quiet months so my stupid stomach decided to make an appearance. It started by ruining a girl’s night in Erie PA with Sahar. She ended up driving me to the hospital in Buffalo, and as I threw up in a little blue baggie she wheeled me into the emergency room. Then, this saint of a woman, drove my father down to Pennsylvania to pick up his car that I left there. I was angry, because I missed work, and I was pretty sure at the time that it was related to the meal I had eaten the night before, and not actually gastroparesis. But then, I was sick for the next 3 days.

Monday morning found me feeling significantly better, which was a blessing because I HAD to go to work.  I had just missed several days, and the bills don’t care if you get sick. On the way to work, I was giving myself a pep talk, trying to rally myself to have a good day. I thought of the term “boot and rally,” the origins of which I am not sure, but refers to when, after a night of drinking, one then vomits, and then returns to the drinking. Seriously, this may be just a Buffalo thing, I have no idea, but it is definitely something we have all done. I feel like on Sunday and Monday I did the Supreme Boot and Rally, having been terribly sick on Sunday and managing by the grace of God to accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished on Monday. I say by the grace of God because it was no picnic. It was the most “Monday” Monday I’ve ever had in my life, where everything went wrong from spilling my coffee on myself to falling flat on my face on some ice. Alas, I soldiered on.

And do you know what kept me going? Maureen would have been proud of me. My mother would have been cheering me on all day, telling me I could do the hard things. Every time I accomplished something, I said “Mom would have been proud of me today.” That is what got me through Monday. But then came Tuesday, and a couple of overcrowded hospitals.

After I drive by both, and find long lines at both, I decided I would tough it out at home. I took every medication has ever been prescribed to me for my stomach, and I laid on the couch and waited for several hours, until finally I could not take it anymore. I had dad drive me out to St Joe’s, and waited about an hour to be put in a room, and weirdly by that time the vomiting had subsided. However, I knew that I was deeply dehydrated, so the best course of action would be for me to stay and get an IV…but my arms were so bruised from the past few days that they had to put it in my neck, which was scary and painful. They gave me some medication, which knocked me out, and I awoke around 1:00 a.m. thirsty but feeling good. When they let me have a glass of water, I felt even better. Then they sent me home, where I got a few hours of sleep, which brings us to now when I feel perfectly fine. And that is the problem.

One day I feel perfectly fine, like I can do anything, like I can take on anything that the world throws at me. And then I go to sleep every night worried that when I wake up I won’t have that perfectly fine day in the morning. I have an appointment with my physician early in the morning tomorrow, another with my surgeon at the end of the month, and a couple other appointments I need to make today. I am just so sick of being sick.. and it is threatening my livelihood again. I am going to have to consider making some big changes, which will be hard but worth it in the long run. At least, if it helps. I have to try anything that might help. I like the way my life is going, and I am not willing to lose it the way I have lost it before. All because of a digestive system that has betrayed me my whole life.  And still…I rally.

Back in the Saddle

Where do I even start?  The move itself was hell on earth for me, but once I got settled down a little, things looked brighter.  I’ve been decorating and organizing like crazy.  I worked a lot these past coupe weeks at both jobs, so between that, my need to fully form my home, and some neuropathy/carpal tunnel/possible fractured pinky has hindered all my writing.  I did pen a little poem for my cousin though, about some sandwiches waiting for a bus. And the Patreon stayed updated.  But the blog, she was neglected.

In fact, I’m writing early Sunday morning for post on Monday because I don’t know if I will have time to sit down and write anything tomorrow.  I am surprised I can right now, actually. My hands have been the worst, and yesterday…was just terrible.

I have been quite well for the past couple months, and this flare-up came with absolutely no warning.  I woke yesterday and tried to fight it, but 10am found me at the ER, and I wasn’t home until 3ish.  Then I passed out until five.  This all would have been fine, had I not planned an epic 40th birthday for my husband last night.

Mark never had a real birthday party, so I wanted to give him one.  It was something Mom and I had planned to do together, so that made it all the more important to me. Not having her there really made me sad when the time came.  I went into full “Maureen-mode,” wanting everything to be perfect.   In the end, it was not.  The cake got burnt, most of the decorations were never hung, and I fell asleep in a chair about 30 minutes in.  Mark tucked me into bed, and then I woke up and everyone was gone. 

A nice surprise was that his sisters came to town to surprise him, which is a big deal to Mark.  He misses his family a lot, but we hardly see them because we frankly don’t have the car to make the trip often.  And they hardly come here, what with their gaggles of children and jobs and such.  So, it was a lovely surprise that they came to visit, and I really wish I didn’t have to work in two hours and could spend some time with them.

Still, I am sad, and depressed, and angry.  Sad because I missed the party I planned so hard for.  Depressed because I feel like I let Mark and other folks down.  And angry, because OF COURSE my stupid stomach had to act up.  When I called Dad for a ride to the hospital, he said that it was because of the stress I put myself under for the party, and he’s right, but it’s not just the party.  It’s that, plus work, plus a new apartment.  It was just too much.  I thought had it under control, but I need to remember that I just can’t take on the amount of things I used to, because the stress monster comes and makes me sick. 

So I am very sad I have no recollection of my husband’s first birthday party.  I am glad, however, that we have the kind of family and friends that swooped in to make things right for him when I could not.  Just the other day, Mark had concerns: will anyone show up?  Did I invite everyone I wanted to?  What if there’s not enough food? Wait, people are bringing gifts?! Why are you making cake if I don’t like cake?  I basically had to break down birthday parties for him, but when I woke last night at 1030, here is what I found:  a tipsy (but not wasted) guy enjoying his friends and family that were still there. Smiley and content, he showed off his presents like a little kid would.  Then, they decided to go to the casino, and I went back to bed.  I made him promise to be home before morning, and found him today snoring on the sofa,  I leaned in and whispered “did you have a good night?”  He smiled, nodded, and rolled over.  Good.  That all I wanted, really. 

Anyway, as you can see, I have my computer back together, and my hands are somewhat on the mend, so I intend to return to regular blogging on Mondays and Thursdays,  Patreon updates are always Wednesday, but if I get five more subscriptions that will get bumped up a bit (and I can also offer merch!)  And as for writing, the two things I will be working on are preparation for my reading on the 28th, and trying to decide if I’m going to do NaNo…I’d love to hit up my final draft with it. We shall see, since I can’t get in to my doctor until January and these hands just will not cooperate. (On that note…anybody have extra hand braces?  Mine were lost in the move.)

Well, that’s all…Happy Sunday. No…Monday.  You’re reading this on Monday.

Death of a Smile

Housekeeping first:

By next week, my domain names will expire, because I haven’t enough cash for the webhosting bills. So it will be back to wordpress.com/hamneggs716 and wordpress.com/brigidhannon for a bit, until finances are situated. Thing is, we are very strapped and have to move apartments during a rent spike, so this is not the month for this bill. If you would like to help out, I would direct you to the tip jar link on this page, where you can make a donation that will go directly towards writing expenses, like this damn domain bill. Also, CashApp for Ham ‘N Eggs is: $hamneggs716. (Just throwing it out there.) But in the meantime, I will have to scale it back a bit.

Anyhoo…here’s a blog:

In middle school., we learned about eating disorders.

I myself was an overeater-I discovered the why and what of it all and was able to heal from the trauma that caused it, and find healthier ways of eating.  This took years, but I came to have a good relationship with food.  But this isn’t about having an eating disorder, it’s about what that health class in 6th grade stuck up inside my brain, one little fact that fixed with me for some reason: bulimia teeth. 

I learned that when you were bulimic, sometimes, your teeth rotted and chipped due to the profuse vomiting.  I don’t know why this stuck in my head…probably because the universe is an author, and we love to foreshadow. 

I was rewatching one of my TikTok’s when I noticed it.  My teeth were…not right.  Now, you have to know two things going in: 1, I have always had perfect teeth.  “Movie star teeth,” my dentist called them.  2, I have more body and appearance confidence than I have any right to have considering I spent my adolescence as a fat, four-eyed, balding weirdo.  Since about 8th grade, I have eschewed beauty culture for body positivity, embracing the “you be you” side of the lens. 

Well, folks: my teeth are screwed up from vomiting due to gastroparesis and I’m super insecure about it.

They have eroded a little.  There are cavities.  There are a couple of chips in the back.  They are weak, and discolored, and I am self-conscious for the first time in a long while.  I have found that it is super easy to love the skin you’re in…until you don’t.  Until you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the face staring back.

I want my glasses back, too.  I like not wearing them, especially when watching a movie at night, but I hate having to put on specs to read, and I wish I could just wear a pair all the time.  I can, actually, I just haven’t gotten the prescription yet.  I was on the fence; now I think I’m over it. 

Because since not having my glasses, I have noticed my teeth. So maybe they are connected.  Probably.

E tells me I have a beautiful smile every time she sees me, and the flaws are hardly noticeable, because she knows I am insecure regarding it, and she wants to reinforce that I am beautiful to her no matter what…I know I am.  I love her for her efforts.  Still, I see my once perfect smile eroded, and I only think the worst.

I have to call a dentist, but I’m scared.  Scared it will hurt, scared it will take time and money, scared I won’t like the result.  But I don’t like what I have right now, and it will only get worse, so I have to human-up and do it.

In the meantime, I will be smiling with my mouth closed, because I am self-conscious, and battling with insecurities I haven’t felt in years.  I am damn near 40, and yet, I feel like I am 12 again when I look at my smile, and feel that old familiar pull of frustration and shame that comes with not seeing yourself the way you want to.  Someday, I hope I look in the mirror again and smile…maybe with fixed teeth, maybe without. 

Either way, I will work on trying to accept myself, because even when you are 40, body image is a bitch.

Stress Monster

Acute stress disorder.  I was diagnosed with this once, after what I suppose could be deemed a traumatic event.  It’s like short-term PTSD.  It resides in a different timeframe, so you can develop it anywhere from days to months after the event.  PTSD takes longer.

There’s lots of symptoms for both, but I will focus on my own, the major one being vomiting.  I throw up when I’m stressed, I already know this; it is a hazard of gastroparesis.  Alas, it should not be landing me in the hospital.

Over the past two weeks, I have had a LOT of stressors.  I think that the “smaller” stress compiled itself, and launched me into acute stress disorder again.  It feels the same as last time.  And of course, I’m sitting here wondering what traumatic event could possibly have brought this on and, oh yeah…my mother.

I am happy to report that her chest is now closed up, infections are gone, and she will finally be leaving the ICU after three months.  I am less happy to report that I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been puking every day, and am consumed with racing thoughts.  I put a call in to my doc and counselor, so hopefully someone will get back to me today, because this is absolutely ridiculous.

I really wish I had more to write about right now.  Truth is, I do, but my fingers are numb.  I want to write about camp, which starts Sunday, but honestly, I’ve got work to do on that front that kind of takes precedence over a longer blog post.  No, I don’t know when I will be updating next, as I will be working nonstop next week, but I will catch you when I catch you.

Can’t turn that into another stressor: CANNOT.

Sick, with Stories

Well, that marks the third Thursday with no update.  This time it was illness again…it’s been like that all week.  The worst part is that I missed work yesterday, which I hate doing.  I love my job…like actually love it, because it is the perfect amount of childcare for me.  I can’t really do those long days I used to with kiddos anymore, but the few hours I put in in the afternoon for the program really makes me happy, and exhilarates me, because I’m actually out there doing something I love again. 

Of course, then I get sick and I wonder just how long it can last.  I went for this job because I was delighted that it didn’t start until midafternoon, which means that even if I am sick early morning, as is usual, I can be better by 2pm.  On Monday, I managed just that, going to the ER in the morning before coming home to nap, shower, and go to work.  I was fine that day.  Yesterday, not so much.  I couldn’t shake the crummy feeling, even after returning from the hospital, so I had to call off, which just kicked me in the stomach again.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.  What’s good??  A good thing from this week is that I wrote myself a little story.

I needed something on Wednesday for my Patreon, something meaty.  More than a poem, y’know?  And I had this little thought in my head about what it takes to get me running in the morning, and then the thoughts started to take a shape.  There’s this movie called Osmosis Jones that I have loved always, and I started to ponder it.  What if there were a cell in my body, that was responsible for what I do?  It was a fun little thought experiment, but what would the cell actually do?  What would be its true purpose?  I thought of the Vonnegut quote: “Make your characters want something right away, even if it’s only a glass of water.”  And so, the tale of Bob the Cell who works in the Hypothalamus was born.  His goal?  Get the Girl a glass of water.

It’s a funny little story that both Sahar and Mom called “brilliant,” which I actually believe to be true because, as rare as it is, I love this story. 

Hardly ever do I write something that I like from the jump, so when I finished this and was so delighted with it I knew it would receive great reception from my “fans.”  (Why is that in quotes?  Because the only people who have read it are friends and family.) And it did, Carey liked it, Mark loved it, and of course my mother just wants to know why I can’t automatically have it picked up by some magazine.

Anyway, that was my big accomplishment for the week, and if you would like to read it (well, the rough draft, anyway,) then you can pop on over to my Patreon and pay $5 for that and more.

I’d really like your patronage over there.  You’re missing out on a lot, I promise.  Also, I need to pay the internet bill.  (See also: Tip Jar, to the right of this page.)

Ok, well, It’s Friday.  I have two kiddos here already and two more on the way, so I guess I better get myself going, and participate in life since I am well enough to do so.  I hope y’all have a great weekend, and happy Friday!

As Predicted

So, it happened as predicted, and I was sick during my first week of work and missed Thursday’s class. I was then sick on Saturday.  And Monday.  And here we are on Tuesday, and I am well, but it is a tenuous wellness.  It could be over and done, as is usually the case after a couple of days.  I hope so, at least.

So obviously I haven’t been able to update.  I haven’t been able to do much of anything, really.  I felt total mom-failure yesterday, because K was supposed to come over in the morning.  I had intended to get all shopping and cleaning done and then go pick her up around 11, and we would go spend the nice warm day together.  Alas, no, I was puking in an emesis bag when she texted me at 1030am. She arrived after dinner to a messy house with no food in it, and I felt like a jerk.  She assured me it was no big deal.  Her and Mark took a trip up to 7/11 to get snacks and drinks, and then we watched tv for a while and I went to bed early.

I had plans for today, but the weather ruined them instead of my stomach.  My cousin G is coming over, and I wanted to take the girls to the park or something, but alas it is pouring.  At least they can have each other’s company on this gloomy day.

I must be off now, because I have many things to do in a very short time, and if I rush myself, I get sick.  And we don’t want any of that.  So, happy Tuesday.

Total Shutdown

Today is Wednesday.  No, no, don’t check your calendar.  You’re on Thursday, I’m on Wednesday, because I am trying to stay a little ahead in some areas, in case of catastrophe.  My stomach has been…disagreeable.  I went to the gastroenterologist and our new theory is that the whole shebang is broken, not just the stomach.  Nothing is working right, from the esophagus to the intestine.  My digestive system’s check engine light has been on for a while, but recently, it began blinking, and now here we are with an endoscopy on Tuesday and a bunch of new medicines at the pharmacy. 

We shall wait.  We shall see.  In the meantime, we shall eat applesauce and dream of cheeseburgers. 

And, try to focus on something else.  Like work. 

So far today I have updated my Patreon and assembled my spring submissions and now I’m here, and hopefully if I don’t run out of steam, I will go crack open the WIP and work on making that “Netflix money.”  It’s not coming as smoothly as it was, but I think a lot of that has to do with two things.  One, I like a good deadline.  NaNo really pushes me in that department, and I deliver.  Second, I need recovery time after such a sprint.

But now I’m recovered and ready to get back at it, but I’m stalled, and I think that might be because I am so close to being finished.  I’m writing the last third of the book now, and I’m halfway though that.  It’s time to say goodbye, including to a few characters that aren’t going to make it to the end scene.  This is some heavy stuff for a writer, you see.  We both love and loathe killing off our characters, and it is a traumatic experience all around.

And then, the final scene, or the epilogue…haven’t decided which I’m going with…and two little words: the end.  And then, it’s over.

The fifteen years that it took me to put this from spark to paper, will be over.  Then what?

EDITING.

The most garbage part of the job, the part for which I wish I was wealthy enough to hire someone.  I love editing poetry and short pieces, but a whole novel?!  I do not know where to start.  Look at my novella, still sitting unedited three years after completion.  There’s a reason for that, and it’s not procrastination.  It just straight up SUCKS to edit a large work.  (In my opinion, at least.)

So, that’s really all I have for right now: a broken digestive system and a WIP to struggle.  I am hopeful that things improve on both fronts, as I am pretty sick of being pretty sick, and I also want these words out of my fingertips and into my computer. 

I don’t think I’m out of steam yet.  Let me go open her up.  See what happens. 

Happy Wednesday.  Err…Thursday.

On Sickness and Subscription

I didn’t update yesterday because I woke up puking at 2am.  A quick jaunt to Mercy told me I would be waiting for several hours, so I went over to St. Joe’s, which is in many ways my preferred hospital for my situation.  Mercy is close and has all my history, but it’s always 100 patients and 10 nurses, whereas St. Joe’s has this weird reputation for being crappy, so the ratio is completely flipped.  I’ve never received poor service there, however, only the best.  And yesterday they ushered me in quickly and had me medicated and calm within half an hour. 

Anyway, that was not the first visit to the ER this week.  Hopefully, it was the last, but now today I still feel weak and out of it, and am vaguely surprised I’m even sitting here writing right now.  I don’t really have a topic, either; I just want to talk about Patreon.

Patreon is the single best way for me to earn a monthly income through writing.  A monthly income means a website that never goes down, and ad funding for my books.  What is Patreon, you ask?  Well, it’s a monthly subscription service connecting you to creators.  If you visit my page, you will see I am creating poetry, short stories, essays, and more.  Now, there are three subscription tiers, and should you decide to subscribe, you should ABSOLUTELY DO THE CHEAPEST ONE.  I mean, it’s super sweet if you want to send me extra money (PS this blog has a tip jar over on the right) but I don’t know how to work the extra features so frankly, you won’t get what you paid for.  Do the 5$ subscription.  I will be plenty grateful and you will have access to everything. 

And what is everything?  Well…we have poems, stories, book chapters, chapbook excerpts, vlogs, essays, newsletters, and cover reveals.  At least a piece a week unless I am laid up, I try to provide my subscribers with an insight into the writing process for me as well as my life as a writer.  Everything is unpublished, new, or raw at the time that I post on Patreon, and it’s the only place to find my fledgling videos, The Vociferous Vlog (which I really have to work on this weekend…oh please don’t let me get sick again.) 

All I’m saying is that if you like me, and you like what I write, and you’ve got 5 bucks a month…I will happily trade you some words.  I really enjoy doing my Patreon, and I am hoping it picks up a little not just for monetary purposes but because I like the platform for connection that it provides. There isn’t anywhere else I would be comfortable sharing the first chapter of my WIP, or starting out making vlogs. 

I’m editing the page a little later today to give possible subscribers a taste of what is being offered, so there will likely be two or three pieces available later, but there’s a lot more available once you subscribe.  Either way, I hope you check it out and consider subscribing.

That all said, my shoulders are killing me.  I’m headed back to the couch for a bit.  Happy Friday.

https://www.patreon.com/brigidhannon

Autumn Housekeeping

Originally, I was going to do NaNo updates on Thursdays like I did the past two years, but then I realized I already wrote about it on Monday, and also that’s when it started, so if I cover it on Mondays, it makes more sense.

So, what am I supposed to write about today?

I could write about the mayoral election which resulted in Byron Brown declaring victory before the votes were counted, which really plays right into what I expect from that guy.  Can’t accept that primary loss but will jump right in and assume he’s the winner after a write-in campaign that has yet to be certified.  Whatever.  I can wait.

I could write about my stomach, which has been quite good lately, knock on wood.  I’ve been on a new pill for about a month and have had few problems and am both optimistic and waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Overall, I feel pretty good and am trying to do things like live a normal life and eat the occasional cheeseburger.

I could write about writing, of course, in the non-NaNo sense…but not much there.  Just the blog, and the weekly Patreon.  Oh!  I did get a TikTok and you can find me @hamneggs716 (of course.)  I will occasionally read poetry for you, if you’re interested.  Other than regular old promoting myself (which I can’t stand, but do admit I’m getting better at,) I’ve just been doing research and work on my NaNo WIP.  Which I will tell you about on Monday.

So, that leaves nothing else to write about, so I will say goodbye and go back to work on my book and maybe make a fresh pot of coffee.

Happy Thursday!

On Food and Funds

Not long ago, and not for the first time, I was having a conversation with a nutritionist about my diet.  This is a fun little topic that comes up on a regular basis given my gastroparesis and its tendency to make digestion an issue for me.  My diet is always evolving.  And again, not for the first time, I was encouraged to go out and buy food that I can never in a million years afford.

Because you can’t eat right if you’re poor.

I knew this a long time ago, when I went to my first food pantry at Catholic Charities.  The food was canned or frozen, and what little fresh food was available was a day away from the garbage bin.  Sometimes you got lucky, though.  I remember one afternoon when Trader Joe’s dropped off a load of almost expired products, and they put them on the shelves for anyone to take.  Some women were arguing over a pack of American cheese.  I looked in the cheese bin to see what was left, if anything, and was delighted!  Gouda? Havarti?  Brie?!  I scooped all that fancy cheese while those women were fighting over Kraft slices.  Still, the fresh food at that pantry was in low supply.  I had better luck at a secular pantry run by a health organization I was linked to, but eventually I stopped going to them and lost pantry privileges.

Then there are the grocery stores.  First of all, there’s food deserts: places with no access to fresh food, like downtown (soon to change now that Braymiller’s Market is opening, though I don’t know what their prices are like.)  I shop mainly at Savealot or Aldi’s, which are discount grocery stores.  Other options in the area are Wegmans and Tops.  These stores are very different from one another-take Wegmans and Savealot.  Firstly, you walk in the door and see the produce section.  Savealot’s is about a case and a half.  Wegmans’ is the garden of flippin’ Eden.  Then you find their bakery sections…one with packaged breaks and cakes and very little choice, the other with a million fresh baked options.  The meat and dairy sections at Wegmans are endless, but only a few cases at Savealot.  But then…frozen foods!  Savealot has two aisles for frozen food.  I’m sure Wegmans has the same or more, but in comparison to the other departments there is a huge difference between the offerings.  Almost as if there’s just more cheap and easy stuff per square foot at Savealot.  So, essentially, this low-cost store is definitely saving me money, but at what cost?  At the cost of my health.  See, the strawberries might be two bucks cheaper at Savealot, but at Wegmans, I don’t have to throw half out because they are rotting or damaged.

Another thing about the stores that Mark noticed is the way they are set up.  Savealot, has you enter in one specific spot and encourages you to follow a sort of zig-zag pattern through the aisles.  In Wegmans and Tops, is just laid out for you to go wherever and get your thing.  He noticed that when we went to buy cheese yesterday, we bought a few other things as well that we saw while walking the aisles.  Had we gone to Wegmans, that wouldn’t happen.  I would have gone directly to the dairy and got the cheese and left.  But that’s not just because of the way the grocery store is arranged; that’s because of my wallet.  I can’t AFFORD to aisle-wander in Wegmans. 

Bringing me back to how poor people can’t eat right.  My doc is from Amherst, a nice suburb, and likes to suggest I shop at Whole Foods and I like to laugh and laugh until it gets uncomfortable.  I can’t buy a head of lettuce in that store.  It’s outrageous.  It’s outrageous at Wegmans, and some days, I think it’s outrageous at Savealot, too.

When we used to get food stamps, a lot of people were always talking about how folks on EBT were spending it all on steak and lobster and I would laugh and laugh until it got real uncomfortable and then I would go on a rant about how I can barely buy ground beef and tuna fish with the 125$ a month they give us to feed ourselves and maybe you should just sit down and shut up before you make yourself into a fool in front of people who actually deserve help!  But I digress.

My point is that even with help, it’s not enough to eat right.

Mom told me Bill Maher went on a tear recently about how America is obese and her response was that maybe if we all had personal chefs and his kind of money that wouldn’t be a problem, which I think sums it up right there.  I, personally, am sick of hearing how going organic or something is better for me.  Why, I’d love to.  Just make it cheaper.

There is a ridiculous amount of poverty in this country and hunger and food-insecurity are real things in our communities, and there are just not enough services in my opinion.  I don’t feel as though people should jump though a thousand hoops just for the privilege of eating.  Furthermore, I don’t think it should be a frigging privilege.

In my research, a woman led me to FullCart, an online food bank.  I filled out the questionnaire and am hoping to hear back soon to see whether I qualify for a free box of food to be shipped to my house.  I know there won’t be a fresh thing in that box, but I’m going to try it all and find out what else is available for people who are hungry.

I could really go for a fresh garden salad with chicken and strawberries and walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette for lunch, but instead I’m having a chicken patty on white bread because that only cost me 25 cents to make.

Because you can’t eat right when you’re poor.