the power of youth

I am a conservative, words hardly uttered on the blogosphere or social media in general. Conservatives have it hard these days, we find our beliefs and values under fire, even under attack in today’s left-leaning society. I’m ok with it, I know that I’m neither a bigot, a Nazi, a Xenophobe or a racist and I really don’t have time or the desire to defend or explain myself. My blog has likely suffered, however, because I stay away from current events for lack of desire to be attacked as all of the labels listed above. Having said that, I am going to say something that may surprise many of my fellow conservatives and say that I don’t entirely believe that climate change is a myth.

Climate science is not an exact science. In fact, the term “alternate facts” comes to mind. About 2 years ago a debate erupted after Kelly Conway defended Donald Trump and used the term “Alternate facts” and a brouhaha ensued along the lines of factuality. “Alternate facts” was touted as a means of promoting falsehoods and I found it entirely disingenuous. Alternate facts actually refers to the existence of different sets of arguments or evidence. And that is where climate science breaks down for me. For every scientist that presents evidence that the earth is warming/cooling/changing there is another with a set of conclusions that says it is not. Especially when you read a story about a Arctic expedition heading to the North Sea to study diminishing ice and have to turn back due to too much ice. As a layperson I don’t know what or who is correct.

But, unlike my fellow conservatives I don’t deny that there is a problem. There certainly is.

Is the earth cooling or warming due to manmade activity? It’s possible. Is the earth going through a natural cyclical adjustment that may or may not involve eventual rising sea levels and massive weather events that may extinguish a large portion of the population? Also possible. It happened before and it was called an Ice Age. Another one is also possible. Whatever you believe, it is difficult to deny that animal methane emissions, fossil fuel consumption and rampant pollution are having a severe impact on our beautiful planet.

We only have one.

Enter Greta Thunberg. Never heard of her? You’re the only one. Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old, angry Swedish teen with Asbergers syndrome who has become the face of climate change through her fiery speeches lashing out in particular at boomers for destroying the planet for her generation. She has become so famous that Time magazine named her “Person of the year” (much to the dismay of Donald) and just today the prominent British Magazine Nature blessed her with her own issue for the awareness she has raised for environmentalism.

I have a lot of problems with Greta. None of which are her own fault. She is a tool of the left, likely backed by notorious leftist George Soros. It wouldn’t be the first time youth and the disenfranchised were exploited by the left, it wasn’t that long ago that caravans of “broke” people crashed our border after traveling thousands of miles in mere weeks and somehow had transportation, iphones and all of their meals and other expenses miraculously paid for. I also feel that she is being exploited by her parents who are undoubtedly making a small fortune off of their angry daughter. She is also woefully uninformed in environmental science as AOC is regarding basic economics and the accolades thrown the way of this angry little waif as a “expert” are misguided and borderline comical as she and the Bloomberg’s of the world lecture us about our “footprint” and tell us to use public transportation as they crisscross the world on private jets and jump their privileged asses into limousines.

But again, it doesn’t mean she is entirely wrong and as much as I dislike her and her angry rants she is energizing her generation and spreading awareness. Maybe boomers will reevaluate their rampant consumerism and millennials will use less plastic Starbuck’s cups full of complicated coffee drinks and be a little nicer to this planet. The miles wide patches of plastic floating in our oceans and killing our sea life will thank them.

There is a problem folks, even this conservative (one who is confused how conservatism somehow became synonymous with climate non-believer) knows it. So if it takes a angry little puppet’s scowling face posted everywhere to make us love our Mother then I will gladly watch it happen.

I can’t stand her, but she may be doing some good. Youth gets our attention. Youth is good. Youth is powerful. Embrace it.

where were you on that fateful day?

17 years ago to the day
I can’t see the world
quite the same way
disgusted by how far
some will go
to destroy those
they don’t even know
it escapes me
it really does
the hatred and venom
their twisted cause
For some the anger has faded
not me
I’m eternally jaded
where were you?
on that fateful morn
when buildings fell
and hearts were torn
I still look to the sky
I stop and ask myself why
airplanes staying in the air
are no longer a given
our only crime?
our way of living
lives changed forever
innocence was lost
the widows and orphans
such a tremendous cost
if broken spirits were the goal
the bastards failed
Old Glory’s still on her pole
It brought out the best in us
the tables were turned
we rose to the occasion
as the buildings burned
First Responder’s responded
with soldiers and regular Joe
reacted with a fierce resolve
that we had yet to show
for a short, glorious time
we were all brothers
put aside our differences
respected each other
came together as one
hatred can only conquer
if you choose to let it
hang your head today
and always remember
The weight of your heart
on this day in September
mourn for the lost
the brave and the strong
celebrate those that fight for us
all the year long
on this anniversary
of an event so heinous
may faith, hope and charity
always sustain us

Enter Sandman


I was inspired to write about my nightly “battle of the Z’s” after reading this great post by Andrea. She’s got a great blog if you haven’t checked it out yet I recommend it. You can read her article here

It’s 11:00 and I’m wide the fuck awake
You shouldn’t have napped in the afternoon dumbass
But I was tired…
The house is quiet, too quiet
If I stay downstairs I’ll keep them awake
If I go upstairs I’ll still keep them awake
those wood floors betray my every footstep
I’m overthinking this
Just go upstairs and watch Netflix on the laptop
But if I stay down here I’ll fall asleep in the recliner
You’ll get leg cramps in the recliner dummy
I’ll get leg cramps upstairs also
30 minutes go by, I’m sleepy.
Begrudgingly, I climb the stairs

I climb into my supposedly comfortable bed
The sheets aren’t right
The pillow’s not right
I’m getting annoyed
Fuck, I’m wide awake
Of course you are
You do this every night
I fire up the laptop and load Netflix
Need a show I’ve seen before
One without a laugh track,
it wakes me every damn laugh
But you’re awake anyway, aren’t you?
Yes, but I plan on falling asleep at some point don’t I?
One episode down, still wide awake
Guess I’ll watch another
It’s only sleep after all
What do I have to get up for?
The credits roll on another episode
Now I’m getting annoyed
Should I make a sandwich?
How about a nice glass of Scotch?
Oh yeah, I don’t do that anymore. Shit
And you don’t sleep anymore since you stopped, right?
I don’t have any Scotch
A turkey sandwich at 2 AM it is

I wake in the recliner
TV on low
crumbs in my lap
The sammich did the trick
What time is it?
3 AM?
This has to be a joke
I stumble upstairs again
My water bottle is empty
Downstairs I go again to fill my bottle with water and ice
Did I actually drink a liter of water since I went to bed?
Knowing that I’m going to piss ten times makes me more awake
I’m thirsty and my kidneys don’t work
what am I supposed to do?

I’m upstairs again
I turn Netflix off
Now it’s too quiet
It’s back on again
I have to piss
This is getting old
Back in bed, taking deep breaths
I need to unwind or I’ll never sleep
I start thinking about every stupid thing I’ve done since 1st grade
That helps nothing
At some point, I fall asleep

I snap awake with a searing leg cramp
Practiced at this, I scream in pain on the inside
I throw the covers off
Force my locked, screaming foot to the floor
The calf muscle finally relaxes
I sit on the edge of the bed
Staring at the dark
I’m wide awake again
and I have to piss
Crawl back into bed
The absurdity has worn me down
I finally sleep

The first of 3 alarms go off at 7
No fucking way
I shut it off
I was having another of those dreams
About a person I knew, at a job I no longer have
I wasn’t having fun
if memory serves
I try to shake it off
When my head hits the pillow
It starts again, I can’t turn it off
I sit up and try to chase it away
Exhausted, I sleep again
I pick up where I left off
How is this possible?

My last alarm goes off at 8
I need to get up
You’re unemployed
Where the hell do you have to be?
Good point
I put my head down again
I wake again at 9:30
That was the best 90 minutes of sleep all night
and now I have to get up

Downstairs I go
Coffee is in order
The aroma pleases me
but does not wake me
I’m more tired than when I went to bed
I ponder over my steaming mug
the knowledge that in 13 short hours…

I get to do it all over again

Instant regret

I don’t know why I bother, I truly don’t.

I was on Facebook yesterday and, along with every news and pseudo-news outlet ran a piece on the firing of Roseanne and the cancellation of her show. It certainly was the topic of the day.

Against my better judgment, I posted a comment about the firing. I strongly feel that the way bad behavior is handled is extremely uneven in this country and I felt compelled to voice that sentiment. So, without weighing in on the content of the remark or “tweet” in question I remarked that it is hypocritical to cancel the show but not to cancel or censure certain shows like The View, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel and Samantha Bee, who routinely say horrible things about Conservatives and our President in particular. My comment was very to the point and politely stated, my point is that it is handled differently depending on what side is being attacked.

You, as my reader may disagree with me but I’m pretty comfortable with my statement.

I was immediately attacked as a racist, a Nazi, a “Trumpite” and a “Snowflake”(If you can imagine that). It became immediately clear that of all of the vitriolic responses were as if they never actually read my comment. I never endorsed her comment, it was despicable. I never said that it’s ok to liken African Americans to Apes. I simply stated that it’s a different ball game when someone attacks a conservative.

I am proud of myself for not lowering myself to the level of the commenters. I didn’t devolve into name-calling or the exchange of insults. I implored my commenters to read my comment again and finally turned off notifications.

I’m disgusted with the whole thing and I’m even more upset with myself for not refraining. See, I forgot that we no longer live in a country where reasonable discourse and civil conversation are allowed, even encouraged. We now live in an age of butt-hurt, overly sensitive and overly opinionated people who never learned to open their ears and eyes before growing “keyboard balls” and calling anyone who doesn’t agree with them names.

I am so glad to be a part of the blogging community. The people I encounter here are rational, tolerant and capable of disagreeing without long-term consequences. You all are truly special.

As for Facebook? I think I may have made my last comment ever on that platform

the continuing saga of the misplaced morning wood

I’ve posted a few times about my Mom’s boyfriend. I’ve had some fun at both of their expense. I try to keep it light but it’s actually a pretty sensitive subject for me because I have some concerns.

If you have been following me you know the story. My mother has a boyfriend. He is a decent enough guy, my mother likes him and that is what should matter to me. After burying 2 husbands in a matter of 3 years I encourage her to be happy by any means, including a dating website. After enduring several lunch dates with many men who hadn’t updated their profile pics in 10 years, dodging “I love you’s” via email and politely declining very inappropriate advances she settled on Dave. Not knowing, of course, that he carries more baggage than a Kardashian on a day trip.

It didn’t bother either of them that Dave lived almost 2 hours away. They hit it well enough that Dave was invited to stay the weekend when he came over, because of the distance. I warned my mother, perhaps uninvited, that this was a terrible idea. Once the guy had stayed at your house, you have just gone from a casual, “let’s see where this is going” situation to something else entirely. I was right, the shine is off the apple and she sees it. His issues are coming to the fore.

He makes cracks about the “ghosts” of my father and her second husband. He is very “handsy” and touchy-feely. He doesn’t like her wearing her wedding ring. He constantly makes subtle “jokes” about moving in. 2 weeks ago he tried to lay the wood to my mother at 6 am, prompting a big argument and the impromptu packing of his shit and leaving. I was almost happy, although I kept it to myself and focused on my mother. Historically, she suppresses her emotions and I couldn’t tell if she was ok or not. I was hoping that Mr. Grab ’em by the p*%^y was gone for good. In the days that followed, Mom confided in me her issues with him. She was concerned about the groping, the lack of boundaries, the jealousy and, here’s a new one, her lack of physical attraction to him. I told her that she should take advantage of the break they are on and assess how much these things really bother her. What did she do? She made a lunch date with a persistent fellow she had met before she settled on Dave. She likes him a lot.

And then Dave called, begging for a second chance. And she gave it to him. Now she’s confused what to do and I can’t help her.

He is being better, I will give him that. He is less handsy and more careful with the morning wood (at least so I am told I personally stay away from that topic unless it is brought up). But the underlying issues are still there. Mom is still concerned that there isn’t much of a “spark” (they’re 72, compromise will you?) and he is pressing to make long-term plans with her such as traveling and buying property together and making subtle cracks about moving in. Mom wants none of these things with him and refuses to say something. I want to. I know something is up and when I see him I almost want to tell him what she won’t, it’s only fair. Every time I see him I think to myself here comes Mr. Dead Man Walking. I don’t even want to get close to him because I know it’s temporary.

Of course, there’s another reason that I have cooled off on him. Last month he and my Mom went to California. He wanted to visit his son and my mother’s family is concentrated in the same area so it was a good opportunity to see them. They got along well by all accounts and had a good time. When they returned, my mom was curious what her cousin, whose opinion she respects deeply, thought of Dave. The response was staggering. Apparently, they liked him at first, they later found him to be whiny, selfish and a bit petty. One nugget that my mother regrets relaying to me is that he made a point, when mom left the room, to mention that he’d like a little more privacy but her son (me) is always there. I admit, I fixated on that. Mom heard all she needed to hear to decide that he’s not the one and I was just plain pissed.

Apparently, I’m just a 240-pound cock-block to this guy. Excuse the fuck out of me!?! Forgive me for standing in the way of him walking around our living room at 2 in the afternoon swinging his dick like a yo-yo but yes I do live there so fuck you, buddy. I’m sorry that my life collapsed and that I am sick with nowhere else to go but I do live here so deal with it. This revelation has changed how I act around him. Of course, I’m not supposed to know but I am colder than my ex-wife’s side of the bed to this guy now. I wonder if he know’s that it’s actually my house, per her will. Maybe I’ll work that nugget into conversation over coffee someday.

I saw mom earlier today and asked her what she was up to. She has a lunch date with another guy. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the show for now.



Kicking the can down the road

Six and a half years ago I came out of anesthesia to find myself in a room draped in plastic, many beeping machines, looking up at a Doctor wearing enough protection to make me think that I had been exposed to Miley Cyrus. Through a mask, he asked me when the last time I had worked.

I clumsily and foggily replied, “what day is it?”

“It is Tuesday evening” he informed me.

“Monday.” It was coming back to me. I had worked until noon on Monday, my donor and I received a huge sendoff (we worked together) and we were at Tufts Medical Center at 6:30 AM the next morning. Deb and I had sat with our families, who made nervous small talk until we were called in for prep. Soon we would be counting down from 10 and hoping to open my eyes again in about 6-8 hours.

“Admirable”, he said with an obnoxious sarcasm, “Have you ever been on dialysis?”

“No, thank God.”

“Sir, we have guidelines for dialysis. A number, if you will, that determines how due, or overdue in cases such as yours, a patient is for dialysis. A typical number would be approximately 10. For conversation’s sake would you care to learn what your number was?

“Sure, indulge me.” His snarky attitude was pissing me off.

“110.” He paused for effect. “I’m glad to see you doing so well sir but your behavior was nothing short of reckless. Please be more careful in the future.” He then patted me on the shoulder with his gloved hand and left the room.

Other people may have been concerned, maybe even felt bad. But what I heard was a chorus of soccer hooligans yelling “YEAH, you pulled it off you wanka! Good job mate!” I had avoided dialysis. Reckless or not, I didn’t give a shit. I did it. His dire warning wasn’t even the first for me. Approximately one month before my surgery I received an email from my doctor. Most doctor’s don’t send personal emails.

Your lab work suggests you may be in danger of a heart attack. Please, Bill if you feel chest pain, shortness of breath or light-headed admit yourself immediately.

I read it and dismissed it. I assured myself that I will make it. Repeat after me, I told myself, Death before dialysis. I was kicking the can down the road and I didn’t care.

I have had Kidney disease since I was a teenager. I have met every single challenge with enough denial and/or bravery to move on to the next obstacle. I always knew that a transplant may be in my future and I even prepared myself for the possibility of death. One thing I refused to entertain was dialysis. The snarky doctor, despite his attempts to minimize my accomplishment, had actually validated it. I had vanquished my enemy.

Until now.

After yesterday’s appointment, my Doctor’s best estimate is that I am 3-6 months from dialysis. My transplant has finally reached the unpleasant milestone of failed. The moment that I have fought, nay, railed against since my diagnosis is upon me. I can’t wrap my head around it.

I am an exceedingly logical person. I believe that when you do the work you reap the benefits. I believe that if an expert says A + B = C then I will do my best to add them properly. In this case, A and B were to strictly follow my Doctor’s orders regarding nutrition, sodium intake, alcohol and caffeine and exercise. C would be the result, C would be extending the life of my transplanted kidney another 3 years (we had this conversation 6 months ago. I did it, all of it, and it accomplished fucking nothing and now I have to finally accept that my life is only going to be as long as the extension cord in my dialysis center.

joke break…

A man and his wife are discussing end of life matters. The husband loudly declares
“when it’s my time, I refuse to be glued to some machine living off of a bottle!”
The wife unplugged the TV, threw his beer in the trash and left the room.

I used to love that joke. It’s dark and twisted and completely inappropriate just like me. It also played into, or to be more clear downplayed, my crippling fear of dialysis

I don’t fear a lot. I always look to the bright side. I haven’t dwelt on the number of years and instead have focused on quality of life. Dialysis represents to me the end of quality of life. It is forcing me to (finally) accept my limitations and to admit that I am finally sick and, to touch on a familiar theme, I’m going to look it.
It represents a complete lack of freedom and independence. I may not have plans to spontaneously pack my shit and just go somewhere but in 3 to 6 months the fantasy is just that. I will need to plan everything based on that extension cord.
I can look forward to infections, setbacks and more hospital stays because dialysis patients always get sick from treatments.
I view it as death’s waiting room. Sit, listen to the machine whirring, wonder where you are on the transplant list (if I’m even eligible), read a book about how it’s not so bad and wait for the next shoe to drop.

I’m not ready for that shoe to drop. Despite how wrong I may be wrong about a lot of what I just said, I can’t change my mind about it. I hate it and I’m scared.

I know that I’ll pull through this as I have everything else. But I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m mad and scared. I know myself enough to know that I have to get this out of my system, regardless of whether my blog has read like a Sylvia Plath poem lately. If I don’t get my anger out of my system I will be unable to move on to fucking dealing with it and moving on with my life. See, I know that overly dwelling on the future only cheats me out of the present but at the moment I don’t see the future in a bright light. I need to finish this blog, go outside and scream with clenched fists some FUCK YOU’s to the universe for kicking me in the ball again and then, and only then, move on to what I’m going to do next.

If you have made it this far, this is not a post fishing for sympathy. I don’t need anyone to offer uplifting sentiment. I just need to get this off of me because I want to move on, get back to a position of strength, loosen up and find Superman again. Before the Kryptonite of Dialysis defeats me.

Thanks for listening…











Labels are for boxes

Superman is about to delve into previously unchartered waters…Politics. I briefly touched on it in a piece I did about civil war, inspired by a wonderful post by Bojana about her experience in war-torn former Yugoslavia. It’s amazing by the way check it out. here

I have largely stayed away from politics in my blogs. After 9 months and almost 200 posts I now feel that I have established myself as a reasonable, civil guy and I have a confession to make. I am a Conservative…of sorts and I voted for Donald Trump. I believed in enough of what he wanted to accomplish to give him my vote. Immigration reform, crime reform, smaller government, a balanced budget, a secure border and the future of the Supreme court matter a great deal to me. On those, he secured my vote. Let the unfollowing begin. Or let cooler heads prevail. If you read to the end, you will likely agree that I am not a typical Conservative at all. Here’s the kicker, I’m not looking for your approval I’m just going to stimulate some conversation here.

I know some beautiful, smart and compassionate people that voted for both Donald Trump and Hillary. I love them all and I don’t judge or hate. I am in the minority. Our country is hopelessly divided. We have always had an ideological divide, but it has become intensely personal. If you are on FB you will see nothing but Vitriol spewed on both sides of the spectrum and it is so unhealthy on so many levels. My generation taught me that there are certain subjects never to discuss, but I disagree. Religion, sexuality, and Politics can be discussed if we were also taught the art of rational, intelligent discourse. Repeat after me, “I disagree but I respect your opinion.” Instead, we close our ears and raise our voice. We rear back on our heels and defend, for fear of losing, when instead we should be chin on hands, listening to each other. Tragically, we care more about “our side” than we do about real change.

“My side” is traditional William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan conservatism. I revert to that point in history because if you use the word “Conservative” now you will likely invoke the iconic MAGA hat worn by the “Trump Supporter.” The very words ”Trump Supporter” are hissed by liberals in the same manner that the Pope may utter “Contraception”. The words have become synonymous with Racist, Xenophobe, Nazi, Fascist and Bully. That’s not me, I’m happy to report, but it is a reality that a lot of Trump era conservatives live up to it and it’s a shame. I am tolerant, empathetic, polite and educated enough to agree to disagree with someone without shouting them down, closing my ears when I should be listening, or ignoring or exaggerating “facts” in order to win one for my side.

I am saddened that I have to avoid the subject of politics altogether for fear of being attacked. I’m actually pretty liberal on social matters. I believe in love between two people regardless of gender; I believe in immigration if it is done legally. I believe in law and order but not martial law. I believe in concealed carry but see no reason for anyone to own an AR-15. Go ahead and try to force this square peg into a round hole, you can’t do it. Criticize me, I can handle it. Just do it constructively, don’t shout and pay attention when I speak. I deserve that courtesy.

Roughly 24% of Americans identify as Republicans, approximately 30% identify as Democrats. What is left is the Independent voter. I identify as an Independent, despite the federal govt’s alternate term of “undecided voter”. I share this political distinction with approximately half of the country and I would like to think that we are independent because of our insistence on thinking for ourselves. We reject party politics and hate labels. But labels are all we have now. Whether it is driven by the media, George Soros, Hollywood, a basic lack of education, short attention spans or the absolute lack of critical thinking but we are mired in labels.

Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Liberal, Tea-Party, and Right-winger. Labels, Labels, Labels. Despite the numbers I stated in the previous paragraph, I see 15% of the country at the very far right, 15% at the very far left and 70% right in the middle, forced to pick between two candidates that seem to satisfy enough of us. But the extremes have defined Republicans and Democrats and forced those willing, not me, to be forcefully compartmentalized. Those unfortunate voters are the true Republicans, the true Democrats, and the Independents. The 15% on each side quarrel over extreme ideology and the rest of us vote our conscience and our wallets, the order of those 2 is up to you.

At the end of the day, it is all bullshit. Neither party of our broken two-party system stand for what they used to, the lines are so blurred and the aisle dividing the houses of Congress is as wide as the ocean and it doesn’t matter because no one is reaching across it. Fulfilling campaign promises and getting reelected take precedent over real legislative accomplishment. There used to be moderates, who believed that there was a compromise to be made for the better of all. They’re either gone or too afraid to stand up for fear of reprisal. If you watched the SOTU you clearly saw that when the President had his applaud moments, entire sides of the rooms respectively stood or sat with their arms crossed. Some Democrats were so resistant to standing for anything the president said they sat even when families of murdered children were honored. It was disgusting, and it said it all. Fear of breaking labels, that’s all it is.

What is a typical Democrat and Republican after all? Where does being a Democrat end and a Progressive begin? Where does a Republican end a Tea-Party Conservative begin?
Democrats, commonly known now as “Liberals” have always considered themselves the party of the working man. They opposed corporate greed and the Industrial Military Complex, and strongly focused on social issues. Today, the Democrats have become the party of bloated government, high taxes, massive regulation, and throwing tremendous amounts of money at problems in hopes that they go away. The focus of some extreme modern democrats on trans-gender bathrooms, abortion, open borders, the suppression of speech that offends their beliefs and the eschewing of religion has earned many to the far-left the label of “Progressive”. A progressive believes in social engineering, “hug-it-out’s” for terrorists, legislating income redistribution and, generally speaking, dwell on utopian ideals. I find great hypocrisy in the Democrats of today. Example, how can you champion yourselves the party of equality, while at the same time propping up Muslims who routinely deny women the most basic of rights, subject underage girls to marriage and stone homosexuals to death?

Republicans were traditionally known as the party of “family values”, believed in a strong military, a market economy, personal accountability, and were strongly aligned with the Evangelical Christians. Republicans are no better than their Democrat peers in their obstructionism, failure to reach across the aisle and to adhere to their core principles. I contend, despite my own identification as a Conservative, that the Republicans have drifted farther off course than the Democrats. Today, the Republicans are completely off message. They are trying to solve the complex problem of immigration through massive arrests. They are as guilty of allowing jobs to flee this country as the Democrats. Their alliance with the extreme-right Evangelicals is shameful. Their refusal to stand up to their major campaign donors, the NRA and the Pharmaceutical industries and their lobbyists have left them ineffective and blatant hypocrites who are blocking even the discussion of real reform on major issues. Also prone to hypocrisy, they lost me when they cut benefits to Veterans while touting themselves as the supporters of the military.

Instead of fixing the problems before them, the powers that be distract us by telling us what to hate and who to blame for it. Hence the labels. I for one am tired of it. I am a Conservative that was forced to vote for Donald Trump. It took every fiber of my body to do it, I almost skipped the vote altogether. I find that he cares about some things that matter to me while Hillary represents nothing I believe in. So I again voted against a candidate and not for one. I am not a Nazi, a Fascist, a Racist or a Sexist. But I stand to be labeled as one. a blogger I admire, posted recently about a reaction to Conservatives and their bad behavior, in particular, being called a “typical liberal.”
I commented on the post, not realizing that I was having a visceral reaction to the post. I do disagree with a lot of what was said, but I felt like I was being called out. That wasn’t the case and I gave a balanced response along the lines of what I have written here. At the end of the day, I wanted to convey that  I am not a “typical conservative”. Even if that was the case, why do I care?

Because we are living in a fractured, divided culture and we are all on edge. Half the country is yelling at the other half and nothing is being resolved. The big picture is that the division in our society, as manifested in our behavior towards each other is based on all of us feeling that we are not being heard, so we speak louder.

My mother always said, “when you are speaking you are not listening.” I would further extrapolate on that and say if you are shouting you aren’t helping. Step out of your comfort zone, step out of our compartmentalized belief system, question what you’re being fed by the media, embrace another’s opinion. They’re not wrong, they’re just different. No one is smarter and no one is dumber. At least it looks that way until we speak. The way I see it, if we reshape our ways of communicating, it’s possible our leaders will find their lost direction in our new one.

Labels are for envelopes, not for people. We’re better than that. One love, baby.

my week in review

I try to post something every day. In addition, I try to post something of quality. I committed to writing every day to improve my skills and I have rarely missed a day. Yet I have missed the last four. I was on the verge of missing today also but I have forced myself to sit down and put pencil to paper, as it were.

I’m going to tell you about my week:

Wednesday was to be a big day. It was the day of my first divorce hearing. Financials were gathered, forms were printed signed and Notarized. We were ready to go. Soon it would be official, I could finally have some closure. Additionally, I am carrying my entire family’s income on my insurance and if I show income I would put us over and lose my insurance. Once divorced I could start working legitimately again. The hearing was canceled with no reschedule date. Now we are in limbo.

So I went to work with the guy who so generously has let me work for cash to help with my situation. I gave him two great days, one of which was highlighted by his normally stoic and stressed out CFO making a point to thank me for the contribution I have been making. Always expecting the other shoe to drop, I wouldn’t have to wait long for it. As I left on Thursday afternoon, Ben pulled me in and told me that he will have to reevaluate our situation because our arrangement is too expensive for him. He’s right, I’ve been lucky so far. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate what I do, it is expensive to come out of pocket. He said he will leave it for now but with no divorce date in sight, it’s going to come to a head. This arrangement is not without its headaches as it is. It’s a lot of driving and extra time. But I have gotten so much satisfaction as I briefly returned to doing what I love.

Some good news, my mother-in-law has agreed to help my wife with an apartment. This was a surprise to me. I soon found out what had changed, my mother-in-law had made a deal with her: commit to going to therapy and she will help. My wife has finally acknowledged that she has a problem and I am so genuinely hopeful that she finds a way to be happy. But the hammer came down on the apartment, however, when the apartment complex she didn’t meet the income requirements and they wouldn’t accept the mother-in-law as a cosigner. Not exactly back to square one, there is now hope that she will be rid of the fucking Manson family she’s living with, but it is discouraging.

Yesterday I went to the local hospital so the vampires can suck more blood and copays to find that not only am I not anemic as expected, but my hemoglobin is getting higher. Which is good but makes absolutely no sense. For the sake of consistency at least my blood pressure was astronomically high. Stroke-level high. And my weight is up. They were so concerned they called my transplant surgeon’s office while I was there. The water retention in my legs is the culprit and it is not even close to funny anymore. Everything I drink goes to my legs like cupcakes to a fat kid’s ass. I was prescribed a larger dose of diuretics and went to the pharmacy to wait for it. An hour later I was told that it requires an insurance override that won’t be happening today. The only positive is that I walked the food aisles and read labels for sodium content. Something has got to change in my diet and I am prepared to cut/change whatever I have to in order to feel better and get my BP down to the point where I don’t hear bass drums pounding in my ears.

I spent yesterday afternoon slumped in my chair feeling generally shitty about things. Thanks so much to a good friend who was there for me (you know who you are) to talk me off of the ledge. I don’t often feel bad for myself but the entire week hit me like a sledgehammer to the face yesterday afternoon. I was disappointed at the possibility of not working at the job I’ve come to like so much. I was sad for my wife and my two youngest who are living with her in a bad house. I was disgusted and confused how I can be feeling good and yet so unhealthy, to be wearing the same clothes yet somehow almost 20 pounds heavier. I was daunted by the task of making extreme changes to my lifestyle and diet. And I was really starting to dwell on how mad I am that some miserable government desk jockey clerk has the fucking balls to make the decision that I don’t qualify for Disability! I rarely use this word but do you know what, this is one thing I deserve.

I do have one good thing to report, I am goint tonight to pick up my two youngest to spend the entire school vacation week with me. Maybe that will put me back on track and remember what it is that I’m fighting for.

Cheers and thanks for listening

Hell, what do I know?

I’m a reasonably intelligent person. Even as a kid I knew enough to crawl into the van to make sure there was candy before I agreed to the search for a missing puppy. I followed Bugs Bunny’s sage advice and looked down the barrel of a shotgun to make sure it wasn’t loaded. After all, the worst that could happen is I might get a blackened face right? Smart, that’s me. So, can someone tell me why I have to endure someone lecturing me about my entire family and then telling me I’m wrong when I disagree with her?

Superman is flustered today. While normally able to handle all adversaries with superhuman strength and resolve, he has been vanquished by the largest chunk of Kryptonite to fall to earth…the mother-in-law.

Yesterday she called me from work, supposedly barricaded in a closet for privacy, to discuss my wife and the situation we are in. If you have been following along you may know that my wife and I are pending divorce, living very far apart and our kids are all over the place. My wife is living with her best friend and she has our two youngest with her. It is a bad situation, the living conditions are not good and I worry about the kids living with such a messed-up family. All because my chronic illness finally took me out of the game and the money ran out and our beautiful family was torn apart. Regardless of how many people tell me it’s not my fault, I still bear tremendous responsibility for this and I feel awful about it.

She is the type of person that only asks you a question if she knows (or thinks she does) the answer already. From the beginning of my marriage, she and I have not spoken often because every conversation dissolves into discussing, and her bashing, her own daughter to me. I won’t have it. I may have my issues with my wife but I won’t disrespect her like that. Perhaps their relationship is toxic but I won’t be part of it. My expectations of the call were about the same until she tearfully told me how concerned she is for the mental well-being of her daughter. We had that in common, I have been terribly concerned for her as well, she is clearly depressed and I am helpless to do anything about it. The mother-in-law says she wants to help but doesn’t know if it is the right thing to do.

There is nothing that I can say here. I’m as useless in this situation as can possibly be. I have nothing to offer financially, which is killing me but I can’t suggest that she does. It’s her money, not mine. As she waffled back and forth between helping financially by renting her an apartment and then pulling it back because of “the precedent that it would set” I just sat there as her “Charlie Brown’s teacher” voice prattled on in my ear. All I could think of was the disapproving look on her face when wifey introduced us. It’s embossed on my brain. She was right, I wasn’t good enough for her daughter and now she was going to save the day when it was supposed to be my job. I finally told her that I think she should do what she thinks is right, that I will help as I can and I really can’t tell her what to do. That’s when the rest of “what was on her mind” came out.

She wanted to talk about my children. She is, justifiably, worried about my youngest daughter. I am as well. She lives with my wife, in that fucked-up house with my youngest son as well. She is not doing great by some standards. She does not have a room of her own, she does not have a job because she can’t get a ride to one, and she spends a lot of time alone. We all hate it. But she likes her school, has made a lot of new friends and she is making the most of it. The mother-in-law thinks she is depressed. I disagreed with her, and I was told that I was wrong. I was starting to get annoyed and very territorial. I know my children well because I make it my business to. I changed the subject. She then started on my other three.

My oldest two have lived with her since the move, or as I call it “the collapse”. They both were in college locally and it was nice of her to put them up. Now, my oldest daughter has graduated, gotten a good job and has spread her wings a bit. She has a room at Grandma’s but she spends most nights at her boyfriend’s house. She’s almost 22, I’m fine with it. Yet here I am getting lectured about how irresponsible and rude she is and how unacceptable it is to live with her boyfriend. I was again outraged. My daughter was a 4.0 student, worked full time and saved all of her money. She now has a great job, a full bank account and a nice guy in her life and you’re calling her rude and irresponsible?

Then she starts on my oldest son who just told her that he is moving into an apartment with his friends off campus. I don’t like it, I think it’s too expensive and I asked him not to do it. But he’s almost 21, has a good job and he wants to do it. But here I am being told how irresponsible he is, how he is an unfocused and lazy student. The blood pressure was rising again! My son has a 3.5 GPA, has worked every weekend since he was 16, has plenty of money in the bank and she should be glad he’s moving because she always complains about how late he comes in! He is a great kid and she was really pissing me off now. But the call wouldn’t be complete without tearing up my youngest son, who she never even sees.

She started to tell me how many “issues” my youngest son has. How he jumps from thing to thing, has a poor attention span and is a terrible student. I really had enough at this point. I told her that he is fine, in fact, he is just like me at that age. But she was insistent on continuing. Finally, amazed that I had lasted this long, I told her to stop talking and listen.

“Do you honestly think that you know my wife, your daughter, as well as I do? For 29 years I have been with her through everything while you two have done nothing but argue the entire time. Do you honestly think you know my children, my pride, my legacy, my only real accomplishment in life as well as I do? I tolerated this conversation because we’re both concerned about your daughter. Help her, don’t help her it’s up to you. But now I know why you and I don’t talk often. You like to be lemon juice on a paper cut.”

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way,” she said. “I don’t feel better at all after having this conversation”.

“If it helps, I feel worse than I did. If that’s even possible”. We said our goodbyes and she went back to work.

She left a message for me last night apologizing. I’m afraid to call her back for fear of how much of my remaining dignity it will cost me.

More cracks than I thought

I posted a few days ago about my Mom’s boyfriend and how, as his familiarity increases with our home he has begun to show a “further side” of his personality. Some folksy racist comments, inserting himself into situations that don’t concern him and trying to influence decisions my mother makes. It is bugging me a bit, but as I stated before it is her life and if she’s happy then so am I. I’m also a guest in her house right now and I know my place and will not exceed my boundaries, provided they jive with my sensibilities. That is a big ol’ gelatinous statement because my “sensibilities” constantly evolve.

A little history will provide some more context.

My father died of Parkinson’s in 2013. He battled the insidious disease for 8 years. As the disease systematically reduced the once unbreakable, honest and strong man to a mere shell of existence my mother was forced to care for him almost unassisted despite the fact that he was a veteran and a Teamster. Caring for him took a terrible toll on her, the stress of seeing her only love fade before her eyes and the physical toll of tending to his every need was miserable for her. His death was a relief for everyone, I imagine even for my father. I was living in MA and was 100 miles away so I was of little help but when he passed I spent as much time up here as I could to keep her company.

Six months passed and Mom called and said: “we need to talk”. She had a boyfriend. A local guy, a retired MA transplant who worked part-time in the schools named Frank. I had mixed emotions. Part of me screamed “too soooooon!” but the other, more reasonable side of me liked the fact that she wasn’t alone. I would meet Frank soon after and I liked him. My family not so much. My wife, the pinnacle of virtue apparently, got all judgy about how fast it all happened. My children were unhappy because they hadn’t seen their grandmother at all as she cared for my dad and now she was busy with someone else and they were again on the back burner. I found myself playing the middle, a role I hate.

Frank was a clinger, a Velcro boyfriend. He had come from a miserable marriage, he was crazy about my mother and he never left her side. I pulled mom aside and told her my concerns, she was aware but not worried about it. It became a problem for me when I brought the family up one night and come bedtime, instead of getting in his truck he began to put his pajamas on and headed towards the bedroom. The same bed my mother shared with my father. I wasn’t cool with that at all. My kids were here, they wanted time with her and he couldn’t give her one night without humping her leg? And she couldn’t ask him to leave?  I did it for her.

“Hey Frank, if it’s all the same to you…you know I like you right? If it’s all the same to you when we’re at breakfast tomorrow I’d rather not see you come out of this room scratching your balls. Would you mind going home tonight?” Mom was not happy but she knew I just had a conversation she couldn’t. Frank was pissed. But he skulked out and I told Mom that she needed to reign in his clinginess. How did they think that it was ok for the grandkids, who just lost their grandfather, to see that?

Eventually, Frank and I came to an understanding and we ended up liking each other a lot, although Mom said he was intimidated by me. I’m glad I liked him because he proposed in July of 16. They were now living together and their old-fashioned values left them feeling uncomfortable with “living in sin.” They were married in January of this year.

He died 3 months later. What started out as a cold turned out to be lung cancer. He lasted 10 days from diagnosis to the morgue. My mother was crushed. But bounced right back.

She gave it 6 months, and around the time that I moved in she began to get the itch. She wanted to date again. After several failed online experiences, she met Dave. Dave is the guy I recently posted about. He is almost but not quite as clingy as Frank.

The other day I asked my mother how things were going with him. I had my opinions but I only offered them when asked for. We talked for a bit about the aforementioned stuff. I recommended that she be the one to be in charge of the relationship. She needed to remind him that she just lost a 2nd husband and that the situation needs to be how she wants it. I assured her that he would be fine with whatever she does. I then mentioned to her some of the things I discussed in my previous post. Most of which she agreed with. Then she said, “there is one more thing, he needs to stop grabbing me. You know…sexually”. The top of my head almost blew off! I was furious. I needed to know: how bad, how often, what did you do about it and what happens now?!?!

“Like what”, she said, “I told him I didn’t like it. That in my entire life I’ve never been groped”.

“Umm Hmmm…and what, pray tell was his response to that?”

“He said that I should be flattered.” He sounds like Fred fucking Flintstone.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have told you”.

“You’d better do something or I will,” I told her.

I’m glad she told me. I am now planning my move. Something will be said. This is my Mother! What is he, a teenager? Is she hot? I’m not backing off of this.

I’m fine with her dating. It’s not even up to me. I wish she played the field a bit instead of falling in with these “nesters” but it’s not my call. I tolerate the fact that he may be plowing my mother in my father’s bed but he had better respect her and she had better insist on it. Retired state trooper or not, I’ll put him out the door without the benefit of opening it first.

A 70-year old man groping a woman like a teenager. You can’t make this shit up.