I guess we’re done

*this is the conclusion of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few.*

I had a decent time at the cookout and I put on a good face. But I wasn’t fooling my friend Paul. Paul came up to me with a cold one and said. “Don’t bullshit me, are you ok?”
“Nope, not even close”, I replied.
He had met Cat. “Trouble in paradise?” I told him some of it. He was comforting, as a good friend should be. “You’re probably blaming yourself. I know you. Don’t.” He was right. He knew me, I was blaming myself.
I left soon after.
Several days went by. We had exchanged a couple of texts, mostly about how she was feeling. There was nothing that suggested any intimacy at all. Then we fell into the same pattern, if I didn’t reach out…crickets. The weekend came around and I asked what her plans were and I learned quickly that they didn’t include me. At the end of the second week I finally called her out. I asked if I should stop contacting her. She wanted to know why I said that. I replied that she was clearly ghosting me to which she objected by offering that she always answered me when I reached out. She didn’t get it…she never reached out to me first. Her pathetic answer was that she was going through some stuff. Weak. When I asked her why she didn’t tell me about it she said that it’s not about me. I was pissed at that point. I told her in as much as she was ignoring me over whatever it was then yea, it is about me to an extent.

We didn’t talk for a few hours, then I reached out and told her that I was going to give her some space. 3.2 seconds later she told me that was a good idea. I took off the gloves. “Wow”, I said. “You jumped at that awful quick”. I had pissed her off with that and she shot back “are you giving me fucking space or not!? Because if this is your idea of space then we’re through.”
I was stunned. But my thoughts and emotions were in synch and I shot back, “If you jumped right to ‘we’re done’ that quickly then that’s all I need to know. I guess we are through.”

Believe it or not, that is the last time we spoke. I texted her condolences when her senior dog passed away but I made no attempt at conversation. I don’t want to talk to her. Amazingly, the woman I once thought I was in love with disappointed me so badly, let me down so hard is now a person that even if she wanted to (she won’t) get back together, I wouldn’t want to. I saw too many things in her that tell me that she is bad for me. I thought she was loving, but she’s critical and judgmental. Things that I thought we could work through, her drinking (what was I thinking, that never happens), her fear of commitment, her erratic behavior, the list goes on and I won’t further bore anyone, all came to a head and I know in my heart of hearts that she is not for me.

Still, I miss her. Maybe I just miss the feelings I had for her, feelings that I had every reason to believe were mutual. I miss her falling asleep on my chest and waking up next to her. I miss the intimacy that I never was able to express to anyone, not even my ex-wife in all of my 57 years. And now it’s just plain fucking over. And I don’t know why. Nor do I want to because I know that I will overthink it and blame myself and just feel bad in general.

I have a theory. In all of my moments of neuroses over the job I think she lost respect for me. Because I thought that I could open up to her without being judged. That’s what relationships are about after all, aren’t they? I don’t think I believe that anymore, or at all. She was the first woman I felt comfortable enough to drop my walls and it fucked me over. It will be a cold day in Hell before I set myself up for that again.

To think of all the time spent, mind racing, being pulled between my desire to work and earn and the burning desire to be with someone who made me feel things I had never felt, that I would lose both of them. Wow, just fucking wow.

As I said at the beginning of this series, I once sold a standard shift car that was quite valuable, for one that I could drive with my arm around my then girlfriend. All these years later, I have neither the car or the girl.

If you ask me how I’m doing I’ll tell you I’m fine. But I’m not. Not even close. Big boys don’t cry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt inside.

THE END

the surprising reaction

*this post is a continuation of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few…*

I called Cat that evening and when she asked how my day was, I replied “I’m all done at the restaurant”. It got very quiet on her end. I asked her if she had any thoughts on the matter. I got a very curt “well, that’s too bad.” I didn’t push it. We talked for a little bit and got off the phone. I was going to see her the next day.

The next day I arrived at her house and we immediately went out to get lunch. I loved having lunch with her. We would always find a place with a good view of the water and we had great conversations as a rule. That day would be an exception to the rule. She was very quiet. To offset the quiet I made the mistake of speaking openly and honestly about what I was feeling. I explained to her that I wasn’t happy with how I had conducted myself, that I wasn’t proud, that I wished it had turned out better, that I hadn’t left Vinny hanging, and that I stood behind my conviction that from a mental health perspective I just couldn’t have handled it any other way. You know how your significant other should be supportive (at least to an extent at least) and focus on what’s good for you and maybe each other? Apparently, she didn’t believe that. And she had me immediately questioning why I did. It got ugly fast. She didn’t agree with me at all and began to tell me how she would have handled it differently, went into great detail about what I should have done, and generally got opinionated as fuck on me. I took it, to a degree, acknowledging that she may have a point but then I offered, “you’re a bookkeeper. You’ve never worked in an environment similar to what I was doing, there is no possible way that you can tell me what you would have done. You weren’t there.” Her answer was. “You didn’t handle it right at all.” She may have had a point. After all, I’ve already acknowledged as much, but I didn’t appreciate her attitude. If nothing else, she could’ve respected the fact that I was upset and not consequently not attack me. I tried to salvage the lunch by changing the subject but she was so cold I could have poured water between her tits and made my own ice cubes.

The rest of the day was no better. As she got drunker (another massive red flag) she somehow found a way to be more critical. As we sat in our favorite dive bar she actually said that my problem was that nobody kissed your ass and begged you to stay. Nothing could have been farther from the truth, you will know this if you have been reading my posts. I was pissed. We got through the night but she went to bed pissed and I slept on the sofa. The next morning was no better so I left after Church. I was beginning to think that our relationship had run its course.

I stayed in NH all week. We texted a bit but there were no phone calls and when it came time to get together again I simply texted her and asked her if she wanted company that weekend. She said yes, so I went to her house. She was better but the tension was still there. I deliberately didn’t bring up anything about the job. I had other problems to deal with. My ex-wife was fighting with my youngest daughter and it was weighing on me. My ex was giving my youngest daughter, who is gay ( for context only) a hard time about her relationship with her girlfriend. She was questioning the relationship, downing her lifestyle, being a fucking wonderful mother all around ( sarcasm duly stated) and really upsetting my daughter. My daughter had been dealing with anorexia and depression and I was outraged that my ex was doing this and causing the friction that she was. I told Cat about it. Surprise, surprise she had an opinion, one that I didn’t necessarily ask for, about that as well.

Let’s just say that my weekend ended early.

Committed

*this post is a continuation of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few…*

Committed. At least I should be, anyway. I am nothing if not a man of my word and I dove back into the job. My head was a mess. Between the red flags about the viability of the job being a long-term prospect for me, and the flags were plentiful, and my head being all messed-up over my new relationship my mind was racing all over. This may be a good time to interject that, if you have not read me before you may not know that I have moderate to high general anxiety. My temperament could best be described as, despite outward appearances, “everything is a big deal to me”. I am a classic over-thinker.

The red flags were the pace, the people, the physical and the collateral effects. Added to the mix was the realization that customers can really suck the big one sometimes.

The pace was frantic. When I took the job I was excited to make food, plain and simple. I am very good at that. I had no idea how busy the place would start out and continue to be. It was non-stop all the time.

Enter the personalities. Vinny, who was starting to reveal the rude and ill-tempered side of his personality. The Kitchen manager (who I liked overall) loved to accuse people of everything and clung to her knowledge as if it were the National Treasure and refused help with anything. Then there were the various dolts who simply couldn’t do the job or thought they were more important than they were.

Physically, I was getting stronger. Vinny was true to his promise to give me hydration breaks whenever I needed. But I was still struggling and I don’t do well in the heat as it is. I went home in a lot of pain every night.

Then there were the customers. Despite the fact that we were making a herculean effort to keep up with the demand, the customers were less than understanding. The cranky old people in town were bad customers. Demanding, impatient and insufferable. The people that came from surrounding areas were downright impatient and negative. They bitched openly at the exasperated employees and posted negative reviews which only served to send Vinny into a tizzy that was then transferred to us.

After a month of that, and not seeing my lady I realized that something had to give. I broke down and asked to reduce my hours. Surprisingly, Vinny was ok with it.

the added variable part 1

*this post is a continuation of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few…*

It is now January and things are going fairly well with Vinny. With the exception of my pushing dangerous boundaries physically (let’s face it I would have done that with or without Vinny’s direction because I’m dumb like that) I was doing something for him about every week and we were getting along well and I was making a few bucks.

One afternoon we went into town to the restaurant supply place and decided to grab dinner after. We went to his favorite place but it was closed so we settled on a local hangout frequented by vacationers and IPA-guzzling Yuppy types (an outdated word I know but you get the idea). It was crowded and we had a wait. We were standing in the lobby when around the corner came Cat. She gave me a giant hug. She was up for the weekend with a friend and saw me come in through the window. I was taken back, this girl and I have a history. I’ve blogged about her before. Let’s just say that we spent a lot of time together two years before and when I attempted to date her she pulled back, played lots of games and I tired of the drama and removed myself from it. I was hurt but largely blamed myself (like usual) for pushing when she wasn’t ready. After we made small talk, she asked me to come see her in the bar before we left. She went back to her table. Vin looked at me and said, “she likes you.” I gave him a little bit of the back story. We were seated and ordered.

Before we left I popped in, paid the tab for her and her friend and moved towards the door. She asked me if I wanted to hang out with her a bit and I reminded her that I was with someone. I kissed her on the cheek and left. Vinny was in the car waiting. When I got to the car Vinny told me that he could clearly see her and when I left he said she looked sad. Again, he said, “she likes you.” I dismissed it. We weren’t a match and I knew it. But yeah, I did like her. We drove home and I thought about her the entire ride home.
We talked that night. Part of me wanted to resisted but the heart wouldn’t let me. I wish I had ignored the call. Now I wanted her again.

from Me to We

Like all great stories, this one begins with a girl.

This is a story of missed opportunities. Of crossed wires. Of uncertainty and trepidation. Of missed signs and poor timing. But it also one of perseverance and dogged determination. The story takes place over 2 years, but I’ll spare you the remainder of the buildup; it has a happy ending.
I got the girl.

2 years ago I went on a first date with a wonderful and complex woman. She is the best friend of my very good friend’s new wife. I was interested in her the very first moment I saw her. Dare I say smitten. The bubble burst when she leaned in to the guy next to me at the poker table and kissed him. Oh well, I thought. I chased her out of my mind, for the most part anyway. I welcomed her back into my thoughts when I found out she had broken up with him that night. When the FB friend request came in days later, I was cautiously excited. We began to communicate regularly and I finally asked her to get dinner. It would prove to be a nice evening but that would be all it was because I didn’t realize that to her, it wasn’t a date. This confused me because it sure felt like one. We had dinner, we drank and danced. We talked a lot and we really hit it off. I read it wrong, all of it. I even blogged about it, you can read it here https://goodtobealivetoday.com/2020/03/

We continued to hang out for a few months after that but I finally had to acknowledge that I wanted something from her that she wasn’t ready to give. She really wasn’t ready. So I cut our get togethers way back and acted like we were friends. We just weren’t on the right page and I couldn’t do that to myself. I recognized that my neediness did not equal romance on her part and I resigned myself to hoping for things to change. The problem, when we saw each other it was just weird. We communicated less frequently to minimize the weird. But I always kept her in the Rolodex, as it were, of potential romance because I really liked her. So much that I compared everyone else I dated to her.

In October of 2021 we began talking regularly again. We even got together a few times. By this time I knew that her mind was changing, that she had become the aggressor, that she was finally truly interested in dating me. I was now the one resisting her. I found every reason I could to not date her, I didn’t want to get hurt again, even though I hurt myself the first time by not listening to her clearly tell me she wasn’t ready. It made it weird and got to the point that when we were together it just confused her.

One day I realized that she was what I wanted. I asked her to go to lunch. She never saw it coming. I took her hand at the table and told her I wanted to date her. She was floored. Not in a flattering way, just surprised. She still calls it “the bomb” because she never saw it coming. We have been in a torrid, fantastic whirlwind of a relationship since and I have never been happier. She is every bit of the person I thought she was, with the doubt and uncertainty removed from the picture. She is the best thing that’s happened to me in a very long time. I’m a part of a we, not just a me.

She is the first thing I think of when I wake, and the last when I go to bed. I needed this, she needed this, we needed this. So there you have it. Superman has met his Lois. God help us all.

Almost Famous, conclusion

Stillwater is at a crossroads at which point their star could rise exponentially or crash into obscurity. Add to the mix their skepticism yet tacit acceptance of William, the 15 year old “devil” could either be the best thing that ever happened to them in their quest for fame, or he could destroy them. Not unlike passing a car wreck, you can’t look away. If you do, you will miss the real.

Real is a big thing to Stillwater. Russell really is about the music. Beyond the fans, the industry and the personality conflicts, the thing that is real to him is the music. Enter the most memorable segment of the movie, when an exasperated Russell, reeling from a band argument, heads out on his own on a quest for “something real”. William accompanies him, and it is at this point that the culture of devotion and love for the music by the ones that matter, the fans, is accurately and beautifully depicted. He ends up at a house party with a huge sample of his true demographic; partying long-haired teenagers who seek refuge in a keg, recreational drugs, and music. Russell is ecstatically welcomed to their party and this party is so much like ones that I, and most every baby boomer in 50 states attended. The party goers don’t swarm him, beg autographs or perform any other typical celebrity worship, instead they just welcome him. They get to know him. They share their love for music, his and every other band. They just connect in a “just say whoa” kind of way. These were my favorite people of my youth. There was no pretense, no posturing, no fights. Just good, mellow and let’s face it, stoned people having a good time talking and listening to music. It was just what Russell needed. It was real.
Of course, the party eventually gets out of hand when Russell takes acid, culminating in one of the premier moments of the film when Russell climbs to the top of a garage and deafeningly declares that he is a “Golden God!” and jumps into the pool.
In the morning, the real-world calls as the bus shows up and the band retrieves their out-of-it guitarist. Tensions are high. They are pissed at him, and he doesn’t care. The tension on the bus as they travel to their next gig is thicker than LA air pollution. As they sit in angry silence, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer comes on the speakers. As the song builds the band and Band Aids gradually lose their scowls, stop glaring at each other and begin to move. Gradually at first, then a little more. Then the drummer taps to the music and by the time the chorus hits and Elton belts out “hold me closer tiny dancer” they are all smiling and singing along. Goosebumps are had by all. And there it is, the point of it all, the thing that made the most sense to me. The music, in all of its magnificence has not only the power to inspire, but it can also heal. The band is reminded at this moment why they are doing all of this. It’s about the music. It’s always been about the music.

William never gets his interview. Russell tells him as they part ways to write what he wants. William does. He tells the truth, following the advice of Lester Bangs. “Tell the truth. All of it. And be merciless.” Rolling Stone loves it, despite the realization that the writer of their cover story (the goal of the day was to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone after all) is 15 years old. All is good in the world until the band (not Russell) get spooked about the possible fallout of the story and tell Russell to deny all of it, crushing William and his credibility. The story is squashed.

There is a happy ending. Russell, in his adherence to the “real” eventually tells Rolling Stone that every word was accurate after all. But not before going to see William and giving him the long overdue interview.

As you can probably tell, I love this movie. I turned a simple Billy Mac movie review into a think piece on my love for the music and the era. I suppose I’m so into this movie because I am also on a constant quest for the real. I have never been comfortable with pretense and superficiality. Maybe that is the best way to summarize my feelings on music today; beyond my hatred for over-production, auto-tuning vocals, unimaginative and uninspiring lyrics and music that seems to have no effort behind it is my belief that the artists of the era made the music unapologetically their way. It was quality. It was eternal. It was the hallmark and peak of their creativity and artistic vision. The music of yesterday was better, even on scratchy vinyl. I can say this because it survived the ultimate test. That of time.

One last thing…

Almost famous, a Billy Mac movie review

Rock and Roll in the 70’s wasn’t just about the music. It was a culture, an identity. Right up there with your social status, your Zodiac and other aspects of identity was the omnipresent “what bands are you into?” It was a powerful statement about who you were and what you were into.
A lot of 70’s parents didn’t get that. The cool ones did or at least tried. It was key to getting along with your kids, at least understanding them.
My parents didn’t like the music, but they understood that it meant a lot to me even if they didn’t understand it. They certainly didn’t understand what would make me sit in my room for hours on end, a stack of LP’s scattered in front of me, admiring the album cover art and dwelling on the lyrics as my head bobbed and swayed to the music. The music was my friend during the difficult adolescent years. Often it was my only friend. That my parents understood.
There were plenty who didn’t. The parents who failed to recognize the societal and cultural impact of the music on the youth, and instead focused on the sometimes-unfortunate accompanying drug use, rebellion, promiscuity and other factors that made them feel that they were losing their kids, they didn’t get it. To us, it was all about the music. The parents didn’t have to get it. It wasn’t for them. It was ours.

Enter 2000’s Almost Famous, the movie about Rock that brilliantly depicted the Rock N Roll landscape of the 70’s.

William’s oldest sister has had enough of her overbearing mother. They fought constantly about her lifestyle. She was too free, too rebellious, too sexual and too into “that music.” The sister moved out. Before she hopped into her boyfriend’s Z28 she took young William aside and told him, “Someday, you’ll be cool. Look under your bed. It’ll set you free.”

Under young William’s bed was a bag stuffed with vinyl. The Beach Boys, Zeppelin, Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, The Stones, Hendrix, The Who. Some of the greatest of all time. There was a note.
Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you’ll see your future. His sister was a student, a disciple of the sound and William had just had the torch passed to him.

Flash forward a few years and William is now 15 and an aspiring Rock writer. Through his work for Creem, he scores an opportunity to do a piece on Black Sabbath by his DJ Guru Lester Bangs, brilliantly played by the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman. But William can’t get into the backstage door and by a chance of fate meets Penny Lane, a presumed groupie, that gets him in the door. Penny Lane is a “Band Aid”. We quickly learn from Penny, portrayed by the uber-adorable Kate Hudson, that the Band Aids are not groupies, just dedicated lovers of the music that travel with the band as fans.
“Groupies have intercourse with the bands to feel close to someone famous. We travel with them as fans, as lovers of the music. We inspire them.”
A noble distinction indeed.

Penny Lane, who eventually forms a powerful, sexually charged but never consummated relationship with William, introduces him to the band Stillwater and a connection is made with the lead singer (Jason Lee) and the guitarist (Billy Crudup, a very underappreciated talent IMO). The band is suspicious of William, to them the critic and the journalist are the enemy and the Devil. But they like him and reluctantly invite William to go on tour with them. William turns this into an opportunity, and he solicits Rolling Stone, the bible of the music scene, to commission him for 3000 words on the up-and-coming (almost famous) Stillwater. The stage is set. All he has to do to get the interview with Russell is get permission from the same overbearing mother that drove his sister out of the house. Not an easy task.

William embarks on a journey, a quest for the interview that will make him a journalist. An interview with a band that wants fame and all that comes with it. What unfolds as William travels from city to city, constantly badgered by his despondent mother (the brilliant Frances McDormand) and her omnipresent insistence that he “not do drugs” is a familiar story to me; the dynamics of the bandmates, the players (Band Aids) and the forces that inevitably seek to divide them played out before me as a teen as Superband after Superband disbanded after experiencing the collateral damage of fame. They are of course differing artistic visions, conflicts over who is in charge or the biggest star, drug and alcohol abuse, all the stuff that any fan of music has witnessed. Stillwater sees what is happening to them. They are hyper-aware that they are on the precipice of fame. They are also very aware of the elements that broke up other big bands and are present enough to recognize each incident as such and acknowledge it openly. They are at a point where their star could rise exponentially or crash into obscurity. Add to the mix their skepticism yet tacit acceptance of William, the 15-year-old “devil” could either be the best thing that ever happened to them in their quest for fame, or he could destroy them. Not unlike passing a car wreck, you can’t look away.

If you do, you will miss the real.

The call

I can’t believe that after all this time I may have to rename my blog. From day one Superman can’t find a phone booth has primarily been about my struggles with Chronic illness and rebuilding my life after losing everything and moving in with my mother. In the process, I told my story, made some wonderful friends, and learned the stories of others. It was very therapeutic. But now I have to shift gears because
I GOT MY KIDNEY!

A week ago Sunday my daughter came to visit. My little baby has grown up and at 19 she has a job and a decent social life. She has also been under the umbrella of a terrible depression lately. I had been looking forward to her visiting me, I was eager to have one of our heart to hearts and hoped to glean some insight as to how to help her, if possible. She arrived early morning (she likes to squeeze as much out of our visits as possible) and I made her breakfast and we chatted over coffee. She seemed to be in a good mood. That made me happy.

The morning passed without event. With the exception of the excitement of having my daughter for the weekend, I felt like I always did. Like total and complete shit. Life had been hard lately, I had to struggle to even attempt to fake the upbeat and optimistic person I always strived to be. Dialysis was kicking my ass and despite only being on it for 3 years I experienced more than my share of complications. I had been sleepless, devoid of energy and uncharacteristically void of hope. I wasn’t thinking of giving up but I was as low as I’ve ever been.

After lunch the clouds cleared. The lake effect is powerful where I am and the clouds are always there in the morning and you never really know if they are going to burn off. My daughter asked to go out in the boat. We packed and went to the Marina. Once the dog and the cooler were in and we were ready to go. I turned the key.
Nothing. Shit, the battery was dead. I had left the boat uncovered and the hold containing the battery had flooded. The automatic pump had killed the battery. My mom went to flag down a mechanic and my daughter and I stayed in the boat. We sat there waiting, made small talk and played with the dog. My phone rang, the caller ID read my Transplant team’s number.
I knew that I had an appointment coming up and I was expecting it to be a robocall confirming. I picked up and heard a human breathing on the other end. So I said “What are you guys doing working on a Sunday?”
“Well”, the woman said, I was hoping to give you a kidney today”
I almost fell off of my seat.
I repeated the sentence verbatim, not sure if I meant to but that’s what I did. I looked at my daughter and her jaw was wide open. I put it on speaker. There was a bunch of qualifying questions she had to ask. Recent hospitalizations, any open sores, dental issues, distance from hospital etc. I answered all of them satisfactorily and she told me that it was between me and one other person but the odds were enough in my favor that I should get in my car and start driving right away. The hospital is 2 hours away. We bolted for the car.

The 2 hour ride, despite my driving like a complete and total asshole, still took two hours. Traffic was not thick but it was slow. But I got there within the time frame that I told them. Nobody in the ER was expecting me. For a really good hospital, the receptionist in the ER was less than professional. You would think that the sentence “I got a call from the transplant department, they have a kidney for me” would be self-explanatory but her face was similar to mine when faced with a math problem. Blank. I lost my temper. I’m not proud of it but I did. People in the ER waiting room got it but the staff didn’t. I made it clear that if I didn’t get the kidney because they didn’t know I was there that I was going to go apeshit. A triage nurse soon came to the rescue. He knew. Whew, that part is over.

I waited over an hour before someone came out and told me that I had beat the kidney there and it wouldn’t be much longer. Soon, a team of smiling people in scrubs came out and announced that the kidney was indeed mine and that I should come on in for surgical prep. Anesthesiologists, nurses and a team of support staff greeted me at the door. They actually clapped as I was rolled down the hallway. They were great.

Finally, I was wheeled into the operating room, still conscious, where I saw my surgeon. Dr. Dailey is a giant man, six foot seven at least. His eyes smiled through his mask as he prepared the kidney. I asked to see it. He held it up, it looked like a big chicken breast complete with the fatty tissue still on it. Very cool indeed. Ten minutes later I was under.

There is so much more to tell about this. It will be at least an entire post to go over it. As a tease, let me just say that the head of my Transplant team, a highly respected Doctor known internationally for his work in Transplant Science who never indulges in anything but concrete facts told me that my odds of finding this kidney was, and I quote, “in the millions.”

Superman has found his phone booth.

to be continued…

Better things

“We could do this all day”, I said breathlessly as I kissed her neck.
“All day?” she whispered. “One of us has to work.”
Just like that, as BB King once lamented, the thrill is gone. Reality comes a knocking.

It was a glimpse (my choice of terms), a semi-frequent occasion where we dare to look at a life together. A life where she is free from her abusive husband and I can be with her. A life where I was strong enough physically and financially to support us. We would have our own place. We’d watch movies curled up on the sofa with our dog. We would go places and do things as a couple.
Someday.

Today, she is still married. I believe in my heart that she is doing everything she can to leave him. Even if I didn’t believe her, it’s not up to me in any of this.
Me, I forgot during that lovely glimpse, that I am NOT physically or financially secure. At all. I’m on disability living with my mother. In addition, I’m pretty banged up physically so working is out of the question.

Still, hope prevails. We’re good together. We have chemistry. We have the same dreams and the same nightmares. We both want one thing. Better. She deserves better and she makes me better. Maybe we both deserve better.

Coping

I have been feeling pretty good lately. Oh shit did I just jinx myself?
I’ve been consistently active lately. That’s why I’ve been feeling ok.

My definition of good, when I say I’m feeling good, probably differs from yours. There are days that I get out of bed and my legs tell me what kind of day I’m going to have. If my legs feel like I have bags of cement tied to them it means that I’m not off to a good start but all hope is not lost. It is those days that I expend all the mental energy that I can muster to make it through whatever I need to do. Errands, etc. If I have nothing that I need to do, I sigh in relief. I used to beat myself up over the do nothing days but I’ve given myself a break. I have limitations and sometimes I can’t come out to play.

A day when my legs feel good are the days that I almost, I can’t stress the almost enough here, feel normal. I hate that word don’t you? It means that I have some spoons in the drawer and that I have a limited amount of time to do something that requires me to go out in the world and be among people. The drawer could run out of spoons at any time and I needed to be near a bench when the spoons were gone. There will be days when I go strong. On those days I overdo it without exception. There is nothing to be gained in overdoing it because the next day I will certainly suffer. Cramps, fatigue and a general largess will leave me sofa-bound for sure. But I will smile a bit knowing that I did something that day.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to admit to myself is that I am sick. Sick isn’t always visible. That’s because we don’t want you to see. We want to look normal. We smile through pain and push on when our bodies beg us to stop. I always thought I was special. I thought that I could fake my way through feeling the effects of Chronic Kidney Disease. I couldn’t. I later thought that I could endure dialysis without experiencing the effects that others do. I couldn’t. So I was forced to admit, in addition to being sick, that I am in fact deteriorating. Deteriorating to the point that I fear it is not long before I’m unable to do the things that make me happy and keep me sane.
This has been haunting me.

So many people have told me to be strong, that I have so much to live for. This I once tragically forgot momentarily and almost made the mistake of all mistakes. But it is now at the forefront of my brain, the knowledge that to end my life would cause a lot of pain for some people. I don’t have that in me. The thoughts of seeing 4 weddings, welcoming grand babies into the family, listening to music, and doing every possible activity that puts a smile on my face do indeed give me something to live for. But…my brain constantly screams at me that the most important thing to me needs to be quality of life.

It’s not selfish despite the obvious implications. Milestones in life are awesome, but the pain is still there while you’re waiting for them to happen. I’m wiped out, my hands are cramping, I stopped feeling sensation in my feet about 3 hours ago (Did I mention that I now have Neuropathy?),my legs are swollen from the knee down and my dialysis port on my left forearm is throbbing. It’s unlikely that I will sleep tonight and when 3 AM rolls around it will be me and the pain and exhaustion. Trust me, at that hour in that condition the last fucking thing you are thinking about is giving away brides and bouncing a baby on your knee. It is the witching hour and the dark thoughts fight for dominance.
I wish nights like that on nobody, not my worst sworn enemy.

All that aside, with the exception of the occasional bouts of insomnia, I’ve been out in the world and accomplishing things. I’ve been running a successful little side business cleaning cars. It kicks the crap out of me almost every time but it’s good money.
I bought a brand new Harley Road King. It is the bike I’ve always wanted. When I ride I have a smile from ear to ear on my face.
We may be getting a place in Florida. I have the opportunity to stay down there all winter should I want to. That has been giving me hope to carry on.
I have a fairly active love life right now. 3 women who are actually interested in me. Problem is that I still want the married one and I’m willing to wait and see what happens. She certainly gives me a reason to look on the bright side.

It’s been a hard road back from my fall from grace. But there have been some lessons learned and coping mechanisms formed. For now at least I’m on a good road.

But the pain is still there…