Digging in, Digging out

Something *had* to give, and finally it did

I blogged a while ago about pulling myself out of a deep depression, sadly it did not last very long and I’ve found myself less than apt to do much.  Life has a way of being hard for everyone not just me and I must accept that.  In fact, it should be stated that I have been extremely blessed in life.  I have an extremely supportive family despite how poorly I have behaved both in the past and recently.  I have food in my belly and a roof over my head.

Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening

Not having motivation to do much is incredibly emotionally painful for those of us who have always maintained an active lifestyle.  Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening.  I found myself avoiding everyone in particular my family.  Something had to give.

 It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case

I used to suffer light depressive periods which are fairly normal for most human beings.  I never really understood a long term debilitating type of depression until now.  Short periods of pulling out and actually accomplishing small tasks such as cooking a meal or sweeping the floor, even smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke inside) become major wins in life.  The frustration seems to feed on itself- depression keeps me from doing things, thinking about the things I haven’t done creates more depression.  It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case.

So I’ve been working here and there as a day laborer, which has paid me just enough to pay for the gas and cheap lunches with little left for living.  Yesterday (Sunday) I was prepping for a good nights sleep as the day labor game requires me to show up at 5:30 AM in the “hopes” of getting work among the 100 other people.  I received a text from a friend of a friend of a friend asking if I would swing by to talk about a job.  A job in a career field I have been in before: hardwood flooring!

This was a small lead I got about a week and a half ago, I used to do gymnasium floor installation about 20 years ago and not only did I enjoy it but I was also quite good at the work.  And so I went and met with the man, I start tomorrow (Tuesday) morning!  Good work, full time, good pay!  I decided that today I was not going to shovel dirt for no money and instead prep lunches for the week and practice a little self care.

For the first time in months I used my camera to take some macro shots of wildflowers, I folded laundry, I vacuumed, organized some things.  I’m in a good mood and am hopeful that this time around I wont slip back again.  Tomorrow morning I go back to a career I truly enjoyed decades ago and I’m incredibly excited.  I am taking today to go through and do a personal inventory of all the ways in which blessings and luck have fallen on me through my life.  No negatives, just the long list of gratitude’s.

And I might even call my mother

~J

Pulling Myself Out Of The Brink

Depression and wasted time go hand in hand, I’ve lost a week and all without taking a drink.

So over the last week a lot has changed, inside and out.  Just the last two days I’ve found myself struggling to force myself to do things, to get up and be a human.  Last Wednesday I went to take an early afternoon nap and found myself living in my bed for days.  I did not sleep much as I still have issues sleeping but I did not move.  I moved just enough to use the restroom and eat now and then.  All I did was lie in bed and consider how much I hated myself.

This obviously was not good, I could blame the overcast clouds or weather but honestly it was my own failure that wasted a week.  I had things that I committed to that I failed to do, this ended up pushing me into a spiral hating myself for hating myself and failing.  Examining this is difficult this evening but I need to avoid going through the same thing again.  The bad news is that it happened, the good news is that through all of it I did not drink!  I locked myself in my apartment and lived in my bed for a week, not good either way.

So yesterday morning I had enough, perhaps its because I had a full nights rest for the first time in months or maybe I was just done.  I went to meet a friend of a friend for work and got a line on a hardwood installation job (I used to install gymnasium flooring) and I am today still patiently awaiting the business owner to return from the rodeo he performed at over the holiday weekend so I can nail some flooring!  I planted seeds, some veggies for our complex out in the yard.  I shredded potatoes for hash browns, swept, mopped, vacuumed, and cleaned.

Then I got a phone call from a friend, his gym was doing an exhibition for a no kill rescue (I forget the name exactly and am waiting for pics and info but I think it was DMK).  I’ve spent years practicing eskrima and they wanted to know if I could do a quick 5-10 minute routine, I did a performance of a Sinawali “Heaven Six” which are the basic 6 movements in stick fighting.  Then of course I entered the ring and proceeded to get my ass beat by a friend all in the name of getting pooches adopted.

The last time I was in a ring was probably 17 years ago, it was interesting and yes I spent today nursing wounds and sore.  My pooch, a boxer named Charlie was adopted that evening!  In fact there were 8 of us doing the exhibition each sponsoring a pooch and all 8 pooches were adopted as of this evening!!  I’ve gotten used to deleting emails as most of it’s noise but today I got one that just made me smile.  Three days ago I was a bedridden emotional mess, today I can say I’m actually somewhat happy.  I’ll try and post our group photo as soon as I can get my hands on it, 8 roughnecks in sparring gear with 8 poochies of all sorts.  (it was all I could do not to bring the blue heeler home).

Tonight I hope to sleep, and tomorrow morning a phone call to see if I can go nail some flooring.  I miss the activity and the work but to walk into a massive room with a concrete floor one day and 3-4 days later to walk out of the same room with a wood floor is an amazing feeling.  I’ve got a lot of calls to make and apologies to give out but I will live, and hopefully never find myself in the proverbial “pit of despair” again.

Adopt a shelter pet!!

~J

A Day Can Change In A Minute!

Do not discriminate against the downtrodden for often they most understand ill fate…..

I haven’t cracked my laptop in weeks, I’ve enjoyed it and I had no plans to blog at all today or for a few days even.  Then today changed, all within well… a minute or so!  I was returning home via the interstate here and on the off ramp to the road that would take me on my way home turning right when I noticed in the first left turn lane (for some reason lefty’s get two righty’s get one… hrmm) there was some young kid stalled out at the end.  Now this may seem to be just a simple bummer but we’re at the peak of rush hour and man it can get brutal.

Then something wonderful happened that changed my view of life and humanity as I have known it the last few days on it’s ass.  There are a few “regular” vagrants living under this bridge, this underpass if you will.  Well, 7 by my count over the last few weeks all the same all the time panhandling and what not.  ALL 7 of them came rushing out and set up, one flagging and the other 6 preparing to push as the light turned green.  The car in the far left lane knowingly hit his hazards so that they could cut in front of him to get to the gas station just a block away.

Not thinking, I cut over and wedged myself in front of the BMW that was trying to cut around, and shielding the car pushers as they managed to get the poor young kid up the street and to the gas station.  The only person not cheering during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home on a Tuesday evening…. the BMW driver who was instead cursing me.  I shrugged, continued to follow the car pushers and turned around to go back home.

often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered

I sacrificed a block, those on the off ramp sacrificed 15 minutes.  The so called “downtrodden vagrants” sacrificed sweat, energy, and a compassion that made my day.  Everyone hooting and hollering and giving thumbs up, it reminded me that yes there is humanity out there.  It reminded me that often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered.  I know several people who have rebuilt and done great things, truth be told that’s where I am at this point in my life.  To see the “lowlife” come quickly to aid while one that is more apt to help attempt to skirt the entire issue putting others lives at risk was polarizing in my mind.

I promised myself if I ever happen into a bit of good luck and enough spare change and the same “Compassionate Seven” are still there, I will march my lucky ass right on up the street and buy each one of them dinner!  What is interesting to think of and what is on my thoughts right now is that events like this happen every day, probably every minute across the globe.  I cant help but realize how blessed I am at this point in my life.

This gives me a great appreciation for experience, a great hope for humanity and assistance, and a great reason to be a better person tomorrow.

So Mr. BMW, you will be forgotten probably by the time I publish this.  To the “Compassionate Seven” I can only hope that my memory of your selflessness lives on throughout my life and actions and may you have touched the lives of all those others cheering out their windows at you as you assisted someone more fortunate.  I spent almost an hour coming up with the top quote for this article but I cannot take credit for it inexplicably belongs to you.

Be a better person regardless of where you are in life, people are changed by the strangest of things!

~J

Wow I actually did it! Well some of it.

I told myself I was going to take it easy this weekend I needed to for my health and sanity.  This move and everything else going on has me wound tight I’m tired and everything hurts and yet I’m wound.

I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.

Yesterday I didn’t fare well on the take it easy goal but I’m happy with what I accomplished.  I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.  After all I accomplished a lot just not my original intended goal!

Today I still started out on Much the same way, moving this and that and running back and forth from storage.  Then, and don’t laugh I spent 3 hours sanding a small plank of wood by hand!  This was my me time I was absolutely in heaven!

I sanded it tediously with a block to hold my sandpaper all the way up to 1000 grit!  14 different cycles and I was happy! In my own little world giving “life” to this project.  I probably would have gone even farther except the rain came.

Okay, I’ve got boxes to go through anyway.  What I found funny is I rushed around to find the softest towel I could find so I could lean the piece against the wall.  Not for fear of damaging the wall but for fear of damaging the piece!  Then back to move mode.

I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

As I sit here over dinner I keep thinking about the day and how my overall mood changed at each step.  Going through boxes of my past there’s a lot of steps hence a lot of mood swings.  For the greater part of the day I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

When I started sanding the wood I figured I would just start and let the project take a few weeks.  Honestly I have no idea what I’m going to make it into a bench?? A nightstand?? The fact is I was so focused I felt the rest of the world didn’t exist.  It didn’t need to.

I had my place, I was comfortable truly comfortable.  I talked to the wood, gently feeling for any imperfections as I worked.  Wow reading that last bit to myself it sounds a bit uhm sick.  I was focused and yes, there were some imperfections that I could not fix. Strangely I accepted incapability rather than considering it failure.

For anyone interested lol the plank is a slab of “beetle kill” pine, the dark stripe up the outer edges are caused by a fungus that the beetles carry but yes the featured pic is my buddy!

When life gets rough like sandpaper let it make you smooth!

~Joe 

My Ever Changing Life

Today I planned to take things easy, mom is leaving tomorrow morning so it was a day to get last minute loose ends tied and relax for a bit…….

HAH!!!!  Not a chance, while mom ran some minor errands I got a call this morning from a job I applied for earlier in the week asking if I could show up for an interview at 1:00 PM.  So much for spending the afternoon relaxing before mom left.

Last night we made lists for ourselves, my mother had to drop off a clock to be repaired, pick up some minor items, and we were going to drop off items for donation.  I had some simple tasks of going through things, getting my utilities and change of address stuff in, etc.  Nothing super difficult, nothing too tedious.  Then as usual, all hell broke loose (or rather we came up with more to do).  Things in my life seem to change every couple of minutes, all of a sudden I need to do this or we need to get that or, or, or.  At least my days aren’t always boring!

Between the job interview, going through stuff, getting another load from storage, on and on and on I’m absolutely wiped.  I didn’t even allow myself time to blog this morning!  I’m okay with that honestly, and truly today was a good day.  I will be sad to see mom go but also relieved (sorry mom, I love you but I also love my moments of solitude and self reflection).  I’ve got exactly a week before things double in magnitude on the hectic scale and I need to be prepared if I’m to make it through sane and sober.

All in all I’m incredibly optimistic, a little disheartened by the difficulties in changing career but this is to be expected.  If anything, I am learning to accept rejection better than I ever have and this is not a bad thing at all.  A lot of these jobs I don’t even want and would most likely be miserable after a very short time.  I have to face the fact that I need income, and rightly soon!  So, I keep plugging away in a seemingly futile attempt to avoid going back to the tech industry at all costs.  Something has to happen.

Something *WILL* happen.  I am sure things will get better over time, I’ve been working too hard at progress for it not to be achievable.  I just need to keep leaning forward and stop looking back.  Going through my belongings has made this both difficult and easy at the same time.  Throwing away some things makes me feel just that much more free, finding bits and pieces of the past here and there sometimes makes me dwell.  Odd how our brains and hearts work sometimes.  Time for a restful sleep and a good final morning with my mother.

Never trust a man that doesn’t love his mother,

~Joe

Getting it Done and Finding Old Memories

Going through boxes during a move can be interesting.

Sorry for the late post today, I’ve been quite busy here going through boxes and boxes and yes… more boxes of stuff in preparation for my new apartment on the first. I did have my mother who is still in town helping which made things go a lot faster but there were some highs and lows when opening certain boxes. We got a late start, leaving to get our first load from the storage unit just a bit after noon. We did manage to do two loads in total with each one lining the garage in three rows and two rows respectively.   Working through till around 8 PM we finally finished sorting and re-packing not just both loads but a good bulk of kitchen items that I already had here.

What I find interesting is how my attitude constantly changed, I will fully admit to being a complete moody prick today. I can make up plenty of excuses for my changing attitude, from getting organized only to have mom move a box on me trying to help to not getting much sleep but those are just surface avoidance tactics. Excuses are a waste of effort for me anymore, I try not to make them and still end up doing it anyways out of habit and sometimes shame or guilt. Sucks to step out of myself and watch “me” sometimes, I don’t always like myself.

I turned into a rubber ball bouncing from highs and lows with so much as a glance at a random nick knack changing my course.

The reality is, opening each box was a moment of holding my breath. Not knowing what I would find and what memories would spark was the worst, harder than dealing with the memories most times. I came across a good number of things that fired up old emotions good and bad and with the added anxiety of the unknown.  I turned into a rubber ball bouncing from highs and lows with so much as a glance at a random nick knack changing my course. Wow, I’m absolutely exhausted mentally this evening!

All in, it was still a successful day, we went through about 30 boxes / tubs and a few tackle boxes that I use to organize random items. I’m quite pleased, I managed to thin out a lot of items to give away, garbage, or sell piles emptying a total of 14 boxes a rolling bin, a small tackle box, and a medium tackle box. These empties will come in handy for my next few runs between now and the first and I should have a smooth move overall.

I’m okay with that, I’m comfortable and safe here right now and those are good things to be.

Depending on the job situation I may end up having to stay here a few extra days before I can get my key and move my bed in.  I’m okay with that, I’m comfortable and safe here right now and those are good things to be. Besides, staying a day or two will give me the opportunity to help my grandparents settle in.

Tomorrow I think we will try another load if there is time, as well as get the donate pile dropped off and god, laundry, and everything else. Mom leaves Tuesday so we’re trying to capitalize on as much time as we can. We also plan to meet my love for lunch tomorrow and I am wholly looking forward to spending some time albeit short with her.

*Treasure*

I’ve kept every card my wife has ever given me, and found the box that I kept them in when we lived together, this made me smile and honestly tear up a little. I came across my father’s paperwork that he left behind, his arborist certification, etc. this was slightly stressful as he died from alcoholism while I was in my first rehab. I came across many photo books, one of my beloved Akita who passed several years ago; her ashes sit in a small urn underneath a beautiful tile made in her likeness in the back corner of this yard that I will soon see sold (I will be taking urn and tile with me). There were many emotional treasures I found, along with a penny and a Starbucks gift card with $35 on it!!!

I suppose over time these emotions will stabilize, I cannot honestly say I am enjoying feeling so much but I cannot say that I am hating it either. Life is odd sometimes, I can only hope to keep myself from being so moody in the future and work to become a better person that provides hope, support, and love to those around me most notably my love K. and my family.

Feel your emotions but don’t let them control you,

~Joe

 

A Good Idea

A Glimmer of Enjoyment from My Morning Paper

Yesterday started with a whimper, I had no motivation but a million things to do. I was able to force myself to start going through things and doing the tasks I had planned but it was not easy. Over time I did manage to build up steam and as my attitude changed for the better I became more productive. I managed to get more done than I expected yesterday morning but still less than I wanted to, but that’s okay too.

This is not the subject I want to write about today though! Yesterday morning my mother noticed a review in my beloved morning paper for a play called “Sylvia” at a theatre that I had never heard of. The play is about a married couple who fight over a dog that the husband took in as a stray. Apparently, Thursday nights are discounted so we decided to fork over the big whopping $11.00 per person and take a break from life.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a play, in fact over 15 years! I dated a gal that was an actress for a few small plays and I would go and watch her. In any case the review stated to show up early so you can get front row seats and “see all the action on the floor”. We left early and showed up a half hour before the show started accidentally securing the first spot in line. The venue was incredibly tiny!!! Cool as all hell though, they had a string of doors connected together separating the entrance way from the seating and stage area and a tiny booth for the box office. Lots of local art, very uhm…. Modest.

What we saw last night at Funky Little Theatre Co. far exceeded our expectations!!! I commented to my mother after just the first 5 minutes that we already got our $11 worth!! The entire play was amazing, incredibly hilarious and incredibly touching at the same time. I was in tears several times from laughter and twice during sad parts. Turns out the director had to put his dog to sleep just last weekend so the program had a picture of his dog and a dedication. I am glad we made the spontaneous decision to see this play.

To add to the awesomeness they were taking donations, as well as selling raffle tickets to support a dog rescue group All Breed Rescue & Training and $1 from each ticket sold was also donated!!! What a great newspaper find!

In fact, not only was this a good idea, it turned into a great idea! I managed to get a card from the young man that produced the show, Chris Medina and decided that my experience was positive enough to ask him permission to mention him and the Funky Little Theatre Co. in this blog. You can count on it I will be going by there as often as I can to catch other shows in this wonderfully small 40 seat venue!

So, if you are ever in Colorado Springs, Colorado, check them out, you can hit the site at http://www.funkylittletheatre.org or give them a call at 310.909.3694 to see what’s going on!

Woof,

~Joe

Picking Myself Up

My Hectic Life and Not Giving Up

These past few weeks have been full of a lot of ups and downs, sadly there have been a lot more downs.  My job search keeps coming up with frustrating results and of course most of the aspects of my personal life have been less than desirable.   So I’ve been on this crazy emotional rollercoaster lately and it’s sure to have a few loops in the coming weeks with all that is going on.

So what to do this morning to set the right mind set?  I started with a cup of coffee and my paper as is my routine.  On the job front I took some time to set a goal of 10 applications submitted today and sat down with an intense focus.  I ended up hitting the mark of 18 with medium effort, coffee in hand and typing skills at my finest.

I did not pick and choose this time, and of course for every application I put in I know I am just one of many.  I am still hopeful of course, as I know I have a good skill set that can be put to good use should someone decide to give me a shot.  Career changing makes finding a job difficult, I could probably drop back into tech with so much as a few phone calls.

So today I am going to focus on making my living space a little cleaner, putter around the house while I seriously consider making those phone calls.  It’s a thin edge that I need to stay on the right side of to ensure my sobriety which is most important overall.  I’m still optimistic and plan to stay that way.  Sometimes it truly is hard to stay positive however I can pull this off today.

Drive on,

~Joe

Letting Go in a Positive Way

There is a difference between memories and physical objects

I love my grandparent’s home, I grew up here I have memories here. My grandfather built me a clubhouse in back, I used to climb a plumb tree and pick gooseberries and raspberries to eat on the spot. I remember my grandmother used to pick me fresh strawberries from the garden when I would stay the night and I would sit and dip them in a bowl of sugar to eat in the evenings before bedtime. I used to use the crawlspace under the stairs as a clubhouse, in fact “no girls allowed” is still scrawled on the little wooden doors. I remember watching Sesame Street on the color TV, one of those giant cabinet deals that must have weighed a thousand pounds!

I know this neighborhood, I listen to Revelry in the morning and taps in the evening from the nearby army base. I can hear the coal trains on distant tracks, I love this home. My grandfather always wanted a champion yard, it’s one of the best in the neighborhood and has been as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I moved in to get a jump start on a new life and tonight I sleep in the same room and the same bed as I did then.

Now word is they signed a year lease on a place in Arizona where they have been wintering the last two years. I think it is best for them, much better for their health as well as mobility as it’s a somewhat assisted living place. So, it’s inevitable the house here will go up for sale sometime in the future. I know they are stressed about telling me even though I already know as they are well aware of my attachment to the home. In all reality yes, I will be sad however this is the best thing for my beloved grandparents and I support that above any brick and mortar “thing”.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of “letting go” lately, today we moved all my belongings out of the home I shared with my wife for over a decade. Today was very emotional and between pondering this post and pacing the house aimlessly I’ve been stress cooking. Cooking has been a solid fall back for me to keep my mind off things, currently I am working on a soup for tomorrow with various beans, fresh veggies, and pan seared pork seasoned with turmeric, garlic, rosemary, and a little bit of Portuguese sausage seasoning. Unfortunately, now I am at an impasse waiting for the beans to soften, boil and soak… boil and soak… repeat.

It’s been an emotional week for me, and I need to remember to keep a positive mindset. My mother is in town and we have done well at mutual support. I also have an excellent support system in place by way of my online community at HipChat, everyone there has been nothing short of a god send for my sanity and most importantly my sobriety. So today I am going to re-frame, my life is in a reconstruction phase (go figure the title of this blog) and I have some flexibility in how I move myself forward. I can focus on the positive and create a better me and that is what I choose to do today.

The house going up for sale? I’ll probably get furniture and *hopefully* kitchen stuff for my new apartment. My grandparents moving out of state permanently? I can always visit, and I know they will have help when they need it from the place they are moving to. Moving all my things? Well, I need to go through them it’s an opportunity to clear out all the junk I’ve been dragging around. I will soon have a place where I can sit and not be bothered, a place of my own again. And it’s dog friendly so when things stable out I foresee a pooches in my near future!

I’m off to find something to cook,

~Joe

Time to Turn On

Let’s put that positive attitude to work!

This morning in just less than an hour I have a second interview for a marketing company. I cannot say that I am particularly excited about the position, however I need the income and its comfortable territory given my entrepreneurial background. Business development is paramount to any company’s success regardless of market and of course that is what I will be doing should I get / accept the position.

This position will require me to talk to people, a lot of people! A skill that I developed over time and would like to think I am rather good at on most days. It is going to require me to maintain a positive outlook and attitude regardless of what is going on “behind the curtain”. The pay scale is, eh…. O.K. a long shot from what I was making as a network engineer. I cannot go back to that career for my own health though, and I will have opportunity for commission which could balance the scale.

It will come, it has to.

So, I sit here sipping my coffee and pondering the need for some dress shoes as I stare at my brown Merrell hiking shoes. Waiting for time to pass before I leave early to arrive early (it’s one of my good habits). With all that is going on I definitely need a job, I’m at the point where any job will do. In all earnest, I am having a difficult time finding a positive attitude this morning. It will come, it has to.

I’ve got less than an hour to find that golden egg, and so I will. Perhaps I might actually like this position? I do enjoy remaining active which is part of this position as I will be doing events and such. The stress reduction in having a stable income as well is a huge plus. Not to mention having something productive to do on a consistent basis. This might not be such a bad day after all!

Trudge on with a smile,

~Joe