A Season of Loss — Find Your Light

I’ve got another (very long) post forthcoming about how I’ve now got two very sweet cats living with me. But I needed to write about something else, and it seemed weird to do the cat post first. So. Here we are.

There’s a lot of bad news unfolding in my family. A couple of aunts aren’t doing very well. One has entered hospice. We all know what that means. We just never know when… And that’s been weighing on my mind. (The other recently had an emergency surgery. I’m unclear about how recovery is going.)

If that was all that was going on, it would be more than enough. But there’s something else, too. My cousin Amy died.

She’d been sick for a while–I don’t want to go into detail–and she got sicker, and more stuff was discovered, and she passed away. The details almost don’t matter. She’s just gone. The news hit me hard.

Amy and I weren’t super-close. But we popped up in each other’s Facebook feeds, and I thought of her a lot. She became my cousin in the early 90s, I believe. I know that sounds weird… (I’m avoiding many names for privacy purposes.) My aunt and uncle were her godparents. She and her brother Alex lost their parents when they were young, and they got folded into our little menagerie. And the thing about this family is that once you’re in, it’s not easy to get out. (Not that many ever try.)

I remember that summer, when I just suddenly had two more cousins. One was a little younger than me, and the other was a little older. At the time, I thought Amy was one of the grown-ups. Even earlier this week, when I got the news, I was talking with a friend, and he asked how old she was, and I said, “I think like 10 years older than me…” But later I looked at the birthdays. When I first met her, I’d have been about 10. Which means she’d have been 13ish. I may have the years slightly off…but she was only three years older than I am.

Loss makes you older. I hadn’t really experienced it then. Amy had. I imagine that up until this week, we were getting pretty close to the same age, though.

I didn’t spend much time with Amy outside of an occasional talk at a family thing. But I always liked her, and there was a part of me that I think “got” her, especially after some of my own losses… But I don’t want to pretend we were kindred spirits either. There’s a reflex we all have to over emphasize our own relationships with the dead. I try to be mindful of it.

Nevertheless, Amy was my cousin for a lot longer than she wasn’t. She was family. And it hurts like family. With more family struggling in the background, I’m just waiting for more hammers to fall…

And this is just a few weeks after I lost a coworker/friend at work, whom I failed to write about here. At the end of March, very unexpectedly, Richard passed away. I know that to some, you’re probably thinking, “So what? He’s just a guy you worked with..” But we’re a small office. And he was a BIG personality. You get attached to people like that.

I think when I was told that Richard died, I was crying before the letter “d” had left my mouth as I said, “Oh my God…” It was a shock. It stopped me in my tracks. It’s a month later, and the office still doesn’t feel right, and we’re all still telling stories about him.

And that after losing my friend Jon (aka Jonco) at the end of December…which I’ve already written about and talked about extensively elsewhere…

I have a friend who would refer to this as a “season of loss.” That’s a poetic way to put it. To me, it just fucking sucks. I said recently that “available evidence suggests we’re all going to die…but does it really have to be all in a row like that?”

In the past, I’ve been accused (somewhat correctly) of living from tragedy to tragedy. It sometimes seems like I write more often about missing people who are gone than I do about loving them while they’re here. I don’t really know how to correct that. I’ve always had trouble with “now.” I can visualize the future and remember the past, but “now” is confusing sometimes. I often don’t even recognize when I was happy until it’s in hindsight, even though I’ve been working hard on that. I don’t know, man…if I haven’t said I love you to you lately, say it to me, and I’ll say it back, okay? It’d be nice to get out of the season of loss and into a summer of love.

Nevertheless…I’ve had to miss a lot of people lately. So, first and foremost, EVERYBODY FUCKING STOP THAT. But also, it seems very vital to me to appreciate you if you’re around. Because it seems like I’m always going to be blindsided when you’re not…

But hey…let’s find some light in the darkness…

When Jon died in December, I knew I’d be adopting cats (more on them in the next post). When I met them, I knew which one I was going to name “Jonco” after him. And he’s here now, and I’ve got a Jonco still in my life, being weird and fun. And McGuire came along with him. Being boisterous and adventurous.

When Richard died, I got off the phone with my boss, and I didn’t circle back around to actually working for about an hour. I was working from home that day, and I just sat there and let myself feel whatever I needed to. Alongside that, I knew that as a manager, it was going to be my job to tell my team members, one of whom was also in the process of losing her mother, who had just entered hospice and has since passed.

I’ll tell you this…I’ve been at this job for 13 years. I love our office and think of many there as good friends. I’ve faced a lot of challenges and hit a lot of lows as a result… The call I had to make to that specific coworker was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do at my job. I don’t ever want to hear the sound she made when she heard me say it again in my life. I won’t be able to forget that. Ever.

As I was sitting there just feeling the grief, both cats checked in on me. Jonco came over with some of his signature headbutts. And McGuire–I swear to God–actually reached a paw out and put it on my cheek to feel the teardrops. (I know he was probably just trying to figure it out, but I choose to believe he was saying, “Don’t cry, Daddy.”)

When Amy died…I didn’t cry right away. Honestly I think I’d burned through too many emotions in the weeks leading up…but I still wasn’t okay. I was still shaken up and trying to figure out what to do with the feelings. While I was still on the phone with my cousin Terry getting the news, Jonco got in my lap and started purring. They say sometimes cats purr because they’re trying to either heal themselves or the person they’re sitting with. I don’t know much about the science of that… All I know is that I FELT those purrs that night.

There’s been a lot of sad lately. But in the middle of it all, there’s been some light. And all I’ve talked about here is the light coming from the cats. I haven’t even gotten into how great it was to talk with my other coworkers about Richard. How cathartic Jon’s memorial was. How much it meant to sit in the office with my friend Mike and unload about the family saga and what the aunts being sick means and what Amy’s loss feels like in the midst of it. Or how much it meant on Tuesday when I told my coworkers what was going on and my friend Ethelyn immediately started crying and said, “I’m so sorry, Derek,” which she absolutely didn’t have to do… Or how much it meant that same day to go to my boss and tell him what was going on and that I felt like I needed to go home after lunch and pet a cat and take a nap, to then hear him say, “Yeah, go do that.” And that’s STILL not touching on the words of best friends and family members!

There is just plain GOOD in some people that can’t help but come out. Don’t you fucking dare let anyone tell you anything else. And when you find it, you wrap it around you and know that it’s proof that if only for a moment, God existed.

But these cats get me too, man…

So, I don’t know…I needed to say some of that before I went into how cool it is to have the cats and tell that whole story. That’ll be next time, probably…

But I guess I also needed to tell you that in the worst moments, there’s always light. Mr. Rogers used to say, “Look for the helpers.” Sometimes those are people. Sometimes, they’re cats and/or dogs, and maybe hamsters or some other thing. Sometimes, they’re songs. Sometimes, it’s just your own ineffable sense that it’ll all be okay. But it’s always there and you can always find it if you’re able to look.

I’m going to hug my guys a little tighter tonight. And a couple of you reading this pretty tight the next time I see you, too.

Until then. Find your light. Stand in it.

I’M GETTING CATS!!!!!!!!!!

I mentioned it in my last post, but it sounded like a pipe-dream.

But very, very soon, I’m going to become a cat-dad! I’ll be getting two sweet boys–one is ginger and one is gray. Ginger and gray–just like Daddy. 🙂

How did it happen? Well…there was a lot of denial on my part, but then a lot of dedication that sprung into place in a very short timeframe.

On December 23, my friend Kim (the cats’ foster mom) posted a picture of two little guys who’d just come to her. Her Christmas kittens. With Christmassy names. (Which I’ll be changing–even though they’re GREAT names.) I saw the photo on Christmas Eve, at my family’s Christmas gathering. I showed it to my brother and eldest niece, both of whom agreed that they were adorable. And I thought that was the extent of it.

But I also kinda knew it wasn’t…

Because I’ve watched a couple classes of kittens graduate through Kim’s foster-care. But these guys? I kept watching. Closely. Right from that moment on Christmas Eve I knew they were special. And it seemed like they were moving at my pace…but I also knew there was only so fast I could go…because on 1/8, I got COVID. And the week after my back problems flared up BADLY. And I thought “Well, that probably pushes back getting cats a few weeks” and tried to put the little guys Kim kept posting about out of my mind.

But they kept showing up–because of Facebook/Instagram’s algorithms, even OLD posts I’d already seen kept popping into my feeds! And I kept wanting two cats… And I kept talking about it…

After a certain point, Kim contacted me and kindly said (paraphrase), “I don’t want to rush you, but these boys are very sweet…do you think you’re anywhere close to ready?” And I replied saying I wasn’t sure, but I hoped to know more that week…and then the next day, without really actually knowing a damn thing more, I sent her a new message saying, “I think I want them” and committing to being ready.

That was February 15.

And in the past week, it’s been a whirlwind. I had started cleaning out a disused room in my house the week leading up to the above, so I’d already made a dent…but only a DENT. This week that room has been almost entirely cleared out (which included breaking down a set of drawers and a bookcase–both of which were mine when I was a KID and were not being used). I’m presently figuring out where a few straggling pieces from in there will go…and some of the furniture that is presently in there will be moved to my curb on Thursday to be drug away on Friday… And I’m in the process of ripping out the old, 1970s SHAG, inexplicably RED carpeting to be replaced by a tasteful area rug that’s nice enough that I like it but cheap enough that cats can pee on it…and I’ll be painting because I don’t think that room has been painted in 30 years…I bought all the paint and whatnot tonight.

And I’m installing a door on the entryway to my basement (MYSELF, with no handyman!), so they can’t get lost in my unfinished, cluttered-as-fuck laundry room… And I’m doing a general, all-purpose clean up. And I’m fixing things that need to be fixed, including cleaning and repairing two closets that hadn’t been cleaned out in maybe 20 years. And I’m buying a BUNCH of cat stuff and general home improvement stuff…there are four shipments coming from Chewy and three coming from Home Depot and two from Target…and I KNOW I’m forgetting something!

All this activity kicked into high-gear because after I said I was interested on the 15th, Kim and I talked a little more. And she sent me a photo that she took pretty much just for me of the boys hanging out on a tiny couch in their present room. And my heart ached…and we arranged for me to visit Kim’s place and meet the kittens. (I’ve first met Kim when we were both in high-school, BTW, just so nobody questions anybody’s judgement in making that arrangement.)

So on 2/16, I placed my formal application with the foster group. On 2/19 I went over to Kim’s place and met the boys…

At first they were a little fraidy. (It’s their right.) But I sat down cross-legged on the floor and quicker than I’d have thought, they started poking their heads out and getting brave enough to investigate me. I let them sniff my fingers and one of them started licking me right away…and then they discovered my shoelaces. They went BANANAS on my shoelaces! Chewing, batting, fighting over them, until the little orange guy figured out that, “waaaait…this guy has a whole OTHER FOOT!” And I started petting them and teasing them a little… The orange guy let me rub his tummy. No cat has EVER let me rub their tummy before. If I wasn’t in love before then, I was all-in by that point.

And as the time wore on, I ended up playing with them with a rainbow wand toy and messing with their little pop-up tunnel and picking them up and having them climb on me and jump on me and all kinds of things. They were in and out of my lap and accepted me as part of their little world for that time and it really felt like they got to like me–while, I must say it again, I was IN LOVE with them! I think one of my favorite moments was when one of them was in my lap and kind of sniffing at me. I leaned in close and he started sniffing my face. I snickered and straightened up, but he wasn’t done! He stood up on his back legs and reached his little front paws up and put them both on my forehead, lifting himself up to keep sniffing my head. I’m not sure…but I think he licked me right where the forehead joins the hairline–however far back that may have receded.

All told I spent about three hours playing with the cats and hanging out with Kim. Kim and I actually haven’t been in the same room together since 1998!! After high school we both went to our respective colleges, and social media was not yet what it would soon become, so we really didn’t reconnect until fairly recently, via Facebook. I’d always liked Kim and she was one of the people that once I realized “Oh, I might not ever see Kim again” I was bummed out, back in the 90s. So when she popped up in my feed I was happy to see her and over time it became clear we had a lot in common… And once I started posting about wanting what at the time I described as “A cat” she mentioned that she works with a foster group…and the rest is history. It was good to see Kim in person. The kitties were at the center of it–but it’s so nice to see old friends. For all of its faults, the Internet does some good sometimes. And she has done a GREAT job with the kittens, to boot!

The day after meeting the boys, I had a phone call with one of the people at the adoption agency that actually makes notes in a file and makes some of the decisions. It was a fun talk and I liked putting why I wanted to adopt those two little guys into words. I could tell the talk went well–all I really needed to do was answer honestly.

And on 2/21, I got the e-mail. THE email. The BEST e-mail. “The boys” are going to become MY boys! I get to adopt those little shoelace eating, jeans climbing, face pawing, rainbow chasing, head licking, heart stealing, world changing, sweet boys. I get to be their forever. And they’re going to have the BEST damn forever they can imagine!

I’m still working on their room. And by the way, current practice is to introduce the guys to ONE room and keep them in there for a while. Like a week or so. That room is their WORLD–but you spend a LOT of time in it. (I plan on working in it, at the very least.) And you’re bringing them their food and the water. They start to recognize you as the food-bringer. They start to feel in command of their room. They know that’s where the litter boxes are, and that they’re safe and comfortable there…then, you open the door. And they start learning the rest of their world…but they can still go back to their room, where they know they’re safe (and where the litter boxes remain.)

So, their room is progressing, and it’ll be ready by the end of this week, I think–with the exception of it won’t actually have litter and food in it yet, pending my boys. I’m going to buy that stuff over the weekend, but they’re probably not getting here until the first weekend in March…

For which I’m grateful. If they needed to be housed TODAY I’d probably have to mournfully pass. But because I’ve got a little time, I’m making my house nicer and they’ll get a great start. The things I’m doing have needed to be done for a long time–even DECADES. (Bear in mind I live in the house where I grew up. Some stuff has been sitting for a while–an example, I fixed a closet door that has been broken for 30+ years…it took 15 minutes.) Things here are getting cleaner. They’re getting organized. They’re getting better. I’m making positive life changes. For love–that’s always what it takes…

You’ll notice I’ve gone this whole post without telling you their names. And I’m not going to do it now. I’m going to wait until they’re officially home. It’s part superstition. I feel like saying their names before they’re home might jinx it. After all I haven’t signed the papers or paid the adoption fee yet–they just got neutered today! (And I’m told they did great.) Their names are important and they’re significant and personal and special. Right now, their names are just mine. Well and Kim’s…I thought that since Kim gave them their current names it was fair that she be the first to hear the new ones–though I did promise to keep her names as middle names, so the boys will know when they’re in trouble. So…you’ll get their names. But not today. Check back roundabout the 5th.

You’ll also notice that I haven’t posted a photo of them yet. That’s on purpose too…another little superstition. I HAVE photos of them. Kim’s posted good photos of them. I love and will always keep Kim’s photos of them! But I want the first photos I post to be ones I took myself. And I haven’t taken any yet. I could’ve. It should’ve occurred to me. I spent three hours with them! But I was so busy falling in love with them that it didn’t occur to me to document it. (Kim–if you ever see this and happened to take some clandestine photos of us, I wouldn’t mind having those–but I don’t think you did.) So, their photos will wait until later too.

But after my boys come home, you’d best get used to hearing their names and seeing their little furry faces. Because that’s going to happen a LOT.

This blog might go full-on cat-blog. We’ll see.

Until then, please wish me happy cleaning! This might seem silly, but I printed and pinned up a picture of the kittens on the wall of their room. So when I’ve been working in there really hard for a really long time, I’ll think, “That feels like enough for today…” And I’ll look up and I’ll see my boys. And I’ll keep working. For my boys.

Y’know I always thought the phrase “forever home” was needlessly saccharine and dorky…but now I’m going to be one. And I love hearing it. I get to be their forever.

I can’t wait for my boys to see their room!

Until next time, meow y’all.

“IT’S A GO-CART POWERED BY MY OWN SENSE OF SELF-SATISFACTION.” – Ed Begley Jr.

Feels like I haven’t done an everything/nothing post in a while. And I’ve got several things I want to talk about, but not at length. So let’s toss a Simpsons quote in the title and get to it.

  1. My latest podcast episode went up. I don’t do a great job of promoting it on the blog…or of writing on the blog, most of the time…but this one’s special to me. It’s a tribute to my friend Jon who I’d posted about here when he passed away. There’s some business up top about my COVID struggle and my opinion on Spotify, Neil Young, and Joe Rogan…but about 20 minutes in I start talking about Jon and that goes to the end. Check it out here.
  2. I’m mostly over the COVID but I’m still dealing with some of the after-effects. My cough won’t fully go away. But more concerning, I seem to be having some lingering issues with my noggin. “Brain fog” they call it, I think… And mine makes me anywhere from “a little dizzy” to “I spent all of Tuesday in bed.” Which–so you know I’m not just adlibbing–is how I spent this past Tuesday. I’ve been sluggish today too, but it was a little better.
  3. I’ve also got some pretty significant pain in my back and side (again/still). The weird thing is that while I had my COVID fever my back pain completely went away. Probably just a mercy of my brain–choosing to make me only deal with one set of discomfort at once…but I wonder if that was a weird COVID effect too. I’ve read where it messes with some people’s spinal fluid and even causes transverse myelitis in some people. I don’t think THAT’S happening…but being someone who’s always got back pain, then feeling it go away for a bit, then when it comes back if anything it’s worse than before… I guess I just wish we knew enough about the virus to know if this is a virus thing or if I just need to keep putting ice on it. I probably just need to put ice on it.
  4. It snowed a lot today. More in some places than in others. On my block looking out my window I still see grass popping up out of the snow in some places. But I hear elsewhere there was as much as 4-5 inches. And that with another system coming through overnight tonight (possibly right now as I’m writing this at 1 a.m. waiting for some Ibuprofen to kick in), we might get as much as a foot or more of snow. I like snow–especially when I don’t have to drive in it. I was a little underwhelmed with what I saw of it today, but tomorrow will probably be very different. All I know is if it needs to be shoveled, I’m going to be trapped in here until the thaw since my back and side hurt so much. At least as of now we’ve still go electricity–knock on wood.
  5. While I was sick I watched the whole of Night Court. I don’t have much to say about that, except that I wish I had more Night Court to watch. That’ll probably come up in a podcast episode soon enough.
  6. I referenced it above…but if you’re wondering, I’m on Neil Young’s side in the thing with Spotify and the Joe Rogan nonsense. I haven’t liked anything Joe Rogan has done since News Radio, but that’s beside the point… The guy knows what he’s doing. He’s been personally confronted by scientists and refuses to speak the truth, even knowing it. I don’t respect that. And as a supporter of free speech, I think Neil Young, the rest of CSNY, Joni Mitchell, et al have every right to choose where their words are heard. If they don’t want to be heard on the same platform as Joe Rogan, I couldn’t agree more. I subscribe to the Neil Young Archives, anyway. (And also Spotify doesn’t fairly pay artists for use of their music…which is a fantastic reason to run screaming from them even without Joe Rogan.)
  7. I don’t remember if I’ve talked about it on the blog, but I’m going to become a cat owner sometime this year. I really want to do that. But I’ve also got some things to do around the house and being sick and back paid have slowed me down. I was hoping to have some furry friends running around here by now…but like most every other set of plans I’ve ever made, I’m running behind on it.
  8. I’ve noodled around with writing some new music in recent weeks. Though after three releases in 2021, I don’t think you’ll hear much from me on that front until 2023 unless something just falls together perfectly and I can’t wait for some reason. As a working musician you have to be careful about how many times you ask somebody to press play. Like, I love Guided By Voices, but they put out SO MUCH music, I sometimes think they think they’re the ONLY band. Sometimes it’s nice to have a break between albums. So I’m probably building one in this year. (We’ll see if that lasts…)

And I feel like I’m forgetting some stuff, which I probably am on account of my COVID brain. But whatever. Thanks for reading. I’m trying to write more on the blog this year and it’s nice that you’re here to see it.

————

Current Listening:

  • Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young – Deja Vu
  • Neil Young – Barn

70…err…60 Questions

This week on my brother’s blog he answered a bunch of questions from a random topic generator. I’ve been known to do similar things on this blog in the past, so I’m stealing the idea, but using different questions. My lot comes from someone called “deveshh04” on Instagram, in a post that they titled “70 horrible questions … Fuck it.” I happened to bump into it by accident tonight and figured “why not?”

Oh…and by the way, it was absolutely COVID. And it’s getting better.

So here are the 70 questions, and my answers. Questions in bold. All phrased and typed in the same format and syntax as “deveshh04” wrote them, to the best of my ability. (The questions were in images, so I can’t just copy/paste. I’m putting in entirely too much effort. Because I love you.) Also it’s worth noting that they said it was 70 questions, but in their post they skipped from #40 directly to #51. So…

  1. Do you have a good relationship with your parents? Well Mom is dead, but I’d still have to say no for her… But yes for Dad.
  2. Who did you last say “I love you” to? I don’t recall…I say it more than I get credit for.
  3. Do you regret anything? Sure. Thankfully you did not ask what.
  4. Are you insecure? About some things, yes. But other things I’m over-confident about. So it probably about evens out.
  5. What is your relationship status? I don’t understand the question.
  6. How do you want to die? Quickly, but aware that it’s happening.
  7. What did you last eat? Cheese on crackers.
  8. Played any sports? Not so you’d know it…but a little soccer and a little hockey (Ice-Soccer). And whatever they forced me to do in gym at the time.
  9. Do you bite your nails? Constantly. Fingers and toes.
  10. When was your last physical fight? I don’t know, man…it’s been a while. I’m an adult. That shit stops after your teen years, assuming your brain grows out of them.
  11. Do you like someone? Lots of people, sure.
  12. Have you ever stayed up 48 hours? I live with constant depression. My record is four (and a bit) days.
  13. Do you hate anyone at the moment? Hate is a little strong… I definitely, abrasively dislike some people. But hate seems too far.
  14. Do you miss someone? Lots of people, sure. It’s been a pandemic…
  15. Have any pets? Not yet. But soon.
  16. How exactly are you feeling at the moment? Sleepy and foggy (latter from the COVID). Plus I’ve got random aches in my back and elsewhere that are caused by the back.
  17. Ever made out in the bathroom? Not that I can remember, no.
  18. Are you scared of spiders? Absolutely.
  19. Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? Not to change anything, but maybe to re-watch some stuff.
  20. Where was the last place you snogged someone? On the mouth.
  21. What are your plans for this weekend? None. It’s a pandemic.
  22. Do you want to have kids? How many? I’m in my 40s. Door’s pretty much closed if I’m dating age-appropriately.
  23. Do you have piercings? How many? Nope. Never wanted to.
  24. What is/are/were your best subject(s)? I was always good in the arts classes. And pretty good in English/Lit.
  25. Do you miss anyone from your past? Lots of people, sure. That’s what having a past is…
  26. What are you craving right now? White Castles. For like the last three years since I gave up fast-food.
  27. Have you ever broken someone’s heart? Probably. You’d have to ask them.
  28. Have you ever been cheated on? Sure.
  29. Have you made a boyfriend/girlfriend cry? Not at the time that we were dating, if that means anything.
  30. What’s irritating you right now? Apart from the questions? Probably just the aches in my back.
  31. Does somebody love you? I’m told yes…but probably not in the way you mean.
  32. What is your favorite color? It changes…but I’m an earth-tones guy, so somewhere in that palate.
  33. Do you have/trust issues? Plenty. Why do you ask?
  34. Who/what was your last dream about? I don’t really retain my dreams very often unless they’re really out there or funny…so I’m really not sure. I think I was at a mall or something?
  35. Who was the last person you cried in front of? I don’t remember. Happens from time to time.
  36. Do you give out second chances too easily? Depends on the person and circumstance. Though I do tend to think most people stop after the first chance too often.
  37. Is it easier to forgive or forget? To forgive. Obviously.
  38. Is this year the best year of your life? It started with me getting COVID at a funeral. I sure hope not.
  39. How old were you when you had your first kiss? I guess that depends on how you judge it, because that girl Jessica kissed me in kindergarten, but I don’t know if that counts…
  40. Have you ever walked outside completely naked? Not to my memory. Maybe when I was like a toddler or something? But not purposely otherwise. Though I probably got close at a party or something in days long since gone…but I don’t really remember that either…
  41. Favorite food? Changes…but I’m going to go with corned beef and cabbage.
  42. Do you believe everything happens for a reason? No. I don’t believe there’s a reason for MOST things, actually. Most things are just a bunch of stuff that happens.
  43. What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night? I assume you’re looking for more than “turned out the lights,” so I guess…I finished watching the last season of Night Court, I think…
  44. Is cheating ever okay? On a person? I can’t think of an occasion? On a test, sure. Fuck the system.
  45. Are you mean? Depends on who you ask, I bet…
  46. How many people have you fist fought? Again…I’m an adult…it’s been a while and I never kept a running list, because I’m not a maniac.
  47. Do you believe in true love? Not in the way you mean. But if you feel love, I believe that’s always real and what is real can only be true.
  48. Favorite weather? Autumn.
  49. Do you like the snow? Yes, unless I’m driving in it on a highway, in particular.
  50. Do you wanna get married? Oh, deveshh04, this is so sudden!
  51. Is it cute when a boy/girl calls you baby? I can’t fucking STAND it when couples call each other “baby.” It takes everything in my power not to scream at them to use each other’s names, or at least grown up pet-names for one another.
  52. What makes you happy? I don’t know. It depends on what’s going on at the time. I don’t have a default thing that MAKES me happy. I’m either having a good time or I’m not, and I’m often bad at recognizing it until it’s in hindsight.
  53. Would you change your name? No need to.
  54. Would it be hard to kiss the last person you kissed? Depends on how quick they are to duck.
  55. Your best friend of the opposite sex likes you, what do you do? Depends on a variety of variables including if the relationship that she’s in has ended or not.
  56. Do you have a friend of the opposite sex who you can act your complete self around? Of course. Again…I’m an adult. If you’re still lying to people about who you ARE at this point, that might actually go a LONG way in explaining why your relationships aren’t lasting.
  57. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you talked to? Depends on how you measure it…online chats and stuff? Probably Julie. In person…I’ve been secluded with COVID so I’m not 100% sure, but it was probably someone at the funeral.
  58. Who’s the last person you had a deep conversation with? I don’t want to say their name, but somebody with whom I mostly have a Facebook Messenger friendship.
  59. Do you believe in soulmates? Not really, but I believe some people will fit together forever.
  60. Is there anyone you would die for? Sure, why not?

So that’s that, anyway…

————

Current Listening:

  • Elvis Costello – The Boy Named “If”
  • Punch Brothers – Hell on Church Street

It’s not official yet…

…but I am 99% sure that I have COVID.

If it isn’t COVID it’s a very bad flu that’s so close to be COVID they may as well be kissing-cousins. (Which is a weird thing to be, now that I think of it. Never once kissed any of my cousins.)

It sucks. Obviously.

I’m certain that I got it at the Celebration of Life for my friend Jon over last weekend. (Others who were there have also been getting sick and testing positive.) It was a PACKED room. The event took place in essentially a ranch-style house. Pretty much just 2-3 rooms no bigger than your living-room, dining room, and kitchen. And there were easily 150-200 people crammed in. I’d estimate 5% of them had masks. I was in that 5%. DOUBLE-masked, in fact.

But even I’m so stupid that I took my mask off to eat. Which I never should have done–especially since I hadn’t received a COVID booster yet. I was fully vaccinated at the end of May, so I should have gotten my booster in late November or early December. I kept delaying it. It became difficult to find a place that would schedule it leading into Christmas, so at that point I figured I’d just get through Christmas, keep as isolated as I could for a week or two after, then get my booster at the start of the year. Instead, I got through Christmas and a couple days later Jon died and I had the Celebration of Life on the calendar. I couldn’t work it out to get the appointment scheduled in the week leading up…and that pretty much brings us up to speed.

I’ve been sick since the 11th. For more than a week prior I’d been working from home, not exposing myself to anyone or anything. I knew I was walking in healthy. Then when I walked into the room, saw the volume of people and the lack of masks, I knew how I was going to walk OUT… The smart thing to do would’ve been to pay my respects to the immediate family and leave. But I stayed. For three hours. And I ate the food. That’s on me.

For what it’s worth, the family NEEDED that event. I needed it too. So did most people there. If I’d been told “if you go to that you’re going to get COVID” (which, let’s face it, we’ve ALL been told for two years!), I’d have still gone. I don’t regret it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t resent the anti-vax, anti-mask culture that got us here. That got me sick. That could still end up killing me. And I don’t say that lightly. I’m not getting better. I’ve been developing new symptoms since the 11th.

On the 11th (Tuesday) I knew my throat felt rough. I figured it was a result of having done a lot of talking in a loud room the previous weekend. By the time I’d walked out of the Celebration my throat was raw from having to yell to be heard by the person standing next to me–it was a very loud group. I thought my throat was just scratchy. But as the day went on I started coughing…but again, I thought that made sense. My throat was just reacting to being sore…

On the 12th the cough got more pronounced and frequent. Then I started feeling lightheaded and took my temperature. I had a fever. And persistent dry cough. And a sore throat–my voice was disappearing, too. I could barely talk.

On the 13th, my voice was still shot. Still had a fever. Still a sore throat. And now I was getting hit HARD with fatigue. I couldn’t keep my eyes open after a certain point.

When I woke up on the 14th, the sinus congestion started. It seemed like the fever was receding for a bit…but then it came back and has stayed. Still the cough. Still the sore throat. Still can’t talk. Still exhausted.

Now it’s the 15th. All of that’s still going on. The sinuses have been particularly bad. They concern me a little…because sometimes they make me feel short of breath, but I’m NOT actually, I’m just congested…it’s in my nose and throat, not in my lungs… But as you may have noticed about me over the years I tend to jump to the worst case scenario…so I have to keep reminding myself, “No…I can breathe…just not through my nose…” (And then I remember that the sinuses have to be draining to SOMEWHERE…some of it is probably going into my lungs…and repeat…)

I also can’t smell anything. But I think that’s because of the congestion, not because I can’t smell anything, if you follow me. I can still taste stuff just fine.

None of the symptoms are getting better. But I don’t think they’re getting WORSE either…they’re just there. And it sucks.

I’ve been having trouble getting a COVID test scheduled. There’s a shortage. I’ve finally succeeded in getting one scheduled…for the 18th. More than a week since my symptoms began. I assume that’s not too late to get a positive result. Although I’m hoping that by then I’ll be better and it’ll feel like a wasted gesture, just so I can say for sure that I’ve had it. And also, if I end up needing to go to the emergency room for worsening symptoms, it’s probably good to have evidence that I at least TRIED to identify it…

But here’s the thing…when I get a positive result…I’m in no different boat than I am right now. A positive test isn’t a cure. And I don’t have a doctor. I’m fully insured. I’m fully employed. But the only times I’ve tried to call around and find a doctor (based on random information rather than any actual preferences or needs) I’ve been greeted with the “we’re not accepting new patients” runaround. And I’d get frustrated. And I’d give up. Because it seemed like every doctor I called didn’t actually WANT to help me, so why bother giving them my business?

So now…if I get a positive COVID result and need a potentially life-saving prescription…there’s no one to give it to me. I have no one to call. I’ll have to get sick enough to go to the emergency room and hope I’m not walking in too late. Because the system is broken and no one’s going to fix it.

So…yeah…this all sucks… I’m hoping to just magically start feeling better tomorrow. Or preferably two seconds after pressing post on this blog…but I’m also not an optimist, so I’m expecting the worst, with a strong desire to be pleasantly surprised. I’ll tell you this, if I do stay out of the hospital, the ONLY REASON is because I’ve been vaccinated. If this is how I feel WITH the vax, I’d expect to be dead by now without it.

So…quick advice…

GET VACCINATED if you haven’t. None of your bullshit. None of your excuses. Do it. And do better than I did–GET BOOSTED TOO. (I’ll schedule mine as soon as I’m able to do so, but I’ll need to get through this first.)

Wear a mask. Wear a fucking mask. Especially in group situations. There is no reason not to. I don’t want to hear it.

STOP DOING STUFF. You don’t need to go to parties. You don’t need to go out to eat. You don’t need to do group gatherings. Concerts and sporting events should be canceled. Big events should be postponed. Traveling should be restricted. But then again, even when it all was you all did it anyway…fuck you very much for that.

Be careful. With your own health if no one else’s… But I’ll tell you this… Whoever gave this to me didn’t know they did it. But they did. And they got several other people sick too, many of whom are much higher risk than I am. I’d hope none of us wants to know we got somebody else sick…but then we ARE two years into this thing…some people just never cared…others have stopped…the rest of us are sick.

I don’t know how to end this post. There isn’t a logical out… I just hope my next one starts with me telling you I’m all better.