I know I speak for more than a few people when I say that I cannot wait for this year to be over, with the sincere hope that next year will be better.
I have always found an emotional and creative outlet here at the Citadel, and I've been hanging out around here since 2004, but the last few months have been some of the worst I've ever had to face. There is enough stress involved that rather than writing anything, it's easier to just ignore everything and I've fallen into some fairly negative habits, the most notable being drinking more than I probably should, falling off of the exercise routine, and letting things slide because it's just easier to to do nothing.
I have lost two pets in less than 2 months, a special needs chihuahua who was only supposed to live 6-8 months and needed a gentle place to live (she lived another 6 years with us) and a cat we've had since 2004, who was rescued out of the street, and I was there when we made the choice to let him go. I am not a crier, or a man who wears his emotions on his sleeve, but letting my cat go gutted me, and I wept. He fought pneumonia, a compromised immune system, and a esophogitis for a month, and went from a robust orange tabby to a dull fur covered skeleton.
My mother went to the doctor over GI issues and was a candidate for stomach ulcers, but thankfully, that has largely resolved in the last two days to just being an infection of the stomach lining, and a few other issues. Still, it was serious and stressful because I am 10-11 hour drive away, and there is literally nothing I can do.
My mother in law has been diagnosed with non-large cell adrenocarcinoma cancer, the most common form of lung cancer. She is a registered nurse, and is doing all the right things now, including taking charge of her treatment and not letting the medical system drag her along at it's bureaucratic pace. The general prognosis is good, at least, as good as it can be when the dr says you have lung cancer.
While these things have hit me hard, they have hit my wife even harder. As a vet tech, losing two furkids in 6 weeks is devastating. She is literally my soul, and when she is suffering or in pain, I am as well. I cannot help her mother's cancer any more than I can tell you what actually killed my chihuahua PeeWee.
What can you do when your sleep pattern has been wrecked by waking up to check on a sick animal, and stressing to the point that your hair is starting to come out?
Everything is on fire. Everything is literally on fire. The wildfires in Georgia and the Carolinas are throwing smoke across the entire Tennessee valley. There are daily air quality alerts, on good days its just hazy, on bad days it smells like everything is burning. Eyes are matted, sinuses and throats are raw from tickles, coughing, and drainage.
We've slashed production hours at the mill. My hours and work schedule are fine, for now, but the economy is not okay. Ignore those stupid numbers on the TV and the news, they are spin and bulls**t.
We made some emotional recoveries, seeing our friends who have become family, at the Walking Dead convention in Atlanta, a horse show in North Carolina, and earlier today at our Orphans Thanksgiving (Friendsgiving or something) but even these events were not without bittersweetness. We aren't going to the Atlanta Con after this, The Walking Dead has gone to s**t, and something about conventions, most of the vendors dont change, and after you've collected the autographs and the meet and greets, and taken celeb selfies, there is not much reason to go back.
That shizz is expensive too.
North Carolina was fire.
I was going to stay longer with friends while my wife went back to work, but haha, her car didn't start. It was an hour and 20 minute drive home, I had been drinking, her car was out of commission, and the only available vehicle is a manual truck that I am still working out how to drive sober. Certainly not going to drive it after mai-tai's and beer.
It's snowballed. I let the garden go months ago. I let the yard go after that. My backyard looks like @!#$ing warmed over dried out s**t. That bothers me. My lawn mower is dead too, just FYI. I can't rebuild it anymore and it's time to replace it.
I've let a lot of the housework go. The house is a wreck. I do enough to keep everything functional, but it's not enough.
And I mentioned in chat earlier that we were robbed. A 13 year old girl in our neighborhood has been filching off of our porch for a few days, and the other morning was caught carrying off saddles. The neighbors called the cops and she was stopped and the 3 saddles she took were replaced. For edification, one of the saddles this 13 year old took was my custom ordered 21 inch English saddle. This is a large saddle for my equally large rear end. For comparison, my wife has a 12 inch English saddle (a front to rear measurement of the hips).
We are filling charges and complaints and all the rest next Tuesday. No @!#$ing remorse.
Outside of Facebook conversations, these are the only words I've written in the last 2 months.
I was obligated to work on the Excursions from the Citadel eZine, and I dropped the ball on that one. I was going to submit a story for that, and again, completely and totally failed.
This doesn't even touch on the raging s**tstorm that was the presidential election. Like bourbon, and anime, one of my vices is political arguments and debate. I have friends literally across the spectrum (some that hate Obama for being a liberal's liberal, and those who hate Obama for being a soft Republican sympathizer) I have watched my friends list devolve into nothing more than s**t slinging, hate mongering, fear mongering, meme cannons.
All of this, all of this, in the last few months.
My muse hung herself in the basement. I'm pretty sure that smell is her, and not the leaking drain I had to fix three weeks ago.
(BTW, the kitchen sink drain was leaking into the crawl space under the house. That was sex-say.
So, that is what has gone on with me. Brave face, smiling face on Facebook, but if it hasnt gone to s**t, it's literally on fire.
Oh oh oh, almost forgot. One of those family friends has been going through an unpleasant divorce from her alcoholic husband, and it's made me look at my own drinking and wonder, is this getting out of hand? Is my tolerance to alcohol becoming an issue? I shouldn't be able to kill 3 tall boy beers in an hour and walk around fine. Likewise, I've done 3-4 shots of Evan Williams while writing this.
4-5 shots. Because there was another one.
So, anywho, I'm not looking for sympathy, and I am certainly not looking for advice on how to handle this, or how to be more productive writing. I just want you guys, who are willing to read this, and who read my other work, to know what is going on, and why I haven't written anything in months.
Thanks for reading.