Friday, March 27, 2009

Finding the Old Me

I've complained at times about not feeling like me anymore. Of course I have to evolve into a new routine, new priorities, some new friends as time and the single life evolves (no offense but I can already tell some married friends act differently but that's only natural), hard feelings at times, but most importantly finding the positive out of each moment. I think I'm doing a really great job of the latter, almost too good at times. I feel guilty sometimes I'm not more upset and that I'm enjoying things so much. I feel like the old me is slowly coming back, getting back into the work I love and feeling like a human being again. There are two friends recently that have helped me beyond explanation, and for that I will be forever grateful. They help me not feel guilty, enjoy the moment more, and give me HOPE for the future to be bright again. I suck up anything positive, and anyone that knows me I'm always looking at the positive. I'm no Richard Simmons but I think I can fill out his short shorts and who doesn't love a fro on an old goofy white guy.

We are hopefully in the worst economic times any of us will ever know, yet my business is hanging in there and to date I have not cut one person or slashed salaries yet. I owe so much to everyone I work with for putting up with me, working so hard when I wasn't around much, and for just stepping up when my family needed it the most. I never had to ask, they just did it. I will always be grateful and hanging in as long as possible for them is the least I can do. It's been a while since I last blogged, and that's only because we've been so busy. Between soccer, friends, work, school, and different events we've been slammed. Just since the last blog we've gone to a new dinosaur store grand opening which the kids loved, had a camp out sleep over at a friends in a tent, went to a Magic game against the Celtics with some sweet seats, worked, soccered (I know it's not a real word), wiped noses and bums (with different wipes by the way), cooked, cleaned, organized, drank, hot tubbed, relaxed even a bit, baseballed (Spring Training), are going to an amazing air show this weekend with VIP passes thanks to Shelby, and made plans to get out of town for a Hope's half-sister's wedding next weekend while we stay at Will and Anna's. Anna left me the sweetest voicemail ever the other night, it's one I've saved and will forever remember.

I lost my credit card at the Magic Game and a bet that I owe two cases of beer on trying to determine if the person sitting one seat away was male or female. I lost, Erica was her name and there's no way I could have come up with that one. Not a good basketball night as KG got hurt again, the C's lost, but at least it was an exhilerating game. I've never been one very good at stopping but that night I think we were in our hotel rooms sleeping by 1 AM. I can't remember the last time that happened when I didn't have to get to bed. Since Brendan Walsh wasn't there to take my keys we crashed at a nearby hotel. By the way, a good tip when you're negotiating for a romm 2 minutes before you plan to use it make a disgusted face when they tell you the price, see if there's anything they can do, and before you know it I saved us $60. I'm not retiring but it meant another trip back to the bar.

I've seen absolutely zero of the college tournament and that's my favorite playoff of all time because we've been so busy. I have not watched any TV in probably a month, literally. At night now I just listen to music, work some, get the kids ready for the next day, and usually talk on the phone with friends/family. I really do feel like myself again a lot, and for that I'm thankful. I think some friends have pulled it out of me, and for that I will be forever grateful. My mom is in Ecuador right now, and I worry about her. She goes on these types of trips at least once a year now and they always worry me. 10 days without contact and hopefully she'll come back chewing cocoa leaves feeling no pain. I think that's exactly what she tried to keep us from doing as teenagers and now she's traveling the world to do it. Go figure. Maybe she'll bring some back for me this time, my mom the dealer.

We had some friends over tonight and it was fun as always. For some reason I was really bummed out and lonely when everyone left, but not for too long. The boys are doing great, I have found a new source of happiness, and we are settling a bit into a new routine. I have my first appointment on Wed morning and I'm paying out of pocket but seeing the same psycho that Hope did. I sat in on 2 sessions so she knows me a bit, but more importantly she knew Hope. She even agreed to read my blogs before the session so she can know that much more about me. I told her I would give her 1 or 2 sessions and if I'm not cured I'm out of there. Of course I was just kidding, I'm in it for the long haul. The friend that talked me into doing it the most has been doing so for almost 5 years so I know it's not a sprint but a marathon (normally we just want everything instantly but I'm not going to set myself up for failure).

After we get back from NC, the kids will have Spring Break. We've talked to a lot of friends about getting together so I think it will be fun. I hope to sneak off from work to spend more time with the boys but we'll see how that goes immediately following a trip. You just have to take what you can get right now because it's so tough out there. I remember when I first started the business, I would call Hope every time I just got a call to send in a proposal. Then I would go nuts over the smallest job. Then when things went crazy I would throw signed contracts down on our office manager's desk and say dammit we got another one. Now we're back to the celebrating every opportunity, and rejoicing when they work out. Getting actually paid is another issue, but I'm going to stay positive. I feel like Rosco Peco Train sometimes as we seem to do all the work but Boss Hogg just never lets any of that money go. Dukes of Hazzard can represent any part of our lives, right??? The only thing in my childhood more disappointing then the 1 season they had the cousins Coy and Vance (I had to look up Vance but I remembered Coy's name) pretend to be Luke and Bo was seeing Daisy on the reunion show. Some things are just meant to not grow old, like Bart Simpson or Kelly Kapowski.

I've been looking everywhere for the old me, and I found me just where I left me. That's right here, I haven't changed too much but there are definitely some differences. There is now only 1 priority, my boys, and everything else comes next. Welcome back old Jake, I missed you. I'm sure everyone else enjoyed you not being around but too bad. I'm back for good dammit!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Paddy's Day

Yep, my crazy single life has me at home on the greatest green beer day of the year. Last blog I talked about Natedog staying home on Monday and Tuesday of last week really crippling my work production. This week it was Reese, I got a call Monday before lunch that he had a 105 temp (not a typo) and was vomiting. They could not give him anything so I ran home, picked up meds, prayed to the Tylenol and Motrin gods, and got him going on the drugs. Because the temp was so high I took him to a doc in the box, kind of like going to the dollar store for shampoo when every other store is $2.59 or higher. Your hair might look like you showered at Jerry Seinfeld's apartment when they installed the "low flow" showerheads but is it really worth that saving $1.59? Anyway Doogie Howser checked his ears and tested him for the flu and could not find anything but a high temp, occasional cough, and a tired boy (I could have freaking told them that!!!). So I paid my $55 co-pay for basically nothing after almost 2 hours, and we went home. By the time we got home he was feeling good enough to play and by the end of the night argue with me about going to bed early.

He woke up last night not feeling well, I gave him some more meds, carried him down to our (I still do that, I guess I mean my) bed, and then put him in a sleeping bag. Well he peed all over that sleeping bag, so I then pulled out Nathan's, changed him, and went back to bed. Next thing I know it's 7 AM and his fever is back along with Exorcist style vomiting. Luckily I kept most of it in Nathan's sleeping bag and it was right back to the meds. Yep, I spent most of St. Paddy's day cleaning sleeping bags, socks and sneakers doused in vomit, and listening to either Star Wars Clone Wars or the Wii. I did get my mom down here to cover a couple of meetings and phone calls, but otherwise it was the 4th day in the last 7 working days I was unexpectedly home. I am able to keep up with phone calls and e-mails for the most part, but some things are falling behind. Single parenting sucks at times, to put it plainly.

I'm hoping for the green beer I gave him to help him sleep tonight, we'll see how that goes. I've been talking to a friend a lot about counseling, as some events in her past lead her to needing it. She's going on 5 years and it's really helped. I've decided and am calling now for a one-on-one appointment. I feel like generally I'm doing well, but I just don't think it could hurt at all. I do have some feelings I just can't explain or justify right now and for the moment that's all I'm going to say about that. I'm hoping some anonymous counseling will help me understand why. I will tell whomever I end up with to read the blog so they can have a good understanding of where I've been and what I'm about before the first appointment. I figure that puts us about 10 months ahead of starting from scratch. I'm sure they'll charge me for it but what the hell. My blogs do ramble so you may end up reading about a psychologist killing themself after reading a patient's blog. I know some friends/family have asked if I could give them a refund to get their last 20 minutes back after reading some. It's like when Sylvester Stallone did the movie Oscar, he still owes me 90 minutes and my hourly rate is only going up.

We had a great weekend with Aunt Nancy and the Knoxville Thompson's visiting. They're always fun and here for a week so hopefully I can get the kids feeling better and we can reconnect. I made dinner for all of them on Saturday night and then because Aunt Nancy stayed here I actually got to go out for an evening. I hooked up very late with a friend I had never gone out with before. We had so much fun and I can't wait to do that again. That was one of the best nights I've had in a long, long, long time. Just to go for a run, have a dinner with an adult, or catch up with a friend is difficult in single parent world but I would not trade a second of it. Those boys are the best thing that's ever happened to me and until they start hating me around age 13 I'm loving every moment of it. I never realized how much I missed with Hope at home, and I think every Dad (or Mom if the Dad is the main caretaker) should spend a week or longer doing everything just to be thankful for what they have but also to enjoy the kiddo time. We have some unbelievable conversations and fun, but that's what it's all about.

My Dad always said, "if it feels good do it." I've changed that to "if it feels good and doesn't hurt anyone do it." I'm really having some fun without guilt right now, appreciating the past, working harder then ever but less on work then ever, and exploring my feelings and tendencies. I can't explain them all, have found a new addiction or two I might talk about later (and that has nothing to do with train humping --- although I received some of the greatest e-mails from friends/family on that one), and spent the last hour or so working on a leprechaun trap. Just so you know, leprechauns cannot be caught, but any toys, candy, gold, or other tangible items they have when caught in a trap have to remain behind. We'll see if our trap is successful tonight, and thanks Mom for running to Walgreens and leaving a few green/gold items in the mailbox for later.

One quick story about train humping, I had a friend that is also going through a tough time google train, fetish and humping after my last blog. She came across my blog but also a story about a man in Hong Kong that was doing the same to a steel bench with circles cut out of it. Well when het got excited he also got larger and stuck. They had to cut the bench apart and take him to the hospital with it. To make a long article short they finally freed him through the miracle of modern science (they probably just showed him pictures of Daisy Duke during the last reunion special) but if it took only one more hour they would have had to cut his manhood off.

I've given up on green beer and laundry for the night, now I'm working on purple grape juice. Happy St. Paddy's day, I'm going to celebrate by myself after the kids go to bed with a boobie trap and a leprechaun one too. Ladies, step over that leprechaun trap but watch out for the other when you visit. Don't go humping anything I wouldn't tonight...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hump Day

Mid-week and I'm as weirded out as ever by how I feel and what's going on. I had 2 late night city council meetings the last two nights, soccer practice tonight, and another city council meeting on Thursday night. Grandma's and neighbors have been putting in overtime to help us out. Nathan stayed home on Monday sick so I started the week off a day behind with work. He went to school on Tuesday for a field trip to the zoo but threw up before they left so he came home again yesterday. Today he's back and I'm just watching the phone hoping not to get the call. He's got no fever, just an upset stomach and only Sunday night and the two mornings. The rest of the time he seems fine.

I got out of the shower over the weekend and since I was wearing nothing but my wedding ring Nathan was standing there (by the way if you have kids you just plain give up on privacy. I don't even bother closing the bathroom doors anymore because as soon as I sit on my throne Mocha paws at the door and both kids are in the room. They always turn on the fan --- now I know this becoming TMI --- and complain about me stinking up the joint but don't leave. I am so far behind in reading the newspaper and magazines because I've lost that time. By the way this all started in our old house because our master bath had a saloon style door and the kids/dogs would just walk underneath it) and he asked why I wore the ring. I started to tell him it was because I still loved Mommy but then some day when I take it off I didn't want him to think I didn't love Mommy anymore. So there I am still naked and rubbing myself all over (with the towel ya weirdos) while I have absolutely no good response to my inquisitive child. I don't even remember what I finally said now to him except to punish him severely for upsetting Daddy and feeling like it took me 10 minutes to say anything. Of course I didn't punish him but after he left the room my stomach was in knots and I just felt like an absolutely incompetent Dad.

Why do I still wear the ring? Why do I keep Hope's shampoo and razor in the shower and her jackets on the hooks by the front door? Why haven't I gone through our cabinets, our freezer that is overflowing, her closet, her part of the dresser, her night stand, the console in her car, her part of the bathroom, and her overnight bag from hospice? Why am I not freaked out that I can't find our family heir loom ring from my great-grandmother? Am I just numb? I feel guilty all the time I don't think about her more, but we're just so busy I can't even keep up with daily chores sometimes so sitting around getting upset and thinking about it just doesn't happen much lately. I feel like I should be doing much more soul searching and feeling her loss, but I just don't. I feel like I'm just numb at this point.

I was giving blood Friday of last week in the Big Red Bus that we've had come to our office for a long time now. I was the only one in the bus except the employees and they started talking about who they were giving the blood to. I just lost it for no reason at all and it was almost impossible to just sit there. The only other experience I can compare it to was one time when Hope in hospice I was getting a haircut with the boys and the hair dresser said she thought I had a discoloration on my head that I should get checked out (of course I still haven't done this). I just lost it with both kids getting cuts at the same time as I could feel my tears pushing the newly cut hair down my face. This poor lady had no idea of course what was going on until I finally pulled myself together enough to tell her. That was one uncomfortable hair cut the rest of that sitting and I was trying to hide being upset from the boys.

Wednesday is hump day, and I'm not quite over the hump yet this week. By the way I'll never forget and I took a picture of it years ago but one time I was doing an inspection at NASA outside the VAB where they have trains that deliver materials and parts. There was a sign on the caboose that simply said, "No Humping." Now I don't know what kind of a pervert freak humps trains but if it happens often enough at NASA there must be a website and fetish group into this. It's just one more thing that makes me miss Hope, and I'm sorry if her family is reading this (in fact stop now or this will get worse). I always said I would be honest and not hold back so here goes. They put ever possible side effect on every medication and cancer treatment brochure from anal bleeding to softening of bones, dry mouth, teeth and hair falling out, could cause cancer was one of my favorites, loss of breasts and tongue, to death. The one thing they don't put on the cancer treatment brochures that is difficult for the spouse to get used to is lack of humping (or intimacy which I'll use to be more PC).

Imagine having your first breast removed for over a year, having your second one removed then reconstruction of both, then indescribable dryness, feeling sick all the time, trying to gather enough strength just to get out of bed without nausea, then a portion of your tongue removed three times before they took over half of it away, radiation to the breasts and mouth, and all the time not being able to just simply kiss your husband. It's not something I've talked to anyone about over the last 7 years, but I started to lose my wife a long time ago to cancer. It just kept taking more and more of her until she was completely gone. I've missed her so much over the last 7 years at different times, and now all the time and I barely think about it lately. I can't explain it, it must just be a coping mechanism. If anyone finds the link to the train fetish site please send it to me. I'll try anything after all this time. Happy Hump Day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Group Therapy

I tried group therapy yesterday for the first time. Of course I got there late so they had already started. I would say the average age had 30 years on me, most of their kids are older than me. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I was hoping to latch onto a single rich widow to be my sugarmama so I could retire and just take care of the kids. I rated my feelings on a 1-10 with 10 being the worst (that threw me off a bit --- that's like trying not to eat dots in Ms. Pacman, you guys out there know what I'm talking about, right? Right?) and at the time I was feeling pretty good so I put a 1. I listened to folks that have lost their loved ones for many years now struggle with every day still (I did relate to them though, I remember when 90210 went off the air and all I had was my memories of Brendan Walsh --- and of course reruns).

One woman that just lost her parents has spent 20 years caring for them and has no friends, kids, boyfriend, etc. Her whole life was caring for her parents and is now lost with no meaning in her life since they passed. She said they were her kids. That one really got to me. They asked me to tell my story and I did the Reader's Digest version (that's an old magazine for those of you under 30, oh and a magazine is a periodical like a newspaper that is delivered to the house similar to your mail, oh and a newspaper is black and white print with pictures and news in it typically delivered daily, oh and mail is envelopes with letters and packages that use stamps, oh and letters far away are we from mail, newspapers, magazines, stamps, pencils, etc. from going extinct?) in about 30 seconds. I really just wanted to listen.

For the most part I just listened after that. I hate to say this so I don't jinx myself, but I did feel like I was already doing better then most of them that spoke. Not that I don't miss Hope all the time but I did had a lot of time to try and prepare myself and I know the hard part is not even close to over. However, I just feel like with the boys and so much love and support from all of you I'm getting into a better place already. Tomorrow I might have my sweatpants back on with the string still not fixed but that's how I'm feeling right now. I have felt good the last 2 days, it's a good feeling to feel good about feeling good (Anna is now banging her head against the desk). The group therapy actually depressed me some and made me feel worse so I won't be going back.

I got all my bills paid on Monday as I didn't even go to the office to make sure it was done. I worked on them from about 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM straight (along with handling a few work items) before I finally finished. I was so proud of myself that I walked straight out to the mailbox to put my envelopes out for mailing when I found two more damn bills. I haven't opened up them yet so I think I'll let them sit until May this time. It was a huge relief, like when Oprah cuts those two extra holes at the end of her belt or connects the second one on nickel wing night (ahh that felt good, I haven't done a fat Oprah joke in many blogs --- it's not as much fun because I don't get to see Hope get mad at me but I know she's right here getting angry with me).

I've also started doing a couple of things around the house for the first time since Hope passed. I changed the DVR to stop recording her shows for the first time so no more Oprah, HGTV, or Tori Spelling (do they just give every B star their own show nowadays --- and this is me making fun of a 90210 star?) on our cable box. I replaced them with Spongebob and porn, both for me but I might share Spongebob with the boys. They'll have to sneak the porn like we had to growing up which by the way seems much easier now with the internet. We used to hide magazines in trees and under rocks to try and keep them dry when it rained and snowed. If anyone knows the kids that live at 29 School Street in Westboro, MA, I can tell them where to go. I'll bet it's still there. I also started putting a towel on Hope's rack, and moved the stool in front of her sink so the kids can use it. I moved the remote in the bedroom on my side of the bed, and I did all of this just this week.

We switched insurance on 1 March so I think I'm going to look at my options for one-on-one therapy. A lot of friends have said it's really helped them through issues in the past (I think letting people read about my feelings on the blog have helped others open up and feel better about talking about their problems --- we all have them, try to let friends help you get through them). I know it can't hurt so I think I'm going to give the mono y mono therapy a try. I found out a friend that I thought had a perfect marriage has been going through a separation. We've been talking and in some strange ways my situation is actually easier than hers. I grew up with a single mom through all my formulative years (no you can't blame my personality on that) so I do know divorce from personal experience and it's difficult. She is an amazing woman in my experience and I found it hard to believe she could lose confidence in herself but I can see how that would happen when all of a sudden everything changes. Stay strong my friend, I'll be here faking it too.

We're having a big Mardi Gras party here on Saturday with tons of kids decorating masks, sugar cookies, grilling out, virgin hurricanes, and then a few adult imbibements (I don't think that's a word). It was a friend's idea and I think it will be a blast for everyone. I (I hate that I now have to say I and not we when it comes to making decisions) decided to go up to NC in April to see Will/Anna and their short people mooching off them. The kids will have a blast and we'll even get to Hope's half-sister's wedding in Williamsburg, VA. For those of you that don't know, Hope has 7 brothers and half-brothers/sisters. I hope no one is offended but I won't be keeping up with all your birthdays, anniversaries, and pending graduations. I can barely keep up with my kids' schedules right now. Just because Group Therapy wasn't for me dealing with Hope's death, I do have a few group therapy sessions I'll be starting up and will need some volunteers:

  • There hasn't been a Saved by the Bell Reunion in 10 years, what happened to Kelli Kapowski?
  • The new Knight Rider is already off the air because they forgot the biggest star is the Hoff and not the talking tinker toy
  • Is the porn name Buck Naked copyrighted for George Constanza only?
  • Milli Vanilli vs. Vanilla Ice vs. MC Hammer, which one truly has stolen the most songs and become famous more famous simply by dressing and looking goofy --- can I still get the Hammer pants?

I'll be scheduling on-line sessions and of course you can always come here in your Hoff Members Only black jacket, Vanilla Ice buzz cut, and Hammer pants to be with me every Saturday night. Happy healing to all...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bottoming Out - Sweatpants

Sunday morning I knew I had absolutely bottomed out --- yeah that's right I was wearing sweatpants for the third day in a row. I had put them on when I got home on Friday, Saturday after our games, and then first thing Sunday morning. Mind you I only have one pair and nothing says I've completely given up like sweatpants. Now they are so comfortable but inexcusable to wear multiple days in a row unless you've bottomed out. The good news is that if I'm thinking about such things, I was starting to improve. The symbolism of me ripping off the sweatpants for a real pair of shorts (yes I did put something else on in case the neighbors came over) coincided with me really starting to feel better. I had my first good day since last Monday, I got a ton of stuff done, had some fun, and wasn't upset during the day at all. If I just knew it was as simple of taking off sweatpants I would have done it days ago. Who knew???

Another thing I realized is that Hope must have always kept my drawing strings in check on sweats, short, jammer bottoms, etc. Because now everything I own with a drawstring has only one end hanging out. I can't figure out how to get the other end back out (is there some magic power Mom's have to do this that men just aren't born with?). I don't remember having this issue on such a global stage (by that I mean most of my drawstrings but I have a flair for the dramatic) before so this must be one of the many little things I didn't even appreciate previously.

Saturday was crazy, one of those days I really missed Hope. Reese had his first ever Mini-kickers practice on Saturday at 9 AM in Viera (about 20 minutes from Melbourne) and he scored two goals in the first few minutes of their scrimmage. He was so proud and I have pics of both goals. Nathan was there helping him, practicing with him, and giving him the cutest instructions on what to do. It was definitely a proud papa moment and I really missed Hope during that time. We both looked so forward to watching him start to play sports because he always wanted to be out there with Nathan's teams (and sometimes he was). One of his happiest moments at the Christmas before last was when he got a pair of cletes for the first time.

We then raced off to Nathan's first soccer game of the season (10:15 AM at Wickham Park in Melbourne) that we got there about 10 minutes late and then had to leave about 15 minutes early. The way our screwy league does it as one of the coaches they split the teams into two squads and have you spend half of your time with each half of the team. That really stunk because then I was not with Nathan for the second half of his game. We split our team into boys and girls and unfortunately our girls were way overmatched so it wasn't fun for them. We even played 5 on 4 and we were stll blown away.

By 11:15 AM we had to be at basketball for Nathan's last game of the season. The Celtics blew out the Magic 22 to 10 and the game wasn't even that close. It really came down to absolutely genius schemes from the coach for that kind of a lop-sided victory. The kids had a blast, they passed great, received trophies, and then since the kids beat the coaches in the last practice on Thursday I brought all of them a popsicles and Capri-Suns.

After the game of course it was really hectic handling all of the kids and when I was loading up mine I realized Reese had left his small black FSU backpack in the gym (it had all his Leapster games because I didn't have any help this weekend he sat on the bench and played his game). I then realized my wallet and cel phone were in the bag too. So we spent the next hour searching the gym for the backpack with a cordless phone I kept call it hoping to hear it ring or that someone else would and pick it up. This was of course during another game so you can imagine I was unsuccessful. At this point in the day I'm fried, just wanted to get something to eat but of course could not without a wallet, so we just went home.

Later in the day I found out that the assistant coach had seen the backpack laying here, picked it, couldn't find me, so he took it home. He left messages on my cellular thinking I had it but didn't hear it ring until later on. He was also trying to call the gym but he was trying when I was walking around with the phone so he could not get through. Bottom line is that Reese is no longer in charge of my wallet and cellular phone, I guess I could have thought that one through in the beginning. That's one thing wiht depression, you're definitely not as sharp as you normally are.

The other strange thing about depression for me (at least I thought it was strange) is that I do not drink at all. I really thought I would want to drink a lot more trying to make myself feel better but not a drop. My liver is screaming at me like Chris' zit on Family Guy but I've just not had any interest at all. The good news is that I think I'm climbing out of my fog, not wearing sweatpants at all today, and maybe I'll even be able to whack a few back this evening for my liver's sake. TGIM, at least that's how I feel this morning as I feel good in the AM for the first time in almost a week.