7/28/2014

This most recent challenge is almost at an end.

On Friday I picked up the keys to my new apartment and got a few things moved in. I finished the job on Saturday, with the only exception being some drinking glasses that I didn’t have room for in my car. I’ll pick them up tonight or tomorrow and finish cleaning the old place so I can get the key turned in and move onto this next chapter in my life.

The new apartment is great. It is has its drawbacks, sure – you can hear the upstairs neighbors walking around, but you can’t hear them talking. Cellular signal is weak at best, and non-existent in certain parts of the apartment. There is no free WiFi there so I will have to pay for high-speed internet as well.

July has been rough, to say the least. A lot of bumps in the road. A lot of stresses to deal with. But I have handled it and as long as I get through this week without spending any extra money I’ll get paid on Friday and get on with life.

7/22/2014

It’s Tuesday evening, and I’m getting by.

I’ve been keeping a hawk-like eye watch on my money this week to ensure that I don’t come up short – I’ve still got renter’s insurance and my first month of rent to pay at the new apartment, and whatever is left will have to get me through next week until I get paid again.

But I’m doing it.

I’m keeping myself busy at work, just trying to keep my mind off of how uncomfortable I am in my present situation. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night when we have trivia again and I get to see P and (hopefully) some more of my theatre friends. On Friday I might play some disc golf, either with my dad/brother or possibly a coworker depending on who can make it.

I’ve got an appointment with my counselor tomorrow – she knows nothing of what I’ve been through over the past two weeks as my last appointment happened the day of the big storm. I’m looking forward to sharing all of this with her to see what she thinks about how I have reacted to the turn of events. I am optimistic that she will be enthusiastic about how I have done and how I have a plan to survive this mess. But I also want to know if there’s something else I should have done, or more that I could be doing, or just to get some feedback from her.

My college diploma should be arriving within the next couple of weeks…I’m looking forward to hanging that on the wall of my office…put it in a nice big frame, maybe with a little label explaining how I got it without paying a penny in tuition. I’m very proud of that accomplishment, and I just signed up for another course so that I can get back on the Bachelor’s degree track.

7/15/2014

Halfway through July and I’ve been rather quiet on here. It’s just been a hellish month. It’s been one week since I had to leave my apartment due to storm damage and things are coming together slowly. I am expecting to hear this afternoon whether or not I have been approved for a different apartment…depending on how that goes, I may be moving as early as this weekend or as late as August 1st. I got a call from the management agency last night saying that everything looked good so far, so I am optimistic. I just have to be able to pay for it all. I had savings, but that vacation last month ate into them and I really wasn’t prepared to pay a security deposit and first month of rent after I had just paid my rent in the old apartment.

I have put some distance between myself and everyone else during the past week. I didn’t go to trivia last week. I told C that I needed some space while I sorted all of this mess out, and she’s respected that. I chat with M every now and then but I think we’ve developed a relationship where we’re both okay with that small level of interaction right now. Nothing brewing there anyway. The Ex pushed me…hard…but has backed down a bit which I appreciate.

Kiddo is gone this week so I have some time to myself, but no money to go do anything really fun. Just saving everything for the move, if I do in fact move.

7/10/2014

My last post was on Monday.

Tuesday was a lot like Monday. I had an appointment with my counselor. I worked. I dropped kiddo off at camp…super exciting, because she was spending the night. I was looking forward to some alone time.

Everything is different now. I don’t think I’ve ever had my life uprooted so quickly before, without any notice. I’m still in disbelief.

I went home around 5. I discovered that my electricity had been shut off – I guess I missed the notice. I was frustrated. I called in and paid the bill. I changed clothes and went for a run. I ran 2.35 miles in my old Skeletoes. I showered, changed again, and went back to work to charge my phone and fool around.

Thunderstorms were in the forecast and as I drove to work I noticed the sky getting dark in the distance. There was a definite “edge” to the clouds. I arrived at work, went inside, and looked out the front door to the building I work in. I’m a bit of a weather nerd so I was curious to see what the clouds looked like. They were getting darker – there were even some signs of low-level clouds in the distance. As they got closer, they formed a distinct gust front. I took a ton of pictures.

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The storm brought some intense wind and rain. It was really quite impressive. The trees in the distance whipped back and forth violently. It took all of five minutes to pass by, but we lost power briefly two times and people who had taken shelter in their cars had no choice but to sit and wait the storm out.

The storm passed, people drove away, and I went back to work.

I heard some reports of damage here and there, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Around 8:30 I heard that some power poles in my town had been knocked down and that most of the town had no power.

I left work around 9 and wasn’t surprised to see no lights in town. I pulled into my parking spot and that’s when I noticed a few disturbing things.

There was yellow fire tape around my apartment.

There were giant pieces of something all over my yard.

In the dim evening light I walked around one side of my place and saw four or five giant pieces of what looked like a roof lying on the ground. There was also an old rusted television antenna lying on the ground where it had snapped off of its base. A couple of medium-sized limbs were down too.

I walked around to the other side, stepping carefully under the yellow tape and around more debris. I walked into a parking lot next to my place where a couple people were talking. I told them that I lived there and asked what happened.

One man said that *something* flew two blocks and hit my home. I could see that there was a big dent in my roof and that there was more of the same debris perched on my roof and along the side of my apartment.

My landlord and his family showed up. We went inside. There was no power, so with a flashlight we went upstairs into my bedroom. A hole had been torn in the ceiling. The ceiling itself was bowed in. It looked like it might collapse. Wood and insulation was all over the two plastic dressers that sat along the wall. Dust and other particulate floated through the air, choking me.

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I grabbed as much as I could – clothes, mostly – and took them downstairs. I called my parents and asked if I could spend the night at their house, which was just a mile or two away. I was in shock. I was in survival mode.

What the FUCK was happening?

I gathered up my clothes and packed them in a suitcase. I grabbed some items from the bathroom, some shoes, a phone charger, anything I figured I would need overnight. I drove to my parents’ house and they didn’t have power either until shortly before midnight. I slept on their air mattress.

It felt like everything I had worked so hard to build up over the past year had been knocked down.

I took off work the next day and the Ex came down and helped me to get everything from the upstairs into my first floor. All of kiddo’s things. Everything but my mattress, which was covered in debris. That took most of the day. By mid-afternoon my landlord had cleaned up the big debris in the yard and put a tarp over the hole in my roof, which was good because it rained a little bit.

In my moment of need, the Ex decided it would be a good idea to talk about our relationship. Standing there in my apartment with a giant hole in the roof, I had to defend my reasoning for wanting a divorce.

She took advantage of my weakness. Tried to, anyway.

I picked up kiddo from camp last night and had to explain all of this to her. She was surprised but didn’t get upset until I mentioned that we might have to move. She doesn’t want to move. Which is funny because up until now, she’s regularly expressed her dismay with my apartment and how it creaks and groans at night. I feel awful. I tried to create stability and consistency for her, and now we can’t live in our home.

I went back to work today, but in the morning I stopped by an apartment and started making plans to ask my landlord to terminate my lease early.

I vented to my friends a bit. I got more of a response than I expected. P said she understood my frustration. That made me feel good. I think that’s what I want, more than anything – to be understood. I want somebody to say “you know what, I’d be frustrated too in that situation. I’d be overwhelmed. I’d need somebody to talk to. So talk to me.” They went out for drinks last night, I wish I could have gone.

I don’t work tomorrow. I think I’ll go disc golfing again, by myself of course. And then I’ll keep working on plans to get out of my apartment, since I can’t live in it and I imagine that repairs will take a while. The place I looked at is nice, it’s recently updated and has two bedrooms and a new kitchen and washer/dryer hook-ups. And it’s in the same school zone we’re in now. And the rent is over $100 a month less. We’ll see what happens.

But yeah, I’ve never had things turned upside down on me so fast before. It’s hard to focus on anything. I told my friends last night, I just want to sit on my couch and watch Netflix. When I can do that again, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief and know that I got through this mess in one piece.

7/7/2014

Deep thought for the day: we were born too late to explore the planet, and too soon to explore the cosmos.

I read those words somewhere on the internet once and they really resonated with me. They make me feel sad because here we are on this planet, zipping around it in planes and boats and cars and trains, and even a trip into space now and then, but I look up at all of those stars and galaxies and other lights in the sky and I wonder what it would be like to explore them. But we can’t. We simply can’t preserve human life long enough to get there. Yet. Maybe some day we will, which is why the current generations fall in that in-between time.

But then that sadness fades away when I think about all of the things that the current generations can do, all the things we can explore. We have artificial explorers zipping around our galaxy, roving around on Mars. They are our eyes and ears in the cosmos right now. Our telescopes are incredibly powerful. We can detect planets and black holes. We are still exploring our planet’s oceans and some of the harder-to-reach parts of the planet’s surface. Our current generations are also tasked with preservation – making sure that our only home remains habitable for our children and grandchildren and so on. We have to be the best stewards in the history of humanity. And we also need to be preparing the human race to take that next step into the universe. Ridding ourselves of hate and anger and pride and all of the attitudes and prejudices that are poisonous here on Earth and should never travel with us into space when we finally do send human life far away from our current home. Our current generations need to refine humanity to pave the way for future explorers.

And that makes me hopeful. It gives me a sense of purpose. It makes me happy.

Original Short Story

SHAPES IN THE CLOUDS

Alex, Jacob, and Tristan were three friends. They liked to lay in the grass and look up at the clouds as they floated by.

One day, as they were looking up at the clouds, they decided to look for shapes.

“Look!” said Alex. “I see a wolf!”

“I see a shark!” said Jacob.

Tristan was sad. He didn’t see any shapes in the clouds.

The next morning Tristan went to school. All of the children were talking about what had happened the night before. Tristan listened closely.

“Did you hear about Alex? All they found was his blood, and some wolf hair!”

“Yeah! And did you hear about Jacob? His room was full of water and there were giant bite marks in his bed!”

Tristan couldn’t believe his ears. He ran home from school and told his mother that he was sick.

Later that afternoon, Tristan went outside. He looked up into the sky. He watched as the clouds passed by. One big cloud looked like a sad face with a frown and angry eyes. Tristan ran to his mother and pulled her outside to see the cloud.

“I don’t see anything honey, but that cloud over there looks like a bear! Now get back inside for dinner, and then you’ll go to bed early so you feel better tomorrow.”

Tristan hardly ate, and he went to bed early. He couldn’t sleep. Feeling anxious, he looked out his window and there, across the yard, was a familiar shape. More than a shape, a face. A sad, frowning face with angry eyes. He jumped back in fright. He looked out the window again and it was gone.

Tristan got up and went to his parents room to tell them about his scare. He knocked on the door but there was no answer. He called out for his mom and dad, and there was still no answer. He pushed open the door, and in the dim light he could see that their bed was covered in blood. There were large animal prints leading from the bed to the window. They looked like bear tracks.

Tristan didn’t know what to do. He spun around. And there was the sad, frowning face with angry eyes.

6/30/2014

Oh June, where have you gone?

It was another month of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

I started playing in the ultimate frisbee league again.

I scheduled, prepared for, and went on my first vacation since the separation.

I reactivated my online dating profile and went on a few dates.

I went to trivia night at a bar with some friends and did very well.

And just today, I put kiddo in a new summer camp that I’m really pleased about.

What will July have in store?