Sorry We’re Closed

Aged Sorry We're Closed sign.Like many other Americans, I imagine, I am waiting to see if the American government will begin “shutting down” at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, 01 October 2013. The weeks and months of constant DC pissing matches between Democrats and Republicans has come to this – in essence, a stalemate that punishes no one but the American people…

Oh yeah, that is correct. The President, and all House and Senate members will CONTINUE to receive their salaries while effectively doing NOTHING (which is pretty much what the House has been doing for like a year and a half – I mean, how long has it been since they passed any legislation?) Curious about what will happen if the government shuts down? Click here for a succinct list detailing the probable results, courtesy CNN Politics.

boys fighting

The current state of politics in Washington is like watching a gang of school boys all “picking on each other.” It is insulting to the American people and it is embarrassing for America as a country. It is hard to believe that we actually elected these jerk-offs, thinking they were “smarter” and better “suited” for those positions – and had our best interests at heart.

Listen, I don’t know what the answer to healthcare is, or if “Obamacare” is even good or bad. Politics is a BIG mess – click here to read a New York Times piece analyzing the current state of affairs. What I do know is this – as long as the “august assembly” of politicians in the House and Senate remain in office, America will continue to erode spiritually, economically and ideologically. The current state of our country’s political system is a joke – and the only laughter you hear is nervous laughter because we are all afraid of what the DC dictators will do to us next…

It is my sincere hope that we can all be big boys and girls and learn to play peacefully in the same sandbox; till then, we are screwed America. Screwed…

WH is closed

 

änˈwē

For the past few days I have been sharing – probably more like over-sharing – details of my current mental state, a troubling mash-up of mild anxiety, general uneasiness, a lack of focus and mild sadness. I have tried to address this situation on my own, without really understanding “it,” or why I am in “it.”

Sad box manLo and behold, after reading my post from yesterday, my friend Carrie put a name to what I have been feeling: ennui.

ennui (änˈwē): a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement; a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest. “He suffered from a general sense of ennui.”

As I have examined this concept – with some input from the oh-so-perceptive-and-similarly-situated Carrie – I have come to understand that, yes, I am experiencing “a general sense of ennui.” (and what an S.A.T. word ennui is, right?)

The thing is, for going on five years, my beloved partner M and I have struggled almost daily, trying to figure out a way, a pathway, for us to remain together forever. Almost daily, I faxed and called and emailed elected officials, I called on Senators and City Councils, I wrote to a Cardinal (holy man, not bird) and to the editor, all trying to convince the world that my “gay” relationship with M was real and genuine, solid and sacred, and deserving and worthy of all the rights and privileges afforded any heterosexual relationship.

Then, in late June, the almost unimaginable happened and Section 3 of DOMA was repealed. Suddenly the path was clear – there WAS a way for my Beloved and I to be together, forever. And we were ecstatic.

We got married – HOORAY. We engaged a law firm to represent us and our case to the USCIS. We are currently in the middle of gathering info, filling out and filing forms and then the waiting begins. Just waiting. And I think that is why/when the “ennui tsunami” hit me.

calm seaI know this is gonna’ sound kinda’ ridiculous but, after all that fighting and determination, all that struggle and resolve – and all-too-often disappointment – now, to be on the brink of everything being awesome, well, weird as it sounds, there is a hole in my life. Ennui. And it seems odd to me that I should even feel this way, but I do…

I am sure the ennui will pass and I thank Carrie for helping me identify it. I am also visiting my therapist in an effort to wrestle this demon out of my head. It is no small comfort to have arrived at this place and I thank my Beloved M, all my friends and all you all reading this for riding this out with me. Whew. I have learned through countless hours of therapy, dozens of self-help books and a lifetime of personal work that monsters are more easily banished once they have a name. I became familiar with a new word and concept: ennui. And I am happy to say that I will NOT be becoming familiar with these three words: Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac.

prozac

 

restless

For the past few weeks, I have been experiencing a sort of prolonged, daily mild anxiety – an unfocused “something” that has, quite frankly, been wearing me down a bit (and, I am sure, makes it a bitch to be around me lately).

I’m not sure what it is all about.

But I feel restless…

I feel sorta’ “off-center.” And, increasingly, I just feel sad. And I do not understand why. Plus, I don’t really “do” sad…

lonely guy

A few weeks ago, I married the man of my dreams; this past week, we started the legal process for him to remain here with me forever. That makes me stupidly happy for sure.

To be honest, work has been – to put it mildly – a bit of a challenge lately but hey, I am living the dream, right? I own my own business and do what I love, every day. Who could ask for better?

My family is good, my friends are great. I am blessed.

teletubbies

So why in the h-e-double-toothpicks do I feel this weird uneasiness every day? I mean, what the Hell?

I have never been one to ask for help, or even seek it out when I instinctively felt I needed it. Who knows? Maybe I just need a little change of scenery, a few days “break from my life.” But that doesn’t make any sense to me – I pretty much love my life so, what gives? Is this an extended session of “the blue meanies?” For friends that know me well, I often joke that I am “bad at being sick” because I am blessed with good health. When I AM sick, I don’t know what to do… I guess the same scenario applies here – I am “bad at being blue” because I am normally a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. What to do, what to do…

Maybe I will go hug some cute baby kittens. That should make me happy, right?kittens

Then, And Now

Yesterday’s post generated a lot of hits so I assume there is a “hunger” for somewhat nostalgic posts, columns that reflect on “then” versus “now.” I must confess – as challenging as the present is for me at times, I would never trade it for the past. Ever. But there are some memories that make me miss the “good old days.” For example,

I moved out of my parents’ house when I was twenty. I left behind a nice, modern house – with air! – for a dilapidated, three-story monster my roommates and I nicknamed “The Commune.” It was a drafty, rambling wreck of a house but for us, it was heaven. Five gay guys, all living together, in a five bedroom house – with one bathroom! (just a tub; not even a shower!)

Anyway, besides all our other challenges – jobs, coming out, relationships – food was always an issue. But, I do remember my roomies LOVED my PWT (poor white trash) tuna casserole. It was always a hit. Bountiful, reasonably-tasty and very cost-effective at the time, I made it for us like once a week.

It started with two boxes of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, the old school variety: no real cheese pack, just macaroni elbows, a dry “cheese sauce” pack, a tablespoon of butter (if we had any), a portion of milk and boiling water. That mac-n-cheese used to be eight (8) boxes for $2.00, or twenty-five cents a box…

kraft mac n cheeseI don’t remember the “smmile” part, but it always was the cheesiest. And a noticeably artificial orange color. So, after preparing the mac-n-cheese according to package directions, I added one can of tuna (at the time, I think it was like $0.49/can) and one can of peas, which I remember being like three for a dollar.

Tuna

peasSo, mac-n-cheese prepared, I would blend in the peas and tuna, pour it all into a 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish and, if we were really “flush” that week, maybe add some Kraft singles cut into strips on the top. But the MOST important ingredient, and what made that “meal the deal,” was the final addition of a lunch-size bag of crushed Lay’s potato chips –

lay's chipsIn 1978, that bag of chips cost $0.19. That was the recipe for my Crunchy Tuna Mac, a hit among the 20-something’s in Mansfield. Ohio, in 1978. That gourmet dinner – including the Kraft single strips – probably cost about $2.00, if that. It was fun to sit down with all my friends and eat that once a week – it made me feel like a super chef…

The pic below is what I remember it looking like when completed.

Tuna-CasseroleBut that was then and this is now. To make that same meal now would still be pretty inexpensive but certainly not $2.00 and definitely not very nutritious. I mean, what person over fourteen would eat that now? It is SO bad for you (but so delicious, especially when you use today’s mac-n-cheese with the gooey cheese sauce packs). I guess the real “now” moment of that whole story for me is that of our five, I am the only one left… One lost to a heart attack, two lost to a horrible disease and one just lost. Those guys were my besties back then, and I think of them often. I remember those times on Lexington Avenue with great affection – we were actually hot messes but thought we were the sh*t. But that was then.

Now those guys are gone, and so is my $2 crunchy tuna mac. I miss all of them…

I Miss The Old Days…

Today, my business partner and I attended the annual Fall Market Day at our city’s design centre (Yes, it is “sen-trah” – fancy, right?) Between the two of us, we worked in the building for a combined total of over thirty years and worked at six different showrooms; in fact, for two of the showrooms in the building we “over-lapped”/worked at the same showroom at different times (the design centre is very incestuous, LOL!)

ODCThe Ohio Design Centre is a tony shopping center for interior designers and architects. Formerly to-the-trade only (meaning “regular folks” couldn’t shop there), about a year ago the building opened to the public.

While the building will ALWAYS hold a certain cachet for me, I must admit, I was a little saddened by my trip there today…

It wasn’t the building itself, or the event or the experience that made me sad, it was the realization that time passes unknowingly and, periodically, I am faced with examples of how that happens. Like when one of the showroom owners – a former boss – shared with me how two of his children are in college, the other two have already graduated college and his one daughter is getting married in December. See, the thing is, I remember all those kids as “tweens” and the struggle he was having as his first child was going off to college. Jeesh…

silhouettesOr maybe it was when my partner and I entered the showroom we both managed at different times in the past  – now a hollow, barren space used for vignette displays so it isn’t “empty” as you walk down the hallway. We kinda’ laughed with one another as we walked the warren of now mostly-empty rooms, and called out the names of all the employees that had worked at desks in all those rooms in the past…

empty showroomThe image above is not the actual space but it looks very much like that. Empty. Cold. Sad…

I understand that time is always advancing and things change but today was a bit disheartening for me. The day/event aside, it made my heart heavy to see the building where I spent one third of my adult life so empty, not bustling and full of life as I remember it being. It also didn’t help that I saw few familiar faces today in the hallways, but it makes sense; I started working in that building when I was 28 – I am now 55. The designers and architects that used the building in my youth are now probably retired or gone. I mean, if I am 55, some of my old friends are now definitely older friends, probably in their late 60’s to mid/late 70’s. Sigh…

My therapist always counsels me to identify my emotions, connect with/embrace them, honor them and then move forward. Today my visit made me mostly sad, but I was also happy to see more than a handful of familiar faces, and a few old friends. The passage of time is not good or bad – it just “is.”

I will admit – all that New Age spirituality aside – I sure do miss Victor, Mick, Laura, Jeff and the gang at the old (long-closed) carpet showroom – they ALWAYS threw one HELL of a theme party for the center every year that began at 4PM and often ran till well past 2AM. Now, THOSE were the days indeed…

Hollywood-Theme-Party

 

I Love Bread

Today’s post is a bit silly…

I love bread. 

Yeah, I know, right? Seems like a ridiculous statement but I love every KIND of bread.

I definitely love bread that comes from a bakery –

Different varieties of breadsI am also very fond of the “slang” version of bread (I know – I am a shallow person) –

200398089-001And, I have to confess, I am in love with Bread, the musical group from the 70’s…

Bread Greatest HitsLast weekend, I heard one of my all-time favorite songs ever – “If,” by Bread. The 70’s were – in my opinion – the greatest decade for love songs. I had not heard “If” in ages and, when I did, I was reminded that it is probably one of THE most beautiful love songs ever written –

My life has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster lately, and my angelic husband has definitely been a calming, stabilizing force for me.

If there were ever lyrics written especially for me and my Beloved, it is these…

“And when my love for life is running dry, you come and pour yourself on me…”

I am a lucky guy. Thanks, MSW, for loving me.

Ready? Set? GO!!!

Today, my Beloved and I started the process of applying for his green card, with the ultimate goal of him becoming a United States citizen at some point in the future. Our more immediate goal is that we can be together here in The States as a couple free from the tremendous emotional and financial worry that comes from being part of a male, bi-national couple. We took the first step about six weeks ago –

wedding bandsWe got married. Today, we signed on with a law firm that specializes in immigration law and will petition the US government on my behalf to issue my husband a marriage-based green card. We had our initial intake interview today –

ChecklistAnd we still have (I fear) a LOT of paperwork and filing to do in our future. I suspect at some point the computer room in our apartment may look like this –

paperworkand that everything we submit will be reviewed and scrutinized with a keen eye –

detectiveFinally, at some point my Angel and I will be questioned by uniformed government officers as they review all the materials we have submitted, vetting our relationship and documenting that it is “legit.” According to our legal team, and based on anecdotal information I have received from other couples going through the same process in different cities/states, this can be an intimidating part of the process – but I am not worried…

interrogationSee, I am reminded of two pieces of wisdom, shared with me by two people I loved and admired. One of my old bosses, Mr. Pearl, always said, “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you lied about.” And my Mom always said, “You never have to be afraid when you are honest and tell the truth because the truth is always the right thing to say.”

Here’s the truth –

After five years together, weathering challenges no regular couple – straight or gay – should ever have to weather, I love my SBF, I mean my HUSBAND, more than ever… 

We are ready to “get the party started.” I’ll keep you all posted. Thanks for coming on this journey with us…