BLACK

Tonight I am in a crappy mood, and the weekend ahead seems hell-bent on perpetuating this state of crappiness. I am physically  tired, I am emotionally drained/disappointed, I have a mountain of undesirable tasks ahead, all “enhanced” by the fact that – on this three-day holiday weekend – my Sweetie and I essentially work opposite for four days running, seeing each other only to grunt “Good morning, I love you” or “Goodnight, I love you more than anything” at the beginning and close of each day. Being an “adult” sucks.

I have to say, this image pretty much illustrates my mood at present – rough, dark and almost pitch black.

black

I am sure I will survive this weekend, and the next several weeks/weekends, too. I know my life will even out (eventually!) and, I will share my life more fully with my Beloved MSW. (Martin? I love you, Baby Boy!) Thanks for listening, and thanks for caring. I appreciate all your kind thoughts, prayers and best wishes as one chapter in my life closes, one chapter continues on (but with a new plot twist!) and one – or more, many more – remain to be written.

Out The Window

Yesterday, I missed my first blog post in over 600 days – why, you ask? Work obligations, health concerns, a family emergency? Nope – thankfully – it was none of those reasons. It was the complete and total fault of this guy:

wwpr

Yes, it is true: Martin and I are now running Windows 8.1. It seems pretty awesome so far – better visuals, more desktop options, etc. The thing is, it took over four HOURS last night for the computer to download the new system software, upload it all, reboot and just get settled. I missed my daily blog due to real technical difficulties. It was annoying and a super slow process but the new op system is fantastic. I’m off to learn more about it – thanks for YOUR patience as I play and learn – back tomorrow!!!

Really? Now, Already?

You know that trite adage – “When one door closes, another opens?” Well, in my life, doors AND windows are flying open. I have so much happening right now it is hard to keep everything straight. My “pocket file cabinet” is nearly at capacity…

still to do

I mean:

1. I have four more days till my brick and mortar storefront closes. There are utilities to be terminated (thanks, Scott!), “arrangements” to be made, debts to be collected, debts to be paid – all of it. Ugh.

2. My recent promotion at “my day job” is going well but the expectations of my immediate supervisor are proving to be greater than I had imagined. It will all work out (and I do love that job) but there ARE only 24 hours in every day.

3. My goal of continuing to do interior design after the storefront closed seemed questionable; I have two design jobs “in process” but worried about gaining more. Turns out, now I have two MORE on the line, and maybe another prospect after that. Sweet.

4. I spoke with Pop-pop tonight and he had a good day today. For that, I thank The Universe (and respectfully ask for many more – and consecutive, please!)

5. My Beloved MSW continues to be the best hub-bub a gay could ask for (love you, Sweetie!) I will admit, though, that arranging one full-time job, two “part-time” jobs and classes for school – all with ONE car – takes some coordination and calendar effort but, hey – better than just sitting home doing nothing, right?

So, yeah – today is looking much brighter than the preceding 2-3 days, and I am glad. I do hope my life returns to some sort of normal rhythm soon – and listen, it can be a rhythm traveling at the speed of sound but I would like the “peaks and valleys” to all level out a bit. Universe? You still listening? Thanks in advance!

Monday Memes 17

With everything going on in my life right now, my anxiety and “weirdness” is a bit much for even my Beloved Martin to handle. I have come to rely on my close friends for additional support and “back-up” – emotional, physical and spiritual. For example, tonight I spent 90 minutes on the phone with one of our besties (Thanks, Joe!), just rambling on and on and on and on… And he listened. He was is awesome…

With that type of relationship and support in mind, I’d like to share these three memes about friendship today – these thoughts and observations regarding friendship have rung especially true with me in recent weeks. Enjoy.

friends

real friends

true-friends-quotes-13

 

Waiting for Stage 5

A week from today, the business that I helped co-found, co-create and co-own will be, in the physical sense, gone. Closed. No more. Nada. And that makes me beyond sad…

In her (now iconic) 1969 book, “On Death and Dying,” author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined the five stages of normal grief that happen when the loss of a loved one occurs. These five steps are, in order:

1. Denial and Isolation

Entering the state of Denial

2. Anger

Shô's_anger

3. Bargaining

a sign

4. Depression

depression_by_3rd3m

5. Acceptance

acceptance

With all due respect to anyone that has lost a loved one, I believe that the shuttering of my retail store is probably just as devastating – perhaps even more so as it impacts my income. I seem to be frozen at Step 4, and keep asking The Universe to grant me Acceptance.

I spent some time at my soon-to-be-closed store this afternoon, clearing boxes out of the basement and getting ready for our final big “Move Out” one week from today. The basement is now all but empty; a few boxes of records and old client files remain. Upstairs on the main “selling floor,” our once beautiful showroom has been cannibalized by bargain hunters, leaving behind a broken assortment of mismatched pillows and furniture, rugs with no “room settings” and some random art on the walls.

I started crying today as I sat alone in the store, no music, no people, no future. It was a great six and half year run, but now it is almost over and I am sad. I hope depression gives way to acceptance soon. I keep reminding myself that there are many positives in my life – my Beloved Martin, a handful of great friends and a supportive family. I also have a reasonable job, and will continue “doing design” as a freelancer. I guess I just never really realized what a sort of physical anchor the brick and mortar store was in my life, until today…

Not Cute

I spend several hours of every work day interacting with children and adults. I have met some incredible parents, and I have met some parents I want to slap across the face. This little e-card pretty much sums up the type of day I had today:

not cute

There is a saying: “There are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners.” I entirely agree with that observation. I’d like to tweak it a bit and offer up this bon mot: “There are no bad children, only bad parents.” Children seem to run wild today – no discipline, no boundaries, no manners. And is that the fault of the kids? Nope – it’s because they have lame parents. I see them every day – entitled kids and miserable parents. Sigh…

I do LOVE my job but, if we could make the facility where I work “21 and Over ONLY”-  please? – that would be awesome…

A Dream Redefined

As a young gay boy growing up in the middle of nowhere (Shelby, Ohio), I always had a vision of what my “grown-up” life would be: I’d have a fabulous job, have fabulous friends, live in a fabulous city, wear fabulous clothes, take the train to work (I’d be too fabulous to drive) and – well, I think you get the picture. An experience-hungry gay teen in a town of, like, 8000 people (most of them my cousins), dreaming of a fantasy life in a major metropolitan area. I always thought my life would look like this:

Commuters on a TrainYeah, that handsome guy on the left would have been me (like I EVER looked like that), taking the train into “the city” to my job (no doubt in advertising or public relations), stealing a peek at the uptight lady-in-a-power-suit’s New York Times. These didn’t even exist when I was fifteen but I am SO sure I would have had a kale smoothie – with an energy boost – for breakfast, I would have “worked out” at lunch (maybe racquetball for 45 minutes?) and then I would have taken the train home to my handsome “boyfriend” in the tony suburb we lived in outside the city – I’m thinking it would have been like a 40 minute commute, each way. Once home, I would have popped some great-but-not-overly-pretentious wine and my love and I would have watched the shows we taped on the VCR the night before. Bliss.

Fast forward thirty years into reality…

I do have a job I enjoy – two jobs, really – but to be honest, I am making about the same dough I made when I was twenty-five. Instead of a smartly-cut suit, I wear a logo’d polo shirt and khakis to work every day, and my sleek attache case has been replaced with my brown bag lunch. I did make it to a “big city” – well, actually, I live in Cleveland, Ohio, the 45th largest city in America. I love smoothies, but the kind made with peanut butter, honey and bananas. Exercise? YUK! And I do not live with my boyfriend – I actually live with my legally-married HUSBAND (although we prefer the term spouse) and my commute from work is a seventeen minute bus ride to a mildly tony suburb of Cleveland. There is no wine; I quit drinking more than a decade ago. And the VHS has been replaced by On Demand/a VCR.rtabus

Is my life what I imagined/hoped it would be? No – it’s even better!

I have a man that completes me in every way, after a lifetime of false-starts and failed relationships. Today I left my job at one of our city’s most-revered public institutions, walked past our world-class art museum as well as the permanent home of our world famous orchestra, thru the campus of a prestigious private college and waited at the bus stop outside the campus cathedral. While I didn’t get to “steal” a Wall Street Journal or Times read, I sat next to a lovely lady that was chatty, obviously an immigrant and just super delightful and polite. No one did any break dancing on the bus, and no one gave me a card that said s/he was (insert disability here) and selling these cards to make a living. I stepped on the bus at 5:38P; at 6:05P, I was in my PJ’s, missing my Beloved (he works tonight 5-10P). I called a couple of friends and then made a cup of instant coffee with “fancy” flavored creamer. I am now waiting for my Beloved to get home from work. It’s been a great day.

Dreams are great but seldom turn out to be all we imagined them to be. If, like me, you get lucky – your life will be even better than you imagined! I had a rough draft for my life in my head, one which I thought was perfection. The reality is, my life is honestly more perfect now than I could have ever dreamed.

Would I like to “hit” The Powerball for $160 million dollars? You bet but, all in all, I am pretty blessed. Thanks, Universe! I appreciate it!

Mid-Week Scorecard

I know, I know – Wednesday is supposed to be “Hump Day” but my weeks have always run Monday thru Sunday, so Thursday has always been “mid-week” for me. Get over it…

Lots of “stuff” is going on in my life right now, so I wanted to take a brief moment and review/score the events taking place – please, enjoy…

Work:

Good – I recently was promoted to floor supervisor at work, which – while still an hourly position – entitles me to “full-time” (40 hours per week) and benefits (like vacation and health insurance).

Bad – The retail store I opened with a business partner is closing after 6.75 years on Saturday, 30 August 2014. I am more than a little sad…

StoreClosingSign2

Personal:

Not-so-good – It is confirmed my father has urethral cancer, along with the possibility that the cancer may have spread to other nearby tissue/organs. If the store closing makes me sad, well, this is BEYOND sad…

On-the-bright-side-of-bad – My father’s health team is working hard to manage his illness and they are incredible. Also, my father feels better and is in better spirits now than he has been for weeks. Finally, my immediate and extended family and circle of friends have all been amazing in their support and love. If gray clouds have silver linings, this cloud’s lining is STERLING silver.

clouds and sunFamily:

Good – While my Dad’s health is a less-than-ideal situation to bring me and my siblings together, it does ring true that families “circle the wagons” when a crisis presents itself. I have been amazed and inspired by my little brother and little sister, their devotion to and love they have for our father. Thanks, Bro, thanks Piglet! I love you two.

Bad – Other than wishing my Dad’s health was better, I have no other “bad” in this category.

fingersRelationships:

Good, no GREAT My hub-bub, Martin, continues to be my ROCK thru all the madness in my life. He is the most wonderful, loving, supportive and understanding mate a guy could ask for. I love him.

Bad – Not one thing.i-do-i-love-youNote: This image is a bit of an inside joke between me and my Sweetie; see, we “sneak off” and buy 49 cent ice cream cones at Mickey D’s all the time, well, not ALL the time. But sometimes, often…

So, I have to say, while it would be easy to think my life SUCKS, I guess when I look at all the “good stuff,” I am pretty blessed. Could I be thinner? You bet. Could I be hella’ more wealthy? God, yes, please… But all in all, I am a pretty lucky guy. I’m not sure exactly “how” to score my life but, at the moment, I would definitely give it at least an A- (I could be richer, LOL!) Thanks, Universe – keep up the good work!!! Signed, your biggest fan, Tim  😀

The Power of Rice

Recently, I did something stupid, careless and totally avoidable – I submerged my “smart phone” underwater for probably just shy of 45 minutes or so. (BTW – If it is so “smart” how come it didn’t scream “Help me, I am drowning?”) Anyway, I am totally pissed at myself for being such a knucklehead – like I have a couple hundred bucks to replace it. Ugh…

In addition to the potential financial costs, I have also realized I am WAY more dependent on my cell phone than I realized; like today, I had to call my sister to get my father’s cell number. Why? Because I did not have it memorized; instead, I search my contact list and hit “CALL POP-POP.” Anyway…

My friends tell me that if you wanted to, you could watch a video clip on YouTube and find a tutorial about how to do a heart-lung transplant at home (the message is that there are instructional videos for how to do just about anything). So my beloved Martin and I Google’d “iPhone wet water broken” and, lo and behold, more than three dozen videos appeared. Whether they work or not, it gave me comfort to know I am NOT the only dunderhead that drowned his cell phone.

The really amazing thing, though, was before any of the phone “dissection” videos, there were dozens of entries extolling the virtues of one of man’s oldest grains – rice.

rice

Literally DOZENS of testimonials online stated that by “bagging the wet iPhone” with uncooked rice for 24-48 hours, almost every person received a miracle – their phones WORKED again. Hooray! So I shuffled off to our local grocer, bought some plain uncooked white rice (I did consider basmati rice for a moment, thinking a fancier rice might achieve better results) and for the past 28 hours or so, my precious iPhone has been living like this:

Water-Soaked-iPhone-in-Rice

My phone is actually in an air-tight Ziplock bag but this image looked nicer, LOL! So, I wait.

So far, no sign of life (which is in and of itself a perplexing situation – almost every post we read said to avoid attempting to turn the phone on while wet, as this can “fry the motherboard” but, unless you turn the phone on, how do you know if/when it is working again?) As I said, I could kick my own ass over this ridiculous situation.

The good news? Regardless of what happens with my phone and rice, it turns out I love rice anyway, so now at least Martin and I have some in the cupboard if we crave it!  Wish me luck!

Prayers for Pop-pop

I have never really been a “religious” person, although I was raised within the Catholic faith. I do, however, consider myself to be a deeply spiritual person and, with that distinction made, am sharing that I am praying for my Pop-pop tonight/this morning. Today – Wednesday, at 10AM – we find out how extensive his illness is and what treatment options are available. I have to leave to make the meeting in five hours (it is 143 miles away from here). I cannot go to sleep – I am too anxious/nervous/scared. Once I fall asleep, “tomorrow will come” and I will have to face the reality of my father’s situation.

prayerTonight I am sending a prayer up to The Universe, asking it in its infinite wisdom to spare my father any more pain, and to (maybe) see clear to allow him the chance to “get better.” My Dad is a good man – kind, loving and generous. While he is pretty opinionated (and a wee bit too Republican for me), he has a good soul and is generally loved and respected by all who know him. I love him. And I do not want him “going anywhere” any time soon…

Experts say that prayer is powerful and that, while no scientific evidence exists for why it works, it is said that prayer helps promote healing. I am asking everyone reading this post to pray for my Pop-pop today. I’d appreciate it and he would, too… I’d also like to remind The Universe that I do not ask for many “favors” so when I pray and ask this one, I hope you will take that into consideration and grant my request. Many thanks in advance for my Pop-pop’s good health.