Good news Bad news

Bad:

Another bad health day, but I’m tired of talking about it so I’ll leave it there.

Good:

The House impeached Herr Dump. Now let’s hope the Senate does the right thing and disbars him from holding public office again, among other things. Then I want to see him rot in jail while his bankrupt empire crumbles.

Bite-size Body Guard

Above you see my little body guard.

I am still in the throes of yuchy-guts-palooza (which comes with sides of fatigue and chills). As I finish my exhausting, stressful work day, I head upstairs to retire to the loveseat in front of the fire, and he is right there on my lap, guarding me from any harm. And he won’t budge unless I do. He takes this duty very seriously, and wont hesitate to let out a very soft growl under his breath if anyone approaches me. (He never snaps or gets louder. I think it’s more of a “Be careful” than an actual threat.) And every once in a while, he will walk up to my face to sniff and maybe give me a quick kiss, then immediately return to his sentry position.

I think he’s checking to see if I’m dead.

What a guy!

Bad Day

I spent the day in gut pain, which is never fun and quite exhausting.

To make it more entertaining, my Mother decided to go on a non-essential shopping trip with a friend today, despite the fact we’re in the middle of a raging pandemic, cases are spiking in our area, we have a new, more contagious strain, and she is a 75 year old with COPD. She locked her keys in her car, so I had to stop work, go to her house for the spare key, and bring it to her all while my guts were on fire, and wound up having to work late to finish up work.

There will be words.

Unworldly

I’m not a traveler at heart. I’ve never really dreamed of going fantastic places or doing fantastic things. Well, I did, in a way, but my version of fantastic was always on a much smaller scale.

When I dreamed about a future life as an adult, I dreamed of being out from under the abuse of my father, away from the ridicule of my schoolmates, and somehow shed of my grotesque face and body.

I wanted to be somewhere else – anywhere else. And I wanted to be someone else – anyone else.

Fully aware of my homosexuality at a young age, and the cold embrace of loneliness of feeling utterly alone, my dreams involved safety, anonymity, and security. I dreamed of living alone – no one to abuse, taunt, shame, or hurt me in any way. I dreamed of a home I could maintain a sense of order and cleanliness. I dreamed of food on the table every night and enough money to pay bills and keep a roof over my head. Anything else seemed beyond me. Other states, let alone other countries, were places other people went. Broadway shows, new cars, vacations, restaurants, and anything non-essential were things other people had or could afford.

I thought a college education might be my ticket out of poverty and loneliness, but that fell through and I resigned myself to basement apartments, retail jobs, and wanting no more than enough to get by. I never allowed myself to wish for more, and just assumed this was my lot in life – to struggle.

While I blame no one, I had no guidance. No one to mentor or encourage me, to tell me I could do better, or ever would. I was a scared, lonely little boy who didn’t fit anywhere, know anything, or believe I was worth more than what little I had or could scrape by on. I never stood up for myself, or strived for bigger and better things. I just kind of…got by, quietly. And alone.

As I made friends, it only served to reinforce my feelings of inadequacy. They all had educations, careers, cars, families, relationships, money, goals, experience – maybe not all at the same time, but any one of those was more than I had. I don’t think it’s fair to say I was envious, although surely I was. I was more…saddened to think there was something so wrong with me that I didn’t deserve, or at least would never have, any of those things.

So here I am, on the cusp of turning 50 in a few short months, and I marvel at where I am and the life I have. To be sure, my life has not been a cake walk, and any (all?) of my successes have been tempered with awful genetics that have resulted in medical conditions that keep my grounded and humble. And, while it’s true that, because of those issues, I have developed a fear of traveling too far, for too long (what if I get sick? What if I need a hospital?) if I’m being totally honest, I don’t feel cheated out of more.

Yes, I wish I was healthy. I wish I didn’t have food issues, and I didn’t have to be in pain so much, or have to avoid so many things. I wish my guts worked right, and I had more energy and strength and could be more active. I wish I didn’t have to live with the fear of episodes ruining vacations and holidays and celebrations. I wish my body wasn’t so damn … broken.

BUT…somehow, before all of that medical nonsense hit, I began to look above my station in life and started striving for more. I went on interviews, I took exams, I researched tuition assistance, I talked to people, and I took opportunities as they opened up, even if they weren’t the opportunities I wanted. I went where those opportunities took me, and I made what I could out of my personal life to compensate for the lack of love for my career. I was always grateful for a paycheck. Once I left home at 17, I always took care of myself and never relied on anyone to help me survive, although there were many generous people who offered a place to stay, a warm meal, and a ride when needed, along the way. So any job I worked was good enough for me and I was grateful to have it.

Then I met Jeffrey, which changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. I suddenly had a life partner – someone on my side and in my corner. Someone who supported me, encouraged me, and convinced me I wasn’t worthless or stupid or ugly. He made me feel loved unconditionally, and stood by my side every step of the way, through debt, and doubt, and daunting medical issues. He made me realize I wasn’t alone anymore. And because of him, I found the strength and will and drive to better myself and my life. I interviewed for jobs I never thought I’d get. I tried things I never thought I’d be brave enough to try and went places I’d never have gone on my own. He opened my world to new possibilities, places and things, and he did it all by just promising me to be by my side through it all. (And he has.) everything we have, we built together. There is no mine or his. There is only ours. Not because it had to be that way. Just because it is, and that works for us.

The career path I ultimately chose was a practical one: it came with good (entry level) pay, amazing benefits, union protections, time off with pay, opportunities to advance, and (mostly) compassionate co-workers and supervisors, all allowing me to keep my job even after I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (and then a multitude of other crap) and began my medical decline journey, in and out of hospitals, and home for long periods of recovery. I always strived to do my job to the best of my ability as much as I could and never took time off that wasn’t for medical reasons. I never took a vacation or personal day. All of my time was saved for medical care. And I worked through many days of cramps and gut pain when I could manage it, because I knew there would be days when I couldn’t. And I managed to impress enough people that I promoted over and over again until I found myself here, in management, at the end of my career journey, looking at retirement in a few short years. To be honest, I hate my job, but I endure it, because it has provided for me and my family and allowed me to have food, clothes, a home, a car, medical care, vacations, pets, specialized gluten free foods and protein drinks, clothes, shoes, and even indulge my lifelong collecting habits over the years. Although it seems to grow harder every day, it also grows shorter every day and I keep my eyes on the prize.

I have a life I never even dared to dream of. A home beyond anything I ever imagined, a marriage stronger and more nurturing than I ever thought possible. I have been to places and events I never thought I would. No, our life is neither fancy nor luxurious, although I guess everything depends on your perspective. We live within our means, and we do try to keep ourselves in check. But we certainly have and do things many people can’t, and I still have a hard time believing I can. You can take the boy out of the poverty and struggle….

What’s the point to all my rambling? I’m not sure. It’s Sunday night and I have the pre-Monday morning blues. I’m in the throes of yet another gut episode and I’ve begun to worry, as they get more frequent and last longer, that maybe there’s another big surgery in my future. And that sucks. But while I’m having a poor me pity party for myself, I still can’t help feeling fortunate that I’m on a comfy couch in my warm home in front of a fire, with a caring supportive husband at my side and two dogs that comfort me through my pain. I have the luxury of taking time off if I need to tomorrow, or whenever, without fear of losing my job. If the worst happens, I can go to the hospital without worrying how we will pay for the medical treatment. Although I can’t eat the foods I want, I can afford to get anything I can eat without taxing our budget. And I know, in five years, I will no longer have to worry about working another day through pain. I also enjoy job security and working from home through a worldwide pandemic, never losing a days pay, and will be able to enjoy everything we did before it hit (health and body willing) once it’s all over, because we have not been hurt financially by this pandemic – not one bit.

And I know how very fortunate I am to be able to say all that.

So when I ponder where I want to go and what I want to do when this is “all over” or when I discuss my dreams of places I want to go and things I want to do in life, I often grow quiet. Because the truth is, I already have more than I ever allowed myself to believe I could, and more than I ever allowed myself to dream I would. It may not be anybody else’s dream life…

…but it sure is mine.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Stay safe.

Slackerday

It’s been a quiet (and bitter cold) day here. After our breakfast and coffee, we finished up a few minor house projects to return our house to pre holiday status: replaced the white “Christmas curtains” with our year round more colorful ones and moved a loveseat from the bedroom to the living room, which was previously moved to make room for the tree. It’s nice to have our house fully back in order again.

Then, we got showered, shaved, and dressed for today’s errand.

All gussied up in my new Green Lantern sweatshirt, a Christmas gift from the BF’s hubby.

We “owe” my Mom a new microwave cart/cabinet. We offered to buy her one for her Christmas present, but it would have to wait until after the holidays. Well, it’s after, and she’s excited to get it, so we had to put our money where our mouths are and get her one. We had hoped to purchase one at a local store and do curbside pick up today (still Pandemicy out there, folks, so still no unnecessary in store browsing) but we overestimated the availability of something we thought was fairly commonplace and would be in stock somewhere. Wrong. Instead, we ordered it on line (not Amazon, promise!) and it will be delivered in 7-10 days. While we are completely fine with that, and prefer to shop this way anyway, we wanted my Mom to have the cabinet sooner, if possible. Oh, well.

Since I no longer needed to go out to help Jeffrey lift a heavy furniture box, Jeffrey went out into the cold for groceries all by his lonesome (bless his heart) and I stayed at home with the puppies, snuggled under a blanket, reading digital comics on my iPad. I did throw a load of laundry on so it wasn’t a totally unproductive day. (Side note: Laundry used to be a 2 hour affair. Wash, dry, fold, put away. These days, It’s more often a 1 – 2 day affair: we throw it in the washer in the basement….hours go by before we remember to move it to the dryer…sometimes it makes it upstairs on the same day, sometimes not. And it gets folded and put away – eventually.)

An hour or so into reading, I got hungry for lunch, so I popped open my new Keto Gluten Free cookbook, found a simple recipe for chicken bacon Dijon lettuce wraps, and whipped some up. Jeffrey got home just in time to share it with me (Damn him!). Then we enjoyed a quiet afternoon on the couch, he on his laptop, ever shopping for the perfect dream home to buy when we win the lottery (I kid you not) and I on my iPad reading more digital comics. It was so quiet and comfy, in fact, I nodded off to sleep sitting up and napped a bit. (Something I rarely do even when I try to – napping does not come easy to me.)

Tonight, we have a zoom cocktail hour with friends, so Jeffrey will start a fire and I’ll whip up something for a quick dinner beforehand and a batch of cocktails for our chat.

It was a welcome low key Saturday after an emotional week of returning to work full time (still from home, thankfully) and the not-shocking-at-all treasonous behavior from the child-in-chief and his cronies.

Here’s hoping our Sunday turns out to be as blissful.

Spice Grrrl

This is how some of us process the anxiety of watching the President of the United States incite insurgency and sedition…we organize our spice cabinet.

Because of how and where we store spices (a pull out shelf in our pantry) we have to pull out spice after spice looking for the one we want. (First world problems, am I right?) I’ve tried to buy spices with the labels on the lid, but the ones I’ve found are expensive and we can’t find all the spices we use regularly. Jeffrey found a do-it-yourself spice jar kit on line so we purchased a set of 25 spice jars and labels and it was delivered two days ago. Today, I transferred all of our spices into the new jars. The kit comes with a pretty big assortment of spice label stickers for the lids, but it doesn’t have everything. Fortunately, it also comes with blank labels and a white marker so we can create our own labels. (Note the “Everything Bagel” and “White Pepper” spice jars.). It will be so great to be able to see what spice is what by looking at the lid.

I love this so much, I’ve already ordered another set of jars so all our spices will match (can you say anal retentive?) and we’ll have extras for when we inevitably buy different spices.

Now, if only I could learn to cook.

Laptrap

Look closely, and you’ll see the ear of a very sleepy puppy who was not ready to get up this morning.

Unfortunately, she is snuggled under a blanket on my lap sound asleep (and snoring.) I’d like to get up and get my second cup of coffee before I have to start work, but I just don’t have the heart to disturb her.

I’m totally laptrapped!

Monday Mundanity

First day back to work was shockingly low key, which I’m very grateful for. It allowed me to ease back into it, which helped keep my work-induced anxiety at a very low level.

After work, I continued the effort to put the house back together and finished reorganizing the kitchen spice cabinet, canned goods, oils and vinegars, and the flour cabinet. (Yup…we have a flour cabinet – Cooking decent gluten free food often requires a mix of various flours such as Almond, Coconut, Tapioca, or Brown Rice flours.)

Then we had to jump my car battery with Jeffrey’s. This cold is really wreaking havoc on my car. If I don’t start and run it for a few minutes every other day or so, I risk it dying on me. It’s happened three times since December 1st. (But we had AAA come and they tested it and assured us my battery is fine – it’s just the cold.). Once we got it started, we needed to run it a bit, so we drove to Mom’s to drop off the four bins of Xmas items, then picked up some lottery tickets at the local corner store on the way home. (Hey, all you need is a dollar and a dream, right?)

Once home, it was dinner time. We are back to our very low carb/Keto eating which we’ve done fairly consistently for the better part of two years but seriously recommitted to September of last year (with a slight … detour… for the holidays, but not as far off the path as I worried we would go.). I’m down 27 lbs and would like to get that much again off before I’m satisfied. Fortunately, much of the low carb/keto food and recipes are also gluten free, so it’s an easy eating plan for me/us. Jeffrey gifted me a gluten free keto cookbook for Christmas (which I asked for) and I’m excited to add some new meals into the rotation of my “staple” meals to add a little more variety. The main basis of most of our meals is chicken, fish, and vegetable. I’m no chef, so I’m sure there’s got to be more ways to prepare them than what I’ve thought of on my own.

As stated above, it’s bitter cold here, so we’re snuggled with the dogs under blankets on the sofa. No fire tonight, sadly. Due to errands, we got a late start on dinner and didn’t want to get one going so close to bed time. Back to work means no more late nights for us for the duration.

And that’s day four of 2021, folks. Stay safe!