Lost at Sea

Floating, with only a small life vest keeping me up.

and that isn’t going to last much longer, because it has a hole in it.

I feel completely and totally alone. I have no one to count on, no one to talk to, no one who isn’t so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see what’s going on in the world around them.

My heart aches

****

My mom had to buy a new place to live. She moved in this week. She sounds much happier now, as this place is wheelchair accessible and everything is on the same floor.

I’m thrilled for her. My heart is breaking over the whole situation, though. She lived in the condo for over 20 years. We moved there in October 1993, when I was a junior in high school. I just can’t believe she no longer lives there. I can’t imagine going anywhere else to visit her. Next time I go visit, I am going to have to remember where the new place is…I might forget.

It just makes me sad for some reason.

I think there are a lot of things in my life right now making me sad. I have choices, but they scare me. I am angry and upset a lot of the time because I feel alone and misunderstood and uncared for.

This website does not work very well on my laptop, so I think I will go. For now.

Months Later

And a year later…

I think it’s been more than a year, hasn’t it? Last time I wrote, my grandfather had just passed away and I think it was Labor Day or something. And how here we are, November 2014.

I am hoping this year’s Christmas is better than last year’s. Why? Well, I’ll start with the fact that I could not have the week of Christmas off last year because of my stupid job and the stupid people with whom I work. We can only have two people off at a time, and despite the fact that I am the only person in the department who has no family in the area–never mind that my family lives 500 miles away–other people deserve time off too. Yes, they do, but Christmas 2013 was the first time in my life I did not spend Christmas Day with my family.

Anyway, I got the week before Christmas off, and I suppose that ended up being okay, because I got to see my family at a time when we really needed each other. See, my grandmother fell at home Thursday, December 12, 2013, and was taken to the hospital. She’d hit her head. I arrived in St. Charles the following Monday, and Tuesday I went to see her. She was not in good shape. I told my mom she needed to see Grandma because I didn’t think things would end well.

They didn’t.

By Thursday it was clear Grandma was not going to survive her injuries. Her kidneys were shutting down. She was not conscious. I left St. Louis Friday, December 20, and got the call the next day that Grandma had passed away early Saturday morning.

I had a shitty Christmas Day at my wife’s aunt’s house. Oh, I don’t blame them. Her aunt, cousin, cousin’s wife, their son, other cousin, and my wife’s youngest uncle were all together. We had ham and lots of good food. There were presents and lots of general good will and Christmas spirit. I just wasn’t feeling it. I flew back to St. Louis on Saturday, December 28. Grandma’s visitation was December 30, at the same funeral home we had Grandpa’s not six months before. My aunt made photo boards, just like she did for Grandpa, and she’d displayed a few of my Grandma’s quilts for people to see. My Grandma did beautiful work. People were amazed by the quilts. I felt lucky (and still do) that I have five of them to remember her by, including a wedding ring quilt that is on our bed currently. Has been since we got married, actually. Grandma, when she found out Maggie and I got married, asked me if we put the wedding ring quilt on our bed. It meant a lot to her to know we did. It means a lot to me now to have those quilts. I will never get rid of them and plan on passing them down to my kid, whether the baby be a boy or a girl. “Your great-grandma made these,” I’ll tell him/her. Of course, if it’s a girl, she’ll already know all about that legacy, because her name is going to be Alice.

Grandma would’ve loved that.

Anyway, Grandma went into the ground next to Grandma on New Year’s Eve. We listened to “Amazing Grace,” the version sung by Meryl Streep in the movie “Silkwood.” Beautiful song.

And now I have no grandparents left.

And I think about how I will feel when it’s my mom who is gone. And I think about my own mortality.

After that, I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did this year. Two thousand fourteen hasn’t been a bellweather of a year either. I lost both my grandparents within six months, and two days after we buried my grandmother, my mother fell again at home. Two days after my grandmother was put in the ground we were at the emergency room in St. Charles finding out my mom’s hip implant broke again and the day after that, we were at Barnes and my mom was having major surgery to have that implant removed. I had to leave for Detroit the next day.

And now my mom will never walk again. She’s in a wheelchair, selling her condo and moving into a villa, where everything is on one floor because she can’t walk anymore.

My heart broke. And then it broke again this summer, when my wife almost died of a heart attack.

I honestly don’t know if I can take anything else happening. When I sit and think about it all, I cry. I don’t like to cry, because it hurts my skin. So I try not to. But sometimes I just can’t help it and the tears pour down my face. I guess this explains why I feel on edge a lot of the time, like I am frayed and might start unraveling at some point, completely and totally losing shape and dissolving into nothing. My heart is a bunch of pieces and I feel alone. I’ve often thought about going back home to St. Louis, but I don’t think that’s the answer.

Feeling completely alone isn’t new to me, but it’s a different sensation at 37 than it was at 25.

My job is a joke. My life is a joke. I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel most of the time like I’m going through the motions, with people around me who really don’t give a shit about me or my feelings, but running away would not solve the problem. A lot of the time I want to curl up in a ball and sleep or cry. But that wouldn’t solve anything either.

And I miss smoking. A lot sometimes. We both gave it up when the wife had the heart attack. I miss it. I miss smoking with my coffee. I think that’s when it bothers me most. I suppose I should give up the coffee too because it doesn’t help the panic attacks.

I have to have one vice, though–had to give up all the others!

I really should see someone about the depression, I know. And I need a new job, one where I can feel good about myself and my abilities, and one where I have some of my own tasks to deal with, instead of a big hot mess.

And if we’re going to have a kid, this needs to change.

It’s Only Monday

Today was my first day back to work after a week of vacation.

I was reminded why I dislike my job as much as I do, and consequently, am a bit depressed.

I came in to work this morning to find 600 unread emails in my inbox. While trying to get through those, I discovered that my boss put me on special tasks today, which left me no time to finish getting through my emails. I had to do faxes instead. I managed to get through those and the co-worker who was on special tasks with me today finally arrived at 8am to help.

Later, after busting my ass today, I was given a co-worker’s mail to open because she was going too slow and wasn’t going to get finished by the end of the day. I managed to open her mail, retrieve faxes, answer emails and properly index paperwork to claims–all while the “slow” co-worker was still opening mail.

I wonder why it is that good workers always get punished for being good workers.

I work hard, do my job to the best of my ability, yet other people get away with doing nothing and then get help! I wouldn’t mind helping, in fact I don’t mind assisting my co-workers if they get behind because they are overwhelmed. However, this woman doesn’t work. She spends most of her time socializing and texting/calling her daughters on her iPhone, and this is why she is constantly “overwhelmed” with her job. I am so sick and tired of picking up the slack for people who can’t be bothered to do their jobs. It is beyond infuriating to know that no matter what I do, it is never enough, because there will always be more work to do since some people cannot be trusted to complete simple tasks. And the worst part is nothing happens to them when they do wrong.

I know this makes me sound like a bitter person, but shouldn’t a person who spends work time socializing be punished? Written up over and over until it’s time to fire them? I mean, aren’t we supposed to be getting paid to do a job, not play on our iPhones or socialize with co-workers? Oh, I guess I have it wrong. I guess I should slow down and not work as hard, because I’m being punished for working hard. I’m being punished for behaving the way I was raised to behave, with a work ethic.

I know one finds lazy people at every workplace, and that’s the part that troubles me. I know if I went somewhere else, I’d find more lazy, selfish people who would drive me crazy and make me upset. I just don’t know how to get over that. My question is, why aren’t these people punished for bad behavior? Is it because companies are afraid to fire people because they’re afraid of lawsuits? Whatever happened to having a good work ethic? And the sad thing is, these are grown women I work with who are the laziest folks I’ve ever seen. The youngest person in my dept is 24 years old and she is one of the better workers in the dept, so the “young people are lazy” bit doesn’t apply here. These lazy women are in their 50s; one of them is “friends” with the boss, so she gets away with everything and the other is dumber than a box of rocks and can’t keep her mouth shut to save her life.

I hate being such a judgmental person; I sound horrible and mean and bitter, but other people’s behavior drives me nuts. I work so hard at my job, doing the things I’m supposed to and more (because I have to do the lazy people’s work too) that it makes me angry when they get away with it.

Sigh. I just need to get over it. It’s not going to change. My boss is a sorry excuse for a supervisor and should retire, but won’t.

*****

My vacation was good. The wife had the week off too, so we spent some time together. Our second wedding anniversary was Tuesday the 3rd, so we went out to dinner (IHOP, I’m a cheap date). We also went to Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford museum and Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth was fun. I’d never been there before and enjoyed walking around, going into all the shops. It’s this town that was settled by Germans, so everything is done up with “German” decor, and the shops sell beer and cheese and sausage and stuff like that. The only bad thing about our trip was we were there the first day of the annual car show, so almost all of the public parking was taken up by the cars. And there were tons of people sitting in their chairs on the side of the main street, so that made it hard to get by on the sidewalks. But it was still a fun time, and I wouldn’t mind going back.

We’ll just have to check and make sure no big events are going on before we go. ;)

I got to see a friend of mine from the bank. It had been a while since I’d seen her and it was good to catch up. No matter how much time passes between our visits, I always feel as though we can pick up where we left off. We just clicked somehow and I miss working with her so much.

My mom is doing okay, though I think she’s a bit upset with me. See, the wife and I had talked about going to St. Louis this last week but it didn’t work out because of the dog. I waited until the last minute to decide about what to do with him. We didn’t want to take him with us, since there were things around STL that I wanted to show the wife (the zoo, the Arch, museums, Vintage Vinyl, etc) so I didn’t want to take the dog and then dump him off at someone’s house to dogsit while we did our thing. And taking him in the car would’ve been a nightmare; he gets carsick and pukes all over his crate whenever we take him to the vet. So eww. We didn’t end up going obviously and Mom’s not happy about it. See, the family has never met my wife. Nope, not yet. I know, kinda weird considering we’ve been married two years, but remember, none of my family came to the wedding since it was in Canada and nobody but my uncle has a passport and he couldn’t make it. So there’s that issue.

Although I would hope by now that my Mom realizes this is a much better relationship for me than past ones.

Well, I hate to cut off in the middle of a thought…but WordPress is acting weird on me and I don’t want to lose this whole post. Better go.

1925-2013

Well, looks like my intuition still works. I had a feeling when Mom and I talked yesterday, and yeah, it happened. My Grandpa passed away last night.

She called me this morning at work to let me know, and my boss let me go home. I was too much of a mess to keep working, and really just wanted to be home with my wife–who is home sick today.

Mom told me this morning they’re going to the funeral home this afternoon to make the arrangements and if all goes as planned, the visitation will be Thursday and the funeral Friday. So looks like I will be heading back to STL Wednesday.

I’m just glad I got to see him Father’s Day, hug him and tell him that I love him. And he’s no longer suffering.

Rest in Peace Paul Alvin Orin Meers, 7 Nov 1925-7 July 2013.

Family Stuff

Last month I went home to visit my family. It was a nice visit.

At the first of the year, my grandparents had moved into what we thought would be an assisted living facility, but it turned out to just be apartments for seniors. They don’t give any help whatsoever, so my grandmother wants out of there. When I was visiting, she mentioned that she wants to move back home, especially now that my grandfather was at a nursing/rehab facility. The cost was just too great.

I did get to see both of my grandparents. For Father’s Day, my mom and I went to the place where he’s staying. My aunt met us there and brought Grandpa out of his room to the lobby where we were sitting. He wasn’t doing very well that day, seemed to be mentally out of it, but his face sure lit up when he saw me. We had a nice visit with him and my other aunt, the one who hardly does anything for my grandparents, showed up. We were all surprised by this.

Besides seeing my family, the other reason I went home was to pay for and pick up my grandfather’s Chevy Trailblazer. My wife bought it from my grandparents so now she has a vehicle to drive. My grandma was glad to be rid of it, because she never liked driving it and my grandfather lost his license in 2007, so there was no point in keeping it. Now it’s my wife’s.

While at home, we found out Grandpa’s potassium level was really high, and this was causing his mental confusion, along with issues with his heart. The doctors got him stabilized after I left and things seemed to be okay, but today during my usual Sunday chat with my mom, she told me that basically Grandpa is dying. His potassium is back up and his kidneys have shut down. She told me I need to prepare myself.

I’m trying, but it’s hard. I keep thinking of how he used to be, when I was a kid. He was such an active man. He loved hunting, fishing, any kind of outdoor activity. He had a big garden in the backyard at their old house. He grew broccoli, brussel sprouts, radishes (which he’d give me slices of), tomatoes, onions, and he helped me grow corn one year. He belonged to a bowling league with my uncle and the two of them golfed together. He would sit out in the backyard at the old house in the heat of summer with his radio turned to KMOX to listen to the baseball games. I remember when Mom and I first moved back to Missouri, back in 1982, and we lived with my grandparents for a little bit. Grandpa would give us money and Mom and I would walk to St. Charles Dairy for ice cream. I always got chocolate ice cream in a sugar cone. We’d come back and I’d tell Grandpa all about the walk, and then we’d watch the game.

I remember he loved the show “All in the Family.” That was on Sunday nights and I’d go into Grandma and Grandpa’s room and watch “The Muppet Show.” He also loved Johnny Carson, and would fall asleep in his chair to The Tonight Show.

His favorite thing to eat? Well, he wasn’t a picky eater, not that I know of, but the man has a sweet tooth! He loves candy, but his favorite kind is the stuff you get at Christmas, those ribbon things and the hard candy that comes in a tin. He said it reminds him of his childhood.

He was born November 7, 1925, the second boy in a family of four children, three boys and a girl. And he is the last one left.

He had quadruple bypass surgery in 1981, right after my fourth birthday party. Nobody thought he’d make it, but he did. I remember him telling me about the surgery, the instrument used to open his chest looking like a pizza cutter. That image has stayed in my head all these years. The scar on his chest was something to see, that’s for sure.

He taught me how to tie my shoes. It was after we’d moved back to Missouri, and no one else had been able to teach me, but they wanted me to know before I started kindergarten. And he’s the one who finally got it through my head, how to do it.

I’m glad I got to see him on Father’s Day. I gave him a hug and told him I loved him. The look on his face when he first saw me, the happiness to see me, will stay with me forever.

I love you, Grandpa.

Weekend At Last

I haven’t been here in so long, I’m surprised I still have a blog. And I’m surprised I remember how to blog at all.

Not that anything exciting is happening, but I thought I’d drop by.

Long weekend ahead, because of the holiday. Nothing planned but lots of relaxation time. And I’m looking forward to that. Glad we’re not going anywhere because so many other people are, which means heavy traffic and crazy people on the highways. I remember back when I was in college I would travel home Memorial weekend to visit my mom and would drive back to Springfield on Memorial Day. Mom always worried about me driving on the highway that day because there are so many other people headed home from vacation and there are so many more accidents.

But not this weekend. Oh, we might go to the art museum, because this is the last weekend for the special exhibit they have of a Van Gogh painting on loan. We both want to see it, so we’ll probably head over there at some point.

Speaking of the art museum, because Detroit is in such financial trouble, the emergency financial manager (appointed by the governor even though the state voted against the idea last year) says the city might have to sell off some or all of the art at the museum to make money. Fire sale in Detroit! Van Goghs for half off!

Seriously though, isn’t that the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

Okay, maybe not the MOST ridiculous, but pretty close. Yes, let’s get rid of ALL of the art and culture in the city, even though people are starving for it. Pathetic.

Hm. Work is work, but it’s a paycheck, right? Today was pay day, too.

Last week I was in the hospital for a bit. Nothing serious, or at least it turned out to be nothing serious, thank goodness. Went in with chest pains and it turned out to be a bad panic attack. Which is nothing new for me, but I’d never had one that bad before. Scary situation and I’m going to have to figure out how to fix that. It’s nothing in my personal life, at least not my marriage or my family relationships. It’s all about work and what I want to do with myself. I know, crazy thing to get myself so worked up about, but it drags me down, my job I mean. That and the lack of money and how I compare myself with other people my age and think I should be making more money and doing something worthwhile with my life rather than just being a paper pusher.

So, other than that, I’m okay. And I will be okay, provided I get some help with these things. :)

Happy Weekend!

Since Then…

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I last wrote here.

Well, a lot has happened, even though my life isn’t all that exciting.

Thanksgiving I spent at my wife’s grandparents’ house, with all her relatives. Her dad is the oldest of a large family and the siblings and their children, along with their children’s children, pack themselves into several rooms and watch the Lions lose yet another game while gorgin themselves on turkey and the usual Turkey Day dishes. No one really speaks to me except for my father-in-law, an uncle and a couple of the aunts…oh, and her grandmother. That’s okay. With so many people it’s hard to keep track of conversations anyway.

Just before Thanksgiving, my mom left Delmar Gardens (the rehab place) and went home. She’d had one of those stair lift things installed so she could get upstairs to her bedroom and shower. She seemed to be doing okay. Bentley was still at my aunt’s house, though, but he’d come to visit.

I did go home for Christmas, but it was not a great trip. Bentley was there and after the initial hesitation, he became my shadow. That was really the best part of the trip. Mom treated me like a servant, wanting me to wait on her hand and foot, despite the fact that I’d been told she was making excellent progress and was walking with a walker around the house. In my mom’s defense though I must say she told me before I got there that she was sick. She was running a fever and not feeling well. It still was hard for me to take. It was supposed to be my vacation, and there I was, making her meals, going to the store for her, and taking care of the dog. And to top that off, she told me one night over dinner that she must be a bad mother because otherwise I wouldn’t have moved so far away.

Damn. I thought she’d started getting over that. Apparently not.

Christmas Eve was supposed to be at my grandparents’ house. My grandparents are not doing the best these days. Grandpa can’t care for himself and Grandma barely can. Well, he’s 87 and she’s 81, so what do you expect? More on that later. But yeah, Mom was feeling so bad she stayed home while I went to Grandma’s. She expected someone to bring her dinner, though, and before I left, she told me it better not be too late before she got her food. After everything, I was so upset with her my cousin Stephanie actually took the food over to Mom.

Christmas Day we both went to Grandma’s and opened gifts. When it was time to leave, my aunt Paula followed us so she could help Mom into the house. As they were going up the front steps, Mom fell, Paula caught her on the way down, and the neighbors came over to help. They couldn’t get Mom up into a chair so we had to call 911. I spent Christmas night at the emergency room with Mom and Paula. I had to leave the next day and I was in shock. Mom stayed in the hospital, I flew home the next day into bad weather, and my father-in-law picked me up from the airport because the wife had to work. Poor man sat outside for a long time because my flight was delayed AND I had to wait nearly an hour for my suitcase.

Finally I got home and later that night learned my Mom was going back to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

She had more surgery because it turned out her new hip implant was infected. Once again, they had to replace part of it. She was in the hospital until last week, when they sent her back to Delmar Gardens. Who knows when she will get out or what the outcome will be.

As for my grandparents, they moved out of their house into an assisted living facility the first week of January. It’s for the best, but hard to accept.

As for me, I got sick the night I returned to Detroit. Missed work for two days, went to CVS minute clinic, found out I had a cold, went to Urgent Care New Year’s Eve and found out I had a sinus and ear infection, and then last week was back at a doctor’s office, finding out I had the flu.

So 2013 hasn’t been that great for me either.

I’ve missed a lot of work but that’s okay because I don’t really enjoy being around my co-workers. But you know how that goes.

I hope things get better. On a good note, I just finished JK Rowling’s book “The Casual Vacancy” and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it. :)