2018 New Years Day thoughts

It’s funny, I posted about how I woke up anxious last year on January 1st because I hadn’t heard from my parents as they had passed that year. It was the first time in 45 years that they hadn’t said Happy New Year to me, 25 of which was phone calls right around midnight.

I didn’t think it would happen again, but it did. This morning I woke up, the second New Years since they were gone, and worried for a few moments that they weren’t ok since I hadn’t heard from them. Even stone cold drunk they would call me.

Then I laid in bed for about an hour thinking about them. I know they would be proud of the hubby and I, especially all the surgeries he went through. I don’t think I have even really tried dealing with them being gone. I don’t know how to start it. I do know it bothered me laying in the dark, listening to my husband snore and wishing desperately like a ten year old again that they would call me one more time.

Maybe this year I need to actually work on that. Although I do want to say that this year is looking far better than last year. W’s surgeries are all done, all requirement to stay at this job are satisfied. By the end of this year we will have left this soul crushing job and moved out of this people crushing place and maybe actually get back to being us.

I do war about the job thing. This is probably the most money I will make in my life. The job is super easy to do skill wise. It would pay W’s and myself’s 125k in student loans within four years (not counting the 25k in short term debt this year). The problem being is this job is a complete scam and the people in it are incredibly toxic. I don’t feel any pride in going to work, and over the months I just watch more and more bullshit and it makes me angrier every time. This doesn’t even count that I dislike working for Trump’s administration and the rights they are rolling back on anyone who isn’t a cisgender, heterosexual white male.

I have a lot to talk about with work, and I think I am going to start doing it this year (probably later this month). So for now I am going to look forward to the fact that things are moving forward. My husband is healthy. I am fairly healthy and will be taking steps to address other factors. Most importantly I am going to celebrate the fact that we never have to worry about food being in our fridge or the ability to buy what we need, when we need right now in our lives. This is a first in our lives together (and a first in my 46 year long life ever).

Happy New Year to everyone, may 2018 surpass anything else you have in joy and happiness!

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Winter 2017 PHX Surgery Trip Day 2-4

The last three days were a little stressful, but mostly unassuming. First let’s cover our Ghost cat status. Torie was kind enough to feed him. Here are the first two days of feeding pictures:

The hubby and I went to his final pre-op appointment on Tuesday, where we waited for the doc to get caught up. Finally we met, talked and things looked good for the surgery.

We then went to the surgical center, where he would stay a day before being released. Once again we waited, and about an hour after surgery was supposed to start our doc arrived for that (are you seeing a pattern yet). Hubby was incredibly happy to get it started.

His usually happiness symbol.

The day ended with the hubby getting out of surgery, being rolled back to his room and resulted in me visiting with him for a few hours before going back to the hotel room.

They made him order dinner right after surgery so he got me to help.

I arrived early (after having a great waffle breakfast at my La Quinta hotel) and prepared for the hubby to be released. His initial schedule was somewhere between 10-11am. We eventually checked him out at 5:30pm (see that pattern) and this was without even seeing the doc. We were told to check with the office on Friday for when they will want to see hubby to pull his drain out.

He waited so long to be discharged

We went to bed and finally woke up today (Friday). We went and had a great waffle breakfast which made him very happy. We then moved on to more laying in bed while he heals. We tried getting a hold of the office but found not only were they closed, but their phones were disconnected…

We left a message on the nurse’s separate line and she called back eventually, arranging us an 8:30 am appt on Monday that is right before our flight. Unsatisifying to me, but I will take what we can get.

Just so happy to have the surgery over with, now time for healing.

Finally I had realized I had forgotten my battery I use to charge my iPad/iPhone at the hospital so I picked it up, picked up some Red Robin burgers for the hubby and now here I am sitting in the room letting him heal. So that is it for this report. Stay tuned there will be more updates and I will eventually write a full review of this experience 🙂

 

Winter 2017 PHX Surgery Trip Day 1

Our first day of travel went really well. Our flight was slightly later then normal which means we didn’t leave house until 5:30am, our normal time we go to work. That meant we were doing a bit better on sleep then expected.

We arrived at the airport and went through a busy security checkpoint quickly because the DoD has given us the “pre-check” status so we avoid most of it. I will probably miss that when we eventually leave.

Security line sucked.

Oh, surprise note, the Lyft driver dropped us off at arrivals instead of departures. The departures area had a half of mile of cars waiting to drop off, the arrivals was empty and we went up two escalators and ended up at security ahead of a huge wait. Thank you for that pro-tip Lyft guy.

The flight itself was pretty straightforward. We were surprised at how cheap first class was (we bought tickets six months ahead) and so my legs actually fit and I didn’t feel clausterphobic. We landed in Phoenix and found the temperature was only about 70 degrees and everyone was wearing pants, well of course except for hubby and I. This is summer weather for Seattle so we had shorts and sandals. Some photos from the flight below:

We had some lunch, checked in to our hotel and then went and saw Justice League (spoiler alert, wasn’t as bad as I had worried, there is a review coming). Finally we got home, laid in bed watching Shark Tank (yes, I do that sometimes) and then fell asleep.

On the bus from PHX Airport to the car rental.

 

In reality a pretty low key day, even with travel.

Bellingham Journey 11-25-17

Well today we went up to Bellingham to do a few things.

  1. Drop off some tupperware with my brother’s family.
  2. We went up to get pictures of all of Wolsey’s old places he lived at.
  3. Went up to place a wreath on my parents grave for the holidays, along with stringing some lights.

I do have to say though, the travel up to Bellingham and back was unprecedentedly smooth. It is a 112+ mile trip each way and we were up within 2.5 hours after stopping three times for bathroom attempts… Hubby couldn’t find a stall to use… and only 2 hours coming home with us doing shopping at  Target for the cat. There are a lot of pictures of places the hubby has lived, and like the photos I took of where I lived I will have in depth postings about those places and why they are important.

First we stopped by my brother’s place, we saw his kids and their mother and hung out for a little while. Wolsey dropped off some of his jewelry from pre-transition to Kristen our niece while I gave Tupperware to Monica. Hopefully they will find uses for all of those. Fortunately the family seems to be doing pretty well. We got some ideas for the kids for Christmas and it was nice to just see my brother sober.

Then we were off to see Wolsey’s childhood places he had lived at. We went over through the Alderwood/Birchwood area and hit up a few places. Things went well on this leg of the journey except for an old man coming out of one of the houses we went by and we had to take stealth pictures of it, so as not to alarm him.

 

 

We then went up to Toad Lake area and saw the first home his parents built. It is also near where his grandparents lived, so we swung by there. The house is obviously still owned by his sister, and we saw a white SUV in the driveway which means his mother was probably there as well, so we were in ultra-stealth mode to avoid contact.

 

 

Although I really wanted to take him up to the door, and when Debbie and Toni answered (Debbie is mom, Toni sister) I would be excited, give Debbie a hug saying I found Clark’s long lost son (Clark is Wolsey’s dad) and pull Wolsey in front of me. I can only imagine the reaction, and yes it isn’t a fully positive thing that I would love to see the confusion and then the apoplectic shock.

Surprise, you have a son! I have no idea where your daughter went, or if you even had a daughter.

After we snuck away, we then went down to the Gladstone/James street homes. These are some of the places where he lived as a gutter punk and where I watched him do a photo shoot with a flower and nothing else. I thought he was so beautiful (and he was still my best friend then, although this was pre-transition for him). I do find it a bit humorous though, the whole time I had a crush on him, he wanted to be with me and would have dropped anyone he was with to see if it would work between us.

This is the only SFW pic I can show of that shoot, I can tell you that I loved him dearly back then as well as now 27 years later.
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The house where that photo shoot happened 1990

Then we went to the Blue Dolphin and had a very nice lunch, however we forgot to hit his parents home (last place in Bellingham he lived at that I didn’t) because of the food induced dementia. It is ok though, it was already stressful enough at his sister’s/grandparent’s house so it was a good idea for a break.

We also had swung by my parents’ grave. We noted that the wind chimes were gone. It has been super stormy lately so it could very well have been blown off. Also, the cemetery often has teenagers that prowl it, they might have grabbed it. Either way it doesn’t bother me at all. If it was the wind, it was totally expected and it probably made some cool sounds as it blew away, and if it was teenagers/college kids I hope they are enjoying the tinkling sound it makes.

Either way we will replace it next time we go up. We knew the stuff we place on the grave isn’t permanent.We also noticed no one had been to their grave since we went last time. The remains of decayed flowers we had planted were still there. We cleaned it up, and the ever inventive Wolsey found some stuff to wipe it down with. I figure next time I will bring a small cleaning kit just in case.

Even with all this, Wolsey was kind enough to set up the new solar powered christmas lights along the shepherds crook and we set up a wreath. My parents always loved Xmas (well at least my mom, and my dad did anything my mom asked of him).

 

 

I noticed “Angel Eyes” a statue of an angel as part of a family grave about 50 feet down from where they are was there and a bit worn looking. Angel Eyes is sort of a cemetery icon, and as teenagers we would run up to her at night and dear each other to sleep on the “death bed” beside her. I had remembered earlier this week I had scanned a photo of Angel Eyes from 1994 so I present to you the passing of 23 years (1994 to 2017). It is amazing how time slips by. I think I might have to do a photo session with the graveyard itself, it is still the most beautiful one I have seen ever.

 

 

The only thing that really bothered me and still bothers me is that it was obvious no one had visited their grave. I suspect I am the only one that visits, which is ok in the end. Wolsey pointed out we were the only ones that tried to take care of them when they were alive, somehow it seems fitting it is only us now. Even though I understand that, it still makes me angry, especially with my sister who has done nothing, not offered to help with anything and was the source of a lot of real grief when both parents passed (that is part of the upcoming continuing posts of my parents passing, still so angry I can’t write it).

So there it was, a fairly easy going trip up to Bellingham and then back home.

Thanksgiving Memories

Yesterday (2017 Thanksgiving) I had a pretty strong memory come back, a little one that has no real significance in my life, but for some reason I dreamt and then thought about it anyways all day.

It was early 2000s (I think 2002, and I think this post from 2002 was from the same day). We were sitting in the bedroom of our mobile home we owned. It was a grey Thanksgiving Day that is typical in the Pacific Northwest.

I was sitting on the bed, playing with my 2002 iBook. I had just bought a program that would rename photos in batches as I was going through a huge photo Library waiting for Wolsey’s parents to show up and take us to Thanksgiving.

Also we were watching Trading Spaces, which was one of our favorite shows at the time, it was playing in the background. As a funny side note, evidently they are bringing back Trading Spaces in spring 2018 with most of the same cast (it went off the air end of 2008). I guess some things don’t change.

It was a really vivid memory though and it stuck with me the whole day. The wonder I felt that hubby and I didn’t have to go to two meals for a holiday at different households for the first time since we got together. It would be the first time we would get home and have time to be with each other for a holiday.

The fact my parents were cool and let Wolsey’s parents have Thanksgiving Day without a fact was amazing. What we didn’t realize at the time was that Wolsey’s parents would fight us to come for Christmas as well even though we asked to rotate holidays at family get togethers and gave them first choice of which holiday they wanted.

It was just a really strong memory, and it wasn’t until I was writing it up at this moment I realized it was my first time I didn’t have Thanksgiving with my blood family. Last Thanksgiving would be the second time, although last year was a blur. It is probably a trigger memory missing my parents.

The last eighteen months have been a whirlwind. Wolsey has gone through three surgeries, we have had to fly to Phoenix (including in four days from now) three times for two of those surgeries. Both my parents have passed in that time, and the estrangement between me and my sister is pretty much permanent. Not counting all the extra stuff we had to do for the surgeries, burials and work issues.

I am looking forward to the end of the year, and the beginning of the new. I realize it is an arbitrary date, but humans need things like that to set up our boxes. Next year is exciting, we will hopefully move on to more enriching work, maybe move to a better location away from the crowd and especially the traffic, and maybe, just maybe we will get our short-term debt paid off.

I guess my memory post went into a ramble, but that is me in a nutshell. Oh, and sorry but no pics in this one, way to lazy with the food hangover from yesterday.  🙂

Last week or so

This last week or so I have been held up at home, unable to go many places due to the walking boot, broken foot and a lot of swelling.

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Bruising is least painful part

Not that it is a big deal, it looks like since its an on the job injury I might get paid for my downtime, although the Department of Defense doesn’t use the normal Washington State Labor and Industry Insurance, which means they use the US Department of Labor instead.

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This requires an MD to sign off on everything. The sad part about this, is this is not how medical services work. Nowadays most interactions are with Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioner’s (NP, or ARNP in WA State) or straight up RN’s who do the hard work.

Their signatures (the non-MDs) are acceptable for anyone else evidently, except the Department of Labor. So I had to go back yesterday to the ER to have a doctor countersign the paperwork from the day of my break, and now that they countersigned I may need to go back and do more with the doctor, who never saw me or my case (and that is normal, they use the lower paid staff to do most of the work, unless its life threatening I am assuming).

In addition this week brought some highs and lows with the injury.

The high was once again seeing how lucky I am to be married to my husband. He wants to take care of me, and even when I annoy him because I am not the world’s best patient, he still shrugs it off, loves me and is willing to go out of his way. I am damn lucky to be with him and I love him more than anything.

He was willing to drive me anywhere, go anywhere for me, or just listen to me whinge about my foot. He is absolutely amazing.

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The low was realizing this was the first major injury or incident that I didn’t have my parents clucking over me and worried about me. It was a little depressing to not get the constant phone calls checking on me, worrying about me or reassuring me.

I realize I am a 46 year old man, but it was crushing to only get silence when I normally would get a hubbub of concern, and love. I realize the hubby gives more than enough, and this doesn’t take from that at all. I know part of it was my parents were fairly young (they would only be 68 and 67 this year) and it has only been a little over a year since they passed.

The hubby is my only close support network left, and honestly while I have a lot of friends to help (and who always are there if I ask), no one else is close enough at the moment that I can let in to fill that.

I anticipate there will still be scattered feelings like this that might lessen over time, but I know from talking to my parents in the last couple of years that even as they approached 70 they felt the same. No one told me this growing up, that there is no switch that clicks and makes you different. You are still that 17 year old that wants your parents affection, doesn’t want to deal with people’s bullshit and who hates being stuck in situations that you don’t like.

That has been my week (other than playing Max Payne 3).

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Greeting Cards

Here I am up at 1:30am thinking about Greeting Cards.

Lately I have been working on a project to scan all of our hardcopy photos and then getting storage containers to hold the photos themselves. The old photo albums are falling apart and are destroying the photos. This was spurred on by receiving my parents photos after their passing last year.

It was tough to scan old family photos, I won’t deny that at all. A lot of emotional baggage came up, especially since I haven’t dealt with their passing. Wolsey says it has set me off into a depression. While I want to say that isn’t true, I am not looking from the outside so maybe it is.

I had finished the scanning of hardcopy photos (I still have hundreds of negatives, but those I have in one storage book so they can be done as I go) so I switched to combining and setting up storage for greeting cards.

Greeting cards are always a weird thing for me. They have always held a weird place in my family, compared to other families I have known. No matter what was happening each event,  my parents would get us a card with a handwritten message inside them for each birthday, anniversary, promotion, holiday or end of quarter (and a dozen other special holidays). No matter how poor they were at the time. There would always be in quotation marks the last two digits of the year as well.

Wolsey and I would always smile, thank them and get home joking about the cards. No one else I know of received cards on this level (a lot of times with flowers) for even random small events in our life. I have some cards from other family members, but our receiving them varied on if they were mad at us, if we had drifted away in talking, whereas my parents would have one every event, no matter what.

Yesterday I got my greeting cards storage box and went through the cards. I was surprised it was the hardest thing I have done. It was harder then going through the photos, harder then going through the remnants of their personal belongings in storage, harder then anything except maybe the letters my dad would sometimes write.

It was a quick process, and all the more sadder because it was quick. I had over the years kept most of the stuff they gave us, but we have moved so often, downsized and in general would lose some of them. Now I can see the holes in the different holidays because the cards are missing and it makes me sad. There were important events to Wolsey and I, that I realized the only people that commented/congratulated/consoled us were my parents. I think that is probably the worst part of it, knowing those will be the last cards I will receive from them.

I am glad though that something as small and eccentric like that was a habit they had. It reminds me how much they did care about the little things that happened with us. In that light, I am very fortunate to have the cards, and to have parents that cared about me and my husband so much.