Febru-Eris: Immune to your consultations.

You all know I don’t do well with linear time, but sometimes it is the only way to get across a concept.

I am forty goddamned Earth years old.

I had a hard time dealing with that fact. I didn’t want the people at work to decorate my cubicle on my birthday. The last thing I wanted to see was black balloons and little cardboard signs telling me I was “Over the Hill.” Fuck that. They haven’t found the hill yet that I’m over. I have long been a proponent of the rock and roll lifestyle. It has worked well for me.

So… now there are a couple of issues.

I have asthma now, which is really inconvenient and, sometimes, scary. I have had coughing jags in the middle of the night that have lasted for two hours, my chest muscles pounding with the pain of the hacking, unable to stop the tears, Cootie unable to do anything but touch me, just to reassure me that I’m not alone. Those are terrifying times. I have meds now. Hopefully, those times are over.

The doctor didn’t bitch about me about my weight. I know I’m over the line. Like I said in my last blog, it has been an emotional weight-gain. I spent two years in a shitty relationship and I coped by eating and drinking. Then I got into a fantastic relationship and have been in an amazed party mode for the last year.

Let he who has ears, hear.

I am five feet, ten inches tall.

I need to lose as much as I am supposed to weigh in order to weigh what I am supposed to weigh.

Here’s the funny thing… I’ve done this before. In the past (again, using linear time), I have lost an entire person’s amount of weight.

I can do it again.

So… this month, I get to start a diet and quit smoking completely. Oh… and find another place to live (see previous entry).

I realize I do not have to do these things. I don’t have to do anything but die.

I just don’t want to die right now. Believe me, this is a refreshing change of pace over the past couple of decades. As Chuck Pahlaniuk says, “There are plenty of ways to kill yourself without dying dying.” And I have spent a long fucking time committing passive-aggressive suicide.

But this whole situation forces me to look at the larger situation.

What the fuck am I doing?

I think it is time for a lot of things to change as I begin this long slow slide into Summerland. So… many decisions have to be made.

I realize I have to move somewhere (and fuck-off fast, too). Where do I want to live? I have a family and we get to pick. We’re not powerless in this situation.

I realize I have habits to change and/or break. How am I going to do it? I have choices. I have options. What do I want to do?

I realize I have to work, but I do not know if I want to keep the job I have. “Oh, but the economy…” Yeah, I know. But people still get to pick what they do. Is it too much to ask for meaningful work? Some say, “No.” I say, “Fuck those people.”

It’s time for change. And it’s time for me to change the way I deal with change.

And it’s time for me to do the things I really want to do, and I’m reasonably sure I get to do those things my way.

And I think I’m gonna.

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Febru-Eris: The alarm clock goes off.

Hello. Been a little minute, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. We’ve been a tad busy.

A lot of the busy-ness began, oddly enough, while we were taking a shower. Mogwai, sitting on the couch in the living room one floor below the shower, thought she heard some water running directly above her head. And that is odd. It isnot supposed to do that. Mogwai stood up and touched the ceiling… and her finger went through it.

Normally, this indicates a problem.

The thing that immediately began to bother Cootie and I was the prospect of mold. We’ve had issues with that here before. We found mold in the kitchen cabinets soon after moving in. It had been there a while because the wood was warped. Evidence, we believed, of a constant incessant leak. We called the maintenance guys who came in and promptly slapped a coat of Kilz on it. Don’t replace the wood, don’t check behind it, just treat the symptom. Fantastic.

We should have expected that kind of thorough expert handy-man experience; when we reported the refrigerator not cooling properly, the maintenance guys replaced the light bulb.

Mold, in a household environment, is not a good thing. That fucking primordial ooze can destroy a house, make it unlivable, not to mention the health problems it can cause when you’ve been breathing it for a year.

If I had to guess, I would say that mold is the main reason that I got diagnosed with asthma last week. Now to be fair, I do smoke (and that is not your invitation to judge me; it is simply a fact), but I smoke two packs a week. Not a day. Also, to be fair, I am overweight. Again, keep your mouth shut about that. I have had an interesting last three years and the weight gain has been more emotionally-based than anything else. I acknowledge it as a fact and something that can be dealt with.

The result right now is this: four daily breathing treatments. It’s inconvenient but I can’t say I’m upset about it because they do help.

We’ll come back to all this. Maybe not today, but we will come back to it.

I pitched a major fit on the apartment office’s voicemail, telling them what had happened and how something absolutely had to be done about this. I raged about the mold and my family’s safety and the goddamned hole in the ceiling.

When the office called me back, they said they had the impression that all I really wanted was for the hole in the ceiling to be patched, as if I had never mentioned the mold at all. No, I explained, this has to have happened because of a long-standing leak. I reminded them of their incredible service record and that something more serious needed to be done.

The manager told me that maintenance was in possession of –and I’m quoting– a “camera on a stick.” And they could take the camera on a stick and poke it up through that hole and take a look around. I was told this wold be done.

Mogwai was home when the maintenance guys showed up. They had no “camera on a stick.” They patched the hole without any further investigation.

So… we’re moving. We did not want to do that. We like the place, we like the environment, we like the amenities. We just aren’t fond of the life-threatening conditions and the lackadaisical attitude of those who work here to remedy said conditions.

We have a month.

So I’m calling this new month “Febru-Eris.” It’s been a long time since the old girl showed up, but she has waltzed back into our lives with a loving vengeance.

So… start saving boxes. We’re checking out leads and trying to decide how we can arrange things to make our lives work as easily and efficiently as possible.

And there is more to tell you… but that will come soon enough.

Fear of a blank screen.

Oh, did I tell you I’m writing a book? I can see where that may have slipped my mind. I seem to always have some sort of writing project in mind. I can’t tell you how many manuscripts have I’ve started and flailed about with, finally backing myself into an unresolvable corner, which allows me to bid that story a fond “fuck you.”

This time, I don’t want to do that.

This time, I would like to do something truly ground-breaking… finish something I start. That would be wonderful.

But even with a project that excites me and makes me look forward to the writing process, there is nothing more daunting than that blank screen. The terrible void of the Word.doc.

It isn’t like blogging. Blogging is a wonderful thing, but it is top of the head stuff. Off the cuff. Extemporaneous writing. You can roll psychedelic stream of conciousness bullshit in a blog and nobody cares. It’s different with books.

Maybe this is my actual introduction to the book. My way of easing into it the way one eases into that tub of Jell-O to wrestle a buxom blonde in front of strangers for the first time. The bar is full of screaming tourists, most of them Japanese, and they just want the show, the goddamned show, and they will throw the money, single bills flying into the Jell-O and into your eyes, blinding you with ink and sugar and greed and Asian ass-smell… Christ, it’s terrifying! And the glamazon you’re fighting? Helga, Ilsa, Elke… some fantastic Aryan beast with nipples as hard as hammers and the upper body strength of a roadie for Slayer. What were you getting into, thinking this was a good idea? Jell-O wrestling?

Writing a book?

This is nuts.

So I think I’ll do it this time.  Every Thursday can be my writing day. And whether it’s a page or a paragraph, I will get something done on this book. And eventually, I’ll finish it.

Then you can read it. Then you’ll find out what it’s about. Then I can cross that one off the list.

Just a couple of quick notes…

Yep, I changed the template for the blog. You like?

I also feel the need to change the name of the blog, but I can’t really decide what to call it. So I’ll be taking suggestions from the date of this post until the last day of January. Throw me some ideas. Any ideas. I’ll make a decision on it in February.

Also… if I know you and you read this blog, it would please me greatly to add your happy ass to my blogroll. What say we play a little linkie-linkie? I’ll scratch your blog, you scratch mine. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Say no more.

Snowpocalypse Now.

Snow in Knoxville is a religious event. It doesn’t happen often and, when it does, people have a tendency to freak out.  As Southerners, we have no idea how to drive in snow. We believe that all we will really need during a snowstorm is milk and toilet paper.  And we tend to look up at the sky in awe as this odd white material falls gracefully from the skies we once trusted.

Think of the children in the fields of Medugorje or Fatima or wherever the hell it was when the Virgin Mary appeared unto them, told them seven secrets, gave them three wishes and then turned into a flying monkey and screeched away, fire flying from her hideous mouth, scorching the countryside. That is what happened, isn’t it?

Anyway, that’s how we are down here. Snow just seems wrong. We don’t understand it. It fucks our shit up.

What is happening now isn’t even exactly snow. It’s called graupel, which means “snow pellets.” Harder than snow, not quite sleet, graupel is like the weird little ice pellets they have at Sonic… except, of course, infinitesimally smaller. But nobody wants to say, “We’re having a graupel shower!” or “Oh, how lovely the graupelfall looks against the sunrise!” Because that is stupid.

Schools have closed for the day, an hour early. Cootiebug has the truck. She called me as she was on her way to pick up Mogwai. During the midst of the conversation, the truck began to slide out of control. Oddly enough, it was under an interstate overpass, where there was no graupel and where you would think there would be no moisture on the ground. It was enough to freak her out a smidgen,  because it was completely unexpected. Obviously, there’s something else going on with this particular snowfall. Perhaps it is some kind of enemy attack.

Do you need more proof?

As I look out the sliding door in my living room which overlooks the back parking lot, I can see the entire back lot covered in a fine layer of snow, a  sheet of white, like the world’s largest goose sneezed and all the feathers fell off its ass. But when I look out the front parking lot, where I usually park, there’s hardly a flake. There’s maybe a bit on the sidewalk, a little bit starting to pillow up by the dumpster, but beyond that, it’s pure blacktop.

And why is this? I think it is because the gods hate the South. And every time it snows, it is just one sheer blast of derision. The gods rock back on their sacred heels, just hee-hawing as they watch us try to get home from work or build a snowman that doesn’t look like Joseph Merrick.

This is the devil’s snow.

And here’s the funny part. There’s only maybe a sixteenth of an inch of snow on the ground. THIS is enough to bring a city to a standstill and a frenzy! The grocery stores are a cannibalistic holocaust as people fight for foodstuffs and sundries. Children, set free from school, roam the countryside like ragers, sick with a terrible disease known only as “Winteritis.” The adults fret wondering if they will be able to drive where they need to. Work don’t close just cuz it snows, kids. Mother Nature can get your ass fired.

And why are the roads slick? We’ve known for at least three days that this snow was coming, yet Cootie has hit numerous slippery spots on the roads. Why the hell has Knox County not salted the roads?

I’ll tell you why.

SATAN.

Under the beauty lies horror.

And I will sit here and nervously wait until my Bride gets home safely and soundly. When that happens, and only when that happens, will I be able to gaze outside through a double-insulated window and say to my family, “It’s so pretty here in the winter.”

Where do we go from here?

Last New Year’s Eve,  Cootie was sitting on the couch at her sister’s house, confused and alone. She had just left her long-term relationship and was wondering exactly what the hell was going to happen next.

Last New Year’s Eve, I was on Market Square with my long-term relationship, wishing that I was with Cootie. I was confused and angry and wondering exactly what the hell was going to happen next.

Last New Year’s Eve, when midnight came, I refused to kiss my long-term relationship. The ball dropped. No kiss. And I couldn’t even explain to her why.

I did, however, send Cootie a picture of myself with puckered lips, trying to kiss her through the cell phone.  A gesture, no matter how pathetic, is still a gesture.

I made Cootie a promise  the next day that she would never have to spend New Year’s Eve alone again.

Two weeks later, I got kicked out of the house in the most spectacularly fiery break-up since the second Death Star exploded.

And I moved in with Bethy and Ryan the same day that Cootie did and…well, any faithful reader knows the rest.

2009 was the Year of X and Cootie. Our getting together and building a life together freaked out a lot of people.

Good.

I think pretty much everyone has gotten used to us now. I can’t speak for all of our ex’s, but everyone else has.

So… now that I’ve got her… what am I going to do with her?

What are we going to do with each other?

And will there be pictures?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I believe resolutions are for the weak. I also believe they do nothing but set the one who makes the resolutions up for failure by using false and unnecessary guilt to spur themselves into action.
“I have to do this! I said I would… on January 1st!”

I don’t even make plans anymore. Eris has taught me that setting goals is silly. Now, I have nebulous plans. When I want to do something, I make a Nebulous Plan. It’s far less definitive than an actual goal, and therefore less likely to bring down the whimsical wrath of the gods.

I have a Nebulous Plan to lose weight. I don’t even think of it as losing weight. I think of it as gaining a penis.

We have a Nebulous Plan to open our own business. And it’s going to be cool as shit, whenever we get it up and going, and hopefully, it will be enough to allow one of us to quit our day jobs.

We have a Nebulous Plan to take a honeymoon in a very exotic place. I can’t even say where, just to be on the safe side.

My point is… just because Cootie and I got married doesn’t mean we died. We’re not in stasis or suspended animation. We are still here, still autonomous individuals in a fantastic joined relationship.

I suspect some fun things will happen this coming year. And I will keep you updated on all of it.

We are here. We are more alive than ever before. That whole thing where marriage makes you boring does not apply to us.

If you would like to ride this rollercoaster with us, pull down the bar and keep hands and feet inside the car until the car stops moving.

Which will be never.