Monday, May 8, 2017

Why Is It So Stressful Here? I'll Tell You Why.

So, this came out a little while back. I live in the most stressed-out state in the country. Normally I don't really care that I live here. Wtf do I care, really? I work from home, my friends are cool, non-redneck types. My area is full of scientists and engineers. Whatever. You can afford a lot of house here, and I can have as many big trees as I want.

So, why is it so stressful? I'll tell you exactly why. Because no one WILL EVER DO THEIR JOBS. I spend a good bit of my time trying to get other people to do their jobs in between doing my own. Today is a great example. I had a rabid raccoon in my yard. It stared at me. For FIVE HOURS. You'd think the city or county or state or Superman or whomever would come right out and get it, right? Oh hell no. No one wanted anything to do with it.

It took me those five hours to get someone to agree to come out and get it, and that's after contacting the state and getting a state game warden to beg the local animal control to come and get it. Did he get it? No. He tried, but it scampered away somewhere. I helped to look for it, but we never found it. If it comes back, well, it'll be back. That's it. No one will help, and I'll get rabies. It's fine.

The Tale of the Materials

Another case in point: when my father passed away recently, I inherited some materials. That's all I can really say. Some materials. These are not materials that should really be in a house or even a lab, really. So, you'd think someone would want to take them. Um, no. No one in the city, county or state would take them. The local university wouldn't take them. Freaking Oak Ridge wouldn't even call me back. Even local hazmat companies said no.

Does it matter to anyone that I could basically build a specific type of device in my garage if I wanted to? Oh good God no. It does not. After weeks of calling and emailing various agencies, organizations and people, I've given up. Those materials just live in my garage now. What are they? I'll never say. I just have to keep them safe and live with them. If you want to report me to the authorities- PLEASE DO. Maybe they will do something about it. But, don't bet anything on it.

Today Has Been Awesome

In between staring at a rabid animal and calling everyone in the world to see if they could do something about it, I've been trying to make an appointment to get a passport for one of my kids. Guess what? They won't do their jobs, either. I have been calling for almost seven hours, and they refuse to answer the phone. Once they even picked it up and hung up. I guess it was irritating to hear the phone ringing at work.

I don't know if this is how other states work. I don't know if anyone else has a garage housing materials, a rabid animal in their yard and no way to get a passport, but I'm guessing that most other states run more efficiently than this. It's tough to write anything at all when you spend so much time begging other people to so the simple jobs they're paid to do. I get up and do my freaking job every day, and I don't even have a boss.

What's really odd to me is that people rarely take freelancers seriously, like we don't have real jobs. And yet, I work every day, usually excluding Christmas, and get more done than any of the seven people I talked to on the phone today about rabies. Maybe this state should be run on a freelance basis? Maybe people who don't need a boss could take matters into their own hands and get stuff done?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Loss, Strength and Ben Kenobi

I didn't blog in 2016. I didn't have the time. I didn't have the strength. 

First, my mother got cancer, then my father developed terminal cancer suddenly. Then I got cancer, and then my brother got cancer. All of this happened in a six-month span last year. The day I found out that my brother also had cancer, I started screaming and screaming and couldn't stop. I think I continued screaming in my mind for a long, long time. 

All four of us, my entire family of origin, were dealing with our own cancer treatments, appointments and surgeries. Mine is thankfully gone for now. Mom's is gone for now. The same is not true for my brother or father. My father died on Thanksgiving Day with me holding his hands and my brother and mother on the other side of him, watching those last breaths. 

After that, I ran out into the woods and sat alone for hours. I spent the next four days high on pain pills, sitting in the woods by myself. I knew what this was. I knew exactly what I had to do and what life would be like. My father had been the cornerstone of us all, the one who taught us all everything, who knew everything and took care of everything. Anything you wanted to learn and anything you really needed came from him. All of that was over. I was now the man of the family. 

Ben Kenobi had to die to make Luke continue on his own, to learn and grow and take care of his own sh*t. Gandalf had to die, for a while, to leave the hobbits on their own to discover their own destinies. Dumbledore had to die to make Harry Potter a man. That's what this was. I had to take care of everyone now. Unfortunately, I couldn't leave the woods. I couldn't comfort anyone. I didn't speak to anyone for about a month and didn't write a word. 

But, strength always resurfaces. If it's there, it doesn't go away. Despite three surgeries in less than a year, I'm coming back. I've written three stories this year, and I'm discovering what it really means to be the cornerstone of a family. It means sometimes not being liked, sometimes being rebelled against and taking a hard line when needed. I've had to tell the family, Rick Grimes style, that this is not a democracy. My kids, jokingly, asked whether this was a Ricktatorship. 

You're goddamn right it is.