tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Once again, I've gone about two months between blogs. And as I've said before, it's not because there's nothing to write about. There's always fodder.

Welcome to fall. The leaves changing are beautiful, the cool air is refreshing, and as everyone keeps proclaiming- pumpkin spice everything is everywhere... I like fall, I do, but (and there's always a but), it is the desistance of warmth and the precursor to winter. And, I hate winter.
The bitter cold, the snowy impassable roads, the darkness... The ONE thing I like about winter is Christmas. I'm already trying to figure out where my tree is going this year. Dawson wants a real tree this year, but I like to put mine up the week of Thanksgiving (yes, that early). I'm afraid a real tree wouldn't last my lengthy Christmas season. We'll see.

And winter does wonders for my already challenging moods. My day long neropsychology eval indicated what we already knew- anxiety, major depression, bipolar. Winter exacerbates those. About half way through the this winter I'll be joining the ranks of the uninsured... I will have to pay out of pocket for my doctor, my psychiatrist, my medications... If I can afford to. Dear lord, if I can't afford to, what will I do??? Anyway... I'll price healthcare market plans, and hopefully find one that I can afford and that actually has some coverage to it. But it's not hopeful. Any plan that is "affordable" has terribly high deductibles and usually around 50-60% coinsurance. Welcome to America, where if you can't get coverage through your employer, you have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for inadequate health insurance.

I miss the lake. I thought that eventually I would "get over it" (as people so callously advise.. "get over it")... anyway...  But I haven't gotten over it. I miss living on the water probably more than anything. I still could move to the house that my landlord has open (the bigger of his two rentals is still available), but I couldn't afford it on my own. But I want to. I so want to. I imagine working seven days a week just to afford living there. If I didn't have the car payment, I could do it... And I wrack my brain to figure out a way... Sigh.

I've been thinking a lot about time. More specifically, the passage of time. Every week, it seems, is measured by workdays and days off. Oh, it's my Monday. Oh, it's my Friday. Then again- Oh, it's my Monday. Oh it's my Friday (and so on, and so on). And the days pass so quickly. The weeks pass. The months... Our time here is so very limited, and goes by so very fast. I think the older I get, the more cognizant I am of it. It frightens me. My mortality anxiety is in full bloom. And again I ask myself (from Jack Nicholson, in my favorite movie)- What if this is as good as it gets?

Speaking of mortality anxiety... I've been thinking a lot about those we've lost. Dad, Bampa, Doreen, Jayden... And how unfair life really is. I miss them all so much. So very much.

And I miss having friends. At least, I think I do. I've always said I don't need any. But maybe I do? Would life be more fulfilling if I had more people to share it with? I don't know. I used to have (at least) one person that I would call if I had news to tell. You know, that one person in life that you want to talk to when something good, or bad, or even just interesting happens. That "go-to" person... But not really, not anymore. And I see people getting together for lunches, or dinners, or evenings out. And I think, silently, I am envious. And yet, I make no effort to become one of those people, and continue to keep myself unattached. Ah, the conundrum.

Oh, but I should count my blessings. Again, as people so often advise; count your blessings. And I try. I really do...

I am still very happy to be back at Jester's. I am so happy that my daughter has found herself in such a good position in life right now; a good job, a lovely apartment on the river, and realizing what it means to truly be treated with kindness and respect. I am thankful that my boy is back. I know it's been some time now that he's returned, but I'm still so grateful for it. I am happy that I still have my mom.

But I still can't help that nagging feeling... of regret... that I live with. Dissatisfaction. Discontent.

Perhaps it's the weather.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It's been a few months, hasn't it? I wonder why I haven't written all summer; there's always fodder...

There's always fodder.

Perhaps I've been too busy. No, that's not necessarily true. I have enough down time. I don't know.


This summer has been plodding along. We haven't done anything really fun this summer, and I wish we would have. We bought an above ground pool, but never did have the time/opportunity/money to get the land leveled and set it up. I guess we'll wait till next summer. Summer isn't over yet, so I hope we can do something before the boy goes back to school. It's tough to find something that a teenage boy would like (that doesn't cost a fortune). I'd like something for just him and I... Maybe we could just take a road trip to NH for some back to school shopping. Stay overnight. He'll probably want to bring a friend; mom isn't cool and fun to hang with.
I don't know. I'll have to come up with something. Now that the bills are being split in half, I should be able to afford it.

Speaking of which...
I'm learning how to share my space. Or, trying to learn, anyway. I complained of being lonely for three years. I complained about it in almost every damn blog. And somewhere along the way, recently, I think, perhaps in just the last six months or so, I became quite comfortable and content living alone. Pretty fond of it, actually. Now things have changed, and Dawson and I are both trying to acclimate. So are they, for that matter. With any luck, it'll work out without all of us killing each other. If anyone loses it first, it'll undoubtedly be me. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

And I don't have to tell the puppy story, but I will. I wanted a puppy. I got a puppy. It didn't work out. I'm giving up the puppy. The end.
Seriously, though... Blaze really, really, really doesn't like her, or sharing his space (much like me, I suppose). He growls at her whenever she is near him (which is all of the time, because she wants nothing more than to play with him, or snuggle with him). As the days progress, his growls get more serious, more like snarls. I didn't expect him to be thrilled with a puppy, but I didn't expect him to be quite like this. I thought maybe, just maybe, he would be nurturing and caring of a puppy, and that it might bring out the puppy in him (which he shows quite often when playing with Dawson). Oh, how I was mistaken. I keep them separated, and almost always have to crate one or the other. I scold Blaze, which I hate doing. And so, the puppy is finding a new home, sadly. I have a  nice couple coming from the Portland area this week. Their vet had nothing but good things to say about them. Pepper will have a great home, a fenced in yard, and a little doggy brother to play with. And I have learned, the hard way, that we will be a one dog household, until Blaze is gone.

Side note... In my facebook memories, each year around spring time I start getting puppy fever. I saw posts I had written/shared about it. It's not surprising that this too, is cyclical.

Speaking of which...

I had a wicked fun neuropsychology evaluation last week. It was something that was ordered by my primary care physician. It was like a bad episode of Brain Games. Like I said on facebook, It was like playing "Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader", and losing. By the end of the day, I felt like a mouse that had been trying to escape a maze for seven hours. Ugh.
The doctor is trying to determine if it's Bipolar, ADHD, or both. They're also investigating my long term memory deficiency. She recommended a different anti-depressant that would help more with my anxiety.
Her and I will talk more at the follow up at the end of this month. It'll all be forwarded to my primary care provider and my psychiatrist, and we'll go from there. I guess.

What else is new...

Oh yeah, as most of you know I have had a couple of job changes over the last few months.
In May, I was offered a job on the spot at my interview at Godfrey's (in the Sheraton at the airport). I very happily gave my notice at Dysart's, and started at the new gig. It was still nights, but fewer than I was working at Dysart's, making just as much money.
Not long afterwards, the owner from Jester's (a little neighborhood bar in Brewer, where I had worked in the past), called me and asked me to come back. I managed to accept that position and keep one night a week at Godfrey's. Now I work three days and one night per week.
I am sooooo happy to be at Jester's. It's almost like I never left. And as a bonus, I see a lot of my clientele from the Brookside! And it's so nice to be working days again! Being at Godfrey's one night a week keeps things changed up for me, which I also need/enjoy.
And so, as far as the job front is concerned, things have fallen into place quite nicely. I am very happy with that life component.
Although, at times I think I should still get a "big girl" job, with health benefits and a 401K.
I'm always stuck between practicality and "you only live once".

I continue to try to count my blessings, despite how crazy and overwhelmed I feel a lot of the time.
My kids are well, my mom is well. I have my core family, that's most important to me. I have my home, as modest as it may be. I have my health, as far as I know, lol. My mental health? Well, I kind of have that.  :) 
I have a lot more than a lot of people. I try to remember this. But sometimes, it's difficult.
I may not have written in three months, but one thing hasn't changed, I still feel, a lot of the time, much like the movie... What if this is as good as it gets?

I suppose, I should go shower and do my errands. It is my "day off", after all. Got to do all the crap that you can't get done on your work days.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's hard to write anything nice today. Or lately.

A few weeks ago I lost a friend to cancer. He was a sweet, grumpy old man. One of my very favorites at the Brookside. Always was, and always will be. I'll miss him so much.

As if that weren't enough, my boy has lost his Nana, also to cancer. It was discovered late and the severity came on quick and unexpected. It seems like just yesterday she was running Dawson around to be fitted for his semi formal, and stopping in here to deliver snacks and Ensure for him (as she always did). She was one of the sweetest, most special women I've ever had the opportunity to know. She was truly one of a kind. I wish I could put it into words. If you met her for only five minutes, you instantly loved her, and you would love her forever. She was the pinnacle, the rock of that family. The glue that held it all together. As if this family hasn't suffered enough recent loss and grief. I will never understand the unfairness and cruelty of life.

The day her and Dawson said their goodbyes, it was only the three of us in the hospital room. He sat next to her, and she woke up and took his hand. She said- "You are the love of my life you know, always will be. And this sucks. Just remember all the fun times we had, the good times, the crazy times. And you be safe driving that car. Help papa take care of the crew."
When the room filled again, she told all of us- "Make sure not to have any services. Have a celebration instead. Somewhere the kids can all run around and play. With music that I like, that you can dance to."  And Dawson said- "Somewhere over the rainbow", and she said- "yes, by the big fat guy."
Before we left she told him, "Have a good day at school, and have a good match (tennis)." And they exchanged their usual- "I love you the most", "I love you the most"... They had a very special relationship. Closer than any grandmother and grandson I've ever seen. She was essentially his second mother.
She peacefully went to sleep on comfort care that day, and was gone four days later.

I miss her so much. I loved her, too. She helped me raise my boy, and Logan, for that matter. She was my support, my advocate, my mother in law, my friend. She was like a second mother to me as well, for almost 20 years. She was so very special. I just can't imagine all of our lives without her. And honestly, I find myself wondering how I'll raise my boy without her.

                                       Doreen and Logan, Logan's birthday party, May 1999 
                            Doreen, Dawson, and Derwin, Dawson's 8th grade graduation, June 2016
                          Cutting Christmas trees with the Emersons, December 2016

The boy is holding up okay, considering. Perhaps it's not quite real for him. Most of the time it's not real for me. My heart breaks for him, and for his father and his uncle, and for Papa.
I love you, Doreen.


Everything else going on doesn't seem worth writing about. But I guess I still will.

Nothing much new.

The search for a different job continues. I'm quite unhappy where I am. And I've sent out resume, after resume, after resume.
Yesterday I dropped a resume at a local bar/restaurant that's hiring bartenders. I didn't get a chance to talk to the managers because they were busy setting up for an event. I hope to get a call. Today I interview at the bar in the Sheraton at the airport. They have over 40 wines! And after 15 years of bartending, I still know nothing about wine. Shit.
Although, part of me still thinks I should give up on bartending and keep trying to get a "big girl job". Full time, days, benefits, blah bla blah. I've tried, and continue to try. Although, once again, it's been pretty tough getting one of those jobs (that pays well enough) when your resume reflects 15 years of bartending, with 3 years managing and one year of banking. Any receptionist/office (or other) experience I have is over 15 years ago. And although I write about it in my cover letters, and I have an education, it still has been fruitless.
And besides, I still don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. There have been jobs I could apply for, that I'd probably be hired for (retail, for example, or bank teller, Wayfair), but then again, I think- I probably won't enjoy that job. And so I don't apply. Because- why leave a job I don't like for another job I won't like?
And so I continue to wait tables, not making enough money to get by, deal with rotten tippers even though I'm very good at what I do (seriously, sometimes I'll pick up a credit card slip off the table, look at the tip line, and almost cry), employees who don't pull their weight, managers who blatantly show favoritism, and continuously get passed over for bar shifts (when I was promised them from the beginning).


It's been wonderful having the boy back at home. It's as if the last year never happened. I spent the last year depressed and incomplete without him here. But things are finally back to normal. My boy is home. I worry about him. All the time. He is angry (or on the verge of angry) a lot of the time, but who can blame him, he's been through so much.
Raising a boy has been interesting. I hope that I'm doing it right. Although we don't have much, I hope that it's enough. I hope that his father and I can get him through the next few years, and help him develop into the man that I know he has the potential to be. I wish Doreen were still here to help me with that.

Logan graduated from Husson last weekend. She actually received her degree a few months ago, but participated in graduation. She has a job as a children's case manager. Her executive director is very fond of her, and tells her she is performing above their expectations and has great potential to go far. She's already been given cases that are normally reserved for the more experienced case managers. The job is very stressful and emotionally draining. But she is enjoying it for the most part. And she is working so hard for these kids. I am so proud of her.
We all went to lunch after graduation, with Logan's dad's side of the family as well. When I left, her dad and I hugged, and he said- "well, we did something right for a couple of knuckleheads."
She really has turned into an amazing young woman.

Mom is loving retirement. She goes to bible studies, serves meals to the homeless every week, participates in a street ministry, exercises at the Y, and joined the Bangor chorus. I'm happy to see her really living. Dad would be happy, too.

I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what it takes for me to "really live", like mom. To feel content and complete, to feel like I am where I should be, that life is as it should be. Why is it that no matter how close to it you get, there is always something awry, or something missing, or something complicated, or some tragedy that makes life feel awful all over again...
Life is funny.

It's my day off. And as much I cherish my days off, I don't really know what to do with them. Or maybe I do, I just lack the ambition. I should mow the lawn. And vacuum. Unload the dishwasher. Do laundry. Go for a walk or something.
Do something.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

...And just like that, my hopes of going back to the lake are squashed (As you probably saw on my facebook post yesterday). Tom (the landlord) and I had a lengthy phone conversation a couple days ago. It seemed positive. But then yesterday morning he emailed me and said he had several concerns, the greatest of which was the dog, and that he didn't want a dog there. And that he also thought it was time to raise the rent (after telling me that he wouldn't, since it was me). I even mentioned to him that Blaze would be my assistance animal (my psychiatrist would have no problem making it so). Flash was deemed so by my doctor at the time as well. And so, legally, he couldn't refuse me occupancy regardless of a no pet policy. But that didn't work. $1000 a month (plus utilities) was already a real stretch for me. Even if I were working two jobs, it would have been financially uncomfortable. Anything more than that would not be doable, not by myself. Not even long enough to wait for Phil to move in later this year. And then there's the dog.
If I were able to pay more, and willing to get rid of the dog, then yeah, I guess I could still go back to the lake. But I'm not able to afford any more, and I'm not willing to get rid of this stupid dog.
I've lost my beach. I cried all morning yesterday.

People keep telling me there's a reason for it. Like, it must mean I'm supposed to stay where I am for now. Or, something better is in store for me. Or, I would have financially not been able to do it at the lake and would have gotten myself in a bind, or... Bla bla bla. I hope they're right. I hope there's some kind of reason for it.
...Although, I don't really subscribe to those ways of thinking; that things "happen for a reason". I don't particularly believe that anything is designed for us or destined, or that anything has a predetermined reason for happening. I believe in chance and coincidence, and that a person is ultimately responsible for their life circumstances (unless things are influenced, not "for a reason", but by chance or coincidence). Which is probably why I always have such a difficult time making decisions. I know that there is no universal guidance or assistance or hidden clues that will tell me what the "right thing" to do is. And that no matter what decision I make, there won't be a "reason" for it, and that I will ultimately be responsible for whatever circumstances and repercussions that come from it. Or that, by chance, I may choose the wrong thing.
But anyway...
Hopefully I'm wrong this time. And hopefully there's a reason for losing my beach. A reason for losing one of the rare things in life that was capable of bringing me the greatest sense of peace and happiness and contentment I've ever known.

Something else I learned this week- I have very little in common with many of the people I know (not all of the people I know, of course, but many). And I don't mean- oh, he likes golf and I don't, or- I like rap music and she likes hard rock... I mean, like fundamentally in common. Or, not in common. Like, differences down to our core; in our values, our ethics, our character, our conduct.
Actually, I don't think I just learned that this week. I guess I've always known it.

The boy stayed here all week this week, came back Sunday night and stayed through Thursday. He actually stayed an extra night, Thursday night, here as well! I keep trying not to get too excited, or get my hopes up. I keep waiting for him to change his mind and decide not to come over, to stay with his dad again. But it seems like things are basically "back to normal". It's like we haven't skipped a beat. Him and I are like we used to be... laughing and joking, talking about his friends and the funny things they do, watching stupid youtube videos, watching him play video games, or getting suckered into playing video games with him (even though I don't know how to play and just push all the buttons)... or just hanging around the house together, him playing video games, me watching tv, and talking to each other from down the hall. And every few minutes he'll say "hey mom, come watch this!"...
It has been so awesome having him back. I have missed him so much. It's been almost a year since he started staying solely with his dad. Last April. And it has been one of the hardest years of my life. Losing him this past year has been the most awful thing ever. But now he's back, he's really, finally back. I can't believe it!
(And no, it doesn't have anything to do with living here vs. the lake. It all has to do with the heart to heart we had to have a couple weeks ago. He would still be here even if I were at the lake. So that's unfortunately no consolation).
But anyway... I have my boy back!!!!!!!!! (Insert one thousand smiley face emojis here)

So, anyway...
Phil and I were talking about moving into the lakehouse together this year, and I thought he was reconsidering because of the conversation we had about the travel (to Belfast, then to Castine, and back again) being so challenging. Well, the travel will be challenging, but he's not reconsidering.
But since the lakehouse is no longer an option, we will have to continue looking. We would like to live together, and hopefully this year.
I can't see us here. I don't have a third bedroom here for Ari. I have the addition that could be a room? But it isn't finished, and it needs a lot to be liveable. And even if we could finish it off as a room, neither of the rooms would be big enough for Jack and Dawson to share. Even though Jack rarely visits (if ever), we would still need a bed and space for him in Dawson's room so that he feels welcome if he ever wanted to. And I feel like, once he knows Phil is living with Dawson, maybe he will want to come once in a while, so he can hang out with Dawson? Maybe not. Who knows.
And it's just not spacious enough here for all of us, and all of our stuff. We need more room, more living space.
And I would need more space too. It's no secret that living with a young child is going to be challenging for me. Phil knows it, and loves me for it just the same. I will need more space.
And so, we will continue to look for something more suitable. Neither of us have fantastic credit, so buying isn't an option for us. We will look for a rent, and hopefully our credit won't hold us back from finding something there, either.
Sometimes I wish we could make it work here, because of the location. Being right next to Dawson's dad is so convenient. And no matter what, I really, really, really do not want to leave Glenburn. But I'm just afraid it wouldn't work here, for all the reasons above. And I'm sure Phil doesn't really want to leave Belfast, either. We've (I've) considered renting something halfway in between the two towns. We looked into a house in Winterport just a couple weeks ago. It's spacious and nice and we could afford it together. But then the lakehouse came up. But now the lakehouse is gone. And, and, and... I don't want to leave Glenburn. Sigh.
We'll figure it all out.

Oh, I ended up turning down the second waitressing job. I was only taking it because of the lakehouse anyway. I know, I know- I could have kept it and made some extra play money, or saved up some money, or whatever. But who wants to get up at 3:30 in the mornings if they don't have to???
And besides, I'd have to quit eventually anyway, and hopefully sooner than later. Because the ultimate goal here is to find a full time week-day job and leave the waitressing gig. I don't want to work nights anymore, especially now that Dawson is back home. I hate picking him up at school and then leaving him here all night alone, only seeing him for an hour before bed when I get home from work. I need to be home evenings.
And I want my weekends free so that I can start booking the band. That has become more important to me as well, especially since I can now see the progress we are making. Even though we are currently only a three piece, we seem to be coming together better than we have since the start. I think it's because of Phil moving to bass, and because of the motivation and positivity and chemistry that the four of us share.
So anyway, the mad hunt for the normal day job is on.

Wow, I've really rambled this morning.

Hey, the sun is out! Now, where the hell is the warm weather? And why do we still have all this f&%cking snow??? Bring on spring!

Be well!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Two days in a row...
Because I evidently didn't feel like I said all I wanted to say yesterday. Or because I'm bored on a Sunday morning. Or because I haven't had enough coffee and I'm just bitchy...

I've watched these last few months as friendships develop and solidify and continue, some from the Brookside, some from Bucksport. Friendships that were made at either place years ago, and that are continuing. Or some that were born recently, between people who didn't even know each other before they met at one place or the other, and that seemingly continue to grow. They all belong to social circles that overlap on occasion. It's people I would have been "social" with if either place were still open and I were still working there.  It's people who probably would have included me in those social circles, if either place were still open and if I were still working there. It's people who would have called me their friend, had either place still be open and I were still working there. Because I have known these people for the last few years, some of them for much, much longer.
And yet, here I have always sat, watching.
I guess I shouldn't really be surprised. I wasn't ever really a part of the "gang" in either place. I never really belonged, I always felt that way, didn't I? Of not really belonging. I always said I didn't really have any friends. And everyone always argued with me- Of course you have friends! We're your friends! Well, it was a nice thing to say, in any case, I guess.

Sunday morning, and I slept in until 6am. That's not bad I suppose. My brain hasn't let me sleep past 4:30 or 5 most mornings. I wake up early and immediately start thinking of the lakehouse, the budget, second jobs, etc, etc, etc...

Today is band practice. Every Sunday is band practice. We're down one member, a rhythm guitarist. I don't really care for the sound of a three piece, it seems empty, lacking. But Bill and Phil do a decent job of filling it up, and we'll get by until we find just the right person to take up the slack. If we have to, we'll be three piece until that day comes around. We're making fairly slow progress, but we've had setbacks; players coming and going, dropping and adding songs... Even though we're down a player right now, we finally seem to have gained some steam, and are moving forward. I am looking forward to really playing out. I have missed that so much in my life.
It's a bummer that my favorite venue (Ramona's/Tozier's II) is no more, I was really hoping to debut there. I am glad to see it reopening, but it's sad that it will be strictly dining, and no longer offer weekly entertainment. I know of many people who feel the same. Sadly, a legendary experience for the town dies. But anyway, back to the band...
We have just about enough material learned for an entire night of playing, and now we just have to perfect it all. Then make sure our sound system is on point. And we have to invest in some lights, as we sold our light setup when we disbanded a couple years ago (damnit). So a few more things need to happen, and we'll be ready to start booking. Soon, very soon. Not soon enough!!

Yesterday Dawson, Phil and I went to see the lakehouse. As I mentioned, Dawson and I had both already seen it, but Phil had not yet. And I just wanted to see it again anyway.
It made me pretty sad pulling up next to my old house. But when I saw the lake, even all covered in snow, I was so.. relieved. Just looking at it gives me such a feeling of peace and joy. It's hard to describe. The house could be an expensive piece of shit and I'd probably still want to live there.
The biggest drawbacks are (of course the increased expense) the tiny bathroom and having no laundry. And what would be my (our?) bedroom upstairs is fairly small. I would give Dawson the biggest bedroom, just because, and just in case he did ever need to share it with Jack (Phil's young teen son) someday. Then again, I'm not convinced that will actually come to fruition after all.
The more "real" this gets, I think the more Phil reconsiders. And as much as that upsets me, I have to "try" to understand. With a young daughter in school in Belfast, and a job in Castine, the driving involved would be tiresome, challenging, to say the least. Leaving Glenburn in the mornings before sunrise, getting her to the sitter in Belfast in the morning to wait for the bus, and then getting to work early enough in Castine. And then after work, leaving Castine and getting to Belfast to get her from the sitter, and then back to Glenburn, what time would they finally be home at night? He said it himself yesterday- Could they really do it? Would it be too much for her?
Sigh. Perhaps my little dream of us all cohabitating on the lake is falling away to nothing.
And I have to try to understand. Notice I said "try".
Yesterday I talked of possible resentment. And it seems to be so. If he moves in, he resents me for the travel (and possibly the extended budget). If he doesn't move in, I resent him for not moving in.
And so, now, I have to truly prepare to take on this lakehouse expense alone.
Will it be worth it. Can I do it.

So far, it feels like this blog has only been reification of one thing, and that is the fact that I am always alone. Responsible for everything alone, doing everything alone, always on my own, alone.
Well there. How lovely.

I should probably have more coffee and cigarettes.