This Used To Be My Playground

I had to go in town earlier to work on some annuity claim paperwork that Dad needs, then after I left the bank I went and hosed off the car. Rather than heading straight back home, I decided to ride around town for a minute… something that I actually haven’t done for a while now.

I’m noticing more than ever that this town feels like a different place to me now. I think it’s because I’ve seen too much of the negative of Lancaster, not only through various groups on Facebook but in person as well. The Lancaster of 2017 is nothing like the Lancaster from when I was a kid. (said every old person ever)Β  The difference here is that the younger generations see that the town is turning to shit as well, so it’s not just my nostalgic brain playing tricks on me.

It really wasn’t even that long ago that the town still felt like it was mine. I doubt that there’s a road in this town that hasn’t been touched by my cousin Jim and I on our bikes back in the day. Then once we learned to drive, it was “fox hunting” on the CB… which took us to the edges of town and onward. Everything about this city was familiar to us, and that feeling lasted a long time…

But now, the memories don’t immediately pop up anymore. I could probably sit here and give you a memory for any street that you’d care to name, but when I’m out driving on those same roads now… that’s all they are, just roads. Just roads in a crappy, poor, crumbling, drug-addicted town. Nothing about it feels familiar. I think I’ll try harder to get the feeling back though, at least in part, before time wins and erases it all.

But It’ll Be Fun

Feeling pretty miserable today. 😞 Christina’s cancer fund-raiser is this evening, but I just can’t make myself go. They’re doing it as a “bar crawl” since she used to be a bartender, and therefore has a ton of friends/acquaintances that would be likely to come out in that fashion… but me, with my twitchy social anxiety and introversion, it’s just not my scene anymore.

I feel bad, because I’d really like to be able to go and show my support, but there’s not really anything that I can do about it. I sent a message to Chelsea a bit ago, explaining why I wouldn’t be there, and I think she’ll understand for the most part. The shirts they had made for the event… it marks the third “cancer support” t-shirt that I’ve bought this summer in regards to a friend who’s fighting that battle, and that’s three shirts too many. (And that’s only my cancer-fightin’ friends who are doing that sort of fund raising.)

But like I told her, I’m not doing very good at accepting “bad” these days, and when there’s an option of being reminded of that “bad” vs. hopefully just being able to avoid the thought of that “bad” altogether and acting like it’s not real… heh… well, I think you know which option my brain chooses for me. I mean, I know they’re gonna have fun and that it will be hopeful, goofy, optimistic, etc… but right now everything just feels too heavy and I can’t be there. (And yet here I am, still feeling “bleh” about it since my brain won’t let me go. πŸ˜’ It can be frustrating being me sometimes.)

Disheartening

I had to go in town for a few things, and of course I had to encounter people that represent the worst and “bleh” of our town. Driving down one road I saw an overweight woman with far-too-revealing clothes walking with a stroller… and two other toddlers following shortly behind her. Apparently they weren’t keeping up though, as she was screaming and throwing her hands around as she addressed them.

Then at the thrift store there was another young mother with two children, and she was obviously on some type of drugs because she couldn’t stop talking and describing everything she picked up, getting more and more excited and animated with each crappy thrift store toy that she would see and examine. The boy was old enough that when he made eye contact with me as I walked past, he had this embarrassed look on his face… you could tell that he knew his mom was tripping on something and that it was something she shouldn’t let the public see.

Outside one of the stores I had to stop at, there was nearly a fender bender as an older woman was backing out of a parking spot without looking, and nearly hit a car that was pulling in. The thing is, the car that was pulling in… she could have slowed down or stopped. But instead, she chose to drive right up to the point where she almost got hit, and then lay on her horn and make all sorts of gestures at the old woman. It’s like she wanted the conflict, she wanted to be angry.

There were of course other folks that I drove by… ones that I could make judgments about based on the way they looked, but I’m not even going to go there. People can look rough and not necessarily be bad or assholes or anything… but Christ, this town sure ain’t what it used to be.

“Wake Up, Case 1485729-4”

Fell asleep around dawn and then was awoken by a phone call from one of my attorneys a few hours later. πŸ˜’ We’ve got quite a bit of outstanding issues right now, and after the long weekend I could almost feel this call coming… so much so that I didn’t turn my ringer off, since I did need to talk to him.

This entry might as well be titled “What Else Is Wrong?” since, in part, it’s essentially going to be a sequel to my most recent post. As you may or may not know, I try to keep my online presence as free as possible from a) bitching about my pain/disability, and b) talking about specifics of my workers comp case. Partially out of pride, partially because nobody really wants to hear about it anyway.

I’m not sure I even remember what I used to be like before all of this dominated my life. I know it’s not pleasant now, to put it extremely mildly, and I know it’s a constant pain in the ass… so even though it’s hard to remember, I do miss the time when my life was my own and I wasn’t being led by the nose through by doctor visits, IC hearings, physical disability, medication requirements, mental stress, pharmacy policies, insurance companies, and now actual an actual court case. 😞

I’m just frustrated because we’re less than two months away from the court stuff starting and so far the settlement stuff is going nowhere. πŸ˜• Their side will submit their brief to the court, my side will have a few weeks to reply, and then it starts getting serious. The court will likely want to depose any doctors that have seen or treated me, on both sides, which means I’d have to hope that I could essentially “rent” my doctor for half a day to give testimony – which would be ridiculously expensive. 😣 (Not to mention ridiculously annoying since he’s already submitted report, after report, after report, in writing.)

So my attorney is going to find out how much they’ve paid each year, on average, for my treatment and medication – and then tomorrow or the next day, when I go to the pharmacy to pick up this month’s meds, I’m going to have them print out what the “out of pocket” cost would be for each medication if I was paying for them with no insurance at all. πŸ€“ With those figures we’ll again try to come up with what we believe is a fair settlement, and then they’ll have to decide if the continuing costs of fighting me are worth it – rather than just settling this and making me go away.

I’m just worried that we won’t be able to get this done before the date of the first hearing. I’m sure it’ll be (us) “Here’s our offer.” followed by (them) “Well, that’s nice, but this is what we’re willing to pay.” followed by (us) “C’mon, get out of here… we need at least (this much)” and then (them) “We’re gonna have to think on this.” with (us) “Well we’re gonna have to think on this too.” Heh… so I don’t know what the odds are of avoiding this court case at this point, but I’d think they are slim.

Mob Mentality

It’s frustrating to go on Twitter and see the digital lynch mob going after Joel Osteen and his church over the past 24 hours. Apparently part of the facility was flooded, as is much of Houston and the surrounding areas, and several of their own staff had to be rescued from their homes due to the rising water – so it wasn’t until yesterday that they were able to open up the church to anyone that might be needing shelter.

But none of that mattered to the angry cavemen. It doesn’t matter that he’s hosted charity concerts thereΒ to raise money for flood victims. It doesn’t matter that the church was offered and used as a shelter for Tropical Storm Allison victims. It doesn’t matter what “good” the church has done for the people of that community, because the outrage junkies caught word that the doors weren’t open for some reason, and they were out for blood.

There was a “re-tweet campaign” that was demanding that Osteen open the doors. Demanding. That’s the word they chose. “Why aren’t you helping?” “Are you going to donate your millions of dollars?” “This shows how much of a Christian you aren’t!” “Fake Joel Osteen, you’re a crook and a liar!” “The false prophet bows to pressure on Twitter” “Opening your church now is only PR damage control!” “(insert any flavor of cursing and name calling here)”Β and some asshole even went down to the church himself to film an “AH HAH!” video, showing that the church wasn’t flooded, even though he didn’t go inside to actually see one way or the other.

Good going, guy. You’re making a fuss about someone not doing enough for the victims, but you are using your time and energy doing this – rather than something productive to help people. 🀦🏻 And when the doors opened, it’s not like there was a huge queue of people waiting to get in. In fact, maintenance people inside the church said that the facility was open for quite a while before anyone even showed up. See, we don’t even know the state of affairs down there… like, are all of the other shelters full? Have people been forced to sleep in the streets because Osteen’s church couldn’t open until yesterday? Or are people just being pissed off for the sake of being pissed off?

A staggering amount of people are using this as a trigger to attack religion and Christianity specifically. They’re ranting about how false the mega-church pastors are, how it’s not about God and only about money, and using it as a “SEEEEE?!?!” moment – where they can feel vindicated in their thoughts about Osteen being a hypocrite and only in it for the cash and fame. It’s an amazing(ly sad) thing to watch. 😒

  • “I can’t open the church yet. It’s a bit flooded and staff can’t make it in.”
  • YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT YOU LYING BASTARD! FUCK YOU!!!
  • “Hey, we got it cleaned up enough and have some air mattresses now, c’mon down.”
  • YOU’RE ONLY OPENING BECAUSE WE MADE YOU! FUCK YOU!!!

*sigh*

Someone get me off of this planet. πŸ˜’

EDIT: Click here for a more in-depth version of the story from the Osteen’s side of it.

Zero Hour

This weekend ended up being exactly what I needed it to be. 😌 I also realized that in addition to just enjoying the company that I was with, having a human in my immediate proximity went a long way towards keeping my brain from getting stuck in the “on” position like it almost always does. (Much like how you have to jiggle the toilet handle just the right way to keep the water pump from running for hours and burning itself out. 😏)Β Now my company has gone, the weekend is coming to an end… but there’s still a new Rick and Morty episode tonight along with the season finale of Game of Thrones, so that provides one last little bit of goody before it’s back to normal tomorrow.

The currentΒ “you’ll hear from us” state of both of my attorney-led endeavors has got me feeling a bit restless again, so the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is give those folks a call. I’m not sure that any prodding from me will make either of those situations move any more quickly, but at least I’ll feel like I’m trying to do something about it.

Another thing that I was reminded of this weekend is how nice it can be when I’m not perpetually absorbing the news of the day. It’s difficult for me to consciously avoid the news. I want to stay informed. I want to stay outraged at the things one should be outraged against. But much like the way I swore off of HLN years ago after shows like Dr Drew and Nancy Grace started to make me a little bit crazy… heh… I should really consider limiting my consumption of political news, even from the shows which present it from a point of view that is often similar to my own. (This topic is honestly worthy of it’s own multi-paragraph entry here. πŸ€” Perhaps soon.)

Other information briefs: Christina handled her first chemo treatment like a champ, but today she cut her hair quite short in anticipation of the eventual hair loss. Jim’s mom is still putting up a fight against her cancer, but the probability of recovery at this point is not good. πŸ˜” And then my friend Rick Kitzmiller… he’s got a lot of support, but complications during chemotherapy are starting to put his recovery at risk as well. 😟 “I’m just treading water.” is the way he most recently described it to friends via a Facebook post.

Obviously, I’ve also got other friends and family who are facing their own flavors of health problems (as am I) so it’s not that I’m not thinking about them and praying for them too… it’s just that cancer has a way of getting a bigger collective gasp, and those afflicted with it tend to stay near the front of your mind whether it’s fair or not. It’s just all incredibly sad, and in those times when I’m not thinking about it or talking about it, I just have to totally push it out of my mind or risk drowning in my thoughts.