Feels Good

Being only a couple of days before Steven, Cassi, Athena, and their mom start moving, Cassi asked if I’d wanna come visit one more time in the afternoon yesterday – since she knows that once the process starts it’s unlikely that I’ll be making any appearances until it’s over with. πŸ˜• It’s just that I’ve already told her that I can’t risk trying to help them out, possibly hurting myself in new and exciting ways. And just hanging around while they all hustle about… yeah, no need to emphasize my uselessness in that situation. πŸ˜’

But since things are about to get pretty crazy for them, I figured I should go up for one more chill visit (and my last time at that apartment) to serve as a distraction for both of us. πŸ™‚ After hanging out for a while, I remembered that I had a little bit of free play on my casino card. And since money is obviously gonna be tight as they move, I figured I’d go over and play $100… twenty bucks at a time, cashing out any time that I’d double my money, and then whatever “winnings” I ended up with – I’d share with her. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Maybe it was karma paying me back for helping Jim out with a little money this month, and then offering to share my winnings with Cassi… but the very first machine I played, I hit for over $500. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ Hell, if that was all that I won during that trip I would have been happy, but then the same machine – just a few pulls later – hit again for over $300. 😁 Since I was way, way ahead, after that I decided to try a few different machines that I’d never really played before, just as a change of pace.

If I wasn’t hitting decent little wins, they at least kept me “even” so I could keep playing. I eventually left not because I was losing, but because it was getting later and I wanted to spend a little more time with Cassi before it started to get dark dark. After all was said and done, I ended up going home with $700 (including my original investment) and was able to give her $400 to help with moving expenses. 😌

It always feels good when you can win enough that you can plop down a wad of bills in front of someone, and go “Here.”Β πŸ˜…πŸ˜ŽΒ (Especially when it’s legitimately helpful and appreciated.) And in times past when we’ve gone to the casino, I’ve noticed that she breaks down her winnings into five dollar bills before leaving… so I even went to the cashier and had him count out $400 worth of fives for me. πŸ˜πŸ’΅ (I did give the guy a tip, ‘cuz that was admittedly a slight pain in his ass for him… heh)

So that definitely made yesterday better than average. Didn’t anticipate things turning to shit overnight and waking up feeling like I do today, but I keep reminding myself that other than the lack of sleep and awesome new neck pain – nothing else has changed since that “goody” feeling of yesterday, so I’m trying to get the feeling of this day turned around. 😏🀞🏻 It helps that the weekend is essentially here, so I can recover without any obligations hovering over me.

Two Good Stops

I waited and saved my Christmas visiting until the day after Christmas. First stop was at Pizza Cottage to pick up a pizza for me and Dad. We’ve been texting a lot, but since I’ve been sick for the past week and a half it’s been a while since I had been in for a visit. He got himself a new set of wheels, much better than the last one… took it for a test drive and it handles good and has a comfy seat for my crappy back. 😏

After a couple hours there I had to take off so I could make it over to Bri’s and have some time there before it got dark. When I got there, Bri let me in and told me that the kids were out back in the playground / courtyard area, and as soon as I walked out the back door Brantley saw me and said “Hey Uncle Bobby, come watch me skate!” as if he had seen me just yesterday. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ƒ Last time he saw me in person was at his birthday in July, and before that… well, it had been quite a while… probably like a year and a half. πŸ˜•

The first three years of his life, I was around all the time. (Including his birth.) In fact, it was in my front yard that he learned to walk. 😌 (Safer out there with nothing to run into, and mooshy grass for whenever he stumbled.) Plus, the Easter Bunny left clues and eggs and a basket here at my house for him, and he followed them all and found his way to the basket. There’s too much to mention – but it went from three years of me being around, then poof, he was with his dad for quite a while. 😟 Now that he’s back home with his mom, I thought for sure that he would have forgotten all the time he and his mom spent with me.

But I went out to where he was skating… and falling… a lot… πŸ˜… and I said “Grab my arm if you want me to help hold you up.” and he replied “No, I can do it…” as he continued falling. πŸ˜„ But he was having a good time, and was proud of the little bits he was able to skate. Then we went to the basketball hoop and threw the ball around some. Two of his little girlfriends also came over to play, and those kids were sinking shot after shot, granny style. Shooting with my good arm and continuously missing, one of the girls said “You suck.” and I agreed. πŸ˜‚ She wasn’t being jerky, she said it in a funny way…

I had my iPad with me, so we went back to the porch where Bri was still sitting and started watching some of the videos of him from when he was here at the house doing this and that, and he really did seem to remember most of the stuff he was seeing. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ I wasn’t sure that 5-year-old brain would have memories of 2 to 3-year-old brain stuff, but it seems like it did. He opened the gift that I got him, and then helped open his little brother’s gift since Bryson is only 8 months old and would probably take a few hours. 😏

It was nice though… he took to me as if no time had passed at all. I guess everything I did when he was younger made a good enough impression, so that makes me happy. We looked at some more old pictures on the iPad, he showed me his tablet that he got, and he was playing a game that I actually have on my phone – so we got to sit and try to figure out some puzzles together. πŸ™‚ Granted, it’s Christmas, but still… he seems really happy there, and the fact that he remembers so much about me makes me happy too.

After watching the videos, he asked if they could all come back out to my house sometime. Heh… poor kid, my house is boring as shit… 😏 but I’m glad that he liked it here enough back then that he’d wanna come back out now. Maybe I’ll straighten the place up a bit and have them over some evening to watch a movie or something. Oh, and I do have my shelf of collectibles (aka “toys“) to get into if he gets too bored. 😁

Christmas Eve

It sure would have been nice if there was some snow on the ground or at least some flurries falling… but we get what we get. πŸ™‚ And tomorrow, that will be 50 degrees and mostly sunny throughout the day.

I’m spending this evening watching a bunch of Christmas specials and movies, getting as much “in the spirit” as I think I’m gonna be able… plus during the day I’ve been texting with Dad, Genesee, Bri, Squirtman, and Cassi… so even though I’ve not been feeling good enough to go out and do anything – at least I’m still keeping in touch with folks. (I’ll assume Amy’s lack of reply today is because she has a house full of boys that will be awaiting Santa’s services, which may also be taking up a good chunk of her time and energy. 😏 )

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and that’s sure full of suck… 😒 but I’m doing my best to focus on all the good memories from my childhood, when Mom and Dad made sure that Santa delivered quite the elaborate experience. 😌 Remembering the music, the big old complicated tree, the bubble lights, the angel tree-topper with the cotton all around the base, hanging up all of the ugly ornaments that I’d make – including an “ET” alien, obscene amounts of icicles, leaving out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, leaving a letter for Santa and getting a reply the next day, the little boot that got filled with M&Ms, and opening presents such as a Knight Rider slot-car track, my first Atari 2600, a talking KITT car, a little programmable robot that made all kinds of racket, Dukes of Hazzard BarnBusters stunt set, etc…

(Crikey… 😯 don’t look at how much that stuff is actually going for now… it almost hurts. πŸ˜… )

Back then it was probably 50/50 “about the presents” for me – but now, of course, it’s all about the memories surrounding everything. 😌 I hope that all parents do their best to see that Santa gives their kids at least half as good of an experience as I had – cuz even at that, they’d still be happy. It’s strange how few years the “Santa” years really were, yet Christmas still retained that same feeling all through the years. And those relatively few “Santa” years still feel like they went on forever back then. 😌

Where’d The Weekend Go?

It’s been a busy few days again. Typical stuff with my workers comp doctor appointment at the end of last week. I mean, no problems there… but when it came to getting my prescriptions. A couple days of pain in the ass there, but it all appears to have been sorted out. Then as I was getting home from handling all that, that’s when Rick arrived to install the new garage door.

Not complaining about that… it was planned… but after dealing with the WC stress, coming home to immediate noise and commotion in the garage wasn’t exactly calming. Not just the constant sound of impact wrenches as they worked, but then also I’m too much of an empath – so I’m also sitting inside the house, cringing about what might go wrong as they work, making their job harder than it should be.

And of course, that’s what ended up happening. I joked with Dad that I “willed” it to happen, by stressing about it, but yeah… they got the door installed, it went up and down nice and smoothly, and it’s light enough that I can even open it with just my one good arm. But when they tried it with the new garage door opener, it immediately murdered itself. 😳 The opener, that is.

It’s obviously defective, because there’s no way that a product like this should be designed so that it’s allowed to do what it did. 🀨 He set the open and close points where the motor was supposed to stop – but upon the second test of raising the door, it just didn’t stop “raising” and it pulled the “puller” piece directly into the motor without stopping, without slowing down – with a crunch, spark, and puff of smoke. 😣😯 Awesome.

So I’ll be returning that one to Amazon here soon, probably having to drag it to the local UPS office, but that meant that Rick had to go to Menards early this morning to get a different opener, take down the first new one, and then put up the second new one before the whole shpeal worked at it should. πŸ™„πŸ˜ So if it wasn’t for the suicidal first opener, he would have been done last night – but I’ll look at the positive, which is that I no longer needed a heavy-duty opener anyway, and the one that he picked up was considerably cheaper than the one I’ll be getting my money back for. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Oh, and he swapped out my old mailbox for the new one without me even asking. πŸ˜… (The saga ends… heh)

You can see why I wasn’t anxious to do any Black Friday shopping this year though, eh? 😟 Between new tires for the car, a big ol’ capacitor and intake fan for the old furnace, new garage door, new garage door opener… and of course all the labor costs for that stuff… plus having to pay for my WC meds first in order to get them this month, now having to return the defective first opener, still needing to make an eye appointment and get new glasses, blah blah blah…

I mean, it’s fine… yeah, I’m bitching, but nothing was overpriced… it just feels like a whole bunch of shit all at once, and being the tight ass that I am – it’s just not a lot of fun writing all these checks. 😏 Gotta remind myself that I now have a happy furnace, a happy car, and a place to put that happy car again… not to mention being able to unload groceries directly into the kitchen without killin’ myself by dragging them through the house via the front door. But it’s my blog, and I felt like whining a little bit. πŸ˜‹ (Even though I’m already planning a few more small home improvement projects with Rick after the holidays are over… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚)

Seeing Some Happy

Wasn’t feeling great when I woke up this morning, before friggin’ dawn, but throughout the day things got progressively better. It helped that early in the day I got some good news from one of my friends… where upon opening her mail she learned that she regained full custody of her son. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Š This is definitely one of those “not my story to tell” things, since it’s pretty personal, but yeah… it was nice to see that the system finally did its job and justice was served.

As unfair as many of the past instances with the court have seemed, I don’t think anyone expected that favorable of an outcome. 😯 She deserves that outcome, so don’t get me wrong, but after so long you start to doubt that the system is capable of doing what’s right. So it’s gonna be a busy and exciting weekend for them… πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ such a big change, almost out of the blue, but he’s already super happy – so it’s just a matter of getting all the logistical stuff ironed out and them getting used to the new “new.” πŸ™‚ I’m really excited and happy for the both of them. This is how it should be.

Then later in the evening Rick came over to work on my busted garage door. One of the springs broke quite a while ago, but with the various other stuff I’ve been dealing with – honestly it wasn’t that high on the priority list, so today just ended up being the first convenient time for him to mess with it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He makes it all look so easy… especially to someone with a left arm that’s basically worthless when it comes to any kind of manual labor. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Didn’t take him long to get new 2x4s up where they’re needed and the new springs installed.

(There was more to it than that, w/ the cables, guides, track aligning, roller adjustments, etc… but yeah…)

The only glitch (for the moment) is that he wasn’t able to find any springs locally that match the ones that were originally on it. πŸ˜• These days, garage doors are made of super light material… but my garage door, a “two-car garage” garage door… is made of thick wood and weighs too effing much. πŸ˜„ So despite buying the strongest springs available, the old 1/3 HP garage door opener just wasn’t having it. It can lower the door, but to raise it again it requires someone giving the door a manual boost for the first part of the raising cycle.

But his suggestion sounds good to me. New garage door opener. The one that’s installed now is probably at least half as old as I am, and wasn’t really meant to handle a door as big and heavy as this one even when it was new. So I’m gonna look for a more powerful replacement over the weekend, and between that and the new springs – we’re pretty certain everything will work as it should again. 🧐🀞🏻 And like many things in this house, it was probably past-due for replacement anyway, so I’m all for this solution.

Talking with him while he worked… there’s not much he hasn’t done when it comes to building, remodeling, installing roofs, electrical work, deck builds, garage doors, well installations, etc. You name it, he’s probably done it. In fact he just recently quit his job at Lowe’s to completely go into business for himself. 😯 That takes some balls, but he knows the right people… not only to have continuous jobs lined up, but also having a good group of folks that he can pull into those jobs depending on the needs or specialties.

Plus, Amy will be able to work from home, helping with the behind the scenes stuff like scheduling, accounting, and much of the other You have to do this now.” legal / payroll / insurance / etc type business stuff. πŸ˜πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ’»πŸ–¨οΈ Really hoping this works out for them, ‘cuz it’s gotta be a pretty good feeling to work when you want, where you want, on what you want, while having only yourself and your clients to answer to. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»

Figuring It Out?

I’ve been bitching a lot here in the blog lately, so I figured I’d drop in to make a more positive post about the weekend. I actually ended up getting pretty much what I was hoping for – putting the stress of my WC stuff to the back of my mind for a couple days, and just letting Saturday and Sunday work themselves out however they wanted. I didn’t even put any self-imposed obligations of “chores” or “being productive” on myself, and it actually worked.

I went in town to grab some groceries and some stuff for Dad, so I ended up making my visit with him on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were talking about maybe watching the race together, but after the visit on the day prior – we ended up just watching the race at the same time and texting back and forth about it. And that track… Homestead… I still think that it’s a little too generic to be the final race, and the one that determines the season champion. The racing from Phoenix, the week prior, was actually more exciting and entertaining… but meh, racing throughout the 2019 season felt improved overall, so at least things are moving in the right direction.

Caught up with some friends and family on Sunday, through messages, since I’d been flying under the radar most of the week. Toni sent me a few pics and vids from their Philly trip, where Matt participated in the Rocky Run, and also sent me a clip of Matt and Wendi’s gender reveal party thing. But she just wanted to check in on me to make sure I was okay. She jokingly offered to get a life-sized cardboard cut-out of me, which she could then take around town and take pictures with it every few days and post the pictures to Facebook – so my friends would “see” that I’m okay. (Since I still haven’t been able to make myself get back on there and socializing again… heh)

Also got caught up with Bri and Cassi… both of whom are dealing with various crap, but they also both seem to have a pretty good handle on things – or at least are doing their best to fake it as they deal with their respective crap. Not only did Bri have to take her youngest son to Children’s for some more tests on Friday, but then today she has her final custody hearing. However it all goes, I’m still impressed with how well she’s dealing with it all, despite obviously being nervous (and me being nervous right along with her), she’s just facing things and tackling them as they come. Same thing with Cassi, just with different issues. I could learn something from both of them when it comes to that.

In fact, I think that’s what helped my weekend (and even today, so far) feel pretty decent. Living a little more “in the moment” than usual. Reminding myself that constantly worrying about things that might not happen for several weeks… there’s just no point to it. You get things settled in your mind and in your plans as best as you can, and then you put it out of your thoughts until it’s time to actually deal with whatever it is. I mean, that’s not a new theory to me, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. But watching and listening as others deal with some serious shit, and seeing how they do it without letting it crush them, it could be in my best interest to emulate how they do it.

And for good reasons and bad reasons, I found that “cats” ended up being a frequent topic of the weekend… and while talking to Genesee, I had her remind me about the whole story of Maven’s birth. I won’t go through it all, but basically Maven was lucky to have even survived – which made me remark how lucky she (Maven) was. And Genesee replied thatΒ she and IΒ were the lucky ones, considering the influence that Maven has had on both of our lives… and I definitely can’t disagree with that. But it was neat hearing the whole story again, with her lazy butt sleeping next to me by the space heater, and realizing how much she overcame in her first few days and weeks.

So, yeah… I guess it’s sort of crappy that just an “okay” weekend like that feels like such a positive improvement, but it really was a decent couple of days – and I needed it. And like I said, I’m gonna try to follow the lead of the folks that I know who are dealing with just as much as me, if not more, to try and keep the stressful stuff from weighing me down so much. Disability and pain are a couple of challenging adversaries when it comes to that… so not only do I need to embrace the good days when they come, but I also need to do more to nudge the “less good” days in the right direction whenever possible.

(Sorry, I can’t be arsed to go back through and add all the normal emojis today… just gonna hop off here and see where the rest of the day takes me since I’m not feeling too gimped up at the moment.)

Unexpected Success?

I did a pretty good job of clearing my mind of workers comp stuff this weekend, and it resulted in some strange dreams both nights. Friday night’s dream had a cast of most of my friends and family that are going through some shit right now. But in the dream, everything was great. πŸ™‚ Everyone was dressed up in nice clothes, had their hair and makeup done up, and part of it was taking place in some sort of classy, multi-level club that was full of similarly “dressed up” guests. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ It was if we were all there to celebrate something, because everyone was happy and laughing and just having a normal good night out with friends.

In that same dream, I actually left the folks who were enjoying the evening in the club and went out to my car so I could deliver a couple of my other relatives to a cabin where many of us used to go decades ago. πŸ€” I’m not sure why, but one of my aunts was excited to get up to the cabin (which was apparently a two hour drive from where we were)Β because she knew that her first husband would be there – and she didn’t want him to have to wait there, awkwardly, by himself. πŸ˜„ Why her first hubby? No idea… but we were then immediately at the cabin, somehow having skipped the drive, and everyone hopped out of the car, went inside, and started happily unpacking as if we were going to be staying for several days. 😊

Next night’s dream, Dad and I were walking along the sidewalk by the canal in the town where I grew up. It was current day, but we were both significantly younger … and I’m not sure why we were walking in town, but I stopped as we were slowly going past the house that we lived in when I was in high school. 😯 Dad actually bumped into me since he wasn’t expecting me to stop, but I had noticed (as I was looking through the front doors) that they had added several different flights of stairs in the living room – probably attached to the recently built rear addition, which is actually bigger than the original house. (Also true in reality.)

I then noticed that there was makeshift scaffolding around the entire house, made of wood that was basically the size and shape of railroad beams… and I was able to climb up some of these angled beams to get to the windows of the front upper bedroom, which now had a swinging wooden door in place of one of the windows. πŸ˜ƒ I knocked on the door, and the people inside let me in…

It turns out that they were all living in this upper addition to the house, but without the homeowners below knowing about it… so nobody was talking, nobody was making any noise, and they motioned that I could come in – even though nobody spoke to me. 😬🀫 Everyone was wearing Hogwarts type robe / uniform things, like from the Harry Potter movies, and they all seemed to be moving about the house with purpose. 🧐 I stood and watched for a while, being careful to stay out of everyone’s way, and that was about it.

I know “other people’s dreams” are essentially of negative interest to everyone else in the world πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ so I don’t expect anyone to really care what I dreamed about, and I’m only posting about them because it was amazing how not about “my stuff” they all were. Plus, it was nice that everyone who is going through some shit in real life… it’s nice that in my dream,Β all of them were having a great time, feeling good, looking good, and not worrying about much of anything. 😊 Tough dreams to wake up from though… when you become awake enough for reality to come back to your brain, but it was still a nice change of pace.