A Decade in Review

In early 2010 I made the decision that I was tired of/done with living in Louisville (and also sick of the cold weather) and was ready for a change.  At first I thought the smartest option for me was to move to Ohio to be closer to my friends and to the guy I was madly in love with (who didn’t feel the same – but who also didn’t have the decency to tell me that). 

It wasn’t until after a trip to Tampa for Spring Break in 2010 (and the realization that things in Ohio probably weren’t going to go as smoothly as I thought) that I began seriously looking southward as an option for relocation.  The only city where I knew anyone at all was Tampa (even if the only person I knew was my ex-husband who I, conveniently, get along with very well) and, since I am not independently wealthy and because it was in the middle of a recession when finding work was next to near impossible unless you lived in the location, Tampa was where I set my sights.

So I started saving every spare penny in Louisville – I didn’t do much except work and save (and play World of Warcraft), started researching what I could DO there (I decided I’d try to get a teaching certificate), and figuring out how much money I’d need.  By September, I was ready.  I put in two weeks notice at the job I was working at in Kentucky, weathered the storm of dissenters – one, in particular, who asked, “Well… what happens if you don’t like it there but you get stuck?”  (My reply: “I can think of worse places to be stuck.”)  And on October 6, I boarded THE plane that would change my life.

Oh, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have second thoughts when I was sitting in the Birmingham airport on a layover – especially when I ran into a client from the place I’d just stopped working for back in Kentucky.  It was as if Louisville was making one, last, desperate attempt to keep me there. 

But I kept going, I boarded the second plane, and when I finally flew over Tampa at night, saw the city scape and the bridge lights that were accented by the twinkling dots of boats in the water, I got excited.  I’d sat near the front so I could be one of the first people off the plane (which worked), walked to the little train things that take you from the concourse to the common areas of the airport, and called my parents to tell them I’d made it (and to wish my dad a happy birthday – admittedly, leaving Kentucky on his birthday was probably not the best thing I could’ve done). 

I hit the ground running… found a job in a month, then another job a couple of weeks later that was a better fit for me than the job I’d found (and it had benefits too – the first one didn’t).   That was a huge deal, see, because in Louisville – in the interim between my last semester of grad school and the job I’d gotten, it had taken eight months to find anything.  To even get one job offer.  In Florida I found two in a very short period of time. 

Anyway, I started that job on December 1… as a receptionist for a small software company.  I figured it’d be a good holdover until I could take the test for the certification and then get a classroom.  Florida had other plans.  Within a week of working there, their Technical Trainer quit and I was offered her job at a higher pay than what I was getting as the receptionist.  I took it, again figuring it would only be temporary, but discovered that it was something I enjoyed and was good at.  I am not (or at least wasn’t then) very adept at software and computers – but it turned out that my layman knowledge served me well when I started to train other people.  I didn’t use technical terms, I could talk to them as one novice to another.  It worked… and I was very successful.

My coworkers, too, became close friends – and drinking buddies, since we were allowed to drink in the office.  The owners gave us wine and beer, and introduced us to Cake vodka (Three Olives, please, not the rip off other stuff).  We started a WoW guild, spent afternoons and evenings (and weekends) shooting the shit, and I’d never been happier (and sometimes drunker) in my life.  In 2012, a little piece of software that our developers coded got picked up by a much larger company and 11 of us were transferred with that software to the company.  I got the biggest bonus of my life, severance pay, and a 40% salary boost.  And I still got to work with my best friends – who were now, at this point, more like family.

I built a big network for modeling – and did a ton of it here.  My best work came from photographers I found (or who found me) in Tampa.  Work I helped produce here has been award winning, and one of the photos has even been internationally published. 

Dating-wise?  Well… it was entertaining.  Most of that is documented here.  I won’t reiterate it all… you can read it if you’re so inclined.  But let’s just say I never found “Prince Charming” – or if I did he was more of a “Prince Charming/Florida Man” combination, which I guess is expected – I got a lot of stories out of it anyway.

When I left Florida (for a very short time) in 2014, I can only claim that I was out of my mind.  I thought that what I’d built here could be rebuilt somewhere else.  I’m not going to talk about what did (and didn’t) happen there, except to say that no matter how much I tried to uproot it, my heart stayed in Florida.  My success did, too, because I did not find anything anywhere close to as awesome as what I had built in Tampa.  Within two years, I had to come home.  (And this is why I don’t really count the time that I spent in Louisville again as separate from the ten years I’m claiming in this post – home is where your heart is, and my heart was never there.)

So I came back, hoping to get it all back.  To see if the magic could work a second time.  It did.  I didn’t exactly get to go “home” again, but I found a job I liked and got several promotions and raises, got the lead in a play (a two-person play, no less, that dealt with some very complicated subjects) and my photo was in the Tampa Bay Times.  

And when the job I got that brought me home went to shit, I found something even better with the same sense of community I had at the place I worked when I first got here in 2010…  and I’m doing Tech Training again (and a lot of writing – I can actually say I write professionally now). It’s my niche. It combines writing with performance, it’s something I like, and I am really, REALLY good at it. 

And so now, here I sit.  “Stuck” in Florida, thanks to the pandemic (and I still stand by my original statement that there are worse places to be stuck), in an apartment that sits above (I like to say on top of) a tree – so I finally have accomplished my dream of having a treehouse.  Working my pretty sweet job with a promotion on the cusp (whenever HR gets their shit together – also delayed due to the pandemic).  Sitting in my home office, surrounded by my ever-expanding Star Wars toy collection.  Modeling on weekends when I want to, but because I am no longer broke, accepting only the jobs I want (rather than the jobs I have to take).  A master of improvisation, working on novels, ever-honing my writing (and gaming) abilities.  Just generally enjoying life (even though most of life, at least what life looked like back in December and before, doesn’t look the same anymore). 

It’s been a good decade.  Moving here was a risk, but one that has paid off in very high dividends, and I have no regrets (except maybe that I ever left it to begin with – temporarily or not).  I’m happy here.  I’m satisfied with my decision.  And while I may leave sometimes to go visit other people and places, I feel more at home here than I have ever felt anywhere else.

Circa 1978. Best find I’ve gotten at a toy show so far – their joints are still tight and uncracked, and R2 still has his Death Star plans.

The Now is Better

I keep telling myself that I need to post – and I want to post – but the thoughts that are in my head are nowhere near enough to provide me with any kind of clear narrative (and, hence, make it impossible to write about them). 

It probably also does not help that I’ve been surrounded by noise lately.  Neighbors downstairs that made it sound like their apartment was a war zone (they’ve since been evicted)… people screaming at the pool (which I can conveniently (inconveniently?) hear through my door), lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and then during most of this week and part of last, the landscaping service that is trimming trees during the day – making it impossible to do work, let alone anything creative and extracurricular.  Or, really, anything that requires any kind of thinking.

Good thing I can do the webinar delivery part of my job on autopilot. 

So, things are still pretty much the same.  Playing a lot of Fortnite with my friend.  I’m getting better at it. 

Shoots are scheduled, and I’m returning back to the world that makes me “tick” – ever grateful that if this all had to end (and it becomes clearer to me by the day that this really was for the best), at least it ended while I was still young enough to pick it back up again… if not where I left off, at least with enough time that I can keep doing it at least for a while longer. 

I finally got my car fixed – earlier this year a bunch of the dash lights started coming on… the computer had gone haywire and the ABS was no longer working.  It was a pretty expensive fix, and some people might argue that, since it drove and was basically fine, I shouldn’t spend the money on it.  But I love this car.  I have wanted this car for a really long time.  There’s no way I’m getting rid of her… ever… if it ever came down to it, and the engine died, I’d find another engine before I got another car.  So not getting her fixed was not an option.  I had to wait until I could save the money to do it – but my bonus from work came through, and the first stimulus covered some of it too, including what I had in savings already.  Not wanting me to spend all I had, my parents chipped in about half (probably also because my father also really loves my car), and that helped.  Anyway she’s all fixed now… good as new… and we zip around together when I need to run errands.

I guess the biggest news is that plane tickets have been purchased and I’m going on a trip to an undisclosed (because I’m not disclosing it, not because I don’t know where it is) location in two weeks.  I’m a little apprehensive about the flight, I won’t lie, but I’ve done all I can to take all the precautions that I can to keep myself safe – including investing in more expensive masks that contain replaceable filters (NOT the kind reserved for healthcare workers).  I am also slightly apprehensive about getting to the place to visit my friend… it has been a really long time since we last saw each other, though we’ve kept in touch periodically (and pretty consistently since the end of August).  I am sure that it will all be okay, and it’ll probably be like no time has passed at all, but you know how it is… you don’t really know what to expect.

Sometimes I sit here and, for a minute, I miss what was… I guess my brain starts doing that thing where it tries to convince me that what I had is better than what’s happening now.  Thing is, I think my brain also knows better – because if I really look at it, objectively, it wasn’t.  It wasn’t simple… it wasn’t easy… sure I didn’t have to worry about who I was going to do stuff with, but I had to worry about how I was going to pay for all the stuff that was being done.  And I had to worry about being the sole earner, the bill payer (I guess I’m still that – but it’s just my bills), the caregiver and support system, the optimist, etc., etc., etc.  And it was stressful.  I won’t say it was always bad – there were some good times sprinkled in there in some places – but if I’m being really honest, the good times were always followed by longer, unhappier situations that became progressively more extreme and serious.  And it always led to more debt that I will, whether I want to or not, have to pay off.  You can’t call American Express and tell them you shouldn’t have to pay this off because you spent six years supporting someone that you shouldn’t and it didn’t end the way you thought it would. 

And as much as I know that Ormsby wants to walk it all back… to put things back to the way they were, the truth is, the way they were was not good for me.  I was in too deep to recognize that at the time, and I guess when I DID recognize it, I told it to shut up because I wasn’t really thinking of my own wellbeing.  But now that I’ve gotten some distance from it, and I am thinking only OF me, I can see it more clearly… which is, of course, what sometimes happens when you change the perspective.

For someone who didn’t know what to write, I guess I figured it out.  All the same, I’ll leave this here… I have to go get treats for the cats in a few minutes anyway.  It’s a nail trim night.

Que Sera, Sera

I’m still “redesigning” my life – a process I don’t think ever really ends, but that often gets kicked into hyperdrive after a huge, life-shifting change.  I don’t know that I was this intentional about it after other, prior, significant relationships ended in my life. I certainly was not this conscious of it and saw it more as a liability than an opportunity, so I can’t say that any changes that I made were because I created blueprints and followed them to the letter. 

I think the fact that I didn’t do that, that I wasn’t intentional – or maybe that I didn’t know how to be – is (potentially) one of the reasons that things went to shit to the magnitude that they did this time.  I got tired of waiting.  I became impatient.  And I started forcing things to move without thinking of the repercussions. 

Now, granted, I could not possibly have predicted the level to which things went to shit.  And none of the ways in which it went to shit were my fault… the only thing that I can say to explain it all is that I saw the machine, I thought I knew the machine.  I thought I could control the machine because all the times the machine has gone haywire before, I’d been able to fix it (or at least stop it from getting out of control).  A part of me probably knew that I’d get caught in the machine eventually – which is what happened this time – but I couldn’t rationally believe what I irrationally knew. 

Now that there’s been some distance placed between what happened and now, I can see it more clearly (though I suspect it will take years to really see it all the way through) – and I have to ask myself, “Why did I think I could play with the machine at all?  Did I really think I was so skilled, so qualified, that I would not lose a (figurative) limb?”  It’s like playing “chicken” on a two-land highway.  Eventually you’ll get hit by a semi.  I know.  I lost a friend that way once.  You’d think I would have thought about that before I went balls deep into it, but I didn’t.  Or maybe I did and I thought, “Yeah, this won’t happen to me.” 

Folks, I’m here to tell you – it CAN happen to you. 

A friend told me last weekend that sometimes the universe kicks us in the ass a little but saves us from the worst of the consequences, as if it’s saying, “See?  This is what could happen if you don’t fix your shit right now” and to warn us that if we don’t fix our shit right now, we won’t be spared the second time.  I don’t know how I feel about that – but I’m in a place where I am willing to heed that warning.

Anyway, back to my point, knowing what I did – the very blasé way that I ran into one burning building, then another, then another, then another until I decided I was just going to stay in one – means that I really need to take a good look at what makes me want to run into the burning buildings to start with.  It means that whatever the landscape looks like, however much I might want to move “on” to the next phase, sometimes (most times?) it is not really within my ability to control.  I mean I can try – but when I try really hard, I end up running into burning buildings and coming out with third-degree burns. 

So I’m just not… Que sera, sera, no?

Oh sure, there’s plenty that I can control – my career, for example, which (thankfully) was not affected by the drama that started this whole thing (though it absolutely and very easily could have been).  I’ve been shooting a LOT again (and I’m including some of the new stuff at the end of this blog – you can follow me on Instagram @spacegoddessenterprises if you’ve a mind – shameless plug).  Writing a ton.  Playing a lot of video games (I can’t always control those, but it’s nice to know that when there’s a Radroach in your way, it’s within your power to reduce it to a liquified ball of goo). 

But the big stuff?  Stuff that involves more than one person?  Nope.  I’m just going to sit around and watch the world spin for a while. 

One Week

One week out (I promise I am not going to keep writing this week by week, making The End of All Things the catalyst for yet another countdown).

I wish I could say I was feeling better – I guess in some ways I am. There are moments when I feel almost like myself again, and then there are other moments that I still feel completely bereft. This is the grieving process maybe? I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I grieved the end of a relationship quite this much.

At any rate, let me back up. After I received Ormsby’s email I decided to write one of my own – first to tell my side of the story (since he clearly wasn’t going to listen to it), and then, really, just to say goodbye. I didn’t expect him to respond… but he did. And so we emailed for a couple of days. I finally asked if we could talk on the phone and we did… for 3.5 hours. And I saw him this past weekend. He has apologized and said it was all a big mistake, and I believe him. I believe that he feels that way. And there is a part of me that wants to run right back and do this again. But I can’t.

Because there’s a larger part of me that knows that if I did, nothing would change. And, whether I want to admit it or not, things NEED to change. And I need to know that I’m not going to get hurt like this anymore. So I told him that I would wait and see. That’s what I’m doing.

In the meantime, I’m doing some self-care. I really sat down and thought about all the things I was doing back in 2014 for me and I picked some of them back up again (like my tarot). I apologized to someone that I had hurt very, very badly back in 2014 … for no reason except that I was too anxious… and I made amends. We are friends again and he’s taught me to play Fortnite (I suck, but not as bad as I thought… and I’m getting better). I may visit him whenever it is safe to travel… which should be fun, since we’ve not seen each other in person in 20 years. Oh and I have a boudoir shoot set up for October – if there’s no one to look out for except me, now, I may as well go back to doing what makes me happy.

I have not put up any new profiles on dating sites though my Facebook page is blowing up with friend requests from people I don’t know and I am trying very hard (in some cases) to stop myself from being the troll I know I can be. I am not seeking anything right now except to surround myself with my friends – something I’m making myself do this time that I didn’t do before is letting myself completely heal before I jump back into something again. I know it won’t make for amusing reading – since half of this blog is about drama that’s been caused by jumping into things too quickly – but it’s really what’s best now. I don’t want to hurt myself any more than I want to hurt someone else.

I am still sad. I expect I will be for a while. But instead of pushing it away, I’m embracing it this time and am making it a part of this reinvention process instead of something I don’t want any part of.

And you know what? I realized today that, back in 2012 – which was the last “real” breakup I had from a relationship that was normal – there was this sense of “magic” that started to swirl around me after I’d made my peace with it, rearranging themselves to spell out a new ending. They’re doing that again. I can feel it sometimes… like I’m on the cusp of something big and new. But this time, instead of trying to force them to land where I want them to, I’m just going to let them spin… let them land where they will, when they will… and in the meantime I’ll enjoy watching them turn.

Lord Ormsby and The End of All Things

I can’t believe I’m writing this. But it’s over.

Lord Ormsby and I broke up. He dumped me, actually. Over email. I don’t really want to relate the circumstances – both because it’s a really long story, but also because, even for a chick that lives by the rule of TMI, it’s too much.

I am completely lost right now. It’s been six years since we started dating. And while things haven’t been great all the time (obviously), they weren’t terrible either, and I truly don’t know, right now, whether I’m coming or going. You truly can kill a relationship, but you can’t kill love and, whatever has happened, that hasn’t stopped.

I have been pretty deeply depressed for five days now. I’ve lost over five pounds. I don’t sleep much (which isn’t abnormal, but the kind of not sleeping I’m doing right now is pretty abnormal). I can’t really focus on anything (and haven’t been gaming at all which, again, is not like me).

And I guess, despite my “divorced” status, I can’t get through my thick, confused little brain how you go from being ready to take vows of “for better or for worse” one minute to an emailed breakup letter the next day. I mean I know the cause, and it was a BIG cause, and yet I still feel like the argument here was that we were stronger together than we are apart. But I guess he doesn’t feel that way.

Now I have to figure out how to move forward… someday… somehow… during a pandemic, when moving forward doesn’t (and can’t) look the way that it used to. Guess I need to go back to my old entries in here and see how I did it the other times… then try to figure out how to modify those methods to make them plague-friendly.

Lovely.

COVID-19 Chronicles – Kinda Stuck Here

It’s been a year since I went back to Kentucky to visit my family.  A whole year since I last saw my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my nieces… a year since Sadie sat in a grocery cart while I pushed her recklessly around the store, making race car noises as she giggled madly.  A year since I played tag with a crawling Lydia and watched her pull herself up for the first time.

Sadie is almost too big to fit into the shopping cart now.  She’s writing her own name, and spelling words, and is more like me than I could have ever imagined one of my sister’s kids ever becoming.  And Lydia has been running, now, for ages.  She talks.  She said my name today (well, most of it… it’s four syllables long, and is a big word for a one year old) for the first time ever.

And I’m missing it.  All of it.  FaceTime, I’m starting to realize, is not a replacement for being there.  Not when they’re this little.

Part of this is my fault.  I should have made a point to travel up over Christmas… but I was busy moving (and moving is expensive) and didn’t think I’d have the energy to do both.  That was probably true, but if I’d known a goddamn pandemic was on its way, I probably would have tried to find some energy.  Or moved something around.  Or something.

When I first planned to move here, ten years ago, my old supervisor back in Louisville asked if I was worried I’d get “stuck” here.  I looked at her, smiled, and said, “I can think of worse places to be stuck.”  This is not an untrue statement, but I couldn’t fathom then (and I can’t fathom now, even if I’m living in it) a situation in which I’d be so stuck that there’d be nowhere to go to escape.

Now?  Now I don’t know when I can go back.  I’m thankful that Kentucky’s cases are dropping… that takes a load off my mind, as I sit here in this reckless-ass state where the cases are rising and the hospitals are (apparently) getting close to maxing out their resources.  At least my family is safer than I am.  That’s what matters.

It’s not that I flew home that often, see.  It’s not that I made plans to fly back all the time… flying was/is expensive and while I’m comfortable, I’m not rolling in it.  At least not since UT.  I live freaking far away by design, and because there’s not a market for what I do up there.  Being this far away has never been “easy” (and it’s gotten harder since my nieces were born), but it was made easier by the knowledge that… if I wanted to go back or if I needed to go back, I could just hop on a plane and make it happen.  Now?  Now, even if I got in my VW and drove the whole way with minimal stops I wouldn’t feel right about it.  I couldn’t be SURE that I wasn’t bringing the virus with me, and as our caseload here climbs higher and higher, the chances of that happening if I tried to make the trip, however I did it, are more likely every day.  I won’t put my family at risk.

Someone asked me today what I would have done differently if, six months before the pandemic started, I’d known it was coming.  My answer: I’d go see my family.

Because when I saw this coming, I had planned for the food shortage (not so much the toilet paper shortage, but somehow I worked that out and shouldn’t have to buy any for months).  I’ve been training for “quarantine-style introversion” most of my life.  I’d already switched jobs, which (unknowingly) set me up so that I could work from home and further limit my exposure later.  I’m good at doing what I have to do, on the ground level, to survive.  I’m good at planning ahead so that I don’t go without.  When it comes to this, though… visiting… I’ve been completely reactionary.  All I can do is hoard my vacation time so that when I can visit, I can stay long enough to try to make up for the time I’ve lost.  I mean you can’t really make up time… it doesn’t work like that… but I can try anyway.

My parents have a second, smaller house that they bought to be closer to the grandkids.  They didn’t have a TV there the last time I visited, only a CD Player and they liked to play old WWII music.  The last song that I remember hearing before I left to get to the airport, a year ago this week, was this one… and it was so appropriate (though none of us realized how appropriate at the time).

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 57 – 68

Things are about the same.  I spent some time in Bradenton last weekend and walked the full extent of their Riverwalk.  That really is a pretty place – and it certainly has a better view than the path that I normally walk.  I also fell off of a stool and unintentionally forced my knee to bend in a way that it hasn’t for over two years.  Not abnormally, mind you… in fact, the fact that I could not bend it that way was abnormal.  Anyway it popped a little but I managed to walk four miles after that so I am sure it’s not injured.  If I did anything, I probably pulled a ligament a little and stretched a muscle that likely needed to be stretched out anyway, so it probably wasn’t all bad.

I can still walk.  That’s a good thing.  Further, I can still balance well enough to walk on the beach – went there to watch the sunset as well, then got some ice cream afterward at the Shake Pit (which is ridiculously good, if you’ve never had it… I really like hot fudge sundaes with extra fudge and the chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream instead of plan vanilla).

My three-year-old niece broke her leg a few days ago.  She’s handling it like a champ and should be recovered in about three weeks.  I sent her massive amounts of new toys (apparently a lot of other people did too) and that was the defining moment that caused my mother to break quarantine.  My father, who has asthma, is still sheltering at their house out of caution (but it is killing him).

I feel like the last couple of weeks have flown by and have been pretty uneventful.  Ormsby has yet to see a penny from unemployment (his status for the claim is still Pending, Submitted) but if you have been following the news about Florida’s unemployment system at all, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that.  He did find a job at a retirement community, though it is part time, and is looking for full time work.  I don’t have much else to report on that front.

Apparently I can expect to go back to the office near the first of July, at the earliest, but even then it will be one week in the office, two weeks at home, on a rotating basis, indefinitely.  This is fine with me.  My whole life I have wanted to work from home, in a quiet, controlled, quarantined environment, and it looks like I’m going to get that.  That’s worth celebrating.

Memorial Day is this weekend.  I got to log off of work a little after noon, since I hit 40 hours then and I don’t feel right about working overtime on non-urgent things I could easily complete on regular time on Monday.  I don’t have any radical, exciting plans except to deep clean my house and make peanut butter bread (the Reddit recipe), but I am looking forward to just staying in.  I figure the beaches and everything else that’s actually open will be ridiculously crowded and I am not interested in mingling with any of that.  I wouldn’t be even if COVID wasn’t a thing.  I can wait for a non-holiday weekend to do my mingling.

OH!!  So I did manage to catch an online reading of a play hosted by the Red Rose Chain theatre in Ipswich online the other day called “Fallen in Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn.”  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so impressed – both by the actors ability to pull that off through Zoom while quarantined in their own respective homes, and just the idea of watching something live when I’m not physically in the audience, but it was incredible.

I spend a lot of time here talking about how much I like the new world that is much more amiable to introversion, but you know what I do miss?  Auditioning.  And being onstage.  I realized that the other day – now that my knee is (mostly) better and I can certainly move again, I want to get back OUT there.  Ironically, now that the time has come and I’m ready to do that again, I can’t.  Or, at least, it’s a lot harder to do when you consider how many people I’d be exposed to… (though probably less so onstage than actually in the audience, and certainly fewer when just in front of a camera).

Maybe it’s nearly time to give it a try… see what happens…

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 47-56

I’ve spent the last week with Ormsby (or, well, he’s spent the last week with me), trying to get him situated.  We filed for unemployment for him (status is still pending… that could last a while) and applied for some things.  It was important to me that he not be on his own for the first week, so that he didn’t constantly have to look outside his window and see the place he used to work.  I don’t know if that helped, or if it prolonged the inevitable, because I did have to take him back yesterday.

Sometimes I wonder if he’d have been better off if I’d just left him in Louisville.  Possibly for the short term…at least he wouldn’t have had to have struggled for the first 2.5 years in a job hunt that he always seemed destined to lose.  But in the long term? I mean, this happened in Louisville too.  He’d have been in the same boat there as he now is here… there’s that.  I just wouldn’t feel so… responsible.

Even though I am not responsible.  I have to learn to stop taking all of this on myself. It’s going to kill me when it’s all said and done.  I have to keep telling myself I’ve done all that I can do.  And I have.  And then some.  More than many ever would.  That has to be enough… even when I don’t feel like it’s enough.  I cannot save the world.  I cannot, really, save him either.

The only person that can save Ormsby, is Ormsby.  That’s it.  I can help.  I can prolong what is, perhaps, the inevitable.  But I cannot be the only thing that keeps it at bay.

That is, after all, why we are living separately – so that I could stop being that wall.

It’s Mothers Day… I sent my mom and gift and then followed up with a card that I’d apparently had in my house for a really long time and had forgotten to send (or probably just found another one I liked better).  At any rate the gift arrived on time (because I ordered it 2 weeks ahead).  The card did not – but I also dropped it in the box on Wednesday afternoon.  So she’ll have that to look forward to.

I don’t usually go back up to Kentucky on Mothers Day, but that’s usually because I have plans to go up there at a later time – when I can stay longer.  There are no such plans this time, because I have no idea when I will be able to go back up there.  That makes this one harder.  I did talk to her (and to my dad) for a very long time.  It was nice.

They’re doing well… still social distancing.  I think their church is going to try to open soon, but I don’t think they will go in person for a while.  I don’t begrudge them going (even if I don’t) when it’s safe, but I don’t want them to take the chance that someone they know has it but doesn’t show symptoms and then one of them catches it that way.  That would be awful.

P.S. – This stupid disease is also why the ringer on my phone stays on at all times.

Florida has started opening back up.  I am not partaking yet.  I want to see what the case counts look like 2-4 weeks from now.  We did go to the beach one late afternoon down in Bradenton and we ate at Tibby’s on Friday (but it was empty).  But I am staying the hell away from everyone… like if there’s a human there, I walk the other way.

(This isn’t really that unusual… I do that even when there is no COVID.)

Good Stuff:

  • My mom LOVED her gift.  It was a wind chime that had a birds nest on top with a mother bird feeding her baby birds.  What’s funny is that I ordered it for her about a day before she called to tell me there was a nest of robins near their house that they were watching.  I smiled about that, because it was appropriate.
  • They started furloughing people at my office last Friday.  I was not furloughed.  I consider that a win.  For now.  I’m still not cracking into that stimulus money until either this pandemic has passed us, or until I absolutely have to for a personal emergency.
  • My sister and brother-in-law brought my nieces over to see my parents (from six feet away and with masks).  That was the first time they’d seen them in almost two months.  You couldn’t see anyone’s expressions, but you could seem my parents glowing in the photos.  I am glad that got to happen at least.
  • Aaaaand… finally… Ormsby and I turned my apartment into a photo studio while he was here and got some shots in.  I got back in heels for the first time in two years (paid for it a little later, but not too bad), and we got a few good shots.  I’m posting them below.

© IMJZ Photo

© IMJZ Photo

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 41 – 46

I am not an idiot.  I watch the news.  I ordered my face masks, and one has been delivered.  I know that this shit is real.  But I have been fortunate, in that personally, other than working from home and not being able to move around as freely as I have been in the past, but it has affected me, personally, very little.

Until this week.

This week Ormsby was laid off due to the virus.  And you know what’s ridiculous?  I’m not even surprised.  His industry has been hit very hard by the whole thing, and honestly I’ve been surprised that he’s been able to hold out this long.  Most others in his industry lost their jobs – or began not being able to find freelance opportunities – months ago.  In a way he’s been lucky… and it’s shitty to call all this lucky.  I do not know what he will do – he has a place of his own, a lease he can’t break, and even if he could… well… my apartment isn’t big enough for two people and (as awful as it is to say this, I know), I kind of am enjoying having a space of my own again.  He’ll file for unemployment and then… I don’t know… I guess no one knows anything.

I still have my job, and we are as busy as ever.  That’s a good thing.

They tested one of my cousins for the virus yesterday.  Thankfully that test came back negative.  But it was another reminder that I’ve been fortunate (and continue to be fortunate) when other families – some I’ve known since I was a small child – have not been.

I’m sorry.  I know I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on all of this… and I’ll keep trying to do that.  I guess everyone gets an off day once in a while.

Florida’s governor has decided to try Phase I of reopening.  I am personally going to continue to self-isolate for a while longer.  I want to see what happens as things get back to normal… I am not convinced that this is done, and I think, if anything, reopening this soon may make it worse.  In fact, I am more likely, now, to start doing grocery delivery, whereas I haven’t resorted to that yet.

Good Stuff That Happened:

My Build-A-Bear Baby Yoda (ok, ok “The Child”) arrived today.  The Star Wars collection that graces my living room now has its own Baby Yoda shelf.  The action figures I preordered should ship later this month.

I think Ormsby and I are going to turn my apartment into a photo studio this weekend to start working on a new portfolio for me.  It’ll keep his mind off of it, and give me a boost, now that I’m moving more normally again.

Today begins Children’s Week in WoW.  It’s a special in-game holiday for me, because it also marks 12 years since I first was introduced to the game.  Happy WoW-versary to me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to write.  Or maybe just an in-game achievement to go for.

IMG_3174

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 37-40

I’d say I have an above average memory — one that can span all the way back to near infancy, in some places.  I mean I don’t actively remember every second of every day, though if I think back hard enough to what I call the “major” landmarks, I can start building out what I remember around them and connect them with days prior to and days after that “landmark” event.  It’s why I say I don’t “actively” remember things – I think the data is still there, it’s just buried in all the other shit my brain has to sift through on a daily basis.

Anyway, point being, I’ve been basically isolated from other humans, places other than my home (except the grocery store and the path that I walk every day), for over a month now.  I only see Ormsby (rarely) and my cats.  If I talk to anyone it’s via phone, text, or instant messenger.  That’s it.  And this isn’t a complaint.  It’s been quiet, I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done that I probably ordinarily would not have made time for.  In some ways, I’m living my best life right now.

What I’m getting at here, though, is that because it is so unusually quiet, and because there is not anything that ties me to the “here” (and, in fact, it is really easy to lose track of what day or time it is), I’m finding it easier to really immerse myself into the books I’ve been planning (and writing) for a really long time.  See, although I’m going to change the names of places, people, etc., I’m pulling all of what’s in there right out of my own memory.   They are prequels, really, to what I’ve written here over the years — what came before… what was FIRST.

It’s all there – it always has been – plotted out on paper, outlined, archives in place to jog my memory… but now, with the world so much quieter and so much slower, I can actually make some progress.  I can… well.. vanish… back into those times.  I can live in them again (and I’m being really careful to revisit only the good stuff right now – even I know better than to dredge through the bad shit when there’s nothing out there to wake myself back up again).  A world without COVID, without bills, where I was mercilessly naive (and that makes me laugh now) and trying to navigate a world I didn’t understand, but was fascinated with.  I get to turn all this over again and look at it and I realized, as I was walking today and thinking about what I was writing, I’m really watching myself transform into what I am now.  It’s fascinating.

To, I have to dig deep, in some ways, because I’m talking about pulling up shit that happened to me over twenty years ago now.  In so much detail that whoever reads these things will SEE these people.  Will HEAR their voices.  Will SMELL and FEEL what I did.  I’m resurrecting ghosts, in a way (even if not all of them are dead), and to do anything less doesn’t feel like I am doing those people, or those places, or those times (or myself) the justice that they deserve.  At any rate, when I get to the place I need to be, it’s like there are voices from the past echoing off my walls.  Conversations that I now remember verbatim that I could not easily access before.  And instead of freaking out over whether that stuff is still there and what I’ll do if it isn’t, I’m trusting that it will be there when I need it… and so far, they have been.

It will still be months (years, even) before this is finished.  Though if I keep writing like this, maybe not so long.  It is, after all, hard to convince myself to leave, sometimes, and come back into this other reality.

Good Stuff:

  • Really more of the same — though I am finding that this has been a really creative time for me.  I had worried that I was losing my touch.  Turns out, I just needed some quiet.
  • My knee is really recovering!!  I’m not running yet (and may not for quite a while), but can now consistently walk at my brisk speed-walking pace for 2.5 miles.  Daily.  I’m working back up to three, which was where I was at prior to the injury.  I can’t credit COVID for all of this, because this has been 2+ years coming (with many physical therapy sessions, multiple cortisone injections, plus an expensive, out of pocket, experimental procedure that apparently worked (PRP Injection)), but my need to get out of the house every day has made me want to prolong the time I spend out there rebuilding this thing… and I may very well come out of this a totally recovered woman.