Tag Archives: Louisville

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.

BotCon 2016

Flashback to about three years ago – The Botboy Era.  He was away.  I was taking his newly-purchased toys into my bedroom closet for safekeeping.  He kept talking about this convention called “BotCon” (a convention for all-things TransFormers (and their collectors)) and, when he got his Golden Ticket (an exclusive pass to the convention), he was over the moon.  The only concern was whether he was going to get back in time to go.

Things happened – we didn’t talk for awhile.  I assume he went – he certainly spent enough money on that ticket so that it would have been a shame if he hadn’t.  After we got back in touch, I may have even asked if he went; I don’t remember.  I wouldn’t say I quite forgot about the convention, but it was held in San Diego… far away from me and, while I became interested in the toys, the comics, and even the original TV show (until Netflix took it down – Fuck you, Netflix), I wasn’t interested enough to get on a plane and fly all that way for something like that.  (BlizzCon?  That’s a totally different story.)

Flash-forward again.  I’ve since left Tampa.  I don’t talk to Botboy anymore… haven’t heard a word out of him since August 2014, before I moved and when I told him about Ormsby.  True to his word, back in early 2014, as soon as he found out that I was seeing someone else, he’s never spoken to me again.  As tempted as I was to reach out to him when I was there for a visit a few weeks back, just to see how he was doing, I resisted it.  Sometimes, maybe, the past is best left in the past, I thought.

But, then, randomly, I found out that in 2016, for some absurd reason, BotCon was coming to Louisville.  I was sorely tempted to go – but Ormsby and I already had plans out of town.  When those plans fell through, however, it was like a green light signaled “go” and I began to seriously consider going.  Understand: I wouldn’t have if the convention had been anywhere EXCEPT where I live.  I still have an interest in Giant Robots, I need to revive the Adventures of Prowl series (and I will soon), and seriously, the only real regret I have about Botboy is that I did not ask him for the full reading list of those comics he started me on years ago so I could continue on my own, because I’d be lost if I started them now.  Further, as much as I heard about it in 2013, as integral it was to the conversations (and the websites I’d visit, and the phone numbers I’d call, trying to investigate when those Golden Tickets were going to go on sale), I felt like I NEEDED to see it for myself.  I had no interest in buying a Golden Ticket – they are very expensive, and while I like the Robots, I am not a mega-enough fan to justify spending that kind of money on something like that.  But General Admission would be Saturday and Sunday and I could swing that.  And pay for Ormsby’s ticket too.

So on Saturday, it was decided that Ormsby and I would first go to the U of L Honors Book sale on campus, and then head downtown to the Galt House for BotCon.  I didn’t have any desire to go to any of the panels.  Watching the people dressed up in TransFormers costumes was pretty awesome (and also pretty hysterical).

OP  SSOPTC

And we had fun trailing through the rows of things to buy.

Retail Area

Ormsby found instances where TransFormers met Star Wars and he was happy.  I found a woman who sews and embroiders Giant Robots and bought Starscream.  A few rows down, I found Bumblebee (in a Red, VW Beetle).  I purchased both, because they both have meaning for me – Starscream being my favorite.  Red VW Beetles being an interest that my father and I share.  Though, when I sent my father a photo of it, I think I was more amused than he was.  Dad might get more excited about it if I ever took it out of the box and let him play with it, but I simply can’t do that.  Even I don’t take it out of the box.  Those damned habits picked up well in the past (that have little to do with me) are hard to shake sometimes.  I should have purchased two.  Then I’d have one to play with.  But Christ, that shit is not cheap.  And bills.  Fucking bills.

SSPlushie  TakaraRedBB

Then, happy but a little more broke than I intended to be, we left.  Because my god, if we’d stayed longer, I’d have spent my entire paycheck that I’d gotten on Friday and I had bills to pay.

If Botboy came to Louisville for this, he didn’t contact me.  I didn’t expect him to. And when we were at the convention, I didn’t see him meandering around, either.  Preferring to avoid the awkward, I was really ok with that, but Ormsby was a little disappointed (he, apparently, would like to meet him for some odd reason). He really wanted me to tell him where to find his Facebook profile so he could send him a message and tell him that he should go to dinner with us… Because a dinner with Botboy, Lord Ormsby, and Crazypants (me) at the same table would be… loads of fun… yes.  :S

I don’t know if I was expecting to run into him or not… I guess I was prepared for the possibility that we would.  Or, at least, prepared in the same way the way that water is prepared to move through a tube – seeking the path of least resistance… meaning if he’d spoken to me, I’d have responded.  If he didn’t, I wouldn’t have pushed it.  It didn’t really matter.  Running into Botboy wasn’t the point in the first place.  I knocked something off the bucket list (more cheaply than I would have if it had been in any other city, at any other time).  I have some things to remember the experience by.  I’m good with that.

Next on the list is BlizzCon…  and for that, when I finally manage to make it happen, you better believe I WILL be buying a fucking Golden Ticket. Or whatever they hell they’re called there. And I’ll be costumed as some of my own characters.

Big Changes

A lot has happened during the last couple of weeks.  Really big changes – some bad, some good… all of them completely altering the landscape around here a little.

First, I had to have Satine put down.  I know I wrote about that previously, so I don’t need to go into the whys.. but it’s sufficient to say that having to do that was the worst thing that I have ever had to do.  Not that she didn’t go peacefully (she did), and not that I did it prematurely (I didn’t), but it doesn’t matter whether it’s the right thing to do or not… it still hurts.  And, afterward, there wasn’t a thing that I could do to make myself feel better.  The house felt so empty.  I felt so lost.  I kept thinking I would hear her talking.  Or walking.  Or that I’d see her when I walked by her window.  Thing is, I truly believe that that WAS her… maybe I sound crazy, but the connection I had with that cat was very unusual.  So I believe that she is still here to some extent.  And I doubt she will ever leave me completely.

Four days later, Ormsby and I flew to Tampa.  It was the first time I’ve been back since my move up here.  I stayed away, primarily, to try to make the transition a little easier on myself – it’s impossible to live when I have one foot in one place and one foot in the other.  But I finally got so homesick over this last winter that I caved and bought tickets.  We stayed at a hotel on Rocky Point and rented a pretty awesome car.  I got to see all of my friends.

But there was something else to this trip – it was an exploratory one.  Because I really, really, really want to go back.  Permanently.  I made more money there.  I had a better job (and more opportunities) there.  But most of all, well, it’s sunny there.  And I was happier there.  Was I happy all the time?  No.  I do wonder whether some of that unhappiness could have been rectified by, say, a job change.  Or an address change.  Or a phone number change (or all of them, maybe).  Something not as drastic as what I eventually decided to do, but something that would, at least, put some distance between myself and the factors that were making me unhappy.

I want to move back.  But I don’t want to leave Ormsby.  And that’s my rock and hard place.  I love Ormsby.  I do not love Louisville.  I am able to separate the two, thankfully.  And so this trip to Tampa was more for him than for me.  I wanted him to see the city, experience the city, figure out what is so damned seductive about that place.  And he was amazed.  And he fell in love.  Enough to move there?  I have no idea.  I guess we’ll see when the lease is up.

For me, though… the winter here is pretty dreadful.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder… when it gets cold, when I can’t be out in the sunshine, it really gets me down.  And there’s just the fact that I do not like Louisville much.  I thought I’d be able to get back into the groove of things, but after Tampa, this city is, for me, a small town with big city ambitions that it will never quite reach.  When the biggest thing that happens all year is Derby (and all anyone thinks about after one race is over is when the next one is going to be), then it’s time to find something else to occupy the other weeks out of the year.  When a city must hold banquets honoring minorities just to prove that it’s not racist, then, I hate to break it to you, but the city is racist.  When pageant queens and Hooters competitions make the newspaper, it’s time to find better news coverage (maybe more than a blurb about all the black people that get shot on a daily basis, and what the police are doing to find the killers?).

Sure Tampa had its big events (Gasparilla, for example), but the point is, there is more than one.  And the entire city didn’t shut down just because of one thing… except the RNC.  But that was a special case that was pretty much out of anyone’s control. And then there’s the food.  OMG.  If you haven’t been to Tampa before, you should go… if for nothing else, than just to go to some of the restaurants there. But while you’re there, take in the rest of the city… I like to say that it’s one of the best-kept secrets in tourism.

So, anyway, the goal… at the end of the year… is to find a way to put myself back there.  And to bring Ormsby with me.  If he will go.  If he won’t, to be honest, I’ll likely go anyway – there is nothing worse than mentally suffering for six months just because the snow is on the ground.  It will be sad to leave him behind, but I can’t make myself suffer.  That’s just not fair.

When we got back, the biggest change of all happened.  After Satine passed, Ormsby and I were at Petsmart… just looking… and we found a kitty.  She was spoken for already, but the rescue society that had her had two others that needed homes.  I got first pick.  But, see, the downfall in that is that I can’t choose just one.  So I took them both.  One is female, about 10 months, orange.  I call her Cleo.  The other is a male, about 12 weeks, a gray tabby that looks like Satine a little bit.  I call him Milo.  They are a bonded pair… and it’s adorable to watch Milo follow Cleo around.

Yesterday we picked them up.  And I dropped about $400 on cat supplies.  Milo is at the vet today getting neutered.  Cleo is, at the moment, exploring the bedroom and sniffing my flip flops – which smell like Tampa, I’m sure.  They both purr a lot… and both are lap cats.  Of course I still miss Satine a lot.  But the house is definitely not empty anymore.  And I’m absolutely crazy about the new furballs that live here.

Surprisingly Homesick

So, almost a year after I moved back up to Kentucky, we’ve started house hunting.  It’s been an interesting endeavor… rental homes fall into three categories, the two biggest of which are either the ones that are too crappy to want to spend any time in, or the ones that are so nice that they are WAY over budget.  The third category, the one that, as Goldilocks says, is “juuuuuuuuuuust right,” in that they are not too expensive and not so run down that you wonder if there’s a meth lab hidden in the attic, are hard to find.

We finally found one that we both liked, that meets all of our requirements (three bedrooms, garage, kitchen with new appliances and, particularly, a dishwasher).  It’s also a closer commute for me, which was a very high value, as I am sick of driving an hour each way.  So I’m going to put an application down on it tomorrow.  Hopefully we get it… because that’s the other thing about looking for a rental house… everyone else is trying to get into those too, and they are few and far between.  So you lose more than you get.

I am looking forward to setting up a home again, to getting my things out of storage, to having a room where I can burn my incense and candles and oils and play with my tarot decks and do the things I used to do in Florida – I can’t do that in the apartment we live in now, because there’s not enough room to make a sacred space.  Ritual spaces would have to be taken down every time we needed to have a meal, people walk in and out a lot.

Beyond that, though, I am hoping that this place, this house, whatever we find, will help me with an even bigger problem that I have had for quite some time now… I am homesick.  So homesick, in fact, that I can’t even properly tell you how homesick I am.  It’s a new feeling for me because at no other time in my life have I ever felt this way.  Like, I grew up in Kentucky, I moved to Florida, and sure, here and there, I’d miss my family and my friends, but it was not an all-encompassing feeling the way that it is for Florida.  I always used to make a point never to put roots down anywhere… to stay flexible, malleable, able to do what I needed to do at a moment’s notice.  I fucked up and put some down accidentally, I guess.  Oops.

I miss my apartment and my things, of course, and it is my hope that this new house, when we get it, will alleviate that some.  Because then I will be able to see those things every day and feel more at home.  Or at least my cookware, appliances, books, etc. will be more accessible than they are now.

But it’s more than missing my shit.  I miss who I WAS there.  And I am afraid – not only that I may never live in Florida again, but also that I will never be THAT WOMAN again.  The woman who had her life together, who knew who she was, and what she wanted.  It’s not that I’ve changed THAT MUCH since I moved, but I’ve come to appreciate what I had there (the old adage of “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is true, folks).

Someone I knew at one point described Tampa as “terribly miserable (yet frustratingly seductive).”  I thought it was funny at the time, but now that I’ve been away from it, I’ve realized the truth in that statement.  It’s not that I was miserable there, per se, though the traffic was pretty terrible and Bucs games could pose a challenge to getting around.  And, of course, there was the work issues (though to be fair I might have been okay if I’d just grown a pair and found a completely different job).

But Tampa was, and is, unique.

I lived in a place that was pretty much a mixing bowl of every state, every culture, you could think of.  It was where everyone went for vacation, sure, but even the “locals” were from somewhere else most of the time.  I lived in a place where I could not only practice my “religion” (I use that term lightly as I do not put a name on it and I do not subscribe to any one faith) without fear of repercussion, and not only that, but I could spend my weekends with others LIKE ME.

My friends were from all over.  Many white, but just as many Hispanic or African American.  I was, in many places and in many situations, the minority there.  And I LIKED IT.  Here?  It’s funny.  I was talking about how much I missed the diversity to a woman I’d known all my life and her response was, “Well, you know, we’re getting a lot more Hispanics here now with the migrant workers.”  I was horrified… my friends there were not migrant workers.  They weren’t anywhere CLOSE to migrant workers.  They were smart, funny, intelligent people who were working in IT, or management, or the military.  They had families, they lived in nicer areas of town, they weren’t struggling.

I’m not saying that everyone in Kentucky thinks like that woman did, but her overall attitude that “this is what they are and this is why they’re here and this is how they’ll stay” is unacceptable to me.  It sickens me.  I wish that I’d never heard that statement, to be honest, because it’s something that will stay with me, more than likely, for the rest of my life.  And I’m not even saying that there’s no racism in Florida (we do have George Zimmerman, for example).  But it’s not as common there.  I’m sure there are undertones of it that I simply didn’t see.  But it’s not as bad as it is here, where cities need to have banquets to celebrate their diversity (if you need to draw attention to how diverse you are, people, in reality you probably aren’t).  Or where Kim Davis can refuse to sign marriage licenses and have people support her for doing it.  Florida may be a red state, but its attitudes are, largely, very blue.

Tampa made me shed a lot of the things I was once comfortable with… and in their place, it forced me to develop a lot of new attitudes, beliefs, hobbies, and tastes (in food, clothing, you name it).  I miss it every single fucking day.  I can’t even tell you how often my mind takes me back there so that I can visit.  Sometimes this is, literally, the only way that I can fall asleep.  Sometimes, my dreams of the place are so vivid that I don’t want to wake up.  In my world, we call that Astral Travel, and it was something I could never do there.  But here?  I have no problems.  And sometimes I go to the most ridiculous places… the Michael’s parking lot, the Publix where I used to get my groceries.  Sometimes I’ll go to more common places – Ballast Point, for example, or the lake behind my apartment that I used to do miles around every night.

But, of course, for all that I want to go home right now, I can’t.  The debt, from this move, is up to my eyeballs, and I need to pay it off before I can think about going anywhere.  I have school to finish.  I need to at least develop the training program where I am working now to the extent that it can run itself if and when I do decide to relocate.  And of course there is Ormsby.  Who I desperately want to take with me, but who, I concede, may not ever want to go at all.  That is, of course, the biggest thing that keeps me here, debt be damned.

I’ve planned a trip in February.  And Ormsby will come with me… and I’ll show him the places I loved most of all.  Maybe we’ll see a rainbow.  Or the elusive lighting/rainbow combination (though probably not, since that’s not the right season for that).  And, whether he goes with me or decides to spend more time on the beach, I’ll see my friends.  And I’ll smoke a hookah and have some rum runners. I may not want to come back once I’m there (I mean who would WANT to come back to the cold when you can wear flip flops in February), but at least, for a few days, I’ll be in the place where I put down more roots than I ever intended.

** And, of course, any of my Tampa contacts should email me at their earliest convenience so we can make plans. **

Ashley Madison’s Revelation

Cheating is stupid.

Cheating on people that have the know-how and the motivation to find what they need to find (ie: nerds – particularly the hacker kind) takes the word “stupid” to a whole other level.

And the people that made profiles on Ashley Madison… a site that bases its money, its reputation, its livelihood on selling extramarital affairs?  Well… let’s just say that, in my opinion, they got what they deserved.

Because cheating… no matter the circumstance… is never okay.  “What about the people in open relationships?” you may ask.  Well, if they are open to begin with and both parties agree to that openness, then you can’t call that “cheating.”

Cheating is done willfully, for many motivations, but, no matter how you spin it, it grows out of ego… out of selfishness… out of an inability to consider the other person in the relationship, and to put their needs, their feelings above your own.

And if it’s retaliatory cheating?  It’s still not an excuse – because cheating is something you don’t EVER have to tolerate.  You can just leave the relationship… Leaving solves a lot of problems in that instance: the spouse/significant other that was cheating is no longer cheating, you don’t have to deal with their selfish ass anymore – not to mention you’ve opted out of all of the suspicion and drama you’d probably deal with after you “worked it out.” And, of course, there’s the knowledge that, if you find someone else you want to date, you can do so freely – without the constraints of another relationship, without worrying about the lies, and the sneaking around, and the bullshit that is inevitably associated with something that is dishonest.

So I didn’t feel sorry for the people that had all of their information published.  Why should I?  I do not cheat.  Even when I was in a marriage that was completely and totally useless, I never cheated.  And if I find out that someone has cheated on me?  I fucking leave.  End of story.

Still… I have a lot of exes.  And there’s been some suspected infidelity involved with those exes (theirs, not mine). I got a little curious… and I tried to get my hands on that list.  Or, at least, a way to filter through that 10 gigs of data, because even I don’t have that much spare time or inclination to look at EVERYONE’S names (though admittedly, that would have been a wealth of blog fodder to go on for the next five years).

When I finally found a search engine that would let me find users by the email addresses they used to subscribe, I knew which address I wanted to run first.  Botboy’s.  I can’t say why… I can’t even say that I was going to be surprised if it did.  Because if any of my exes had a profile up there, I knew it would have been him.  And something in me knew exactly which of his many email addresses he’d use if he were going to sign up for that site…

And on my first try, I got a hit.  Photo attached for those of you that need proof – or as much proof as I’m willing to give.  You’ll have to trust me here.

nebedit

Now… like the site says, I can’t prove that he signed up for this (perhaps it’s not him at all).  I can’t even prove that if this really is him, he signed up for this when he and I were talking… this could be a holdover from his prior marriages for all I know.  Or it could have happened long after I left Tampa.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that this speaks volumes about his character.

And, as I also predicted, I wasn’t surprised.  I laughed, actually.  And when Ormsby asked me who that email address belonged to, I told him.  And he laughed too.

Because, you see, I made a decision over a year ago now based on one conversation in a parking lot that I had with Ormsby.  It was June 2014, and I was getting on a plane to go back to Tampa.  Ormsby and I had spent that weekend together and, not wanting to leave him hanging… the way that so many of my predecessors had, I asked him what he wanted me to do about it.  I gave him the option, you see, of having me… of foregoing the “waiting” that I was doing for a (or so I thought) deployed Botboy.

Rather than take what I was offering, Ormsby said the thing that set him apart from any other person I have ever dated: that he didn’t want to do anything, or make any decisions, as long as I was waiting for Botboy… that he could not do that to someone that was in his position.

And as I sat there on the plane, heading home, back to work, back to waiting for Botboy, I realized something: Ormsby was the better man.  Because what he’d said, what he’d done for Botboy – a man he didn’t even know… a man that, truthfully, didn’t even deserve that kind of consideration… that is something Botboy would NEVER have done for him if the tables had been turned.

This Ashley Madison revelation… it was further proof of what I already knew.  And now that that’s all behind me, I didn’t really NEED the proof.  I already HAD the proof – a year and a half of waiting for absolutely nothing, of being left hanging, of being, in essence, the fallback girl… that was all the proof I really needed.  And even though the Botboy chapter has, in all honesty, been closed ever since I chose to fly up to Louisville in July of 2014 to save Ormsby instead of waiting for the Botboy, who was due back in town at any moment, it still felt good to see the confirmation, in all its glory, on a computer screen.

Scared Shitless

It’s exactly one week until the madness of school and work (simultaneously) begins.  With the release of one of my class schedules a full week early, I’m happily confident that the classes themselves won’t be a problem.  In fact, I think I knew that from the beginning… since my last experience with college was graduate school, and I’m going back for an undergraduate degree (so the work load will be significantly easier).  And, of course, there’s the fact that I’m majoring in something completely different this time (Communication vs the History degree I have already) that requires a lot less reading than before (one book per class vs. seven or eight in the History department).  And at any rate, I have always been good at school, having the ability to hear or read something once or twice and remember it, and the writing quotient… which is nothing.

No… school doesn’t scare me.

Work scares me.

It has been eight months since I left my full time job in Tampa and moved up here.  I’ve dabbled with Ormsby’s business, of course, played a whole fuck load of World of Warcraft, and have focused on my relationship – a needed change in my  life that required that attention toward the beginning.  I’ve had a lot of interviews, I’ve retooled my resume several times, and am happy to say that the last major overhaul had a fairly significant role to play in getting this new job that I start on the 24th.  I interview pretty well, too, as I’m well-spoken and am very good at giving clear, concise answers when asked a direct question (Dad used to say I had an answer to everything – he was right about that).

But you know what… now that I have a job, now that I’m starting said job, that I earned by the qualities of my resume and not because I was in the right place at the right time, I’m scared shitless.  But let’s begin at the beginning.

My tenure in Tampa began with a document management company.  I started as their receptionist and had aspirations of moving into Accounting, because I’d dabbled in that before during Louisville Part I and liked it.  I liked the self-reliant aspect of it, the fact that with those numbers in front of me, I could get lost in them and not have to answer phones or talk to anyone.  It’s a good profession for an introvert (as long as I made my math-phobias get out of my way).  Receptionist was not so much, but they didn’t get many direct calls to the line, and I spent my very short, ten day tenure, as a receptionist there making tea for the owner and running personal errands.  My only beef was that they would not let me drive my own car and, as I have serious anxiety about driving any car but my own, that wasn’t a good fit, but I needed a job.  It wasn’t a great paying job, but I needed it.  And it was enough to squeak by for awhile.

Ten days into the Receptionist tenure, the Trainer quit.  Rather than hire a new one of those, and I guess recognizing that I was more intelligent than what was required for a Receptionist at that company, I was offered the job and a raise.  I took it because, I mean, hell… more money.  It’s a no-brainer.  I was scared shitless of training people, especially since I didn’t really know my way around a computer (and still don’t for the most part, but I’m better now than I was in 2010).  But I took my test account home one night and learned that program backward and forward.  And then I blundered through the first few trainings with live clients.  In a month or two, I was relatively comfortable with it.  And by six months, I was training in my sleep.  Because it was the same program every day… three times a day… I repeated myself so much that I didn’t even have to look at my computer anymore.

The company I worked for was pretty lax.  And by lax I mean that they served alcohol pretty much all day, YouTube and Wii were highly encouraged during working hours, and the pranks that we played on each other during vacation times were over the top (and funded by the owners).  Work didn’t feel like work because of this, and also because I could dress casually every day.  Like jeans and a T-Shirt casually.  And barefoot.  Or flip-flops if I really needed shoes.

Two years later, one of the systems that the Document Management company had developed was sold to a larger insurance company and thirteen of us, myself included, went with the acquisition.  I got a fifty percent raise and more vacation time than I could ever use (at least that’s what I thought then), simply for taking the job offer and continuing to do the same job I’d done every day for the last two years.  The culture didn’t change (though maybe it should have… because the sexual harassment at work started with that transfer) in that we were still able to wear what we wanted, but we couldn’t drink anymore and the pranking fell by the wayside.  There was no onsite HR and management was overloaded and understaffed, so people still pretty much got away with anything and everything.  I didn’t really take the time to consider whether I was doing things that made me worth the 40-50 thousand a year I was making.  Because that was just what it was, and I was lucky to have a job like that.

I moved back to Louisville, though, eight months ago, feeling entitled to something that was the same as what I’d had before.  I mean I’d done it for four years, I had (presumably) been worth that salary (and had gotten used to having extra money in my pocket every month).  I wanted my life back.  And finally, after a lot of interviews, and a lot of hoping, and a lot of wondering why the fuck that wasn’t happening as easily as I thought it would, I found it.  And I start it on Monday.

But now that I have it?  I realize just how lucky I was to find what I found in Tampa.  Luck is not a translatable skill, but you know what, Luck is how I got that job there, and Luck is how I got that transfer.  It had absolutely NOTHING to do with SKILL, and that’s the point.  All of my other jobs I’ve gotten either because they were brainless and needed to be done and I applied for them and got them for no particular reason other than the fact that I played World of Warcraft (seriously, this got me the job at the document management company, as well as the job at the plumbing company in Louisville in 2009) or because I happened to be in the right place at the right time (in other words, Luck).  I got this new job based on merit… merit that I’m not really sure I deserve, despite what my resume says (because let’s face it… Word will be still and let me type ANYTHING on it).

I’m scared shitless that I’m going to walk in there a week from today and I’m going to find that I really have absolutely no idea what the fuck I’m doing, that I was being overpaid in my last position, and that I would be better off settling for a $12 an hour receptionist position because I suddenly find that there is no way in hell that I can do this on a bigger scale (webinars vs. in person training; one technical manual vs. ten very specialized ones).

I am terrified.  And I’ve never wished for time to slow down more in my life… because I feel like I could use a few more weeks to find my (figurative) balls, pull the badass out of retirement, and prepare for the inevitable… whatever the inevitable will be.

The Start of Something New

I’d really been missing Tampa lately.  And for the life of me, I couldn’t really figure out why.  Because the weather in Kentucky during the summer is just as hot as (if not a little smellier than) it is in Florida.  The humidity is still sticky, the roads are just as crowded.  And of course, when I was in Tampa, all I ever really wanted (or worked for) was a stable relationship… and I never truly found it.  But, then, I had enough income there to keep me satisfied… and so the only thing I really NEEDED to work for was finding a relationship that was great enough to keep.

Some days I’d miss the weather (who wouldn’t?).  Other days I’d miss the Dunkin Donuts that I’d stop at once or twice a week on my way to work.  Or I’d miss getting to hang out with my friends on weekends. Most of all, though, I’d miss my apartment.  It was the first place that I’ve ever had that *really* belonged to me.  That I had outfitted all by myself.

I’d walk in the front door, into my living room.  My TV, with its cable box humming happily below as it recorded stuff on the DVR, would be the first thing I saw, sitting next to my five shelf bookcase.  To my right would be my constantly-extended futon (it seemed more practical to have it in bed mode instead of couch mode) with my laptop sitting on top of it, waiting for a World of Warcraft session.  On the far right wall would be my seven foot tall bookshelf, and the floor to ceiling (pretty much) windows) – a lamp in front, on an antique table, my grandmother’s old trunk at its base, as well as  book overflow that did not fit on the two bookshelves. (Books organized alphabetically by author’s last name.)

On the left would be my dining area, with my kitchen table (circa 2002 – when I got my first condo) set up neatly… sometimes looking as if it were a dining room table with tablecloths and placemats.  Or, sometimes, depending on the phase of the moon, would hold my altar cloth and candles… oils… tarot… whatever I’d be working with that month.  The kitchen existed next to the dining area, with a fridge full of whatever it was I’d be eating that week, and a pantry that held not only dry and baking goods but also my laundry machines.

Further back you’d have my bathroom, decorated in Alice and Wonderland décor (most of it things I created myself).  And my bedroom… with its red and black comforter and sheet set, my filing cabinet, my nightstands and another (much older) TV with my Roku and Netflix for watching before I fell asleep.

And let’s not forget my balcony… a screened in porch that sat off my living room, where my cat and I would sit, watching the water spray up from the lake behind the complex… she’d be watching the ducks.  I’d be painting.

You could walk in the door and you’d know, immediately, that I was a girl who liked to read.  I was a girl that would occasionally relax with the television (for select shows) but more often than not spent the evenings whiling away her time on the patio with her paintings and creativity… or gaming… or else cooking up something in the kitchen. And that’s what Tampa stood for to me… it was a life I’d created all on my own, it revolved around me and what I wanted to do, and my house, like everything else, reflected who I was and the things that were the most important to me.

But then I realized… when I really got down to it, when I really thought about it, it wasn’t TAMPA I missed at all.  It had very little to do with the town itself, but more or less the fact that I was missing the things that I had created, had specifically chosen, to do because they represented who I was.  It was going to the places downtown that I loved because I loved them.  It was having my little quirks and hobbies.  It was having my apartment, full of my stuff, that I had created into a refuge for myself to exist in, on good days and bad days.

I’d chosen to leave it for Ormsby.  And I don’t regret, not even for a minute, doing what I had to do to make Ormsby a permanent fixture in my life.  Because if I had not moved, he and I would not be doing this.  Life with him has been worth it.  But that’s the thing… my life has, at least since I moved, revolved around him.  Around his business.  Around his hobbies.  Because I have to save money; I still have to pay my bills (particularly my storage one, because some day I WILL have my space back, and I will want all of my things). Until then, what I had was World of Warcraft and the running that I do.  WoW was paid for.  The running is free.  It wasn’t everything, but I was pretty satisfied.

Finding employment, at least until this last week, has been a challenge.  And so I re-enrolled at the University of Louisville as a full time student last month, hoping to get a second degree that would make finding a job easier.  I’ve been looking forward, since then, to having those classes… having something that I could do on my own.  I kept applying to places, but was content to settle with a part time job that would coincide with school.

At least until last Friday.  I got the call that changed everything – a law firm that I’d applied to and interviewed with two months ago called me at 8:30 to offer me a position.  It was exactly the position I’d been looking for ever since I moved – Training and Technical Writing… full benefits… and a salary that is equal to the salary that I left behind in Tampa.  I thought about it for a weekend… only because I was dead set on school and I wasn’t sure whether I could balance them both.  But today I accepted it.  And I downgraded my school schedule from full time to part time… I still want that degree.  I see the benefit in HAVING that degree. For the sake of making myself more marketable in the field I’m in now, but also for the possibility of branching into others.

I don’t intend to move out of the apartment I now share with Ormsby.  This was only supposed to be until I got on my feet, but we like living together. And to be honest, I can’t imagine my life without him anymore.  But I have the essence of myself back… or at least I have the part that made self-sufficiency possible.  Because, see, I like being with Ormsby because I CHOOSE to be with Ormsby… not because I depend on him for survival.

My stuff is still in storage, yes, and it will stay there for the foreseeable future until I can pay down some debt and recoup my finances from eight months of job seeking, and until I can find a bigger place for us to live.  But I don’t have to consider which necessities to sacrifice for others.  I don’t have to stay away from Victoria’s Secret or Smoothie King anymore.  I can, in essence, afford the little things that make life pleasant, and therein, be more satisfied (even though I will be crazy busy).

Everything (school and work) starts August 24.

I can hardly wait.  🙂

A Eulogy to My Old Dorm

They tore my old dorm down today.

Well… I don’t know that it happened today, but it happened fairly recently – recently enough so that the equipment was still there and only the elevator shaft was still standing.  Lonely.  Like some sort of monument to what used to be there.

I didn’t know it was going to happen.  I wish I had.  I’d have gone to take photos before it came down.

I’m pretty upset about it.  And it surprises me that I feel this upset about it… it was, after all, just a building. And it’s not like I spent a whole lot of time there, preferring, instead, to be at my friends’ dorm on the other side of campus (which is, at least for the time being, still standing).

But this is where it really started for me.

I moved there, after the summer, not knowing what to expect and, really, seeing it as a means to an end since my plans were to get married to my then boyfriend right after college.  Things didn’t work out for us… we broke up while I was sitting at my desk in that dorm (he’d gone to college in Indiana).

I made friends.  Not thanks to that dorm… in fact none of my friends lived in that dorm.  But that dorm meant I did not live with my parents, I did not have a curfew, and I was free to come and go as I pleased.

I had internet access again.  And I used it.  Oh god did I use it.

While living there, I reconnected and had an (albeit short lived) affair with 1.0… who broke my heart while I sat in my desk chair (ironically the SAME desk chair I got dumped in at the beginning of the year) in January of 2002.

I can’t tell you how many dates picked me up from that parking lot and walked me to that door.  Seriously.  I lost count.  I don’t even remember all of their names (because not everyone I go out with is worthy of a nickname).

This was the dorm room I lived in when I lost an entire research paper (that was stored on a floppy drive) hours before it was due – I had to stay up all night recomposing it from memory so that I could turn it in on time.

I consequently bought a new computer the next day that had a CD Burner (cutting edge technology in 2001).

This was where, after coming in from a Psychology exam, I watched (on TV) the Twin Towers fall on September 11, 2001.  And where I listened as all of the planes that were in the vicinity of Louisville were grounded (and flew directly overhead as we were very close to the airport).

This is the dorm room where I found (after three years of no contact) Emperor Slade/Buttface, in the chat room that had replaced HotelChat.

And the dorm room where I spent hours on the phone with him.  And 1.0.

I lived in this dorm room while I dated The Professor.  This meant I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in that room, as I was either traveling up and down the road to Bowling Green, or sleeping in a random hotel off of Newburg Road, but when we weren’t driving a lot, or that week when he was on some Debate trip, that’s where I was.

This is the dorm room where I learned my real mother’s name.  And where I was given the ring she’d requested be put away for me.  And it’s the dorm room where I struggled, after finding all of that out, with what to do with the information. Ultimately I decided to do nothing – I regret that now.

I still have the bedspread that went on that bed.  I still have (and use) the green Yaffa blocks that sat in the corner.

I lived here when I made my first (secret) trip to New  York City in 2002.  Partly to see 1.0 (who had already dumped me by that time – but I still had the tickets, so I used them), but mostly to see the city.  The trip was terrifying… it was just a few months after 9/11 and with the new, tighter security measures in place, I didn’t know what I was doing.  Granted, it was also the first time I’d flown alone so I probably wouldn’t have been very good at it before that happened either.  My parents STILL do not know that happened.

My dad still has my old refrigerator in his garage.  He uses it to store cold drinks for mowing days.

It wasn’t all fun and games…

The kitchen was three floors down… so I almost never used it.

The Spring Break security staff was very lax… so lax that they let my parents in without keys (and they were the LAST people I wanted to see) in 2002.

I remember fighting for toilets (because there were only three on our floor) and for showers (there were only two on the entire floor).

But I also remember looking at the showerhead every morning… perplexed and intimidated by the “self breast exam instructions” that someone had hung up there.  I also wondered why I would ever need to do that, since I barely had any to speak of in those days, and they were regularly getting mauled by one of said boyfriends.

Oh and I hated having to wear flip flops in the shower because no one wants athlete’s foot.

And how my shower caddy never really dried out very well since it had to travel back and forth and eventually molded.

But at least my dorm room was next to the bathroom.

And the stairwell.

RIP Wellness Hall.

Guess I missed you more than I was willing to admit.

The Difference A Year Can Make

Almost a decade ago, I met a photographer in a coffee shop to talk about a magazine he was starting up in the Louisville area.  We became friends but lost contact when I got married.

Eight and a half years after we met, we reconnected and shared our first kiss in the parking lot of the hotel I’d rented for the weekend.  Two days after that, we decided we couldn’t keep our pants on around each other anymore, had really awesome sex, and I extended my trip by a day so we could have more time together.

We lived in two different states, and neither of us thought (or planned) for things to go anywhere beyond that weekend, except maybe a rendezvous when I visited Kentucky for the holidays.

Boy were we wrong.

Six months after our first kiss, I moved back to Kentucky and in with him, and we made things Facebook official.

A full year after that first kiss and nine and a half years after we first met, we are on our way to New Orleans – for both business and a vacation.

Life is pretty good.

Ten Ways You Know You’ve Found the Right Guy

10.  He loves your cooking. Like… even if you think you’ve completely fucked up a dish, he’ll eat it anyway, and will genuinely like it.

(Granted, it probably STILL tastes better than anything he could possibly make for himself.)

9.  You feel like you won the fucking lottery every morning. Even if your bank account is on Empty, you have no viable job offers, and the only real plans you have for that day are making him a toasted turkey sandwich with bacon and maybe watching “Grace and Frankie” that night.

8.  The sex is so amazing that you’re still thinking about it hours later. In fact, it’s so amazing that thinking about it hours later got you both so turned on that you did it again. And the cycle continues…

(Also, you can do it every day, multiple times a day, and you still aren’t tired of him.)

7.  Conversations sometimes take the form of completely incoherent noises and you both still understand each other perfectly.

6.  When planning vacation budgets, he budgets for all your oddities… like Voodoo supplies and a new Tarot deck. Even if he has no idea what any of those things are for, and thinks you’re weird for using them.

5.  He makes your boobs grow. Not because you’re pregnant. Not because you’ve had work done.  But because you’re going through another puberty.  And neither of you has any legitimate explanation for that other than maybe once he thought to himself, “I wish these were just a tad bit bigger.”

4.  He tells you you’re sexy. Often. Even when you’ve just rolled out of bed wearing sweatpants, a baggy shirt, your hair is a royal mess, and you haven’t decided for sure whether or not you’re actually awake for good.

3.  The best part of your day is waking up with him… and going to bed with him… even if he smacks you in his sleep in the middle of the night.

2.  He’s worth breaking every single one of your dating rules for… and the only time you even think about them anymore is to wonder why you stuck to them so rigidly in the first place.

1.  Almost a year after your first date, the only real regret you have is that you didn’t get together sooner.