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Britt

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I miss my mom. [13 Feb 2019|05:22pm]
[ mood | sad ]

I've been feeling under the weather since Saturday, with the last few days really being bad. Last night I had some of that Hormel chili with the tabasco in it, & I could barely taste it. I couldn't smell it at all. I was taking a shower this morning & was thinking about that, & I thought to myself "I'll call mom after I'm done in here & tell her about that," Then I remembered that I can't.

I miss my mom so much. Some days, it's easier to handle. Other days it just blindsides me. I miss talking to her. I miss calling her. I miss talking to her about anything & everything. I called her all of the time when I wasn't at work. The last time I spoke with her, I was at work & I had to keep the conversation short because of it. The day she had her brain bleed, I had planned on calling her once I was done my errands & ate something. I never got to. I was just a little too late, as I got that phone call right in the middle of making a sandwich.

4:15 pm. I saved a screenshot on my phone of my calls that day. Well, most of them anyway. But it was 4:15 pm that I got that call. I took a screenshot of the last conversation I had with my mom. That was august 29, at 5:11 pm. I spoke with her for 7 mins, 51 seconds. I hate that my last conversation with her was at work, where I was limited on time.

It's tough at home too, because she gave me so many items for home that make me think of her. So many of my kitchen items came from her, from knives to my can opener. The tray I use to make my sandwich, that came from her. My pizza pan? From her. Many of my bathroom items came from her as well. The folding wooden table I use as a computer table? This came from her, & she had it sent here directly to me. (Same with the other folding card table. That one, she surprised me with. It served as a good computer table for about a year & a half, when I finally retired it due to it starting to sag in the middle)

I feel like my dad did after everything happened. I haven't cleaned up my place because I haven't wanted to move anything around. So many of my things are exactly where they were when things were normal. I can't bring myself to clean up or move things, or even throw some things away, because it was from when things were normal. My big shampoo bottle of Paul Mitchell shampoo that mom got me last year, it finally ran out a few weeks ago. I put the bottle under my bathroom sink because she gave it to me. I can't bear to throw it out. I know it's not healthy to do this, but I can't help it. I want everything I can keep from her. I know I'll have to do it sometime, throw these things away, but in the meantime, I still have them.

I recently brought back a couple of boxes that were stored in a back room at work that were from home. Stuff my mom packed when they sold their house & I had to put in storage since I was sort-of homeless at the time, & had no where to keep any belonging. I had looked in one of those boxes, hoping that I'd find the Life boardgame as I had written "Life" on the box. I did find it, but I couldn't help but feel upset at the fact that the last time that box had been open, it was my mom packing it. Before I took that game out of the box, my mother was the last one to touch it. It was like my dad, who refused to move anything my mom left in the house. He didn't move her computer, her glasses, her pen. She was the last one to touch them. I understand that completely.

I just want to talk to my mom again. She's not gone, but she can't talk. She can't move. She's not made any real progress just yet, especially after her setback in December. Things are so tough right now with everything that's happened with work & Eric's dad, & I don't have her to talk to. I need her more than ever right now. :(

The bad news just keeps coming, too. We're now in the dilemma that the insurance companies are now a big problem. Medicare benefits ran out for her & won't cover anything anymore. My dad's military insurance stepped up to help cover things, but there's a remaining 25% of the bill that my dad is responsible for. What's that come down to each day? $500. A DAY. We don't know what we're going to do.

Anyway, I just needed to spill my heart out somewhere. I miss my mom so bad today, it hurts. </3

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First update of 2019. [11 Jan 2019|04:38pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

It's been a little while. I've been too preoccupied with... Well, nothing really. Eric is still unemployed. Things still look hopeless. I don't even know if I've been this depressed before, not even after the fire. At least all we lost was just physical possessions & memories, though Mopar still upsets me. A life was lost then. This is different though. We've lost a loved one, my mother has been unable to communicate, & now Eric has lost his job & everything is up in the air. His dad isn't around to help us. My mom isn't here to help me figure things out. It's scary. I think my health care has lapsed, & I don't even remember how to do it again. I've been in that much of a fog, I don't remember these things, especially since she had initially helped me out.

Mom has taken a few steps backwards since I last updated. Throughout December, we noticed she had been getting more lethargic & sometimes almost unresponsive to anything going on. It was concerning, & I remember having a very tough conversation with someone at the facility about what to do once her traech was removed. (I forgot how to spell that word, so excuse the typo) Having someone talk to us about mentally preparing ourselves for the chance that she may die, it messed me up pretty bad. Paired with what's been going on with Eric, & that day we visited my mom, I spent most of it sitting in a corner trying not to fall apart. I think Dad thought I just didn't want to be there, but he doesn't realize how much the work thing has messed things up & how hopeless I truly feel about things.

Fast forward to Christmas Day. I went to Salem to meet with my dad & my brother to go see my mom. We had the Christmas cards with us. We helped her hold the pen while she made her mark, though the pen didn't write too well on the card. She made a scribble, while the rest of us signed it. I worried I may have been too gloom-and-doom when I wrote about Eric's father. Something like "We miss you, Dell. 9/14/48-7/15/18" I thought it was worth noting because Eric had signed our card last year, & had said that his father began fighting cancer in 2017. I hated to be the one to write that he lost that battle. (Might I further note: Fuck cancer.) Dad read her a cute little Charlie Brown book about lve. A kids book really, but it was cute. We stayed there for a while before heading back to Salem, where Kyle & I opened up one or two presents right there in that cold parking lot. We got a dash cam, & I got a meatloaf pan.

I'm going to deviate for a moment to talk about Christmas, since I'm already here. I came back home to find everyone waiting for me. As usual, I wrapped Eric's gifts super last minute, & hurried downstairs so we could open presents before Lois arrived. (Robin & Dave had come over, too) Eric's mother got us some sort of air fry toaster oven things. As usual, she got spendy & bought multiple, saying that Eric could bring one to work & I could bring one to my work. Seems excessive, especially since we don't get lunch breaks & I don't have time to cook anything at work, but ok. I got some sort of long-sleeved shirt as well, & some really hideous cold weather gloves that I mistook as household cleaning gloves at first. I like the gloves she got me before, so I'll likely use those instead of the rubbery orange gloves. I do wish she had gotten me cleaning gloves though, that would've been handy. Or even those silicone oven gloves, since I have a single oven mit & one potholder. (I'm very poorly equipped for handling hot items. Paper towels are what i primarily use) Robin & Dave gave us a couple of things as well. Eric got one of those tac-lights, & we both got a gift card for Cumbies. Eric opened up my gifts then. I got him customized Coca-Cola bottles, with names borrowed from the Impractical Jokers Name Game things. The first bottle he pulled out of course was Cranjis McBasketball, & he started laughing. I did throw one bottle in that wasn't Impractical Jokers related though & had his name put on it. Everyone seemed surprised about the custom botltes & wondered where I got those or how I learned of it. (Facebook ads had come in play there.) I handed him his last gift, which was very small. He opened it & was confused about the box for screen protectors until I told him to open it. His jaw dropped when he saw it. Way back in September I got us both tickets to see the Impractical Jokers on their live tour, & I got us seats only 11 rows back from the stage. Of cours I was pretty excited about it & had to wait three months to keep it a secret. I guess it was a good thing I got those though. Back in September, I had no idea how much some laughs would be needed. (Plus I got them far enough back that affording them wasn't a problem) After that, we had dinner, which Eric's mother overcooked the beef of course. Die Hard was playing on IFC all day long so we had that playing. I also tried making my blood orange cosmo for everyone. Apparently I drink my drinks way too strong for everyone's tastes though, so the next time I make them for anyone else, I'll have to try to remember to make them light. Eventually though, I did get over-socialized & ended up sneaking off to go to bed & enjoy some quiet. It just really got to me how different this Christmas was, especially for/with my mom. :(

Anyway, back to my mom. Fast forward two days later, the 27th. I went up north with Eric & we were going to go down with my dad. The plan was to go see my mom, & then we'd come back just as Kyle was back from work & we'd watch Super Troopers 2 & order pizzas. When we arrived north, my dad was tired. He woke up at 2:30 in the morning & hadn't been able to sleep. I even wondered if it was wise to go to & from Boston being tired like that, but he wanted to go, so we headed down. We got there to find my mom sitting up in her wheelchair, & found out that an ambulance had been called to take her to Beth Israel. Apparently she was headed to the emergency room. They moved her to her bed, so we had to step out. When we went back, there were the paramedics getting ready to transport her. At first we debated what we were going to do. Dad said "We may as well go home," but I didn't like havnig her sent off to the hospital & being alone after we saw her for literally just a few minutes. I think dad was hoping we'd go, because as soon as I suggested we go he asked if I wanted to go ride with mom. I said yes, so I hurried to catch up with the paramedics in the elevator. She had a short but bumpy ride over, & we went right in to the ER. Dad & Eric arrived just a couple of minutes before us. She was brought into a little "room" in the ER so they could do what they needed to for tests. I couldn't help but notice how this ER visit was much different than my own, at a much quieter hospital in the middle of the night. Or maybe I just failed to notice because I was being brought in & had a neck brace on so I couldn't look around then. Seeing people literally everywhere being treated was jarring. (In hallways, etc) After a while, I went back out to the waiting room to keep Eric company.

After a few hours, we went to go get more parking garage stickers since we'd be parking there once more, & we got a bite at a Dunkin Donuts & got my dad coffee. When we got back, Dad & I traded off & I went into the ER to see my mom. It was horrible. She was sweating so much you could see it almost pouring out of her. Watching them take a swap to put in her nose to check for stuff like the flu was tough to see, because they had to put it so far into her nose. I had to get Dad back in the room as they asked me some questions about her care at the rehabilitation center, & I wasn't 100% sure on the answer. I remember someone telling me that they were going to check something with her liver, too. They had done some scans, & they were getting ready to do a blood transfusion. As soon as that was happening, more staff arrived with an ultrasound machine. I went back to the waiting room so there'd be one less person in the way. It was dark by then, so we just sat & watched the TV & waited & waited. I think it was just after 7 or so when I got a text telling me to come back in. Mom looked a lot less uncomfortable, & wasn't sweating profusely anymore. She was on antibiotics & other medicines I'm sure. We said our good-byes & then headed home.

From what I can understand, her shunt was the source of the problems. It was rubbing against her liver, causing irritation & infection, which is why the rounds of antibiotics the rehabilitation center were giving her didn't seem to be working. It didn't treat the cause. She had to undergo surgery to remove it & revert back to the external drain, so she went back into the neuro ICU. When we visited her, it was the same exact room she was in before. Room 620. Talk about deja vu. Her nurse, Tim, he was very nice. It made me feel better knowing she was in a place where there was always someone there. That was one downside of the rehabilitation center. We had to hunt someone down once to help clear my mom's throat when she got all clogged up because every member of staff was in a meeting, & the hallway was deserted. (I was not happy about that)

She's since undergone another surgery to reinsert the shunt, but this time it's on the left side of her head. I feel so bad because her hair was starting to grow back, & now she's had the other side operated on. I really hope that this time it'll be fine, & we won't have a repeat with the shunt rubbing against something & causing a problem. She's been put in a step-down room as well. As far as I know, she's still there & hasn't been moved to a rehabilitation center again. We're trying to get her much closer to us this time. That drive to Boston sucks so much because it's so far.

So it's been really hectic. Dad went to the hospital & was kept overnight as well this past week. Pneumonia. My head's been such a mess with all of this going on. Work has me scared, too. Things are changing, & I don't know how to do some of these things & it's scary. Yesterday I got so stressed out I actually went to the bathroom & threw up. I had to struggle to keep from puking again in the trash can behind the counter. Within a week, it'll just be me & one other person that's been at the stores longer than a month. It's not a comforting thought.

I'm constantly stressed with all this. I constantly feel like shit. I can't think straight. I can't focus. I can't sleep good. My appetite is erratic, & sometimes doesn't exist. I just wish everything would be ok. Eric losing his job, that's been tough. As if shit wasn't hard enough to begin with. Death & strokes, & then someone decides that a termination would be good. It sucks because Eric didn't even do anything wrong. He didn't steal. He didn't do drugs or anything. He did nothing wrong. He just disagreed with our boss on things. Things that most other people disagree with too, including a business owner I know.

Anyway, I have to cut this short because Eric & I have errands we need to run. One of the things Dad got me for Christmas was a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, so I'm going to treat myself to new books.

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Fuck 2018. [08 Dec 2018|12:55pm]
[ mood | scared ]

It's not even the end of the year, & I have to finally state it: 2018 was the worst year of my life. I'd gladly take all the bullshit from 2012 again if it meant that Eric would have his dad back, if I could have my mom back, if things could be normal again. I may have lost my home then, but we still have those people & work life was uninterrupted.

I'm horribly upset yet again because Eric got fired yesterday. Why? Because of a stupid miscommunication with a meeting, at least that was one reason given. From what I had heard though, it was already set in stone & if Eric had shown up anyway, he would've been fired. Our boss took the steps to hire someone & start them training, had someone already coming in to work, he already had his mind made up.

I'm beyond lost right now. I don't k now what to do. This all feels so wrong. This can't be like this. I'm literally crying at work & I don't even care what the customers think. I'm scared of what's to come. I'm worried what will happen. I can't pay all these bills myself! I don't know what we're going to do.

I've gotta go. Go figure, when I'm an emotional wreck it's a busy day of indecisive customers.

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A dream in a dream. [26 Oct 2018|10:07am]
[ mood | depressed ]

I have to open up at work shortly, so I must make this brief. However, I had one of those dreams-in-a-dream last night. In my dream, mom was with me. She & I were trying silly little drink recipes online, like for blueberry vodka lemonade & things like that. I remember we just made a few, but mom liked what she tried. Then the thought crossed my mind, "I wish we could still do this." Even though she was up & moving & talking like everything was normal, it was like I was having one of those dreams where you speak with a loved one after they had passed. Mom hasn't passed, so I asked her why she couldn't move. She got upset & said she didn't know why. I asked if she thought she could possibly move, or even try. Again, she didn't know. She couldn't understand what was going on.

Then I woke up, but I didnt' really wake up because I was still dreaming. And everything was the same ugly truth as I know it now. Then I really woke up, & I woke up upset & I am still upset. I cried all night last night & had hoped I'd feel a little more calmer in the morning after sleeping. I didn't.

The meeting we had on Wednesday was a really bad one. We didn't know she had a... Well, I forgot the proper terminology, but the word "bilateral" was used. It means she had stroke(s) affecting both sides of her brain, & that's why she can't move either side of her body. It wasn't just the right side of her brain affected, leaving hte left side weak or paralyzed. It was both. It's so upsetting because before the stroke in the hospital, she was doing so much better. She could lift a leg. She could move her arms. She had such a good chance then, & now she doesn't. Her care team did not seem optimistic about recovery given how poorly she's doing now. Recovery does takes many months, up to a year even, but they said that the first several weeks are a good indicator as to how it may go. Up until that stroke mid-September, she had better odds. Now I feel hopeless because she can't do anything. I don't even know how much she understands. I got a flicker of concern from her when my dad started to cry on the 20th, & she looked right at him. That's about as much emotion as I felt though. I had thought I saw a trace of reaction when my brother made a joke on Wednesday about a 4 letter word that started with "S." (The word in question was "snow," but Kyle said, "What, 'shit'?")

I can't grip the reality that it's very likely I may never have a conversation with my mother again. I was skimming through emails she sent me, & that's what got me last night. It was the thought that I'll probably never get another one from her again. And it hurts. It hurts so much. She's still with us, but she's not really with us. All she can do is move her eyes around some of the time to look at us. That's it. No communication of any kind. The therapist even asked her to close her eyes on command, since she could blink, but she couldn't do that.

It's time for me to open now, so I have to go. I'm just horribly upset, & I don't know what to do. This 12 hour shift is going to be so hard, especially since it's Friday & I have to try to seem ok while dealing with my usual Friday night idiots.

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Well hey. [02 Oct 2018|12:01pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I haven't had the time or energy to update this. My mom is still with us, although she is in worse shape than we was before that second stroke. She could move her arms & respond to commands, & even move her eyes around to look at us before. Now her eyes stay to the left, she can't respond to commands, & I noticed a droop to the left side of her face. I don't know for sure if that's new, as they only did the tracheotomy on Wednesday or Thursday so now she has no more tubes in her mouth or nose. The lack of tubes everywhere is an improvement though, & she looked far more comfortable than she had been. My dad played her some of her music on Saturday when he, Uncle Denny & I went to see her. She fell right asleep. She also was breathing entirely on her own, so that is another positive step. The nurse, Vicki, said that she was "very close" to being out of the ICU, so there has been some improvements. It's just upsetting to see her unable to look around at us or even squeeze dad's hand.

I just want her to get better. I miss my mom.

I dont' have time to update more. It's been busy at work of course. I haven't even finished my coffee. I just feel so depressed today. There's other things on my mind, but I'll have to elaborate later.

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An update. [17 Sep 2018|02:24pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

So I last updated Friday. Things were less worse on Friday. Some time between Friday & yesterday, things got much, much worse.

I was at work yesterday & I got a call from my dad. At some point within the last three days, my mother had another stroke. This one caused a lot of irreparable damage to her brain, & her left side would be entirely affected. We talked briefly about what this may hold for my mother. She'd need help for every day tasks, & my dad was worried she may be angry at life. My mother is not the person who wants help, & is a very active & busy person.

Well, that update was still better than the one I got just a couple of hours ago. My dad went back again, & I didn't know he was going back until I called to ask about heading north. I thought I could go get my car registration done & maybe an inspection, & Dad & I could go to Arnie's or something. Well, he was at the hospital when I tried his cell & he was talking to mom's doctor, & said he'd call back. I got a call back. My mother is not doing too good. My dad didn't give me details, as he's still there & was waiting for my aunt Sharon to arrive, but he said something along the lines of IF she pulls through, she'll need care for the rest of her life. He even said needing a ventilator. I guess the damage was much worse than I thought.

I'm sitting here, absolutely heartbroken, because he said it's not looking good. News like that doesn't help. I'm not even sure if my mother is going to survive this, & I don't even know how to brace myself for that. I'm scared. I'm really scared right now. I thought she was going to come out of this. She just looked at me on Wednesday. I can't grasp the possibility that it may have been the last time.

I just want my mother. I'm not ready for this. I want the doctors to be so very wrong. I want my mother to come back home. I want to talk to her. I want to hug her. I want to tell her I love her. I've told her this every time I've seen her at the hospital, & I had made a point to do so even before all of this because of Eric's father. He never got a one-last-chance with his dad. I made sure to tell my mother I loved her, because you just don't know. Even when Eric & I fight, as angry as I am, I'll still say it. Just in case.

I'm very scared & very upset right now. I don't know if I want to be alone, or if I need to be with someone. Eric is at work of course. I made myself eat something, relying strictly on the routine that has always comforted me so much. I may go to the store just to get out of the house briefly & keep myself busy, & get an iced coffee. Just to pretend it's normal summer, one last time. Routine.

I don't know what to do.

I also don't know what mood to pick. I'm depressed. I'm scared. I'm worried. I'm stressed. My insides feel like they're twisting & tightening up.

I don't know what to do.

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Happy birthday. [14 Sep 2018|06:21pm]

Today, Del would've turned 70 if he was still with us. It still breaks my heart to think about how Eric told me that his father had hoped to see his 70th birthday. He fell just two months shy of it. Eric & I talked about seeing Debbie yesterday, since she wanted to do something for Del's birthday, but we just didn't have time. Eric had family over, & we all went out to breakfast/lunch after we overslept. Next thing I knew, we had no time & we rushed to get my license renewed before meeting my dad, my brother, & my uncle Denny to go to Boston.

I don't know if I said this already, but just a couple of days before mom's stroke, I had thought about what I wanted for my birthday. The primary thought was just all 4 of us going out to dinner & being together. We were all together yesterday, but not in a way I had ever imagined. They also sedated her again after some problems with her lungs, so she wasn't awake at all & won't be for another day or two at least.

I mentioned how my brother told me her eyes were open. Well I finally got a chance to see her, & have her see me. Despite the backwards steps health-wise on Tuesday she had, which quite franky sent me into a panic when my dad didn't handle the news too well, her eyes were wide open on Wednesday when we went down. Kyle told me her eyes weren't open like that when they saw her. As dad talked, she looked at him, but I saw her glance at me quite a few times. When I talked, she looked at me. Same with Kyle. I don't know how much she was actually understanding, but I hope she at least was aware of us all being there. I'd like to hope so anyway, given how she was looking at me even when Dad was talking to her.

We went to see her again yesterday though & she was out because of her lungs. Uncle Denny came, & Eric finally got a chance to come down & see her. Denny had a hard time keeping himself together, & I caught Eric trying to keep from tearing up.

There's been other stuff happening in news of course. Just-downgraded tropical storm Florence is rolling into the Carolinas right now, which it's expected to be problematic due to the rain. The rain from it may reach us by Tuesday, so I expect a gloomy & very rainy day off on Tuesday.

There was also all sorts of explosions & fires from a possible over-pressurized gas line in Lawrence, Andover, & North Andover as well. When we left Salem yesterday, we noticed several fire trucks going towards Methuen, so I had checked to make sure there wasn't an accident on the highway we had to worry about. No, just numerous fires & explosions. For almost the entirety of our ride to Boston, I saw so many fire trucks headed that way. It was crazy. LOTS of firefighters from everywhere, even York Maine.

Anyway, that's all I feel like writing. I'm stuck at work today, tomorrow, & Sunday, so I thought I'd just take a brief moment to update before I had a customer come in.

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Weekend recap! [29 Aug 2018|05:02pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

I forgot how hard it was to type at home, since I have to reach UP to type. I need a real computer chair one of these days instead of this granny chair I got for free. I'd like this chair to be in another corner for casual relaxation, like reading a book. It sinks too much to be a real computer chair. It even makes the faint creaky noise like old chairs haha.

So I said I was going to write about the weekend, and here I am. Friday I headed up north, despite a very late start thanks to the paychecks arriving a day late. I had to detour to work to go get it, so I got lunch with Eric while I was there before heading north. I stopped to see my dad for a while, & we watched Mecum auto auctions for a while, at least when he wasn't trying to hit up the Red Sox re-run. Soon after, I headed over to the FIfes & we got ready to head up north. It was a mildly uncomfortable ride, as I had to share the back seat with two dogs, so it took a while for all three of us to get settled in back there. We made a stop at the liquor store so I could play bartender this weekend, made one more stop at a gas station, & were headed along our way.

I was so used to our long road trips that Eric & I would take to NJ that we were in the area before I really knew it. We arrived, got situated in, & I promptly made myself a cran-vodka. Or a Cape Codder, as I guess they're known as in the area. I had brought with me the handle I had gotten the day after Eric's father had passed, & it was good to finally crack that one open & finally start drinking it. The next day, we got up & went to a little "cafe" for breakfast. It was kind of a dumpy-looking little place, right next door to a Subway. When eating my breakfast, I kept smelling the Subway so my brain kept getting confused. I tried the Lobster Benny, since I enjoyed the lobster eggs benedict I had when I stayed at Dustin & Desiree's a couple of years ago, but the one I got was a far cry from the awesome meal I had at that restaurant elsewhere. The sauce was very thin & didn't taste all that great. The lobster was good though, & mixed in with the actual egg, that wasn't so bad. We hit up Shaw's after that to get some things for dinner, as it turned out we were not going to be eating at the harbor that night. I suppose that idea was for the best though. We did go over to the harbor & it seemed to be busier than usual, even for a Saturday. There were live bands playing at some of the restaurants of course, but we noticed the afternoon bar crowd didn't head out & leave so the bars didn't even open up. We hit up Enchantments first when we arrived though. I did not find those old cat clocks I had seen advertised a while ago, so I bought myself some cheap LotR necklaces. I finally own Arwen's pendant, even if it isn't exactly the same as the on-screen version. I also have to find silver chains for the necklaces, just like my Zelena necklace I got as well as my Deathly Hallows pendant. (I hate that I can't wear plated metal chains, but they irritate my skin so bad!) We got slices over at Pier 1 to hold us over for a while & had some ice cream before walking down to the harbor bridge & then leaving. I happily played bartender back at the cottage though & made my Cape Codders, as well as my Lemoncello Cooler that I enjoy so much. We had steak late, & I eventually zonked out from drinking so much vodka. Sunday, I spent most of the day sitting down on the rocks, trying to get some last minute relaxing in. It worked, & it was so nice & peaceful. I only wished that Eric had been able to join me, as he could've used that mental escape too. I thought about his dad of course & things going on, but up there, things just felt so distant & felt easier to cope with. All good things must come to an end though, & before long we were packing up & getting ready to head back. I watched movies on my iPod on the way back, & we arrived home before I knew it.

I would say it was a pretty good weekend in Maine. I did forget to mention the yardwork I helped with on Saturday, & I got eaten alive by mosquitos for doing so, but it was worth it. It was good to just be far away from everything that's been happening, far away from work, far away from things that have been getting me down. I focused on trying to remember bits of my old life, from a time when I did frequent the cottage several times, instead of this new chapter that's only very recently began. When I got back to the Fifes, I had to go down to Eric's store again & help him finish his order because of his severe sciatica. I had a couple of days where I did feel more relaxed & didn't dwell so much on things, so it didn't bother me so much when I was working on that order. (Unlike Friday, when I saw a customer pick up some Dona oils & Eric told me it was one of the last new things his father had put in, just a couple of weeks before he died) Of course, it's all coming back to me now & I feel worn down yet again. I couldn't help but think about this though when Eric & I went up north to go to the mountains & the arcade. The last time Eric had done that, it was with his father last year for his birthday, on August 15th.

So Eric & I finally did make it up that way yesterday. We got off to a later start than we had wanted of course, but Eric had a chiropractor appointment yesterday morning in the hopes it would help his sciatica. His sciatica has been so bad the last week & a half that he can barely walk & standing is very painful for him, & its been impacting his work & his sleep. Once we got done there & stopped at the Portsmouth store, we finally headed up. Oh, we did make a pit stop at a BK to hold us over until we ate at the Yankee Smokehouse, & the only reason why I find it noteworthy to mention is because I FINALLY hit up a Freestyle machine that had Surge. I was able to enjoy that delicious drink with my food. I forgot how very green it was though! Anyway, so we headed up & started off at the restaurant before going to lake Chocorua & seeing the mountains. I forgot how beautiful it was there, as it had been a couple of years since I had been up that way. (I had to work last year when he went, so it was a father-son thing for those two. In hindsight, that was the best way, but I had been upset I couldn't go) It was a bit cloudy out so the mountains were kind of shrouded in clouds, but it looked pretty cool that way. We then headed to Funspot to finish out the night, though we arrived late because Eric's check engine light came on & he was worried about it. (It did go off when we left Funspot. I had him stop & check his gas cap, as it had come on after he got gas, so it finally had cleared by then) I played pinball games first, with Black Knight 2000 being my first one. I played other games as well, though I realize now I didn't hit up Dig Dug or Centipede. The Galaga game was out of order, Duck Hunt was off, & when we tried to play Pong we gave up because the ball kept going underneath my "paddle" & I couldn't catch it. The Hercules pinball game was up & running this time though so I tried that, & then moved along to a very high tech & brand new Space Invaders game. That one took 4 tokens, but gave tickets. It's also very hard because as the aliens get closer to your bases, they speed up, just like Centipede. It was fun though, & very colorful! I'd like to play that one while drunk or something. I also found a Krull machine & played that, as well as a Star Wars game & I think one called Battlefield. I eventually did go to the Pink Panther machine because I'm a sucker for the thrill of knocking down tokens & getting a bunch of tickets, & then we moved along to Skeeball when an employee had to refill the Pink Panther machine with tickets. At one point, we hit up the Tavern inside the arcade. Eric thought it was brand new & asked when it had opened, to which the bartender said 1996. I reminded Eric that I always asked about checking it out but he never wanted to, so that's why he was unaware of it. I had a couple of drinks before moving back to games, & eventually it was nearly closing time & we left to go home.

Next week I'm going to Boston with Robyn. Unfortunately I'm already hearing it could be hot & humid then as well. I hope not, because she recommended I bring a backpack & walking around outdoors all day with a backpack on while it's 95 AND humid will not be fun. Today is like that. My AC is struggling to work because it's so hot. Pumpkin Spice Lattes dropped at Starbucks yesterday, but it feels far too wrong to even consider ordering one. This weather is fitting for mid-July, not so much late August. I like the warm weather, but I just need a break from the humidity.

Speaking of yesterday, yesterday marked 2 years since I had seen Rob Zombie & Korn at Mansfield. I wore my one properly-fitting Rob Zombie shirt to mark the occasion. Monday, when I was at work, I realized late in the day that Monday (the 27th) marked one month since Eric's father's celebration of life. That hurt to think that a month had already gone by since then. September is going to be particularly painful. His birthday was the day after mine, & he would've been 70 this September. After he found out he was sick, he had told Eric that he hoped to make it to his 70th birthday. He did not, passing two months before it. I thought of this when Eric's birthday came & went. No card from his father. No outing with him. Nothing. That's what makes this so hard, because he's not here for Eric. My brain is messed, & I keep thinking these things. I even thought of CHristmas Eve, a night where he & his father spend time together & work at the same store until close. Now Eric will be doing it alone.

Anyway, time for me to go. Two years ago tomorrow, the Legion expansion came out & I was very excited to play, mingling with my excitement from the Rob Zombie/Korn concert. Two years later, & I've only played once since Battle for Azeroth dropped. It's rough. I need to direct my thoughts elsewhere. Hitting up the Summer Nights icon again though. Summer is sort of coming to an end, but boy is it very summer-esque right now outside.

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The days are getting shorter! [23 Aug 2018|09:29pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

The Mount Washington Observatory made a point just a moment ago on Facebook that reminded me of a point I had meant to mention & had forgotten. They said:

"It slipped our minds to check what time sunset was occurring at today (it's nearly 15 minutes earlier than our last shift week), so we were still eating dinner and missed watching the sun drop behind the horizon."

The sun set 15 minutes earlier tonight than it did a week ago. Holy crap.

I've noticed it getting darker earlier. I'd get out of work at 8 on a Sunday & it would still be light for a little while longer. Now it's dark at 8, & it makes me feel like I've worked even longer. Gone are the days for this year when I actually got out of work a few times with daylight still left in the day, which I miss so much already because it helped my sanity. Getting out of work & having it dark EVERY SINGLE TIME wears on you.

I'm already ready for next summer. I want my long days back again.

I'm also stressing out about my trip. I should be excited, not stressed! Why am I stressed? Because my paycheck didn't arrive today, & I'm HOPING it arrives tomorrow. Even if it does, now I'm worried it may not clear in time to be of any help this weekend. I'm stuck leaving later than I had wanted because I have to wait around for the mailman & hope it comes.

I should go though. I'm still not done at work. Half an hour until closing time though. I can't wait. I've been at work every single day since Saturday, including my "day off" on Tuesday when I helped Eric with work stuff at the other store, making it not a real day off. I'm tired, & I'm ready for a view that's something other than my walls at work.

Note for copy/paste: Summer Nights icon used. Because god damn am I going to miss the summer nights, despite how depressing this summer has been.

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Hurricane Lane & other happenings. [22 Aug 2018|04:01pm]
[ mood | okay ]

So I found out this morning, since my work no longer has the Weather Channel & I can't ever keep up with weather news now, that there is a category 4 hurricane just south of Hawaii. (It was a category 5 until this morning, I think it was) I so badly wish I had The Weather Channel now so I could keep track of what's happening, because that is a very big deal. When I lived there, I got lucky in that we had no actual hurricanes hit while I was there. (Just a tropical storm, which on a higher level of a hotel was quite scary as a kid) When I travel out of town this weekend, I'll have to see if I can find a way to keep updated. I'm not sure what TV is like up there at the cottage these days, since I will be staying there for the first time since 2011, but hopefully I can figure something out. (It's the last place I've used dial-up internet, so we'll see)

That's some of the other happenings that's going on. I'll be making my return to Maine for a whole weekend, something that my work schedule has not allowed me to do since Ian's birthday in 2011. (Sadly that weekend was also the last time I saw Tom.) I'm not sure what's planned for the weekend, but I just hope to spend some of it in Boothbay. After all, there's those vintage-looking cat clocks I still have yet to find!

Yesterday, Eric & I had the day off. Well, most of it. We overslept & got off to a late start before stopping for BK & heading to the Ports store. We took too long getting an order ready & stuff put out, so we were very behind in plans we had already. Eric wanted to go up north to eat at the Yankee Smokehouse, go look at the mountains over the lake, & then go to the arcade. He had last done that with his father last year, on August 15th actually, & he wanted to go again. We had both agreed to head up anyway despite the huge delay we had, & had to skim down on the plans as it was. The dealbreaker was parking lot traffic on the highway unfortunately, where it took us over an hour to move a mile. In fact, I just checked on Google Maps to see if I'm right in my estimate of a mile, & right now there's heavy traffic on that same stretch yet again. If we had waited out the traffic, it may have taken another 45 minutes just to get past the accident causing the traffic, so eventually we pulled the plug on that idea for a second time & decided to make other plans.

Once we finally made it to the next exit in that traffic jam, we backtracked & decided what to do back where we were. I wondered about going to the beach, since we hadn't really done a beach trip yet this summer, & he had the idea to do Warren's. I had only been there once years ago, & it was cold & crummy & dark out when we ate, so I was game for a summer visit. It turned out to be a great idea. It was busy, but we got seated at a waterview table, & it was light out of course so we could actually enjoy the view. I got crab-crusted haddock & he got a fried combo platter. Of course, our meals came with the salad bar, & I tanked up on salad of course, but it was good. Eric kept saying he was happy he went there, & even said he wanted to go back again this morning. The last time I went I didn't try any of their drinks, so I decided to indulge & try a Perfect Storm, which was described as "Warren's version of a Scorpion Bowl." I was not disappointed. It looked like a fish bowl when it was brought to our table! It was delicious, & even Eric liked it. Overall, it was a great dinner. I do think that Eric will want to try the north plans again in the very near future though, which I can understand given the circumstances on which he was last there.

That's about all that's going on really. Good dinner yesterday, a weekend trip coming this weekend, & of course the hurricane that's got me worried about my old stomping grounds from part of my childhood. I suppose I'll write again after the weekend, as I'll want to remember my first visit back in years. I guess I'll continue to hang out & wait for more customers in the meantime today.

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Nearly forgot [15 Aug 2018|10:33pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

I almost forgot to mention that today on Facebook, on my On This Day/Memories feature, in 2013 I made a post of Eric & I at the motel. We took a picture together & I said we were headed to Larry's Clam Bar before heading to see Biohazard. Well, it turns out it's the time when we met up with Eric's dad, & his sister & her boyfriend.

That would come up on the Memory page exactly one month to the day since Del passed.

I haven't talked to Eric much about it. He started getting choked up on the phone when we discussed Larry's as well as other things, so I didn't have the heart to tell him I lit a candle in his dad's memory here at work today. In fact I just blew it out a few minutes ago. It still makes me upset to think he was right here. This was my last memory of him.

Gosh, I'm still feeling sour about Dave not being able to work on that Sunday. It was just too last minute, & I can't help but feel frustrated because numerous times he's asked me to switch something last minute & I did. (Twice within a week even, with one request being less than 24 hours notice.) I thought of this again today when he asked if I could work for 2 hours for him tomorrow or Friday. He ended up saying he could go tonight after all, but I couldn't help but feel a little peeved that the one time I gave short notice (and by short, I mean 4 days out) he wasn't available.

Anyway, that's all. My arm is tired. I'm tired. I have a headache. I was going to make another toasted sandwich at the house, but Eric offered to pick me up something from BK & I accepted. I'm too tired to even bother with a sandwich.

Adios.

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One month. [15 Aug 2018|10:28am]
[ mood | sad ]

It's been one month now that he's been gone. One month to the day. How in the world has it been a month that he hasn't been with us?

I lit a candle here at work for him, particularly since where I'm sitting is the very last place I ever saw him in person. (He was sitting in Dave's red chair though, which is broken, so I'm sitting in my own chair) I wasn't as close obviously, but I still miss him, especially because the exceedingly rare times I saw him outside of work were fun. When he wasn't at work, he was a fun person to be around. If only we had gone to see him more often. If only some of those out of town trips to the races & stuff had panned out. (Thanks Ron.) If only Dave wasn't busy that last Sunday he tried to invite me out with him & Eric to the races.

This sucks. I wish he were still here. Nothing is right. Shit's weird. I don't like any of this.

I was trying to zone out & pretend things were normal by listening to that latest Korn album, but to be honest, it just bums me out because it makes me think of two summers ago. Why does that bum me out? Because the only reason I made it to that Korn/Rob Zombie show was because he made Andrea & I switch days so that she'd work a Sunday instead, & he happened to do that the Sunday of the show & I bought tickets at the VERY last minute. I can't pretend things are normal, not when my brain keeps thinking about how he was alive then. I can't pretend things are normal though. That was like another lifetime now, listening to that album & Rob Zombie, playing World of Warcraft & Legion was brand new... Before I had internet at home, I used to sit in his office once in a while just to play WoW & watch Star Trek: TNG on Netflix & eat Dominos, none of which I could do at home due to no internet & no pizza place around. Even World of Warcraft is different, as Battle for Azeroth just dropped on Monday & now I can't even try to resort to familiar comforts of WoW.

Eric's birthday was weird, too. Last year, I think he said Del came by with cake & they got food from across the street. This year, nothing. No card, nothing. It's the worst birthday that Eric has ever had, & it breaks my heart to think about it.

Del, you have no idea how much you're missed.

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I wanna be a grown-up. [07 Aug 2018|03:55pm]
[ mood | discontent ]

I keep feeling super jealous because people my age, & many even younger, are already moving along so much further in their lives than I am. I just stumbled upon someone I used to know who has been with their partner for 5 years & has had 3 kids together, & they already have their first home. Meanwhile Eric & I have been together for nearly 8 years, still struggle to pay rent to his mother, & don't have a prayer of ever owning a home together.

Of all the "adult" things that people do in life, owning my own home is the only one I really have my eyes set on. I don't want kids. I've given up on getting married. I just want my own home, with my own driveway, & without any neighbors either on the opposite side of the walls or above/below me. I can't stand the lack of privacy of apartment life, the lack of peace & quiet, & having to deal with parking fuck-ups if someone has company over.

It's also frustrating that with Eric's schedule, you'd think we'd be making mad bank. He works over 80-something hours a week, not including his commuting time & any work he does after hours. I work at least 36 hours a week. You would think that a couple working over 110 hours a week combined would be able to afford it, & we can't. I see people with 3+ kids buying a home & looking like real adults & I'm sitting here wondering how in the world to do it. (A college degree isn't always the answer. Some of these people didn't go to college) It would be nice if 110 hours a week meant that could afford a home, bills, food, & possibly even a little left over to put away for whatever purpose.

I just want to feel like a real adult if I'm going to be stuck with the working part of it. I'm tired of paying rent & wishing every single day that Eric's mother would go away for a few hours. I'm 30, & I feel like I'm 13 half the time. We have no privacy, as his mother can't be bothered to use a phone to ask a question. Just a few days ago, she yells up the stairs when she hears us talking to try to ask me a question. I ignored her because I was about to go to the bathroom & shower, & she just yelled louder. I can't even take a shit without someone bothering me.

I feel like maybe I'd be more motivated to do more at home if I didn't ahve the constant worry of having someone to disturb with noise, smells, or being disturbed by someone who can't leave me alone. I'd like to organize more, decorate more, clean more, & just do more at home instead of hiding in my room to get away from her. This isn't how being an adult should be, hiding in my room with my music like a teenager. Those days should've been only in my teenage years, not into my 30s.

Sorry, I just feel so frustrated. I guess what it boils down to is, I wish Eric & I had more to show for all the hours we worked. People frown upon working for a store, no matter what level you're at there, but for over 100 hours a week where real work is done, it should be more rewarding. We should have more to show for it than renting an overpriced apartment with ZERO privacy from his mother, debt, & stress. All these hours for almost nothing really wears on you.

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Jet cars & roller coasters [06 Aug 2018|08:31pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

Well, it's been a busy weekend. It managed to clear my head for most of it, with only a reminder here & there. (Seeing any Dodge Challenger, especially any of the nicer models, makes me think of him)

Saturday was the jet car event. My brother came to the house early & met with us there before we left to go get Eric's car, stop at my work real quick, & drop his car off. We took my car up & got pizza over at 900 Degrees. (And my brother liked the pizza!) We got to the track & Eric got us situated to park in the track, though it was tough finding a place out of the way to park that wasn't flooded from the downpour we had earlier in the morning. Mike was waiting in the parking lot & parked in the big puddle in front of me. We wandered around a bit; They had cancelled the sportsman classes for the day & bumped them to Sunday, so all there was to do was to look at what was in the pit. The Shockwave jet truck was there, & they brought their new Aftershock jet truck. They fired that one up in the staging lanes, which caught us by surprise, & we were treated to a very brief show of fire.

We hung back at my car for a while until we started to see stuff get pulled up to the staging lanes. Kyle wanted something to eat so we headed to the ATM, where it started to rain really lightly. It picked up some more while he was in the ATM booth, & when he was done it picked up even more. I said "Maybe we should go back to my car," & then it started to pour. They tried to take cover under the stands, but it wasn't doing a great enough job. Luckily I had grabbed my umbrella from the car, but it was my small umbrella & it wasn't doing a good job at covering me & my backpack. There was a flash of lightning & an almost instant bang of thunder, so Eric was fussing at me because I was standing there with an umbrella. I wanted to go back to my car, & Eric & Kyle finally came with me while it poured. As soon as we got in my car, there was another flash & another near-instant bang of thunder. Bruce called me from his car while we were in there. He timed a run to his car very well, as he had gone to get something from his car when the rain started. So we had to wait a while for the rain to stop, & of course the puddle Mike was parked in got pretty deep & came up towards my car. A truck drove by pretty close to our cars & splashed our cars pretty good. When the rain finally stopped, a couple of kids were playing in the puddle. It ended up being ankle deep. Mike came back to the cars & eventually moved it onto the grass, but the grass was water logged as well. (Which would explain the crawfish we saw come crawling on the pavement before the rain)

When the rain stopped, we had to wait for quite a while as they dried the track. We saw a neat rainbow, then wandered briefly before heading to the stands. By the time the show started, it was getting dark. The stands were also soaked, & they never did dry as a wall of fog/dew started sinking to the ground. (It looked really wild) For the second round, we stood by the fence near where I usually stand. Kyle wanted to get better pictures though, so he & I darted over to the other side by the tower, where Mike was. That new jet truck, Aftershock, went up soon after, & boy was that HOT! Kyle was laughing & had fun, so he got a proper introduction to jet cars. (And of course, we all smelled like kerosene afterwards!) Shockwave was immediately after, & it was spectacular. Kyle got some good pictures from there, too.

When the race was done, they opened the track to spectators & let everyone walk on the track. We walked all the way to the finish line & then back to the start, where Eric actually came out. Of course he had forgotten we had used Gorilla Glue on his shoes earlier that day, so he had to carefully navigate his way off the sticky part of the track. We did our usual thing of Applebee's afterwards, & Mike & Kyle crashed in my living room when we got home.

Yesterday, Kyle & I got up pretty early. I abandoned my plans of going to the Harry Potter birthday thing that was taking place at a British Beer Company to go with him to Six Flags, though I did feel bad about leaving Mike to wake up on his own & head home soon after. We headed down, & of course we got stuck in a lot of traffic when we got close. Kyle said it was even more traffic than he had usually seen on other Sunday visits, but we think it was because of the rain the day before. When we FINALLY got parked & took a shuttle in, I started to suspect that many people may have been there for the waterpark. Sure enough, once we got our tickets, hit up the bathroom, & started to wander around, we noticed some spots of the park didn't look too busy. There were lines of course, but I had expected worse. I did later overhear someone complaining about an hour & 45 minute wait for one of the waterpark rides though, so that confirmed what I had guessed.

We started off with the Thunderbolt, just like I had done last time I was there. It was so hot, & I was already overheating from a very hot bathroom & walking around, so when we got off the ride we made a B-line to a restaurant we saw that had indoor seating. We got pizza & fries, & I indulged & had a big Sprite. (I wanted water, but I could only get a little teeny cup or a bottle & I wanted some over ice, so I got a Sprite & hoped I would walk off the calories) We went for that newer Joker coaster next, since it was just like the X coaster I saw years & years ago on an amusement park show. That was back in 2001, & that coaster in question wasn't even built yet. It was just a computer generated simulation of what the ride would be. So I had wanted to try that style coaster since I was 13. It was fun, but I will admit that it terrified me while I was on it. In my defense though, I hadn't been on any extreme coasters since I was last at Six Flags in 2009, so it had been nearly a decade since I had experienced some real thrills.

After the Joker, we went for the Batman coaster. While we were waiting in line, someone on the ride lost a shoe, so I wonder what that person did after they got off the ride. We went on that, & that was fun. We went for Riddler's Revenge next, which used to be the Mind Eraser. (I just looked it up. 2017 was the last year it went by that name, so this season was brand-new as Riddler's Revenge.) I guess they changed it to fit with the Gotham City theme of that section of park. I forgot how rough that ride was. It really jolts you around, & stops very hard. When we got off the ride & stopped to figure out where to go next, we watched two more trains of riders go on it & watched as everyone flew forward when it stopped. It's amusing to see from the ground, but holy moly is it rough when you're on it. We ended up getting some ice cream, as my stomach still felt like it was on the ride. (Which was the only ride I didn't scream on all day/night of course) They also moved the Slingshot, which was also renamed Nightwing, & was across from the new Harley Quinn ride that opened this year. I also checked this on Wikipedia just now, because I know that ride was elsewhere before, & it got moved in 2011 & moved yet again for this past season. Kyle wanted to go on that Harley Quinn ride, but it was closed, so he was bummed. The Goliath coaster was also closed, which I don't know why. He said it was closed in May, so we looked into it & found an article from way back in 2016 saying it was closed indefinitely due to snapped cables. I peeked on Wikipedia just now, & I guess that happened on July 11 2016. There's no update so I guess it's been closed for a while?

Anyway, so we got ice cream & walked over to Superman, where my old record of an hour & a half wait from my very first ride on it was shattered. It also got renamed, as it was Bizarro when I went on it in 2009. Kyle looked it up while we waited in line, & when I went in 2009 the Bizarro theme was brand new that season. In 2015, it got reverted back to Superman, although when we got near the queue building we spotted some purple paint that was appearing under the red paint. They also got rid of the shooting flames they had & replaced it with water, which isn't anywhere near as impressive. Unfortunately there was only one train running, so the line took a long time to move. The Flash Pass that people used also held up the line for regular park goers considerably. When we got in line, the sun was still shining. When we got on the ride, the sun had set. We got in line at 6:08. We got off the ride at 8:32. It didn't help that a group of people had cut in line, so that caused a big stink. According to another person in line & the person manning the queue at the top of the stairs, they got pretty mouthy when spoken to, so the woman working called security. I felt bad for the guy who got cut. When we FINALLY got inside the building & got to wait in line for specific seats, he & his son were in the second row. Ahead of Kyle & I there were two young men, & a kid who was going as a single rider. The kid let the two guys go, & then darted to the second row right in front of the guy who had been cut off by that group, so he got pissed. One of the ride operators made the kid get back out & wait his turn. Finally we went on, though it took several minutes to go. We saw the main ride operator get gloves & paper towels, so we wondered if someone had gotten sick. The ride operator right in front of us said that there was blood on one of the seats, & mentioned a womanly problem. (Yuck) After that got cleaned up, we FINALLY got to go. It was getting pretty dark at this point, so all the lights were on. Kyle started to freak out as we neared the top & told me he always gets scared when he gets up that high. I was doing okay, until that train started to go down over that first drop. I forgot how vertical it looks from there, almost like the track dips in a little, & it scared the hell out of me. The ride was pretty wet, too, as they had the misters going on the ride.

That ride wait took so long, we ran out of time to do anything else for rides. We didn't get to hit up the Wicked Cyclone, & I didn't get to see about the Pandemonium. We also wanted to go on the SkyScreamer (swings) ride, & Kyle had mentioned going on the teacups. Kyle got one more ice cream, & I got my bag out of the locker I had rented for the day, & we headed for the parking lot to head home. We got back pretty darn late, as we made a stop at a rest area for food, & then I messed up & didn't notice we missed an exit to get onto another highway. We ended up going back along the same way Eric's dad used to take us when we were headed back north after being in Providence, so I got some reminders there as we passed the parking lot we'd meet at. (Never did I think that the last time we went down that it would truly be our last time going down together. It was where I heard him say that his cancer was "manageable, but not treatable." I had just thought he had a few more years, not less than one after that) We got back around 1, so Kyle hit the shower & then I hit the shower.

Now here I am at work, writing this. I figured I'd write about the weekend & finally give a more positive update since I've spent too long dwelling on the negative. Eric did mention that yesterday made 3 weeks since his father had passed, & today felt like another Monday where his dad should've walked through that door. That messed with my head for a while. It's still messing with my head since I'm now thinking about it. I'm about to write another order since Eric didn't get a chance to last night, & it'll be the second order I've written since.... It's going to mess with my head, since it's not going to be done the way his father normally had it done & there will be a couple of new things.

I should get started on that actually. I may as well get it over with.

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Tornado warnings & flooding & burgers, oh my! [03 Aug 2018|07:04pm]

It's another drudging day at work today, as it has been lately. Still working on trying to keep my mind running in an unpleasant direction. I got a little help today, sort of, courtesy of some weather & a friend that brought me Five Guys for dinner. We have a newer Five Guys that opened just a couple of months ago & I've only been there once, when it had its grand opening, & I haven't been back since because I don't have the time to wait for cooked-to-order food if I leave work to get something.

There's been all sorts of storms across the state today, a few of which have been tornado warned. THe skies finally look a bit ominous here, & I thought for sure we had a storm rolling in when I saw the edge of one creep my way. I even took some pictures! However, all I got was some wind & two rumbles of thunder. I did see some swirling going on in the clouds above me, the really low clouds at that. That was neat. When I was eating my Five Guys burger, I had on North Woods Law as I was talking with Mark. Suddenly, I heard the TV alert tone, & I took a peek because I had a feeling it wasn't just a drill like usual. Nope, it was a tornado warning, which included my county. We paused for a moment as we listened to where the storms were headed & where they were, plus reports of hail & severe wind. Luckily it was for the northern part of this country, but we did get that semi-storm cloud roll on through. Manchester got hit a few times though, & there's a lot of flooding going on & people who got stuck in their cars from it.

Of course, I check the county alert page & a few power outages have been reported. I would've liked one here. It would've given me a break at work. My head needs a break.

So Eric had to get dropped off at work this morning, & I have to go pick him up tonight. Again. I do not like this game. I have to fly to Walmart to get an air mattress for my brother to sleep on as well. Not too thrilled about that to be honest. I don't want to have to rush out of here tonight. I tend to stress out so much if someone comes in last minute because I can't afford any delays in leaving when I need to be somewhere ASAP after close. If only my local Wamart didn't close at the same time I did. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating that is.

My one recurring thought given recent events is that a week ago today was Del's services. A week ago already. What the hell? Of course, after we left I saw some interesting clouds appear, & when we left a Walmart after that there was a lot of lightning. By the time we got to Eric's sister's house, it was pouring so hard & storming pretty good. It is that time of year. It's just interesting how oddly times some of these storms were. Right after Del's services, my first day back at work after Del passed... Which of course, this is where I last saw him.

I'm not sure if I mentioned the dragonfly thing Eric told me about. I've heard people say things like if you see a cardinal it's a loved one visiting you, & the same with seagulls as far as fishermen are concerned. I didn't know about dragonflies until Eric told me about his dad's girlfriend saying something about them. She says she's seen so many of them, particularly around their cars & his cars. He asked if I had seen or noticed them lately, & I told him I had, & he paused in surprise. I told him I've been seeing them here at work mostly. When he & I left to bring him to work, as i was pulling my car out of my parking spot, one flew right in front of the windshield, & I just said without thinking "Oh, hello dragonfly." Again, Eric seemed surprised.

Anyway, I'm at work, so I should go. Figured I'd write just a little.

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Hello, August. [01 Aug 2018|01:47pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

A new month. A new start. And now all I can think is that Del died "last month" now.

I finally have a day off, so now my brain is starting to really process things, including the services on Friday that came immediately before 46 hours of work in 4 days. I haven't had time to think. Now I do.

Right now though, all I can think is... What now? Where do we go from here? What happens now? We've just left July behind, & it's a step into a very big unknown.

This is stressful. I just wish Del was back with us, so things would be normal again & everything would be okay.

*sigh*

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Goodbye July. [31 Jul 2018|11:46pm]

Goodbye, & good riddance.

I hate to think about the time with Del slipping further away, but I'll be happy to see July in the books & done with. What an awful month.

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Two weeks. [29 Jul 2018|01:21pm]
[ mood | blank ]

How in the world has it been two weeks already? It's been two weeks since Del left us now. Where did those two weeks go?

July has been racing away. Somehow, we're already at two weeks since he passed. The days in which he was still with us are racing away so quickly. My mind still thinks, "He was just here. How can this be?" I'm still waiting for my mind to finally accept that he's not coming back. He left & went out of town, sure. But he's not coming back, & he never will. I know it's going to hurt when it finally comes to mind & stays. I think today I'm starting to feel a hint of that, & it's tough.

The last two weeks have literally been a blur. I don't remember much over the last couple of weeks. I don't even fully remember the Slayer show. I remember the show ending & being surprised that it was already over. Maybe I wasn't as focused as I thought I was. I felt a little bit of energy from the show when I followed Eric to the edge of the pit, but when I could do nothing to join in, my mind apparently wandered. It really sucks that the possibility of this being my very last time ever seeing Slayer was dampened with these events.

I still wish I had some time to myself. Just a few days. Normally today would be the last of my two days at work & I would have two days off, but nope. Too much schedule swapping when Dave had plans, & then I had to swap again for Del's services. I still have two more days after today. It's harsh.

Eric got more cards in the mail. One from Moto. One, I need to ask who it was from. The one with the longest written message in it was from Barry though. I remember him well from the club shows. He & Del were ALWAYS together at these things. Even when the group would disperse & we'd all split up, we did stop at a Dunkin Donuts once or twice & Barry came with us. That card got to Eric the most, because it was Del's really good friend.

Anyway, that's enough moping for now. Right now, I'm feeling okay. (That whole feeling okay then not okay, then okay again thing) Maybe I can try to focus on work-related stuff. The guy now in charge of everything, he wanted suggestions for new stuff. He did say I could tell him or Eric, & I'm choosing to talk to Eric since some of the stuff I'm thinking of is stuff I've brought up to him before. Now that we seem to have the green light for new inventory, I'm hoping to slowly work in some of the stuff I've hoped to carry for ages.

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Services, cont'd. [28 Jul 2018|06:12pm]
[ mood | sad ]

Part two of my train of thoughts. I just wanted to keep yesterday mostly to it's own entry, so I don't get lost in a super long entry.

It is still hard to wrap my head around all this, with his dad being gone. I still think about that urn sitting on the table, think about how Del WAS there yesterday with us, but wasn't. Just two weeks ago, he was alive. I spoke with him two & a half weeks ago. We just talked about the Epping race. It was just so recent, & now he's not here, & it doesn't feel like it. It just feels like he's out of town, off at a model car club show or something, & he'll be back. Somehow it's been 13 days since he passed, & I don't know where in the world those days went. July went by in a foggy blur. How the hell is it the 28th already? The days since he was last with us are quickly slipping away, & it hurts to think about. It hurts to think that 2018 was when we saw him leave us. It's hard to believe a person like him is gone.

Work is stressful as well because from here on out, it's all an unknown. I always freak out with change, & I had already sensed that some sort of change was coming & had been feeling uneasy for a while. I just assumed it was something silly like the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft, since I had a day to day routine last summer that will not be the same this summer. Things were okay last summer, with my routine & things being normal. Even stupid shit like the AC was better, as I wasn't having the problem of the AC sucking up food smell before it even actually hits my apartment. I thought I was feeling uneasy because of the stupid game, because of the tree being gone from outside my window, or something else just as stupid. This sort of change was not at all what i was expecting.

When my coworker Dave & I switched shifts a while ago for this week, I had not expected to contend with this. Dave messaged me a few weeks ago to tell me that his plans were cancelled & asked to revert the schedule, but I had already made plans, so I left it. Wednesday, Eric & I were supposed to go to Boothbay Harbor. Slayer the next day. Then work. Never did I expect we'd be dealing with this. It's a drastic change. Our lives, & Eric's in particular, have been irreversibly changed. It's tough for me to think about how we proceed from here. I can't even imagine how it is for Eric, & I really dread the day when I am in his shoes as well. It's a little different though because his dad was also my boss, our leader here at work. I didn't agree with some of his decisions, like not closing for blizzards or staying open normal hours for ALL the holidays that weren't Thanksgiving or Christmas, but he was the one in charge. Christmas Eve... I don't even want to think about that because that was his & Eric's thing, & he was the one who made that call. It's tough.

I guess I got out what I wanted to say. My brain is just looping these things over & over, but with that added memory of that urn. The last time I saw Del in person, he was sitting exactly in the spot I'm sitting, eating a sandwich while Smokey & the Bandit aired on the TV here. The last time I saw him period, was in that urn. He's gone, he doesn't physically exist anymore. My brain refuses to believe it. He's just out of town. He'll be back. He can't really be gone. He's our leader, so to speak. He's the one in charge of everything, & knows how to do everything. He can't really be gone.

Gonna go. I have to redirect my thoughts before I lose it & cry again. Gosh, trying to not cry for 12 hours is so hard. I don't even know how Eric is doing this... If he's managing it anyway.

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Services. [28 Jul 2018|06:03pm]
[ mood | sad ]

I've had the last few days off from work, but yesterday was the services for Del. Wednesday was just a day I spent trying to give myself a break from everything. Thursday was Slayer up at Meadowbrook. Then... Yeah. Of course, I'm at work right now & I'll have no choice but to keep coming back to this as I write, so I apologize if I end up appearing disjointed in thought or repeat myself. My train of thought, which is already on the verge of derailing, is likely to go astray. It'll be a long one, as I feel like I should remember all the details. (And someday, when I print this, I hope to remember to print some of the accompanying photos.)

Eric & I headed up to where we were going the services, which the place ended up being a golf course with a restaurant & function pavilion. To get there, it was exactly as if we were going to Portsmouth, much like how we used to in what I now call "the old days." Just like the old days, once we were done with Portsmouth we'd go to Salem where Eric would see his dad. Well, we were going to see his dad, in a way, for the final time. We get there, & it turns out this place is immediately next to the airport. We drove between light indicators for aircraft, it was that close.

We got to the place, parked, & walked inside. We didn't see any doorway leading to a function room, so we asked about it. It turns out it was outside under a big party tent, on a sort of pavilion they had. Not everyone had arrived, so we drifted over to the few we did know. His sister, mother, Dave... More people showed up, so Eric went to talk to them. I talked to Dave for a bit before looking at some of the photo displays they had. On each table was a framed photo of Del, next to some flowers. By where we walked in the tent, there was a large framed photo of Del & some signatures, which Eric told me was from his 60th birthday party. (Which that was 10 years ago, as Del passed away two months before his 70th) I got a chuckle from the photo, as he had a mullet going. Next to that was a jar where people could write down memories or stories of Del. The other side of the entryway was a photo collage, with photos from more recent times to when he was just a teenager.

The main display was set up on a table with print-outs of photos, a couple of photo albums, some cards that were made up with Del's photo & a quote on the back. There was a large print-out framed behind the display of Del with his friend from when they were just teenagers. I must admit, Del was a good looking guy when he was younger. A lot thinner, sometimes sporting the 70's chops that I always wish would return in the same way. He definitely looked like an Italian boy, that's for sure. Del loved to fish, so there was a fishing lure displayed. I'm guessing it was his lucky one. In the middle of the display, was Del's urn. It was done up with a pretty landscape design on it, with a Gone Fishing thing hanging across the front.

The order of events for the rest of the day, I don't entirely recall. I was introduced to a lot of people, & eventually I did hit up the bar they had under the pavilion. I spotted quite a few people I recognized from the model car club shows, & it felt odd to see them at an event that was not the shows or a restaurant after the show. "Moto" was there with his dog, just like at the show. Like I said, there was a bar so I hit that up, but they had lemonade & tea as well. Del's girlfriend Debbie came over to me & spoke with me. I got an unpleasant reminder of some of the more foolish things that I made the mistake of saying a while ago, but Eric told me after the fact when I told him what had happened, that it sounded like they weren't mad anymore. Debbie asked if I could forgive them for them being mad at me a while back. I tried to tell her that I did, & then tried to correct & say that there was nothing to forgive, but this is the point where I finally choked up & started to lose it. I did cry once more when I tried to tell Eric what had happened, but he was trying to tell me to focus on the end of what she told me, & reminded me about what he had said about his father wanting to make things right, or something like that.

Anyway, so after that, sandwiches & wraps were brought out. There had been a veggue platter already when we had arrived, but proper lunch came out then. There was fruit salad, potato salad, & I think one or two other things to eat as well. I grabbed what I thought was just a turkey or ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cheese, & mayo, but it turned out there was salami on it as well. I guess I ended up eating some sort of club sandwich, & despite the tomato it tasted good enough that I got one more. I met more people I didn't know, & Lois ended up sitting with us. I was introduced to her daughter, whose name I can't recall. She used to babysit Eric & his sister though. After a bit, Grant & his wife showed up. We walked about the Slayer show the night before, & it was nice to finally know someone who was there. I felt so awkward when I knew almost no one there, so I ended up just hanging around with them. Jeff Hajjar showed up a little after that as well, & it was nice to see him at some place other than work.

We ended up going to a different table once we had wandered around for a while. Desserts were coming out, & it was some sort of little round lemon cakes. We sat a different table, where two other people were sitting on the other side from the model car club. We sat there for a little while before someone got everyone's attention to talk about Del. A few people shared stories, including Moto & a funny story of his. Doug Estabrook shared a story, & so did Barry. Someone else, another person whose name I forgot, talked as well. Robin was the last to share a story. I wondered if Eric was going to, but I could tell he was struggling not to lose it. The music was put back on, & we resumed what we were doing before. (I forgot to mention that Robin had worked on a playlist featuring some of Del's favorite songs. I don't remember everything that played, but I remember hearing Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, & "Since I've Been Loving You" was one of the first songs I heard) Bill showed up soon after, so I talked with him for a while & Eric came over to join us.

After a while, things started to wind down & people started to leave. I think everyone from the model car club arrived together, as they all left at the same time. Bill had to head to work, as he was one of the ones covering Eric yesterday. Grant & his wife took off. No one know what the plan was after. I think some people went to Debbie's, & Robin was trying to get people over to her place & talked about ordering pizzas. Eric & I ended up staying behind & we ate there. We both had steak tips for dinner before we headed outside, where we noticed some dark clouds off in the distance. Some of them were just over the sun, so the sun could be seen glowing underneath & rays of light shone down. It looked pretty cool. After taking a couple of pictures together, since we never ever do that, we headed out & went to Walmart before going to see his sister. Those storm clouds rolled up while we were shopping so when we left Walmart, there was lightning across the way.

On the way to Walmart, Eric & I were talking. We were heading back the way we came, just like how we'd go to Salem in the old days. Eric has been trying to avoid crying, but I nearly got him accidentally when I told Eric how it felt. I had expected to finally feel a sense of finality when I saw Del's urn, since I couldn't help but think about how he just... Didn't exist anymore. Hell, two weeks ago today, he existed. He was alive. Then yesterday, he was on the table with the pictures, the only things left of him now. When I start thinking of it that way, it's tough to think about & my brain just rejects it. It was when Debbie talked to me that I started to cry, but otherwise I was able to stand there & look at the urn & just... Look. It didn't feel real. I told Eric that despite his urn being there, it just felt like any ordinary gathering, particularly with the model car club guys. I said it felt like we were just hanging out after some event & Del was just... Away. Out of town, perhaps. I said this out loud & it got to Eric, & he had to pull over. His sister called a few minutes later though so we had to take off, but Eric told his sister, & later his mother, what I had said. It was true though. I still find it hard to believe, especially since two weeks ago today he was still alive. He was still with us. He did go out of town, so it feels like he's still out of town.

The day before yesterday, when we were going to Slayer, we had to do a few things before we headed up. We had to stop at the Salem store, but the traffic to get there was so bad, we took another way there. The same way we'd go when we were going from the Lawrence store to the main store, just like the old days. I was curious what took over the closed store, & it turned out to be a smoke shop. I took a couple pictures so I could show Bill what went in there, & Eric said, "You'll have to show this pictures to my dad," & then stopped short when he realized that his dad would not be at the store anymore. It just feels like he'll be back.

~~~~~

I'm going to finish my thoughts in a separate entry, so I don't overload this one some more.

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