Print Story I am without reserves
By Gedvondur (Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 12:39:30 AM EST) Fear, Politics, Fuck, Shit, Dammit (all tags)
Seriously, don’t read this. I need to vent and nobody is having a good day. This diary will not make your day better.  NOTE - All but this sentence I wrote this last Thursday, been debating on whether or not to post it.

I have the emotional stamina of an overtired toddler. This year has been brutal and I don’t know what to do or where to go with myself.

The year started off promising, other than the dread of election year. COVID-19 hadn’t happened yet and I was busy planning the events I’d need to go to for work. Plus, my wife was in the last stages of her PhD. She was first doing comps, which was hellish for her. So. Much. Studying. Super stressful for her and for me. I baked well over 100 cookies, which put us in very favorable light with her fellow students and with the staff at the university.

I started seeing a therapist, who turned out to be mostly a pill pusher. Fine with me, I started on wellbutrin. My depression had been getting worse. Little did I know that this antidepressant is probably the chemical thing that has kept me from full-scale losing my mind in the following 10 months.

My racist uncle died. I couldn’t get back for the funeral, he passed on Friday, the funeral was on Monday. I didn’t find out until Saturday morning. I might have been able to go back if I was willing to chance flying in and driving directly to the funeral. In the end, I couldn’t. I feel bad about this, he may have been a racist, but he was my uncle and he had been kind to me over the years. I didn’t go. I sent my aunt a long letter, giving her my memories of him, especially when I was a little kid, he’d give me a nickel every time he saw me. The thank you card had a nickel taped into it. I cried for 20 minutes.

My wife passed her comps. Then started working on her PhD thesis defense. We were looking for a house back home in Wisconsin. Prices were off the chart unreasonable. But we were still planning on being back by July and in a new-to-us home or a rental.

Then COVID-19 hit and lock-down. My wife’s classes, both learning and teaching shifted to on-line. She had to do her thesis defense via Zoom. She passed, but it took some of the specialness out of what should have been a rite of passage. We were both looking forward to it. I feel so bad for her. All that work, all of that, stress, all of her efforts and in the end we just get her diploma in a big cardboard envelope in the mail. It’s not right. She deserves more and I’ll do what I can to make up for it once we can do it without endangering all of our friends and family. But I’m afraid it won’t be the same.

We had to cancel my wife’s yearly get-together, which was supposed to take place for the first time in our surrogate home city of Las Vegas. The previous years we still had it in Green Bay. But with the pandemic, we couldn’t justify risking friends and family for a party.

We are good friends with a couple in Las Vegas, she goes to UNLV too, they are closer to our age, although still younger. He’s an artist/educator with lots of tattoos. We’ve been close most of the time we’ve been in LV. She kicks him out. Turns out he’s been physically and mentally abusive. I’ve misjudged the man, not seeing the monster under his friendly personality. We cut contact with him, and have been helping her...but we’re locked down. It's hard to tell someone it's gonna be okay on Zoom. I still feel bad, I couldn’t see him for who he was. I have considered myself a good judge of character. I guess not.

Then we cancelled the party we were supposed to have for my wife’s graduation. Her mother, my parents, sister-and-brother in laws...all supposed to come to LV and watch her get hooded on stage at UNLV. Cancelled. All of it. No ceremony, no party. Nothing.

My work, we are doing ZERO travel. Nothing. Suddenly all of these tech events are virtual. Honestly, while I miss the face to face meetings, the events are better virtual, because I don’t waste so much work time in travel.

My mother told me that her little dog has what will be an eventually fatal narrowing of the esophagus. Her little dog is only two years older than our pug. As of this writing the little dog still okay and happy, but it's coming. My mother loves that dog so much and it tears me apart thinking about her pain. I happen to love that little dog too. Dammit all.

One of our family friends, Nancy, a lady I’ve known my whole life went back into the hospital. Her brain cancer, which had already cost her an eye, was back. It didn’t look good. She got treatment and got out. Went back in, they used targeted radiation on her brain, to try and shrink the tumors. She got dementia from it. Irreversible. She’s my mother’s best friend. She couldn’t even go see her and hold her hand in the hospital.

We sent our real estate agent and my SIL/BIL to countless houses. We bid on 7 or 8 properties, losing them every time, bidding asking price or over asking price. Rental houses have gone up because landlords are selling the properties….the prices they are getting are crazy. The ones that are left won’t rent to people with pets for the most part. We can’t find a way to go. The dream of leaving before July fades. We keep packing the house. We are not staying in LV. It's expensive and frankly it sucks. Especially when you can’t even take advantage of the amenities on the Strip and elsewhere. As summer comes on my wife’s cohort in school has mostly moved away. Not that we could entertain or even go out anyway. The house becomes a stucco prison in the desert.

We sell my wife’s car. It's been sitting in the driveway for months, because there is nowhere to go. We are just using my truck. Plus, its rear-wheel drive so total cow shit for the upper midwest.

We find a house. We bid on it, offer too much and finally get an accepted offer. I worry, I’m buying a house I’ve never seen. I push it aside, try to concentrate on the idea that we get to go back home.

Work drops a huge custom project on me. I spend two weeks working sixty plus hours a week to ensure it's off for the customer first look before we move back to Wisconsin. The customer forced us into a short timeline. I finished it off and sent it in, nearly 10k word white paper. Needs trimming, but I need the customer to provide guidance. They want to publish in mid-October. It’s November, I’ve only had limited feedback and will have the first real meeting on revisions next fucking week. So glad I busted my ass to meet their accelerated timeline. So glad.

We pack more. And more. And more. We found a freight company to move our stuff back to Wisconsin. We will take my truck back, with our VW Beetle convertible on a trailer behind. Work is ramping up. More packing. We are ordering food almost every night, we are both too stressed and exhausted to cook. My truck, in a preparedness check, needs 2k worth of repairs. I get most of it done, putting some of it off. Fuck, that was a hit on the pocketbook.

Nancy left the hospital and was taken home by her husband, Bill. She enters palliative care at home. The dementia is worse, they keep her calm and out of pain with drugs. In under two weeks in mid-July she dies. There is no funeral. No goodbye. We never see her again, my mother doesn’t get to say goodbye. We know that the surgical dementia had taken her from us months before but it doesn’t help. Bill is alone, living with his deceased wife’s very aged mother. It tears us all up inside, the rituals of death and the things we say and do to help us navigate grief are absent. I’m still torn up.

The packing around work and my wife teaching summer school is pure stress. We get rid of so much stuff, but have so much more. We are cluttered people, with lots of stuff no matter how we try and Marie Kondo our way out of it. We don’t buy willy-nilly, we research and choose with care, both objects that are practical and unique or of interest. We are worried it won’t all fit. We are now cooking again, trying to eat down the freezer and refrigerator. We can’t take the frozen stuff back and have limited room for refrigerated items, mostly cheese and all those condiments, dressings, and sauces that live in the door.

My wife badly hurts her knee a week before we are due to move. She can hardly walk and can’t stand for very long. We treat it as much as possible. My brother in law flies into LV, takes my cat, and flies home. I’m terrified he will get COVID-19 and die. He was my friend before my SIL met him. I’m so worried that I burst into tears after I dropped him off at the airport. But we can’t take the cat and two dogs in a pickup truck. I was going to fly her back myself, but….then he volunteered to do it. I don’t know how we would have managed otherwise. He did not get the coronavirus, thankfully.

My father calls and tells me his routine cancer scan has come back with a suspicious spot. He’s going in for more tests and another scan. I talk and joke with him for 20 minutes or so, I can tell he’s upset. After we get off the phone I have a full scale panic attack and meltdown. I spend the next few days just randomly losing my shit. I...I am not prepared for my father’s mortality. I’m not sure I’ll ever be. I have no perspective on it. We are close and it will destroy me when he does pass.

Moving day comes. Normally, every time I’ve moved we’ve had friends and family to help us with all of the little stuff, the cleaning, the last-minute packing. But we have no one. We’ve hired a service to clean the carpets. Another service to do a “move out” clean of the house. We’ve also hired three local brothers who own a moving business to load the trailer to be shipped back to Wisconsin. It was supposed to take six hours. It took closer to 10. We even had to call in our friend with the abusive husband (who had now moved state). Gloved, masked and distanced. I felt bad for even asking, but with my wife managing our dogs (can’t just leave them outside, LV sun is too much for them) and with her hurt, we just need more. By the end of the day, the last thing I do is put the chains on the frame of the VW in its trailer behind my truck. I’m so tired that I end up just laying on the hot asphalt for 5 minutes, unsure I can even get back up. I’m just exhausted. This is one of the worst days I’ve ever had, excepting deaths and hospital stays.

We bid Las Vegas goodbye and drove five hours into Arizona and stayed at a dog-friendly hotel. The dogs, upset by all of this conspire to limit our sleep to about four hours that night. The next three days are spent crossing Arizona, New Mexico, cutting into Texas and through the Oklahoma Panhandle, Missouri, Iowa, then thankfully, Wisconsin. In the middle, we get a call from my mother. The spot on my father’s lung was an anomaly. Not sure if it was the scan or something transient in his lung. The next scan was totally clear. I’m so relieved that after the call I have to pull off the highway and just cry. I’m relieved, but I’m such a stressed and emotional mess I can’t process it properly or without excessive display.

In the days before we left, we solved a mystery that had been plaguing me on and off for years. I’ve had stomach troubles for years, sometimes worse, sometimes better. I figured it was all related to my horrible surgery seven years ago. As it turns out, I’ve developed lactose intolerance. Just like my Mother did, but 20 years earlier in life than she did. In theory, it's great to know, I can now take a few pills to help with it if I eat dairy. But I’m angry about it. I’ve got restrictions on how and what I can eat from the surgery and subsequent fuckery. I can’t even eat fucking breakfast cereal anymore, the damage to my throat due to the sepsis just makes it a horrid experience. But at least I’m not 24/7 diareea anymore. Nothing more pissed off and resentful than a Wisconsinite with lactose intolerance.

We get back to Wisconsin, get to talk/shout with my parents maintaining a big social distance. I just want to spend time with them, go get dinner, drinks. But we can’t. We begin “camping” in our new house, as our stuff won’t get here for another six days. The house has good bones. But it's beat. I think had I been able to walk through it, I wouldn’t have bought it. The kitchen is...inadequate at best. Everything is in a state of disrepair, the house, unknown to us, has been a rental for the last five years. All maintenance is five years in arrears. We began cleaning and repairing, but every step forward is two steps back. I’m working on a folding table and chair in my dining room, using cellular data.

The trailer with our stuff shows up. We hire a local company to unload it for us. When they get on-site we find out that the keys to the BRAND NEW padlocks I put on the moving trailer don’t work. I run out to a hardware store and buy a bolt cutter and cut them both off. But I’ve been paying these two yahoos to sit around for 45 mins while I get that done. They won’t wear masks. I should have fired them both right then and there, but I wanted my stuff, I was tired of camping chairs and folding tables.

Took three guys 9 or so hours to load in LV. These two say they will be done in 4-6 hours. 8 hours later and they are finally done. Our Las Vegas loading crew, despite having TONS of blankets I rented have done a totally FUCKING SHIT job of wrapping our furniture and other things. We have scratches, dents, and rub marks in places where they should have been protected by moving blankets. They only used about HALF the ones I rented. I didn’t notice being so busy when we moved out. FUCK.
All of our stuff was now in the house or the garage. It looks like Box Tribbles have been doing unrestrained fucking all over the place. We can’t risk our friends and relatives, so we begin unpacking ourselves. My wife’s knee is still hurting, it’s slow. Add in the cleaning and repairs I keep having to do and it’s glacially slow.

The stove shorts out while I’m using it. I get a call two hours later, Bill has the ‘rona. He lost his wife in July, now he’s got ‘rona. Work is ratcheting up, politics are getting more and more intrusive. Unpacking is stressful, the kitchen is SO fucking inadequate. There isn’t even a decent pantry. So much shit, including stuff I really really packed well is broken. My good 32” monitor, in its original packaging, is fucked. My work PC, one I built just to do my job on blew its motherboard. Oh, the side monitors and a 15 year old shop dog monitor came through fine. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Bill goes into the hospital. He’s there a week, but the entire time we are sure we are going to lose him. He doesn’t need a vent and eventually gets discharged. A week and a half later and he’s in danger of needing to go into the hospital again. Fuck. We are fucked here for COVID-19. The hospitals are nearly at capacity and nearly nobody is taking this shit seriously. The motherfucking TAVERN LEAGUE manages to get a judge to throw out some of the occupancy restrictions in the MIDDLE OF A FUCKING PANDEMIC. Fuck those assclowns.

I’m cautiously confident about the Democrats and Biden. I thought that people not directly in the Trump Cult would see what a fuckstick that guy is. Fast forward to today and boy was I fucking wrong. Last night was bad. I wasn’t even watching the returns, but my worry overrode my ability to sleep.

Today I actively hate my fellow Americans. We are apparently living up to every negative stereotype ever invented for us. People are trapped in disinformation bubbles and willing captives of the Trump Cult. I hate that man so much I can’t even look at his bloated orange face, let alone listen to his hateful bullshit.

All of this, this year, this pandemic, this move, this house, this everything. I’m drained nearly dry. I don’t know what to do anymore and I’ve got no stamina, emotional or otherwise. I move from flat despair, to rage, to a strong urge to withdraw from society. The world is ugly and I’m tired. I’m tired of being ashamed to be an American because of the actions of our president and his party of shit-licking sycophants. I’m tired of worrying for my LGBTQ++ friends, for my PoC friends/family and for people I don’t know who are hurt by these supposed “God and America” assholes. I worry for them. This isn’t about me, it’s about how we want to be as a society. As a fat, middle-aged middle-class white man, Trump is no particular threat to me. But he espouses hate and it hits people I love. He degrades the world and I am particularly offended that he does it on *my* behalf.

I’m tapped out. I have nothing left. I was counting on hope from a Republican blowout and Trump going down in flames. Instead we get Republican gains and a close race. I’m disgusted and without any hope. How could people vote for hate and exclusion? For that vulgar, petty, little man who wouldn’t think twice about mocking the very redneck assholes who support him so much. We has been *using* evangelicals for his own ends and isn’t even really hiding it.

I’ve got nothing left in me. I can’t deal with this shit anymore. I need a win and I need it badly. I work. I make dinner. I watch some TV. I take an edible and drink a few beers and go to bed. Rinse, repeat. It can’t stay like this. I can’t take much more and I’m becoming genuinely worried that one of these times I’m going to have a melt-down and be unable to come back, just be broken and sobbing with no end. I don’t know what to do anymore but something’s gotta break my way. Soon.

< Five. | Looking into people's eyes >
I am without reserves | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden)
Look at it this way by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 06:28:50 AM EST
At least Rudy Giuliani isn't your lawyer.

What year Beetle? One of the old air cooled ones, or a NuBeetle like tdi I traded in a couple years ago?

That's an interesting route from Lost Wages to CheeseLand. Why not I-15 to I-80? Too much snow?

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Beetle and Drive by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:54:06 AM EST
Its a 1st Gen New Beetle, a 2007 convertible with the 2.5L 5-cyl gasoline motor. It's quite zippy.  Manual top, tho.

As to the drive, since I had the Beetle on a Uhaul car carrier hitched to my truck, I didn't want two things:  1. Huge grades to navigate. 2. Snow on said grades. 
Weirdly, there had already been snow in Colorado, really early. So we took the southern route. It only adds like 4 hours on.

[ Parent ]
Good point by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #10 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 09:54:02 AM EST
When I moved from SW Utah to Virginia I was hauling a car behind the u-haul and almost didn't make it over the pass outside Denver. Got passed by a bicycle. Uphill.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
You left out by wumpus (4.00 / 2) #12 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 10:07:42 AM EST
being forced to make a U-turn. I've almost blotted turning into a parking lot with a swinging guard gate (closed) out of my mind.


Maybe you've mastered the art of backing up with a trailer. It took me way too long to get out of there.

[ Parent ]
Passing score by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 03:02:22 PM EST
I'd rate my ability to back up things as "passable."  I don't do terrible, but its not super awesome either.

When we moved to LV, I drove a 27" Penske truck with a car carrier attached to it. THAT THING was a nightmare to drive. Both in backing it up and in getting up hills. Governed piece of shit.

[ Parent ]
When I was in the Army by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #16 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 06:26:10 AM EST
I was trained in how to back up a deuce and a half with a trailer. Not hard, but takes practice. Also, you really need a ground guide.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I’m glad you wrote by miserere (4.00 / 2) #2 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 07:20:38 AM EST
And I’m so, so sorry for everything you’ve gone through. And - as my therapist says to me every time I break down - this is a normal response to an abnormal situation.

And somehow, we will keep moving, and the current crises will pass, and we will have the space to actually deal with the traumas and grief that we’re living through. Take care of yourself, my friend.

Yup by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:55:57 AM EST
I just...its been too much. Moving is on the list of top 10 stressors and frankly I don't deal with change that well. But here we are. 

I think it will get better. Biden winning, provided Emperor Tang can actually be removed from the White House, was nice. I'm just disappointed it was at all close.

[ Parent ]
*hugs* by ana (4.00 / 2) #3 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:23:05 AM EST
Thanks for letting us help bear the load, just a little.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

Heh by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:56:30 AM EST
I really do appreciate it.

I find just writing it down sometimes helps.


[ Parent ]
Writing... by ana (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 09:49:51 AM EST
 Writing really helps me, both organizing thoughts and figuring out how I feel about them.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

[ Parent ]
I'm exhausted just reading that by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:48:29 AM EST
how exhausted are you?

Fucking by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 08:57:40 AM EST
Fucking exhausted. That's what I am. Everything I do in this house requires two maintenance steps first. That means everything is taking FOREVER.  Boxes and mazes to walk around in seem normal now. Sigh.

[ Parent ]
At least when I bought my place by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 09:59:31 AM EST
I knew I was buying a project. Probably invested close to 1/3 of the purchase price in fixing and upgrading.

ProTip: Take care of infrastructural stuff (breaker box, plumbing, hvac, roof) first. And I wasn't afraid to do a "patch so it'll hold for 5 years and worry about permanent fix later" either.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Good advice by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 02:59:55 PM EST
The roof and plumbing are pretty good. Electrical is 200 amp, but a smaller box. Need more, but nothing wrong with it for now.

Now for the HVAC....well that's another story. Natural gas furnace is 20 years old this year.  Not super old, but nearing the end of its service life.  The air conditioner, on the other hand, was installed in 1988, a year before I graduated high school. It was listed as "At the end of its service life" but it still works.  The fence in the back yard is an absolute wreck as well. I think those will be the first big spends, despite my wife hating the master bath and me hating the kitchen.

[ Parent ]
HVAC by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 06:30:05 AM EST
That's gonna cost. OTOH, the energy savings with a new unit will pay off fairly quickly. Best to get some quotes now, and get it done before it fails.

I did the master bath and kitchen in the summer, when it was warm enough to shower out back with a hose. If you have more than one shower that isn't an issue of course. The two of them together ran me, well, more than what I paid for a couple of my new cars put together.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Ya by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 11:54:21 AM EST
We are trying to figure it out. The house has two full baths and one half, so we *could* gut the master without having to shower outside. But it will be a fuck-tonne of tiling....and I don't know how to tile. :-(

[ Parent ]
Tiling by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #20 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 02:17:02 PM EST
I have tiled two bathrooms.  It is not rocket science, but when we did our recent bathroom remodel, we hired someone.  The person we hired was undependable, and caused us problems, but still, I'm happy we did that because tiling fucking sucks.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
find out that the keys to the BRAND NEW padlocks by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Nov 12, 2020 at 07:43:47 PM EST
a one in a million chance the lock just had the wrong keys in manufacturing or some shenanigans with the movers?

Not sure by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #19 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 11:57:46 AM EST
Shitty Master Lock locks. I went out and purchased them myself, a "3-pack" of locks. Two of them secured the load, inside the trailer.  I put a key on my keyring and another in my wallet, and the third in the truck, just to be sure I didn't lose them. All keyed the same. None of them would unlock with any of the keys.  The guy at Ace hardware, where I bought the bolt cutters, said that he had heard of a batch of Master Locks with fucked up keys. It was supremely irritating after I was *so careful* to keep track of the keys.

[ Parent ]
*long, deep, intense hug* by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #21 Fri Nov 13, 2020 at 06:22:30 PM EST
i'm exhausted and worn out and i haven't been through half of what you have, this year.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Thank you, my friend. n/t by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #24 Sun Nov 15, 2020 at 10:34:07 PM EST

[ Parent ]
If I had passable liquor, I'd offer you a drink... by atreides (4.00 / 2) #22 Sun Nov 15, 2020 at 08:43:27 PM EST
...but I only have Jeppson's Malort, so it would just be easier to stab ourselves in the lungs.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #23 Sun Nov 15, 2020 at 10:33:39 PM EST
Cheers to you anyway, my friend.

[ Parent ]
That is by barooo (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Dec 10, 2020 at 05:23:25 PM EST
entirely passable in my book, the Chicago handshake.

man, i need a beefy taco now.
[ Parent ]
That's a lot. I mean a fuckton of a lot by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Nov 18, 2020 at 07:23:47 AM EST
But I do love how your humor still comes through.

A hug to you from far away.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat

Heh, yes it is. by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Nov 18, 2020 at 12:46:49 PM EST
Thank you. And a far away return hug!

[ Parent ]
Venting by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #27 Sun Nov 22, 2020 at 05:38:04 PM EST
Never hold it in. Always let it out. The times are insane and screaming, anger and finally exhaustion are normal. We’ve all been together for over twenty years because we’ve all needed each other to listen to our screams into the ether from time to time. This is what friends do. Even imaginary internet friends, 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Heh by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #28 Mon Nov 23, 2020 at 11:38:42 AM EST
Yes, I agree!

[ Parent ]
I am without reserves | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden)