His Tragedy Gives Me Hope

I know this guy.  A really wonderful guy.  He’s kind and compassionate.  I’ve never seen him angry.  Of course he is a vendor with whom I interact in a professional capacity, but I feel as though, I’ve known him and worked with him long enough that he’s more than just a vendor to me.  He is a friend and as a friend seeing him angry wouldn’t be completely unreasonable.  Yet it doesn’t happen. He’s always positive and upbeat.  He’s always encouraging and supportive.  He’s diplomatic and charismatic.  He’s always very peaceful and I really enjoy dealing with him.

You might wonder why this seems so incredible to me.  Why is it so noteworthy?  You see, my friend has every right and reason to be completely messed up.  No one could blame him if he was a miserable, unlikeable, pitiful excuse for a man.  He suffered greatly in his early days, both due to his environment and directly at his father’s hands.  And later when the world learned of his experience, no one could have faulted him for having been affected by it.

You see, my friend isn’t just any man.  He isn’t just any formerly abused child.  He’s the son of a psychopath.  My friend’s father was a very disturbed, evil man, who manipulated hundreds of people and is directly responsible for one of the most infamous and horrific mass murders of my lifetime.  My friend is the only living biological son of The Reverend Jim Jones and his wife Marceline.

With a name as generic as Jones, you’d never imagine that my friend could possibly be the son of such a sick individual.  I’m only aware of it because a former co-worker, big on over-sharing, told me about my friends history one day several years ago around this time.  Yesterday was anniversary of the massacre that took the lives of over nine hundred members of “The Peoples Temple.”  If you don’t know the story, You can find out a little bit here and here.  I’m not going to recount it in this forum.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have known anything about it if it weren’t for my mouthy co-worker, but as a person who is fascinated with disaster and destruction I couldn’t help but do some research afterward.  Like most people I’d heard the various catch phrases about “the Kool-Aid” (which it was not) but I didn’t know the story, and never before that day was it so personal.

Thirty years ago this week, the disaster took place.  The things I’ve read, and the television shows I’ve seen about the event are chilling to say the least.  I can only imagine what it must have been like in the days and weeks after the mass murder for my friend, (I can’t call what happened suicide.)  Knowing that he had survived this tragedy when so many innocent people died at his father’s proverbial hand, I can only imagine the survivor’s guilt that he must have suffered.  Likewise, I can only imagine the years of therapy it must have taken for him to become the man he is today.

In preparing to write this post today, I did a little internet search for information and I came upon a story about my friend and his appearance in, but disinterest in watching, a documentary type special, a couple years ago, about the Jonestown Massacre.  While I have read stories in the past about my friends life, I happened across this and was, nonetheless surprised:

The younger Jones concedes he went through hell and back trying to come to terms with his ordeal. “I’ve finally found a little peace.”

That peace wasn’t in place at Jonestown. “Then I was always enraged with my father, and I showed it openly,” he says.

“There were even times when we squared off in front of everybody at the Temple, with guns pointed at each others heads,” Jones says.

“But did I help anything? No, I really think I made it worse. I increased the fear and dread in the community. My rebellion was all about making him look wrong. There was little about standing up for the people in the community. I could no longer rationalize the sickness and the wrong of what he was doing, yet I rebelled from the safety of royalty.”

…with guns pointed at each others heads.”

It’s hard for me to imagine my friend holding a gun, let alone, pointing it someone’s head.  Especially at his own father’s head.  How tragic in it’s own right that such a thing should happen.  I’ve never discussed my friend’s father with him.  Part of me would very much like to.  I have many questions that go unanswered, but I just can’t help feeling like, perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about him.  Perhaps, he shares his story and does his interviews with news outlets out of some sense of obligation or responsibility but doesn’t desire to talk about it with people with whom he has a personal relationship.  I can imagine he’s got some incredible, exciting stories to tell.  If it weren’t such a tragic and disturbing true story, I would very much like to hear (or read) them.  But they’re surely not incredible, exciting stories to him.  They are the stuff of his tumultuous early years which is very likely better left buried.

Often, I have thought about what it must have been like for my friend, to grow up in such an environment.  I know, from reading my friends own writings on-line, that Jim Jones was a very disturbed and often violent father.  I know that he was addicted to drugs and carried on in a sexual manner, not appropriate for a father or a husband, and certainly not for a Pastor.  I know that my friend had a miserable childhood that included, among other things, multiple attempts at suicide by over-dosing on his father’s drugs.  I think about these things and I think, “Man!  What am I moping about?  My life was a walk in a park compared to that.”  And then I found this.

The other night, I watched the MSNBC special presentation, Witness to Jonestown.  I wish I could remember more specifics, but as I was watching this show and my mind was drifting on and off of what I was seeing and hearing, I was suddenly snapped back to the reality of the show when I heard a woman say, “You weren’t allowed to disagree.  You weren’t allowed to have a different opinion.”  I have expressed that very sentiment, almost word for word many times, in reference to growing up in Vengeful Mother‘s home.  And today I read the brief article “A cult is like abusive relationships…  You are trapped like a caged animal.”  The interview with Deborah Layton, a survivor of Jonestown, read, in a lot of ways, like a description of my own childhood as I was being raised by VM:

“…plays on people’s insecurities and gives them a sense of order in the world…

“You find a niche… where everything is black and white, where this way is good and the other way is bad.”

The logical consequence of this thinking, however, is that any deviation from the cult leader’s [Vengeful Mother‘s] thinking is automatically condemned. Members’ individuality is suppressed and subject to fear and suspicion…  “It’s an abusive relationship…you can’t extricate yourself without hurting yourself or your family. You are like a caged animal.”

There is a frightening and painful similarity between the way Vengeful Mother controlled me (and in many ways, still does) and how someone like Jim Jones controls the members of his Cult.

Come to think of it, my amazement at my friends ability to heal from his tragic early days also gives me hope for my own future.  Encouragement that I can and will find peace in my own life without the bonds of my previous existence holding me down, preventing me from finding a place in this world where I can fit in and be happy, healthy and whole.

Theraputic Mistery

Therapy was tough tonight.  There was a moment that kinda slipped by me until after it was all over.

Insightful Therapist and I briefly discussed, at the end of the session, the fact that I had been honest with the Match Support Specialist (MSS) at Big Brother’s and Big sisters, on Thursday, about the fact that I’m gay.  IT asked me if that felt significant to me, to have “come out” and been so honest with the Specialist about something that is so intensely difficult for me.  I said that it did not, because much to my surprise it wasn’t nearly as difficult for me as I thought it would be.

It was a little difficult to say, but far less so than what I had anticipated.  The MSS asked me about my relationship with my family and in particular my parents.  Describing my relationship with Dead Beat Dad was easy.  I pretty much don’t have one.  I’d like to.  And I am sort of working on it, but for the most part it’s just too difficult.  Vengeful Mother on the other hand is a little more difficult to explain.  I just told the MSS that my relationship with VM is strained, that I wish it wasn’t and it’s a work in progress, but that VM is very emphatic about her Christian beliefs and that she and I have some conflicts of interest, namely that I’m gay and VM wouldn’t be OK with it if she knew.  I informed the MSS that my family is not yet aware of this.

What I was expressing to Insightful Therapist, though possibly not completely clearly, was that despite my expectations, it didn’t feel like such a big deal to tell the MSS that I’m gay.  IT was asking me if that felt like a significant experience to me and I said, “No.”  But what I was saying was, “No. It didn’t feel terribly significant to tell the MSS about my sexuality.”

As I was leaving the waiting area of Insightful Therapist‘s office, it suddenly dawned on me.  She wasn’t asking me if it felt significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  She was asking me if it felt significant to me, that it didn’t feel significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  My answer to that question is, “Yes!  That’s huge!”

There was a lot more to our session tonight.  I’d hate to suggest that I’ve got it all worked out and narrowed down to a handful of factors, just to be wrong, but it seems to me that I’ve stumbled upon something.  It’s my fear that’s holding me back.  I am, truthfully, and shamefully, terrified of taking any steps that might move me forward.

I’m terrified of going to AA meetings, or Coming Out Support Groups.  I felt sick to my stomach and like I might pass out when I was seriously considering the possibility of volunteering with the HRC.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do anything with them.  I know I can.  But there are people there.  People that I don’t know.  And when I began to imagine what might come next after filling out the volunteer form, I was in agony… sick to my stomach… light headed.  I felt like I might just faint, right here in my chair whilst I considered such an absurd thing.

I’ve had so many experiences of rejection by people in randomly public situations that I don’t really feel comfortable taking the risk any more.  It’s easy for Insightful Therapist to nod her head and say, “That must have been so painful.”  But it’s so much more than painful.  It’s debilitating to think of taking the risk again.  To consider putting myself out there for such treatment to be issued, because what IT doesn’t convey that she understands is that it will happen again.  Maybe not on such a grand scale.  Maybe not in such an oppressive manor, but it will happen again.  And it will happen every time I put myself out there.  For every person who will treat me with a modicum of respect, there will be fifteen who will treat me like so much dog doo on the sole of their shoe.  Like I’m something to be dealt with and forgotten about.  I just want to be welcomed, treated with respect and dignity and love, just for being who I am.  To be treated like I’m Somebody’s Somebody, but I can’t shake the fact that, no matter where I go or what I do, There will always seem to be a majority who does not like me.

It’s Time!

Well, I took my week.  I took my week to pout and rant and stew.  And then I talked about it.  With my therapist.  She helped put things into perspective.  A perspective I guess I really already had but sometimes it’s nice for someone else to help see it.

This week has been a struggle for me to accept the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8, because it was personal to me.  For the first time in my life, it was personal to me.  It’s the first time that such a bill has been on the ballot, in the state where I lived, while I was not in UTTER AND COMPLETE DENIAL!!

I realized while discussing this with her that it had hit me so hard because it made things “real” for me.  In the same sense as “if I don’t actually tell anyone that I’m gay, it’s not real.  But as soon as I tell someone I am, it becomes real.”  You see, I’ve been around for others of these types of measures.  I’ve watched from the side lines and hoped for the best outcome while not being too worried about it because, “It doesn’t affect me anyway.”  I’ve watched as once again the hope for equality was snatched away like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and I’ve been disappointed at the narrow-minded hate that seems to abound.  But I’ve known that it wasn’t about me and it wouldn’t change my life and so I could distance myself and be unmoved.

I’m used to that feeling so when Proposition 8 came about and I watched the process taking place, I was caught unprepared for the outcome.  I watched from the side lines.  I hoped for the best outcome.  I didn’t worry about it.  And I watched as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory…  And I was affected.  I was hurt.  I was offended.  Dare I say it, I was devastated.  Because this time, personal, it was!  This time I’m not in denial.  I’m not hiding who I am from myself.  I know that I’m a part of the community that was under attack.  Of course I took it personally!  Of course I felt like it was a slap in the face.  Of course I wanted to see something done about it.

So I did something about it.  Last night I became a member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  I bought an equality car magnet which I will proudly place on my bumper so that every one will know that I’m here.  That I’m a part of their community and that I can’t be held back.  I bought an equality pendant on a leather cord which I will proudly display around my neck so that everyone will know that I’m in the room.  I’m in their space.  And that I’m not giving them the gay bug, or cooties.  I’m just here.  I bought an equality key chain which will bare my house and car keys and will be visible for all to see (I don’t put my keys in my pocket.)  And I bought an equality watch so that every time I look at the time, every time I’m asked for the time I’ll be reminded of just what time it is!  It’s time for Equality!  It’s time for fairness.  It’s time to be treated like a full citizen of this almost great nation of ours.  It’s time!

Soon, I’ll register to volunteer with the HRC.  I’ll help plan the annual dinner.  I’ll help plan community events.  I’ll help spread the word and get to our legislators.  And someday, maybe, if I’m brave enough, I’ll help plan Pride events as well.

No longer am I going to hide my true self.  No longer am I going worry about being noticed looking at an attractive man.  No longer am I going to lower my voice when I talk about my sexuality with the few people who do know, for fear of being over heard.  Let them over hear!  Let hem know that we are among the masses!

I know I still have a long way to go.  I know I still need to be more social.  I know I need to find a way to meet more gay people, and make some gay friends, and, dare to dream, a boyfriend!  I know I still need to fully embrace who I am and what I want and no longer be afraid of discovery and shame.  I am working on that.  I will do that.  I will be proud of myself.  I will live openly and with courage.  I will do my part to further our cause and I will not be side lined by hateful, fearful, ignorant people who can’t see my value in the world.

This is my time.  OUR time! And from today, I will make something of it!  It’s time!

Cold Turkey

Yesterday, I confessed to an addiction.  Today, I’ll tell you about another.

I’ve been a drug addict for six years.  It’s true.  Every single day for the last six years, I have taken mood altering substances that my body very quickly became dependent upon and without which I turned into an unrecognizable monster oddly reminiscent of an enormous ass, but one that would sooner kill you then feel like you’ve let him down or disappointed him in anyway.

I’m not talking about anything you’d snort or inject, in fact, I’d have to check with Ex Con Older Brother to be sure, but I don’t think you could even buy these drugs on the street.  The internet?  Sure.  But not the street.  No, the drugs I’m talking about are the Doctor sanctioned, Government approved, Pharmaceutical Company foisted kind.  Yes, that’s right.  I’ve been taking Anti-Depressants for the last six years.

Today, however, marks the last day of this addictive behavior.  No longer will I assault my synaptic pathways with artificial fortification.  No longer will I ingest these foreign substances to do what they will with my psyche.

[ Gosh, I feel a little like I should be standing barefoot on a couch after an overnight drinking party shouting at my friends about our flaccid penises (peni?) and making deals about losing our virginity by prom night.  And if you don’t get that reference – American Pie – then I don’t want to be your friend anyway.]

Today I am taking back control of my emotional well being.  It isn’t actually, really cold turkey  I made this decision back in April when I was taking 300 Milligrams of Welbutrin and 40 milligrams of Celexa on a daily basis.  I felt like I was in a haze all the time.  I felt like I wasn’t able to access my feelings.  Like I wasn’t having a genuine experience.  And I felt like this ride was never going to end unless I stepped on the breaks and got out of the car.  So I did.

This whole ordeal started a little over six years ago–  Well, really it started 33 years ago with my childhood and my genetics and my divorced parents and my general state of misery, but I don’t have all day to write and you don’t have all day to read and if I tried to put it all in here, WordPress very well might explode, but not before you found me boring and hit that nifty little arrow in the upper right corner to take you to the next random post!  So with that being said…

We’ll pick up this ordeal six years ago.  I had been working for about four months for The Company that Created the HMO and wasn’t really loving it (I was an Administrative Assistant for fuck’s sake) but it followed a nine month period of unemployment where I could barely pay for my car with the unemployment checks I received ever other week, let alone rent and utilities, or assisting Green M&M, who graciously allowed me to move in with her, with expenses.  I had been drinking a lot, and feeling really dejected because I wasn’t able to find another job and I was at a really low point in my emotional cycle.  So when the opportunity with The Company came along, I really had not choice but to take it.

One day I had had a blow up with a co-worker and I didn’t know what to do about it so I made an appointment with the Employee Assistance Program Counselor, ostensibly to talk about work relations and how I could deal with this person.  I sat for an hour with this Counselor who talked to me for five minutes about my coworker problem and then asked me all kinds of questions about my life, my childhood, how I live now, etc., etc., etc.  Then she said, “You sound depressed to me.  Here.  The Company that Created the HMO offers all these classes and they’re bound to fix you.”

OK, so that last part may not have come out quite like that, but all these years later, that’s how I feel about it.  The counselor referred me to the Oakland Adult Psychiatry department of The Company that Created the HMO where I was pared up with a Psychologist that I would get to see once every six weeks (whether I needed it or not, I guess.)  They never did offer me any assistance with the coworker and we continued to have conflict until the day she went on maternity leave and then decided not to come back.

Once every six weeks, I’d go to this appointment with this woman who looked strangely like a Yahoo Messenger avatar making the “angry” face and who always made me feel inferior and pathetic.  She kept urging me to go to this Depression Overview Class that was offered.  It was supposed to give me a better understanding of what I’m dealing with and was a precursor to the eight week Depression Management Class she also wanted me to take.  I resisted it for some time but it was obvious to me that I was not going to get what I needed from attending these sessions with Avatar Face and something had to give so I went.

Up to that point, I had been determined that I was not going to take medication and I did not want anyone else to know what I was going through.  I resisted the class because then people would know.  I gave in and attended the class and one of the things they focused on in this class (not even 2 hours) was the idea of medication, how it works, and why I should take it.  I will acknowledge that it has been six years.  I will acknowledge that I was uncomfortable in the situation and wanted to go home.  And I will acknowledge that I was desperate for someone, somehow to make me better and take all this pain away.

All those acknowledgments being put out there, do not change the fact that what I remember the instructor of this overview class saying was that I’d take meds for two to three years and that while I was taking them, not only would the stabilize my neurotransmitters but it would correct the problem in my brain that causes the imbalance in the first place.  So, OK.  Two or three years…  I can accept that.  Especially if I’ll be all better after.

I set an appointment with a Psychiatrist at The Company and got a prescription from her for Paxil.  The prescription was, take 10 milligrams a day for the first week and then bump it up to 20.  About this time I inquired with Ex Con Older Brother who I knew was also taking Paxil and he informed me that it worked, for him, like flipping a switch.  That he started taking it and almost instantly things changed.  I really wanted that for myself so within six weeks, with the Psychiatrist’s approval I increased my dosage twice, first to 30 milligrams and then to 40.

It took a little while for it to completely kick in but once it did, I felt great.  Best I’ve ever felt.  I had confidence, I enjoyed people, I was in great emotional shape.  It was around this time that Green M&M and I decided that neither of us had anything to lose and so we decided to give a “friends with benefits” scenario a try.  This was when I found out that some of those side effects they tell you about were going to be a problem.  I was having serious sexual side effects and couldn’t’ get past them.

I asked my doctor to help me out with this problem and her solution was to take me off the Paxil and put me on Welbutrin.  Her instructions were to taper off the Paxil over the course of 10 days.  Which I did.  Which is when the aforementioned unrecognizable, enormous ass, monster appeared.

I crack jokes and be obnoxious about this because it’s easier to face, but the truth is, it was an emotionally excruciating, hold on for dear life, MY GOD HE’S GONNA BLOW, volatile two weeks and I really didn’t think I was going to make it.  It’s easier to laugh now.  I’m reminded of a Saturday Night Live commercial parody not too long ago about a Birth Control Pill that would make a woman have her period only once a year.  In the fast talking, fine print they talk about how during that one week-end out of the year you better hold on to your hat ’cause your gonna lose your shit, etc., etc., etc.  It says that you should alert your law enforcement officials as they may wish to lock you up as a preemptive measure.  That’s how I felt.

When I think about these times I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude toward Green as well as some shame over the way I acted.  In truth her actions set me off on more than one occasion but my reactions were out of control excessive and she put up with a lot of vitriol from me during that period of time.  It would probably have been easier for her to just walk away, but she didn’t.  She stood by me and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

Anyway, once the psychotic episode passed and I was back to “normal” whatever that is, I was on just the 300 Miligrams of Welbutrin.  It’s the only Anti-Depressant with little or now sexual side effects.  What I’ve learned in the recent past is that it’s also commonly know to increase anxiety in those who are prone to it (I am.)

I took Welbutrin by itself for nearly four years, never really feeling like it was doing me any good, but afraid to say anything for fear of what they’d recommend next.  But when the time came that I couldn’t stand it anymore, this image approximates what I was feeling.  I felt like I was standing right down there at the bottom of this mammoth wall of rock, knowing that on the other side of this structure was millions of gallons of water just waiting to burst through and destroy me.  I felt like I was standing at the bottom of that wall looking up at the top, and just watching as the wall slowly crumbled knowing that at any moment the water could break through and all would be lost.

At that point my Psychiatrist recommended adding the Celexa to the mix, and while I’ll admit that it did seem to help for a time, it really just put me on top of the dam.  No longer was the wall crumbling.  No longer did I fear that it would all come crashing down on me.  Instead, I was standing on the road, looking out at all the water, all the feelings and emotions, knowing that disaster lay before me, but then again so did the potential for good.  But either way, I couldn’t get to it.  It was inaccessible.  And if I tried, I just might drown.

It’s strange, but knowing that all that was there, and that I couldn’t get to it had a two fold effect on me.  First it sent me into a deep despair.  On the advice of my therapist I took a leave of absence from work and went into an outpatient treatment program that is offered by The Company that Created the HMO.  I don’t particularly feel like the program itself offered me anything of value, other than time away from work to regroup and collect my thoughts.  But six weeks later when I was back at work full time and I was more in control again, I realized something else.

In a very real way, the meds have been that dam for six long years.  The only reason those millions of gallons of water are back there waiting to crush me, is because I built the dam and backed it up, rather than making an effort to tread it as it flowed through.

I never wanted the drugs.  I never should have taken the drugs.  I will never again take the drugs.  What I needed was therapy.  I needed steady care from someone who could help me to come to terms with my issues and help me to find that I’d be OK all the same.  I needed a life vest and a kayak, and an oar (am I over-doing the metaphor?)

I took the drugs because I heard “You’ll take them for two years and you’ll be fixed.”  I took the drugs because The Company that Created the HMO isn’t interested in dealing with life long problems, they want to send you to a class that amounts to them saying “Suck it up.  You’ll be fine.”  I took the drugs because once I started them, I was afraid to stop, lest I end up in that puddle of anger and tears and desperation on the floor in my closet that I had been during the Paxil/Welbutrin transition.  I took the drugs because I didn’t know how not to.

But I finally made a decision.  The best decision I’ve made for myself in a long time.  I will not take the drugs anymore.  I started this process in April.  I was taking two tablets of each medication.  So starting on May 1st, I took one and three quarters.  On June 1st, I reduced it to one and one half, etc., until today, Friday, October 31, 2008.  THE last day, I will take my drugs.  Starting tomorrow, I will be drug free.  Starting tomorrow the last brick will have been removed from that dam.  The waters will flow freely and I will wade through them until I’ve learned to swim peacefully from shore to shore.  It may be a struggle sometimes.  Some days will surely be worse than others, but so far I’m strong and steady.  The current isn’t that bad.

Life, Lunacy and the Pursuit of Financial Happiness; or The General State of Affairs

There’s a tickle at the back of my brain. A wee, small voice is calling out for freedom. There is a compulsion making its way to the surface. I feel like I have something to write. I’m just not sure yet what it is.

Saturday was Vengeful Mother’s 64th birthday. I played the dutiful son and called to wish her Happy Birthday and to inform her that a gift was not to follow. Things have been really tight for me lately. True to form, she took advantage of a moment of vulnerability on my part in which I told her of the financial difficulty I’ve been experiencing, to tell me that I wouldn’t be in this situation if I would just pay my tithes. Because after all, when I’m having trouble making ends meet to begin with the smartest thing I could do is write a $250.00 check, twice a month, for which I’ll receive no goods or services in return. Why wouldn’t I want to be $250.00 shorter per paycheck than I am now?

She tells me things would have been worse if she hadn’t done it, but I remember watching her write her tithe checks regularly, spending her last $50.00, and then having to scrape the cupboards to try to find something to feed her three hungry children. I guess she was “leading by example” by writing the checks, but what she was trying to instill in her children, that God will bless your finances if you tithe, didn’t come through. As far as I can tell, she’s still waiting for the blessing.

I suppose I was meant to accept not suffering homelessness, not having to go to school in rags and not starving to be a blessing. Now, I know I’m a bitter old dolt who has a fucked up sense of obligation but as far as I’m concerned, if Vengeful Mother and Dead Beat Dad weren’t prepared to guarantee those minimums, they should never have procreated in the first place. They probably shouldn’t have anyway. No, to me, being blessed is having all your needs met and having ample opportunities to make the most of your life. Those are the things I most certainly did not see happening when Vengeful Mother put her last few tuppence in the offering plates. Those are the things I didn’t have, period.

Tithes are supposed to be the “first fruits” of your “harvest” or the first 10% of your income. In other words, pre-tax. So my take home pay may be $1500.00 every two weeks, but I earn closer to $2500.00. Uncle SAM (as in Stole All my Money) takes the first nearly $1000.00 and then I’m supposed to hand over $250.00 more than that, before I do anything else? It’s impossible!

We had a luncheon at work today. I work in a small office of about five people. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve already been “introduced” to that group. We have a counter part group who works in another building. We don’t like them. They don’t like us. We have a mutual don’t like for each other and it’s a permanent condition.

Since my manager, Douche bag, is on vacation, the diminutive manager for the other group has been in charge. He decided to buy lunch for everyone today. So we gathered for sandwiches in a conference room. Midway through the lunch, he decided to announce that he was going to make this a monthly thing and that we’d meet for lunch monthly.

Every couple of months this comes up. Douche bag and his fun sized counterpart talk about how we should work together and have team building orgie— er, exercises and be BFFs, like that’s all it takes. Personalities and hard feelings be damned. I’m not sure why they can’t get it through their impenetrable skulls that we do not enjoy each others company and no amount of forcing the issue will change that. In fact forcing it on us will just make it harder to change things.

I had a couple of very peculiar dreams the other night. The first had to do with a forced entry situation at Vengeful Mother’s house. CPA sister and I were both there and it was bed time. CPA Sis was getting into bed in the living room, and Vengeful Mother was in bed in her room. CPA sis came across some papers in the living room that had some significance to a former boyfriend of hers; we’ll call him Breastplate (Explanation to follow). Vengeful Mother and I were reviewing the papers and realized that they were incriminating for Breastplate and some other guys. Suddenly, we heard loud noises as the front door was being broken down. I grabbed the papers and stuffed them under Vengeful Mother’s headboard.

I don’t really remember what happened after that except that the guys were tearing the house apart trying to find the papers and there was threatening and violence going on.

The second dream had a similar theme. I dreamed that Vengeful Mother and I were in a drug/grocery store and we had separated. The store was taken hostage by a group of ne’er-do-wells. I do not remember what their motivations were, but I remember that they were very rough. They were armed, but they had some sort of poison darts that they used to kill some of the hostages.

Once again, I do not remember the details of the dream but I remember that Vengeful Mother was killed with one of those darts. The dream ended when the police broke into the store and took out the bad dudes. I had managed to kill one of them in the course of my dream so when it was clear that the evil doers were going to die, their leader shot me with one of the darts, a moment before a policeman shot and killed him. Then just as everything was going dark I felt a sharp prick and shortly after I recovered. The police had the antidote for the poison and were able to save me, but not Vengeful Mother.

My therapist had the audacity to go on vacation last week and so it’ll have been two weeks since I’ve seen her, when I get to my appointment tomorrow evening. It seems as though I may have a lot to talk about. I do not wish for Vengeful Mother’s demise, but I do know that many things would be a lot easier on me if she was no longer part of my life. As I mentioned, she just turned 64 and some of you might be saying I don’t have that much longer with her, but you’d be wrong. People in my family, on both sides actually, live very long lives. My Paternal Grandfather who just died was almost 92. My Paternal Grandmother was in her early 80s when she died of cancer. My Maternal Grandmother was 84 when she died. The only enigma, if you will, is my Maternal Grandfather. He was killed when a psychotic divorceé boarded his plane wearing a dynamite vest in 1962. Grandfather was in his late 30s. Who knows how old he would have lived to be?

I take comfort in the fact that I won’t have to face the death of my parents for many years, and yet, there would be some comfort to be taken if I didn’t have to deal with those troubled relationships any further.

After nearly a year of negotiation, my regrettably pink bathroom is finally going to be remodeled starting on Monday, August 25, 2008. I’m dreading it. It’s going to be a major hassle for me. Their will be detritus everywhere while the work is happening. For a few days, my shower will be unavailable to me. Scared kitty will have to be closed up in the kitchen for his own safety and sanity, and the house will have to be thoroughly cleaned this week before my landlord sets foot in the place to meet with the contractor. I’ll be thrilled when the work is done.

My house was built in the 1920s. And the bathroom may well be the original bathroom, save for a new-ish toilet that was put in fewer than 5 years ago. The floor, sink counter and backsplash, and two sided shower surround are all covered in 4″ x 4″ pastel pink tile. The counter has a beveled, raised, pastel pink tile boarder that is hard to keep clean, and the counter is only 22 inches deep while the sink is 26 inches deep, so there is an angled protrusion from the counter where the sink is. The tile is dirty with the kind of dirt that doesn’t come out. Decade upon decade of use has resulted in a hue of grey that covers the pink such that only a power sand scrub or perhaps a dose of hydrochloric acid would make it come off, and then the tile would come up too. There are also what my landlady calls spider vein cracks in the tile. But most importantly, IT’S PINK!

Apparently, in the 1920s people were a good foot and a half shorter than they are now. The shower head, were it not to have an aftermarket handheld shower wand added to it, would hit me mid tattoo

 

and require me to bend down significantly to use it, and the top of the tile shower surround hits my shoulder level. Here in Oakland, we have a lot of mold issues to deal with, and it’s been my concern all along that this is going to be an issue if left unchecked.  (By the way, no comments about my ogre head!)

When completed, my bathroom is going to have new shower head that is up about two feet from it’s current location, the shower surround will be two single slabs of granite that will go up to 18″ from the ceiling, their will be an entirely new sink console with a new sink with polished nickel fixtures including a goose neck faucet. A new wall mounted mirror will hang over the counter and the counter will be single slab marble. Their will be fresh paint, new light fixtures, new towel hooks and rods and a brand new pergo floor. When finished the bathroom will be modern and lovely and will match the rest of the renovated house. I can’t wait!

And then theirs work. Douche Bag returns from his three and a half week tour of China tomorrow. When that happens, the respite I have had from all the shit that comes with his presence will be over. I do not look forward to that. I so desperately want to change jobs. I want to find something to do that is fulfilling and gratifying. I want to make a living being creative and inspiring to people. I would like to be a writer, but I don’t know how to make a living that way.

What I need is a sugar daddy! I’m now taking applications! Serious inquiries only, please!