Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fix It Guy Enthusiasm

The last 2 weeks have found me busier than a two headed, ......... uh, well, let's just say that between the bike shop and a yard that I have determined to maybe not tame, but at least put up the good fight and beat back what jungle I can, there has been little energy for any of my more sedentary activities like pumping words into this computer.  With the sun not dropping over the edge before 8:30 PM or so, I am using as much of it as I can to make a difference.  Of course that means when I finally gimp in from my day, I eat, sit on the couch and pass out.  I haven't seen 10 O'clock PM in quite awhile.

The down side, ......... yeah once again those pesky checks and balances, yings and yangs, ups and downs ....... the downside to passing out just as the Sun goes black is I wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3:30 or 4:00 AM.

There is no room for burning candles at both ends in my life anymore.  There used to be, but not anymore.  I go until I get tired and look for the first soft spot to park my butt.  It is actually beginning to piss off my wife.  I have left things unfinished or unclosed and she then becomes responsible to make sure I closed the garage door, rolled up my car windows, put yard tools away, etc.  But hey, when tired comes, I need to lay down pronto.

It seems every year about this time I am hard into convincing myself that this year it will be different,  This year I will carry my yard man and fix it guy enthusiasm through until snow flies.  I again told myself year.  And it seems I am still fooling myself I might just live up to my promise.  But in the back of my mind, my record of past failures keeps me from feeling secure that this year it will be different.  What usually happens is I get the one big weird project done and the basic yard and house duties start out gangbusters and then by the end of July all I want to do is go swimming in Horn Pond There is no romance in mowing, pruning, and hacking at the pucker.  And the satisfaction derived when hard at it in May, gets lost somewhere down the line.

But I will say that this year there is one big difference.  Back a couple of decades or so, I decided that I would not mow my lawn before June 1st.  This year I have mowed not only 3 times already, but I bagged the green crap up and dumped it in the back forty.  Maybe this year will be different ...........
Nah, probably not.

Later ........................................................

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kitty Litter

Kitty litter helps to keep me grounded.

Hmm. ........ I wrote that opening sentence a couple of weeks ago and then put the post on the bench.  Guess I needed to ponder just what I meant when I wrote it. ...............

I seem to recollect a meaningful and thought provoking deep narrative about the special place in my heart I store the notion of kitty litter.  Of course by the time I sat down in front of this screen, all I could spit up was that opening line.  So I let it simmer, hoping my short term memory would make a brief comeback.   While I think I have retrieved some of that original thought, I am sure what will follow will not be quite on it's original target.

I have always enjoyed the company of cats and dogs.  So, when I was able to, I invited them into my life and me into theirs.  Five dogs since the 1980s and well, I am guessing here, but at least 30 to 40 cats have passed through our doors in that time.  The high number of cats, the result of more than a few litters we dealt with as volunteers for a nearby shelter.  But at one point there were 9 full timing little bastards running amok in our house and yard.

I figure I have scooped at the least a couple of tons of kitty litter over the years.   During that time, I have learned a thing or two about scooping poops.

It is impossible to ignore a litter tray forever.  There are other must do chores I can walk around and leave for significant periods of time.  Dishes, grass growing in my yard, dirty car,vacuuming, and dusting shelves are a few of the many chores I can ignore with the best of them.  Kitty litter however is not one of them, especially in a multi-cat household like ours.  Skip a day and immediately the litter is out of control and it can be days before order to the odor is restored.

The must do aspect of kitty litter has a silver lining.  Because I cannot ignore it, dealing with it has forced me to include some basic structure to my daily flow.  Scooping litter may be mindless, unpleasant work,  but it gives me a moment every day to let my mind focus on nothing while my hands go automatic.

Kitty litter is a metaphor for Life.  Shit happens in every life.  And dealing with it is the only sane thing to do.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...............................................

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Protect Me from What I Want

I don't often look forward to having a beer after work anymore.  Yesterday's almost manic pace at the bike shop however, found me thinking I ought to crack a beer when I got home.  My mind was wound tight.  My body was wound down.  A beer seemed just the right medicine to bring my mind in tune with my body.

I get home and damn!  No beer.  What to do?  I considered a run to the Acton Trading Post for a six pack, but decided no.  Instead, I opened the liquor cabinet where a dusty collection of hooch sat patiently waiting for me to remember they existed.  Yeah, that's a good idea.  I'll have a Jameson with a cool cube in the middle.  One drink will do it.

There was maybe one and a half fingers of the famous Irish whiskey left in the bottle.  Not enough for a decent drink.  So when I finished off the Jameson, I cracked the seal on the bottle of scotch I bought several years ago.  .......................... And then it was off to the races.

I gave up drinking hard liquor for about 20 years.  I consciously stopped because when I was younger and got into the Demon Rum,  I often did not stop drinking it until there was nothing left in the bottle or bottles.  When I sobered up, many missing hours would haunt me like a bad dream.  Friends would tell me of my antics, funny and sad.  Bridges would be burned.  And I would be totally unaware of what happened.  ........... I liked my hard stuff too much.  So I quit.

A few years ago I decided it was okay to drink again.  I was older, wiser, and figured I could handle it.  So far, this has been the case.  A six pack will last me a month sometimes.  A bottle of whiskey will last me years.

Well, last night, I got schnockered, shitfaced drunk.  It snuck up on me.  I was not falling down drunk, but only a shot or two away by the time I collapsed on the couch about 10:00PM.

Which leads me to today as I sit here painfully using the few brain cells I have left to write this post.  When my eyes opened at their usual 4:30 AM, the first thought that passed through my mind was, "Oh yeah.  There's another reason I quit drinking.  Waking up feeling this bad really, really sucks."

Some lessons need to be repeated to protect us from what we want.

Later ..................................................

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Ironical and Tyrannical Paul LePage

A reality show on the "Animal Planet" channel located somewhere in the guts of most cable TV collections is called "North Woods Law".  It follows the exciting and edge of your seat exploits of the Maine Game Warden Service as they attempt to chase down drunks on ATV's, drunks on snow mobiles.  catch drinking fishermen with or without a license and oh yeah, they also go after illegal hunting of all kinds.

I view it as a kind of Yankee version of dumb Red Necks caught being stupid.  Fun to watch on occasion, but hardly thought provoking.  Just another mediocre show in a huge field of mediocre shows.

Apparently our grand and wonderful governor, Paul Lepage finds the show insulting and demeaning to the residents of Maine.  He contends it serves up a bad example of Maine to the rest of the country.

Hmm  ........................ I repeat,  Hmm............ Can you taste the irony?

Sorry Paul, but that horse left the barn the day you stepped into Blaine House the first time 2 elections ago.  You have single handedly set up the worse example for Maine since I first came to the state as child to visit my aunt and uncle in the 1950's.  There is no worse example than your very existence in a position of power.  You are hand's down, the worse thing to happen to my state ever.

And BTW - what's up with their dress uniforms?  Looks like they are wannabe Mounties from Canada.  At least they don't look like gestapo cops like the Massachusetts state cops do.

Later ....................................................

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hep Free

There is always an Upside tied to the hip of a Downside.  There is always a Right when there is a Left.  Seems no matter where I look or how I feel, the grass is either greener over there or a barren landscape devoid of hope and goodwill.  Balancing it all appears to be the best road to travel.  But no matter the road we choose, all of us end up in the same place.  The pain in finding the end of our road depends on what baggage we choose to fly with.

The other day's sad sack post was my explanation for being MIA for a few weeks.  It was my admission that I do have a problem with depression and will most likely have to deal with it the rest of my days.  At least as long as I refuse the chemical help being shoved at me by the health industry.

More than 30 years ago, after many negative run in's with doctors and their belief pharmaceuticals solve all ills, I decided I was safer self medicating than allowing the medical world do it for me.  Then in 2002, I was talked into the Interferon treatment for my Hepatitis.  That negative experience made me vow to never again allow a doctor to write me script for something I did not understand.

Never say Never.

Last year, after constant nagging by my main doctor, I was talked into trying one of the new Hep C treatments.  He assured me of two things.  The pain would be minimal at worse and might not even mess with me.  He also claimed the treatment would be only be for either 12 weeks or maybe 20 weeks, depending on which drug I was able to score the cheapest.

I chose to seek out Harvoni if possible.  One pill for 12 weeks.  Of course once I spent 5 minutes looking into the cost, I had my doubts I could swing Harvoni.  Between $1100 and $1200 per pill.  Without figuring the exact math, even with the 75% payout by my insurance, the cost would be prohibitive.  At $1100 per pill for 84 days that was $92,400.  Deduct the 75% pay out by my insurance company, that left me owing around $23,000 for the meds.  No way, I thought.

I was ready to give it up and just live with Hep C the rest of my days.  A last ditch effort suggested by someone who I cannot remember, found me finding the Harvoni website.  On the main page, a come hither suck you in claim that I could score a coupon from Harvoni that would cover all but $5 on the treatment.

Yeah right.

What the Hell.  Can't hurt to go through the registration process I thought.  One thing led to another and in the end I did actually only pay $5 for the pills.  Far Fucking out!  The lack of serious side affects were as advertised.  I carried a slight headache the first week and might have been slightly more run down than I was used to, but other than that, it was a cake walk.

The expense came with all the damn blood tests I had to have and the 2 more I still have to have, one at 6 months and the last one 12 months after I finished the regimen.  While it is nice being Hep free, it is even better that my opinion of the health industry has been boosted a tad.

My experience has also reinforced that the the health industry is a scam, a rip off, and all they really want to do is pick our pockets.  But at least this time, I found a way to work the system.

For any of the folks who stop by here at the BoZone who may have Hep, I would say check out Harvoni.  Finding ways around the costs are available, you just need to dig for it.  One thing though, stop smoking Pot at least 30 days before your first blood test.  Apparently, THC in your system is the go to refusal most Insurance company's use.

Anyway, that is what was on my mind this AM.  Now I can forget it and move onto the next thing in the quiver.

Later ......................................

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Dark Sands & Going Manic

Depression crept up behind him and slithered in unnoticed.  Like sand in a hour glass, the dark grains accumulated in the bottom of his soul.  After 62 years on the planet, his soul could hold no more.

He had not left his house in weeks.  His wife walked around him and sadness filled their home of 35 years.  No one called.  No one stopped by.  He was no longer part of the world that had no problem leaving him behind.

He did not feel sad.  He had passed sad many floors ago.  He felt guilt and shame.  Guilt for what, he was not exactly sure.  Shame for letting himself and everyone else down.  But guilt and shame was all he had now, so he wrapped himself in the guilt and strapped it on tight with his shame.  The longer he wore them, the more comfortable they felt.  He felt his soul imploding, shrinking, trying to hide from itself.  And he did not care any more.

Sure he was nearing the tipping point, he began to make plans.  Complicated plans.  Simple plans.  And many different plans in between.  He tried to plan recoveries.  He tried to plan a variety of ends.  But try as he might, he just couldn't get off his ass to implement a single one of them.  Instead, he slow cooked in his misery and discontent, hoping some day he might find some relief.


I wrote the above a couple of years ago during one of the accumulating low moments in my life.

I figured that since Depression seems to be a day to day possibility for me now and in lieu of soul draining meds, I figured I might as well share and maybe purge some of the guilt and shame I live with when in the pit.

What follows is some history and maybe a newer, fresher perspective. ................ and maybe not.


Going Manic

Before the year 2000, I never thought about Depression.  I knew folks suffered from it.  I watched both of my parents deal with it as they approached the end of their run on the planet.  Before 2000, I had not yet felt the crush as the dark pit wrapped itself around me.

Then in, I guess about 2001 or 2002, I was talked into being part of the first run of Interferon based therapy for Hepatitis.  Painful injections and pills made me feel about as shitty as a human can feel.

Seems of all the nasty side affects, down at the bottom of the list in print so small, I had to read it with a magnifying glass, there it was.  11% of the trial patients experienced suicidal ideation.  Of course, I did not find this out until I had already attempted suicide.  Of course, being a rookie, a NooB, an inexperienced suicide hobbyist, I failed.  Half ass attempt for sure, but it certainly scared the shit out of me.  I dropped out of the program.

Ever since my run in with bad pharmaceuticals,  I have had to deal with on again, off again bouts of depression.

The up side........ yeah, there is actually an upside I think .............. The upside is that now as if to balance my life's rhythms,  The low notes are offset by wonderful high notes.  I get to experience the joy of mania.  Up is often really up ...... I'm flying ...... thoughts move so quickly, I have trouble getting a handle on them.  But when I am able to grab one, my focus is impressive.  I guess even bad medicine can have a silver lining.

A friend asked me a few years back what did Depression feel like.  I am sure everyone has their own notion of what it is or isn't.  But I told him that for me it was non-existence with my eyes open.  Nothing matters.  Nobody cares, least of all me.  The out there world is a fantasy land that is maybe or maybe not just a fig-newton of my imagination.

As always, I will endeavor to Keep it 'tween the ditches ........................................