Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Three-Day Trip

That's right, kids...I'll be out of town for the next three days...ummm...kinda. I'll be traveling to Rhode Island...without ever leaving my apartment. And if that males absolutely no sense whatsoever, don't panic. Because I'm not even sure exactly where on Rhode Island I'll be. That is, I know where I'll be, but I couldn't possibly tell you where to find it on a map.

Actually, I can. If you bring up a map of Rhode Island, you'll notice the southeastern area almost appears to be coming apart...like the State is disintegrating. Well, smack in the midst of all the water is a fictional land mass that makes up Paragon City, also known as the City of Heroes!

I mentioned in my last post that I foolishly spend $15 on time for City of Heroes/Villains (CoX), the only superhero MMO out there at the moment. (Champions Online is due to be released anywhere between now and 1 September.) One of the lures that made me do so was this coming weekend...IT'S DOUBLE-XP WEEKEND! Yes, boys and girls...Twice a year, CoX hands out double the rewards to characters, starting at 9:00 AM on Friday, and ending at 9:00 PM Sunday. It's going to be complete madness.

You see, it's more than just a chance to get a character from level 1 to level 50, the maximum, in a day. There's other STUFF to be had! A prime example of this is in-game money. There are actually three types: Influence, Infamy, and Prestige. Influence and Infamy are basically the same, except that they apply to heroes and villains respectively. This is the "money" that belongs to individual players. Prestige is the "money" a super group earns when players activate "super group mode," and then they engage in combat/missions. Now is the time to cash in...

...provided one can log on. This is the "madness" part. CoX actually becomes so busy during these two weekends out of the year that servers actually become FULL! This kinda sucks, especially when one's favorite character is on one of the more popular servers.

So...Barring emergencies or accidents, I'll be in my apartment, and on vacation. Some people might find it odd that I enjoy fighting crime so much that I consider it a hobby, but I don't see any of YOU becoming brave enough to don tights (a brave act unto itself) and taking on the Skulls, or the Hellions, or the Trolls, or the Circle of Thorns, or the Carnival of Shadows, or the Council, or the Devouring Earth! Someone's gotta do it, and it might as well be some disabled guy in AZ!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Post 200...again!

Craaaaaazy weekend. I don't think there's a sane mind left in the house. Even I went a little nuts, thinking I have an ego and all that. I was sure to put myself in my place, especially with a response on the Depression Thread.

The tale starts with my buddy, Arguskos, having a monumental meltdown. He left a rather distressing "note" on the aforementioned thread, and I did my best to get in touch with him. But by the next morning, I was kicking myself. I should have been doing much more the moment I saw it.

Now worries, because Rob was now on the case. I was on the phone on and off with a police department that was hundreds of miles away all morning. Either I was calling them, or they were calling me. Eventually, Katrascythe, Arguskos's girlfriend, got in touch with me, and people were on the move to find him. It all ended rather well, and Argus and I spent almost three hours on the phone Saturday night, just shooting the breeze.

I came away from the entire event feeling I was some kind of superhero. Who needs an MMO about such things when you can be one in real life. For the first time in a long time, I felt good about myself, and I started acting on it...a little too much. I mean, I was thanked by various people, and some folks patted me on the back for a job well-done. But I hopped the forums, looking about in a couple of other threads, searching for even more praise. "Hey! Did you see the awesomeness that is Bor, in action, on the Depression Thread? It's like knowing a saint before sainthood is given, and I am blessed to have even seen his writings. All hail Bor!"

I didn't find any such thing. And so I started a writing binge in terms of trying to help even more people...for the completely wrong reason. I was motivated by receiving more ego boosts, not so much helping...even though I did my best to give sound advice.

Enter the Dragon! Okay, not the movie. I'm talking about "the Rose Dragon." He put a post on the Depression Thread, and it was in the form of a video! I was impressed. Had to be a first for the entire Depression Thread series. (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone, but the DT 4 is actually the DT 5. One was shut down due to in-fighting and various other emotional explosions.)

My first instinct was to comment, "Dude...Could you possibly sigh a few more times during the video?" But then I was stopped by that internal voice, Rob...the guy needs help, not a jackass. So I opened with a joke..."Definitely needs more cow bell." (I see in in the chat window on City of Heroes enough that it kinda got stuck there.) Following my semi-witty remark was a story in which I tried to remind the Rose Dragon about conversations we've had on AIM.

You see, he deems himself a bastard. He deems himself a bastard because of how he acts and what he says to people. And when we spoke on AIM, I tried to teach him the ever-important skill of thinking before speaking. But I don't think I ever told him the tale of Deidre and I. It was a fairly lengthy story, and I actually wrote it out in my book about growing up with diabetes, The Suicide Note. (Not a real note...just a shock title to get people's attention.) Well, now I took the time to officially tell the tale again, and it was like taking an RPG (that's Rocket Propelled Grenade, not Role-Playing Game) to my inflated ego. The abbreviated version is that I told a girl that had been freshly diagnosed with leukemia that she was going to die, without so much as a brief thought as to what I was saying. I was temporarily punished by the hospital staff, and punished long-term by yours truly. To this very day, when I think about the person I WAS, I feel inspired to throw myself into speeding traffic. To make matters worse, Deidre DID pass on, though I was lucky enough to give her a heartfelt apology before that happened.

After I wrote that, I was back to feeling more like my "normal" self.

Adding to this was another thread that popped up, and I wondered if I had somehow inspired it. As many of you know, I start begging for aid come the middle of each month. There is a link to this blog in my GitP signature. So there was suddenly a thread that appeared about a young woman being kicked out of her house, and her boyfriend was suddenly making a lot of posts seeking help. It seemed she immediately joined the forums to start communicating directly with people as they started making suggestions, and what came to my mind was, She's shooting down every reasonable idea being tossed out there. Ergo, she's looking for money.

It's a little more complicated than that, and I should explain. The original post said that this young couple was looking for somewhere the girlfriend could stay, perhaps becoming a live-in nanny or maid. A drop of logical thought poses the question, "Who gets a job like that at the drop of a dime, without references of known experience?" No one that I know of. And I didn't recognize the name of the original poster, and the girlfriend had definitely registered just to be able to chat on this thread. But they were smart enough to not ask for money...just kept knocking ideas down as they came along. The one bit of "shooting-down" that occurred that made me suspicious was the claim that there were no homeless shelters in the area. I went to Google and found THREE shelters in seconds. Something wasn't right.

If this couple was trying to play upon the kindness of those at GitP, they forgot one little thing: it is a community of "geeks," and they tend to be smarter than the average bear. On the chance that they somehow stumbled upon my blog and got the idea to give a scam a go, they failed to realize that people don't just throw money at me because I ask. They help me after knowing me for years, and I have a fairly solid reputation of not sucking the financial life out of anyone I can convince to help me. Look back just two posts ago, where I told everyone to stop sending help. If that's the act of a con man, then I need lessons on ripping people off.

Of course, my blog may not have had anything to do with it, and that this is just the smidgen of paranoia that seems to stick with me. Still, it all just seemed...odd. Whether or not this blog inspired them to do what they did, the couple seemed to be trying very hard to reject every reasonable suggestion made, as though they were holding out for someone to say, "I'll wire you some money right now." And it seems that after I posted the three homeless shelters on the thread, they surrendered 15 minutes later. It was as though someone on their end said, "Oh, crap...someone with a brain found three homeless shelters when we said there were none. And...Oh, crap! He's been homeless, and knows a bit about how they work! Well, there goes our hopes of getting money."

Hmmm...Maybe my ego is still too inflated, as I seem to think my posts are THAT important.

Oh...Ummm...Now that I'm thoroughly covered money-begging scams, I, ummm...Crap! Look, y'know that $175 I received via three people? It got me food, paid the co-pay on the prescriptions that were due to be refilled, got Nike some food, bought me a fresh month of City of Heroes...I know, I know! I shouldn't have done that, and I'm an idiot for having blown $15 on a game!...fresh bandages to tend the open wound on my left calf (that's taking forever to heal), alcohol swabs, a bottle of alcohol to clean areas wider than the swabs can cover, various paper goods, (paper plates, paper towels, and the like), and $50 cash back. Cash in my pocket! Get crazy!

And y'know what? I can't find that $50!!! I have checked my wallet repeatedly, as well as ALL of my pants pockets. Thinking I left it where Nike could get at it, I have, this very morning, done my best to search my apartment, and it's nowhere to be found. I have been beating my skull, trying to remember what I might have done with that money. Was it in my pocket, wallet, or out in the open? And if it was that last, was it taken when I turned my back for a couple of minutes on a neighbor?

Pause a moment. This particular neighbor, if she took it, probably doesn't remember taking it, and may not have known what she was doing, or that it was wrong. She came by at 10:00 PM Thursday night, and invited me to her place out of sheer loneliness for dinner. I declined, as she's really not in a position to give away food (and probably doesn't realize that), and I had plenty to get me through until at least Wednesday. (That would be two days from now.) The thing is that I'd noticed earlier that day that he skin was exceptionally dry, and now was my chance to help her out. I have this miraculous cream that saved my hands from cracking so badly that they were bleeding! So I went into my bathroom to strip an empty prescription bottle, wash it out, and then put some of this cream into it. There is the possibility that she saw the money and scooped it up...but I am the probable culprit, having misplaced it.

Just explaining...that's all.

So I find myself semi-screwed...again. I am loathe to ask for help, especially in that folks may cough up the amounts they did just last week! So here's the deal...Some of you know my PayPal account. Some of you may have they funds to help...again. (Ugh, I hate this!) If any one of you sends more than $10, I will use the extra funds to hire ninjas to kill you to death! If more than five people send money...well, it had BETTER overlap into next month, or I'm going to have some fancy dancing to do as to why it didn't. (And with my Charcot's feet, dancing ain't exactly what I do best.) And if I DARE to spend it on ANYTHING other than my needs, I give full permission for folks to hire ninjas of their own to kill me to death.

To complete the timeline, the reason I noticed the money missing this morning is that I wanted to go do laundry, went to get the money, and couldn't find it.

Oh...while I'm dragging this topic out, I recently deleted a comment that I shouldn't have. It came from the lovely Gem Flower. (Really...She's a gem AND a flower...How could she NOT be lovely.) The comment was to the effect of, "Are you SURE you won't take help from a minor?" Since I can never be sure if people are following up on my replies via the comments section, I sent her a PM that essentially said, "I am so desperate that I want to say 'yes,' yet I won't unless your parents give their approval." While the panicking part of me wishes they'd agreed, the moral part of my mind is glad they said "no." Besides...There's something radically wrong with an adult male giving contact information to a teenager below the age of 18, as it can wind up to me having to answer some uncomfortable questions. As it is, I made a vague offer to Gem that she and I could talk on Skype if she wanted. I even said in that message, "I would give you my phone number, but I don't know how old you are, and to give it to someone under 18 looks suspect."

*sigh* Am I a nice guy? Am I a bastard that's become a nice guy? Am I a bastard that only seems like a nice guy? Am I a guy that's really a nice bastard? I can't even tell at this moment. This post has made me think too much, and I feel all covered in shame over the "losing money" thing. (At least this isn't like the time Nike decided to play with my entire wallet; I found it in a corner of my apartment after a search that was very similar to the one this morning.) And for the record, I don't think I'll ever carry that much cash on me again if this is the kind of thing that's going to happen. Really...most places allow for purchases of any price to be made with a debit card.

I'm gonna go hide my babbling head under a rock now. And since I don't have a signature as I do on GitP that says it regularly, I will say...BE WELL! =)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Post 199 is a clarification.

My blog is forever out of numerical order, as something happened somewhere along the way that screwed what readers can see, and what I can see. Backstage, where I can fiddle with my blog and design it as I see fit, the count says that this is post 201. However, when you add the numbers as seen by my...adoring?...public, the numbers come to a total of 199. My guess would be that I deleted a couple of posts at one time or another. I say this because I know for a fact that I deleted drafts. What I may have done is checked a couple of existing posts while cleaning up, and the "dashboard" knows how many posts were actually published. The public face of the blog doesn't know this, thereby exemplifying how the left hand sometimes doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

I broke the Internet!

Anywho...I called and spoke with Stu. He, too, is baffled as to why my father felt the need to make a threat. Dad's not even king of that particular castle, so dictating rules really wasn't his job...at all. It was a useless argument that threw me into the worst panic attack of my life. Strangely, there was a perfectly logical thought running through my head that kept me from calling for an ambulance. Despite the fact that I was having chest pains, I was not experiencing pain in my left arm. It's not a definitive symptom, but common enough that it stopped me from calling for professional help.

The reality is that the odds of me running into my biological mother have already been calculated. She comes to my brother's house only on special occasions, such as birthdays and the like. What's more, Stu has the utmost confidence that if a war starts between her and I, it will be her doing. My mother has a very long, well documented history of saying the perfectly wrong thing at the wrong moment.

"Y'know, Rob...You come down pretty hard on your mother. You've told us plenty of stories and all that, but are you sure it's not a matter of you simply having a bad outlook on her? Sure no one is that evil." I will grant you that it's possible. Mine is the only perspective given here. However, a very recent conversation with my brother now allows me to reveal his thoughts on the matter.

Stu: Yeah, I've been visiting [our mother] ever other day recently.
Me: Oh? What's her problem now?
Stu: I didn't tell you?
Me: Apparently not.
Stu: She had her other hip replaced.
Me: Oh. Too bad they couldn't get her a heart transplant. Maybe she'd have some emotions of some kind.
Stu: Nah. That would require a heart IMPLANT.
Me: And people say I'm bad.

There you have it. I'm not the only one who gets on her case. In fact, I consider Stu rather brave for having invited her to TN to start with. It began with her living in his house, where she supposedly offered to be all kinds of help when it came to taking care of my nephew, her grandson, as well as supposedly helping with the bills. She didn't do anything! Well, that's not exactly true. She did a lot of complaining. This earned her the ire of Stu's wife, Nikki, and a hearty invitation to GET OUT!

Having discussed the fact that my father had no business dictating house rules to me, Stu then brought up a growing concern amongst family members: Arguskos! Mind you, they don't know him from a hole in the wall. And it's in the not knowing where fear grows. What Stu wanted to know was how I could possibly trust a friend from the Internet. "How do you know he's not going to take your stuff and keep it, or sell it?"

My first answer wouldn't help at all. "He's a Playgrounder." In my head, it's as simple as that. When a Playgrounder gives their word, I deem it as good as gold. Mind you, this doesn't go for ALL Playgrounders. There are some that I fully expect to say things like, "Rob...If you were suffering physically, I would be there for you...to catch the whole thing on camera and share with my friends as we celebrate your lengthy, agonizing death." But there are many whom I would trust with my life...

...and I HAVE already done so!!! There are various friends I have there that have my home address and phone number. These people know I'm disabled and would make for an easy victim if they had some kind of homicidal tendency.

PG 1: Y'know, I'm in a killing kind of mood. I wish there was someone we could easily murder.
PG 2: Well, Bor's handicapped and lives with just his cat. We could go on a road trip and kill him.
PG 1: Hey! That's a great idea! And he has some stuff we can take, right?
PG 2: Yep. He has all three special editions of Lord of the Rings movies...the ones with extra footage and six bonus hours on the making of the movies for each one!
PG 1: What are we waiting for? Let's get killing!

Ummm...Right. Could totally happen...if my friends were sociopaths.

My other answer would be, "What's to steal?" Honestly, my possessions aren't worth much on the resale market. Movies and books? You might get a few dollars, and that's if the pawn shop it willing to take such things in their current condition. Despite my efforts to take great care of the DVDs, many have ended up with at least one scratch that makes such shops reject them. So the most they could really do is keep my things, and I'm not handing over anything that can't be replaced.

As for Nike...Well, she's another mouth to feed. Not terribly costly, really, but an added expense nonetheless. If anything, I simply fear she'll think I'm ditching her, and her heart will break so badly she'll die. But I doubt that, as Arguskos seems like a VERY caring guy.

Just the same, I decided to shut the masses up by having Argus type up an e-mail that I could forward to my brother. With the subject of "So folks can stop being so paranoid...," I sent the following:

I know you believe that I have trust in my friend, but I had him type up a little message that I could pass on, this way there would be even LESS worry about me relying on an Internet friend. He asked, however, that I not forward the note so as to avoid sharing his e-mail with others. Here's what he wrote:

Rob, just wanted to let you know the deal. As of this writing, I am still compiling enough money to do this trip, but, assuming it happens, here's what'll be going on:
-I will arrive sometime in the first week or two of August, and take possession of Nike, and one or two boxes of books and movies.
-Once you are are settled in TN (which is sometime in September, if I remember correctly), I will journey out there as soon as finances allow, and return your cat and possessions.

In exchange for this service, all I would like is a few dollars for gas upon picking up Nike and delivering Nike, if it's within your power. If not, that's fine, since times are tight for us all.

Should you have any questions, let me know.

I certainly hope that's satisfactory for people to drop their paranoia, or at least their level of paranoia.

End of needless drama...I hope. Really, my family acts like I'm so incompetent that I can't take care of myself at all! If that was the case, I wouldn't have lasted these last five years in AZ. I would say I did it all by myself, but there has been the absolutely miraculous help of my online friends. Forget the ones I have offline...the last one I asked for help, during the saga of getting to Stu when he was literally dying, handed me such encouraging words as, "I hope [Stu] has his will in order." Some friend.

Now, while I have everyone's attention, the cost of my computer is looking to be somewhere between $150 and $200. This includes insurance of up to $1000, which a certain Valiant Turtle says he can use to build a computer that rivals the one I'm using. (Please, G-d...let them destroy this one in transit! =P ) I did a lot of guessing on the postal calculator, specifically when it came to the sizes of the two boxes I'll be shipping. Days before I fly to TN, I'll lug this "ancient" heap of technology to the post office and ship it...but as I seem to beg for financial aid each month, this cost will be on top of my regular pleading. Please note that I am NOT asking for this money yet! If I get it early, the odds of me being able to save that money until I need it are slim. (I have spending issues when I have "extra" cash.) But if someone infinitely more responsible than me could start a kind of "get Bor moved" fund, it would be appreciated.

It would be especially appreciated, since, before the argument with my father started, I brought up the shipping cost of my computer, and he - I can't believe he actually said this - told me to save up for it! Save what? I have nothing by the middle of the month. Perhaps he thinks I can save up pocket lint and pay with that.

You know, as the moving day looms closer, I have a sense that my sanity is going to vacate the premises. My posts will then be written from the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane, with footnotes by Dr. Lizardo. O.o

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Post 200 starts with an order...

TO STOP! It's happened again, my friends. Three people have come together, without even coordinating it, to land me $175 - enough to get me through to the third of next month.

Now I just need to recover from the events of Monday. I'll start with the post I made on GitP.

There comes a time when one wonders what on Earth one is fighting for. Wouldn't it just be easier to surrender and be done with it?

My brother drove up to visit my father last week, and I called my father to find out how the visit went. What started out as a nice conversation rapidly turned into a shouting match, when my father decided to say, "There is something I have to talk to you about, and that's your mother." (My biological mother lives very near to Stu.) "If you don't behave yourself around her, you're going to find yourself out on the street."

Well, isn't that just great. I haven't even moved there, and already I'm receiving threats about "my behavior." It's like these people whom I call family don't even know me. Of everyone I'm related to, I'm "the nice guy." My youngest brother, Barry, is a complete bigot, and my middle brother, Stu, is as apathetic as one can get. And when my father started placing threats over my head, the tears started to flow. Just when I thought I was making a move toward something better in my life, he felt the absolute need to sour it by trying to intimidate me. And as he heard me starting to cry, he responded by trying to shame me. "Oh, don't give me tears over this."

Every ounce of control I hang on to with both hands - white-knuckled - went out the window. I shouted to the point of tearing up my voice. He attempted to use the claim that "I'm the father, and I get to say these things," I shouted, "And I'm the son, and I get to remind you that that woman, of whom I'm ashamed to be the son, is neither human nor humane. She was the same CREATURE who came home to find me overdosed on drugs and my left arm caked with blood, only to tell me that I should 'get up, clean up, pack up, and get out.' I shouldn't DARE die in her home; I should die alone and on the street. And now you think I'd actually WANT any kind of contact with that THING?!?"

"Oh, that's right! You don't understand that your eldest son is mentally ill! You only understand diabetes, which can be represented with x-rays and blood tests. You don't think about how many times I've been hospitalized for mental illness, because you just don't get it. And I can try to explain until I'm blue in the face, and all you see is the failure and responsibility that I've become. No one wants me around. I'm just some unwanted piece of crap that people think they HAVE TO keep around because they don't know what else to do with me."

Mind you, that was ALL shouted, and my father tried several times to talk over me. There was also quite a bit of "colorful NY language" from the both of us. The above tirade was written to conform to forum rules.

But I was absolutely hysterical, and my poor step-mom tried to take over and talk to me. Unfortunately, things had gone too far. By the time she tried talking to me, I was having a full-blown panic attack, complete with chest pains. I told her as much and hung up, then immediately grabbed my anti-anxiety meds and popped a pill to calm me.

But the tears are still flowing. I'm not even wearing my glasses to see the screen right now, because tears keep dripping onto the lenses. I lean forward and squint to seen what I'm writing, then check the keyboard for tears that have landed on it.

The people who should care, don't. The people who don't have to care, do. Foolishly, I asked about how I'm going to ship my computer to TN, and my father acted as though I'd asked him to send me $10,000. And to use his airline miles to get me to TN also seems like a drastic burden, even though it boils down to him spending no money whatsoever.

I'm fighting for so long, so hard. I've been the nice guy for years, now, trying not to let the darker parts of my personality come to the fore. And in the span of five minutes, I've been left with little else but to wonder why. So I can be the thoroughly unproductive human being that I apparently am? So I can be the perpetual burden to friends and family? So I can live a life of panic and fear? So I can live a life beneath poverty and "revel" in that claim?

No...this isn't living. The is existing in the worst way. The only step lower would be to become utterly homeless, and that's apparently the next step if my father has things play out the way he imagines them. I've been hanging on to my life by mere threads, and the people who SHOULD love me are making every effort to cut the threads I'm grasping.

Despite these "wonderful" thoughts, I'm off to see my podiatrist. G-d knows I should have healthy, well-groomed feet for when I come back and continue to have my mental breakdown.


Well, the day didn't really improve after that. MY podiatrist, whom I affectionately called "Dr. Paul," had up and moved to Indiana. From what I hear, it happened rather suddenly. One week he was telling the staff he'd be leaving, and the next he was gone. So I ended up seeing the new doctor of the practice, and he had all the bedside manner of a cinder block. I asked for him to take x-rays to get the status quo inside my feet, what with me having Charcot's foot and all, and he ignored that. I told him the CAM walker relieved the pain of the severe arthritis, and his expression was a silent message of, "Oh...That's nice. Have anything to say that I might care about?" I explained the ulcer on my left ankle tended to open up by bumping it against virtually any surface. No, that wasn't very important to him, either. Then he looked at the sore that recently opened up on my left calf, and he decided that my putting Silverdine was enough. Finally, I held up the ancient, decrepit ace bandages I used to hold the gauze I use to tend my wounds and asked if he could spare replacements. Of the two filthy, overused bandages I displayed, he replaced one.

What's sad is that a nurse who's known me for years came in to chat with me and help redress my wounds, and she showed an infinite amount of more caring than Dr. Jackass. She went and grabbed another ace bandage for me. I also told her the abridged version of how I ended up with PTSD, which she didn't know about, and how I'd had the mother of all panic attacks just hours before the doctor's visit. Mind you, this is a great woman, who is also a cancer survivor. She knows what it's like to be a seriously ill patient of any sort, and empathized a lot more than the doctor.

Sitting and writing about it now, I don't know how this new doctor got the job. This podiatric practice has had three doctors since I started going there, and I've spoken at one time or another with all three doctors. Obviously they would have to find a replacement when Dr. Paul left...but why replace him with someone less personable? This new guy, whom I will now officially call "Dr. J," (not the basketball player of old), seemed offended when I used the phrase "glycated hemoglobin." It was like, "How DARE you know a medical term, you rank amateur? I was pre-med for four years, in med school for another four, and passed an exam that would make you cry...and you DARE to know one of our sacred medical terms?!? I should amputate your foot right here, right now, just out of spite!"

Really...You want to unnerve a doctor, start tossing around medical terminology. "What happened to my right foot? Well, I had osteomyelitis of the third metatarsal, which caused such a decrease of bone integrity that I ended up with a pathological fracture, and simply walking on it exacerbates the site years later. Thankfully, after 26 days in the hospital receiving vancomycin, they installed a Hickman catheter and I was able to do the IVs myself at home. Also, after they thought I had osteomyelitis again, I dealt with a Groshong catheter for 20 days." It scares doctors, because it sounds like you have experience with such things...too much experience. Alas, I can't tell you what bothers them more - that you're knowledgeable, or that you're going to slow them down with questions, when all they want to do is move on to the next patient so they can have more billable hours.

So...To the three friends who leapt to my aid, you have my most sincere thanks. You have relieved the panic when it comes to finances this month. Now I just have to figure out how I'm to deal with family. Honestly, I'd rather go a few months without having to talk to any of them, but I don't have that luxury. This move to TN, if it's still happening after yesterday's blowout, will be happening during those months I'd rather not talk to anyone of blood relation.

The irony is the birthday card I received from my father, bereft of anything more than the $50 I get monthly to afford my medications. It read, "Birthdays are the happiest celebrations - and having a wonderful son like you is the happiest feeling a parent could know...May these loving wishes warm your heart and remind you of how much you mean." Upon receiving it, I knew the entire message was a lie. Yesterday, my father confirmed what I thought when I opened the card. He doesn't think I'm a "wonderful son." I only mean as much as far as he deems me a burden. And had I received a blank card that simply said "Happy Birthday," it would have at least been true.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Common Sense & Desire

My plea for aid still stands. One person commented on my last post that he's "working" on something, and another had to be turned down due to his age. I have $0.45 in my checking account, and $0.36 in change in my pockets. I can't exactly say I don't have a penny to my name...but 81 cents is as close to nothing as a person can get.

On the financial front, I'm looking forward to my move to TN. The way I see it, I will see reductions in...

1. My rent. Stu and I have already agreed on $350 for rent. I get around $800 per month, and my current rent is $464. A $114 reduction in rent is a good thing.
2. Paying for my food. With the exception of some items that will help me conform to my diabetic diet, I won't have to pay extra for food. Part of my rent is already considered my contribution to the family food fund.
3. Stu is trying to figure out how to get my computer online so that I don't have to be added to the list of people using his computer. Whatever the addition is, it shouldn't cost as much as using my DSL.
4. No phone bill. Again, part of my rent will go toward whatever phone service Stu already has.
5. No money tossed away for doing laundry. Stu has a washer and dryer at his house.

These seemingly small reductions in what I'm paying now will add up...or so I hope. And this will make room for me to do what I've been wanting to do for some time...again, I hope.

Things like getting gifts for those who've helped me out over the last few years. I existed under the illusion that I would be able to live on my SSD here in AZ. But I was stunned at several things upon my arrival here. For one thing, taxes seemed to have taken a 3% increase while I was in NY. There's also the fact that the mental health services here are severely lacking, as opposed to what was available in NY. NY also had a wider range of services when it came to welfare. Still, NY was entirely too expensive in every regard, and I couldn't go on living there once I started receiving SSD.

There's also the grand mystery of what the State of TN will have to offer me. I'll need secondary insurance. Will they have the services I need? Or will I find myself in another financial bind because they'll claim I make too much money. (That's always a laughable statement; I heat it here in AZ, and yet I live beneath poverty level!)

I don't know what the future holds, but it would be nice to look at my finances at the end of the month and see what kind of money I have left over. Take half of that amount, whatever it may be, and start paying back the people who have come forward over the years. There are some whom it will be impossible to complete such a task. They have been there so often that the numbers are simply too large for me to get it done. I imagine there will also be several who will tell me to do no such thing. Whatever the case may be, the thought is in my heart and mind.

Oh...And I look forward to being able to afford some of the "toys" I want that will make my hours filled with nothing more enjoyable. Like City of Heroes. My current game time was purchased by a GitP friend during the holidays. He bought six months, which happened to come with a bonus month. Seven months of game play! That game time is almost up, and so I will have to be without my beloved, favorite game until I get to TN (unless someone comes forward and says, "Here, Rob...Have three months to get you through until you reach TN! Oh...and as a bonus, I've purchased you the "superscience booster pack!" (*GLEE!*)

But common sense dictates that I be a good boy and spend nothing extra right now. Until October rolls around, I'm going to be stuck living this extremely meager lifestyle, just as I've been for the last four years. (That's around the time my back pay from SSD ran out.)

Now, I have 14 followers at this time. Some are under the age of 18, and are therefore not permitted to send me aid. I won't allow it. I also recognize that most people these days can't afford to send me hundreds of dollars. (Yes...I still need more millionaire friends.) But if those who could afford it would all send $10 to $20 each month until my move, that would be astounding. A little from the many is easier to ask for than a lot from the few.

Yeah...I'm pleading now.

Oh...I, ummm...I have a problem brewing for September. As long as Arguskos is able to come through with his plan to pick up Nike and many of the items I can live without, the only thing I'll need to ship is my computer. No one in my family is coming forward with an offer to make sure it gets to TN. I don't know what it will cost, and I'm certainly going to need to insure it. Five years ago, I bought this baby for around $2,200. (I had all that back pay from SSD, remember?) Thus, I'm going to want to insure it for around that much sure something happen to it during shipping.

I would like to make note of something I've said before. When I receive help, I speak up about it. I'm not the kind of guy who starts receiving help, and keeps his mouth shut as the money keeps rolling in. I only ask for what I NEED, not what I WANT. The best example in March, when $175 landed in my lap after one of my begging sessions. I immediately posted to say, "STOP! I have enough for the moment." I'm actually proud of that, and I'm not one to have much pride at all. And I'm proud of it because I believe it's the difference between me and a con artist. A con man would take money from anyone willing to give, and certainly wouldn't speak up one he had enough. A con man never has enough.

What's more, I see these gifts as people showing their love and caring. "A friend is in need; I will help that friend!" Ultimately, I'd rather someone come along and say, "Rob, I have a job for you, and I'm willing to pay you off the books so as not to make a mess of your life." Then again, people seem to think all my counseling on GitP IS my job.

*sigh* I dunno. I'm babbling. I'm babbling because I'm panicking. My panicking has caused a blood vessel in my right eye to burst, and I not have a large, black spot drifting through my vision. The black spot drifting through my vision has me panicking. My panicking may cause another blood vessel in my eye to burst...

I think you get the idea.

I have to get ready to visit my podiatrist. If there's news worth reporting, I'll be back with another post. But...Well, it's starting as I bring this post to a close. I'm beginning to cry. I hate being where I am in the scheme of things, and I hope my move to TN brings me to a better place...a place where I can apply improved common sense, and fulfill some of my desires.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'll keep this one simply...

Remember on Wednesday, when I said I was aking for aid early? Well, I have $16 to my name, and it seems that everyone thought everyone else would lend me aid. You kids to remember that when I've received enough, I speak up. Heck, in JUne I was reporting almost every little bit that came along. So, with that said...

HEEEEEEEEEEELP!!!

That is all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Mystery Fan...and some other stuff.

So last week, as I came on to my blog to make a post, I noticed a new follower. Most of my followers are from GitP, and I know them to some extent. But this person was not only an unknown face, but a very pretty face as well.

Enter the typical male way of thinking. Hmmm...a babe is following my ramblings. I wonder if she's local. I wonder if she's single. I wonder what she looks like naked. Then, after dismissing the thoughts that make me seem like a stray dog looking for a bitch in heat, I checked out her information. No, she is not local. No, she is not single, (although I think she will be if her husband doesn't start thinking with the head on his shoulders). And as for my last train of thought, there's no polite way to ask, "Can I have pictures of you wearing very little or nothing?" It's just not polite.

Then I did what I always do when I see someone being overwhelmed by various things in life: I offered to help. It's not as though I coughed up the wisdom of the ages and turned her life into a veritable paradise with what I said. But it's my bothersome caring about other humans that made me leave a comment on her last couple of posts. (How many times must I tell you folks? "I hate people. I hate people because I care about them. And if I could care less, I'd like people more." It's how I decided to become a "barbarian monk.") Amidst the first comment, I offered her to leave a comment with her e-mail address. Since I censor the comments to avoid trolling and flaming, her information would stop with me, and we could just talk.

Nope. No message. And I deem this unfortunate because it seems as though she has no one who genuinely cares. It would be nice if she lived somewhere in the U.S. and we could at least have a fling...once she's single, mind you. Married women are a no-no for me. But better yet would be another friend whom I could talk to, and one that she could talk to. We all need friends. Some like to believe otherwise, but to have someone out there who cares without judgement is a wonderful thing.

Speaking of friends...With each passing day, my need for help grows. It feels so wrong to seemingly be so demanding, but the panic is coming, and it's getting worse with each passing day.

There is, however, good news. With my future move to TN, things should become more affordable for me. The rent Stu is asking is 25% less than what I currently pay. And having been to TN once, I know other things are less expensive out there. I look forward to a time when I won't be begging every month, just so I can get by.

And about that move! Oh, my apartment management doesn't know who they've messed with. I asked as politely as possible to be let out of my lease ONE MONTH EARLY! They gave me some BS story about it being illegal, and how I would be held financially responsible for a month of rent where I wasn't even living here. This, my friends, doesn't fly well with me, and seems very wrong. So I looked around online for my apartment complex's various advertisements online. My immediate thought was, FALSE ADVERTISEMENT! These people are misrepresenting their property all over the place in a feeble attempt to make it seem like paradise. For example, they advertise "sparkling pools." Well, the pools aren't heated, and are only open during the summer months. (Other complexes have pools open all year round.) And the pools do, indeed, sparkle...like emeralds, what with them being green with bacteria half the time. And - oh look! - on site laundry rooms!...that are broken most of the time, and the laundry rooms are filthy. And I must say that the collection of bird droppings on the mailboxes, especially near mine, are something special. Not a good something special, but something special nonetheless. (Those are only a few issues here.)

Quick! To the FTC! I filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online, and then called to ask how long it takes for such claims to be investigated. Oh, I just loved it when the representative said those magic words, "class action lawsuit." Then, to top it off, they gave me the number to Arizona Attorney General, as what I had to say about my lease made the representative scratch her head and say, "That doesn't sound right."

All this because of the one month for which they won't release me. You see, they don't seem to know that I'm Jewish. We Jews come genetically attached to a lawyer. And I'm so fed up with their gross negligence that pushing me too far was not difficult. Their lives are about to be turned into a living hell, and I'm pleased to say that I'm the one bringing it to them.

VENGEANCE WILL BE MINE!!!

Hmmm...It feels good to at least pretend I'm evil. I should do this more often.

Anyway...to my mystery fan, I welcome communication if you so desire it. To my friends, please, please, please see if you can help. And to my landlords, I give the "one-finger salute," and I don't mean a thumbs-up. =P

EDIT: Wait a minute! I just noticed something on my fan's blog. I DO know this person! "Quick, Robin...to the Bor-Cave!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

I went on a little trip.

Yeah, I posted Friday night. Silly pictures I took from City of Heroes. I thought I was okay, after what happened earlier that day...but I was wrong, and am in such bad shape that I actually called in sick to a doctor's appointment.

It was my usually klutzy act. I went out, did a little shopping for some of the things Wal-Mart didn't have on the 3rd. I was in an oddly good mood, and was moving along at a decent pace for a guy walking around in a CAM walker. (It's like a Velcro cast-type thing.) In fact, I was in such a good mood that I was singing the libretto to Evita as I walked. Heading for the major intersection to cross and catch my bus home, I was walking behind a pharmacy, trying to stay in what shade I could find in our triple-degree weather.

So there I am, moving along, and singing..."You let down your people, Evita; you were supposed to have been immortal..."

And it was at that moment that I went to step up a curb, tripped, and hit the ground...HARD! I took the impact through both hands and my left knee. Thankfully, it was "smooth" concrete, so I only managed to scrape my knee. My hands were startlingly intact. Once I'd assessed the damage, I thought my knee was the worst of it.

Wow, was I wrong!

I awoke Saturday with monster aches and pains in my wrists and shoulders. Mind you, there was no significant swelling, so nothing is broken. It's more like the impact send shockwaves up my arms and hurt muscles I haven't used in some time. Instant workout, just add gravity.

Unfortunately, I hurt in such a way that I was unable to get myself moving today to head for a long overdue appointment with my podiatrist. And I was so looking forward to having x-rays taken and receiving all kinds of miscellaneous bad news. "No, Rob...You are beyond diabetic shoes. We need you to wear CAM walkers all the time to keep bones from becoming further dislocated or broken."

That would be fun. You see, CAM walkers have a curved bottom so one can mimic the act of walking more easily. The problem is that it's also inflexable, so if one starts losing one's balance, it's time to take another trip.

Aside from being heavy and inflexable, CAM walkers are actually fairly comfortable. That is, as long as you don't have dry, delicate, diabetic skin. On Tuesday, after my activites the day before, I thought to wear my CAM walker on my left leg instead of the usual right. Since I was wearing shorts, I thought it's be okay. But I was wrong again! Combining the material of the walker and a bit of sweat, a small bit of skin was pulled off. "'Tis but a flesh wound!" Really, it is. But I don't get mere flesh wounds on my lower legs. No...in just a short time, that little wound became thoroughly infected. Thankfully, I usually have an overlap of oral antibiotics, as well as prescription antibiotic cream. Cleaning it may want to make me scream, but I've been a good boy and tended to it daily.

Oh...While I'm here, I might as well start my monthly begging. I usually wait until there's nothing in the bank before I do, but then I also usually pay a terrible price for doing so. So to those who can, and know my PayPal account or address, please start sending what you can comfortably afford.

And that's it for now, folks. Let's hope my next trip is to TN toward the end of September, and nothing as painful as Friday's trip.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bor the Barbarian Monk

So I was sitting here and wondering what my GitP persona would look like if I created a character for City of Heroes. (Took me long enough, eh?) So here is what Bor would look like in that MMO.
Here we see the would-be Bor kneeling.

Taking up the Lotus position in the park, meditating over the next bit of evil I'll have to smite.
If you "axe" anyone at GitP, they'll tell you I'm a nice guy...

...mostly. =P

Honestly, I wish I was this fit.
So there you have it. Not a "real" post...just me pausing amidst the drama of my life and goofing around.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

42...again!

That's right, kids...Today's my birthday. (Okay, okay! I know the Grim Reaper is moving a marker over! Stop linking that damn comic!) And for the second time in my life, I am turning 42.

Looking back, I think the entire thing started last year. I turned 41, all the while being under the impression I was turning 42. And so, in my mind, I was facing my 43rd birthday today, and it was depressing me. Then, *POOF*! I came to the realization of my actual age, and now I can be depressed that I'll be 43 next year.

Unlike last year, during both my birthday and the holidays, I didn't make a list of things I wants. In all honesty, what more can I ask for? I have had the most amazing set of friends from around the world look after me. Living beneath poverty level, each month devolves into a begging session, where I ask those who know me to help. Somehow, some way, friends have come through for me. And what's shocking is when the help comes from people who shouldn't be able to afford it.

Like last month, when I was robbed of my clothes. A package arrived filled with more shirts and pants from someone whom it has become clear is struggling on his own. You just can't ask for more than that.

Shock of shocks, and just in time for my birthday, that very same person has offered up what can be considered a most awesome present. As some of you may know, moving Nike to TN had become an impossibility. While many in the world don't understand that I love this cat more than many of the people I know, there are others who are also animal lovers, and would do almost anything to see my beloved cat goes with me to Tennessee.

The person who has shown a willingness to help is Arguskos, from GitP. (Follow along carefully, as I want you folks to remain aware of exactly how awesome this is.) He has volunteered to gather two friends, pile into a car, and drive all the way from Texas to Arizona, take Nike, as well as several boxes of my possessions, and drive her back to TX. He has no pets, which is a good thing, as she hates other animals. He will watch over her until I am settled in TN, and then...a repeat performance of pure awesome! He will drive her (and my boxes of stuff) from TX to TN, thereby completing her journey.

Now, this is only an offer. He has made no promises. Argus needs to talk to a few people and arrange for the journey. The major expense will be gas money, and right now, money is extra tight. He can't do it this month, which is actually a good thing. (I'll explain in a moment.) But that he volunteered to perform a service that would take up time, effort, and money is completely astonishing to me.

When I was on the phone with Stu at one point, I was mentioning the cost of possibly using a pet-moving service, and he said, "I wouldn't count on your friends to cough up $350 to move your cat. I know I wouldn't [give you that kind of money]." After speaking on the phone with Argus yesterday, I took great pleasure in rubbing in his face the fact that someone didn't throw money at me, but did offer the incredible to get Nike to TN for me. Really...people completely underestimate the power of being a nice guy. Maybe we do sleep alone, or finish last, or many other negatives...but to those who are actively nice to their friends, one tends to win.

While I, as usual, could use financial aid, I wouldn't dare start asking for more than I have already received. On that list is...well, the financial aid. One dear friend, who became more than shocked at my bad habit, would say, "Here...have some disposable military pay," and $75 would show up for me. Another friend, in Norway, has not only sent me hundreds of dollars over the last few years, but was also responsible for an actual birthday gift! (He sent me an OotS shirt with Roy saying, "I dream of the day when I will learn to stop asking questions to which I will regret the answers.") Argus not only sent clothes last month, but sent a care package the month before, the contents of which actually lasted on through June, and saved me at the end of the month. (Specifically, the powered drinks!) To attempt to name everyone who has helped me over the last year or two is honestly too much of a task unto itself. Suffice to say, I have the most awesome friends around the globe, and I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!

Now, I mentioned the delay of Argoskos being a good thing. The reason for this is that I can now take the time to acclimate Nike to traveling. Most specifically, going into the cardboard box in which she will be transported in. I still have the box I was given at PetsMart when I brought her home. It's currently on the floor, wide open, and set up as a dark place in which she can pretend to have her little kitty lair. Every time I witness her enter it on her own, I give her praise for having done so, making her believe in her little kitty mind that going into the box is a good thing. And, of course, I turn into a bit of a lunatic with her. I mean, I'm alone with her more often than not, so I do a lot of talking to her...in some of the silliest voices I can muster. (My friend, Rush, has heard me on the phone, using the main "kitty voice," to which she would totally "fangirl" over.) "Quick, kitties! To the kitties-cave...to which there is, unfortunately, no kitties-mobile." Once she's in there, I play with her a bit, as she is fond of attacking any invading fingers. Her clawless paws try to capture my hands and bring them to her mouth, where she pretends to devour my fingers. As she gently gnaws at my fingers, be they love bits or feigned eating, I sit there and say, "Oh noes! Da kitties is eating papa! Help! Save me from da killer kitties!"

Y'know...I call her "kitties," (plural), so often that she probably thinks that's her name. That, or when she's doing something bad, I shout, "Hey!" The shout tends to get her to stop immediately. Still, in her head, she likely thinks her name is "Kitties" or "Hey."

As mentioned, I called Stu to let him know that arrangements for Nike's journey to TN were underway. I was loaded with good news, which was great, right up until he said something to the effect of, "Y'know...We've done a lot of talking about this, but we haven't actually figured out how you're getting here. It might be a good idea to call Dad and talk to him, because it would suck to finalize everything, then call him and say, 'Okay...Move me.'"

Stu, as much as I hate to admit it, was right. So I called Dad, and he said that he would obviously be taking care of a flight from AZ to TN for me, and that all I needed to do was say when I could travel. That depends on the management of my apartment complex, whom I'm trying to convince should let me go at the end of August instead of the end of September. It's just one month, but they may well force me to hold to my lease until the very end. The great part is that the only thing I now have to ship to TN is my computer, for which I still have the boxes it arrived in. The heaviest part is actually the computer. The rest is a flat screen, mouse, and keyboard(s). (Yes, I have multiple keyboards, replaced by Dell for the mere fact that the letters were fading. Go figure.) I'm actually selling one of the keyboards for a mere $5. Since I got it free, that $5 is a 100% profit. Not bad, eh? But Dad will be helping.

There's really only one worry left. Is anyone at Stu's place going to turn out to be allergic to Nike? That would make me nuts. All that work, only to find out my nephew is allergic. *sigh* Looks like I'd have to get rid of my nephew if that happens. =P

So there you have, friends and readers. I'm 42 again, and am officially a living incarnation of the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Lots is happening, with various things falling into place, which, ultimately, is a relief to me. Yes, I'd love to get actual presents...but nothing would be nearly as valuable as the people in my life. I love ALL of you, and thank you for helping me reach the completion of another turn around Sol.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Death, please. Thank you.

Why? Why did I have to juggle? WHY?!?

I had some help yesterday in the form of two miniature humans - an 11-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy, brother and sister team. (Christie and Mike, respectively.) They did a lot for me in terms of literal manual labor. That is, their little hands work better than mine, and so they boxed up all of my books and DVDs. Along the way, there was a lot of goofing around, and at one point the girl was laughing so hard that she was crying. Because I'm not up to cleaning my place as much as I was years ago, we kicked up a lot of dust, and, of course, Nike didn't know what to do with herself during the whole thing. With all of the boxes laid out, this place must have been like a labyrinth to her.

Now, I have rules when I'm alone with children. My front door stays unlocked, and my front blinds remain open. Usually, all parties are within view of the window, so if anyone peeks inside, they can see the kids are safe. But after we made a trip to the trash dumpster, I announced we should all wash our hands. So we crowded around my bathroom sink to do so, and I quickly discovered how little room I actually have in there. Mike, after washing his hands, simply tried to turn and walk away...however, his hand ended up colliding with my butt, and I was off to the (medicated) races, asking loudly, "Why are you trying to grab my butt?" As both brother and sister started cracking up, and he tried making embarrassed excuses, I was saying things like, "I'm totally telling your mom that you grabbed an old man's disabled butt," and, "You just wait, Mike. In 10 years, you'll be playing football for your high school team, the quarterback, with all the girls on the sidelines sighing over how handsome you are, and I'll be up in the stands, screaming, 'The quarterback tried to grab my butt many years ago!'"

More silly than anything else.

Now, I mentioned my meds. Being more active, more things began to hurt as the day went on, and it didn't help that on our quest for boxes that I had tripped. I didn't fall, but the act of stopping the fall ended up hurting my feet. More pain means more meds. More meds means less control over my mouth.

Three identical items followed me from NY. They were three tennis balls filled with pennies. "Ummm...Rob? Why do you have three tennis balls filled with pennies?" Well, one of the ways I would try to exercise my hands and arms was to juggle. Adding to the workout was the fact that I weighted the items down, filling the tennis balls with pennies. That, and the pennies stopped said tennis balls from rolling away or bouncing when I would drop them.

I forgot about these items, but we found them in a box during the cleaning/packing process. The kids were obviously curious as to why I had them, and I simply explained that I could juggle them. This required a demonstration. This included me juggling just two in one hand, which the kids thought was great.

But then Christie insisted that it looked easy enough, and tried to juggle. It was a spectacular failure, with her dropping the tennis balls on every attempt. There came a moment when she dropped them and I thought things were going to be destroyed by her efforts. It instantly became an "open mouth, insert foot, chew vigorously" moment when I yelled at her, "Kristie, stop playing with my balls!"

Everything stopped for just a split-second, and then I said, "That's it...I'm going to jail." And then we were cracking up. Personally, I think Kristie then tried several times to get me to say it again, but I fought it. In retrospect, all I had to do was add the word "tennis" to my sentences, and it would have been all better. As it was, I replaced "my" with "the," and it would still make the kids laugh.

In just over three hours, we got a lot done, and I rewarded the three of us by ordering a pizza. I made it very clear that I can't order out for food often, and that they shouldn't expect that kind of thing each time they come by to help. We camped on the floor in the middle of my apartment, had our pizza, and then the kids were dismissed for the day.

As a side note, their mother was called several times to keep her apprised of what was going on...for the most part. And while some our jokes were inappropriate for kids their age, I definitely stopped certain things from happening that would have looked really bad. One, in particular, had me stop and give Mike a talking-to. He was wearing a white tank top, so he shouldn't have been that hot, especially with my air conditioning up full blast and a fan on us. Still, there was a point where he turned to me, lifted his shirt and just ran his hands over his stomach. I don't even know what that thing with his hands was all about, but I rapidly said, "Stop that! Do you know what that would look like if someone was watching this apartment? It looks like I've become a complete idiot and asked you to expose yourself to me in front of my open window, which would land me in jail very fast. Keep...your clothes...ON!" Thankfully, he didn't do it again.

Overall, I kept the kids safe. After about a half hour walking around in the AZ heat, we returned to my place, where I just happen to have some Gator-aid in my refrigerator. These came in the emergency food box I was given last month, and I kept them anyway, knowing I couldn't drink them. I'm glad I had them on hand, because I was able to keep the kids from dehydration with them when we walked in the door. We also took an hourly break, at the very least, so that I wasn't overworking them.

Okay...Apartment was in better shape, kids were watered and fed, then dismissed, and I was alone to relax and shower and...relax some more. And as I prepared for my shower, I took one look at the ulcer on my left ankle and started to fret. It looked bad. But I reminded myself that I had not only tripped, but had been fairly active in my apartment all afternoon. I'm praying it only looks as bad as it did because of that, and not because it's getting bad again.

Stu called as I had just gotten out of the shower. Now it was reality time. Although a lot of good had come from my day, I had tried to ignore the fact that my move to TN was NOT going to include Nike. In the comments of my last post, I was given a link to pet moving services by my friendly neighborhood follower, Valiant Turtle. I followed the link, made a phone call, was given recommendations, and almost instantly came to the realization that I'm never going to be able to afford any of the services. Why? Too many costly and unknown factors.

The pet moving services don't pay for vet services that I need to handle. I am the one that has to handle vet visits and obtain the various documents needed for Nike to travel. If I rely on the pet moving services, (the one that was recommended), it will cost an astounding $350! I'm larger and require more care than my cat, and I can travel for less! If I try to bring her on the plane with me, I not only have to make arrangements for federal guidelines, but also comply with whatever airline I travel with, which remains an unknown at this time. Then, at the last minute, I have to pray that there's room in the flight cabin for Nike. If there are other people with pets, then I'll be competing with them for space. It's simply too much to deal with, especially alone.

What Stu doesn't understand is that I love this cat. Without her being capable of being conscious of it, she has held me together in some of my worst moments here in AZ. When she finds a spot next to me, or in my lap at my computer, and she just sits there and purrs, I'm almost as content as she is. It's heartbreaking to think that I'm going to have to give her up at all.

Oh, I'm going to try and find a new home for her. But I honestly doubt it'll be anyone in this apartment complex. I simply don't trust them. What I imagine will happen is that I'll have to surrender her to the Humane Society, and that will likely spell out her doom. Few people want a grown cat; they want cute little kittens. Nike will end up being put down when no one adopts her.

Besides...I personally believe she will die on her own of a broken heart. At this very moment, she is on the floor, by my front window, probably on the cusp of falling asleep...again. Just whispering her name gets her tail lazily wagging, content in the fact that "her papa" is nearby. If I head for the kitchen to refill my coffee, she will follow me so that she can still see me...

G-d, I love this cat so much!!!

And Stu doesn't get it. His answer is to just get another cat should I move out of his house. Meanwhile, not having Nike around will make his wife a lot happier. Good for her...my heart is breaking, even as I type this.

To my emotional aches are the physical. I am paying a heavy price this morning for everything I did yesterday. I was so exhausted last night that I fell asleep without need of Xanax. But this morning, around 6:00 AM, the pains in my body had me slowly waking and praying for death. I'm thoroughly medicated now, and I still hurt. Not as badly, but still...

"Your birthday is in two days, Rob...Here. Have some physical worries, as well as emotional agony. Happy freakin' birthday."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Wild Adventures of the Omnivorous Rob in the Land of Mere Mortals

This post was going to be entitled "Fire Works," and go into the...ummm..."fun"...we all had Friday night, but several things are afoot.

Before I go into that, I have a new follower. I am a little...disturbed...at the name of said follower. So, if that new follower doesn't speak up quickly as to whom they are, and why they are following my blog, there is a good chance I will block said person.

On to last Friday night, where I found myself sitting and playing games on my computer around 1:00 AM. Not uncommon, really. Sleep and I aren't as close as I'd like us to be. What's more, Sleep is quick...elusive...and hard to catch. So I was awake for the loud CRASH that seemed to come out of nowhere. The crash was followed by a loud SMASH. Fearing that such noises would happen to me if I opened my door, I peeked out my blinds and saw...

...firemen. One had an axe in his hands, and another had a sledgehammer. They were either at the door directly next to mine, or the next apartment over. So I opened my door to see exactly where they were, and I was hit by the smell of burning...something. The something turned out to be food. What happened is that my deaf neighbor left something on the stove when she unexpectedly fell asleep. The smoke alarm did little good for someone who can't hear at all, and so her apartment started filling up with smoke.

My favorite part of this story is that one of the people who called for help said that they heard the alarm going off for a half hour! Only when they could start smelling something did they call for help. Brilliant, really. Had the apartment complex burned down, there would have been too many dimwits to point fingers at. And pointing fingers is exactly what started to happen, as one of the most selfish of my neighbors started making a lot of nasty remarks about the deaf neighbor. As the selfish one started making her accusations, I left the scene after making sure the deaf neighbor was okay. I did just enough signing to report to the firemen that she wasn't hurt in any way, and then went back to my place to escape the drama and the smell.

My 4th of July was blessedly uneventful. Usually, people around these parts celebrate the holiday by killing someone...Not on purpose, mind you. The morons fire guns into the air, forgetting that the bullets need to come down somewhere. It's called a parabolic arc, I believe, and as they fire their guns into the air, the bullets travel quite some distance before returning to Earth...and entirely too many people have caught those bullets in their heads. But all was quiet here, and so I am pleased to report on this nothingness.

Today, I spent some time on the phone with Stu, trying to gain an understanding of several things. For example, why would I be paying $350 each month when my sister-in-law's niece pays only $250, and her nephew pays only $120. Well, the nephew doesn't work enough hours to pay more, so he's off the hook. The niece isn't around often, from which is where MY rent amount stems. I will be around a lot more often, burning more electricity and eating more food than the other two. I doubt I'll go through an extra $100 of food and electricity, but I can certainly try. (Insert evil laughter here.)

Nike remains an issue. Nikki apparently isn't a "pet person." My argument is that she doesn't have to be. I'll be the one responsible for her, taking care of all the feeding and her litter box. And for an extra $100 a month, my cat should have free reign (or is it rein?) of the house. She is incapable of clawing up the furniture, and she's been fixed. My cat should NOT be an issue...

...but then she is, specifically in the area of getting her to TN. I keep seeing greater issues with getting her there. First, I'm going to need to have her examined by a vet within 10 days of traveling, as documentation of her health will be required. If I don't have her sedated for the trip, she will likely meow the entire way, being VERY upset with the entire travel thing. These things will cost money I simply do not have.

Also, if I have any intention of having her with me on the plane, she will have to be in a soft animal carrier. If things start bouncing around the plane during turbulence, having a hard carrier hitting me or other people will not be good. Again, no money for said carrier.

Back to the vet, this is something that will have to occur three times by my estimation. Visit number one would be to establish that she's healthy to start with. It makes no sense to even go further if I find out she's not well enough to travel. Next is the travel visit for documentation. This will be the one where they basically hand me all the papers I'll need to transport her. The third and final vet visit will be on the day of travel, with the vet medicating my kitty so she can make the trip to TN without completely freaking out. I already know she will be in the verge of a feline anxiety attack because we'll be traveling. Better for her to be doped up rather than have her keep everyone awake and annoyed with her incessant meowing.

Now, it would seem that all of this is happening a lot faster than I've spoken of previously. This is because when I spoke with Stu, we discussed the idea of heading for TN earlier than waiting for the end of my lease. He and his family are having problems making ends meet. The sooner I'm there and lending a hand, the better it will be for everyone involved. In fact, tomorrow, I'm borrowing some of the neighborhood kids (two or three, depending on what one neighbor can spare), to help me start packing my place up. Whatever happens, I am leaving this apartment complex, and need to be ready to go in short order. If I can leave here by the end of the month, as Stu is hoping, then that's how it'll be...although, realistically, we should be looking at the end of August.

So here's what needs to happen, in order, for this to go smoothly.

1. Pack what little I have to go to TN.
2. Throw out much of the clutter in my apartment.
3. Ship what I don't need immediately as early as possible to Stu's house.
4. Get Nike examined.
5. If she's cleared, I need to get that cat carrier as soon as possible. One of the tips I read said that the animal carrier should be left lying open so she can, hopefully, wander in and out of it of her own accord. This will allow her to get used to it as something she can exist in for an extended amount of time.
6. Start selling my stuff. My computer desk, my futon, my couch, my TV, and my TV stand.
7. Within 10 days of travel, another visit to the vet, this time for Nike's travel documents.
8. The day before my flight, ship my computer. (Only the hard drive, monitor, keyboard, and various accessories.)
9. The day of travel, make some kind of arrangement for Nike to be given a shot of something to relax her for the trip.
1o. Off I go, into the wild blue yonder, goddess of victory in kitty form at my side.
11. Mixed in between all of this will be various doctor trips to make sure I have everything I need once I arrive in TN, as well as settle all accounts pertaining to whatever I have going on here in AZ, such as my phone service, returning their DSL unit, and other little nonsense.

Of course, the whole Nike situation could be ended by my surrendering her to the Arizona Humane Society. That would be easiest, with a simple fee of $35 to put an end to my drama with her...but I love my kitty more than I love many humans. It would break my heart to have to give her up. =*(

Now, with all of that out of the way, I'd like to remind people that my birthday is rapidly approaching. There was a time when I would rail against such an idea, but I now give permission to rob banks in my name, proclaiming, "This robbery is committed in the name of Bor!" Then send me 20% of your loot. (That's a joke, people.) And, please...no cards congratulating me on my 43rd birthday. It will only confuse me further.

Friday, July 3, 2009

And then my brain said...

Well, kids...It's the 3rd of the month. That means it's errand day. Much to my "enjoyment," I didn't sleep AT ALL last night. So I was out the door by 7:30 this morning. A truly rare event for the likes of me. I was so early that the bank wasn't open when I got there, and so went and tried to do my monthly shopping for various things, only to discover only 50% of my needs were awaiting at Wal-Mart.

Now, I made a BIG mistake when I left my apartment. I thought, I'll forgo my CAM walker, that big Velcro contraption that keeps pressure off my big toe, and just bring my cane, which I'll use *IF* my foot starts to hurt. (Can I get a "DUH" from the audience?) By the time I was done shopping, and on my way to the bank to get my rent, I was praying my feet would simply explode so I could be done with them.

Hobbling slowly across the parking lot, under the increasingly hot sun of a typical Phoenix day, I started thinking about my upcoming birthday. Forty-three. Oh, how the years have passed! It seems just last year I was only 41, and now...

WAIT A FREAKIN' MINUTE!!!

Let's see. We take 2009, and subtract 1967. Does that equal 43 for ANYONE?!?

For reasons beyond my understanding, I have spent most of the past year believing I'm 42. And today, less than a week before my birthday, I come to the realization that I am, in fact, 41, and will be 42 on 9 July. Perhaps this is G-d's way of letting me have a "do over." "Here, Rob...Have your 42nd turn around the sun just once more. Try to get it right this time."

And instead of being depressed that I was living the year of being the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything, only to realize it weeks before my Womb Liberation Day, I now get to look forward to an entire year of being the aforementioned answer.

I'm off to elevate my feet above my apartment, in the hopes the swelling and pain goes away. By all means, celebrate my genius without me. I'll still be this smart when I get back.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some realities...

Okay...Some comments I received on my last post deserve an entire post in order to reply. Valiant Turtle and Zeb have made some good points. So we'll start with TVT...

I've actually been thinking ever since you mentioned moving out of your Apartment Complex that what you really need is a roommate of some kind. Having the right roommate can ease the financial strain and just help with making it through life. Unfortunately the wrong roommate won't help much at all.

There are multiple problems with the concept of a roommate. First is that gaining a roommate is a roll of the dice. For all the talking done during a negotiation of sharing an apartment, you only truly learn what kind of person you're moving in with once the move is complete. You must remember that I've lived in a boarding house, and in that first one was where I gained PTSD. I like peace, and I like solitude. Unless it was a member of GitP, I honestly doubt I'd be able to exist under the same roof with a roommate.

Which brings us to Stu and his family. They are the wrong kind of roommates, right out the gate. Stu is unemployed, so his wife can't wait to get some financial support. Her niece is, as I understand it, an idiot of astounding proportion. Mind you, I met this young "woman" when Stu was sick. They all came by to visit him, and Kristie practically ignored Stu, sitting in a corner and watching a video on a portable DVD player with headphones on. By ignoring my brother, and me as well, I personally wanted to slap her. My brother almost died, and was still on oxygen to breathe, and she was concerned about being entertained. My nephew seems to throw a fit every time I'm on the phone with Stu. And Stu, himself, seems apathetic to my needs.

Whomever I share a roof with needs to understand that I have BIG issues, and if they can't accept that, then no matter whom I move in with, I will be unhappy.

*sigh*

Okay...On to Zeb...

A few things that stand out at me over the last three entries are;

1) Money. You're not sure that you'll be able to even have the same standard of living. According to Salary.com, the cost of living in Knoxville is ~25% lower than Phoenix.

2.) Weather. You're going to spend the majority of your time indoors where AC and heat should keep you comfortable. In many of your other posts you mention the unlivability of the heat in AZ. I think you'll find TN a bit more moderate but certainly not the type of clime to be concerned overly about.

3.) Stuff. It'll almost certainly be cheaper to rent a small Uhaul or car and trailer and take everything with you than to ship just your TV, let alone ship that thing and a computer and then repurchase more later (the Uhaul site quotes ~$1200, but that is based on 8 days of driving only 275 miles per day). TV's, computers, and monitors are heavy and difficult to pack safely and, in my experience the cost to ship is more than the value of the item. I'm not even sure the USPS or FedEx will let you do it because of the weight.

4.) People. While they may not be perfect people, in TN you will have people who will have your best interests in mind, even if grudgingly at times. Isn't that infinitely better than having no one around who gives a rat's ass, even grudgingly, as you seem to have now?

It seems to me that the Pro's here far outweigh the Con's. Or, at the very least, the Con's for Knoxville are fewer than the Con's for Phoenix.

I understand your hesitance and anxiety over the move, but don't let your uncertainty stop you from making a change that will most likely better your current lot in life.

1. I'm not all that worried about the money. I know moving into Stu's house alone would be financially better, especially when the $350 he wants to charge in rent is more than $100 less than what I'm paying now, and includes utilities and "most" of the food. It'll be a BIG change from how I'm living now.

2. Ummm...Stu keeps the AC in his house at 83 degrees F, meaning that it's a perfect place for me to shed some of those pesky pounds I've put on via sweating profusely. I'll definitely need an fan to stay cool. And what I fear more than the heat is the cold. I'm going to HURT!

3. Renting a Uhaul to move my stuff won't work. Stu isn't allowed to do that kind of lifting, and I simply can't. What's more, there's nowhere to keep any of the big stuff at Stu's. The desk, futon, and couch have to go.

Another issue is that Stu is needed at home. His utterly insane wife is not only working, but going to school to become a nurse. He would need to come all the way here...somehow..., and then do all of the driving back. We won't be able to stay at a motel because it will be beyond any finances we can muster, and it'll take about two or three days to drive back. It's too much for him to handle.

In terms of shipping my stuff, we're looking at a 27" TV, my computer, flat screen for the computer, and what few accessories for said computer. (My printer is incredibly dead, so that's that.) I would also like to ship my vacuum, as it was a gift from a dear friend, but not sure if I'll be able to find a proper box for it. (It arrived in a box that was falling apart, and therefore ended up in the trash.)

There's the sense that my father will help ship what little I plan on sending to TN, so it's a matter of deciding exactly what goes.

4. Yeah...I'll have people there who "give a rat's ass." At least, they'll TRY to give the tuchas of a rodent to me...or something like that. I look forward to being closer to some of my GitP friends more than I do my brother.

What's becoming a growing problem is that this move is looking to be impossible for Nike. I remain unsure of how I'm going to get her there, and once in Stu's house, she's to be confined to my room. That's not fair to her, and she's likely going to drive people insane if those are the condition she has to live under. I mean, she'll sit at the open window of my current apartment and mewl loudly if I just leave to check the mail. Imagine how she'll react if she knows I'm outside my room, so much as using the bathroom, and unable to get to me. She needs room to roam, and she'll want human company. Thus, I am suffering a growing depression over the fact that I'm going to have to give her up, because there's some delusional concept out there that my declawed, fixed cat will destroy Stu's house.

And that's where my head is at for the moment. I just tried calling Stu, and he let my call go to voice mail. Guess he's still mad at me for the last call. Oh, well...He's going to have to start getting used to the idea that I have issues. If not, he's going to have a terrible time living with me.