Saturday, October 31, 2009

Well, I sometimes write, right?

Honestly, I didn't mean for it to happen. It was an accident!

Living in "Geek Heaven," there are lots of geekish things to watch. Like "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." I was watching the special features on the "director's edition," and there was a segment about achieving peace.

Okay...Premise: world peace is possible.

That's nice, but so what? People have dreamed of world peace for decades, and it hasn't happened. But it's happening in my story. Great, right?

Once upon a time, world peace occurred, and everyone lived happily ever after.

The End!


Ummm...Nope, it doesn't seem that great a story to me. There must be CONFLICT! But who in their right mind would be upset with peace?

Well, how about a military man who's known nothing but the service? His father was in the service. He joined as early as possible. And now...Well, the military is about to become obsolete. How will he handle this change?

What about that happy-go-lucky liberal who has been rallying for peace since she knew what the term "peaceful protest" meant? Her dreams are about to come true. Could she possibly have misgivings about future prospects?

Finally, there's the guy who seemingly couldn't care less. World events have never affected him, and they won't...Right?

I call it science fiction mostly because it occurs in the future. I'm also thinking that America won't be leading the charge for peace. But to be honest...I have no idea what's going to end up in my novel, which is supposed to be written in a month. o.O

But what to call it...? What to call it...?

As I see it, it's about peace, and everyone giving the process a piece of their mind. "Piece of Mind," it is!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Epic faIl!

Check that again, boys and girls. It's actually F-A-I-L. You see, I finally demonstrated what it means for Rob to fall, with a witness who was NOT a total stranger.

I was in Ray's room, just as I am now, sitting at the computer while Siege had basically gotten comfortable on Ray's bed. Since Siege was occupied on the phone with the significant other, I looked into my cup of drink-stuff and thought, Hmmm...I should go get a refill before this cup is completely drained. Thus, with cup in hand, I stood, turned, and started leaving the small, cramped room...and that's when things went awry.

From where I was standing, "all the way to the door," was a distance of three feet. I, personally, can't tell you what happened exactly, but it went something like this: my right big toe snagged the long cord on Ray's mic/headset, impeding my forward motion. My brain was trying to get me to keep walking, while at the same time trying to shake the cord. My left foot, realizing there was a problem, began a kind of hopping in an effort to keep me upright. Meanwhile, gravity didn't care what me or my various body parts were thinking about, and asserted itself. Down I went, all the while trying to make some foolish effort not to drop or overturn the cup filled with stuff that stained everything it touches.

I immediately did that which I usually do: sit there and attempt to assess any immediate damage.

From Siege's phone, which was on speaker, came a voice, "Wow...that sounded bad."

Siege's immediate response was, "I'll call you back," and hung up to come to my aid.

Ray also rushed the length of the trailer to check on my, as my collapse was fairly loud.

I was already cracking wise as I slowly got to my feet. "At least I kept the cup upright." I checked anything on me that hurt immediately, specifically concerned with any breaks in the skin. Cuts and I haven't been on good terms for several years, now. Thankfully, there was nothing to see.

Unfortunately, as time has passed from the fall, I'm starting to feel various pains that are...new. My left hip, for example. I must have done some rotating on it during my feeble attempt at maintaining my balance. I know I twisted my left ankle at one point, just for the fact that I actually fell. The ulcer on the left ankle, while still sealed, aches. I'm also assuming that the numerous muscles in my left leg were stretched in ways they're not accustomed, as they simply don't feel...right. I'm also aware of the fact that I managed to jam my left wrist backward. Go me.

The amazing part is that I failed, once again, to simply trip and fall. One of my post-fall jokes was that it took 10 seconds to actually do the falling. Without any conscious effort, I made every effort to avoid hitting the floor, hurting myself in numerous ways in the process. The result was that I fell anyway.

So...what's my current status now? Well, I got hurt...again...as usual. I don't think I did any serious damage, but various aspects of neuropathy could be hiding that. I'm going to have to wait and see. Whatever the case may be, I'm afraid a few days of rest will be required. That means that for those who come here to check up on me, especially if I seem to vanish from just about everywhere else, shouldn't worry too much. It likely means I'm resting comfortably in bed. And if anything that's SERIOUS occurs, I'll be sure to get the word out.

I just might head for bed right now. First, of course, I'm going to have the halfling rogue I hired to "take 20" on the hall between here and my bedroom. Checking for further traps, and all that. =P

(Oh...completely related to this tale, my "act of klutz" utterly destroyed Ray's mic/headset. On of the ear pieces was ripped off, to the point of actually RIPPING wires apart. I felt so bad that I handed him $10 as part of the replacement cost. *sigh* It's like I plan my path of destruction before embarkation.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A pain in the everything.

Okay...

Doctor's visit? Check!

Pharmacy run? Check?

Difficulties getting my medications in time? Check!

Honestly, I don't understand how some things operate, when their systems are completely screwy. You see, I was handed three prescriptions last Thursday. One for Zocor, one for morphine, and one for percocet. The last two were on the same prescription printout, and I realized that I didn't need the Zocor right away...so I went to the pharmacy on Friday with the expectation of getting just the pain meds. And I would have gotten only the morphine, but both meds were on one paper. Fine. I'll get both.

Well, Ray and I didn't get ourselves moving until late Friday afternoon, and when we got to the pharmacy, there was a problem. "What," you might ask, "was the problem?" Oh, nothing much...except that I'd been handed prescriptions for strong narcotics that had one doctor's name at the top of the sheet, while the nurse practitioner had signed her name to the bottom. This had the pharmacy folk saying, "Wait a minute! This looks mighty fishy." And they flat out told me it looked suspicious, and that they couldn't fill it because of the way it looked. Two different names on a script for narcotics with high street value? I don't blame them!

This brings us back to Ray and I getting a relatively late start on things. There was no one to call to get this fixed. Since the clinic was closed through the weekend, I would have to rely on what percocet I had to get me through. No problem.

Except that I've been getting better at taking percocet. I have people to drive me here and there, now. No more hobbling around the world, searching on my own for one thing or another, when I have others to get me where I need to go. Less pain = less meds. So I was less than pleased to find myself required to take the full amounts I'm permitted daily. And on Sunday, because simply moving around the trailer sometimes hurts, I was forced to take a seventh pill late at night...and even then, I wasn't completely comfortable; I simply refused to take more.

But I made it, and today I got it ironed out. Alas, the wait was TWO HOURS at Wal-Mart, where I went to have them filled. And what's one to do when waiting at Wal-Mart? Wal-crawl, of course! (That's the act of wandering Wal-Mart in the feeble attempt to not buy anything. I failed.) Sure, we went somewhere else for a bit, (and I bought things to brighten Ray's miserable day), but most of those two hours was spent on my feet.

By the time I had the meds and we were on our way home, I was done. I truly wanted to rip off my right leg, including the hip, and just be done with those parts for good. The guys don't know it, but as I popped a morphine for the first time since early Friday, I was struggling not to burst into tears. It was that bad. In fact, it was so bad that I surrendered to the pain and actually took two tablets. Not to worry, though. I get 30 mg. time-release tablets, and they make a 60 mg of the same sort. I was not, in ANY, taking an overdose.)

But that was over an hour ago. Now...? Well, okay...I confess that I'm feeling just a wee bit loopy. And my stomach is a tad upset that I took that double-dose, so I took something to settle it. Other than that, I'm in much better shape.

My current status reminds me of the week prior to my move from NY back to AZ. I landed in the hospital because a variety of circumstances fell into place to cause me to land in the ICU with my diabetes completely out of control. Because of the extreme neuropathy pain I was experiencing, the doctor left a standing order for me to receive diloted via IV every two hours, as needed. I was in a lot of pain, and needed close monitoring because I was on an insulin drip - insulin given steadily through my IV. So I was bad...but not actually dying.

This led to me being allowed to have a phone put in my room so I could call family and friends. It was my calls to Julie that were the most fun, especially when a fresh dose of diloted, four times as strong as morphine, had just been pumped into me.

Julie: Hello?
Me: (completely spacey) Hi, Julie. (high pitched) Wheeeee!
Julie: Oh my. What are you on now?
Me: Diloted. One milligram equals four milligrams of morphine, and they just gave me one milligram through my IV. Wheeee!
Julie: Oh, jeez. You okay?
Me: Oh, I'm great. I love everyone.
Julie: I'm sure you do.
Me: I even love my IV pole. Hello, IV pole. I love you. How was your day?
Julie: (can do little else but giggle)

Silly as that was, I did have one thought that never quite left my head. These narcotics...? I'm sometimes left wondering if they actually combat pain. More often than not, I come away thinking they simply help to make a patient not care that they're in pain. "Yep...It still hurts a lot...but I'm okay with that."

That's kind of how I feel right now. My right leg still hurts...but I'm good. My head's too danged fuzzy to care. Given the option of being in pain and caring about it, or being in pain and not caring, I'll take the latter every time.

I'm off to write poetry to my bottle of root beer. I love my root beer. It's name is Lisa, and we're getting married soon. o.O

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally, a doctor's visit!

Waiting 45 days for Medicaid to kick in was obviously not an option. So today, finally, at last, I got myself to the local clinic to get myself checked out and receive refills on various prescriptions.

I was there three hours! But at least a few things were done that have laid out my work for me.

My blood sugar was 177. Compared to where it usually is, that was pretty good. They also stunned me by doing a Hemoglobin A1c right there, in the office! The result that most doctors want is a 6.0 (as far as I know). My last was a 10, which is entirely too high. Today, I was a 9.2. Better. MUCH better.

I saw a nurse practitioner, and she examined my feet. My left foot...doesn't look so good. Mind you, she could easily see the damage both feet were experiencing, but my left foot...Well, the left big toe still appeard to be swollen and red; this was what I was told to ignore back in AZ by my new podiatrist. At the clinic, she didn't like it. Then there was the toe next to it. She said it either looks thoroughly infected or broken. How it came to be so is a bit of a mystery, and I simply can't afford to run to specialists to find out. The best I can do right now it keep an eye on it and wait for Medicaid to get started.

Other stats include a BP that was 142 over 80 (a little high due to the pain I'm in), pulse 76, and my weight...oh, my weight...198 lbs. I must start doing something about that, but the NP was quick to agree that with my current meds, I may not be able to do much. My metabolism is being slowed to a crawl.

In short, it sucks to be me.

Honestly, I don't know where I stand on one aspect of the examination. I mean, I'm glad I didn't have to endure countless tests to prove I have one problem or another. On the other hand, all it took was a visual examination for the NP could SEE the damage occurring to my body. The latter has me on the cusp of blowing an emotional fuse...and I think that's what I'm off to do.

I hope the rest of you are working to BE WELL. I'll be here, trying to do the same.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ohhh, that's right! I have a blog!

Sorry I've been MIA, folks. I've been posting on GitP now and again, replying e-mails as necessary...and trying to get my life in working order.

In terms of that last, I paid a visit to the local welfare office. From what I'd been told, it would be a one-day event that got me what I needed, right then and there. Nope. I filled out the forms, dropped them off, and was told they'd be in touch in up to 45 days. Wait...45 days?!? Yep...45 days. So I play the waiting game. While I was there, I made it clear that I was still technically receiving benefits from AZ, to which they claimed I should cancel that; I wouldn't get KS benefits until that happened. I clarified, making sure they understood I was only receiving medical benefits, to which I was told, "Oh...then you should be fine."

Not so fast, Monkey Boy! Within a couple of days, I was staring at a letter from DES saying, "We hear you may have moved from AZ. Please let us know so we can put a stop to your benefits." This comes with the realization that my morphine will run out at the end of this week. Joy.

In other news, Cody, computer geek extraordinaire, has looked inside the guts of my five-year-old Dell and proclaimed it an ancient artifact that could be worth millions to a museum. (I wish!) The original idea was to take what I have and simply upgrade various parts. He jotted down various serial numbers, searched for them online...and discovered that NONE of them could be found any longer. They are so obsolete that information on them is not even worth storing anywhere on the web.

The other realization is that a Dell system is going to demand Dell replacement products at a Dell price. I might find better parts at a lower price, but my resident techie can't put them in because every port and connection in originally made by Dell.

The verdict? Start from scratch. Why? Well, one of my great issues over the years is that the casing for my computer has little ventilation. While running City of Heroes on my system with the case intact would result in the video card overheating, and my screen would go black. Ray and Cody's computers are these neat little boxes, far more squat than what I've ever seen, with plenty of ventilation on all sides. That, all by its lonesome, is reason enough to start from scratch.

Thus, the building begins...in a couple of weeks. The general concept is that I wait until the end of each month to see where I stand in terms of finances before deciding to blow a few hundred dollars on parts. Thanks to my buddy Thanatos, I already have one fifth of the overall cost on hand, but remain leery of blowing the money until I see what's what at the end of the month.

Speaking of money, I have to stop acting like I have loads of that green stuff. Here it is, the 19th of the month, and I have about $400 in the bank. I shock to my mind, I assure you. But I have to stop buying this for the house, and that for the house, and getting the occasional gift for my housemates...It's nice. And it's my way of showing how thankful I am for taking me in like this. At the same time, I am not made of money, and I'll soon be facing that uncovered 20% of doctor visits and meds, once AZ receives my reply that I have, in fact, moved on.

I suppose there's one other thing I should mention...I have registered with www.okcupid.com. As I'm not meeting with a great deal of success in meeting someone offline, I figured I might as well try online...again. As usual, I'm being horrifically honest. But then, it seems unfair to me to start getting to know womeone, start developing feelings for them, then meet, and - SURPRISE! - I show up hobbling on a cane, my gut showing the signs of sitting around for all these years, and have some poor woman screaming for the hills.

I'll try to keep you kids posted on my adventures there. As of today, I sent off one note to a lovely woman in the hopes of breaking the ice. I'm off to see if there's a rejection letter awaiting me.

Be well

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Laughter is the best medicine...sometimes.

Yesterday, I was playing CoH. We were engaged in summoning the giant amoeba, Hamidon, and then destroying it. As time went on, I found myself...not having fun. I was getting irritated at little things, like bad and/or tasteless jokes. And it kept occurring to me, This is a game. It's supposed to be fun. If you're not having fun, why are you playing?

And then it came to me...I haven't been taking my psych meds of late. In fact, with the exception of a random dose or two since my arrival in KS, I've basically fallen off them.

It's simple, really. I'd been deceived by life. Ray and Cody are fun guys whom I can chat with for great lengths of time. There's been more laughter in the last couple of weeks than I've had in YEARS, and laughter, in case you didn't know, gets those endorphins pumping.

Endorphins stimulate healing and promote good feelings. Aside from my usual aches and pains, I was feeling so good mentally that I started forgetting more and more to take my psych meds. Well, there's a reason I'm on them. I'm chronically mentally ill. I may FEEL better, but am not ACTUALLY better. Since I awoke to this new issue, I have been taking my meds properly...which is really just a few days ago.

In a way, I almost wish forgetting my psych meds was like forgetting my insulin. When I fail to take the latter, the symptoms come along within a few hours. But psych meds take a long time to take affect, four to six weeks, and take days to wear off, sometimes up to a week. Even then, missed doses of the psych stuff don't have symptoms that I can pick up on immediately. Miss a dose on insulin, and my skin begins to burn...I start running to the rest room frequently...and in a matter of hours, I have labored breathing laced with the sweet and sour taste of acetone, called Kussmaul breathing. (It's a method of the body to release acid from the bloodstream.)

But my psych symptoms? I have to be on the lookout for them, and they can be very sneaky. I mean, I'm having fun in the new place. Lots to discuss. Lots of jokes to be made and laughed at. Lots of amusement to be had by housemates who like to find ways of scaring me. (I know you're reading this, you big meanie-heads!) But as you can see, I was relatively okay with these things, right up until the moment when I was playing my favorite MMO. It was then that I realized certain aspects of my mental illnesses could come out of nowhere to bite me on the existence.

Allow me to exemplify how this could be bad. Let's make the assumption that human beings will, at some point, argue. It happens with everyone, everywhere. The best of friends will argue about something, and I don't mean a fight. No, fighting is when people raise their voices, perhaps even fists, and feelings and bodies get hurt. An argument is one person standing his/her ground on one point, while another person dose the same on another point, and a "heated" discussion ensues. On my meds, this is not an issue. Off my meds...? Well, we can start with my logic, which tends to be off my a few millimeters, and then move on to my feelings becoming easily hurt. Once I blow that mental fuse, the thoughts that come to mind will have no restraints. They hate me. Everyone hates me. The world would be better off without me. And then I am usually overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts...and no one tends to know about it. I shed my tears only when I'm alone, and make an effort not to be heard, and the suicide plotting begins.

I can't risk that. I won't risk that. I made a point of making sure I had psych meds before I left AZ, so I have more than enough to get myself back on them...but it's staying on them that is also important. I can't allow myself to be deceived by good times. I can't rely solely on laughter, no matter how good a medicine it's believed to be.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Housemates and "Housemates"

As some may know, I've lived in boarding houses before. These places will cram as many adults into one room as they can, squeeze as much money as they can from those adults, and serve ONE meal per day, and that's if "board" is included in the whole "room and board" thing. In the last boarding house I lived in, it was purely "fend for yourself," which wasn't easy when you don't even have the income of SSI or SSD.

The thing about a boarding house is that there are a lot of personality types crammed into one place. And that place may appear large at first, until you start jamming all those adults into it.

One example that keeps coming back to my mind is Tony. He was as nice a guy as his mental illnesses would allow. His key problem was that he was hyper-manic, and could talk your ears off all day. If there wasn't something new to discuss, he would drag out old topics to babble away about those. His favorite "old" topic involved finding his Bible, pointing to everything that spoke of "the End of Days," and then referencing all the current events that seemed to point to these prophesized signs. The first thing he would point to is "nation warring against nation," to which I would remind him that nations have been warring against one another for centuries, and Armageddon had yet to occur.

It was...tiresome.

Then there was my roommate...the one who attacked me in my sleep and made PTSD a permanent fixture on my list of issues. I thought I'd seen alcoholism, but I apparently had never seen it at its worst. Here was a guy who would get his SSI check at the start of the month, use the rest of the money to buy cheap vodka, and then be fall down, slip randomly into unconsciousness, and hallucinate regularly kind of drunk. To me, the guy who cares and tries to help when he can, the scariest part was watching his skin and eyes slowly turn yellow during those drinking binges. When the booze was gone, he would be nightmarishly ill for three days, sober up because his finances left him no choice, and then he went back to being a liar and a braggart. If this guy ever spoke the truth to me, I don't know it. And his lies were such a stretch of the imagination that they were simply impossible to believe.

My next boarding house was actually what was commonly known as a "sober house." People had to attend meetings to address their various addictions, be home by a certain time, and take care of other official needs as demanded by the State or the courts. Talk about a place I didn't belong! I'd sit and read the unabridged "Count of Monte Cristo," simply because I could, and they would cring at the over 1200 pages of story and footnotes. I would often wander off to the library, grabbing books or sitting to do research, and they simply didn't understand "that level of geek."

Now...Well, I find myself wondering and worrying over my current living situation. Experience has taught me that once you start living with other human beings, they find ways to get on one another's nerves without even trying. So far, Cody and Ray have been waging a "Nice Guy War" with me.

For example, at this moment, I am on Ray's computer, making this post, and I've turned on the volume to his speakers to listen to stuff. I've also adjusted the seat so I can sit comfortably. And yesterday, I had what could have been the start of a cold, (though I seem to be okay today). I'm bringing all of this into someone else's bedroom, and sometimes leaving without putting things back as I found them. It's not conscious...I just forget. And the paranoid, worrisome part of me wonders when and if this kind of thing will start to grate.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, I am being summoned to run off to tend to various errands. Like my old way of life, these guys tend not to supply themselves for weeks at a time, but merely days. So, for the third time since my arrival, we are off to gather our needs.

Be well, my friends. Always be well. =)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Have I found Paradise?

In a word, no. Oh, it's close...but I REALLY want to call a cleaning service and have them give this place the once over. "I get sick if a germ looks at me wrong. STERILIZE THIS PLACE!"

That, however, is about my only complaint. I mean, my new home is "Disabled Guy's Heaven." Console gaming systems, computers, other humans to converse with fairly regularly, as well as humans who offer to actually HELP when I need it. I'm not used to all of this. My brain is racing to catch up with all of the wonderful concepts that have been thrown at it.

As a prime example, there was a discussion about the rent I was to pay. The original deal was for $200, and that was decided months ago. It just never really came up again until I was in the car with Siege. Once I was here, it came up again, and confusion ensued. My new housemates basically told me rent wasn't required because I am dirt poor, and...

Wait a minute. NO RENT?!? That didn't seem right. And the confusion came from Siege, as none of us knew what his plans for the money were. Was it for current living expenses, or future living expenses?

It fell to me to find out from Siege, and catching him for a chat was like trying to catch a housefly with chopsticks. Perhaps Daniel-san could do it in "The Karate Kid" on his first attempt, but we're talking about Mr. Breaks-When-He-Bumps-Into-Furniture here. Siege seems to only be home long enough to shower, say a few words to people, and then he's off, riding the wind to some other destination.

Well, I finally caught him long enough to discuss the confusion, and the response was, "They pay the rent. What they say goes." So I sat down and discussed the matter with one of the other guys.

I should really give their names so we know who the new characters in my life are, shouldn't I? In alphabetical order, so that neither comes to me and asks why I mentioned the other first, we have Cody, and then we have Ray.

It was Ray I chatted with, and what he seemed to want more than anything else in the world was to get his car fixed. Either it needs a new battery, a new alternator, or both. And before any negotiating skills kicked in, (I believe he rolled a one, folks), he said that if I helped him get the car running, my rent would remain at zero. The cost would be somewhere between $50 to $150. Well, since I had $200 on me to pay the rent as originally agreed, I peeled off three fifties and handed them to him. Rent paid...FOREVER!

Okay...Not quite. I grew up in a family-run auto-parts store, and you never get something for nothing. The world just doesn't work like that. Two things immediately come to mind. First, they read this blog. Am I censoring things a bit? Well, virtually pointing and laughing at the fact that Ray "rolled a one" on his haggling check would set up the reply, "Not so much." They've already encountered my ability to become easily confused, with the result that I simply don't lie. To pad things here or offline, and then say something different at another time just makes me look like an idiot. The other thing is that to expect to be in this trailer, using their utilities daily, eating some of their food, and just being around and underfoot while paying NOTHING is wrong on multiple levels.

In a most technical sense, the fee for living here is nothing. That's been established. This is very good for me, as I have no idea what the costs of my meds will be in this State. But when I hear them complain that they don't have money to fulfill a need, you can bet your sweet a$$ that I'll be stepping up and saying, "Guys...This is something you NEED. This is what I do, so tell me what the cost is and let's see what can be done."

And I've already done it. I handed money over for Ray to get his car running, thereby putting a future end to him begging rides from others. While out shopping for food for me, I had them throw a few extra items in the cart to help feed the masses. I also bought that which could be considered "the ultimate gift," a toilet seat!

What else am I getting in this para-paradise? Well, the realization that my computer is an outdated POS whose screen died before I'd even packed it was upsetting...but the guys have offered to build me a new one for far less than the manufactured nonsense on the markets. Let me be clear in that the pricing they initially handed me was OVER the actual cost, but they said around $1000.

Okay...My whole shtick about needs and wants gets hazy when it comes to a computer. It's a "want" because I like to play my games and so on. It's a "need" because, in many cases, it's how I stay in touch with the world. Face it...I would not have a new home if it wasn't for the Internet, nor would I have had all the help I've had over the years. While the line may be blurred, I'm going to call a computer a "need" for the time being, and I just happen to be lodging with a pair of geeks who can slap together an incredible machine for under the cost of what the major manufacturers may ask.

My plan for the new machine? Simple. Wait for the end of the month to roll around, see what I have left, and then dedicate a portion of it to ordering up new parts. If they can work a miracle with my five-year-old Dell, great. If not, we can start from scratch.

Overall, I'm in a much better place emotionally than I have been for a long time. Even better would be stumbling upon a would-be wife as I wander the lands of this place called "Kansas." But I won't hold my breath. For now, I'll take what I have and make the best attempt that I can to live happily ever after.

I'm off to relax and enjoy my new surroundings. Be well, my friends. =)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Move: Part 3

I left off with the scarred pavement, and how I was startled the first time Siege wandered from the chosen lane. It would soon become a common occurrence. Every now and again, just...BRBRBRBRMMMM! Each one was followed by Siege saying, "Sorry." This, of course, added to my running commentary about drivers and their inability to stay in one lane, which now included Siege. Every time HE complained about another vehicle drifting, I got to say things like, "Oh, excuse me, BRBRBRBRMMMM! I had no idea you were perfection behind the wheel." With a smile, Siege would reply, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Okay...we journeyed on, eventually locating local Route 54. It was not long after we got onto this road that Siege experienced one of his hallucinations. There we were, cruising along, when he suddenly pulled on the wheel to avoid...nothing.

Me: You okay?
Siege: Dude...did you not see that bridge?
Me: Ummm...Siege? There was no bridge.
Siege: Are you sure?
Me: Positive. No bridge. Why? What did you see?
Siege: I saw a bridge made of stone with vines hanging down into the road, and I was swerving to avoid them.
Me: Vines...?
Siege: Yes, vines!

No problem. This was simply a symptom, and the best way to get such a thing swiftly dismissed was to talk Siege down from what he'd seen. And I could tell he was feeling better about it when he joked after passing one of those "adopt a highway" signs. "I should call them up...'About the bridge near the junction of I-40 and Route 54...someone really needs to go out there and trim those vines.' They'll have no idea what I'm talking about, but I should do it anyway."

It then became a running gag throughout the trip. I mean, at one point we were staring at the clouds on the horizon in front of us, and he would point, say something like, "Smilie face," and I could easily see it. So I pointed off to the side and said, "Look, a bridge." This would earn me something akin to a death gaze, and then a smile.

Now, I must, MUST, MUST mention something here. We killed a lot of time chatting it up, and part of it was about various RPGs and world building. Siege, it turns out, had invested some time building a D&D world, and as he went deeper and deeper into a description of it, I was absolutely amazed. The world he'd created was incredibly detailed, and the history was amazingly complex. While he worried it was terrible, as most creative folk tend to imagine their original stuff is, I applauded the entire thing. Really, really incredible stuff.

This tale is a little bit scattered. I'm not speaking of everything in the order they happened. But come 11:00 PM, Siege was starting to feel the effects of having been awake for DAYS. I made multiple offers for us to pull over and get a motel room or something to get some decent sleep, but he refused. We would make it back to Kansas without a lengthy stop or die trying. So to combat fatigue, we made one of those restroom stops, and Siege bought an energy drink that tasted to as close to "Liquid Death" as I could imagine. Really...I was allowed to taste the stuff, and thought my life was ending in some horrible way. Meanwhile, Siege is there, smacking his lips like he'd just downed something tasty.

Whatever.

I bought a low calorie energy drink, and we were on out way again...until 3:00 PM. The energy drink had stopped doing its job, so Siege downed the other one he'd bought. An hour later, he came to the realization that the human body has limits, and no matter how much caffeine he ingested, sleep was needed. Thus, we pulled over, parked on the slightly darker side of a convenience store, and rested.

That is, Siege rested. He wanted only a half hour power nap and then we'd be on our way. I decided to play the role of guardian, so I grabbed a book, found a table outside the store, and read for a bit while Siege napped. The idea of only a half hour...? Nuh uh. Not happening, despite his insistence. I let him sleep an hour before waking him up, and even then, he had a hard time rejoining the waking world. First question he asked was, "Where is everyone?" I'm not sure who everyone might've been, so I waited patiently for him to catch up to the world.

Eventually, we were on our way again, with more bridge jokes, complaints that home wasn't arriving sooner, and stops so I could empty my "hummingbird's bladder."

The story is almost over, save for what was going on with my right knee. In part one, I mentioned my need to keep my backpack up front with me. It was at my feet, and so I had my legs spread in such a way as to accommodate it. And as I sat there, I had moments where I was silently praying for death. I was in AGONY! I felt as though I couldn't take enough painkillers, and I was coming close to saying, "Siege, I'm done. We have to find a hospital...NOW."

I'm not sure what inspired me to do so, but I changed my tactics when it came to the bag. Instead of leaving it on the floor, I put it on my lap and straightened my legs. As though I'd been given some wonder drug, the pain started to subside. From that moment on, I was able to endure the trip without having to pop pills at what seemed to be every three hours. The good news about my suffering is that I now have a good idea where the pain is originating from.

I am...home...now. My new housemates have made me feel welcome, and have been as helpful as they can be. I'll have more to report about that another time, but this brings the story of the journey to KS to an end.

Be well, all. =)

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Move: Part 2

Okay...Having demonstrated the very worst that I can be, I got into the car and Siege decided the first task was to top off the gas tank. We became so involved in babbling a bit that we passed the gas station I'd intended to direct him to. Because this gas station was not situated on a corner, we decided to circle the block. This proved to be a little adventure unto itself, as there was a water canal running through the neighborhood. We made "pretty circles" trying to find our way back, and ended up burning away a mile's worth of fuel trying to get back to that one, reasonably priced gas station.

Filled to the brim and ready to roll, we hit I-17 and journeyed north. This was a fun "getting to know you" phase, in which Siege explained some of the things his mental illness produce in terms symptoms. Some of the hallucinations were...I'm not sure what descriptive word should go here, so I'll go with "different."

We also spent some time discussing our surroundings. Once one gets out of Phoenix, there are lots and lots of mountains. Phoenix is called "the Valley of the Sun" for a reason. And when one enters a "slide" zone, one is inclined to worry as to whether or not the vehicle one is in will eventually be flattened by falling boulders.

Once we hit I-40 and were headed east, I began feeling the need to use a restroom...and it would turn out that I never stopped feeling that need. I honestly can't figure out why this was happening. Was I drinking a virtual ton of fluids? Yes, but no more that I usually did. Was my sugar out of control? Not that I could feel. If anything, I had issues with it dropping on me, which made me grateful for having been smart enough to load up stuff to counter it. So why I became a urination machine is beyond me...almost.

I think it was nerves. This was a significant event taking place. I was abandoning all I'd known for a place where I knew one person, in which I had no idea how Siege's housemates would react to me. I mean, I knew they'd been following my blog, so they knew me to an extent. But, as one of them pointed out, a blog or the like allows for some kind of "brain filter." That is, a blogger can take the time to advertise themselves as a much better person than they are. All too true, in most cases. The thing is that my personal filter is usually struggling to keep foul language to a minimum. That's about it. I want anyone who stumbles upon this blog to not react negatively to it because I end up cussing wildly in almost every post.

That is where I automatically change behavior. In a place where there are others who curse regularly, my four-lettered NY vocabulary comes to the fore, and I start using "f*ck" as a descriptor. I don't actually enjoy using that kind of language, but...well, it happens.

And happened it did! Siege had critiques for many on the road, and I, as her "co-pilot," has similar responses. Really, how did half the people on the road get their licenses?!? Did they miraculously find them in boxes of Cracker-Jacks?

The most common comment was, "Pick a lane!" But then, this comment also applied to Siege. It was new for me, but there is scarred pavement on either sides of individual lanes. When a driver starts to drift, there is a loud BRBRBRBRMMMM! The first time this happened, it startled me. And...

And it would seem that I need to bring this post to a sudden close. I've been putting off showering and the like to write all this, and my new housemates are waiting on me to go do...things. I would simply save this post and come back to it, but this site has a habit of reformatting posts that you want to return to. Better to cut it off here and continue the tale later.

There will be more, my beloved friends and readers. But for now, Rob is off to handle the business of life. Be well!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Move: Part 1

Howdy, folks. I decided I should come back today and report on what happened, how things went, and how things are.

It began with Siege not calling me. This had me on the cusp of panic, as I thought it would be the point where everything started falling apart. In the past, there have been those who claimed they were coming to my rescue, only to reveal at the last possible moment that they had, if fact, been lying to me for a long time, and that a rescue was never even a remote possibility. I was waiting for Siege to do this, and the fact that I had to call to see if he was on his way. (Some pronoun confusion on my part in the past, but I am making adjustments.) So I called Siege, and was told he was on his way within the next hour or so.

That was Monday.

The phone calls began, with me making a variety of address changes with those agencies that I felt should know immediately. Like Social Security. They told me something odd, claiming that I needed to fill out a change of address form with the post office...which is something I hadn't had to do before. So I find myself pondering if I should do this. I mean, if I do it, those who send mail to me will automatically receive an update on where I live...and there are some I left behind in AZ whom I'd rather they had no idea to where I vanished.

Okay...Once I took care of some of those calls, I was hit by a sudden wave of exhaustion. I hadn't even really done anything, and yet the need for sleep was overwhelming. I shut down my computer, took me a little nap...and when I awoke and turned my computer on, the screen refused to turn on with the rest of the system. The power was on. It was plugged in. What I was seeing didn't make sense, and the owner's manual wasn't helping. The power light would remain dark for about three seconds, then blink green. It kept doing this, and the manual said to just hit any key or move my mouse. Well, that would be nice if my system was hibernating, but that wasn't the case.

I called Dell. I am just so please that their tech support is in India. It allows my half of the conversation to, for the most part, be, "What?!?" It took no time at all for the tech to tell me that my screen was shot, and that I should buy a new one. Of course they want me to buy a new one. I haven't spent any money with them in years. Instead, I opted to pack the screen and hope Siege's geek/tech housemates would be to work a miracle.

Back to packing I went, hoping to get what little was left put into boxes and the like. My right knee would have none of it. And so I was stuck with little else to do but plug in my ancient laptop and play elderly games until it was time to head for bed.

I was awaken the next morning by Siege tell me that she was at 19th Street and couldn't find my apartment complex to save her life. It took me a minute to wake up completely and realize that while she had found the number 19 quite well, she was nowhere near 19th Avenue. We got that ironed out, and he was soon at my complex, and I was welcoming him with a fairly gentle hug. (I wouldn't have gone for all-out affection, as my pain meds hadn't kicked in yet, and my skin was still hurting.

After sitting and chatting briefly, we tossed a box and a half of books into his car and headed for Bookman's, where I hoped to sell them and have some money for the journey. Alas, the only thing they wanted were the comic books that were automatically subscribed to when I got City of Heroes, and offered me all of 40 cents. Well, that amount of money made giving up the comics not even worth it, so I took those back and we headed back to my place to pack Siege's car.

Now...Siege seems to be of the impression his car can be loaded with approximately 300 cubic feet of stuff. Seeing as how this is bigger than a football field, let it be realized that this would be impossible. And as he loaded the car, he kept coming back to say, "Dude, we can still get (insert item) in the car." The problem, however, was my choice of boxes. While relatively small, they were somewhat close to being square. No amount of maneuvering would alter the space it took up, and packing the car was becoming increasingly difficult.

As an added joy, Siege was encountering the heat of Phoenix for the first time. Every trip back into the apartment was usually accompanied by curses of how damnably hot AZ was. And in the end, we were coming to the realization that certain things would have to be left behind. I was displease by some of this, and not upset at all with other things. His car was so full by the time we got into it that my backpack, loaded with all my meds and various emergency stuff, had to sit at my feet for the trip.

Now comes the part where I went to turn in my apartment keys. Perhaps I have explained it, and perhaps I haven't, but two people work in the office regularly. There was a guy, who always did his best to work with the tenants, and a woman, who was apparently trained to respond in such a way that tenants could get nothing. And when I entered the office, I found out that he had gone to lunch, and she was the only there to take my keys. I had wanted to remind the guy that things would be left behind because I couldn't move them, and I was not renting a van or anything. Instead, there was that...IDIOT! Thus, as handed over the keys, my five years of frustration in dealing with the management of that complex came to a boil, and I became very...un-Rob-like. "I would explain to you why my apartment is the way it is, but you're too f***ing stupid to understand." And I walked out.

I'm going to leave it at that for the moment. Not my computer and all that. Mayhap my housemate wants to use it for whatever reason, and so I am on my way. (Of course, if he doesn't want to use it, I will run off to play City of Heroes.) So until I return for more of the journey, you folks be well. =)