Holy smokes, 2014! Crash landing!
How to describe the year so far? Let’s see. The word “fraught” comes to mind. As do “trying,” “heartrending,” and possibly “picklefukt.”
I started the year in a terrible job that somehow managed to get worse every day. They must have had a dedicated ten person team spitballing new and improved ways to make my life unlivable. All I can say is those mad bastards earned their pay. And then some.
It wasn’t just the job that sucked. Seemingly every week has brought new headaches, annoyances and small tragedies that I won’t go into. Suffice it to say, it’s been really fucking hard for me. I will, however, share the following two items.
January 2nd, my mom went to the emergency room and my work spouse was admitted to a hospice center. That was not a fun night. And that night stretched its obtrusive way into the next few weeks.
My mom was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cysts (benign, thank Krishna!), had them removed (sadly and shockingly, no more siblings for me), and is on the mend. For Valentine’s Day she sent me copies of the laproscopic pictures of her lady balls.
My work spouse was released from hospice after a few days and returned two or so weeks later before being released again. Truth be told, I can’t quite recall how many times that pattern repeated itself.
If you think this story has a happy ending, fuck you. Six years after her initial diagnosis, and three remissions later, Shirlene lost her battle with cancer. Damn. I rewrote that sentence five times in as many different ways and there’s just no way say that without sounding like an asshole. Put it this way, on February 2nd, I lost somebody I dearly loved, and it... it’s just the worst. It’s that howling emptiness you can’t fill, fix, or ignore.
Marinate on that for a minute.
The funeral was an interesting affair. It took place in a black church in Southeast, and, man, it did not disappoint. There was wailing and testifying and a rousing eulogy delivered by a charismatic preacher doing the whole “Jesus-uh! Can I get an amen-uh!” It truly mirrored the James Brown scene from The Blues Brothers. It built and built until the whole congregation was shouting right back at him and the choir joined in with a pounding, heavy-soul recessional.
She went out in style.
She went out as she’d lived.
My life is full of funny timing, friends. Two years ago or so, when it became clear that remission was not in the cards, I half decided that I’d quit my job at PwC the day Shirlene died; reasoning that the person that had tied me there most strongly would no longer be a mitigating factor. Almost the exact opposite happened.
The Monday before she passed, I was snugly settled into a boring and pointless weekly conference call about... whatever and somesuch. I can’t pretend I was paying any attention. In the middle of it, I got a curious call from the local electrician’s union asking me to come in for an orientation that Wednesday to start Monday. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was accepted for a program I didn’t know existed, gave my employer three days notice (they practically begged me to stay) and ended by seven year tenure at PwC the very day after Shirlene died.
Life’s funny like that.
I haven’t had a new job - a new new job - since the first Bush term, so the adjustment has been a little difficult. The work is fun; getting dirty, learning, using my brain and hands, cutting, drilling, measuring, pulling cables and mounting boxes (get your filthy minds out of the gutter). It feels good to be able to point to something tangible at the end of the day and say “GAZE UPON THE WONDERS I HATH WROUGHT!” For instance, today I mounted 36 thermostats in a new building in Alexandria. Tomorrow I’ll probably hook up heat sensors for an air handler in a hospital in Mount Vernon. Who knows what Monday will bring.
On the other hand, the 4:30 am wake up, casual racism, sexism, and homophobia aren’t great. I get queer stares for having gone to college and for the way I speak. It’s a worse culture shock than moving to Russia.
But then, my day ends at 2 pm, I work a true 8 hour day, and it’s a union gig.
Other than the job and a few other points of light, 2014 has been a real cockpuncher. Pray Jebus I’m out of the hurricane.