Sunday, September 17, 2017

B#65v4.15 - Summer of '17

Okay, when I last left the blog, some months ago, things were looking somewhat rosy for yours truly, I had just come back from seeing a concert in June that was epicly awesome, got back from my vacation in Vancouver, which may be my favorite place on Earth, though truthfully I haven't visited much of Earth, so there is that to consider as well.  And, what is certainly unique to the blog, or at least readers of the blog, I was, dare I say it, in a relationship.

We can scrub the good news from your minds now kids, the beginning of the end happened right around July 26th, or one month into the relationship.  Allow me to explain.  My partner in crime in this endeavor was someone I knew for a while, as she used to be a coworker, was smitten with for like 3 years or so prior to our coupling, but she comes with baggage.  I know this because of the reasons why she no longer works with us (drinking on duty) and other things that came up in passing conversations with us, legal issues and substance abuse issues.  So I knew any path for us was going to have some obstacles, but being the bigger man, or deluding myself into thinking I was a bigger man, I assumed we could get through or past them.  Piece of advice, any time you think you can fix somebody, don't, they need to fix themselves.

So I started giving her money, originally it was for what I believed were legal fees and doctor's appointments for her son, later I was to find out only some of that was true, it snowballed into me giving her money for drugs, in a stupid attempt to keep her from being dope sick around, especially around her kid.  Sure there was talks of stopping, going into a detox and what not, but they were just words, with no meaning behind them, those steps were never taken, instead there was a litany of excuses as to why they couldn't happen this week. 

Somehow we reached the one month plateau (July 26th), I am using one month here because things went from bad, and I could recount stories of that month but for brevity's sake I will not, to worse.  On our one month anniversary, I asked if she could meet me in town around 4pm, little did she know I had plans for us, i had bought a dozen roses and a stuffed bear, and was looking forward to taking her to dinner and a movie.  I suggested 4pm because it would allow us time to get from town to the Waterfront and catch a not too late showing of a movie she said she wanted to see.  The clock keeps ticking closer to the time when I suggested we meet, she is still at home, she is waiting for someone to bring her money she is owed so she can set up another meetup to buy  her daily supply again, I am thinking this night is going to get shot to hell, which was not what I wanted in the least.  Finally I gave up and asked her what she needed, she said $50, which I said I had and then hopped a trolley to go catch up with her.  I get out to her stop on the trolley line, and at least give her the flowers and bear and money she needs, but she still needs to see her guy at Station Square, I am looking at the time on my cell and cross checking transit schedules from points A B and C and realizing none of what I had planned is going to happen.  We get into town way too late to make connections via PAT transit, and she hasn't even met her guy yet.  We did make something out of nothing though, at least catching the free movie in Schenley Park, dinner ended up being snacks that we picked up along the way.

The movie ends, she is complaining about the quality of stuff she got, and suggests that I just let her go, she knows a pizza shop in the Hill District where she can score, to which I say, that ain't happening, I wasn't leaving her to wander around the Hill District by herself, so I get her back into town to do the transfer thing onto her trolley to get home, she starts approaching strangers on the street asking if they are holding.  When that exercise in futility failed we walked to the trolley station and I put her on a trolley home, then I rode back to my place in Oakland. 

I can't recall if anything happened on the 27th of note, we probably hung out for a bit with more of the same, her getting money from me, saying she was going to be dope sick and she was getting her son later that day and she didn't want to be sick around him.  I would have preferred she not be sick around him as well, but the only solution available to me at that point was to give her money to buy more shit.  Friday the 28th rolls around, and I get the woe is me story, her so is there but she isn't feeling up to doing anything with him, she needs more stuff, which again I offer to pay for.  AS she is coming into town she texts or calls me and asks if she can borrow my laptop, there is an online game her son likes to play and she had previously sold her laptop for her habit.  I say sure, we would have to go get it though, it was in my apartment and not on my person.  That wasn't going to work, she did not have her son with her, so she couldn't be gone all that long, I say fine, I will have it when I work on Saturday if they decide to come into town to do something.  So we meet, I give her money again, she does her thing and then goes home. 

Early in the morning of the 29th, I get a call from home, my mom had fallen in their kitchen and she was being taken to the hospital, i would be kept updated on what was happening and details became available.  So now I have a dilemma on my hands, do I drop everything in Pittsburgh and go home, where I may or may not be needed or do I stay in Pittsburgh, work my Saturday shift and be here in case more of the "I'm  so sick" stories come in.  I opted to stay in Pittsburgh, at least here I could do things,if I went home I would just be sitting around waiting on what others might or might not be able to do.   I do my work shift, she comes into town with her son, as well as a request for more money.  It actually turned out to be a really good day, we took her son to the arcade downtown where we tried teaching him skeeball, and won enough tokens to buy him a few crappy prizes from the arcade .  I say crappy, but he seemed to like them, so there is that.  As an added bonus we make plans to go to the museum on Sunday, which seemed a pretty cool thing to do.  It was also on Saturday when I decided to let her borrow my laptop, even though she was resistant to the idea, I thought if her son decided he wanted to play whatever game he was into, it would be far easier to just let him play it than to try to explain why he couldn't. 

So we go into Sunday, I get an update on my mom, she had a stroke, but was resting comfortably in the hospital, they wanted to run a CATSCAN to see if they could determine the damage done by her most recent episode.  For now though, everything was just in hurry up and wait mode, until they ran the test we knew very little, save for my mom being her stubborn self and wanting to go home.    It kind of put a smile on my face, picturing her fighting to leave, it is a bad family trait in that we don't like hospitals very much, but then who does.  We meet up for the trip to the museum, things go well, not great but certainly not terrible, again I ws asked for money, and again rather than have her sick around her kid I agreed, later I would give her money for a magistrate hearing on Monday,  All told this stretch of days right hre would total up to $300, and I explained in a text that night I was officially tapped out, after paying my own personal bills plus that additional expense and money I laid out for us to do things that weekend, I was pre-oil Jed Clampett kinda broke, though I used more colorful language here for the blog.  Poetic license and all that jazz.

Monday rolls around, the news on the CATSCAN is good, Mom could be going home in a couple of days, they just wanted to keep her for observation, so I am thinking I dodged a bullet on that front.  I get a call from Ed in Florida, they are selling the business, so the hits just keep on coming in my life at this point, so  I text the girl and ask what she is doing after her magistrate hearing, she says nothing, so I ask if I can bring her some stuff from work, like cigarettes or what not (we both are social pariahs that way in that we both smoke), and I throw together a few things to have a mini picnic in the park near her house.  Just as I am leaving work, I have a system crash on one of the registers.  Not just blue screen of death here, it ended up being the black screen of death, which waylayed my departure by an hour from work, when I went to text her again, she tells me she has plans that night, not to bother coming out, which was news to me until she said it, but knowing her like I did at that point, I figure she is probably going out to find heroin again to keep from being dope sick (I had this routine down to a science by this point) and while I knew I couldn't help her in that regard, it was probably better I didn't anyway.  The only thing I asked was that she texted me when she got home, because seeing some of the things I had seen over the past month, I was scared she might try something similar.   We exchanged a few messages as the evening progressed, until about 10 pm or sso.   I knew if she took the last trolley from town about what time she would get in 1:30am , so I just sit here and wait and worry, my head goes to all kinds of bad places, what if something happens and I am not there, what is going on with my mom, what will I be doing for a job in a few months time, it was all rattling around in my cranium t the same time.   We blow well past the 1:30am mark, past the 2:30am mark and it wasn't until after three when I finally get a message, so I asked if I was even wanted in her life at that point.  Because it is something I never would have done, I would not leave people to just sit around and worry about me if I could let them know i was okay.  It turns into a big fight, a fight that goes on for hours, until around 6am I go out to her place before my job in the am to pick up my laptop and I get all kinds of excuses why she can't give it to me, because in her mind returning personal property is a crime or something.  Finally I had had enough, I figure she probably sold it like she sold hers for drugs or something so I said, it's okay, I'll just report it stolen.  I was done playing, my head was full of worry about so many things at that point that this was one thing I wasn't going to add to the pile when it could be easily solved. 

I did get the laptop back like a day later, my mom's health in the meantime also was quizzical to me as the talk of a day's observation turned into two days, then maybe she could go home for therapy, which she did eventually do, only to get put in a nursing home a day later, develop an infection and go back to the hospital, then back to the nursing home, then get put on DNR status, then get moved to hospice care before passing away this past Monday morning.  While her maladies were continuing I did make it back to see her 4 or 5 times while juggling fights from the now defunct relationship and trying to find ways to keep everyone (or at least the good ones) employed at work with a potential ownership change into my social calendar.  So the summer that started out all promising has instead become quite miserable, I am so ready to let this one go. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

B365V4.14 - Whose life is it anyway?

Two things about me and alcohol; when sufficiently lubricated I am much more sexually inadequate than my normal state of inadequacy and truth starts spilling from my mouth like a fountain.  With that being said, allow me to tell a story.

About a week before I ventured off on vacation I had the fortune of commenting on a friend's blog post, mind you this is a friend whom I been interested in pursuing something more with for quite some time.  It dealt with how to get over breakups so I regaled the audience of this particular thread with some stories from the Crazy Canadian Incident.  Long time readers know what I am talking about, short time readers need to keep up.  Not rehashing that story here.

Anyway I hear back about how I am such a nice guy who deserves better, which is all well and good but a pre vacation trip for some libations and Facebook made for an interesting commentary from me, as I sent her a personal message saying how I was previously interested in her, but then things got in the way and I had accepted how that was how things were going to be now.  Then I ventured forth on my Vancouver vacation.

Vancouver is awesome for me, it is like the girl that can't take a bad selfie in it's beauty.  Nature and civilization intersect there in such a manner that I have taken to calling it my Pittsburgh detox.  Anyway, I wake up in my hotel in Vancouver one morning, put on my hotel slippers and robe and grab a shower, when I come out I fire up the laptop and I see a personal message from this person, so I check it out and it says "Can we talk?"  I replied perhaps when I am not 4000 miles away that could be arranged and I continued with my vacationing, but that message was stuck in the back of my mind.  Did my drunken scribblings offend?  I read them and reread them, until I had convinced myself that they might have or they might not have.  It was a mental tug of war with neither side winning, so I contented myself with the fact that at least what I wrote was honest.  The truth will set you free and all that jazz.

I went back to my vacationing, dreading coming home, not because of the potential outcome of the talk, but because I was so happy in Vancouver.  I feel like a better person each time I come back, as if their kindness and hospitality rubs off on me somewhat.  It hurts to leave,   Plus the flight back is not that much fun either, leaving Vancouver at 6:30 am their time (9:30 am Pittsburgh Standard Time) and not being back on home soil until 10:30 pm, but make it back I did and set about the business of finding out how much work would be left for me after not being in the office for a week.  Surprises abound, everything was done and the office was cleaned in my absence.  It made me wonder why I evere came back in the first place, I had become obsolete during my vacation.  Nonetheless, I fell back into my routine, as opposed to some poutine had I stayed in Vancouver.

I went ahead and notified my friend I was back, and we set up our meeting for what for how will be called "The Talk" for a week later on Monday, as she had errands downtown anyway.  So we picked up some food and headed to Point State Park (which has nothing on Stanley Park, for the record) on an almost picnic like excursion.  "The Talk" was one of those nice, heartfelt one on one things, where we did not so much talk about us as a unit, but us as people and what we wanted.  And maybe that is where things started to gel between us, a mutual understanding if how much more we wanted out if life than what we have gotten thus far.  Or maybe it was my remaining Canadian charm rubbing off on her.  I know better than to chalk it up to good looks, I see myself in the mirror every morning and you dont get to be 48 and single while being typically handsome.

But perhaps there was magic in that old silk hat they found, as what started as a message about what I had hoped for previously and a sit down heart to heart chat seems to be turning into something more. Then I started thinking about the last month, a month that kicked off with a killer show at Stage AE (Coheed & Cambria, holla), a nice birthday sendoff for vacation at work, complete with Prantl's cake, landing in Vancouver on my birthday and doing things that I could never do here, like going to the tops of mountains (Mount Washington doesn't count), catching a sunset on the beach, riding a seaplane over the city, and then coming home to being involved in something that I had considered off of the table for me just a few months ago.

It sounds sad, but I was resigned to geing alone as a permanent sort of thing, I even had math to back me up, figuring if I were to meet someone on say, my birthday, we were to get married and have a kid that very same day, I am 64 teaching that kid to drive, probably 67 when that kid starts college, 71 if they graduate on time and for me the numbers didn't add up.  Now I am not thinking about numbers as much, I am thinking about what tomorrow brings.  Pinch me, because this isn't the life I had when I left here on vacation a couple of weeks ago.  It is something new and different and dare I say hopeful, which coming from a person who often says "Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed." is quite a change in temperment.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

B365V4.13 - Vacation

    Well, what's new kids?  This may be my first Canadian blog entry, which makes me a foreign correspondent to my own page.  But it has been a hectic month. 
     I got to attend my first ever Stanley Cup Final game. I actually had two tickets, but the minute I had an extra ticket and posted as such on Facebook I knew it wouldn't last long.   The game, which was game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, was pretty much a snooze fest, Nashville dominated play most of the night, holding Pittsburgh without a shot for a span of over 39 minutes.  Had it been a regular season game, it would have been one I would have considered walking out of to beat the traffic, but it was the SCF after all (plus 7 Up was springing for the refreshments, free eats and drinks are always a plus when trying to lure me in).

     As evidenced by my first sentence, I am currently on vacation and once again I opted to vacation in Vancouver.  After my trip last year I realized there were lots of things I wanted to do but did not get the chance, so I spent some time looking for other sights and sounds I missed out on during my first visit, then I hit my big scratch off ticket (well, big for me anyway) of $5000 and set about the business of booking everything, I snagged a trip to Squamish as well as a a Seaplane ride over the city and tickets to a CFL game.  That being said, the trip has not been all wine and roses this time around.  Last year when I came, there was a $100 charge to my debit card, a deposit on the room I was staying in.  So I figured that would be the case this year as well, and since I was using the same everything in my booking, I made sure I left over $100 in my account before flying out.  So I get on my first flight, no issues whatsoever, same with the second flight.  I managed the subway ride into town from the airport with no problems as well, everything is going swimmingly, I get to the hotel, the same one I stayed at last year, presented my id, they had my booking, they needed my debit card, which I gave them and they couldn't get it to work.  The only thing that might be different is switching me for the old card to the chip card, not sure when that happened, but it may have been between my last booking and my current booking but because it did not work, and even though that card paid for the current booking (through Expedia, not directly through the hotel), my deposit this time was $500 in cash.  So yes it pisses me off, but it is not a fight I want to have while staying in the hotel that is pissing me off, but should I come back again in a year or so, which is possible, I do love it up here, i will not be staying at the same hotel.  There are plenty to choose from, and i know my way about town now pretty well, at least Vancouver proper, when you get out in the neighboring communities like Burnaby and Metrotown, not so much.

     Thankfully I had most of the events I wanted to do planned and paid for in advance.  I still did not kick everything off of my bucket list of things to do here, and I added some new things for the next trip, like taking BC Ferries out to Vancouver Island to spend a day checking out Victoria, but I did okay on this trip with a trip to Squamish, which has to be seen to be believed, it was that beautiful, a sea plane ride over the city, which not only was it awesome in it's own right, but the girl who sat it the back of the plane with me, all I can say is wow.  She was Chinese, not that that matters one way or another, but she was all kinds of sexy punk, with the black t shirt, leather shorts, leather studded bracelets, fish net stockings, all of my guy weaknesses rolled into one.  Also, while waiting for my tour bus to Squamish, I learned that there are free shuttles to both Capilano and Grouse Mountain, which made them way more accessible from the city.  I also learned there are $35 day trips to Whistler, but I had too much planned to spend a day in Whistler this trip.  Tomorrow i will be attending my first CFL football game, just to close out the vacation festivities.  Well that and I ant to make another trip around what I call the neighborhood, which is pretty much everything within walking distance. 

     Since last time i was here I blogged about how much better the transit system was, only to have Pittsburgh switch to a one fare system a couple of months after I returned (and blogged about it) so I will pass along another cool idea that I ran into here (feel free to implement it at your leisure Pittsburgh).  The have a program called tickets tonight in Vancouver, where you can go to a Vancouver tourism office and they have tickets to any show that night that went unsold, and you can buy them at half off.  Perhaps Pittsburgh does have such a program, I don't know, I  have never dealt with our tourism office, and see no need to now. 

     I am not looking forward to coming back, i know there will be at least a week's worth of work piled up, plus anything that got screwed up while I was away, plus I was offered a new job before I left and I am unsure of whether or not I want to take it.  If I do, I will need to know a few more things there are still too many unanswered questions before making career adjustments.  Rather than ramble on about things I know little about yet, how about a couple of vacation pics instead?

                                                                        Shannen Falls
                                                  Some of the mountains in Squamish
                                                                     Howe Sound
                                               Vancouver Skyline from Granville Bridge
                                                               Queen Elizabeth Park
                                                                    Olympic Cauldron
                                                        Vancouver from the seaplane
                                                           Sunset over English Bay

                                                           Capilano suspension bridge
                                           Mt Baker (Washington) from Grouse Mountain
                                                   Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

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