FWF, Kellie Elmore, Pain

Uncle Wally

My name is Wally, though people used to call me Mr. Dawson. I barely remember those days but I was you, Mister Fancy Suit, a long time ago. I had a great family and a job I loved, until my life changed and I became who I am today. My whole body is wracked in pain, every bone and muscle, even the inside of my head hurts all the time.

Pain

Pain (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

My liver and kidneys are rotting, orange like rust. I have lots of pain when I am sober enough to look at my life long enough to remember. It lasts only a minute or two, then I pop a handful of pills, drink two or three shots of cheap whiskey

 

and vodka or whatever I can get my hands on just to dull the edges around my sorry life.

I got the needle tracks on my arms, but today I’m hurting with no more crack or heroin to get me through the day. My friend Ben said he’ll come meet me at this here bar. He still isn’t here and I’m going through hell.

English: 2 Gs of Tweak

English: 2 Gs of Tweak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People don’t believe me when I tell them that I was  a white-collar, middle-class family man for more than twenty-five years. I had a little office, a desk and chair. I was a loyal employee and where did that get me? It got me nothing, that’s for sure. I put in all my hours, never took a sick day once and still they let me go.

I dealt with unemployment well the first year, I went on interviews but after a year and a half things slowed down. People weren’t returning my calls, I would interview for jobs and they would never say if I got the job or if I didn’t. I would call up and ask and people never returned the call. First, I thought it was just me but then I talked to some other guys, women too, who had lost their jobs and the same thing was happening to them, to everyone I knew.

I’d spent my whole adult life working here, every single day, being the husband to my wife Adele and the father to Gordon and Jennifer. Why, my office was a mini-vacation for my kids. every year they spent some time with me in “Daddy’s big office.” I loved that, when they came in and Mom made us all sandwiches from home. She’d do something special for herself that day, like get her hair done or her nails and I was so proud that I could give that to her. She was the best wife and mother you could ask for in a person.

Liquid Dinner

Liquid Dinner (Photo credit: Rolling Okie)

What happened to the great country I lived in? No money coming in, now Adele was working part-time. Finally, something inside me died. I couldn’t stand it anymore it hurt so much that I started drinking a lot to dull the pain, I drank around the clock, I stopped shaving and wouldn’t leave the house. My wife used to scream at me, she said I was a “bad influence on the kids.” We fought all the time.

I was a nasty drunk too. Adele, threw me out. The last straw was when I got real angry, so angry that I slapped my wife, well, I pushed her and she turned pale, she was scared of me. She had every right. I was not the man she married. I was not the husband she loved, the father of her children. I was an addict but I didn’t want help, I just wanted out.

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I grabbed a few of my things and stuffed them into a bag. The kids were at school and Adele was working. I took our savings money and I left. I walked out the door thinking it would be better for them. I thought I did the right thing, looking at me now, three years later, I am convinced I was right.

 

 

 

 

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Home Is…

Wood damage by C. herculeanus

Image via Wikipedia

Home? What Home?

Home means nothing to me now; it hasn’t meant anything for the last SEVEN weeks and it won’t feel like anything for at least four – six more weeks. A simple kitchen renovation (that we saved up for) became a nightmare financially, physically and emotionally. Our contractor found  hidden damage and rotten wood…IN …EVERY….ROOM. Nothing was spared from carpenter ants and termites; rotting wood took the place of our souls in that house. We live in a one room small hotel now, three of us and our dog. In some ways, this feels more like my home to me now that my actual tiny house in the suburbs.

Once our old house is rebuilt I still won’t feel at home, I know. Because of all the renovations and rebuilding, there is dust and wood shavings and dirt everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Even after an industrial cleaner comes in to rid the place of toxic chemicals, it won’t feel like home because nothing is where it is supposed to be. We have mountains of boxes and plastic crates piled mile high and every scrap of writing paper, toothpaste and shampoo, olive oil and jars of tomato sauce, books, shoes, cutlery…..everything you can imagine is put away….somewhere. I don’t have the joy of moving back in because moving back in leads to three more months of cleaning, putting things away and organizing.

I went into our house today and realized something; the only thing that is worse than not living in your house IS visiting your OLD one, with black tar paper all over it, windows being realigned, dust, dirt and SAWDUST everywhere. Nothing is familiar, nothing feels like or smells like home. I have no home; I really just want to cry.

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When I'm Happiest

Oven roasted chicken

You Can Get Used To Anything

This would have been the easiest question in the world to answer if it was 3 months ago. I am not sure I have felt happy in a long time. Weather wise, I am happiest in the Spring with the kiss of summer almost upon us. The old, brown down jacket gets put away in the closet along with the gloves and the boots and I see the first purple crocus pop out from the thin layer of white snow.

I’d be happier if we were back in our home, making a simple dinner of roasted chicken, potatoes, a fresh green salad with arugula, lettuce, craisins, tomatoes, English cucumbers, broccoli and green apple, all tossed together like a three-ring circus. There would be a loaf of whole wheat French or Italian bread waiting to warm in the oven, banana bread and brownies for dessert and we would all talk about our day.

It’s going to take a long time before that happens since we are unable to live in our house; it has been so destroyed with wood rot and carpenter ants and termites that the entire house has to be rebuilt.(Oh, and of course, insurance won’t pay for a thing.)

I would have to say that I am happiest when I am in my own home, in my small, cozy nest. A home that means, family, safety, nurturing, love, books, freedom and familiarity, my favorite television shows and my dog snoozing and drooling on the bed next to me.

While we are already empty-nesters with one child, next year both kids will be in college. I wonder if the house will still feel like the same home it did before.

I have adjusted to not being home although it is not easy but I am trying now to just look forward to our new, old house with a new bathtub that has jets (hopefully) to easy my Fibromyalgia pain. Change is not something to fear anymore, you can get used to everything. It just makes you appreciate what you had when you don’t have it anymore.

Why did this have to happen? I have no idea, I’m trying to figure that out now. Maybe the lesson is that there are things in life that will always shake us up: go ride the rough waves as best you can instead of staying in the still of the shallow waters.

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Our Dirty, Shameful Secret

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m coming out of the closet to explain my bad mood of late, my stress, tension, anger, depression and exhaustion. The big reveal: (drum roll please..)  CARPENTER ANTS. Yes, sad but true and I can’t keep this shameful secret to myself anymore.  I need help and support. What I really need is the Extreme Home Makeover crew AND the most adorable and beloved style/designer cutie- patootie, Nate Berkus.  I also need Oprah for moral support and the understanding of these life lessons.

We have a truckload full of carpenter ants. A friggin’ marching army carrying weapons of mass destruction.( At least I have proof.) What started as an exciting renovation for the kitchen has become the project from HELL.

The renovation is on hold until we completely rebuild and tear out the kitchen, bathroom and part of the basement. For now. We won’t know about the upstairs officially until they tear that apart too.

Basically, our family life (what family life?) stinks right now. We’re minus a bathroom, a family room, a kitchen and part of the basement. The only relative good news is that our son is leaving for college this week and he will escape the constant noise and demolition. The rest of us, my husband, daughter and I (plus the dog) are not that lucky. We are stuck here. When someone suggested moving into a rented apartment for three months, I laughed. The money pit can only go so far, folks. Our daughter will be going to college next fall.

The kitchen renovation project  (PCA: pre- carpenter ants ) was going to last 4-6 weeks and cost a set amount of money.  Now, we are talking a minimum of at least three months and A LOT more money.  This was NOT in the budget. That said, our cozy little home, my bastion of sanity, love and serenity has been destroyed. The gosh-darn ants have eaten their way down the stairs like starving people dining at a free smorgasbord. Oh and before you ask, yes, we did have a company come in and spray year-round to prevent the little suckers. There is no guarantee so please don’t ask. I feel used, stupid, resentful (no comment)  and violated.

My once beloved cozy cottage looks like a crime scene and the amount of money that is draining from our savings is practically enough to stabilize the economy. My husband talked me into this kitchen renovation and now it has become a major project, MAJOR. If we had known now what we did when we bought the house…..well, I can’t go there. My emotions have ranged from fury to laughing hysterically, depression, anger and annoyance and resentment.  It’s no wonder I am in a vicious flare up of Fibromyalgia, and TMJ and daily, throbbing headaches. Every day brings bad news, more things to fix and more money to spend.

The only thing I try to remember is to keep this in perspective. It is annoying and depressing and draining, financially $$$$, physically and emotionally but we are not in a Radiology Department waiting for ominous test results; in other words, it’s not life- threatening.  I’m rolling with the (expensive) punches because basically, I have no choice.  Is this a catastrophe? Yes, I mean No! It’s an annoyance and a lot of money down the um, drain, pipes, frame, tube?  I’m taking it one day at a time; one very costly, day at a time. There is no other way.