Inventory

1 divorce  + 1 great kid + 1 meteoric career + 1 crash landing =  0

I’m instructed by my attorney not to speak to anyone. So, the disclaimer borrowed from legal folks:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Every asshole starts sounding like another. I guess that’s why these phrases are necessary. So does every horrible job, pain in the ass boss, soulless co-worker, and politician. Mistakes start sounding the same too – yours and mine. We love watching each other’s mistakes too. Just look at the parade of television judge shows which I will admit complete indulgence in for the first three weeks of my 39th year. Whose baby daddy is really not the daddy, and what makes a dad? The truth eludes everyone making celebrities of those who know how to interpret polygraph tests. Disclaimers such as, “I ain’t no [Jerry] Springer ho…” are shouted while the audience waits with baited breath: “Mr. so and so…. you are… [dramatic pause] the father” – “The results show that so and so… was…not being truthful.” I can’t look away. Abject on the screen.

And yet, the distance between me and the women who ain’t no Springer ho is pretty scant.

Which is why my mind keeps circling back as I take stock of nearly four decades of what has been an incredibly painful, irritatingly poignant, unremarkable, yet surprising existence to rest on the nagging question: “Oh my god. Am i just a loser?”

Well, so what if I am, no? Ok.

True, but then what have I been working so hard and struggling and stressing out about for the first four decades?

I forgot one more thing to the equation: 1 experience of falling in love.

Is the score +1 now?

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No one’s got the wheel….but to hell with it.

Unemployment continues… but not really unemployment… paid leave with the daily calls in to make sure vacation days are not charged. And it drains me. It’s pathetic. What am I whining about? I’m getting paid for my free time where I diligently chase islands of new business opportunities and job leads between long spells of bad daytime court and talk shows…

They’ve changed the tv line up… I’ve actually noticed this through the haze of my quiet frustration that one cannot even rely on the banality of daytime trash to be constant. Now “COPS” and “Trisha” have changed slots?? and the maudlin observation is that I care, and that I care that I care because it brings me back to the question: is this what life has come to? Oh, the middle class misery of it all. How we can stand ourselves…

This Halloween eve…having carved a pumpkin with a Nightmare before Christmas motif at my young child’s request only to find the next morning that Jack’s head has been eaten most likely by a squirrel or raccoon who was a close friend of the raccoon who died in vain last week.

And then my mother, oh my lovely mother… who in her late 70s has found the wonder of texting to the point where I feel like I am with a teenager in her presence as I see the top of her head and her fingers typing quickly. She texted me this morning: “Don’t take [xxxx] out for Halloween! It’s too dangerous!!” yes, yes… god forbid that I take her grandchild out to join the world in the festivities of the living as they play the dead (or wait, is it the oblivious undead who come alive like they do in “American Horror Story” in season 1?). Anyhow, you get the picture… and I wonder why Halloween has always felt like an awkward holiday to me.

Flashes of sessions with adolescent patients lamenting that they cannot wait for the clarity that mythically comes with adulthood go through my mind. I think and sometimes even say to them directly, “Hold on tight… it’s going to be a freakin’ long ride…”

Nonetheless, it’s time to read bed time stories now and listen to my child muse about her day. It is a respite.

I have to admit that I can’t wait to take her trick or treating…. so, bite me, ma.

Cat predation…

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I knew there was something crawling in the attic…I could hear the skittering. In my general avoidance of house repair issues, I thought to myself that it was the sound of the squirrels on the roof above the vaulted ceiling… “but, it sounds like something is in the wall…” the nagging voice in my head told me… Nah. Shut up. It can’t be. “But do you remember the bee issue?” Shut up… that was different.

I convinced myself it was one of the cats having found some stealthy way to scale the inside of the walls from the basement….? Then, there was high pitched chattering sound…

That was no cat.

Rolling over I grabbed my iPhone at 5:30 in the morning and googled, “What does a raccoon sound like?”Lying in bed, I played the first youtube hit I found… hmm… high pitched chattering.  Then, like a game of Marco Polo, the creature in the attic responded. I played the video again. The creature responded… Goddamn… Freakin’ raccoon. But then hissing… oh no, is that the cat? The cat?! The raccoon?! together? I rushed downstairs. I found the cats laying in the basement languidly.

Later that morning, Joe the wildlife removal guy, came out and in a minute showed me the hole the raccoon(s) used to get in. I thought he’d go into the attic and get it. He laughed, “I’m not going up there… We have to set a trap.”

What? Why can’t it just be my cat up there…

He suggested a “Quick kill” trap mounted on the roof and reiterated that my cats absolutely could not be outdoors. They’re indoor cats, but that nagging delusion I had that my cat was scaling the walls was in the back of my head. “Shit, what if my cat is up there…?”

So, I looked in the basement to see exactly how ridiculous my thought was that it could have been the cat because it was clear there was no avenue of access.

Joe pointed out to me that it’d probably be time for a new roof. He must have seen in the look on my face as he remarked, “Yeah, houses are money pits…”

I thought to myself, “My mind is a freakin’ money pit…”

Can you believe the stories we tell ourselves to soothe that things are either worse or better? And in the end, the raccoon comes… and the cat needs to be found, and Joe needs to be called. The quick kill is never quick. And yeah, it’s time for a new roof.

Seeds and distortions planted years ago emerge for harvest years later, and oh god, can the fruit be bitter… Here’s to a year of digging the fields up… looking at dirt for a while with trepidation because really, who the hell wants to plant another damn thing?  “Thanks, Universe, but no thanks… no field needed here…”  I digress tho, because the tilling is far from over… So far from over.

“Joe, you got a quick kill solution for digging up a field of shit?”

He muttered, “I don’t know much about that shit, but we gotta reset the trap and give it another night to make sure we got them all…”

Turns out we got them all. Now, I’m calling the roofer.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

…oh, you know it’s bad when you’re comparing your ADLs to your dog’s ADLs… You know what I’m talking about. You look over at your dog and realize he’s filthy, but then realize that you’re filthy too.

I suppose when you’ve been put out of work for a month after 39 years of being on the go, depression isn’t too far around the corner, and the basics like showering really seem inconsequential. I mean, really – it’s just me and the dogs.

Tomorrow is day 16 of this 39th year… The 9am call checking in with the bureaucrats… “I’m just calling in as requested…” Perky civil services worker response: “Excellent! I’ll mark it down.” God in heaven, help me.