Shot two weddings this weekend. Yesterday's was arguably the most lovedovey couple I've ever met. They were so cute together, you couldn't help but smile to watch them.
I've never had that kind of relationship with anyone. But I wonder if that's because I've never been with anyone that made me feel that way or if it's because I'm simply not that kind of man. Zippy 10:20 AM
I think I'm back here for a while. I'm finding that I don't really have an outlet for my thoughts anymore, and that it's now something I miss again, which I haven't in almost two years.
A lot -- and nothing -- has happened since my last post. Sara moved out, and we finalized our divorce in December. Xander has grown into a wonderful boy, almost 6 now. He's become a fan of music, playing guitar and drums, along with whatever else he can bang on.
He started kindergarten this year and enjoys it. He's playing basketball at the Y and has fun with it.
Meanwhile, I'm still me. Still being a photographer on weekends, running the Web on weekdays. I'm dating someone, but it really should be "dating" because we'll go weeks without seeing each other, despite that she lives about 10 minutes away.
I'm still trying to figure out what the future holds. Zippy 4:35 PM
I have been trying to upgrade my RAM for weeks. Weeks. Every time I installed it, it failed to load. If I put the old memory back, it worked fine.
I updated the BIOS, got the latest drivers, nuttin.
Then, on a single page five pages down in Google, I found people who had the same problem and a solution.
Reset the clock battery.
You read that right. Reset the clock battery.
So I did.
And now, the RAM works.
Which makes me wonder how long _someone_ long ago suffered through the process of figuring out why this doesn't work before they said "You know what? Let's do the one thing that would seem to have NOTHING to do with the problem"
I will never truly understand computers. Zippy 7:56 PM
I go see a different doctor this week, a supposed whiz kid when it comes to antidepressants. My therapist has said a few times that I should see him (he's in the office three feet from the therapist's), but I've kinda been non-commital on the whole thing.
But the last time I was in, I told my therapist to give me his number and I set up an appointment.
The problem I'm having isn't that the Welbutrin isn't working--it is. I feel more "with it" than I did with the Celexa, which has it's good and bad points these days. It's still better than Spock-mode, though.
But I've come to realize that I'm missing something rather critical to my growth as a person, personally and professionally.
I lack gumption.
I have grand ideas in my head that rarely, if ever, get acted upon. That doesn't bug me.
What does bug me is the smaller things, such as this: I have a great book on Photoshop CS3. A wonderful tutorial that walks you through an absolute ton of things you can do with the program.
I've read the book cover to cover twice. I have yet to actually do anything in CS3. There's just no interest in it.
I've got a half dozen books I'd like to read. I'm just not interested in actually getting them.
I created a neighborhood blog, but have extreme difficulty getting myself to work on it.
I have cameras, lenses and plenty of Compact Flash cards, yet I've only taken 21 pictures in the last week, 17 of them yesterday.
I feel perfectly content if I go through an entire day and accomplish nothing more than the bare minimum necessary to survive.
And frankly, that's no way to live.
So even though I'm scared of changing ADs, especially seeing the hell Squeaky went through when she tried a variety of ADs before settling on one, I'm willing to give it a shot to see if I can find one that beats the anxiety into submission without beating the rest of me as well.
I want my gumption back.
In other news, I bought a refurbished Canon 40D off eBay over the weekend after discovering that the camera, new, was actually going UP in price, from low $700s to $899 in two, three weeks. So I feel lucky I was able to get it at the price I did.
To get the lens I want will likely require my portion of our tax refund, selling another lens, my Canon S2IS camera and a DVD recorder I don't use anymore. And that still probably won't cover the cost because the price on it has jumped, too.
In some respects, it's silly. Wedding photography is a job, but it's not my Job, so there's no real reason to keep upgrading when what I'm using now is good enough.
And that's why I think there's hope for getting my gumption back, because while what I'm using now is good enough, I really want to make better pictures than I can right now. Zippy 9:42 PM
Welp, new president, and we're all still here. I voted for Mr. O, but really, I'd have been okay with McCain.
Currently trying to figure out what piece of camera equipment to upgrade next. There's only two left that I'm actually seeking:
1. Canon 40d camera. Wait, you (might) say, doesn't Canon make a 50d now? Indeed they do, and I have no interest in it. 10 megapixels and 40% cheaper is fine by me. Then my 30d can go into backup/second camera mode, and I can give Squeaky the 20d (She's always wanted a "good" camera, and she did help pay for it, back in the pre-Xander days)
2. Canon 70-200 f/4 image stabilized zoom. This is tougher because a) I have a 55-250 image stabilized lens now and b) the thing's about $1000, even used. Mainly because it's considered to be one of the sharpest and best lenses Canon's ever made. The 55-250 is good...but I think the 70-200 would be better.
Of course, purchasing both those items would probably mean that I'd be an official "serious" photographer. That's scary in its own right.
I have four more wedding meetings in the next week, plus at least one other not scheduled yet. Perhaps the new Web site is doing its job? I've debated dumping it ($300 a year) for a Wordpress site or something, but it seems to be getting out there on the search engines better than I was doing alone with a Blogger site last year. Way more response this year.
The ants have returned to Casa Hendirez, and they're being sneaky. I cannot find their entry point. They're showing up in the bathrooms, living room and front office...but they're not coming from any of their regular spots (i.e. cracks and furnace vents)
I even inadvertently brought some to work on my backpack this morning. But when I got home and looked where the backpack was sitting...nothing.
So, one task this weekend will be Operation Bug Hunt. Wherever I spread the diatomaceous earth (see previous bedbug battle), they seem to stay away for quite a while.
In other news, grandma's in the hospital for, I think, the sixth time since her meningitis/encephalitis. It's so damn hard to go see her because she doesn't react to me. She looks at me, but I can't tell if she registers who I am. This, of course, brings back bad memories of the last years of my other grandmother. Zippy 4:35 PM
Yes, I know, it's been a while. I apologize to the four of you who read this, but life's been, well, craptastic lately, so I've just kinda avoided everything.
But, things are getting better, slowly but surely.
1. Grandpa's funeral was nice, if the prerecorded "Taps" bugle at graveside was cheesy. Xander was an exceptional boy, and Squeaky helped me (and I helped her) get through it.
2. Work is ... well, work. The station hired a digital executive producer who oversees my site and the HS sports site. Which means I don't have to go to meetings anymore -- he does. Sales calls and bugs him, not me.
On one hand, I'm unhappy to have a "boss". But this guy knows his stuff, is very easy to work with ... and did I mention HE goes to the meetings?
3. My wedding photography business (I might as well admit that's what I do -- I've only been hired for two "events", and one canceled due to weather) is going pretty well. I've got four lined up between March and June, and for only advertising on Craigslist and a Web site listing on Google, that's not bad.
Currently aiming to get two more pieces of equipment: a Canon 40d for my primary camera and a 70-200 f/4 IS to replace my 55-250 IS lens. And at that point, I'll be done with equipment. I'll have two cameras, four main lenses (two backups) and three flash units with umbrellas and stands. I think I can handle most of my gigs with that combination.
4. Xander's still cute as all get out. He's got dry skin on his face around his lips, so he constantly looks chapped. And he is, I'm sure -- he just doesn't really care. I replaced my desktop computer after five years, and now that one's his. Keeps him off my laptop, at least.
5. Squeaky and I still live together, though as of last weekend, we're in separate bedrooms. I've no idea when she'll be at a point where she can move out, but frankly, I'm not going to shove. I suspect she'll leave as soon as she's able because, really, I don't think she likes being here very much anyway.
6. Diabetes...yeah, we won't go there. Suffice to say, I've gained back half the weight I lost, and I don't test my blood with any regularity. It doesn't help that I can't get into a pattern of life, so some days, I can test at 4:30am when I get up. But two days in the last six, I've been going to work _before_ 4:30am, which throws everything off and ... anyway, I'm going to do better. I just can't say precisely when yet.
I have, at least, found a non-sugared pop that I can stand -- Coke Zero. Also diet A&W Root Beer, but that's not quite as good in my book.
7. Therapy goes okay. I don't know where my therapist is going with me at this point. I don't know if he knows. I'm going to see a psychiatrist next month to examine my anti-depressant and possibly switch. Supposedly, this guy practically wrote the book on anti-depressant use in the last decade, so we'll see. The Welbutrin works to keep the general anxiety in check ... but the docs keep telling me that a different AD might help me focus better, get more energy, more "gumption" as my grandparents call it. That's the part that still drives me nuts -- a near-total lack of motivation. Been like that since the Celexa, really. So we'll see.
So, I think that's everything that's happened lately. I didn't promise it would be exciting, of course. But it's me. Zippy 9:37 PM
Grandpa was pronounced brain dead a little before 8:30 p.m. Friday. Grandma got to see him before the end, but in her physical and mental state from the illnesses and strokes, I'm not certain how much she understands at this point.
Sometime soon, Squeaky and I will talk to Boo about it. I'm not sure how much he'll understand, either.
The end was somewhat of a relief, knowing that he was finally at peace. Plus, everyone knew he didn't want to linger in such a state. One of his siblings apparently lasted almost a year before dying, and Grandpa was certain he didn't want that to happen to him. And it didn't.
My grandfather (adopted) was a complicated man. He was a soldier. He was an airman. He was an auto worker for well-nigh on 35 years. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a grandfather. He was a great-grandfather.
He was also a bit of a racist. He wasn't a violent or mean racist--he was a Southerner who grew up in a time when it was not only tolerated but considered proper.
But in the last decade or so, he saw the light insofar as to realize that you can't use certain words in public or private anymore. And I think in the last few years he might have come to some deeper realizations.
Sometime in the last two weeks, while his wife was trying to recover from encephalitis/MRSA/UTIs, he probably had a stroke that cut blood supply to the part of his brain that handles motor functions. He was a bit clumsier than usual for the last couple of weeks, but nothing drastic.
Sometime Christmas morning, probably around 6 a.m., he fell to the floor of his assisted living apartment. He was at least conscious when care workers arrived, but he deteriorated rapidly before he was transfered to Miami Valley Hospital.
It appears that the clot or whatever blocking the blood broke, causing bleeding in his brain and brain stem.
For the life of me, I don't know what Grandma's going to do without him. He was trying to be strong to support her. He missed her while she was hospitalized and he wasn't. He kept telling her that he needed for her to get better. It just never occured to me that he might go first.
She only knows he's sick right now. I haven't seen her since two weeks ago when I visited them both, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to see her before Grandpa dies without falling apart.
I don't really think she's going to live long without him.
See, one of the issues when you only get comp time for overtime is that, if you have to cover for someone else taking time off, you end up accruing time at a significant rate. When my co-worker was gone for a week, I picked up 2.5 days of comp time for doing shift-and-a-half.
So I got to December with three weeks of vacation left.
I can roll one over to next year, but had to take the rest or lose it. So I'm off this coming week, back at work for a week, then off the week of Christmas.
So far, my goals are fairly mundane: 1. Fix oven door 2. Clean house 3. Catch up on movies I've missed 4. Expand my wedding photography Web site 5. Put up Christmas tree 6. Begin creating Christmas gifts
I should also add "sleep" to the list, but maybe I'll save that for Christmas week. Zippy 6:38 AM
My life is work, work, work, Xander wrangling, work, sleep, repeat.
I did see the new Bond film and liked it a lot, especially the move away from the "bad guy of the week" stories that always wrapped up neatly at the end. This one does ... and does not.
Snowed for the first time the other day. I was amused. My new boss lamented how cold it was today...in the 30s. But he's lived in L.A. for years, so I won't give him too hard of a time this winter. Next winter, he better be acclimated. Zippy 10:05 PM
(Xander on a run to the playground at Sharon Woods today. First time I've seen him leave me behind. Though he did look back every ten steps to make sure I was still following him.)
Life here is okay. Elections are almost over, but sweeps then begin. Hooray.
I'm putting in an application for seasonal work over at Micro Center. I'm kinda hoping to get a warehouse job because, well, I hate the public. Everyone knows this. But it'd be some extra cash that I can certainly use, and I get discounts. Which means batteries, memory cards and all the other things that have a huge markup, I can get a bit above cost.
Squeaky and I ... I tell you, it's the strangest thing. If you were to walk into our house a year ago, then again tonight, odds are good you wouldn't be able to tell a difference. We still talk. We still laugh. We still help each other. We just don't touch. I do anyway, sometimes, usually just a hand on her back as she walks by. Occasionally, she reciprocates. Usually, no response.
The therapist and I had a long conversation where I realized a few things and considered bringing them up to Squeaky. Then I decided against it because it wouldn't make any difference. Or maybe it would. Or maybe I don't want it to. My feelings are no more sorted now than they were two months ago. Probably worse now, in fact.
I war between two factions in my head. One wants me to try to get her back because I still love her. The other part doesn't because of how much she hurt me. I probably change positions on the issue six times a day, and yes, I do think about it that much most days.
In the meantime, I do ... nothing. The safe move. I'm an expert on playing it safe.
In other news, my parents have moved back to Ohio from Virginia. So now, Xander's only about an hour away from a willing baby sitter. Woot!
LEAF was many of the things I needed. An escape, a return to familiar ground, hanging with old friends and new. Plus some great music and a pretty good crush on one band's lead singer.
I wondered if I'd be nostalgic for my old job when I visited my former station before LEAF. The answer was a resounding "No". I miss some of the people, definitely, but that newsroom's a tomb compared to my bright, airy, sun-filled newsroom here. And I didn't realize how much I need that before.
As for Greenville itself, not even a pang of remorse over leaving. I've had no regrets about the move, and now I think I can close that chapter completely.
I'm still fighting that impulse to just not be a friend. Two more people from my past have e-mailed me this week to say hi, and I find I just don't want to respond. Which is silly. My therapist doesn't have any answers for that yet.
I don't know that I need the answer now. I'd just like to have the question repeated so I can understand it.
I discovered two side effects to forgetting my drugs over the weekend.
One, I found myself angry. Not really angry. Not angry at anything in particular. Just a low-level ... angry.
The other is that, whenever the moments were still, I was rewinding and replaying my life.
You can likely guess what part of my life I was replaying.
Over and over, my mind ran back through the last few years of my marriage, trying to figure out what I could have done differently to save it, if it could have been saved.
Specifically it came down to a conversation and the ramifications thereof.
A bit of background: There was a point at which Squeaky was having issues similar to mine, and she would periodically get sullen and angry.
Being more than a bit paranoid about relationships, I would ask her if she was angry at me or if I'd done something wrong. And she'd get frustrated with me asking.
Finally, one day, she promised me that, if she had a problem with me, she'd tell me, so I didn't have to keep asking if her bad mood was my fault.
When this all blew up, I pointed out that, though I knew she was unhappy, I hadn't asked her if her problems had to do with me because of the promise she'd made years ago. In my head, this was at least partly her fault because she didn't do what she said she would.
But on the umpteenth go round in my skull, this idea gained a rider: If I knew she was unhappy, why didn't I ask anyway, especially considering the length of time she seemed unhappy?
The answer came today as I was waiting to get a replacement driver's license (don't ask):
The reason I didn't ask is because it was easier on me to put the burden on her to tell me something was wrong. Doing this meant I didn't have to think about the relationship -- I could do what I thought was right, believed was right, and if I was wrong, Squeaky would tell me.
Mind you, that isn't what I thought at the time; I didn't think anything about it at the time. But I've discovered recently that if there are parts of my life I can put on "automatic", for lack of a better word, I do it. That way, I can concentrate on aspects that can't be automated, like work or X.
The problem, as you likely can immediately see, is that putting a relationship or marriage on automatic is a really, really bad idea.
But rather than see this truth, I was more comfortable hiding behind the notion that, "Well, if she has a problem with me, she'll tell me." It's like programming in BASIC: If A, then B. If not A, then C. If she's unhappy with me, she'll tell me. If she doesn't tell me she's unhappy with me, then it's not me.
So now, I can see I made two errors: Not paying close enough attention to what the Celexa did to me and assuming that, if Squeaky didn't say something was wrong, then I wasn't doing anything wrong.
What drives me nuts about this error is that I know better than to do this. I wanted this to be true because it took the burden of avoiding mistakes off of me and required no work on my part -- unless there was trouble, we were fine. If there was trouble, I would be alerted and could work to solve the problem
But what I did was put an exceedingly high burden of the relationship's maintenance on Squeaky, who had plenty of other things to deal with besides being considered the authority on our marriage -- and I have to point out that I seriously doubt that she considered her promise to mean nearly as much as I deliberately took it to mean.
In short, I took a single statement made in a bedroom at the Breckenridge Apartments sometime in the late 90s or early 2000 and turned it into one of Squeaky's life/marriage responsibilities -- without her really knowing it. Or being asked to assume it, for that matter.
I know this whole realization won't be stunning to most people. But it was for me because it uncovered a personal flaw that I hadn't fully realized and forced me to reevaluate my status and role in the end of our marriage.
For me to assert that Squeaky should have told me that we were in trouble is fine, so long as I assert that I was equally responsible for not telling her that I thought we were in trouble.
But because of that "promise", I was putting more blame on her in my mind -- and that was, and is, patently unfair.
In the simplest terms, I was lazy.
I probably could have kept this whole post to myself, or just written it in an e-mail or letter to Squeaky alone. But I put this here because, much as why I always post fatal crashes on my Web site and whether the victim wore a seat belt, if someone out there reads this and learns from my mistake, then maybe a little good can come from a lot of bad.
I'd like to think that can happen.
And if you should happen to read this, dear, I'm very sorry for what I did. Zippy 7:22 PM
The problem with hate is that unless you can direct it at a person or task, it becomes very difficult to overcome the inertia of just wallowing in it.
I don't hate Squeaky. I don't hate me. I don't hate you. I hate this.
I sit, listening to X sing himself to sleep (tonight it's "Crazy Train" -- the Lounge Against The Machine version) and stare off into nothing and wait for the clock to reach a time that's reasonable for a 38-year-old man to go to bed.
Yes, Squeaky's out of the house, so I can't really go anywhere. But I can tell you that even if she were here right now, my actions would not change.
This isn't about the end of my marriage, or the diabetes, or anything I can point to. I'm stuck between two ideas that can't mesh in this world:
1. I'm desperately craving affection. Squeaky and I were having trouble before this whole thing blew up, so it wasn't like we were boinking like bunnies or anything. But we weren't hugging, kissing, cuddling or anything else, either, and it really frustrated me because those were the things I really wanted, but couldn't get.
And of course, if I thought we weren't doing that before, now...but again, that's not the point.
2. I want everyone and everything to go away. I don't want to be around people. I don't want to make friends. I sure as hell don't want to try dating (more on that later). Yet, if I can't get past #2, can't change my fundamental being, #1 will never happen again.
Which would be fine, except I hate #2, too.
I've brought this up to my therapist, but right now he's somewhat fixated on my three dads (biological, adoptive, step) and how all that shaped me. Whatever.
Squeaky thinks that I'm afraid of being alone. I'm not sure it's that so much as that I hate the thought that, when the day comes that I am alone, part of me is going to rejoice because I'll be all by myself again.
The other part will likely want to jump off Carew Tower. So those two halves should be fun together, I think.
But when Xander is with Squeaky, there will be days that I have all to myself, to do whatever I want...and I don't want to do anything. Which in turn, rather significantly decreases the chances that I'll meet someone else, which is, really, kinda necessary for affection to take place unless money is involved (and it will not be.). But it plays in well with the desire to be away from everyone, which I hate.
I know that I used to fear social situations and tended to avoid them. Now, I'm perfectly fine going...but I already know it'll be an unmemorable event because I'm just not going to be "into" it.
I don't know how you stop this. I don't know what sort of therapy or training is going to make someone want to be around other people, make friends, etc. I'm more than a bit scared that there is no solution, no answer.
I can't spend the rest of my life alone. While I'm certain I could pull it off, I think it's a flat-out bad idea that will get worse as time passes.
But Squeaky ain't coming back. I'm not putting myself in any sort of position to meet people. And let's just say the online dating thing is both frustrating and more than a little ego crushing.
So here I am, square in the middle of this, hating and loving it, with my head and heart spinning in opposite directions in different orbits.
And I know how this path ends. Badly. Zippy 8:30 PM
"You're not the same person who came to see me two weeks ago," my therapist said.
"You're probably right," I replied.
I stopped taking the Celexa, going only with Welbutrin at this point. I couldn't take the numb any more.
But I have to say, I think I've reached a strange peace with my situation. That's the only way to describe it.
He asked me about it, and I tried to explain.
"You realize that many people in your position would be angry, furious, and would not go out of their way to be helpful or nice. Some would be downright nasty. Why aren't you?"
"Because I've been here before. I've been the man dumped, and I've responded badly. Did Sherri come back when I groveled and cried in her dorm room? Of course not. Why would she?"
"You see, doc (he's not, but I call him that anyway. I can't call him Gerry), I have a simple rule for life these days, and it sounds selfish, but not the way I look at it -- What's in it for me?"
"If I were an ass to Squeaky, if I tried to make her feel bad so I would feel good, what would I gain? Nothing. What would I lose? The respect of someone I care about and I might hurt X in the process. Net result--a loss."
"If I sit and mope around because Squeaky's leaving me, what do I gain? Perhaps a serious increase in listening to Phil Collins' first two albums. What do I lose? The time spent moping around about something I can't change."
"She's not coming back, doc. Even if her life changed drastically tomorrow, she wouldn't come back to me. There's no point in wishing for it or spending any more time than necessary wondering about it."
"I have two goals. One, to get to the other side of this so that we can all move on, especially me, since I have farther to go. Two, minimize the impact on X. Those are things that I can control, at least in part.
"I won't try to hurt Squeaky because I don't want her to be hurt. But there's also no profit in hurting her. There's no profit in making things difficult for all of us. And frankly, anything that distracts me from my goals has to be put aside."
He said he was impressed by how far I've come. He told me that I didn't need to bother to see his partner about changing my drugs.
And I have to say: I _feel_ better than I have in a long while. For the first time in, hell, probably forever, I'm putting myself first (or in a tie with X). And this is the one point in my life so far that I can say that's the right move. That's what I need to be doing.
I've got enough messes on my hands. I've got a maple tree I'm trying to save, despite knowing it's very unlikely to work. I'm expanding my photography business so I can try to get out of debt more quickly. I'm looking at the prospect of doing something that, technically speaking, I've never done: Dating.
One my favorite parts of The West Wing involved Barlett and Leo arguing about what Barlett should do in the coming election season. Leo picked up a legal pad and wrote four words: "Let Bartlett be Bartlett."
For the first time in years, I think it's time to let Zippy be Zippy. Zippy 9:17 PM
My life's kinda in a holding pattern these days. Squeaky's looking for an apartment, and when she finds one and moves out, we can move on to the next phase: truly separated.
I'm not ashamed to say I don't want her to go. I'm not ashamed to say that I still wish we could work this out. I'm not ashamed to say that she's the center of my universe and has been for years.
But I also recognize that this is something she feels she _needs_ to do.
In the end, for better or worse, the vast majority of decisions I've made in the past 10 years have been, at least in part, an effort to make Squeaky happy -- because I think she deserves to be happy and because I love her.
So if, in the end, the only decision I can make that will help her find happiness is to let her go, that's what I shall do.
I won't like it, I'm sure I'll regret it all the rest of my days, but if that's what it takes, so be it.
Yes, there's always the question about "What about your happiness?" Well, in this case, I'm not sure there's a way for us both to be happy together. Yes, I've told her that I'd go to counseling with her if she wanted, and I would drop everything to make that happen. Squeaky and X mean more to me than anything on earth.
But if my happiness makes her unhappy, then I'd soon be unhappy, too. And then we both lose.
Plus, there's X. He's going to be confused enough as is when this all goes down, and the last thing I want is for him to see us as anything but caring for each other -- which we are, and likely always will be. You can't erase damn near 20 years, after all.
So now, I wait and see what happens. I'll talk to my therapist Thursday about how to move past this avoidant personality disorder. The goal is to reach a point where I don't _have_ to take antidepressants. I don't think I'll be able to be much of a boyfriend/lover/husband to anyone else if I'm still taking these drugs.
When X was born, I went a bit off the deep end. I ended up seeing a therapist and the doctor, and they put me on Celexa. A variation of it had worked for Squeaky, so I was glad to try it.
And it worked. My anxiety dropped to almost nothing, and everything was fine.
A few months back, I switched to a different drug and stopped the Celexa. I found that I was getting angry at things more easily than before.
When the whole separation with Squeaky started, I didn't handle it well. I mentioned it to my doc, who suggested I take the Celexa again.
I started three days ago.
And today, I had that moment you see in the movies when all the flashbacks appear to tell you why what's going on now is going on now.
You see, it appears that the Celexa did more to me three years ago than I realized at the time. Yes, since I've started it again, my anxiety has all but disappeared again.
So has joy So has sadness So has motivation So has opinion So has attraction So has affection So has anger So has happiness
Not everything appears to be gone. I still have great caring for the wellbeing of my family. I still show up to work, do my job, play with Xander, etc.
But an awful lot of me is being heavily suppressed, if not completely cut out.
And that's when I start thinking about the past three years, as Squeaky and I drew farther and farther apart. And I can't help but think that if this is what I've been like for three years, I don't know how she stayed here that long. It was probably like dating a library. Not a librarian--the library.
So now, I have even more reason to fix what's wrong in my head so I can stop taking this again soon.
And if I'm right about how I've been for the last three years, Squeaky, I'm so, so sorry. Zippy 4:26 PM
Hello, my name is Zippy Hendirez, and I'm a diabetic.
I think I've managed to go through all the stages of grief twice since I found out Monday. Currently, I'm on confusion (yes, I know that's not on the list), as I need to go food shopping, but my diabetes education isn't until Tuesday, so I've only got vague ideas what to buy.
Apples for snacks. That's about it. All the online literature tends to contradict itself.
So, my life is changing, once again. The end result this time, since I need to lose weight and eat better by necessity, should be positive.
Squeaky's laptop wasn't working. Sent it to HP. They fixed it. Now, all of a sudden, the laptop says that it doesn't have a valid copy of Windows...but HP didn't replace the hard drive, so it's the same copy she's had since last summer.
Boo was sick, and it was ugly. Lethargic, unhappy, and then, pukey! Good times.
I was up hella early to go to work to livestream the local marathon. Went to McD's to get some hash browns. Forgot my change. They were good, but not $10 good.
Boo's started waking up in the night and wanting to come sleep with us. This isn't going to go over well for long, I think. Squeaky has enough trouble sleeping as is.
No, I don't have a point for this post. Do you? Zippy 3:54 PM
My first bus arrived three minutes early to pick me up, but dropped me off five minutes late. So I missed my second bus and stood in the rain for the emergency reserve bus, as I call it.
It was dark and cold and damp, and I loved it. It's rare nowadays that I get to trot out all the foul-weather gear I bought and accumulated as a photojournalist.
Of course, I was damn cold by the time I got to work. But I was dry.
Then one of my going-home buses broke down. It was not my day for buses.
I've been working on Squeaky's laptop for three or four days, trying to track down why it was suddenly rebooting constantly. Turns out (surprise!) Microsoft sent out a bad Windows update, so bad that uninstalling it (which I had done before I knew it was the problem) DOESN'T FIX IT.
Of course, that only required backing up her files, then nuking the hard drive and doing a system recovery. Bill Gates friggin' owes me.
Also got a used extended life battery for my newest used laptop. Looks like it's going to be a darn good battery for the dirt-cheap I paid for it.
My new toy is a somewhat-elderly IBM R51 Thinkpad. It's got some physical issues, but it runs solid and easy. Someday I'll get me a T61, but not today.
Currently listening to Genesis' concert in Cleveland this summer, courtesy my brother. So far, I have to say, I'm glad I didn't shell out the cash to go see this. It's just not that impressive.
What else has been going on...we had a blizzard of sorts, dropped a foot of snow or so. Rather than sleep at work, I actually worked much of the blizzard from home, and it was much nicer that way.
Xander's now got a drum set, which I'd show you, but Blogger don't feel like uploading images right now. (Oh, wait, there it is) He has a blast with it, and almost has rhythm periodically. Despite what non-drum-owners may think, it's not that bad, and a far sight easier to listen to than when he was banging on my overturned BGSU trash can.
Squeaky's got a new job working for the university, so she makes more money, works with some cool research stuff (dude, she messes with MRSA) and gets to ride the bus to work for free. Plus, when we switch to her health insurance, we'll save a lot of money (without switching to Geico).
This has forced us to wake Boo up earlier than he's used to. Much earlier. And I'm learning what Squeaky's known for months.
Boo is _not_ a morning person.
About half the time, I dress him as he sleeps and whines, then leave him in bed so I can catch my bus downtown.
In other news, I switched anti-depressants in an effort to drive off some of the general malaise I felt the old one was causing. Which was a great idea, except that, since I'm a creature of habit and Boo's morning routine is a tad screwy, I tend to forget to take it about one day in three.
Once I get on the once-a-day version, I'll be okay, as I always took the previous one before bed.
Hmmm. Genesis is doing a good job on "Follow You, Follow Me", one of my favorites.
I've added "stock image photographer" to my resume. Mind you, I've only managed to get one stock photo Web site to take my images...and they only accepted one...but I've earned 50 cents so far off that one image!
Another $29.50, and they'll cut me a check! ;)
I figure if I can get any good at it, it's a bit more income. I just have virtually no experience in this sort of thing, so I'm trying to find things I can shoot easily around here. Which isn't all that easy, surprisingly.
Oooh, "Mama". One of the spookiest songs Genesis ever did.
Overall, life ain't bad. Sorry I haven't been the best conversationalist lately. There's no real reason--it's just seemed like there's nothing to say that I've not said before.
That hasn't changed, really. But sometimes the words need to be said, regardless.
So far, I've spent my birthday in meetings, arguing about a quote with the mayor of Cincinnati, watching snow flurries come and go, writing about a kindergartener suspended for having a mohawk haircut, a double homicide ("Self-defense", the suspect claims), a county auditor staring at 30 years in a federal prison (probably much less) and updating weather reports.
I came home early because I was bored stiff at work, so I took off.
In a bit, I'll pick up Xander and we'll go watch for trains at the CSX yard.
In between, I'm going to figure out what to make for dinner (Lasagna? Chicken?) and maybe take a few photos.
All in all, a pretty good day, I think. Zippy 2:48 PM
Let's see what's happened since Jan. 8...um...work, obviously.
We all got sick, not quite at the same time, not quite with the same ailments. We blame Xander, of course.
Sold off my beloved Toughbook and replaced it with a Gateway that has a few features that the Toughbook lacked. The new (used) laptop will better gel with my current photography "business", as it were.
But I'll miss my ol' Toughbook. Maybe some day, I'll actually have the cash to buy a new one.
Went to see "Cloverfield", which I'd been waiting for since I saw the trailer before "Transformers". It was quite good. Exactly what I imagined it would be, played out the way I thought, and was very well done. The unanswered questions about the monster, etc, still bug me, but if you go see it, watch the last Coney Island scene veeeery closely.
Also, if "Blair Witch" was hard to watch because of the shaky camera, bring Bonine or Dramamine to "Cloverfield". It gets better as time goes on, but that first 40 minutes or so, woo.
If I can catch a matinee, I may go see "There Will Be Blood" on Friday.
Xander's approaching 3, and already acting it. A growing percentage of things you ask him to do are automatically answered with "No", but it's not too bad, once you subtract getting him dressed and changing his diaper.
I'm still waiting to see about the possible new job. They've not interviewed me officially, and, if they can't get the pay up, the ND might just not interview me because he knows it's currently a good bit less than I make now. But I'd still like to be considered. We'll see.
Otherwise, I'm off this week to make up for not being able to take all my vacation last year, so I'm hoping to vege a bit the next two days (Due to forgetting/leaving things at work, I've been at the station at some point each of the previous three days)
Meanwhile, the darn furnace is still a pain in my side. See, the electrical inspector found a problem, so the installers had to come back. Meanwhile, the city has been asking me to schedule a final inspection, but I can't do that until I get the electrical inspector.
But, finally, the electrical guy is coming Thursday, and the city guy's coming Friday, and so help me, that better be the end of the whole thing.
Hmmmm...I think that updates my life pretty well at this point. With any luck, it won't be two weeks before my next post for the four of you who read this. :) Zippy 3:37 PM
Playing cameras professionally can be a dangerous game. While there's always a chance of violence when you go out into the world, the more dangerous target is closer to home.
Your bank account.
Especially if you're someone like me, who can be, how shall I say, a bit flighty on camera technology.
I was checking out a Flickr page shot by someone with the new Nikon D3 (unaffordable), and got to thinking about Nikons in general. Then I read something else about the Nikon D300, which gets such rave reviews you'd think it was turned up to 11.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, I wanted one. Now.
Fortunately for everyone who has access to our money (Squeaky and I), I didn't have $1,700 to plunk down right now, or I'da bought one before a cooler head prevailed.
After a bit of poking around, I remembered the lesson that ol' Prof. Gordon used to bash into our heads in Introduction to Photojournalism back in college.
It's not the equipment, it's the eye behind it.
Simply put, I'm not going to be a better photographer with a Nikon D300 than I am with a Canon 20D.
So instead, I took the 20D to the park with Xander and shot a few frames in black and white, just like the old days when I was push processing Tri-X to 3200 ISO so I could barely get enough light to shoot on my Nikon FM-2 inside Anderson Arena.
It was nice. It felt natural. And even with Xander's rather constant barks of "Don't picture me!", it felt good.
So here I am, waiting for 2008. I may even stay up that late, since I'm trying to figure out just how far I want to go into this weekend wedding photography gig (yes, I keep saying I'm an event photographer...but I've had one event and four weddings. Um.)
Two of those weddings were in the last week, including an emergency session for my wife's cousin, whose photographer didn't return their calls for a week prior to the wedding (He did call, three hours before the wedding, to ask when he should be there.)
But I'd say it went well. The first couple I shot was a small wedding (meaning, minister, me, bride, groom, three guests. That's it) and they e-mailed me back to say that of the 143 shots I gave them, they considered 73 to be "great". That's a far better average than I usually assess myself, since I still work on the old photojournalist rule that in a given 36-shot roll of film, you'll usually have 3 solid shots.
I'm definitely getting better at this whole thing, and slowly realizing that there's little things I can do to improve, rather than drop lots of money on lenses and such.
Of course, I'll need to do that too, eventually. Some of the lenses I'm using really aren't designed for what I'm using them for. But they work for now.
Work is okay. My coworker's on paternity leave, and he'll be back next Monday. But really, if there's two weeks in the year to do my job solo, these would be the two weeks. I'm taking a week off in January simply because it was impossible for me to take all my assigned time off within 2007 (and I still have a week carrying over to '08)
Christmas was good. I ended up with a new coat and seven new books. Xander's now got a toddler bed with Thomas the Tank Engine sheets, and has yet to ask where the crib went, plus a basketball hoop and more Thomas toys.
I hit a bird with my car (or, the bird hit my car, depending on your point of view). I was getting on I-75 from the Norwood Lateral, and it just flew across the front of my car and I hit it. 22 years of driving, and that's never happened to me before.
As George mentioned on Seinfeld, I thought the birds and I had an agreement.
I could do a lookback at 2007 like some people I've seen do on their blogs. But honestly, I don't remember all that much. It still feels like yesterday and a decade ago.
But I hope all y'all have yourself a good 2008. Zippy 9:16 PM
It seems that I can't go more than a year or two without having to make a major decision about my employment future.
In this case, I'd be in the same building, doing a similar job, with more responsibility, for a different company.
And a former co-worker I talked to about the job gave voice to a concern that I've not even voiced to myself, but felt -- that the company I work for now is not the one I signed up for, and it's changing away from that every day.
But I'd give up my rather lenient schedule for a solid 9-5, which would eliminate the time I spend with X before dinner. Heck, Squeaky and I would get home about the same time, which would leave about 90 minutes to get X (and us) fed, X bathed and in bed.
And odds are, I'd only see a slight bump in pay. Wouldn't be able to take the bus anymore, either.
Not that I'm a shoe-in to get the job, either. I know one person the news director is going to call, if he hasn't already, and odds are she'd be his favorite for it. Could I work under her? Certainly.
But my career advancement in my current job is already at an end, unless I wish to move to the home office -- and I don't. So, if I want to stay at this station, this is the only route to move up.
And if I stay at what I'm doing, I'll be the head worker bee pretty much until someone tells me to go away. The new position would likely mean less work-work and more creative thinking, forward thinking--which is probably more stressful than what I do now.
But would it be more rewarding? What more can I do where I am now? Is that the important thing?
I suspect that, regardless, I'm going to apply for it. What I'm going to do from there, though...
It's in the 30s and dropping outside my window as I "work" (seriously, folks, the news world screeches to a halt on holidays)
So, in an annual tradition (at least I think...I'm not going to check), here's my list of things I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for the Internet. Not only does it keep me employed, but it helps keep me entertained when I'm stuck at "work".
I'm thankful for books. I spend way too much time staring at screens, so it's nice to pick up a book and read. That's why I'll never buy an e-book reader or whatever. It's not the same.
I'm thankful for my relative health.
I'm thankful for my family, strange as they are (Mom won't eat turkey. Never has), and hope that in the coming years, they'll move closer so I can use them as babysitters.
I'm thankful for the Metro bus system that generally gets me where I'm going, usually on time, for somewhat less cost than driving myself.
I'm thankful for CSX, which doesn't seem to mind when Xander and I park outside their switching yard so Xander can watch the trains go by.
I'm thankful for Squeaky. I know I've not always been the best husband, and I apologize for that. You are my rock in a sea of life, an anchor I can hug and hold when the waves are crashing around me. I love you very, very much.
I'm thankful for Xander. You are a wonder, a joy, a royal pain in the butt, an angel, a devil, and one of the two greatest things that's ever come into my life (your mother's the other one, Boo). I also love you very, very much.
And, I'm thankful for the last year in which I could enjoy all these wonderful things and looking forward to many more.
There are certain regulars on my Metro route to and from work. One of them is a mentally-odd man who says nothing to anyone, just carries his lunch bag around with laminated cartoon characters attached to it.
A few times in the afternoon, he'd work to get on the bus before me and take the seat I had previously taken every day.
I moved up the line one stop to let me get the seat (and the legroom) that I wanted.
I did that again today, and he was at the next stop. He looked at me...and didn't get on.
One of the other regulars turned and said "You're in his seat, so he won't get on".
I was shocked. The hell? It's a bus seat. In the mornings, he doesn't sit there, or anywhere near it. But he wouldn't get on the bus because I was in "his" seat, even though it was mine long before he started riding the bus.
Grrr. There's only a certain number of "good" seats on the bus. Three, to be exact, unless you want to be sitting over the engine or have the sun shining on you the whole way up I-75.
So now, I'm trying to figure out where to sit tomorrow.
And today, for the first time, my seatmate fell asleep. On me.
Fortunately, she wasn't some smelly, drunk bum, but a young woman who probably was up too late. I had to wake her when we got to my stop, and that kinda startled her.
People were always amazed that I, running a TV station's Web site, didn't have a Blackberry or Treo or iPhone to surf the net remotely.
But they were expensive, and I deemed them not worth the cost.
However, our plan with Sprint was up, and I decided to see if someone else had a better plan.
As it turned out, when I called to cancel our account, Sprint really wanted to keep us.
So now, Squeaky and I have Palm Centros (or would it be Centroes....grr)
I don't think me having one is quite as dangerous as when I first learned the Internet existed (1994, grad school, BGSU), but I can tell my bus rides are going to be much less boring now. Zippy 11:06 PM
My wedding couple paid me the rest of the money, so that paid for groceries.
It's raining, thank heavens. Maybe a bit much, but was wonderful to sleep to last night.
I was amused while going to meet Squeaky and Boo to find that KDOT decided to simply tell people "Hey, high water ahead" rather than close two of three lanes on I-471...which given the amount of water I drove through, they probably should have.
This morning, I passed a smashed SUV on the Norwood Lateral, then drove around some guy's front bumper laying in the right lane about a mile later.
Someone noted that Cincinnati folk don't know what to do in the rain. I pointed out that in every major city in which I've covered news, people didn't know what to do in the rain. She felt better immediately.
In dumbass news, a local interstate was closed for a bit because someone drove into a construction zone with a trailer too wide...so they had to move EVERY INDIVIDUAL MEDIAN BARRIER so he could pass.
But, today's was much better feeling than previous ones. I can't say I shot it any better or worse, but I can say that Lightsphere Chinese knock-off I bought was worth it. The ceilings were painted brown.
So bounce flash was right out. The Chightsphere (as I'll call it) did a nice job of lighting at close range while not blowing out the background or the subjects.
I also shot just over 350 photos, mainly in posed shots, though I did get a nice seven-shot sequence of the first kiss when the bride kissed the groom so hard and fast that his hat fell off.
Downside, the groom apparently forgot that he needed to pay me tonight, so I'll be watching the mail for the check.
The video guy was from Toledo (I can't imagine driving the length of Ohio to shoot a wedding) and we talked shop a good bit.
Oh, and the heat. OMG, the heat. It was 90 with come-and-go clouds. Fortunately, the clouds came more often than went, so it was marginally bearable. Even so, I sweated through my dress shirt three times in four hours.
I still had a rather high percentage of not-particularly sharp photos, and that's bugging me. Is it my lenses? The camera? Something I'm doing wrong? Grrrr...
Oh well. If I ever get another wedding to shoot, we shall see. Zippy 9:36 PM
It's bad enough to not know who you are. It's equally bad to not know who you want to be.
Combine the two, and you start seriously considering upping your meds.
I'm trying very hard not to accept this, but my mind keeps coming back to it: I feel dead inside.
Everywhere I turn, I feel lost. I think about taking pictures, but don't want to. I'm out shooting weddings and events, and I'm finding I hate doing it.
I see books and think "I should read that". And then I don't.
I should play with Xander more. But I don't.
I desperately crave Squeaky's love and affection, but I don't know how to get it when I don't feel any love for myself.
I spend night after night sitting in this chair, surfing most of the same Web sites every night, until it's finally time to go to bed.
I should go for walks when Xander's in bed. I said I would do it earlier this year. I did it for about a week.
I go grocery shopping and bring no meals home. Nothing sounds good.
I go to bed and my mind won't stop talking to itself, so I stay awake for up to an hour, wishing it would just shut up.
I mentioned all this to my doctor this week, who pointed out that I have three options:
1. Up the dose on my current anti-depressant: Considering that this dose has pretty much eliminated my sex drive (and don't get me started on how THAT makes me feel), I'd just as soon not. 2. Add another medicine. I already dislike taking one pill, so two won't sound all that great. And what wonderful side effects do I get to add then? 3. Dump my current drug and try something new: See, I have issues with the whole trial-and-error thing when it comes to my mental state (yes, I know it's the only way to know what works and what doesn't).
Or, I can just keep on keepin' on, as it were. Which is where I am now. Fun!
But what if these drugs are what's keeping me from being happy, feeling alive? Do I take the chance that I can control the dark side of my soul without them? If it were just me, maybe I would. But it's not just me.
"Do what makes you happy," they say.
I thought I was. But if I'm not, what do I do then? Zippy 8:37 PM
I find comfort in the fact that same "lost blog" crap that happened to me here happened to Postsecret on Sunday.
But then, he didn't have archives to lose like I did.
Spent the afternoon killing flies. Seriously, the hell? Are they those damn T-1000 liquid metal flies that go through screens? I closed one window and trapped FIVE of the damn things, then hunted down five more (with help from "Here it is, but I'm not going to kill it" cat and "Gimme paddle" (flyswatter) Xander).
Oh well. Needed to start the AC again anyway, as it's going back up to the mid-80s. Saturday, it didn't hit 70. THAT was nice. I want that back soon, please.
Unrelated to any of that, I'm sitting here at midnight, looking at a 4:45am wakeup, and I'm not tired. I've laying in bed for more than an hour, and I simply can'tget my body to go to sleep. I get close, but not there.
Oh well. I have to see the doc this month for refills anyway. Let's add another pill! Zippy 11:58 PM
As an occasionally-professional photographer/videographer over the years, I have a certain affection for light and how it changes a scene.
At the same time, I have a certain disdain for artificial light. More precisely, I hate it.
It comes from my old days as an overnight photographer in Toledo, where shining a big ol' 250-watt light was liable to get you shot at (or have rocks thrown at you). Plus, when you used a light, everything stopped the instant you turned it on. People stopped doing what they were doing to look at you, or turned away. Generally, while making a scene better lit, it also made it less interesting.
So eventually, I didn't even get the light out of the truck.
But even before that, when I was shooting for newspapers, I would much rather push the film speed and get a grainy photo than use a flash, which suddenly would alert everyone "Hey, there's a photographer here."
Let's just say, this thing is so much more advanced than the last flash I owned that there's no comparison. It's wonderful. It's fast. It's accurate. And best of all, it's pretty easy to make it look like natural light, rather than artificial.
Just on a short test, I can say I'm almost looking forward to using flash at my next shoot next week. Zippy 8:05 AM
Apparently, all the cool weather we had in July? We have to pay for it now. This week. Immediately.
It was damn near 80 when I left to catch the bus this morning. Plus, somehow, the 39 bus smelled like my junior high locker room again. There's nobody ON the damn bus when I get on. How?
The trip home is equally fun. The available "shade" at the bus stop, isn't. But at least I haven't had a bus with broken AC like I did last week when it was only in the mid-80s.
Soon, we head off to ol' OIB for vacation, our first, really, since Xander joined us. Plus, since we don't live in S.C. anymore, it's now a 12-14 hour drive, not the 5 hours it was before. Oh well.
I'll have pretty limited Internet access there. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but I'm leaning toward good. I'll still take the laptop, of course, and I know where the (few) free Wi-Fi spots are in the county, but if I never log in, I can't say I'll be terribly upset.
Mind you, the last time I did the trip? I logged in every day via 28.8k dialup to check on the site.
Things change. Or it's the antidepressants. Whichever.
Xander's reaction to the ocean should be entertaining. He likes water. He's never seen bigger than the stream down at the park, though.
I'd love to say that it's been such a thing, but it's not. Work, work, work. Vacation in a couple of weeks. Then more work.
But it's not bad. I shot my first wedding in .... hmmm ... 22 years, and it went well. I've got two more photo shoots lined up, and I'll be resubmitting my Craigslist ad after vacation, so we'll see.
Squeaky got a new laptop, so she officially has the most powerful computer in the house. I'm just happy to have one that won't die if I spill things on it (and I suspect I will, someday)
Xander's quite the handful now. His obsession, currently, is trains. EVERY DAY after daycare, I have to drive him over to the CSX yard about a mile from the house so we can watch the trains. If I get very lucky, they'll be moving cars around, so for 20 minutes, it's non-stop train. He just goes nuts.
After that, fire trucks.
I'm in the middle of an eBay selloff to pay for some of Squeaky's laptop and perhaps part of a new flash for my camera. That's about the only thing I _need_ right now. I'd like a backup camera, a couple of different lenses and perhaps a remote flash trigger. But if I can just get lighting under control, I'll be a lot happier.
I'll see about posting some photos tomorrow. Zippy 8:45 PM
I admit it. I'm totally sucked in by the viral marketing campaign for the new monster movie coming next year on 1-18-08.
The idea of a monster movie told from the perspective of those running away fascinates me. If the new version of War of the Worlds disappointed me in any way, it was that I was hoping for that perspective, but didn't quite get it. I knew too much, as it were.
So I find myself poking around Aintitcool.com, the Wikipedia entry and the film's web site to find out more. I'd hang out at the Slusho.jp Web site (rumored to have something to do with the film, perhaps the monster itself), but frankly, the music grates on my nerves.
I'll be very curious to see what comes out of this. They cast nobodys, essentially, and spent "only" $30 million on the film, and half of that on special effects, supposedly.
I decided to start scanning some of my old photos so I can store them permanently, and it's been fun to look back at my college years.
This is my dorm hallway at Christmas.
Guy beating the train that ran through town. Man. Remember when Conrail still existed? (What? You didn't know CSX bought it years ago?) I waited in the rain huddled under an umbrella for an hour waiting for someone to do this. Hee.
Tonight, on Fox: When Bats Invade Dorm Rooms! (Yes, he's flying right at me in this shot.) Zippy 8:19 PM
Hello, My Name Is Zippy, And I Have A Shopping Problem
If I actually bought things, I'd be a shopaholic. As it is, I just constantly _want_ to buy things, spend lots of time looking at things I'd buy, and an equal amount of time pointing out that I have no use for most of those things.
I wonder if I got this from my mother, who once bought a new car to piss off a salesman that dissed them (they got rid of it a month later). At one point, my parents were averaging 1 or 2 new cars a year. They just got tired of one, traded it for another.
Fortunately, my tastes don't run quite that high. Instead, I think about getting a new cell phone, something that has wireless built in, and Web browsing, and makes french fries. Except I barely use the phone I have now. So why get a more expensive phone that I won't use?
Oh well. At least it keeps me busy, and as long as I don't actually buy things, it's harmless.
Picked up some wire fencing to try to protect the last few leaves on our cherry tree from the rabbits running around. I never had a reason to dislike rabbits before. Now, they are on my list right after yellow jackets. Zippy 2:04 PM