Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When it rains, it pours

Ever feel like life is bored with the status quo and feels the need to kick you in the teeth for a while? I sure feel that way right now. Things are just about as hectic as they could be. It's a damn shame too because I just came off a high point of enjoying everything around me and so the pendulum swings in the other direction and life gets difficult. I know things aren't fair. Life isn't fair. What I never understood is why there's not a fair and equitable distribution of the shit. I could handle a little shit ALL the time much more easily than no shit and then a lot of shit all at once.

The last few months have been amazing. We had a phenomenal crew at work and it was tons of fun. One guy moved on to his next location and I can't begrudge him that. He deserved to be paroled for time served. The other one changed shifts, as tends to happen from time to time. Our group of 5 was knocked down to 3, 2 of whom will be changing shifts in just a couple of months it seems. They're still around and still friends, but the interaction all day long will be gone, which is just too bad. So many laughs lost.

One of those dudes is someone I haven't known very long, but he's damn near one of the funniest people I've ever met and we get along great. He joined our little group and hit the ground running. His wife is a terrific friend and his kids are precious. Glad to have him aboard our silliness and fun for sure.

Things with Linda get continually better. We were fortunate to have lots of time together. She does her long weekend trips here about every 5 weeks, but was here for 10 days at the end of March, then a weekend trip in April. And then came the surprise. She had a May trip and as luck would have it, showed up again at the end of May for a long Memorial Day weekend. Then she came back at the very end of June for another 10 days. For 2 people that are halfway across the country from one another, we sure do get to see a lot of each other - not that I'm complaining, of course.

This last trip just took the cake (where we take all these cakes to is unknown to me). While my lovely was in town, one of my best friends in the world, Matt, showed up. I love this guy. I've known him for so many years and we just keep growing closer. He's also my business partner. He and Linda had gotten to interact only on Facebook until this point and he finally got to spend time with us. Having both of them here was more than a guy can reasonably ask for.

And then it happened... the week was over and they both left. I went back to work after some time off, which, we all know, always comes with it's difficulty. But that wasn't the half of it. Everything went to shit. I got a one day reprieve from nonsense on the first Monday back before it all collapsed. I was already not looking forward to it since our work group was forcibly disbanded, but all was well enough anyway. Not so much.

The larger drama in terms of local scale and prolonged influence in my life is all work related... kinda. A co-worker who was a friend at one point or another perceived something. For some reason, people say that perception is reality. That's total horseshit. Perception is perception. Reality is reality. What makes reality? Fact. It has nothing to do with how one individual sees something. In any event, he perceived something. Rather than making a call and finding out, he told someone to tell me and do it in secret without attribution to him as the source. If there are a couple of things I cannot stand, they are being sneaky and an inability to address an issue with someone you claim you like and trust. So I reacted and then it snowballed with sweeping effects throughout the office. In the long run, I couldn't give less of a shit at the outcome, although I'll never respect the execution. That is a hassle day-to-day but is neither here nor there in terms of life plan.

A friend I have had for over 20 years who lives back home is in a rough spot. This is a man I'd step in front of a bus for, if necessary. That, by the way, is not hyperbolic to make you understand the depth of our friendship. I would actually do that for him without giving it a second thought. So he's got a tough gig at home with a job and a move and a huge test and the icing on the ol' crap cake is the impending loss of part of his nuclear family. I can't be there for him the way a friend like that deserves. The person we are prepared to lose has been a part of my life for the same two decades as him. It's a misery all around. I've been distraught over the near future, what my buddy is going through in terms of timing and feeling guilt, against all advice from sane and rational people around me, that I can't be there for him in his time of need. So, I'm going home this weekend. I fly home on Friday evening and back here on Sunday. Just long enough to hold my buddy's hand, say my goodbyes and hopefully get my pal out for a pint so he can exhale for 5 damn minutes.

Three days later, I'm in the car for South Carolina. A military hero, mentor, and friend is retiring after 30 long years of service. He was once the senior enlisted person in my squadron, when I was stationed up there. He has guided and mentored me. He has shaped me into the Non-Commissioned Officer I am today. He has been a good friend, counsel, and even beer buddy. We've been to the Middle East and back together and we're both New Yorkers originally. I don't know where I'd be today without him. Either out of the Air Force prematurely or at some terrible assignment, as he helped me get this job with a recommendation so awesome, I don't know how I ever lived up to it. And four days after I arrive I'm back here.

I get a minor two week break and then I go in for back surgery, which I'm not looking forward to beyond the painkillers and 30 days of getting paid to blog, interact, post, tweet and watch TV. That's not entirely true. According to the doc, I'll come out of this pain free, once and for all. It'll be my 5th surgery, although the first 4 were predicated on a misdiagnosis from the lack of proper tests. But if this fixes me, then so be it. So I guess I'm looking forward to being well, but it's going to be a bitch of a time getting there.

The social side of work falling apart, losing a much respected person in my life, traveling up and back to SC to say goodbye to someone else and then this surgery. It is the confluent odor of shit, shit, shit and more shit all at once. The SC trip will be awesome, but the timing of it sucks and getting there and back with my back in the shape that it's in will not be easy either (I'm driving).

All the while, I'm knuckling down on the last 3 classes for my degree. I have a final the week of the SC  trip and another while I'll still be flying high, Vicodin style. Let's not pretend to forget that as these items all begin to pass and subside, September rolls around, which is always a difficult month for me, for obvious reasons. I have bolstered my support system with new, close people in recent months, but 2012 has severed several people from my life, which I could have used around then.

I'll make it through all of it and come out the other side ok. Like my tattoo says, "Life's challenges only strengthen me." But to use the reference of strength, even when we work out, we don't dead lift 300 pounds at once. We do something that works us, that's hard, but is easily manageable and then make it progressively harder, but only when we're ready for it do we move that pin further down the weight stack. I don't know why I've got to press the whole stack. What would happen if Atlas shrugged? (I know the book is about objectivism and politics. However, I use it here in deference to Ayn Rand, but about the weight of the world on my shoulders).

So, as they say - when it rains, it pours. I hate that. Maybe it's a function of living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during hurricane season. It does the same thing outside right around now.