Tally-ho

I slept for another six hours last night from 4am until just after 10am but still awoke feeling exhausted with very little fight in me. I tried to get ahold of my daughter to make plans for the day with no luck. I continued with anything in which I could find inspiration. On this day it involved bleaching and dying my hair and painting my nails. I tried working on a graphic design project but couldn’t stay focused.

Then at one this afternoon my daughter appeared on my doorstep without warning. It was a pleasant surprise but one which I wish I was given time to prepare. Perhaps anticipation of her arrival would have fulled my spirit. Instead I was left struggling to even make conversation and feeling disappointed that I was letting her down. Eventually I was left with no option but to bring her home.

With the thought that perhaps my diet has affected my energy level I prepared a healthy salad. Soon I will be on my bike heading downtown. I’m looking forward to driving pedicab although my body is scoffing me. It is with faith that I carry on in the face of doubt and ridicule.

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Life in the slow lane

I’m still amazed at how exhausting this domestic life can be. Yesterday, I woke up and drove my daughter to her appointment. Then we went to visit her grandparents in St. Paul for a couple hours. I made a quick trip to Batteries Plus to get a bigger battery for my pedicab gig, then a trip to EMI to rent some lights for the benefit show on Saturday. After that I was done in and took a nap. When I woke up I made dinner for my daughter, we watched an episode of Doctor Who and was all I could do. It doesn’t matter how much I enjoy doing this stuff, it just saps my energy in ways that biking and performing don’t. I wanted to do some more writing last night but I didn’t have it in me. Instead, I slept for twelve hours; the whole time dreaming of hauling people around on my pedicab and performing with Venus de Mars & All The Pretty Horses.

Keep buggering on

It had to end sometime. I knew I couldn’t keep going like that forever, although I certainly tried. One day I was going to wind up dropping. One day I would have to accept that I live with chronic illness. One day is was all going to come to a screeching halt.

That day was yesterday. After sleeping twelve hours I was awakened by a phone call from my bff. Even though I had gotten twice as much sleep as I usually requires, I still couldn’t move. Every inch of my body was in pain. My brain felt scrambled and I couldn’t focus on anything. Even my vision was blurry. I struggled to muster the strength to make it downstairs to the bathroom only to find that I had exhausted all my energy and crawled back to bed. I spend the entire day in bed only moving to use the bathroom or get food. Chewing seemed like an arduous task.

It’s been awhile since I have had a day like that but there was a time when it was my reality more often than not. It has been a long road to get here from the time I first got sick with chronic fatigue syndrome but it never really goes away. It is still common for me to have a day or two a week that are like that. The biggest change is in what I can do when I am able to move.

Last Wednesday should have done me in. I’m pretty sure that if I had gone home after delivering CityPages, it would have.  Instead, I went to the Bad Waitress for dinner and then to the bar. My bff met me there and I crashed on her couch. We had brought a friend back to her place with us because he was concerned about going home to his boyfriend. It sounded like he was in a pretty abusive relationship and his boyfriend had a gun – not a good combination. He had threatened him with the gun in the past. The three of us stayed up talking into the wee hours of the morning. The plan was for the boy to spend the night but I don’t even remember falling asleep. All I know is that when I woke up he was gone. We did get a txt from him later to let us know he was okay.

My bff had the day off on Thursday but she still got up with me so we could have coffee together. After a leisurely cup of coffee with my best friend I was off and running… and running late. I had to stop by another best friend’s place to drop off some newspapers to help in her packing. She was moving this month.

I really hope that I can do more to help but that may not happen. The important thing is not what we have to give, but that we give what we have. If we all pull together and do that, things will be okay.

Then next stop was picking up my daughter from school. I was twenty minutes late picking her up. Half of that was me running late, the other half was the weather. I was not alone in being late picking up my kid. There were lots of kids waiting to be picked up. We were under blizzard conditions and the roads were treacherous. I was really excited to take my daughter to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for their Third Thursday event. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that would be wise considering the weather. It was hard enough driving during daylight. I didn’t trust myself to be able to get her home after dark. I hate driving at night even under perfect conditions.

Instead, I just dropped her off at her mother’s and headed home. By the time I got home, I had just enough time to shovel my sidewalk (it was already covered with snow by the time I left again), take a piss, rub one out quick, take a shower and get dressed before hopping on the bus. There was no way I was driving anymore and biking seems totally out of the question but I still needed to get to the MIA. I was running on pure adrenaline.

The reason why getting to the MIA was so important to me was because Lisa Germano was playing. She is the woman who borrowed my synth for South by Southwest and I was really looking forward to meeting her. As it turned out, she cancelled the gig. I guess she canceled the whole tour. I don’t know why. Her website has no explanation but these things happen. Kaiser Cartel also canceled and there is no info on their website either.

Oh well. My friend, Savannah Smith filled in at the last minute, so it was good to see her. My bff went with me and another friend who I hadn’t seen in a while joined us as well. Back when we were all single we used to be kind of three peas in a pod. It was good to have that gang back together.

Still, I was struggling. The weather was really wearing me down. As it turned out, it was probably better that my daughter was not there as I was exhausted by the barriers that were being placed before me.

Don’t I have it hard enough?

I keep going because I am afraid to stop. I know when I stop it is really hard to get going again. I feel like I am running while leaning forward. The only thing that keeps me from falling on my face is that I keep moving. I am constantly falling yet constantly moving. Just like the earth is falling into the sun but keeps missing it. It’s physics.

I keep hoping that it will get easier. I keep hoping that Spring will come. I see signs of hope. I see the snow melt. I feel relief is in sight but it never comes. I just have to keep buggering on.

While at the MIA I was asked how I keep my spirits up. I just raised the beer in my hand and shrugged my shoulders.

The truth is that alcohol is a major part of what keeps me going – that and friends, but in my life, the two are pretty intertwined. Music, writing and biking also keep me going but they don’t mean shit without people.

So I decided I would kidnap my two friends and drag them to my work party. It’s not really what you think of when you think, “work party”. I work for CityPages and they throw some of the best parties in town. This one was a roaring 20’s / bootlegger / flapper themed party. Check out some of these pictures from my friend Erik Hess. None of us were appropriately dressed but that didn’t matter. When I walked in I was told that I was dressed in the wrong decade. I responded that I am every decade. Okay, I was dressed in leopard print pants and probably looked straight out of the ’80 glam metal era but so fucking what.

Since I kidnapped them I figured I should pay for the cab. Apparently all of us had money that night because we were all fighting to pay for each other. I’m telling you, if you want to stimulate the economy; give money to poor people. We will spend it! I was fully prepared to spend the $100 I left the house with. Mostly, I just knew that it would be a challenging night and I didn’t want money to stand in the way of me getting home safe. I have no problem spending money on cabs.

As it turned out we didn’t need to take a cab back. Our friend’s girlfriend came and joined us later in the evening. It was great to have a sober ride home. Well, not home, but to the 19 bar. We were too sober to head home but plenty drunk enough to get into a snowball fight – in the car! You kind of had to be there but feel free to use your imagination. I’m not a good enough writer to do it justice.

After the 19 my bff and I headed back to her place with one of her co-workers. On the walk, we had to stop and make snow angels. It’s kind of a winter tradition for us but our first attempt this year didn’t work out so well. I never thought that we would be fulfilling this mission in April.

Snow Angel in April

I love the imprint of my studded belt.

 

The co-worker only stuck around for a little while waiting for her bus. My bff and I stayed up until at least four in the morning. It was a pretty intense night after a pretty intense day. We talked about the death of her best friend and about the significance of our friendship.

I say it all the time but I don’t know if I have ever written it down: this is the best friendship I have ever had – and I have some of the most amazing friendships a person could ever dream of. This woman is just so special to me that I never feel like I have adequate words to describe our relationship. It’s like no other relationship I have ever had. It’s like no other relationship I have ever heard of. It’s like the best parts of family combined with the best parts of friendship combined with the best parts of romance – except without the sex. That is not to say that we don’t have our problems. Our relationship may include some of the worst parts as well. All I can say is that it is amazing, unbelievable and completely unique.

We shared tears that night. We felt incredibly close and vulnerable. I asked if I could sleep in her bed with her. I like to snuggle. She doesn’t usually like this. She likes her freedom to move around. Also, I sometimes grab her boobs in my sleep. I can see how that might make her uncomfortable. On this night however, she was happy to have someone to sleep with.

It was hard enough for my friend to get up Friday morning. I wasn’t as much help as I could have been but I’m sure me being in her bed helped. As it was she was running late for work. I was figuring I wouldn’t be working at all. It still looked like fucking winter outside. In Minnesota, people drive pedicab all year round but even I think that is stupid. I called the pedicab company in hopes that they would tell me that there was no point in coming in. That is not what happened.

They said, “It’s Friday night, there is a big Styx, REO Speedwagon & Ted Nugent show in town and the streets have been cleared.”

Okay, I thought. I’m new at this and they know better than I. If they want me, I’m going to be there. Plus, I know that if I want to keep going I need to stay consistent.  Even if I have a bad night I need to keep buggering on.

I got up, did a load of dishes, went to the store to get cat litter and Drano, came back and changed the cat box, cleared the drain in the bathroom sink and did another load of dishes. Then I hopped on the bus to go home. I still needed to take a shower, shave and wash my blanket for the pedicab. I don’t remember but I’m pretty sure I took time to jack-off as well. As crazy as my life was feeling, I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to the folks on lockdown in Boston.

Friday was a pretty shitty night; at least it started out that way. I didn’t get a single ride off the big concert at the Target Center. I started working at 8pm but I didn’t start getting rides until after midnight. It still turned out alright. Gay men and drunks are my bread and butter and they totally saved my ass. I know my people.

Saturday was a nicer day so I figured I would go in even earlier. I also wanted to make sure my pedicab was in top working form. It seemed to be but I still was having problems, I presume do to the weather. It was still too fucking cold. Anyway, Saturday was a fun night. Technically, the best night I have had to date. It was also the most exhausting. By the time I was done at 3am, I was beat, and it was snowing. I sent my bff a message to see if I could crash at her place. She lives much closer to the garage than I do and I didn’t think I could make it home. Even if I could, the bike ride in the snow would have been hell.

Sunday morning I woke up on my bff’s couch once again. She wouldn’t have to get up for another few hours but I needed coffee. I also needed a smoke and nobody likes smelling cigarette smoke while they are sleeping. I gathered my things and headed out the door. I still had no real plan.

In the entryway to her apartment building, sitting on top of the mailboxes were a pair of Roland MA-8’s. “Holy shit!”, I thought. These would be perfect for making music on my laptop. I couldn’t believe that someone would just be giving them away. I figured someone in the process of carrying things in and had just set them down. I went outside and had a smoke on the steps while I contemplated what to do. After 10 minutes, no one had come back for the speakers so I figured they were mine. Wow, sometimes the universe is so awesome!

I had been tempted to just head home but after that I figured I should just keep buggering on and see where this day takes me. I love Sundays and I love drinking with people who drink on Sundays. I’m not saying that it was the brightest decision in the world but you are free to judge for yourself.

Here is what happened:

  • CC Club for breakfast – coffee, 2 screwdrivers and a veggie omelet.
  • Conversation on the patio with a conservative about the smoking  ban. We actually agreed on somethings.
  • Two beer.
  • Played darts with a friend and his buddy. They were celebrating my friend getting fired. I won at darts.
  • Started my bike ride home stopping off at the Saloon, a gay bar downtown.
  • $3 gin and tonics. Gay bar strong. Must have had 3. I was pretty drunk.
  • Sat down with a pretty 22 year old college student who didn’t look like she should be drinking alone. This was true. Even her friend who was txting her hoped that she wasn’t drinking alone. She took a liking to me. Started making out with me at the bar. I’m not one to complain about a hot college co-ed wanting to makeout with me but this was a gay bar and I do have a reputation to maintain.
  • I literally poured her into a cab. The cab driver insisted that I come with – not really his job to take care of her. I agreed. There was no telling where this would lead. She was all over me – biting me – I like biting. My judgement was a bit off but I would never have sex with someone that drunk. Still, there is a lot of fun that can be had that falls short of sex.
  • I get her to her destination and the cab takes off. The woman also makes it clear that she is done for the night. Luckily, I took that cab drivers number. He comes back and returns me to the Saloon where my bike is locked up.
  • From there I head to my friend Doug Anderson’s new bar for a drink. It’s called the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge. I hadn’t been there yet and I wanted to check it out. Call it reconnaissance, not just for the band but as a pedicab driver as well. It’s a great space and the bartender was awesome. Unfortunately, we were the only two people there the entire time. I sincerely hope that he does better on the weekends. I’m sure he does.
  • It’s still early so I thought I would hit Bunker’s and catch one of my favorite bands, Dr. Mambo’s Combo. I pulled up to the door on my bike and the bouncer told me to keep moving. Okay, I thought. I’m pretty drunk, maybe I should just go home. I got about a block away and realized that he did not have enough interaction with me to make that assessment. He had no idea who I was, so I headed back to talk to him. This was not cool. His mind was made up. He didn’t care who I was. He was being a prick and he was sticking to it. Fair enough.
  • Next attempt was BJ’s, a strip club. They had me pegged as someone to not let in off of their surveillance cameras. Seriously, they judged me solely on the fact that I was riding a bike and had an overstuffed backpack.  I even had a nice conversation with the bouncer but there was nothing he could do.
  • At this point I was determined to get another drink. I stopped in at Halak’s. No bouncer, no security camera, no problem. I had a beer there and then headed out for a smoke. I decided that it was time to move on but headed back in to hand the bartender another $5 for not judging me. He said I was no problem and was welcome there anytime. This is why I love dive bars!
  • The queen of all dive bars is the T-shop in my neighborhood. I don’t go there very often because they are usually closed by the time I get home. They are a beer-only bar and usually close by midnight. This night I was getting home well before midnight. I really do love this bar. I love Debbie the bartender. Also sitting at the bar was another famous musician in town. He’s the lead singer in a Tom Petty cover band.  We are both talented musicians and songwriters who make our way in the world playing other people’s music. We had a great conversation about that.

Judge me however you want but there was a movie in that night. Maybe I should have just gone home and had my day of doing nothing on Sunday but I wouldn’t have missed that day for anything. Sure, maybe I would have been able to move on Monday if I had, but Monday would never have been as exciting as that.

There is a saying, “Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” Fuck, I don’t give a shit if anyone walks in my shoes. Judge me all you want. I just hope that you will take the time to walk a mile in your own shoes. Most people don’t even do that!

A week in a day

Taking a couple of days off last weekend totally screwed up my daily post schedule. It’s also been a hard week for me to get anything done besides writing. I don’t know if that’s because I had a big weekend but I doubt it. Weeks like this happen regardless of what I do. It’s just the natural ebb and flow of chronic illness. It would have helped if I had kept up on taking Vitamin D every day but that got neglected in all the chaos.

Here’s a synopsis of my week to the best of my recollection:

Monday (25 Feb 2013)

I woke up at 11 am but was moving pretty slow. I had gotten 8 hours of sleep, which is two more than I usually get, but I had no motivation and an achy body. I had nothing to be excited about until I saw a text message from one of my best friends. She was also lacking motivation but needed to spend some time promoting her new business. Sometimes it’s easier to find motivation for someone else’s project than your own.

We spent several hours that afternoon putting up flyers. I was mostly there just for support but sometimes that’s all it takes. At least it got me out of the house. Without that, I have a feeling I would have laid in bed all day.

I was still beat by the time I got home. I received a call from a friend seeing if I would go out with her but I was done. I spent the evening writing and was passed out by midnight.

Tuesday (26 Feb 2013)

Tuesday sucked! After sleeping 10 hours it still took everything I had to get out of bed. I guess there was a high pollution count in the air. That may have made things worse. Fuck pollution  Not to mention, I had run out of coffee. How the hell did I let that happen? Oh yeah, sucky week so far.

The only thing I had to do was pick my daughter up from school at 3 pm. I did manage to do that but she was also having a really bad day. She just wanted me to take her back to he mother’s. I’m still glad I got to see her, even if only for a little bit.

In a way, I was relieved. This way I could just go home and get some more writing done. I stopped on the way to get tobacco and coffee, two things I neglected to pick up while out the day before. I also got some food for dinner since I hadn’t eaten all day.

At 8:15 pm I got a txt from a friend asking if she could call me. I had called her a couple of times over the past week or so and she was feeling bad about not getting back to me. I sent her a message back saying, “Call me. I’m just sitting at home writing.” [Actually I put two t’s in writing. I make that mistake a lot.]

We talked for a good hour but then I needed to get back to work. I finally got my post published just after midnight and headed to bed. There I got sucked into watching House of Cards on Netflix and didn’t actually fall asleep until 3 am.

Wednesday (27 Feb 2013)

Wednesday was my job day. I woke up a little later than I normal but not so late that I couldn’t get my route done in time. It just meant that I would run into a little more rush hour traffic at the end of the day but I skipped the morning rush hour traffic. Now that it is not getting dark so early I think it’s totally worth working later in the day.

I was still done by 4 pm or so. I called my friend to see if she would come in early for her restaurant job and hang out with me before punching in. I also called a mutual friend to join us. Good thing I did because friend #1 didn’t show up until it was time for her clock in. I would have been fine on my own. It’s just hard to see all the people I want to so sometimes I double book. I’m glad when I get to see at least one of them.

I ordered half a sandwich, soup and a beer. Shortly after, my friend showed up. I had not seen her since she got back from Florida so I was really eager to catch up. The whole time we were talking, I was eating and drinking my beer and she was just drinking the water I brought her. I was wondering why she wasn’t ordering anything. Was she not hungry? Was she not drinking? I didn’t want to pry but I was perplexed.

Then, through the course of our conversation, it became clear that she was not ordering anything because she couldn’t afford to order anything. I felt horrible. I could have at least offered her some of my soup or sandwich. In any case it would have been the polite thing to do.

Instead, I was selfish. I was treating myself after getting paid to a meal at a restaurant. It was the only real meal I would eat that day and I didn’t want to share. I was afraid to share. After six months of barely making it, I was afraid to be in that position again. I felt like I was splurging as it was and I didn’t have anything to spare.

But I did. I had money in my pocket. I could have at least bought her a beer. Instead I was a selfish dick. As bad as my financial situation was, her’s was worse. I made it through these past few months only because of the generosity of friends. Here was an opportunity for me give back and I blew it. There were other ways I could have helped that night but I kept over-thinking the situation, giving in to fear and not following my heart. Let me tell you, not honoring your core values feels really shitty.

I must have gotten home about 8 pm. I still wanted to get some writing done but I felt so far behind on my daily updates that I didn’t know where to start. Instead I decided to write my About page. I figured it was about time I had one of those.

Thursday (28 Feb 2013)

Getting out of bed on this particular morning was the worst it had been all week. For two hours I struggled. I would begin to get out of bed, roll half-way over and become too exhausted to continue. I would rest for another 10 – 15 minutes and try it again. I kept trying to entice myself with thoughts of coffee but in the end I just had to get all drill sergeant on my ass by tapping into my anger and frustration. I believe that chronic fatigue syndrome is primarily a condition of the brain but the brain is a pretty power piece of machinery.

About the only thing I accomplished during the day was writing my daily post which had nothing to do with my daily activities anyway. I did manage to get a shower in for the first this week but as a result I was running late to pick up my daughter from school.

When I got out to my van I discovered that my battery was completely dead. Some idiot had left the dome light on overnight. Okay, that idiot was me. Still, I was in a panic. A man a the end of the block was sitting in his car waiting to pick his daughter up from the bus. I asked him if he could give me a jump. I explained the urgency of my situation and he agreed to help. Unfortunately my jumper cables didn’t work for shit. We gave up and I realized I needed to get a hold of my daughter. It was ten to three and she would be out of class at 3 pm.

I didn’t even have the school’s phone number. My daughter’s phone has been lost in her apartment for over a month. I had no way to get a hold of her. I had to call her mother who started spewing so much information at me I could barely keep up and it just made me more frustrated as it got closer and closer to the time my daughter would be getting out of school. There was a time crunch here.

Anyway, I figured out what I needed to do. After some research online and a number of phone calls I finally got through to someone who could get a message to my daughter. She could go home with a friend and everything would be okay.

I still had to get my van running though. Normally I would just call AAA and someone would come give me a jump but I have already used up all my service calls until April. Yeah, I get my monies worth but now I was on my own. I couldn’t afford to call a service station to come give me a jump. I didn’t even know which of my friends to call so I turned to Facebook. Within 10 minutes I had two people offering to give me a jump. These were not even close friends, just people who knew of me and were able to help. It really made me feel like I was part of a community. I am so grateful for that!

Now with my van running I was just waiting to hear from my daughter so that I could go pick her up. I waited and waited. I sent a text message to her mother stating what I had done and that I hadn’t heard anything. I called the apartment but there was no answer. These are the moments a parent dreads, but I knew that they usually turn out just fine so I tried to remain calm. At 6:51 I called again and got my daughter on the phone. Her mother had picked her up. Relieved, I asked if she wanted me to come pick her up or if she wanted to stay there and I would see her the next day. She informed me that she had a doctor appointment in the morning so we decided I would pick her up after that and she could spend the night Friday.

I need to get this girl another cell phone. I can’t go through another day like that.

Friday (1 Mar 2013 – today)

I woke up today feeling pretty normal. I was excited to see my daughter. I was excited to get my life back on track. I made coffee, took my Vitamin D and got to work writing. I had a week’s worth of daily updates to write. Monday and Tuesday were pretty easy. I don’t know if you’ve notices but each day get’s progressively longer. I don’t know if that is because the passage of time gives me clarity or because I just fucking forget shit.

It’s now after one in the morning and I really need to get this done before I go to bed. I’m helping a friend move in the morning so I don’t want to spend all night doing this. Let’s see if I can be brief. This is already my longer post I’ve ever written.

At 10:09 am, as I’m exiting the freeway, I get a call from my ex-wife saying that my daughter is done with her appointment. I told her I was 2 minutes away and would pick her up at the main door of the hospital. When I got there my ex told me that she was going to miss her bus to class and asked if I could drive her to the bus stop. I love my ex-wife, as I love all people, but I really can’t stand being around her. Still, I know that if I can help someone I need to help them so I drove her to her class.

The next thing that needed to happen was to get my daughter a cell phone. We drove to World of Wireless. I’ve had some good experiences with them before but I think they are now way over-priced. A new place opened two doors down that is cheaper but my daughter and I both though we could do better.

We headed back to my house to check Craigslist and eBay. We had some fun bidding on eBay but didn’t win. Then it was time to run off for her chiropractic appointment.

When we returned I checked the mail and found my State tax refund check. We went back to eBay and bought a brand new phone, the same kind she lost, for $75.

We talked, had a snack, played a game, made dinner, watched TED Talks and a movie and whenever she was distracted with her own activities I would try to get some more writing done. That didn’t really work. Even when she is doing her own thing she could still manage to interrupt what I was doing. As well she should. I don’t see her that much and she loves her dad and she is absolutely my priority. We just need to work out some boundaries and mutual respect. She has a blog that she is working on as well. We will work it out in our own way. I just don’t think she has much experience with these things. So I sent her to bed at midnight and now I think I’m done.

In the news this week…

Minnesota introduced a bill that would remove the prohibition on same-sex marriage. After defeating an attempt to change the constitution to legalize this kind of discrimination I believe now is the time to end it once and for all.

Chuck Hagal was confirmed as Secretary of Defense. I think this is a very good thing too. Even though he is a Republican, I believe he is a man of principles and integrity.  That means more to me than whether we agree or not on all the issues. Unfortunately the congressional Republicans don’t see life that way…

…and so we have enter into sequestration.

 

 

Nights like these

After a very relaxing soak in the hot tub, my muscles finally released from two long days spent crammed into a sedan, I smoked a cigarette, finished my beer and was ready for bed. I slipped into my skull and cross-bone footie pajamas and took my place on the couch. Jules checked in with me to make sure I had everything I needed. I told her that one advantage to having CFS, perhaps the only advantage, is that I have no problem sleeping. It is true, at least for me, at least now. I know many people with CFS also suffer from insomnia and I did in the beginning but now I live everyday to the fullest, push myself to the limit and sleep like a baby.

Last night began no different. Jazz was on the blowup mattress beside me. I asked him what time it was to which he replied, “11:50”. It has now occurred to me that he didn’t take into account the time zone change and that it was actually 10:50 pm but in any case I closed my eyes and was sawing logs by eleven.

Now it was my turn for disrupted sleep. The night before Jazz spent much of the night in agony after eating some bad jalapeno peppers; Venus was tossing and turning all night worrying about her audit. Last night I got a taste of both.

Usually I can get a good six hours of sleep before my bladder sounds the alarm. Last night I only made it til 1 am. I woke up, checked my phone and stumbled to the bathroom. At least Jazz was sound asleep. I returned to the couch and laid down. It took me a little longer to fall asleep this time, but maybe only half an hour, although my head was starting to fill with the thoughts of the day before.

At 2:30 am I awoke again. My stomach gurgling, my intestines in knots and a pressure building upon my sphincter with the force of Niagara Falls. Perhaps it was just a fart but not wanting to take the chance nor risk poisoning my drummer I ran once again to the bathroom. I will spare you the details but let’s just say I made camp on that toilet for the next 20 minutes eliminating the toxins that had built up in my bowels.

I laid back down but quickly realized that I would not be falling asleep anytime soon. I figured I might as well go have a smoke and work through the thoughts in my head. I’ve been really troubled by what Venus is going through with the IRS. It seems like they are asserting that the life of an artist is not a worthy profession, that it’s not a legitimate way of life. This scares the hell out of me as I imagine it does many independent artists. After 14 solid years of battling CFS I know that the only thing I can do is be an artist and philosopher, and the world needs artists and philosophers. Even if I’m not the best artist or philosopher it is still the only thing I have to offer. Sure, I’m a good father, I’m a good friend; but as a career, as a vocation, as a way of live… this is all I have left. So why do I feel guilty? Whose voice is in my head because it sure isn’t mine.

Jazz made a comment last night suggesting that the IRS is coming after Venus because they believe she is trying to write off her vacations as a business expense. “Really?!?” I thought. People consider this a vacation? As insane as this supposition sounds to me, I understand where it is coming from. We do enjoy what we do. But isn’t that suppose to be the goal. Aren’t you suppose to do what you love? Aren’t you suppose to love what you do? When did enjoying your job become a bad thing? And honestly, this is not a vacation. I can’t even remember the last time I took a fucking vacation. At this point I’m not even sure what a vacation is. Sure, what we do may look like fun from the outside, and we do have fun, but I think a more accurate description of what we have is life fulfillment, at least on a good day. The rest of the time all I can say is that we have sustenance, but that’s enough to keep me going.

At 4 am the yawns find their way to my chest and I fall back to sleep. It’s now 7 am and life is beginning to return to the world. I decide to retire the fight, get up, make coffee and start my day. We have another 6 hours in the car before we reach Scottsdale, AZ. That’s where we get to do what we came to do. Tonight however, Venus has a solo show which means that Jazz and I get to kick back and enjoy ourselves. Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more winks during the drive because I do plan on having fun tonight; as much fun as I can muster.

Leaving Albuquerque

Leaving Albuquerque

Blursday

I seriously don’t know why I ever plan anything for Thursdays. I always think, “Oh, I’ll be fine. I can do that.” Nope, not likely. Wednesdays tend to wipe me out and I need a day to recover. I need a day to be extremely unreliable. So all in all I feel pretty damn good about what I did manage to do yesterday.

Hell, I wrote 1,500+ words. Don’t know the last time I’ve done that. I’ve been wanting to for quite some time. I spend a lot of time thinking so it’s about time I started writing down those thoughts in my head. And that is something I really need to do. Get thoughts out of my head. I also need to write down what I do everyday because I just can’t remember this shit. I can’t tell you what I did last week. I mean maybe I could if I though really long and hard but my past starts to get really fuzzy really fast. Most of it I don’t miss but it can get frustrating. If I can manage to take an hour out of each day to document my life I can see this being of great benefit to me. If I share it, who knows, maybe it can even be of benefit to someone else. At the very least it will hold me accountable and I want to live my life with honesty and integrity.

So as this blog is starting to take form what I see it being is a fairly comprehensive documentation of my life, the highs and the lows, the trials and tribulations, from the mundane to the magnificent. And then shared with the world in the present day, not as a memoir of the past but as it happens. I don’t know if that has been done before. I don’t know if anyone will find it interesting but I think it has the potential to be. This is my art. This is my experiment. What it becomes is yet to be known. Of course I have to make sure that I have the time to do the living part or I won’t have much to write about. Yesterday’s post took nearly four hours to write. I guess one of my fears is that becoming a blog writer will turn me into a boring person. Oh well, sometimes I am kind of boring.

After yesterday’s writing session I ran off to meet my friend and pick up the chowder she made for me. I didn’t even take a shower. I just threw on the clothes I was wearing the day before and ran out the door. I didn’t have that far to go but I drove anyway. In part because of time constraints but mostly because it was too damn cold out and even I won’t bike under certain conditions.

My friend was getting some work done by Miss Kitty at Live Fast Die Young Tattoos in NE Minneapolis. For someone who doesn’t have any tattoos I sure do love them. And there is something really magical about a tattoo shop. It was a fun time. I enjoy watching people get tattooed and my friend is one hell of a story teller and she had some good ones to share yesterday. BTW, I’m just referring to her as “my friend” because I haven’t decided whether to use people’s names in this blog. I may find that I have to. It may get too confusing or become too awkward not to but in the meantime I will try to protect my friend’s anonymity. It may turn out that people will just need to accept that if they interact with me parts of their life will be publicized.

After that I ran to the tobacco store then home to eat the chowder before my daughter got there. Fantastic chowder by the way! Really hearty, creamy and rich. Other than a few peanuts, that wound up being the only thing I ate yesterday.

My daughter was dropped off by her mother around six. Usually I would have picked her up but she had an after-school class so plans got a bit screwed up. I was actually quite grateful for this. I certainly could use the time and I did not want to go back out in the cold.

I had a wonderful evening with my daughter. We played two games of chess. I haven’t played in a long time but my 14 year old daughter is just learning. She is a remarkably brilliant kid but I still managed to beat her both games. We’ll see how long that lasts. I don’t believe in letting kids win but I did let her know what my strategy was and helped her not make suicidal moves.

After that we watched Rango. I do love me some Johnny Depp and chameleons are bad-ass! After that my daughter went to bed and I returned to my room to watch The Daily Show. I wanted to go have one more cigarette but was simply too tired to move and I faded off into dream land… well almost. I did get a phone-call at 12:54am that woke me up briefly after which I turned off my ringer and was out.

I have much to do today including much that I had hoped to do yesterday. So here we go…

Get Real

Okay. This is where this blog takes form. It would be really fucking boring if I only wrote about my good days. Yesterday was awesome. Well, it was up until my last post which I wrote at the Bad Waitress, a cafe restaurant where my best friend works. They have wi-fi, really good food and beer. I expect many posts will be written from there. Oh, and when I checked in there I became mayor on Foursquare! So yeah, really good day up until that point. My BFF even bought me a beer so totally fucking kick ass!

Except it’s Minneapolis and fucking cold as hell and nothing stays kick-ass for long. My BFF got off work while I was there so I offered to drive her home. I don’t drive often and love to help out a friend when I can. Did I mention it was fucking cold as hell out? Driving is no big deal, right? If you keep reading this blog you will learn about my philosophy on helping and how I think it’s easy and makes the world a better place and that if you are a selfish mother fucker like me you should do it every chance you get.

Turns out my BFF needs cat food too. She doesn’t drive so we have a great opportunity for her to make use of my generosity and have me drive out to Chuck and Don’s in St. Louis Park. All went well for a total of about 10 blocks. Then we ran into a power outage. Not my van. It is thankfully running just fine. No, the goddamn city was in the black. I really have no idea what caused it. I’m sure I will find out. I figure it has something to do with the weather. It dropped 800 degrees in one day. But yeah, a huge swath of the city was without power. No street lights, no stop lights, backed up traffic and no power at the pet store. We spent an hour driving in the dark to accomplish nothing.

Well, once we got back to civilization we did stop by the liquor store and my BFF stocked up on beer so I guess I made some use of the drive. And after all that I figured it would be appropriate to stop in for a quick one. So for the record, this paragraph goes in the good column.

[Got coffee so hopefully I can keep writing]

So now I’m running late for rehearsal. My band leader is always running late so that probably means I’m right on time. Which I am. I get to the studio and Venus is unloading her car. Perfect timing. A good quality in a bass player I say. We get in and get everything set up but still no drummer. We were actually suppose to rehearse the day before but our drummer had apparently got assaulted and slipped on the ice and broke his rib and couldn’t make it. I don’t know exactly what happened. I’m hearing it second hand but I think he should have a blog. Sounds like his life is way more exciting than mine. Anyway, he’s in pain and totally spaced that we are rehearsing. Venus tells him to skip it and we rehearse without him. We are the ones who need it anyway. I don’t understand it. Our drummer always seems to do fine but I suck if I don’t rehearse. Venus sucks without rehearsal. The drummer has just got it but he has other issues. Just saying.

I kind of like rehearsing without a drummer. I wouldn’t say I prefer it. I really prefer having a drummer. Drums are important but there are benefits to not having him there. For starters, I can hear myself. Drums are fucking loud! With a drummer you have to turn up so loud that it’s hard to hear anything. Okay, that is the only benefit. Other that being able to play at a lower volume and hear myself it really sucked not having him there. But rehearsal went fine and we got a kick-ass set put together for our show in Scottsdale, AZ. I guess our studio party on Saturday will be our full band live rehearsal. Damn I’m glad we are professionals. Don’t know how we pull this shit off.

So yesterday was a long day. The kind of day that does me in. The kind of day that doesn’t end. And it didn’t. It kept going. Oh yeah, there is more excitement to come. I left rehearsal wanting nothing more that to get home, have a beer and curl up in my nice warm bed with my kitty cat. Well, that’s not what happened. I get in my van and drive home. I’m listening to Minnesota Public Radio as I often do. I’m a sustaining member. I’m listening to As It Happens and they have a story about this guy, Aiman Youssef of Staton Island, NY who lost everything in Super Storm Sandy. Now he has a tent set up in front of what used to be his house and has spent every day since the storm helping his neighbors. It choked me up. It’s sad, but the best of humanity seems to come out of the worst of situations.

So I’m driving, I’m emotionally engaged, I’m tired and basically on auto-pilot. I pull up to a stop sign before making a left-hand turn not noticing the cop car I just cut off until the lights start flashing in my rear-view mirror. I pull over wondering, “What the fuck did I do?”. And I bet you are wondering, “OMG, how drunk is he?”. Nope, two beers at the restaurant, one at my friends, all many hours ago – I’m sober, just tired and distracted. I take drinking and driving very seriously. I lost an eye that way when I was 21. I consider myself lucky. It’s nothing to fuck around with. I got lucky this time too. The cop just ran my license and let me go after I apologized profusely. I’ve actually had really good experiences with the Minneapolis Police department. Probably helps that I’m a white guy but who knows? Maybe it’s the mini-van with LEFREAK plates.

I get home and it’s time for a beer. Well, a beer and a whiskey. I’ve discovered that I can drink cheap beer if it’s coupled with cheap whiskey. I crawl into bed. It’s been a good day. I watch the Daily Show, make a post on Facebook, comment on a friends post and I’m ready to be done. But no, my friend realizing I’m awake sends me a text, “Can I call u?”. I respond, “No” because I’m a dick like that. Then I called her. We talk from 2am until 4am. I had more beers and more whiskey. I don’t remember everything we talked about but I do remember telling her about how she hurt me years back when we first met. We bonded instantly. I guess it’s one of those things that happens when a real, genuine, honest person meets one of their own. And there was attraction. There was chemistry. To put it bluntly, I wanted to bang her. I wanted to be her friend and I wanted to have sex with her and I even considered being her boyfriend. But that’s not me and she knew it and she moved on leaving me in the dust. Yeah, it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing for her and the time and it was probably the right thing for me but it still hurt. In this life you don’t meet that many people with whom who can really connect on that level and they are not to be taken for granted. But hey, she’s back in my life and all is good. In fact I just got a call from her reminding me that I agreed to meet her and that she has chowder for me. Awesome! I have no food so this is really good.

But my big fuck up of the day was over-sleeping. I left my phone downstairs so I didn’t wake up when Home Service Plus called at 7:44am. They were coming out to fix my washing machine which is leaking and my stove which won’t light. Yup, totally missed that. I’ve been dealing with these problems for a while because I just can’t get my shit together to remedy them. Guess I’m going to be dealing with them a little while longer. It’s all about time. Time fucking fascinates me.

And now it’s time for me to go get me some chowder!

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