Between recently and soon

I have another post that I really wanted to get done today but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Today is one of those days where I am struggling to get anything done. I’m just too exhausted to move and sitting makes we fall asleep. It’s a pretty well deserved exhaustion though.

I worked 11 hours driving pedicab on Saturday. I didn’t think that I would actually be working that late because I expected it to rain, but it never did. I wound up throwing in the towel at midnight because I was losing my ability to stay focused. I didn’t feel like it would be safe for me to stay on the road any longer.

Luckily I took Sunday off but rather than resting I biked 25 miles out to Lake Minnetonka. I went with my friend who is a pretty bad ass biker… and drinker. We stopped at several bars on the way back then stayed up until the wee hours drinking in her garage.

I woke up fairly hungover on Monday and really considered taking the day to rest but figured it would be better to push on through. I did and it wound up being a wonderful day.

I didn’t have much going on today except seeing my daughter. That actually got pushed back several hours due to miscommunication so I never got moving today. I’m still not up for doing much moving.

Maybe I can get up early tomorrow and get some creative stuff done but I’m done with today! Today’s purpose was simply to mark the spot between what I have done and what I will do.

I’ve given my notice at City Pages so I don’t know how much longer I will be delivering the paper. It could end any week now but at least I know that I have that to do tomorrow. I’m actually really looking forward to it. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

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Blacked out and lucky

“Sometimes I go to extremes
That’s how I understand what’s in between
Moderation in all things
has got to include moderation it seems”

– Cute Drunk by J Evan LeFreak

I had thought that I lived a pretty wild life but last night really showed me just how tame my life is. That’s probably a good thing. I don’t need to be doing that every day but from time to time it’s a good idea to remind my self just where that limit is.

It all started pretty normal. I had worked 14 hours the day before and didn’t get to bed until 5 in the morning. I woke up around noon with half a dozen txt messages wishing me “Happy Father’s Day”. I responded to them and called my dad to wish him the same. I had hoped that my daughter and I could spend the day at the Stone Arch Art & Music Festival but she wasn’t feeling well so I just drove out to her place and we went for a little walk. I also got to talk to my son who is away at college and spending the summer doing a work study job. He sent me this video.

Done with all my fatherly and son duties it was time for this dad to go play. I hopped on my bike and rode to Grumpy’s. Last summer this was a regular Sunday afternoon activity but not so much this year. I had one beer there before it started to rain and I decided to head to the Knight Cap with has a covered patio. There I met a group of servers who were proceeding to get shit faced wasted after working Father’s day brunch at a nearby restaurant. We became instant friends. I don’t know if it was the pink cowboy hat or the fact that I always answer 24 when someone asks how old I think they are but they really took a liking to me.

After a few drinks at the Knight Cap “G”,”V” & “J” dragged me off to the strip club. It was at this point that I realized I had lost all control over the evening and that I was okay with that. I was concerned about “G” driving because because she seemed pretty drunk but did fine on the way to the strip club. From the strip club to the Saloon is another story. I seriously thought we were going to die.

To make a long story short because I’m running out of time to write and because my memory is a bit foggy from this point on… we did make it to the Saloon alive. I lost track of the crew there and decided to leave. I checked the parking spot and they had left as well. That was fine with me because there was no way I was getting back in that car. The next thing I remember was arriving at Pizza Luce. I don’t remember the walk there so I assume it wasn’t very memorable. I don’t remember if I ordered pizza but I probably did. I know that at this point I had burned through most of the $100 I had when I left the house.  I had just enough money to take a cab home.

I woke up this morning at half past noon feeling a bit hung over and my butt cheek hurting for some reason. My bike is hopefully still locked up outside the Knight Cap. Other than that and the spending too much money, all is good.

What amazes me is that I used to have nights like that all the time. It kind of puts things in perspective. I’m glad that my life has calmed down a bit but I wouldn’t even be aware of that unless I occasionally pushed the limits.

To the limit

I receive a lot of commentary about the way I live my life. Perhaps everybody does. It seems to be in our nature to give advice to others and share our insight about how they could be living their life better. Without a doubt, my life is a struggle and it is my daily goal to find ways to make it work better so I welcome their input even if sometimes I wish that they would focus on their own life; even if there is hardly an issue I haven’t already addressed, I do have blind spots and they can sometimes offer a fresh perspective.

One critique that I seem to get fairly often is that I don’t have healthy boundaries.  Sometimes this comes up when actions I take make another person uncomfortable because I am pushing their boundaries. Hey, that’s what boundaries are for, to indicate when you are reaching the limits of your comfort zone so that you can react BEFORE going into a panic. Boundaries are going to be pushed. But they are are not universal and everyone’s comfort zone is different. Sometimes the critique comes from the belief that I am too open, too free, too trusting and that may be true but open, free and trusting is something that I aspire to be.

The truth is that I do have boundaries, I just have as few as I can get away with. The truth is that I do respect other people’s boundaries but I am probably going to push them from time to time, especially if they have not communicated clearly. Boundaries are products of fear. Respecting them may be an act of love but establishing them comes from fear. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing. Boundaries are like a demilitarized zone that keeps two formerly warring states safe from each other.  Establishing a boundary is like putting up a fence on the approach to a cliff that keeps people from falling to their death. These are good ideas.

My point is that boundaries are different than limits. Limits are real. Limits are not arbitrary and exist whether you establish them or not. Limits are like military conflict or falling off a cliff. To be clear, speed limits, by my definition, are boundaries not limits.

I have always been one to push my life to the limit. I want to see just how far I can take things. I find that the most interesting discoveries are made between the fence and the cliff.  I believe that my life gets better not by creating stronger boundaries but by extending my limits, by pushing myself beyond what is safe and forcing myself to become stronger. How can I feel like I am living life to the fullest if I know that I can do more?

This method of living is not without consequences. This past week has really seen me test my limits. As I am sitting here writing this I am frustrated, irritable, and in a lot of physical pain.  It would be one thing if all this pushing myself to the limit was of my own volition but that is rarely the case. There are always factors beyond my control which contribute to me pushing myself to the breaking point.

A big source of unnecessary stress this week has been dealing with the University of Morris over my son’s financial aid and work study eligibility. My son absolutely qualifies and we did everything that we were suppose to do in applying for the program but his application got “flagged” for further verification.  The verification that they need is information from the IRS about my tax return. I filed my tax return in March but it also got “flagged” for further verification. This has delayed the processing of my return to this date. We can’t get the verification needed from the IRS because they have not processed my return yet. Nothing is going to change regarding my son’s eligibility by this bullshit, unnecessary added verification. The school knows this and believes me but are unable to take me at my word and will only accept the word of the IRS. Personally, I think that I am a lot more trustworthy than the IRS but apparently that doesn’t count for anything these days.

So I’m going to search through my bag of papers to be shredded (good thing I’m not on top of shredding papers) and try to find something from the IRS stating that my return was being delayed. Then I’m going to go rent a lawn mower so that I can mow my lawn because the grass is now too long to do with my push mower. Hopefully I won’t throw my back out. It has been killing me since delivering the big Summer edition of City Pages on Wednesday… well actually since delivering the Best Of edition over a month ago.

Perhaps if I had better boundaries I wouldn’t find myself in this position so ofter. If I created more of a buffer I would be able to better handle these unexpected circumstances. The problem with that is that it would mean cutting out some of the things that I love doing; the things that give my life meaning and purpose. Also, when you have come back from a place where just getting off the couch to go to the bathroom is a struggle, setting artificial limits seems like a step backwards. At least when I hit my limit, I KNOW that I am doing the best I can.

When one door opens, god closes a window

One of the best lessons that I have learned from living with chronic illnesses is that I can’t do everything… at least not all at once. We all have limits. We all have to contend with the limits of the human body. Some bodies may be more capable than other but they all have limits. We can work on increasing those limits but that takes time and effort and takes away from doing other things. All earthlings are restricted to 24 hours in a day. Everyday, each one of us needs to eat, sleep and shit. Some people need more, some need less. Some can accomplish more, some less, but we all have a limit to what we can accomplish. We all have good days and bad days but none of them go one forever and even good days have to come to an end.

I feel like I’ve been having a lot of good days lately. I’m really excited about writing this blog. I’m excited about starting a new job. I really like doing the pedicab thing.  I like having money again. My relationship with my daughter is going very well. I’m so grateful to be spending regular time with her again. I’m relieved that my bff and I were able to work through our conflict from last Friday. Through that experience I learned some important lessons and I believe it made our relationship even stronger. My body is getting stronger too. I’ve been smoking less and drinking less and all those things are good. I’ve been a very busy boy, life is on the upswing and much has been accomplished in the pursuit of my goals and dreams.

But… for all of my accomplishments there are areas where I fall short of my expectations. For every success comes failure. I totally spaced my therapy appointment on Tuesday. I’m not doing yoga which is also something that really helps me. I’m not spending as much time with my friends as I would like. I’m not reading as much as I would like. I haven’t been writing or playing music. I’m way behind on laundry and cleaning. My van needs repairs, as do things around the house, but I haven’t been able to get to them yet. My to-do list keeps getting longer. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get everything done. The reality may be that I can’t. The reality is that I need help. They reality is that I can’t do it alone.

I’ve often heard that I don’t have my priorities right. I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating what that means. To be honest, it has me at quite a loss. Beyond making sure that I am available for my kids when they need me or respond in a crisis, I have no idea how to prioritize.

My only priority is to the present moment. The most important thing in my life is what I am doing right now for it is the only thing I can do. Whatever I can manage to accomplish with this moment that is meaningful, productive, loving or real is the best that I can hope to achieve. If I can make each and every waking moment significant in one way or another I would consider that a pretty amazing life. I can’t say that every moment has gone that way but most of them have. For all the things I may never get to, my tribute is doing all that I do.

Always listen to your bartender

I hadn’t been out on my bicycle in nearly two weeks and I was starting to go stir crazy. Even in the winter, I make bicycle my primary mode of transportation but lately between work, picking up my daughter, helping other people and then snow I’ve had to drive. And it drives me crazy.

Friday was a beautiful day and I was not going to let it go to waste. As soon as I was done writing I hopped on my bike and headed downtown. I went to the bank to deposit my tax refund check. I still want to close that account and open one at a credit union. I was going to use my tax refund to do that but now I need it for other things.

After taking care of my banking I received a text message from my bff. She wanted to know if I was going to Cause Soundbar that night to see Rape Door and Dumpster Juice. I said I wanted to but had a big day on Saturday and thought I should stay closer to home. If I was a normal person, I would totally be there but I have issues and life is hard. Okay, normal people don’t go see bands named RapeDoor and Dumpster Juice but they would be better people if they did. If I did, I would need to crash at my friends place because there would be no way I could make it home on my bike. Still, I didn’t know what was going to happen; my day was in the process of unfolding.

Feeling hungry, I headed to Club Jager for food and happy hour beers. They have great food that’s pretty cheap, wonderful bartenders who take good care of me and a happy hour crowd that is always up for some lively conversations. Plus, it’s centrally located to whatever I might do next. I was still waiting to hear back from a friend who was going through some hard times so I wanted to remain available for him.

After my two beers and a meal of artichoke dip I was ready to figure out what would happen next. My friend had gotten back to me and wasn’t going to be able to meet up. When I’m biking and drinking, I don’t like to stay in one place too long. Moving around helps me from getting too drunk. I had a choice between heading to Northeast Minneapolis for a couple more drinks then heading home or heading south and winding up at Cause where I would be stuck until bar close.

I proposed my dilemma to one of the bartenders. She suggested that I play it safe and stick closer to home. At this point that sounded like a good idea.

Then I got engrossed in a conversation with another bar patron so I ordered needed one more beer. He was having beer and a whiskey. I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea so I ordered a whiskey as well.

When it was time for my conversation companion to leave I took his seat at the bar and started up conversation with my new neighbor. This procedure repeated a couple more times and I had another round of beer and whiskey. By this point I was feeling pretty invincible. I thanked the bartender for her advice but informed her that I was going to head to Cause anyway.

I mean what’s the worst that could happen. I’ve done crazier things and I’ve survived. Yeah, there was that one time when I lost an eye but most of the time nothing bad happens. I have a pretty low bar for success. As long as no one dies, winds up in the hospital or jail – all is good!

Recently someone posted this quote on my wall because it made them think of me.

“I would rather die of passion that of boredom” – Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh may not be the best role model for responsible behavior but I do share his passion for life… and probable some of his mental illness.

By now it was dark out and the temperature had dropped significantly. The ride south was pretty rough. Before I made it to Cause I had to stop and warm up. I popped in at the Leaning Tower of Pizza for a quick beer before continuing the last half mile to Cause. They are only open from 4pm – 2am but I think half time time they are open it’s happy hour. Unfortunately I was there for sad hour. Oh well… I just needed to warm up.

I made it to Cause just before the first band went on. I had a couple of $25 gift certificates for Cause from CityPages so I headed to the bar to see if I could use one of them. The bartender said “sure” but I needed to use a credit card to open a tab. “Fair enough.”, I said and ordered a beer.

By this time the place was filling up and I knew most of the people there. It was a constant barrage of:

“Hey, hows it going?”
“What have you been up to?”
“It’s so great to see you!”
“ I’ve missed you!”
“Can I buy you a beer?”

At this point I was feeling like my Club Jager bartender had no idea what she was talking about. I definitely made the right decision. As I was trying to burn through my gift certificate, people kept buying me drinks. At one point I had three beers in front of me. I had to start giving them away. I completely lost track of what I had ordered or even how much I drank. I knew I needed more food so I ordered a slice of pizza, but to be honest, I don’t recall if I ever got it. I was so “in the moment” I didn’t know what what going on.

Despite what people might think, I don’t go out to have a good time. I’m all for people having fun, but that’s not what motivates me. I’m motivated by a need for survival and a need to make life meaningful. I go out primarily because I need human interaction or I will go crazy but I also go out to make other people’s lives better. You know… to make life suck a little bit less.

Without a doubt I was doing that but to my surprise I was also actually having fun as well. I was enjoying the music and the people and dancing and having a really good time. This majorly depressed person who lives almost solely for other people was, in it’s most pure sense, enjoying life!

Oh yeah, making bad decisions is totally worth it!

Maybe…

The night came to an end and everyone filtered outside. I still needed to take care of my tab so I walked up to the bar with my $25 gift certificate. I presented the piece of paper and asked how much I owed. The bartender seemed irritated and just told me it was twenty-five bucks.

“No, really. How much do I owe you?”

I suppose it’s possible that my tab was exactly $25 but that seemed highly unlikely and her attitude about the situation did not provide me with any confidence that I was getting a straight answer. I wanted to be able to tip her appropriately but that would have taken a level of interaction that I didn’t feel was possible in this situation. I was planning on tipping her at least $10 regardless but all I had were twenties. I would have needed change and I didn’t get the impression that she wanted anything more to do with me. I wish that I had just left a twenty and been done with it, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling judged and rejected so I just left.

I got outside and quickly realized that I was missing my hat; my brand new fancy green & purple sparkly hat that my friend had made for me. I needed to find it. I headed back into the bar to look but was told that I would not be allowed back in. Was it something I did? Was I being belligerent. I usually don’t get out of line when I’m drinking but I guess it’s possible. I had been having a great time, feeling tons of love and now I was being treated with disdain. I was confused, unsure if I had acted inappropriately or if I was simply suffering for the sins of drunks that had come before me. In any case, I wasn’t going to argue. I wasn’t going to make a scene. I knew I was drunk and my band has played this venue on several occasions so I didn’t need to make any more of an impression than I already had. It was time to shut the fuck up.

They were kind enough to let my friend back in to look for my hat. Although she was not able to find it someone else did and brought it out to me. Whoever that was, thank you so very much. It would have been a unbearably cold bike ride without that hat. As it was, the two mile ride was close to intolerable. Temperatures were just above freezing and it had started raining. In my opinion, these are the absolute worst biking conditions. Add to that, drunk and tired and I had good reason for gratitude after making it safely to my friend’s apartment.

I striped off my sopping wet clothes, hung them in the shower and collapsed on the couch. I had made it, I survived; just as I had done so many times before. My friend asked if I wanted a shot of whiskey.

“Sure,” I said. “I’m safe. Nothing bad can happen now, right?”

“Just don’t piss my couch.” she replied.

The smile melted from my face. Oh yeah, that. The most horrifying, embarrassing consequence to pushing myself too far and drinking too much. A reminder of my limits so painful that I have actively blocked it out. But it’s true. I have peed her couch, not once but twice. In fact over the past three years or so I have had two other accidents while sleeping at other people’s houses. It’s never happen at home, only when I’m staying with someone else. I wish that was something that I could keep private. I wish no one else knew about that. I’m not one for keeping secrets about myself but if there was one thing I wish I could keep hidden from everyone, it would be that.

But I can’t keep it a secret because, you see, it happened again. I woke up the next morning and I had wet the bed. I was mortified. I felt defeated, helpless and alone. The only comfort I could take was in knowing that I would survive this. Having been through this before, I knew what I needed to do make things right and that it would not be the end of the world. I knew my friend would still love me and that I could repair any damage I had caused.

I also know that I’m not alone. A quick Google search of adult bed wetting returns over a million results. I know that there solutions but denial is not one of them.

Fetish Revolution – Part 2

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 was the day I had spent the previous three days in anticipating, the day of our full band performance at Fetish Revolution. I woke up feeling relaxed and confident that everything would go well. I also woke up a little drunk from the night before. That didn’t concern me. That I knew I could handle that. I also knew that it would be temporary. I made myself some coffee and got to work on my blog. This was actually the first opportunity on the tour where I had an extended period of time to sit down and really write. Venus and Jazz took off to get food and hit the music store. I stayed back to write.

After the coffee was gone I dipped back into the beer. I think Jazz was a little concerned when he got back to the hotel room and saw me with a beer in my hand. I’m sure I would be concerned if the tables were turned. But I was fine, just a little self-medication to stave off the nerves and keep me focused. I finished my blog, took a shower, shaved, painted my nails, did my make-up, got in costume and packed up my gear. This is all the stuff I do for every show; no big deal.

We arrived to the venue, 910 Live in Tempe, at 5 pm to pickup to the drum set which was being delivered. Big thanks to Patti for helping us out here. We wouldn’t be performing until 10 that night and even sound check wouldn’t happen for a couple more hours. None of this is a complaint. This is just the way it goes. If you really want to know what the rock-n-roll lifestyle is all about; it’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait! So, with the alcohol finally dissipated from by bloodstream and nothing to do the nerves kicked it.

There is always something to be nervous about before a show. Will we have a crowd? Will all the equipment work? Will the sound be good? Will I be able to hear myself and my band-mates? And the biggest one of all, will I choke and forget what I’m playing? All of these thoughts went through my head but the one thing I never thought I would have to worry about in Phoenix was the weather. The main stage was outside and it was getting mighty cold out. Obviously, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was colder than what I had planned for. I probably would have brought a different outfit had I known I was going to be playing outdoors in February.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire

Sound check went great and the promoter wanted to buy me a drink. As we were standing at the bar chatting and enjoying our cocktails a gorgeous woman stopped by to say “hi” to James.  After she left he turns to me and says, “Yeah, she’s beautiful but she’s a bit much for me.” I was perplexed  What in damnation could someone who produces fetish events consider “too much”. Apparently she is into yoga, has placenta in her freezer and is into holistic love. I guess we all have our limits! I found this pretty funny though. I went on to tell him about how into yoga I am and how at one time I too had placenta in my freezer. Upon reflection I do think the later is kind of weird but whatever. I don’t know what holistic love is but it sounded like something I might be into.

After performing, these two kids came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the show. They were both really drunk but they were having fun. I thanked them and gave each a big hug. Then they started asking me why I was dressed they way I was. Clearly they were out of their element and probably had no idea what they had got themselves into. One guy said to me “You’re not gay are you?  I know you’re not gay”. I’m always a little unsure how to answer those questions. There is not really a simple answer. I could tell that he was hoping I would say “no”. I’m sure that would have made him more comfortable but it wasn’t going to happen. It’s pretty obvious that I am gay. Still, unless you want to fuck me it’s really none of your business what my sexual orientation is. Even then, the only question should be, do I want to fuck you? In the end I just said, “I could be, some people are gay you know.” Perhaps not the answer they wanted but it took the focus off something that was of no consequence to them and put it back where it belonged, on what a fucking amazing rock band we are. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a video from the show

Speaking of great bands, the headliner of the night was Assemblage 23. These guys are legends in the Industrial scene; super nice guys too. We had to stick around to see them play.

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Oh, and I totally have a new crush. DJ Con is such an absolute sweetie. I feel like he is my long lost twin separated at birth, well… um… 16 years apart. His birthday is actually the day after mine. Aquarians unite!

Battle of the bulges. Photo by: Angel Collins

Battle of the bulges. Photo by Angel Collins

Back at the hotel I was finally able to remove the boots I had been wearing for the past 9 hours. Fuck, what a relief that was! My feet had been killing me.   What I hadn’t been aware of because my feet were hurting so much was how much pain the rest of my body was in. Upon releasing my feet from their silver patent leather bondage, sensation returned to every other part of my body and it was not a pleasant sensation. Luckily, there was still beer in the fridge and half a bottle of whiskey. Jazz and I stayed up for a few more hours talking but he offered no help in drinking the booze. I was on my own for that.

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