Choices

I don’t know why I decided to try writing right now. I don’t know if I have enough time but I probably do. I probably have just enough. I have two hours before leaving for Duluth but I still need to shower and get packed. I’m taking some comfort in the fact that Venus is almost always late but no matter what I’m going to be scrambling up to the last minute. Whatever I decide to do, something is going to be left by the wayside. Is this really the most important thing to do with my time?

Last night was Halloween and what was suppose to be my last pedicab shift for the season but I had a personal request from a customer to drive them after the Vikings game next Thursday so I agreed to come in one more time. It’s not so much that I have a hard time saying “no”, it’s more that I have a propensity to say “yes”. It’s how just about everything in my life has come into being, but it’s also how I wind up feeling overwhelmed.

Even working last night seemed barely worth it. It was cold and rainy and I worked my ass off. I hardly slept last night in anticipation of today but it was probably worth it if only because the alternative would have been worse. Halloween is my favorite holiday and for many years I spent it partying my ass off. I believe working my ass off is better even as I’m struck with nostalgia. Halloween last year was the best! I also remember playing a Halloween show at the old Uptown Bar… but I digress.

I’m trying to decide if I should bring my laptop to Duluth. I don’t need it. Chances are I won’t even have time to get online or write but what if something amazing happens and I really want to capture the moment? NO, I’ve never heard of pen and paper. Anyway, I probably will, just in case.

Time to hop in the shower and wash off the rest of last night’s makeup…

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Another day

I have rehearsal tonight. Tomorrow is Halloween and my final official day driving pedicab for the season. Friday I have a show in Duluth. But what to do now, in this moment?

As I stare at the never ending to-do list in my brain I feel overwhelmed. But I don’t need to take it all on. I only need to do what I can do right now. There will be many more days to come in which to do everything else. Today I only need to deal with today.

So here’s to it!

My time is my own

For the first time in seven years I don’t have to deliver City Pages on Wednesday. All my stops have been covered and it is no longer my responsibility. I received a phone call today from Twin Town pedicab asking when I wanted to work this week.  I told them I was taking the week off. Both of my kids are back in school. I’m single, I don’t have any roommates; I don’t even have a best friend. My time is my own.

I’ve spent most of my life running; running to keep from falling down. When I slow down I stop. Like the shark I have to keep moving or I will die. Well, not die, that is a bit of a dramatisation, but it feels that way sometimes. In 1999 I was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. I am convinced that it was my body telling me that I need to slow down. It did more than slow me down though. It brought my activity to a complete halt. Since then I have been working tirelessly to get back on my feet.

I’m finally at a place where I feel strong enough, healthy enough and capable enough to do anything I want to do. But I’m not cured. I still have to struggle with these illnesses. I can’t keep running. I have to slow down sometimes. I want to move forward but I’m still trying to catch up. I want to be there for other people but taking care of me is a full time job. I’m finding that I do better when left to my own devices; but what is the point of doing better if you have no one to share it with?

I’m taking today to do what I need to do for myself. Tomorrow I head to Shangri-la to share what I have with the bliss junkies of Harmony Park. It’s a balancing act with competing extremes. No one understands what it is like to be me but I see a little bit of me in everybody. It’s like being alone in a carnival funhouse where every mirror has been smashed into a million peices.

It’s okay. I’m doing fine, even if you think I’ve lost my mind.  I’m sure it’s around here somewhere, it’s just now what I want to find. I’m going to follow my heart to the land of lonely souls. I’m going to look without seeing to discover what the blind man knows. I may seem weird to you but I’m no weirder than you to me. Our differences are symmetrical, that’s our commonality. So you be you and I’ll be me. It’s the way it’s all been planned. The missing jigsaw puzzle piece is right there in your hand.

G’night mate

Well that didn’t work quite as planned. As soon as I had decided to call it a night I began getting text messages from a buddy who wanted to hang out. I had just enough drinks in me at the time to consider it a good idea. It was a good idea. Spending time with friends is one of the things that has gotten out of balance lately. It just meant that I wasn’t going to be getting to bed early or getting up early.

In fact I didn’t wake up until 11am and had to run straight away to deliver City Pages. By the time I got home it was 7pm and I was exhausted. I crawled in bed with my dinner and was passed out shortly there after. Next think I knew it was two in the morning. I’m still yawning and tired so hopefully I can get back to sleep and try this again tomorrow.

Express trip to right now

Today is Monday, the start of a new work-week for most people. For me, everyday is the start of a new life. For me, every day is the same. Every day is a day to reflect on the past, move forward into the future, all the while remaining in the present.

Writing affords me the to opportunity to do all those things. Today I am moving. Today I have energy. Today I am aware of all the things I have to do and I am bloody fucking overwhelmed. Today you get my to-do list.

  • I still need to fix the drip in my bathtub. My last attempt did not do the job. I’m still recycling the wasted water but it’s not a long term solution.
  • I need to quite my delivery jobs. It’s time and I need to recycle that time into other things. This will also allow me to sell my van.
  • I need to design and order business cards. It seems like a stupid thing but without them even I don’t take myself seriously.
  • I need to write my creditors and let them know that I am breaking up with them. This seems like an important thing that I should have taken care of a long time ago but it has had a hard time making it to the top of the to-do pile.
  • I also need to file my property tax refund. The fact that I haven’t done that is just stupid.
  • The state also owes me medicare premium reimbursement for the entire year. I really need to figure out what is going on with that.
  • I still need to close my bank account and open an account with a credit union. I’ve been waiting for my federal tax refund to do that but who knows when that will show up.
  • I have a concept for a DJ night that I have wanted to do for forever. The idea has finally gelled and I think it can work. I just need to write up a proposal and get the ball moving.
  • I seriously need to replace my phone. The screen has been cracked and the camera not working for six months. I have it insured, I just need to make the call to get it replaced.
  • While I’m at that I also need to get my stove and washing machine fixed or replaced.
  • And I’ve got some medical problems that I need looked at. I’ve got a sliver in my thumb that has been bothering me for months and my prosthetic eye is about two years overdue for replacement. I could also use to see the dentist.
  • And while on the subject of health I really need to spend more time stretching. My muscles have been been getting a lot stronger but I haven’t been taking the time to keep them loose and it’s starting to cause problems.
  • I need to find more time for my friends. I know that this is the “year of me” but it seems somehow pointless without anyone to share it with.

Sadly, even with all of that to do it looks like the only things I may accomplish today is laundry and the dishes. Hopefully tomorrow I can mow the lawn.

And fuck…

I still need to eat.

Making time

I certainly don’t have any super powers when it comes to time management but I do my best. Every moment of every day I’m doing whatever I can do. Sometimes that is more than other times. Sometimes it’s simply different things than I can do at other times. Sometimes is more than one thing at a time; although I usually find that multi-talking causes more problems than it solves. I just can’t stand sitting around or waiting. I’ve tried being more structured and scheduled in my activities but that doesn’t really work for me; I never know what I’ll be up for from moment to moment. All I can do is make the most of each one and call that, “as good as it’s gonna get”.

Through this process some things do fall by the wayside. Sometimes this means that opportunities get lost and sometimes it means that consequences get compounded but no one said life was perfect. Most of the time I find that life carries on just fine, even if it is a bit flawed.

Of course there are some things that really do have to get done no matter what. Yes, we all need to eat, sleep and shit, three things that seem to be a constant distraction from what I really want to be doing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about bullshit administrative tasks that if they are not taken care of will cause everything else to fall apart.

In this case, I’m referring to my issue with the IRS. I know I’ve mentioned it before but here is a little recap and update. I electronically filed my tax return in February. In March I received a letter from the IRS stating that they needed more information from me and to call their toll-free number. After two hours on hold and an hour long discussion I finally got this matter resolved, or so I thought. They said my refund would be delayed another 6 weeks but I still haven’t received it. Adding to this problem is that my son’s financial aid application also got flagged and so needed additional verification. Specifically, they needed my 2012 IRS transcript which doesn’t exist because the IRS has not processed my return yet. I’ve tried several times to get someone from the IRS on the phone with no luck.

I was telling my parents about this last week, expressing my frustration with government agency incompetence and unnecessary policies which do nothing but compound the problems of an already troubled system. Their response was that I needed to take care of this. Right?!? Like I don’t have enough problems of my own without trying to fix the government’s fuck up.

“I don’t have time for that!”

To which they said, “Make time.”

Make time, huh? That is a fascinating concept. What if we could just make time? We have all these devices that are suppose to “save” us time,  not that I’m sure any of them really do, but what if we could actually “make” time. Now that would be awesome. It could be something like a bread maker; throw in a packet of magical time dust, add some water, a couple golden eggs and an hour later you get an hour of time that didn’t exist before. Wouldn’t that be nifty!

Failing in my attempts to make time I resorted to waiting for a moment to arrive in which I could actually do something about this little IRS kerfuffle. That day was yesterday. I had some time to kill while my daughter was at her summer camp so I spent the day downtown harassing government agencies for not doing their job. Oh, I was nice about it but I was insistent and persuasive. It’s funny how tactics that don’t work at all when hitting on a bartender or waitress will work wonders when dealing with government bureaucrats. Even so, the IRS is still going to take 6 to 8 weeks… fuckers!

Homeless or homefree

Working downtown I encounter a lot of people who are homeless. There are many different reasons why someone may find themselves without a permanent place to call home so I really don’t want to put them in one definitive category. For many it’s an absolute tragedy and a disgrace that we as a society can’t do a better job of caring for our fellow earthlings.

For some abandoning the shackles of a permanent residence is simply the best of the available options. Some may wish for better options but for some being homeless is a viable solution to the challenges life presents. I prefer to call these people homefree. Unencumbered by unnecessary belonging; physical, geographical and emotional ties, their daily needs for food, shelter and security are real, tangible and attainable. It may not be a perfect life but no life is. I don’t judge anyone for how they manage to survive so long as it doesn’t require hurting other people. When I look at all of the people downtown it’s not those we call homeless that are causing the most harm.

In a way I envy them. I look at the problems in my life and most of them have to do with maintaining permanence; my home, my possessions and my relationships. Sometimes I wish I had more important things to worry about – not to suggest that relationships aren’t importance, they are. It’s just that when it comes to maintaining relationships the problems seem to stem from the expectation and insistence on permanence. It might be better to accept, support and even encourage the inevitability of change.

Currently my biggest problem is a drippy faucet in my bathtub – a first world problem for sure. It’s a small drip but I still figure it is wasting five gallons of water a day. I have a bucket catching the water so that I can recycle as much as possible but that’s not a permanent solution. I know how to fix it, I know what I have to do, I just don’t know if I’ll be able to get to it before Monday or Tuesday and it’s really not what I want to be doing with my precious time.

Still, as I was biking home from downtown last night, rain beginning to fall as a major storm approached, I felt very grateful that I had a climate controlled and safe place to sleep.

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