Falling behind

Last week and a part of the week before was dedicated to compiling evidence for an upcoming court date. Unfortunately, it occupied 90% of my time and a high amount of bandwidth when it came to my mind. I hate it. I’m tired of the pettiness of it. Someone without anything better to do with their time keeps insisting upon it.

It has been six years, almost to the day.

The last few days has been the usual emotional rollercoaster of my son going back to his mom’s house. Now with freshly fallen snow and winter temperatures the house feels even colder and emptier than a week on my own. The sounds of my son playing or working on a project are a memory this week.

I’ve been binge watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, which has been good, but not nearly as good as the 2018 season, Hill House. That show was downright scary. This show has been interesting. Sad at times. I have enough sad. I’ve also been watching Jack Ryan, which I just consider an unofficial sequel to the Office: The Continuing Adventures of Jim Halpert.

Switching gears back from court documents to working on the book has been a challenge. Tonight I’m writing this blog to get my flow back. Throughout the day I’ve been taking notes on my phone, but it’s a little different than the massive word counts and flow I was getting just a few weeks ago. When the words are strong enough, they break through no matter what. I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night before with a chunk of something I had to jot down. When the words want to come out, there isn’t much else you can do.

I think my muse has been forgiving lately. I’ve been able to work on other things and even got a few nights this weekend where I just went to bed and slept, letting my brain rest.

Six years ago, this week, I faced one of the hardest choices of my life. I decided to leave a marriage that was unhealthy for myself and my children. For the last six years I have continued to face the conflict that I left, but at least it isn’t every day. Now it is just in the occasional obnoxious email or courtroom appearance, usually for more money. There are very few moments in 15 years of marriage that I remember with fondness. Most of it was very, very hard. Every day walking on eggshells, the gaslighting, the shaming, the verbal abuse, and of course the isolation.

I have been grateful for every day I have had outside of that life. This is a big anniversary for me. Six years. In many ways, it feels like it has just flown past. For a while I was getting by day by day. The expenses, the fear and uncertainty of the constant battle, the fear of being alone, of repeating the same mistakes that I made when all of that began. In those six years, I have had people come and go in my life. I miss them sometimes. But maybe that is what is getting me right now: most of my life, I have missed the people who have left my life, but I don’t think anyone really ever misses me. Friends, lovers, family, and even my own kids.

Bly Manor got to me in one regard. As time passes, you begin to fade from the world. At least you fade from the memories of others. It’s like that quote: “Every man has two deaths. When he is buried in the ground, and the last time someone says his name.”

Sometimes I write the book because I think that the story will resonate with someone else and it will be worth writing if it touches just one other person. And sometimes, I want to make sure that the story lives a little longer than myself. I’m 45. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the short rows. I could turn out to have cancer or have a heart attack. Anything. The blinders are off. I no longer live under the delusion that there is plenty of time.

The last twenty years of my life was spent trying to make other people happy. Trying to do what was expected of me. The responsible thing. Working for a place that laid off 65 people in one fell swoop, without much of a regard for what would become of them. I worked with people who were in their sixties, who relied on that job, and had believed they would continue to do so pretty much until the end. Jeez, that was never what I wanted. That job was just a way to make sure the rent was paid and my family could eat. The right and reasonable thing to do. At least until I could write full time.

So, when I face the challenges of working towards my goals, I get some pushback from a world that just wants you to comply, to spend more time doing what others want you to do, instead of what you should be doing. It’s funny that in the span of six months, this is the new normal, with face masks and hand sanitizers, and no dancing, no live music, no meeting new people and branching out in your social circles…but the old rules still pertain. We still have to live by what we should be doing. The status quo. Even though it no longer makes any sense.

Another summer has ended, and I feel like I am falling behind, because someone I broke away from six years ago hasn’t got anything better to do than to insist I pay attention to her. Maybe I’m just pissed off about that. Maybe I’m pissed off that a year ago, I allowed myself to make plans, and we all know how to make God laugh. Just say “I have a plan.” I wonder if I have already died that second death with some people. Yet I continue to miss them.

My second death with others can’t come soon enough.

Sometimes

Today is the first good snow of the year. About a month ago, the Front Range got a dusting. Today, the streets are covered, the roads are slick and icy, and Autumn has begun. My son and I went to the local sledding hill and he made exactly one run. I stood at the top of the hill, laughing because it is cold and miserable and this is why I didn’t bother filling up the inner tubes. There will be better days to run the hill.

For dinner, I made chicken and dumpling soup. We ventured out only long enough for a short store run and coffee after the sledding hill. It is a day to stay in, if you can. I’ve been listening to my son watching Harry Potter movies most of the day. We binged Over the Garden Wall and I wondered what it would be like to live in a place with more than two seasons. One of these days, when my son is grown up and out of the house, making a life and a name for himself, I might move somewhere to find out what that looks like.

Tonight, I’m feeling a little blue. It’s a night to share with someone, to cozy up, and just Be. Sometimes I miss those nights. It’s not the kind of night to listen to your kid go on about things of kid dom. Sometimes you just miss the company of another adult. That intimacy that winter weather brings, when you are holed up in the house all day and you have nothing else to do than to watch the sky fall. It’s okay, other than knowing that the sounds of video games and nerf guns and reports of new discoveries will be replaced with silence. Well, silence, and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard.

I got all of my court stuff turned in on Friday. Other than a few little things to do about that for the next two weeks, it was a lot of work done and only the day of reckoning up ahead. Until then, I get to work on the book. I get to enjoy the quiet of a house at the cusp of winter. The stress of all of that had me up late nights and waking up late in the morning. I didn’t get to spend much time with my son, between his online schooling and my research for the case. I have never had a desire to be an attorney. I wish nothing more than to never set foot in a court of law (real or virtual) ever again. But here we are.

In my life, Halloween has always been bittersweet. It has meant the threshold between seasons. In Colorado, that isn’t so great, considering many years Halloween brings the first snows of the year, which mean no more drives up into the mountains, bare trees, bitter cold days, and long nights. Being stuck at home a lot. Increased heating bills, shoveling snow, the stress and expense of Christmas, the feeling of cabin fever that has been unshakeable since I was younger than my son. This year, the snow means that maybe the forests will stop being on fire, and blue skies will return. No more ash fall. No more strange days and sunsets and sunrises that make you wonder if the world is ending. What will the next six months, the next two years, the next nine years hold? I don’t know, but sometimes as much as I want things to move forward, I also know that I don’t have many more chunks of nine years left. Four, five? Maybe three of those will be worth a damn. Your body breaks down in your 70s and 80s.

Maybe one day, things will get back to how they were before. No masks. No paranoia. No politicized germ warfare. To travel again. To see much more of this world again than there four walls offer. To ride on trains and talk to friendly strangers and try new foods and see places I’ve only read about in books; damn, I have missed that.

Tomorrow, I will miss my son and his endless questions, his observations, his opinions and jokes. But I have the writing. I have the story to put down. And for once, I don’t have a bunch of crap to gather up for the courts. I won’t have any excuses to go on a drive. I’ll just have to stay home and do the work. Sometimes that’s okay too.

A year ago, I was in a different place. Then, I felt like it was a better place. It was certainly an easier place. This year, I might be in a better place, but it is quieter. Sometimes lonelier. But maybe this is where I need to be right now.

A political discussion bound to get me unfriended

I try not to be too political here, since I feel like politics are divisive at their core and throughout the centuries, political affiliation has broken families apart, created wars, and put some awful people into positions of power. However, this year, Colorado has a proposition on the ballot which is very controversial. It pertains to the re-introduction of wolves to our eighth largest state.

Never mind that wolves are already here.

I grew up in a rural community, which was heavility supported by ranching, hunting, and other activities which automatically set the default at Extremely Red State when it comes to how people vote. I remember nights when people had dumped dead coyotes on the center line of Main St. of my hometown, or how the creedo of “shoot, shovel, and shut the fuck up” is common.

The resounding NOPE of my community is loud and clear. Never mind that a community of God-fearing, right wing, 2nd Amendment loving, domestic beer drinking folks also has some of the highest abortion rates per capita. One might think that it was being used as birth control it is so common. Yes. That was a cheap shot for the hypocrisy of people.

Here’s another cheap shot. Or several. Buckle up.

One of the arguments against reintroducing wolves to an area which spans thousands of square miles of public land, private land, and several different biomes is the destruction that wolves impose on the cattle industry, hunting, and the general safety of people in the area.

Let us consider for a moment, those poor ungulates who roam the wilds of North Park. The gentle and majestic Moose. This animal is like a draft horse with all the lethal hardware of a deer. Because it is a deer. And anybody who knows about moose, knows that they get cranky because those antlers are the fastest growing living tissue outside of bamboo. The process is so painful that moose probably co-adapted eating willow bark because of its analgesic properties. Yes, moose are self-medicating aspirin. Moose get cranky and trample, gore, and fuck up the days of a lot of people every year. My hometown prides itself on being the moose viewing capitol of Colorado, with…damn, like a bazillion moose living up there. Seriously, they are like rats. 1200lb rats with a migraine and a rack of antlers that can flip a Hyundai.

So far, nobody has been gored.

Why am I picking on moose? Well, I’m going to pick on other animals too. Next will be ranchers. The erridication of wolves was a gradual process, popular with Manifest Destiny. Right around the same time buffalo proved a threat to Westward Expansion–likely because they were the main food supply of an entire civilization of human beings that the Federal Government wanted…um, sent to extinction?–the buffalo were hunted out. They were also big animals who could barrel through a fence, which was what cattle and sheep farmers really disliked about the bastards. The Feds didn’t like that the Indians could build an entire town out of one and survive the harsh winters of the American West, so they had to go. Since then, pretty much what ranchers have been saying has been fine for everyone. In World War Two when the Federal Government, who hadn’t successfully starved out the noble creature known as the American Rancher with a thing called the Great Depression suddenly needed food for its troops who were being used to kill other people all over the planet (not picking on WW2, or the validity of what it accomplished–if any war was justified in American History, it was that one. You know, once we decided to actually join in the fight. Four years after Manchuria and Poland were invaded).

Wolves, like the Native Americans before them, were an apex predator in competition for resources. Mainly cattle, who were needed to make C-Rations. I guess somehow they comprised the edible part of these tins of food soldiers relied on in the field. So in order to boil down massive amounts of cattle into nearly inedible canned stew, more cattle needed to be grazed. Colorado was a good place for this, since short growing seasons meant hardly anything grew here. Plus leather was needed for A-2 Flight Jackets, which were pretty damned sweet for pilots looking to plow English girls.

Since bullets were needed to shoot Germans and Japanese, they poisoned the wolves. And the raptors. Because an eagle will eat a sheep or a calf too, apparently. Then they blamed the death of the majestic bald eagle on DDT, which was killing mosquitoes. But yeah. The slow moving rancher could not prevent the loss of livestock, and so baited meat and traps were used to kill the living fuck out of the competition…the wolves this time, not the Native Americans.

Since then, cattle ranching has become a lucrative business. In my hometown, mostly for millionaires who want to dress up and play cowboy for a couple weekends a year. You see, cattle ranches often take a huge loss, and if you own one, you can write it off on your taxes. It’s what every good millionaire does!

A lot of ranchers I have known (and I’m not saying all by any means) generally just kinda let the cattle do their thing. They move them around sometimes, brand them, artificially inseminate them, help them deliver delicious offspring, but most of the time the cattle are self-employed, roaming around public grazing lands (yes, public lands), becoming ribeyes. And dog food. And fertilizer for vegans to put on soy fields.

The argument is that a wolf will kill a cow for fun, just shredding it until it bleeds out, painfully. However, I’ve seen bone piles where cattle carcasses are dragged, each having one thing in common. Baling twine. You see, when a rancher can’t be bothered to take the fucking twine off a hay bale, the idiot cows will eat the twine, and it will eventually kill them. Painfully. Binding up their digestive tracts which are full of hay, which I guess the baling twine is just really dedicated to its job. Then they pile up the dead cattle in an undisclosed location, where the coyotes pick at the bones until all that is left is tiny little balls of red baling twine and bones. And the lonely howl of the wind in the sage.

This bill includes compensation for cattle and livestock killed by wolves too. Sorta like the compensation ranchers got for killing entire herds at the beginning of COVID because people weren’t buying enough and it was killing futures in the stock market. Don’t feel too bad for the ranchers, they are still being paid.

Hunters complain that wolves kill deer and elk in this way too. You know what else kills them? Prion disease. You know what else prion disease kills? People. You know what prion disease doesn’t kill? Wolves. So, a wolf pack kills some diseased animals and eats them before you can eat these diseased animals and be killed by prion disease.

And hey, since wolf populations will now be “managed” you can try to shoot one for a trophy instead of that deer nobody wants to eat because venison is disgusting. Elk sucks too. Unless you mix it with beef. Then, just eat beef.

I got to hear super hunter and Oregonian, Cam Hanes on Joe Rogan the other day voicing his opposition to wolves in Colorado. The most invasive species in Colorado are the Californian, Texan, and Oregonian. Don’t let this fucker fool you. No wolf ever drove up the cost of my property! If anything they keep property values low, because nobody wants their grandmother to be eaten by a wolf when she is lying in bed with COVID, waiting for her grand-daughter to bring her a basket of goodies.

The final thing is forest fires. Wolves target stupid, slow, and sick creatures. Which likely means the same type of people who will idiotically leave a campfire burning when they are camping and burn down most of my goddamned state. Wolves prevent forest fires by eating tourists who are too stupid to know how to not burn down the forest. * (Okay. They don’t eat campers. But I wish something would have happened to those careless assholes that started all these fires. Maybe the moose need to step up their game and trample some people.)

Trust the science.

That’s it for now. If anyone is left, please vote YES on 114.

I am not a Deep State Wolf.

*It has been brought to my attention (and rightfully so) that in spite of the wolf packs in Yellowstone, there have been no attacks on humans since reintroduction. And there are lots of people and wolves in Yellowstone right now. You are probably more at risk being bitten by a shih-tzu.