Setting stuff up

Today was a highly productive day. This morning, I was looking down the long path into an anxiety-filled obliteration, since I logged onto the paid blog site and for the life of me, I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to write for. Two nitpicky edit requests and I decided at some point, I will probably starve if I have to make a minimum amount of money every day. This morning was a little rough. Part of me thinks it was the four hours of sleep I got before having to wake up early to pick up my son (don’t drink green tea late at night, kids!)

We got home and I began to mainline coffee, answering all of his questions about things I changed around the house. Gone was the day job workstation, and in my writing room was the new computer. There were many changes he immediately noted, from the carnation the nice young lady at Scooters gave me on Mother’s Day to some pictures and items I moved around the house. He notices EVERYTHING.

I drank coffee. Started the edits. Looked for more clients. Texted my mom so she could talk me off a ledge. Then I decided to start making little lists. I’m only putting three things on the list each day.

Today, this was my list:

  • Write resume
  • Start work on rebuilding travel site
  • Work on the book

I got none of these done. A big reason was that an unexpected 1500 word post came through and I spent the next hour writing that. I picked up lunch for my son and I and then we went on a bike ride for an hour or so. We probably rode about four miles. It was nice to get some sunshine. Vitamin D deficiency is supposedly one of the big contributors to not doing well with coronavirus. I’ve been coughing and hacking enough lately. Could be COVID, could just be May and everything is in bloom. Either way, I’ve been unable to shake this cough since pneumonia in September. The cigars probably aren’t helping. Those were fun while they lasted.

I have to be able to let plans go, even when I make lists of things to do. I have two days worth of lists to cross things off. I realize that building a business at home isn’t going to happen overnight. I was going to work on the book tonight, but I’m tired. Even after my hour nap after the bike ride. The heat just sucked the energy right out of me. But it was good to get some exercise and spend time with my kiddo.

I’m looking forward to my chair arriving from Ikea in the next few days. The folding metal chair I’ve been using at my desk is painful after a while of sitting and writing. So much, in fact, that I have to twist and pop my back from the stress it puts on my spine between my shoulder blades.

Soon I will have to send out query letters, hit up magazines, businesses, and chisel away at the paid blogs. I have some content from the old site that I can revise and reattach pictures so at least I have the beginnings of my Gettingoutmore site again. This week might see another podcast with my son. Those are a good way to spend time together, but maybe I need a way to warn my listeners that a lot of the stuff he talks about is half-remembered stuff he’s seen on YouTube and he is not a bonafide source of information.

I’m heading off to bed now. The chair is pinching my back. I’m not sure if sitting on them or getting hit with one does more damage. I’d have to ask a professional wrestler.

Crash and Burn

Tonight I tried to record a podcast. One of the most difficult things about this process has got to be the absurd concept that right now I’m sitting there talking to myself for an indefinite amount of time. I’ve been trying to keep it to around 20 minutes, but seriously, the process is really goofy. At least when I’m writing something, I get to construct a narrative. I can go back, edit. I think in writing. I use pretty words. When you are just talking to yourself in a quiet room, you have a moment of “What the fuck am I doing?”

I have no idea. I don’t even really know where I want to go with this whole thing. It’s not like I have the resource of knowing a lot of interesting people to chat with either, well, not many who live around here anyway. So, for now, it’s me, boring the paint off the walls with my goddamned monotone voice. The voice that a friend of my used to call my “pediatrician voice.” She said it was soothing and very wise sounding. Really, I find it annoying. Boring. Fuck.

I attempted two recordings tonight. I was trying to talk about graduation, but with all the ums and uhs and getting lost in the weeds, I just couldn’t do it. I scrapped it tonight. Crash and burn. So, I’m going to write about what I was going to ramble on about in the same dulcet tones that I would be explaining to a seven year old why it is important that they don’t put their fingers in their mouth.

Friday was my last official day at the university. I have worked there for the last 18 years, but I was also a student there for four years and worked just down the hall from where I have been for the last 13 years. I didn’t get very far, did I? Tonight I took a walk around campus to reminisce about where I have spent the majority of my adult life. Other than a year in Aurora, selling Big Mouth Billy Bass fish and a year in Laramie Wyoming trying to not starve to death, I have been in this town. Other than a few months, I have worked at the University. Academia has been a significant part of my experience. Not only as a student, but later behind the scenes, seeing how the sausage is made.

I have a lot of memories of that place. From the day that I went to pick up a girl I was dating for her weekend furlough from Frontiers of Science to go to Renaissance Festival to last Thursday when I carried in the box containing my computer and some other office equipment for my unceremonious layoff. That day of seeing that young lady sitting underneath a dogwood tree behind Belford Hall in a summer dress was a kinder memory than people trying to pretend they were sorry to see you go from behind the protection of N95 masks, maintaining appropriate social distancing. I would take that day in June a hundred times over any second of last Thursday.

Graduation in the years between became a day you could scope our really cute shoes the graduating girls were wearing, and make bets with the other volunteers as to who was going to collapse from being drunk during the ceremony. It was also a day to say last goodbyes to some of the students who would pop into your life for that brief window. I wish them all well, but I doubt any of the hundreds of people I have met and known over the last 20+ years think of me ever. Most of them, I can barely remember their names.

The ceremony. Ceremonies are important. This is Graduation weekend for many students after all. In a way, I think graduation is a stupid thing. It’s a lot of sitting on bleachers or folding chairs, listening to Important People blather on. Sometimes a noted speaker will jabber about why they are important, and why this moment is so crucial to your development as a young person. But we need the ceremony.

Okay, so I lied. Writing this, I got inspired, so I wrote a graduation speech and recorded it as a podcast. Here’s the link. I’m still working out the kinks with the new computer, so the sound might be a little wonky. It’s a work in progress. But hey, I didn’t completely fail. I posted a podcast, which is one of the things I’ve been wanting to do this week.

I walked around campus thinking about a hundred different stories. The way people have touched my life, for better or for worse. I’m soured by the experience of working there and being unceremoniously laid off. The exit interview was a lot of “I don’t know the answer to that question, call so-and-so and she can tell you!” Thanks. That’s great.

I dropped off my shit and left on Thursday. I’ve been walking the campus grounds for exercise. It’s a safe place to walk. Lots of students out not obeying the shelter-in-place or whatever the hell it is these days. I see a lot of people on walks. Clusters of roommates and friends spending time together. Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one without a tribe. I’m the only living boy in New York so to speak. They say no man is an island, but there are times I wonder if that is even true.

There are days that I think about the day that my son moves out, a grown man and ready to take on the world. I’ve often joked with him that I will pack up my things and move and not tell anyone where I have gone. I will start over. He has made me promise to tell him where I have gone, and I will. He wants his kids to know their grandfather and the kind of man that he is. Today, this man is tired. He’s had the metaphysical shit kicked out of him for the last couple months and he could use a little disappearing right now.

Today wasn’t a loss. It was a challenge, just like every other day from here on out.