18 May 2010

Working Backwards To A Funeral (Part I)

Insomnia is once again my best friend.

The last few days have been full of fitful sleep and vivid dreams, making me toss and turn throughout the night. Finally, I'll give in and get out of bed sometimes wasting the extra hours of unwanted time, like this morning, on the Internet, surfing through the flotsam and jetsam on Facebook or one of the many news sites I subscribe to, reading up on the same stories that I am hearing, simultaneously, on Good Morning America. Then there are the other times I'll get directly out of bed, grabbing cleaning supplies and getting my weekly chores done in the early morning hours before everyone else wakes up.
Although today wasn't a total waste of time, I did begin my laundry and had to wander out in the rain, collecting the lawn furniture and trash bins that blew around the yard and driveway. I'm concerned that the heavy rains and winds may have damaged the new plantings but it'll be a while before I can make an assessment.
Later today, I have to get to the gym and then it's off to Hammonton for a little get-together with Stephen Moore. He's taking me out for a belated birthday celebration, the details of which I'm not privy to but I'm sure it will be a great time. I'm glad I woke up in good spirits today...

...unlike yesterday. I was exhausted from the day before and thought I'd sleep like the dead but I was wrong. I was up every half hour and never got to the R.E.M. sleep that's crucial to providing the benefits that a deep sleep possesses and because of that, I was in a foul mood the entire day. I was getting pissy reading people's Facebook status updates, I was getting annoyed at the cat who only wanted the usual attention he gets in the morning, I hated the coffee I was drinking, I was irked at the dogs for wanting to play, my hair was thisclose to being shaved totally off my head, my elbow was inexplicably hurting and I could barely bend it, I was just a completely miserable, hateful person. I sat at the computer and stewed in my bile, wishing something would come along to salvage the day. The only saving grace was that as the afternoon wore on, Claudia didn't show up. Helene's pet project has assumed that she can come here each and every day, whether Helene's here or not, and sprawl across the couch from ten in the morning to ten at night, pontificating on and questioning every movement I make in my own house. She's actually a nice person but she can be a busy body and ask too many questions. And she is a huge mooch.
So, that being said, I was damned glad she wasn't there and I didn't have to deal with her in my dark mood.
Even with my elbow hurting me, I decided that I would go to the gym. That's always a great place to work out your frustrations and get some Zen. Maybe throwing around some heavy objects in the name of Narcissus would spur the manufacture of some endorphins to elevate my mood.
I got ready although I procrastinated, taking my sweet ol' time. The gym would be there and the overcast skies and my elbow weren't helping with my motivation. I finally left the house and began walking to the gym, listening to my mp.3 player along the way, scrolling through the songs one after another because they were all annoying me. It would have been a good day for some speed-metal or gloomy Goth-rock but, sadly, I had downloaded mostly upbeat songs, sixties girl groups and some eighties New Wave.
I was around Richard's Avenue in Ventnor when my mobile rang. I thought it was Miss Patti, who usually rings me when she's walking to work but I was mistaken, it was Helene. I answered and she wanted to know what I was doing and I told her I was on my way to the gym. She said, "Okay, never mind" and hung up and I breathed a sigh of relief because, knowing her, she had something for me to do, something I probably wouldn't like and with her "never mind", I was off the hook. But before I could count my blessings, she rang me back and went right into her request. And I knew by her tone that I had no choice but to agree with whatever it would happen to be. I girded my loins and asked her what she needed from me.
Doris, her other pet project, had to go to hospital, NOW and I had to go with her! She's been having trouble swallowing and just threw up her breakfast and was coughing and choking. I halfheartedly tried to get out of going, reminding Helene that I was on the way to the gym but I knew that it was a lame excuse and I turned around and began the trek back home. I got the final details from her and hung up the phone and my mood, which was rather dark to begin with, turned pitch black.

Doris has early-onset Alzheimer's among a long list of other ailments which I won't go into here. Her daily pill regimen would kill a bull elephant. Helene wanted me to go with her so I could talk to the hospital staff on Doris' behalf and listen to the diagnosis and inform Helene of everything that transpires. Doris is very forgetful, especially in stressful situations and she would have gotten the entire diagnosis wrong. I understood the reasons she wanted me to go and I agreed with them (better safe than sorry) but I was in no mood to do this. I also knew that it was going to be a waste of time, that it was Helene's overreaction that was sending Doris to hospital, not Doris' condition. I got home and changed out of my gym clothes and put on jeans and a hoodie and off we went to Shore Memorial Hospital, driving down the island and going over the Longport bridge to Somers Point, where the hospital is located. Doris' driving is another matter altogether! She's a madwoman on the roads, very aggressive and rarely follows even the most basic traffic rules. Like speed limits. Like red lights. Like turn signals. Like signs. So driving with her is another drama-rama to add to my already lovely and lighthearted mood.
We finally got to hospital, which is under construction, and she was complaining that all the parking is gone, driving everywhere trying to find a spot. Complaining as if they actually started the construction months ago and tore up the streets and former parking lot because they knew that on Tuesday, the seventeenth of May, Doris would need to park at the hospital and it was their goal to annoy her.
We finally found a spot and went to the packed emergency room, filled out the forms and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

You see, she's presenting no actual threat to her life, since she's talking and breathing with no problem so her choking complaint is low on the triage list. So we waited.

And waited some more.

Finally, they called her name and off we went to the back so she could get the "once over". Suffice to say, after prodding, poking, orifice eyeballing and an X-ray, they concluded she needed to see a specialist. Which she already has an appointment for on Thursday.

To sum it up, it was a COLOSSAL WASTE OF MY TIME!!! By now it was six at night, too late for me to get to the gym (they close at seven p.m) and my day was completely shot.

We left and I rang up Helene and left a message about Doris' condition and had Doris take me to Wawa so I could get some provisions and she went about her business. I walked home through the drizzle and I opened my front door and noticed the telly was on and I heard a "Hello" and realized that my hateful day just got even worse:

Claudia was sprawled all over the couch!

I simply greeted her back, curtly, grabbed my things and went to the bedroom, where I hid until she left, at ten-thirty.

I took my Lunesta once she left, climbed into bed and that brings me back to the beginning of this entry.

12 May 2010

Random Thoughts And Observations

I was at the gym yesterday and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was very happy with what I saw. It was one of those quick looks that you do where you don't realize who you're looking at and you're like, "Who's that nicely built person?" and then you notice that it's you! I don't think I'll ever get the body I had over a year ago but I like how I look now, after a little more than two months of working out. I guess the muscles were still in there, hiding from me all this time. If anything, going back to the gym has done wonders for me. Giving me a constructive outlet instead of sitting on my ass and pestering everyone on Facebook has been a great thing. And my walks to and from the gym are giving me that time to compose my thoughts for journal entries. That's where I used to always come up with the inspiration for some of my most eloquent blog entries. I can't wait to get to the gym today which means I am obsessed...again. Miss Patti is already gloomy at the prospect of trying to design dresses for my broadening shoulders.

I've been reading the New Yorker religiously. It's Helene's subscription but she doesn't read it, she really has no time to. I read each issue almost cover-to-cover (although I am a few weeks behind). It's amazing how prescient they are! Some of the topics they discuss and the predictions they make are scarily accurate. Being behind in the issues, I'll read an article and compare it to current events and sometimes, I'm astounded at how accurate they were/are. Reading about the Big Apple, though, is making me want to go there, Big Time!

Death And Squalor

I woke as usual on Wednesday, immediately logging onto Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/mortimerlove?ref=profile) and checking out what happened during the night, since I usually log off around eleven and go to sleep. The show "Glee" (http://www.fox.com/glee/) had been on the night before and it always elicits a huge amount of comments among my gay boy/straight girl friends. The rest of the morning was going fine, I got my breakfast of oatmeal with some fresh blueberries, orange juice and coffee, getting back on my self-imposed diet. Because I was up in Philadelphia for so long, I hadn't been to the gym so I planned to go at some point during the day. I didn't really feel like going, it's so easy to find other things to do when you haven't been there in a few days. Although, when I do go on a regular basis, it can't think of any place else I'd rather be.
I did some laundry and yard work, taking my time to get ready for the gym, total procrastination but I figured I'd get there, sometime.
Then my mobile rang. It was Helene.

She was calling with bad news. Tammy, Doris' step-daughter, had just died. Tammy's mother, Nellie, rang Helene first with the news, understandably distraught and hysterical. And before I could even ask what happened, Helene asked me if I could go with Doris to Vineland to be with the family since she would be upset and needed someone to ride with her. Helene couldn't do it herself because not only was she working but was also on her way to Philadelphia with Evelyn, the woman she cares for as an in-home health-care aid. Reluctantly, very reluctantly, I agreed to go. The reason why I was so hesitant will become painfully clear as the story progresses.

I had been out in the garden so I was a little dirty but now I had no time for a full shower. I did a quick clean-up and got dressed and by the time I was done, Doris was there and off we went (after expressing my condolences, of course). By now, I had found out what happened and it really didn't surprise me. Tammy had died of an overdose. She had an appointment to be in court that morning for violating the conditions of her last conviction, i.e. staying clean. Evidently this is the third or...eighth time this happened and supposedly the judge was going to throw the book at her. I gather she was doing a "last shout" before having to go to jail. What makes this even more tragic and despicable is that she has three children (in their teens/early twenties) and, through her schemes and welfare assistance, is the soul provider for the house. Now, her little private heroin party not only cost her her life, but will totally devastate the family when they will eventually lose their home.
It's a sad situation compounded by even more pathetic complications, as you will see.
The ride there was interminable, since I was not in the mood to deal with all this madness. I kept Doris distracted as much as I could, telling her stories of my trip to Philadelphia and lying about performing up there. There was no need to go into my problems at that moment. She was pretty calm and collected until we got to the cross street we needed to turn down to get to the house. The city had it blocked off for construction/repair and Doris, in her imitable style, turned on a dime into the parking lot of the convenience store to our right, nearly hitting the car that was exiting and driving right over the curb. I slammed on the "passenger brake" and clutched the seat for dear life!

Here's where I should inform you that Doris is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's. She is under medical supervision and is taking the latest drug regimen but there are breaks with memory and skills common to those with the disease/condition. Her driving, though, has always been erratic and has, so far, not been affected by the disease. She's a bit of a speed demon and far too aggressive (read: road rage) for her own good.

We figured out an alternate route to the house from the other end of the block and drove down the street looking for a place to park. Without her telling me, I could tell which house it was by the assorted riff-raff gathered on the front porch and the police vehicles parked out in front of the brick home. She brazenly pulled into the driveway and we got out of the car, making our way through the ramble of people who did not behoove themselves to even step aside to let us in the house. They were sitting and standing everywhere, some were eating and chatting loudly which I found a bit distasteful, considering Tammy's body was still in the house! I could hear dogs constantly barking from somewhere nearby. We walked through the screen door and into the front hallway. To our immediate right was an old-fashioned front parlour and I saw, right away, the squalor these people were living in. It was dark and full of dust and lacked any furniture to sit on. There were parts of a cheap entertainment center haphazardly set along the walls, made of pressed fiberboard and filled with personal mementos, and a vintage television along the back wall, in front of the cobweb encrusted curtains and blinds. The beige (I think) carpet was filthy with stains and dirt and the smell of dog waste hit us as soon as we entered. Nellie's bedroom was to the left but the door was shut and there were people standing throughout the house, smoking cigarettes although I don't recall seeing an ashtray let alone anyone using one. We made our way past her son's and daughter's bedrooms who's doors were (mercifully) shut and into the kitchen. Doris was adamant that she wanted to see Tammy's body but the police informed her that no one could go into the room until the coroner came and inspected the scene. From what I could see of the kitchen, it was in the same state as the parlour. Little to no furniture or appliances and devoid of clutter but not exactly clean. We went back down the hall and I couldn't help but despair at the condition of this once-beautiful house. The aged dark-wood door frames, the hardwood floors, the plaster ceilings and moldings were phenomenal but the fact that it was not maintained broke my heart.

Yes, I admit: I was more concerned for the house than the family undergoing their self-inflicted tragedy.

We entered Nellie's room which was dark and disheveled, a condition that I think is normal and not because of the recent events. She was sitting on the bed in her house dress that didn't quite cover her legs, especially since she was in a sitting position. I was standing at the foot of the bed and got a most unwanted view. There were people milling about and I was informed to make sure the door stayed shut. I really didn't mind except for the fact that I was on that side of the door! The conversation quickly became personal amongst the family members (burial method, financial decisions, etc.) and I hurriedly made my way out of the room when someone else came in. I stood in the parlour, text messaging people and accessing Facebook, watching the people come in and hug and cry with the family. The city chaplain came in and did his thing, comforting the immediate family and friends and was a welcome sight, since he was able to answer questions and knew the drill. After a bit, I felt completely out of place and I went outside and stood on the sidewalk out front, since no one on the porch made me feel the least welcome. The ambulance service and coroner came and the oldest son moved Doris' car out of the driveway and parked it down the street. The ambulance backed into the driveway and pulled all the way back to the rear of the house, out of my line of sight, thankfully. I went back in just to see what was going on and they were letting those family members who wanted to to view the body before they bagged her and took her to the morgue.
I went back out, refusing the offer to see Tammy. No, I really don't want to view a dead heroin addict who's bowels have released, who's blood has settled to the one side of the body and has been lying there for hours in an un-air-conditioned room, thank you anyway.
I fled to the street again and rang up Miss Patti and told her what was happening. She was my little glimmer of normalcy and hope in this tempest of misery I was unceremoniously thrust into.
I wandered down the street to the car, watching the neighbors who were watching the events happening on their street. I began to notice how nicely maintained the other homes on the block were. The lawns were mowed, flowers were planted, hedges were trimmed, it was all very nice and orderly, all of them with Tammy's house the only exception. I couldn't help but think they might have been a bit relieved. I'm sure they were well aware of what happened and probably thought that this would facilitate a vacancy of the house since this was the problem house of the neighborhood. The police were there so often for fights and squabbles that it had become a constant but commonplace nuisance. I sat in the car for a while and then paced up and down the street, admiring the beautiful day, finally watching as the ambulance pulled out of the driveway and took Tammy's body away.

I went back in and after some more discussion of the funeral arrangements, Doris (thankfully) was ready to leave. I gave the family my respects once more, hugged Nellie and quickly made my exit back to the car and we drove home, uneventfully. The conversation on the way home, however, was odd. It seems that the family is under the impression that Tammy committed suicide instead of a dying of an overdose. Frankly, I could care less.

Once home, I went back out into the garden.

The funeral is this coming Thursday. Helene wants me to go.

Once more, into the breach.

10 May 2010

Unexpected Get-A-Way

Last week at this time I was in Philadelphia with my dear friend Shannon. Previously, I have been in that wonderful city just to see her but I was up there on another task, one that I shamefully did not complete and I feel most terrible about it.
Shortly after our triumph at the Miss'd America Pageant, I began to get offers for gigs with the Red Ribbon Bingo being the most prominent among them. I love doing the bingo and I had always said that once I retired from the grind of performing on a regular basis, I would only do benefits or the rare appearance for a friend to celebrate a birthday or whatnot. I am really not prepared to do anything much more that that.
I gave away a great deal of my costumes and accessories to the newer "girls" once I decided to retire, leaving bags and bags of clothes in the dressing room at the club for everyone to pick over and take with them. When I started out, I was given cast-offs from the reigning performers in Atlantic City and it was a tremendous help when I was so young and green. It's a tradition I was happy to continue with, knowing how hard it is to build a stage wardrobe when you begin. On top of that, my former psycho-mate in the penthouse threw away my entire shoe collection. When I moved out, I had left a few things to pick up at a later date. Unfortunately, being the unstable and unreasoning prick that he is, he simply threw away everything I had left in the flat. Added to this, my living conditions are such that most of the items I own are sitting in a storage locker on the White Horse Pike, packed in there so tightly you couldn't add a penny to it without it busting at the seams. This includes nearly all of the costumes I did not give away which are sealed in boxes and bags and jammed in there, somewhere. So it seems I am hobbled, where my drag career is concerned, by circumstance and history and semi-retirement.
A good friend and promoter, Dan, had asked me, shortly after the pageant, to do an event in Philadelphia and I quickly agreed since I was still on a high from the success of the show. I was ready to accept any offer at that time. I didn't even look to see what it was that I was agreeing to, I just said an emphatic "YES!" and didn't give it a thought for the next few months. Time passed and the day quickly drew near and I had totally forgotten about it. I began to get a few text messages and emails from people, not just Dan but a few friends who heard I was going to be there. I actually panicked a little since I really had no idea what the hell I was supposed to be doing and now, people were contacting me telling me they were excited that they were going to see me. I had (insanely) hoped that it would just go away but it didn't so I bucked-up and rang Dan to find out what I was supposed to do, exactly.
It was all pretty straightforward, so to speak. I was either going to serve with the waitresses or host with the hostesses at Darling's Diner (http://www.darlingsdiner.com/). I have server/host experience from working at Evo (http://www.evorestaurant.com/) so I figured it would be fairly easy and I told him (and everyone else) I'd be there.
I decided to go to Philadelphia the evening before and Shannon graciously agreed to allow me to stay at her flat. The event was very early in the morning and it would be easier to go across town than to have to come from Atlantic City. I really had nothing to wear. I only had a few costumes from the past two bingo shows and chose two things from them and packed them with the rest of my gear and made my way to to the city. It was rather cool on shore and when I got to Philadelphia, I was amazed at how hot it was up there. The walk from 30th Street Station to Shannon's flat had me drenched in sweat by the time I got there. The humidity was ungodly. I settled in and we had a cock...tail and another friend came by, Anthony, and we sat and chatted all night.
All night.

During the evening, a curious sensation came over me. I was literally getting more and more anxiety about the event. It's normal to get butterflies before a show but I was getting...well...terrified. I couldn't sleep and didn't want to and my friends were nice enough to sit up with me and let me chat their ears off.
I haven't performed in Philly for a long, long time and as we were sitting there chatting, inside I was having a total anxiety attack. It was a thoroughly unsettling feeling. And the time drew closer and closer for me to get ready to leave, I couldn't do it.

I just sat there.

I have never had this feeling before. I was like a deer in the headlights, I couldn't move or decide what to do.

And there I sat. I kept thinking, "I'll just get ready in a few." and that "few" never happened. I even text messaged Dan at one point to tell him I overslept and I was running late but I didn't move from my spot and we kept chatting. My friends were obviously wondering why I wasn't getting ready but I kept giving them the lamest excuses and eventually it got too late and I just went to bed while Shannon went to play a softball game.

I totally froze and blew off the gig. I have never done that before. I am totally embarrassed about it and have avoided all messages from Dan and the others that were anticipating my presence. I feel so lame, I actually came up with some outrageous excuses to tell everyone but the truth, such as it is, is that I had immobilizing stage fright and I couldn't go and be "performer Mortimer". It's truly a sickening feeling.

After resting, Shannon came home (her team won) and we enjoyed the rest of my stay, ordering a pizza that night and watched some movies, curled up in bed together. It was very nice. Never mentioning the fact that I did not do the very thing that was the entire reason that I was there.

Monday morning came and I woke to her eating breakfast and all showered and getting ready. I was a bit perturbed, I thought we'd go to breakfast somewhere and that's when she informed me that she was on her way to work. I totally forgot that it was Monday and that people actually work for a living. While she did her thing, I sat in her place, mindlessly watching telly and playing with her cats, well, the just one of them. Lucky is rather lazy and sleeps every chance he can get. Dust actually builds up on him, he's that lazy. She came home and we went out to eat, finding a cute little restaurant that had al fresco seating and we sat outside, enjoying the wonderful weather in the early evening and having cock...tails whilst waiting for our meal. We had a few questions about the menu and the waitress was very patient with us and we ordered and sat there, laughing and chatting. At one point, curiosity overcame us and we wanted to know where the hell we were. The menu was no clue, there was only a profile of a rabbitpig at the top. Yes, I said "rabbitpig". That's what it was; a half rabbit, half pig silhouette. We looked into the restaurant and there was no clue there. The awning over our heads had nothing written on it. We were perplexed! Confounded! Mystified! We finally broke down and asked the waitron who informed us that the name of the place was "Pub & Kitchen". Clever. Concise. Easy.
Well, the food was amazing, we loved everything we ordered and once we were done, we went back to her place and finally to bed, watching movies until we fell asleep.
The next afternoon, Shannon came home for lunch and made us tuna fish wraps, which were scrumptious. She left me her keys and I got ready and decided to wander to Rittenhouse Square and check things out.

Before I knew it, I not only wandered through Rittenhouse, I went to Independence Hall, the Constitution Centre, Ben Franklin's grave (I always pay my respects when I can), wandered by Prive and the former Revival, ended up on South Street where I walked to Ninth Street and sauntered through my old neighborhood, looking at my former stoop and the apartments of my friends. I strolled through the gayborhood and then finally made it back to Shannon's flat, more than a little exhausted. I didn't plan on taking such a lengthy walk but I was glad I did, the day was perfect, not too hot and a nice breeze was blowing.
She came home and I figured I should go home. I was out of money and I needed to get back and do some stuff at my own house.

I got home and settled in only to have life intrude once again the very next day!

27 April 2010

Post-Bingo Blahs

I am suffering from a serious case of drag-lag, that extreme case of the blahs one can get after a show. You don't want to do anything, go anywhere nor see anyone. Although the show was on Sunday afternoon, it's now Tuesday and I am still out-of-sorts. I ate all the wrong things on Monday, all day Monday, and I'm back on my diet this morning (although I think I inadvertently kicked off an eating frenzy because I am hungry as all hell!).
I also think I am a little down because I wasn't happy with my performance at the Red Ribbon Bingo this month. I am hyper-critical of myself and I know I wasn't up to par. Yes, the feedback has been great, as usual, but I didn't feel the spark I usually get when I'm done a performance. Oh well, you knock one out of the park or you strike out. I think last Sunday was definitely a strike-out where I was concerned.
It was great to have my "family" come and see me, though! Helene, Margo, James, Alvin, Rico, Kyra and yes, even Claudia and Doris were all in attendance and sat right up front. I wish I had done a number for them, it would have been nice to perform but Sandy picks and chooses who does what and I guess I do have the most time on stage (aside from Sandy), being the ball-caller and all. I am seriously contemplating getting more of my drag gear out of storage so I can really do this right. And I need to have more money coming in so I can get new outfits made. Miss Patti and I are dredging up some seriously bad material to make dresses out of and they are not up to my usual standards.

Unemployment put a serious dent in my budget this week, paying me only one of the two weeks I usually get. I have yet to determine why this happened. I logged online as usual on Thursday and got a message that I had to call in my information. When I did, at the beginning of the call the computer stated it was for the two weeks but when I finished entering the information and answering the standard questions, it said a check for one week would be sent to me on Saturday. Of course, I was dealing with a computer so I had no immediate recourse to argue/ask questions/freak out. This has happened in the past but I usually receive a two-week check anyway but, alas, not this time. So, that means I am now SERIOUSLY poor until I get my pay from the bingo gig. Believe me, I am still drawing off of my former salary at the club which was based on my three dollar and fifty cents an hour wage so I get very little to live on each week. Now that I received one of the usual two weeks, I am, in a word, fucked. I'll be ringing them up this afternoon to (hopefully) resolve the situation.

I can't wait to get to the gym today. Even though it's gloomy outside, I am determined to get there and work out. Margo gave me a compliment on Sunday, saying that I have lost a lot of weight since we "reunited" several months ago and that I look good. After thinking about it, though, it may be a back-handed compliment. Does that mean I was fat before? Hmm...I may have to beat her later!
I am happy being back in the gym. I know I keep going on about it but it is my little haven.

Ooo...I think the sun is coming out!!

My clothes are definitely starting to fit better, my jeans aren't as tight and my shirts are snug across the chest again instead of the waist. Yeah, I guess I did put on a bit of weight. Self-denial and rationalization are my mantras. Bad habits I need to break, or at least work on a little more.

I have had some bizarre dreams again, a lot of them about Delio. Why he is on my mind so much is beyond me, we haven't seen each other for nearly a year. And he blocked me from Facebook months ago, for some reason or other, so it's not like I have seen him online, either. I guess there are still some unresolved issues going on there. I do miss him, though, even with everything that happened between us.

My mother is selling her home and getting ready to retire which is giving me pause. Over Thanksgiving, she gave me some beautiful Chinese bowls from a family member who passed away and on my walk to the train through the city, it began to hit me that, eventually, I'll have to deal with...those things you don't want to think about, let alone put into print. And that little incident, coupled with her looming retirement, is making it harder and harder to ignore this inevitable fact of life.

I'll deal with this whole topic MUCH later.

Time for more coffee, a weather check and I'll be right back...

Okay, the sun is hiding once again but the rains seem to have gone and I have a nice fresh cup o'Joe in front of me.

"The View" is on in the background but the bitches are boring today. I miss the Rosie days. She caused more havoc during the "Hot Topics" section then the topics they were discussing. Now, under Whoopie's direction, it's back to boring, predictible, middle-of-the-road topics of discussion.

I guess I should get showered and ready for the gym.

21 April 2010

Home. Gym. Home.

Being in a foul mood and on Facebook is not a good combination for someone like me. I have a tendency to speak my mind, generally, but I usually temper my bluntness with humour. It's the little bit o'sugar to help the medicine go down, as the song says. Miss Patti has told me over the years that I can be blunt to the point of mean. This being said, I realized this morning, as I was reading my friends Facebook status updates, that everything was rubbing me the wrong way. It wasn't anyone's fault but my own. Perception is everything and I was perceiving things through murky waters and I decided to log off, get my ass in gear and go to the gym. Right before I shut down the computer (and after writing a quick journal entry), I was going to re-load my mp.3 player with new music, I am so bloody bored with the hundred or so songs I have on there since I've been listening to them for the last month and a half during my four mile round trip journey to and from the gym. I realized, though, that my dino-puter hates me and it would be another hour or so for me to get it to recognize my little player and upload my music to it. Believe me, if I went to do it now it would load up right away. Because I was in a hurry earlier, it would take it's sweet ol' time and make me suffer. It was easier to shut the damn computer off take my walk without musical accompaniment. Although I wasn't relishing having to be with my evil thoughts. Time became a factor, though. I noticed during the news updates that rains were on the way and I didn't want to be caught in them during my walk so, after getting dressed in my gym clothes, I immediately left.

Off I went out the door. I felt the ocean-cooled air as soon as I left the porch and could see the clouds coming in from the south-west, the general direction I was headed. I wandered down Atlantic Avenue for a bit, passing the shops and stores that surround Little Rock Avenue and said "hullo" to the guys that I know at the salon in the neighborhood with a little wave and a smile. I cut down one of the streets to Ventnor Avenue since there are more businesses and people there. I wasn't in the best of moods but I wasn't that anti-social. I love to people-watch and Ventnor Avenue would have more people. I didn't take long for my attention and my thoughts to wander and I was looking at the trees and blossoms all along the way, taking in the intoxicating scents the flowers were producing. Springtime is a wonderful time of year on my island of love, heralding the coming summer and the show that nature puts on is a beautiful sight to see, smell and feel. I found myself reaching up and touching the petals of the flowering trees and standing there as they cascaded down around me when a gust of wind knocked them loose. For although I was in a dark mood, I still managed to enjoy the world around me.

At one point, though, a kid on a bicycle came barreling around the corner of one of the stores and nearly crashed into me. I muttered a few foul things and continued on my way down the avenue.

I got to
Body Architects and it was blessedly free of people, a luxury I rarely had at Island Gym when I went there. So far, going in the early afternoon seems to be the golden time, few to no people which gives me the entire place to myself. I greeted the owner and said hi to the person he was training and began my workout. I have raised my weights again, getting closer and closer to the levels I was at nearly a year ago and that felt good but my mind-set was still dreary, as the oncoming weather, and it took me a while to get myself motivated. By the time I finished my chest exercises, I was feeling better. Kat, Helene's trainer, came in and we talked a bit and I had to speed up my workout a bit. She said that it had started to spritz when she came in. That meant the rains were coming a little earlier than anticipated.
Looking at myself in the mirrors there gave me a little ego boost. I can really see the results of the past month and a half of working out and dieting. I'm beginning to lose the fat weight and gain muscle mass again. I am getting that V-shape once more and I like how my arms are looking. My chest is always slower to build but it'll come along soon enough.
I finished up with my abdominal routine and grabbed my stuff, said my good-byes to the staff and off I went back home. It was ever-so-slightly spritzing and I figured I wouldn't get caught in the rain if I walked at my usual pace. My thoughts ran to-and-fro, thinking of everything and nothing of consequence. I seriously lack focus (except for the gym) and my mental state couldn't follow any serious train of thought if I tried. I think that's why I feel the need to write in my journal again. It really helps me maintain a more coherent thought pattern.

Although I'm not sure if this entry is a testament to that.

I had gotten a voicemail from Alvin whilst I was working out, inviting me to dinner once again. I lied yesterday to get out of a dinner engagement with him so he wanted to reschedule for today. I simply turned off the phone this time. It's not that I don't want to go with Alvin to dinner, I just don't want to go off my diet. Going to dinner at a casino buffet is way too much temptation. And if I just eat salad, it would be an insult. I figure that being unreachable is the best way out of this.
I got home, dreading an encounter with one of Helene's projects but, luck be mine, no one was here. I put my gym gear away and made lunch and a protein shake. Right now, I only eat Greek yogurt for breakfast, a shake and something healthy for lunch and then a salad for dinner. It's helped me shed the pounds but I am damned hungry!
As for the "Helene's project" quote above (of which I am one), she has a habit of taking in strays and Claudia, the latest one, can usually be found sprawled on the couch, eating all the food, endlessly chain smoking and talking non-stop. She's harmless (as far as I know) but annoying as all hell. She lives in her car and Helene told her she can use the shower if she needs it. She took that as an open invitation to move in during the day. Today, though, she's a no-show and it makes me a very happy Mortimer. I figure she got her unemployment compensation and is now pissing it away at the casino.

I guess I'll venture back into Facebook and see what's going on there. Then maybe I'll finish one of the many journal drafts I have waiting for me (since I seem to be on a roll, writing wise).

Here We Go Again

I have a few drafts of journal entries waiting for me to get back to them covering a wide array of subjects that I know would be entertaining and informative to Cafe readers but I haven't had the will or drive to actually finish them. Yes, I'm being disingenuous by stating this and not putting my nose to the grindstone and finishing them but it's my journal and I can do as I please.

I have thrown myself back into the gym with pleasure and hope. The pleasure of working out again on a regular basis has been cathartic, I have missed going to the gym and just focusing on the task at hand and seeing the results. Yes, it's slow going and I have been away for so long (a year, at least) but the progress is measurable and it gratifies a little part of my ego that needs some serious stroking at the moment.
My life, both personally and professionally, is in shambles. I am living with my ex-mother-in-law, I am unemployed and my love life has dried up to a wasted husk of it's former self. Trying to save money on the pittance of my unemployment wage is laughable at best so my prospects of finding a home for myself is a future situation. Far into the future if things don't change. Don't get me wrong, Helene is a wonderful person and I really love her. She has always treated me like family and I genuinely feel like I am a part of her family, as dysfunctional as it may seem to outsiders. It works for us! My ex, Joe, and I are on great terms. I really like his boyfriend, Angel, and I have hung out with them not only in clubs but at his sister's home for the holidays. There are no awkward moments and it's nice to be among everyone, especially getting to see my former nieces and nephew now all grown up. I don't mind my living situation but it does lack a certain privacy that I miss. There's always people around and it can be a bit...distracting. And since I don't really have a room to myself, it's even harder to just go off on my own and do my hermit impression.
As for work, I am annoyed that I lost my job and I am still wondering exactly why I was fired. Yes, I know I can be a bit abrasive and unfeeling (I hear Miss Patti right now in my head calling me a Vulcan) but I don't think that's any reason to fire me! I was very good at my job and I (actually!) liked doing it. I know it's hard to believe but I really enjoyed my oh-so-brief foray into the floral industry. Who wouldathunk I had the floral design gay gene! I owe Becky many thanks for giving me a start and being infinitely patient and supremely generous with me. She allowed me to follow my own path and learn things on my own, guiding me here and there with her wisdom and knowledge. I really miss that time (although not the hellacious conditions of the shop when it was located on Ventnor Ave. in Atlantic City). I was saddened by Lee's decision to shut the shop permanently but heartened that Darlene decided to buy the business and move it to a better location. I was so looking forward to the first summer in our new spot, right on the border of Ventnor City and Margate City, a great location for a flower shop and I couldn't wait to learn more about the business. It's a shame that Darlene and I mixed like napalm and the Vietcong. I guess it was inevitable but I still lament that things ended they way they did. Especially with her screaming "Get the fuck out of here!" over and over again.

Not exactly the best ending possible.

I am lucky they extended my unemployment, though, and I have a few prospects for a job in the future. I may get a bartending gig at Bally's Beach Bar. Keep your fingers crossed. There's also the Red Ribbon Bingo gig, which pays as well and a few other drag engagements I have coming up next month. These little bits of income are a welcome relief! Helene has a way of making me spend money I don't have. If she keeps this up, I'll be paying off my debt well into the next century!

As for my love life, the less said, the better. Maybe once I get my physical area back into shape, the mental part will follow and I'll be in a position to jump back into the dating pool. I am seeing someone on occasion in Philadelphia (which is why I have been spending a little more time that usual up there) but I think he has a view of me that is a bit removed from the actual reality. He thinks I'm way younger than I am and doesn't know about the whole "drag" part of my life. And before anyone chimes in, I want to declare that I didn't realize all of this until it was much too late and now I feel a little trapped that he has developed the wrong impressions of me. It's hard to dispel someone of their illusions, especially when they benefit me so well. I'm now in the process of deciding if I should cool things off with him and let it go or disavow him of said illusions and see where that takes us.

Time will tell.

It's getting to be time for me to take my two mile hike down to the gym in Margate City so I'll end this entry here. And actually post it (what a novel concept). I've had the bug to write again so it may not be so long before you see another entry...