The First Decade

August 22, 2011 was kind of a cool anniversary. It marked 10 years of me blogging, 10 years of http://www.goblin-cartoons.com. I torched the original blog some time ago, although some of it is still findable through the Wayback Machine. And my blog has gone through some other changes over the years. But still. 10 years of blogging. Pretty cool, I’d say!

To celebrate the anniversary, I ran my three most recent posts through this “How Shakespearean Are You?”  thing and got, on average, a rating of 84%. Which makes me very, very happy.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

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That’s Me in the Spotlight

I moderated a class on e-books and e-readers for staff this morning. (I don’t really want to say I taught the class, because I don’t like classes where I stand in front and blather on for a while, attendees taking notes and asking questions at the end. I prefer a more free-form session, where everyone feels free to ask questions any time–as well as go off on tangents or investigate areas of high interest. I feel I’m more of a moderator than a teacher.) I really like running classes like this, and the majority of feedback I get says that I’m very good at it.

The funny thing is, as much as I love doing it, I get horribly anxious leading up to the class. The same is true when I’m presenting to a group of people. I love doing it and I generally get very positive feedback, but about an hour or so before I get up in front of people, I get terribly nervous. Interestingly, the two things that help me get less anxious are listening to energetic music that pumps me up and taking a Xanax to calm me down.

It’s a funny ol’ world I live in. The world inside my head, that is.

Castrovalva

If you’ve been reading my blog and/or following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, you know that I’ve been going through a very rough patch of depression and anxiety for a while now.

It’s Monday morning. I woke up to grey skies and rain. I’m feeling sleepy and sluggish. And yet…

And yet, I feel as if I’ve come through a long slog of stress, agitation, melancholy, hopelessness, worry, fear and general darkness, pushed my way through the shadows and tangles and come out into sunlight and blue skies.

No, the hard times aren’t completely over. Yes, there are still things for me to worry about. But I don’t feel them weighing me down, chipping away at my resolve, wearing away at my soul. I don’t feel as if I’m hopelessly fighting the devil futility. I feel hopeful, capable, enthusiastic and happy. I feel regenerated. I feel better than I have in a long, long time.

About damn time!

Lord of the Things

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been very busy moving from my swingin’ bachelor pad in the Johnson County suburbs of Kansas City to a rented house I’ll be sharing with my girlfriend, Brooke, (and my daughter, Morgan, when she’s staying with me) in the college town of Lawrence, KS. That’s a really simple summary of what turned into the biggest, craziest, most exhausting move I’ve had (and this is in a lifetime chock full of moves). Here is the epic tale of our move, an epic I just had to call Lord of the Things.

Why was this move so complicated? It’s not just that Brooke was moving from her small place in Lawrence and I was moving from my place in Overland Park (30-40 minutes away from our new place). Oh no. For one thing, Brooke’s lease ended 2 months before mine did, so I had to work something out with my landlords so that I could move out early. For another thing, Brooke’s lease ended at the same time the mass horde of students move to Lawrence for school, which makes renting a moving truck very, very difficult unless you do it very far in advance–which we weren’t able to do, because our new landlords weren’t exactly sure when we’d be able to move into our new place.

So it turned out to be this: Brooke had to be out of her place by 3 p.m., Saturday, July 30th. I had to be out of my place by the end of Sunday, July 31st. But we couldn’t check in to our new place until Monday, August 1st at 10 a.m. And we couldn’t rent a moving truck (or any moving equipment at all) the entire weekend. Also, Brooke was scheduled to work most of the day Saturday. Oh, and it was predicted we’d have record high temperatures all weekend. Fun!

Luckily, we had an incredibly good bunch of friends to help move everything out of Brooke’s place on Saturday and my place on Sunday. And we’d managed to find a storage space to rent for a month where we could put the majority of our stuff between moving out and moving in.

Brooke ended up not going into work on Saturday, and we all worked as fast as we could, while doing our best to stay hydrated and not push ourselves into the red. We managed to get everything out of Brooke’s by exactly 3 p.m. There was a lot of her stuff on the front lawn and in the driveway, but at least it was out of the house.  We hustled to get things off to the storage space, although a good portion of her stuff ended up in the houses of friends.

Sadly, I woke up on Sunday with a headache and nausea, almost certainly caused by exerting myself to hard in the heat. (I’ve never done well in heat. When I was a kid, my parents used to have to call me into the house to rest after playing outside for an hour or two in the summer. I quickly get tired and overheated, even if I drink a lot of water.) But we carried on, working as fast as we could to get everything out of my apartment by the end of the day. We had to make several trips to the storage space, and the only vehicle we had for big items was a friend’s on-the-small-side pickup truck. A couple of times, we had to strap items in and hope for the best as we drove from my place to the storage space (a trip of 20-30 minutes one way), two cars accompanying the truck. On one trip, my box spring was blown out of the truck by the wind. It fell into the road and miraculously missed hitting any cars and rolled onto the shoulder without sustaining any structural damage. We really lucked out there. The convoy of vehicles turned around to retrieve the box spring. We restrapped it into the truck, then our friend Matt tied a rope to the frame, seated himself in the passenger seat of the truck and held on to it as they drove on to the storage space. As one set of friends left to take care of their own lives, another set of friends showed up at the last minute to help Brooke and me. We all worked long into the night, loading things up to go to the storage space–until I remembered with dismay that the storage space was only open until 10 p.m., and it was long past that. (Why the storage space isn’t open 24/7 is beyond me. It’s open before and after the office is, so why it can’t be available to users all the time is a mystery.) I came close to collapsing in despair. When our friends offered to hold our stuff for a day or two, I almost cried in relief. We made it out in the nick of time, and Brooke and I headed to Lawrence to crash at the house of some friends.

On Monday morning, I took Brooke to work, then went to the new house to get our keys and check in. It all went smoothly until I was alone in the house and thought to take a look at our backyard. One of the items high on our list when looking at places was a fenced-in backyard for the pooch to play in. The backyard of the new house was small, but it had grass and a high fence, making it suitable for a small dog like Dicken. Or at least, it did when we first looked at the place a few months ago. But since then, the landlords decided that since the backyard had a tendency to turn into a mud pit when it rained, they would replace the turf with rocks. But they didn’t tell us about this, and we were…well, “disappointed” would be an understatement. Brooke called and told them that if we’d known the backyard would be like this, we never would have signed the lease. After some back and forth with them (with Brooke trying to get across to them that we aren’t kids or students who will be moving after a year, we’re adults looking to make a home here), the landlords told us that we could move into a unit a couple of houses down which has a real backyard with grass and everything. Luckily, we hadn’t moved everything in yet. We reserved a U-Haul truck for this past weekend and got ready to move our stuff out of storage and into the new new house.

Not wanting to impose on our friends any more than we already had, we didn’t ask anyone to help us move our stuff again. So for the past weekend, it was just Brooke, Morgan and me. We got our truck on Saturday evening, drove to the storage space, and began loading it up. But it was so overwhelmingly hot and humid, the three of us weren’t able to get everything out of the storage space and into the truck before we were overcome and worn out. We drove the truck back, parked it in front of the new new house and collapsed for the night. On Sunday, the three of us unloaded and unloaded and unloaded. We returned the truck, took Morgan back to her mom’s house, then got back to Lawrence move the last of our stuff from the old new house to the new new house. Around 10 p.m., Brooke and I were both pushed to the limit, tears in our eyes, near hysterics, absolutely broken by the heat, humidity, labor and stress of moving. We got as much sleep as we could, then woke up early on Monday morning to move the last few items into the new new house.

Our place looks like Warehouse 13 (only not as cool), and we still have some stuff in the storage space and at friends’ houses, but we like our new house a lot and we’re happy to finally be settled. We’re both sore, achy and emotionally drained, but we have the time to unpack as we will. And through it all, no matter how stressed and tired we got, Brooke and I never once argued or snapped at each other, which I think is a very good sign that we’ve made the right decision. The worst is behind us. We have bright days ahead.