away and this year

I felt like I got a lot accomplished this past weekend. I got ahead on a lot of homework and filed our taxes. Despite liking doing the taxes every year it still gives me quite a bit of anxiety before I finish them. I never know what they’re going to look like, if we’ll get anything back or have to owe. Especially, this year with all the new tax laws – although, I don’t think any of those affect us because we’re not millionaires.

Charlie and I are planning a couple of out of town trips this Spring. One is firmed up and the other I’m looking in to. Both trips include taking the dogs. That will probably be the extent of our trips this year as I can’t miss too much school. I will probably look into taking several stay-ca’s this year which will still be relaxing. I hope to get out and do a little trout fishing this year. This is something I think I’m going to do every year and then it never happens. A friend of mine’s husband is a fellow angler and every year when we see each other at Super Bowl we always say we need to get out and go fishing. I’ve already looked at the stocking times and rivers and plan on trying to get out there as early as March. March – mid-April is really the best times because it’s still cool. When it gets hot outside those fish dive to the bottom and are hard to coax out.

I just love when you have friends who read your blog and every time they tell you something they have to preface it with “Don’t put this on your blog”. It’s a double-edged sword having people you know read your blog.

But, I am not a professor and will not lecture people about their lives and choices. I have only myself and my family (which, I will preface with the family I have chosen not my blood family) to worry about.

It’s a large temptation of mine – getting involved. I’ve had to tell myself several times – don’t get involved. Worry about your own shit and stay out of others. That’s one of the NY resolutions. Others are:

I will not see The Indigo Girls for the 45th time. I will pursue hearing new music.

I will not let my sister or father hurt me and I will remain non-emotional when I speak to them. I will not give them details about my life so they can criticize.

I think the whole sex-change thing was the last straw for me. The last two conversations I’ve had with my sister she’s said she’s taken food down to our father and I never commented on it. She’s asked me what I’ve been up to and I’ve said just work.

Take more breaks from social media – honestly, I have been a little tempted to uninstall FB from my phone – especially, in light of everything that’s happened in the news. I get staying in touch with people and events but there’s a time when it’s just too much negativity and the need to take care of yourself.

I guess that’s enough resolutions for now. How are your resolutions going?

 

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tuesday chex

The time of reckoning came. What I had been waiting for to happen for a whole year finally came – I got my yearly review. And, it was good.

Big exhale.

I was prepared for battle, believe me. My boss waited until the last moment to do mine last Friday afternoon – over the phone. That’s fine – he’s kind of a gutless twat. All I was looking for was the “meaningful impact” which is higher than the somewhat impact I got last year. Upon further investigation I was told everyone got the same rating (we were all evaluated as a team) and no one got the highest rating like I suspected they wanted. I was happy that we were all evaluated on the same plane and no one got more of a rating than others, more of a bonus structure, etc.

Now that that’s out of the way I can breathe easier and just hang out here until I get further through cyber security school before I start looking again. I mentioned in the past I’m in this computer basics class – that although I know most of the basics some of it stumps me from time to time – like the UNIX lab we did last weekend. My favorite class is the other one – the hardware class. We cover a part of the inside of a computer every week. Last week we talked about the processors and wattage tonight we’re going to talk about hard drives.

So, I dug out my old Macbook Pro – this is an early 2008 15” running OS X. After several attempts I finally got the thing to turn on. It ran and I played around with all the programs, it connected to the internet but the fan runs constantly on the thing. I suspect is has years of dust that has collected in it. I’ve been doing a ton of research on switching out the hard drive to a SSD and putting in more RAM. That all seems pretty straightforward but then I started looking into replacing the motherboard. That’s a whole other ball of wax. I plan on picking my prof’s brain on that tonight when I get to class. I think it would be a good little home project to do is switch out the hard drive and replace the ram.

I’ve bailed on the last two guitar classes – I mean, why would I want to go play Leaving on a Jet plane all night compared to having V-Day dinner with my wife? So, I don’t know if I’ll be back there. I plan on working on some stuff this weekend while Charlie is away if I can get all the homework completed that I need to. I’m going for all A’s this semester so I need to keep my GPA up and that’s way more important than Jet plane right now.

So, on that note I’ve gotta fly – cheers and have a great weekend if I don’t talk to you before then!

 

rainy day chex mix

It’s a disgustingly rainy day here in Atlanta. Not just a light drizzle that you would expect from Atlanta winters but a FULL ON downpour with thunder chiming in from time to time saying, “SO THERE” and “TAKE THAT!” 

Yesterday, when I was inside all day and had class that night it was beautiful, of course. 63 degrees and sunny. -SIGH- It was the first really nice day we’d had since last Saturday and it was cold even then.

We had a great Super Bowl and the turn out was what most of us wanted. Link was still there in her NE scarf but she held back on the jersey this year – maybe because she had a premonition that they would lose? We had a ton of food and a medium crowd – around 15-16 people. Remember the couple that messed up our spare room three Super Bowl’s ago? They came – this was the first they have been back since that night. And, miraculously they’re married now. (and, no, they didn’t stay this time)

So, I have a new guitar to take to class with me [to play leaving on a jet plane]. Well, it’s new to me. LB is letting me borrow it while I’m taking classes because she just got a new guitar. This one is a little damaged – it has a crack in the side but it still plays well and the crack doesn’t go all the way through (don’t ask me how that happened). She said I could have it since she didn’t need two but I just asked to borrow it. Anyway, it’s a big improvement over that Ibanez I’d been playing that Lee left at my house after we broke up. (I think I’m even going to gift that thing to someone in our neighborhood who wants it)

This Friday we’re going to go see our friend Hannah play for her birthday bash at Eddie’s. Last year when she had it Charlie was sick and couldn’t go so Benji went instead. Hannah always has a full band of rocking women behind her on her birthday bash so we’re looking forward to it.

I broke down and got a flu shot today. There’s only two other people in the office I work and one of them has the flu. So, hopefully I will dodge the bullet. Well, that’s all I got right now – I just wanted to pop in and say hi. Have a great rest of the week and stay dry if you’re in the ATL.

 

Cheers!

 

 

new year chex mix

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Charlie and I had a low-key one with us putting a turkey in the smoker and heading out to our traditional mid-day cocktail at our favorite gay bar. (Leave it to the gay bars to be open on Christmas day because everyone knows us queers need a place to go and be Mary).

We weathered Christmas Eve at Martha and Dino’s for dinner – if you can believe it. This is the first we’ve really hung out with them since the whole nudity incident. Everyone – including Mike seemed to behave themselves. Charlie and I managed to get out of there before Mike (who had split a THC gummy bear with her housemate) and Dino got too wasted. Maybe that’s the key although if she ever lays a hand on Charlie again I’m going to break it for her.

Friday we went over to friends of ours for another Christmas party – this is a friend that I worked with at two previous companies many years ago – one being for a grouchy landscape architect who smoked in the office, laid me off right before Christmas one year and had a problem with my being gay. I told her that for several years after that I always had the raunchiest man on man magazines sent to his office. (I bet he looked at them, too). She cracked up. The other company we worked we had a gay boss that was turning 40 one year and we went to party city and rented a helium tank and filled his office full of balloons and sucked helium and left corny messages on his voice mail.

This week the kids are coming to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. Friday we’re planning on roasting a pork butt and having the neighbors down the street up. Saturday we’re doing a crab and shrimp boil and NYE we’re going to hear live music in East Atlanta.

After this weekend I’m ready for 2018. I have no complaints of 2017 whatsoever. It was a pretty good year for us except for my step mother passing away. I’ve missed her dearly this holiday – more than I thought I would. My father continues to be an impossible @sshole. My sister continues to take him food every week which he doesn’t eat. He’s regressed into an 8 year-old child who eats cookies and crackers all the time. I ask my sister why she bothers but have realized that the two of them deserve each other – he’s an abuser and she’s an enabler.

Classes start up the second week in January for cyber security and I’m also taking guitar lessons at this church next to my office (I could literally throw a stone and hit the side of it from the front of my office). So, 2018 is going to be very busy which isn’t a bad thing.

Happy New Year if I don’t talk to y’all and, what’s going on in 2018 for you?

friday chex mix

Thanksgiving wrap

We managed to make it safely to and from Florida to see Charlie’s side of the family this past TG. Wednesday before we spent with the youngest and his girlfriend. We had dinner at yet another fabulous Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, FL – Boco Fiesta before heading to south Florida to spend the next few days with her folks. Saturday we went to middle Florida to spend with the oldest son and wife. We went out on their boat (highlight of the trip in my opinion) and hung out around a bonfire that night after grilling steaks. We took Sadie with us on this trip and she did remarkably well traveling as always. I don’t know why this is so surprising -the dog travels well. This is her on the boat. Only the second time she’d been on a boat but after a while she wanted to drive, as you can see.

Charlie’s  birthday week

We went out to celebrate Charlie’s birthday to yet another wonderful Mexican place Mezcalito’s with Link and Stiletto. Probably had way too many margaritas but it was her birthday.  This is the first we’ve seen L&S since the holiday so it was good to catch up and we were happy they could come out and celebrate with us.

The rest of the week has kind of been a blur. We’re having all our neighbor friends over tonight for Indian food and this weekend I’m sure we’ll hit the GA/Auburn game somewhere and Sunday we’re going up to friends in Gainesville, GA for a housewarming party. December is here already and I’m sure next thing we know it will be –

New Years Eve

We decided to do something different this year and bought tickets to see a show at The Earl in east Atlanta (and, thanks for the great post on Mattiel, Carrie). We’re going to take a Lyft down there, eat dinner and check out the show. If we feel like it later we may stop by Mary’s to dance and avoid the woman-hater bartender.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Cheers!

getting sh*t in order

This post has been sitting on the back burner of my mind for awhile so I decided now was the time to get it out.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life is get your shit in order. Because once you’re gone it could be a free for all. A bickering wasteland of people who you thought were your family and were looking out for you but are not after you’re dead.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned this from experience.

When I was a child and the grandparents I adored were still alive they always said that one day my sister and I would get their farm. It was always known that we’d get that farm. It was a 14 acre homestead surrounded by 115 acres of farmland that backed up to about 5 acres of woods.

Fast forward years later. Our grandmother signed the farm over to our mother thinking she would outlive her and it would naturally succeed to my sister and I. Nope. Mom died of cancer in ’99 years before grandmother who by then had no power whatsoever over the farm being split three ways between my sister and I and our father – who ended up controlling the land and profits for years afterwards. Our father dragged our mother to a lawyer while she was sick and under duress and she willed everything to him and split the farm three ways and wrote in that our father would receive the profits of the farm during his lifetime. They also wrote in that it was to be joint tenants in common with full rights of survivorship meaning that the last person alive has 100% of it.

This farm has been a contention since our mother’s death. Our father – unbeknownst to my sister and I -tore down the old house and buried it on the property. He also had all the trees taken down in the woods to make more farmland. It’s now a wasteland of corn for profit. The only thing left of the farmstead are the barns and corn cribs. My sister and I only found this out when we went to visit it one day. If it were up to us we would have kept the homestead intact.

In ’09 I was laid off from my job and started my landscape company while I looked for another job. It was then I asked our father to share some of the profits of the land with my sister and I and he grudgingly did. Let’s be aware that he has many other acres of farmland that he owns outright that he gets profits from including those of his mother and 2nd wife. So, he’s not hurting for the measly 120 acres of farm share of our grandparent’s farm. Not to mention he was the sole beneficiary of our mother’s life insurance which I’m sure was somewhere in the six figures.

So, the man ain’t hurting.

As you know recently my step mother passed. For some odd reason she always handled all the taxes including our jointly owned farm taxes. Twice a year she would call and tell me what I owed on the taxes and I would write her a check for my amount. She would put it in the bank and send in a check for what was owed for all of the taxes. I’m sure there are several tax stubs for all the parcels of land conglomerated including our 120 acres. In fact, those 120 acres plus the 14 acres of homestead have about 6 or 7 tax stubs because it’s separated into parcels.

My sister started complaining to me about this a few years ago. She tried to take over that portion of paying the taxes but our stepmother fought it. Plus, we had never received copies of the tax stubs to see what it was we owed we always just went by what she told us we owed. It would have been nice to have copies of the tax bills for our records so I called down to the county and asked to be emailed copies. I then sent the copies to my sister for her records. But, our stepmother continued to pay the taxes and we continued to send her checks for our amounts. When she passed I told my sister that it would probably be a good idea if we started paying the taxes ourselves. Our father (supposedly) by then had decided he was out of the profits and taxes on that farm (I honestly have no idea if he still receives a check for profit or not, but I don’t think so). She then told me that she would have to check with Dad to see what he wanted to do.

That burned me the f*ck up. I told her that we should pay them and he should stay out of it. I mean, the man can barely put something in the microwave to eat let alone pay our farm taxes. But, I shut up about it because since our stepmother had recently passed I didn’t want to upset everyone because then it would be all my fault for stirring the pot.

So, I sent Dad my check for the farm taxes after emailing the county yet again to get the stubs to see what the correct amount for my half was and forwarded it to my sister. (And, let it be known she has never thanked me for doing this). I called Dad weeks later to ask him if he got my check and paid the taxes. He said he did but he had a problem with my check.

Me: What’s the problem?

Dad: Well, I took it down to the county and gave it to them but it was made out to me and they wouldn’t take it.

Dad, you’re supposed to put the check in your account and write another check for the whole amount. Joe (our stepmother) always did that.

Oh, I ended up doing that and going back and paying it.

Well, if you would have told me I would have made it out to the county but I’m sure they don’t want 20 checks for every parcel of farmland that the taxes are due on.

Later, when I told my sister this she said, Why didn’t you make it out to the county?

I explained that I was never TOLD to make it out to the county and that I always made it out to either Dad or Joe to put in the bank and so on.

She then said, Well, next year one of us just needs to pay the whole amount so we only have to write the county one check for the whole year.

I have several problems with this.

  1. She just wants me to pay the whole damn thing next year and when I ask her for her half she’ll say it was $$ I owed her. (which, I don’t – she thinks I do but I don’t)
  2. The county taxes need to be paid bi-yearly because that’s what the stubs say. They send those things out twice a year to be paid then. They don’t want a bunch of upfront checks to deal with.
  3. I have that farm money earmarked for things we need. I’m not paying upfront for something I don’t owe yet.

I told my sister that I wasn’t paying all up front and this was what I was afraid of: Dad fucking up all the farm tax shit and why I said that one of us needed to be in charge of doing this. Then, she cut me off.

Well, I don’t have time to talk about this. I have to get ready and go to work now. We can discuss this later.

This is what everyone in my family does when shit gets too hard. I have to go now. Or, I can’t talk about this anymore. Or even, I’m not going to argue with you about this. Placing the blame on me like I was the bad guy in wanting to start an argument over this. I’m only sticking up for myself which always gets misconstrued of my trying to start an argument.

It’s a passive-aggressive move my sister always makes.

I was absolutely furious after that. In fact, I was so mad I sat in my car and cried before I went in to work that day. It all came crashing down on me – my stepmother’s death, my controlling father and sister to deal with and finally the loss of my mother who I cursed for leaving me this shit to deal with because her and grandma couldn’t properly get a good mother-fucking will done before they passed.

I went into work with red eyes and immediately called my lawyer and left a message saying that I needed to revise my will and that my wife also needed one.

Fast forward to me and Charlie at the attorneys office. I’m asked about my mother’s will and the farm and the language on the deed to the farm, etc. I’m shaking my head and saying, I don’t have a copy of either of those no one gave me a copy after my mother died.

The attorney acted like she was in shock over that. I said, I can’t ask my father because he blows a rod every time I ask about something like that. I don’t know if I’m even in his will.

I was told to call down to the county to get a copy of the deed to see what the language on it was – this was for purposes of whether or not it was inheritable. Which, I later found it was not – because of the language I’m sure my father had put in there while my mother was under the duress of cancer.

Just having to call the county – yet again – to get copies of stuff that is my stuff burned me up. Between my father and sister, no one wants me to know anything.  And, next year I’m again emailing the county for the tax stubs and sending my portion directly to them.

So, this is what I’m telling you. If you do one thing and one thing only before you die take care of your shit. Make sure the people you love are taken care of and don’t have to fight off mean family members. Make sure they don’t have something they have to deal with for the rest of their lives because you couldn’t get your shit right before you died. I’m thankful every day that I have a loving wife, step children, in-laws and friends – who gladly stepped in to volunteer to be backup executors and take care of our animals should something happen to us.  If it weren’t for them I’d have no one. Many times we create our own families through marriage and friendships. That’s why we need to protect the families we’ve created from the ones we’re born in to – especially, for same-sex couples.

we’re back

I bet you didn’t even know we were gone, did you?

We took off for Colorado last week for a mini vaca from Thursday to Tuesday. We first flew to Denver and spent the first night there in a little Airbnb relatively close to downtown. We landed insanely early in the morning and had to stash our bags at the place before heading out to walk around. We walked for -it seemed- forever until we finally made it to Colfax Avenue. It seemed this wasn’t the “in” part of Colfax either but we walked past a few “interesting” stores we wanted to check out and finally ended up at Illegal Petes – drinking a beer at 10:15 in the morning – Denver time – since we’re from the ATL and it was after noon THERE we felt it appropriate. Plus, as I noticed several fellow alcoholics  others were drinking before noon as well.  After that, we were done walking for awhile and decided to take Lyfts around town to look at stuff and check out a few other breweries. We met up with a fellow blogger, Aussa Lorens at Great Divide Brewing Company who I’d not met before, and, I might add is just as hilarious as her blog.

Afterwards, we went to Epic Brewing Company where the atmosphere was nice and the beers very hoppy. (I honestly thought at one point there was something herbaceous in my beer it was so hoppy.)

The next day we packed up and headed west towards Breckenridge. I heard a lot of good things about the town and the slopes – mind you we weren’t skiing unless we took a temporarily leave of our senses which was all possible while on vacation but I just wanted to check out the town. On the way we passed a small town (when I say small I mean like population 20) that was situated around this lake where everyone was fishing and catching trout. I kicked myself majorly for not hauling all my fly fishing junk out there to fish.

We reluctantly got on the road after watching some people catch one trout after another and headed towards the town of Dillon. It was a quaint little town – maybe a bit bigger than population 20 but you could certainly walk from one end of it to another in about 20 minutes. We had a beer at the Dillon Dam Brewery and then headed out.

We pulled into Breckenridge and parked on the street and walked around for a bit. I was trying to find us a place to stay on my phone but everything I pulled up was well over $100. We wandered into a realty agency to see if they had any affordable rentals and the cheapest they could come up with was over $200. They said we’d better book fast because there were going to be a lot of people in town that weekend and that we should even make a dinner reservation because the places would be crowded. I was like, Next, and suggested we head on down the road to the town of Frisco and check that out. It seemed quaint and cute. Maybe we could stay there.

In Frisco we drove up to this motel that had a fan in every window. I got out and went into the office and asked this dude who looked like he’d partaken in too much of the local weed. He showed me a room that the bedspread looked like it hadn’t been changed since the early 70’s. Next. I got back into the van and told Charlie to drive me to the next inn. Which was a bed and breakfast.

Ok, for any of you that have read my blog and former blogs YOU KNOW how I feel about BnB’s. There’s always some weird people that run those places that love to get into your business and the whole eating breakfast together with strangers I can’t really do. I don’t do well socially in the mornings before I’ve had my coffee. In fact, it is coffee that has kept me out of JAIL a lot of trouble. But, for the sake of our trip and needing a place to stay I was willing to forgo my personal feelings. I went inside and rang the bell. (This was the third place I had to ring a bell – I guess no one sits at a front desk anymore?) and this lady came out and I asked her if she had any vacancies. She said she did and could show me a lovely (she said) room with two double beds.

Ok, I let it go that she just assumed that I wasn’t there with my wife and maybe I would have wanted a king sized bed because, yes, it is the 21st century. The lady took me up a very steep stairway explaining that it was the original stairs from the……then, it all sounded like blah, blah, blah in my head. I don’t want a history lesson when I’m looking at a place to lay my head. She showed me a room with steel beds covered in old quilts, dark curtains and little house on the prairie-ish pictures on the walls. Then, as we went back downstairs she pointed to the dinning room and said that they would be having pancakes in the morning and I thought about that for one second and Goodnight John-boy sounded in my head and then thought, Next. 

I got back into the rental van and Charlie asked if that place was ok and I said, If we’re playing Laura and Mary on Little House on the freaking-Prairie it is. Let’s go over there, I said, pointing across the street to the Frisco Hotel. It had a lodge feel with a great room and a fireplace. Subdued lighting and Kurt Cobain’s younger son manning the front desk. I made him show me a room and he took me upstairs to another great room that had leather couches and a bookshelf next to a room with hardwood floors, a mini bar and deck. Ah, we were home for the next two days. I handed him my credit card and said that would do. Aside from our Airbnb this place was the bomb!

After checking in and walking around town we settled on a place for dinner that had a jazz band playing. The food and music turned out to be an excellent choice for the evening. The next day we woke up to snow on the ground and the place was just beautiful. After coffee and finding breakfast at a cafe’ across the street we decided to go on a snowy hike on a trail just at the edge of the little town. The trail took us to a lake named Rainbow lake (of all places).

We talked to several people on the trails – especially, those who had dogs. It seemed that everyone had a dog there and it was fun. We saw one lab actually get into the lake and swim out to get a stick and wondered if he would get hypothermia. His owners didn’t seem to be concerned. I thought about our dogs and they would probably have had on fleece lined jackets with booties on their paws. After Frisco we headed south making our way to Colorado Springs. On the way we stopped off and played at the Garden of the Gods.

It seemed like we went from a winter wonderland to the desert in one day. The climate was really messing with us. When we first arrived in Denver it was actually warmer there than Atlanta. The first day in Frisco we were walking around with just long sleeved shirts on, then snow and coats, then long sleeved shirts and then even just t-shirts. After the G of the G we pulled into Colorado Springs. We left the van parked on a street downtown and headed for this brewery named Phantom Canyon Brewery  which turned out to be fun and we were just in time to watch some football. It was happy hour and all their house brews were $3 and free pool and darts. We shot pool and watched a few games and then decided that since an old college buddy of mine wasn’t going to meet up with us we’d ditch town. Honestly, it was our least favorite part of Colorado. Aside from the brewery there didn’t seem to be one thing to hold our interest long enough to stay there. It even seemed like a depressing little town. We decided to get back in the van and drive straight through Denver to Boulder where neither of us had been before.

Once in Boulder we went though the whole hotel thing again. We finally found a decent room overlooking the college and decided to go out and get something to eat and watch the Falcons. We ended up at  Dark Horse Bar and Grill and what a blast that place was. We ended up sitting at the end of the bar next to four other people who worked at the bar and had just gotten off work. It was two guys and a male and female couple. One of the guys was doing an Irish car bomb with pumpkin beer and we commented on that and the other guy said he was going to go get us a real Irish car bomb with Stout because they didn’t have any on draft behind the bar. He hopped up and later came back with just that. We had already done a shot of Jameson by then and the car bombs went down nicely. Later, we went to order food and the guys talked us into trying a burger that apparently the place is famous for – the Jiffy Burger which had a layer of peanut butter. They talked us into it and it was pretty good. I knew I would like it because there was a bar near Purdue that had the same type of burger that I always had.

The next day we decided to go on a hike before heading back to Denver for our last night. We drove out to a trail on the edge of town and easily found a trail that led to the top of this mountain. We could have done more hiking in Boulder and explored it more but I don’t regret anything we did on the trip.

     

By the time we got back to Denver about all we were up for was some warm Pho and bed at the Airbnb. We were both ready to come home despite loving Frisco and Boulder. Here is a pic of our lovely Airbnb host, Chloe.

 

ghosting the past

I know I have been writing a lot about pod casts lately but some of the topics make me really think about things I want to write about. Usually, I listen to these when I’m going for a walk. In fact, they kind of spur me to walk more because I look forward to listening to them. I cannot seem to listen to them while I’m at work because I can’t concentrate on my work and listen to what they are saying – sometimes even when I’m walking when I’m listening to something that makes me think I take off with my own thoughts and have to rewind the podcast to hear what they said because I drift off.

One of the topics that has stuck with me is ghosting. We all have been ghosted at one time or another and probably have ghosted someone else. I know I have probably written about this previously but I was ghosted by two of my good friends who I share a tattoo with and the other two friends with the tattoo I have ghosted (there are five of us altogether who share this tattoo). Sometimes I wonder if this tattoo was a curse to us. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone all-in to be marked for life with the same tattoo.  Other times I think that it’s just a way of life -having friendships come and go like the ebb and flow of the ocean. I’ve come to grips with it and am completely ok with it.

I believe that friendships fit into three categories.

  1. The besties you see or speak to every week or sometimes even more than once a week: These are a rarity for Charlie and I. We only have a few who we see every week and it’s kind of works out the way it does because if we had more then we wouldn’t have any time to ourselves.
  2. The once a month kind of friendships – the ones you may say, Hey haven’t seen you in a week, month, a few months since that ho left you – you meet for a drink or dinner.
  3. The ones you maintain a distance relationship with who you only really converse with on social media. Maybe you’ll travel every once in a blue moon to see but you remain distant friends.

And, everyone outside of that is really not a friend. They’re just someone you run in to at a bar or concert or restaurant and you exchange pleasantries of “We really do need to get together soon.” When both parties are thinking, Yeah no.

I believe someone can only have so many close friends in this life or else it gets crowded. I also believe people outgrow friendships, they move on or the time to spend with them takes a lower priority than the ones who currently are your besties or they piss you off.

I’ve lived on the same street since ’97 and have been friends with another lesbian couple three houses down. They have only been here a year longer than myself. They have both been through some health problems over the years but they are both doing well now. I used to take them lasagna’s when one of them was ill and there were times I got the mail for them. Charlie and I were always asking them down for a beer, over to dinner and even to the parties we’ve thrown – to no avail. They never hardly ever took us up on it – to a point where I was starting to think that there was something they didn’t like about us or our house or something. They always said no. It was a while back that I needed a ride to the train station – which, is less than 3 miles from both of our houses. I asked one of them if they could give me a ride to the station – this was the one who has her own business and is not tied to an 8-5 schedule. Before I could even tell her what time  or day I needed to go she said, Oh I don’t think so. I know I’ll be busy.

I was hurt by that and thought after all the lasagnas I’ve made for them when they weren’t feeling well and taking them all my Good Housekeeping magazines she won’t even give me a ride to the train? I mean, I think I almost cried.

Flash forward, they are one of our landscape clients and Charlie always gets roped into doing extra things for them like getting their mail when they go out of town and making sure if any packages that are left she gets them so no one will steal them. I told her that she shouldn’t do anything extra for them that I was done after that train station incident. She said that she was going to test them and ask if they could get our mail while we’re out of town next week just to see what she says since just recently she not only hauled their mail down to our house but also all their Amazon boxes as well. (Strangely, when Charlie said it would be easier if she had a key to their house and leave all that stuff there the woman acted all weird about it and changed the subject)

Don’t count on her saying yes, I said.

I just want to see what she says.

I guess the moral to this story is to just do stuff for people and not expect anything in return. Maybe I just need to get my head in that space and not expect anything of people. Even so – she’s pretty much off my #2 list.

Then, there’s the ones who are taking a different path – away from the friendship. Whether it’s a life changing thing, a new relationship, or a lifestyle change the ghosting may be mutual. Sometimes we’re just all in different places. I had heard that one of the “Toads” I share a tattoo with had hers removed. I find this ironic because she was one of the ones who always tried to get us all back together. I look down at mine in the traditional Chinese style on my ankle and think, this was just a phase of my life. Part of my past. I will not erase it. You can’t change history but only the future. 

hurricane central

I hope everyone had a hurricane-free weekend. I know there are a lot of us in Texas, the Gulf, Florida, coastal and island areas who are over the hurricane season already.

We have friends in Florida who are still without power from Irma. Everyone that we knew made it through the storm physically ok but had a lot of their property damaged. Charlie’s folks, kids and bro fared ok – they were all very lucky. In Georgia we got a scary storm both Monday and Tuesday of last week. Wind blew several large oaks down in our part of town. There were stop lights out for several days and trees down blocking intersections and cutting out power. Our neighbor across the street had a tree in his neighbor’s yard split and land straight across his driveway cutting out his power and cable. The tree laid there for a week before he was able to get out there to saw it up. Charlie felt sorry for him and grabbed her saw and went over to help. A huge branch broke off our neighbor’s tree behind us and landed in the back – narrowly missing our beloved bar shed. We have friends north of here in Gainesville, GA that had a tree fall across their entire house making it unlivable. Unfortunately, their landlord is a huge dick and won’t return their calls, wants to keep their rent they just paid for the month and their deposit. On top of all that they were staying at a friend’s house and their dog got away and they’ve been looking for her for two days now.

All this storm stuff and another one is on the way. I only hope it misses everyone so people who suffered the last one can take a breath. Charlie’s folks are supposed to come up for the week and called yesterday to say they may not be up because of the next storm. I was like, Wait a minute – it doesn’t work like that – it’s even more of a reason to get up here as soon as possible. Family can be so unreasonable at times. I fully believe the children become the adults and the parents regress back to 9 year olds. I feel like the next phone conversation is going to be me saying, Don’t make me come down there. We shall see where the week takes us.

Last week after the storm we were pretty busy. Charlie had a ton of cleanup work for the landscaping company and we went to our first Taiko club practice. The group was getting ready for a performance at the Japan festival this past weekend so it was their last rehearsal before then. We only got to play the numbers we knew with them and just hung out afterwards. They have another performance this coming weekend as I said in the previous post that we’re planning on going to. After that it is my hope that the rehearsals try to get us up to speed on the songs that we don’t know.

Friday we went to another backyard concert at our friends house (the ones we got the idea of our backyard music thing from). Kate Coleman opened for Granville Automatic. They were fantastic and we really enjoyed them. Below is a few videos of them:

Saturday, Charlie and I just took it easy. Mostly I worked on installing these security camera’s that our friends down the street gave us. This past week Charlie and I had our cars rifled through because stupid us left our doors unlocked. So, no more of that. I installed two of the cameras in the car port, one at the front door and the other in the living room. It works pretty well when we’re not at home. It alerts me when Sadie is barking out the window – probably because the mail person is driving by.

Sunday, we had our friends from down the street and B. Ferris over for a post hurricane party. They are two couples Holly & Darren and Andy & Rosie who live next to each other who we befriended when one couple became clients of ours. They are a total blast and it seems like a week doesn’t go by without meeting at one of their houses or ours for a beer or something to eat. The four of them showed up in Darren’s golf cart with food and hurricane drink concoctions. We sat outside and ate & drank, watched football, the guys played darts and watched the game at the shed and later Charlie had a fire. It was a nice end to the weekend and I certainly didn’t want to get up and go to work this morning.

I’m surely ready for a vacation – Colorado where there are no hurricanes.

 

 

3 Taiko songs and a funeral

Last week I went to Indy for my step mother’s funeral. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to go up there the end of July to spend some time with her and process it. I will probably save another post about that for later but –  I was ready to get back to Atlanta the following Saturday. I did want to get back because we had our drum recital on Sunday. After taking Taiko lessons for almost 3 months I didn’t want to miss the finale.

Once we were there we ran through our (3) songs and then the regular group came in to play. We’d only heard them play this one song so when they started to play all these other songs we hadn’t heard we were blown away. I was kinda like, Yeah we suck. But later the group assured us that they have been playing together for over 2 years (which, by Japanese standards is an infantile amount of time to hone the craft of Taiko drumming).

This is a video I took of them:

I really didn’t think anyone would show up for our recital but then Emil, LB and Benji’s new gf from out of town showed up. Charlie was really nervous but I wasn’t that bad. Afterwards, we went next door for post recital libations.

Tonight, we’re going to our first real rehearsal since the recital. We were asked to join the group afterwards by Peter our instructor. Apparently, according to Ginny in the group not everyone who takes the class is asked the join. By no means do I think we were asked the join because of our Taiko prowess but for the fact that we’re fun and we get along with the group – which, is primarily all women except for two men. I had already decided if this one meth head guy that was in our class joined that I wasn’t going to join because every time he was in class I wanted to throw my stick at him. He was the most annoying guy EVER. Frequently, in our sessions he would be back there dicking around playing his drum when Peter was trying to talk to us about something. This guy toted that he was a “drummer” and knew how to drum already. (So was I but I wasn’t saying anything). Constantly he was asking about the music and how to play a certain part we were working on. There were only a few of us – myself included – who could read music but Peter would put words above the notes to read so it would be a natural beat. Charlie caught on quite well and so did the rest of us except this guy who SAID he was a “drummer”. (And, most musicians I know who play drums call themselves percussionists not drummers) Fortunately, our last class Peter announced that “Kip-dip”was no longer going to join us because he was pursuing an opportunity and had to go out of town. Great – go cook your meth in Telluride, mf-er, I thought.

I think Peter was a little sad to lose another guy but I really don’t think he would have been asked to join as we later learned most of the other’s in our class didn’t like this guy either. Peter wants more men in the group but he says a lot of men who take the class want to be able to perfect it in just a few sessions and frequently get frustrated and quit. I just remember being in band and practicing the same numbers over and over again for shows. We practiced those songs daily, sometimes on the weekends -or- at band camp. We memorized everything, too. So, from only practicing once a week I would think there will need to be a lot of at home practice to get up to speed to perform shows –which is what we’ll eventually do. Right now we’re so green that we’ll need to practice with the group for a while before we do a show with them. Charlie and I scored some Congo drums from her son and we’re going to start practicing on those. I need to get us some felt tipped mallets so we won’t ruin the heads. Taiko drums are INSANELY expensive or else we would have a couple already to practice on. Peter has a whole video on youtube on how to make a drum out of an old tire (I’m actually surprised that Charlie hasn’t started this project yet) we have a lot going on right now – we may have her youngest and his gf up this weekend from Florida. They have been without power all week and are over it but gasoline shortage is still a problem down there. Benji’s gf that came up to get away from the storm said it took her 12 hours to get back to Jacksonville yesterday. Charlie’s parents are coming up next week to visit and fortunately the Taiko group is performing on The Beltline so we’re going to take them to that and support our new group.

Friday we have our friends doing a backyard concert again – the first of this year. Saturday we have the neighbors coming up to make post-hurricane drinks and I’m sure we’ll have a bunch of food. If I don’t talk to y’all have a great weekend! Cheers!