Sometime in the morning on Friday the 29th of December, 2017, my mom died unexpectedly and my life turned upside down.
So I jumped ship from job with the misogynistic, racist, evil boss three months ago, and landed in one that I thought would be ever so much better.
Turns out? Not so much.
My boss is the king of moving the goalposts. He is the master of telling me to do something, then changing his mind. My coworkers, with the exception of the girl I share an office with, can be so shitty to me it makes me question what I’m getting out of all this, besides “not being homeless”.
And combine this with a bunch of stress from my health, and other things going on in my life, and I spend significant portions of each day trying not to cry, with varying degrees of success.
(Things that help: Pictures of foxes. The Fury Road soundtrack. The Buggs. Pain pills, but I only get those at bedtime, alas.)
It’s just hard. I’ve spent my entire adult life getting enormous fulfillment from my job, and after the Pretty Old Plane Co. gig went away, I’ve been just bouncing from one shit gig after another, and it is taking a serious toll on my psyche.
Some days there just aren’t enough foxes.
On Friday, we said goodbye to the sweetest dog ever, and it hurts so badly I feel like my heart is being crushed by an iron hand.
I just texted my old boss and told him what a great boss he was.
I felt compelled to do this because every day — every single day — I am confronted by the Platonic ideal of The Bad Boss and had to remind myself that there are good ones out there, that this situation is hopefully temporary.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had thyroid issues. A surgery in high school to remove a benign nodule left me with a killer neck scar, and in the intervening years, things have not improved.
So I finally scheduled an appointment with the first endocrinologist who would see me before 2014, and went on Friday.
It was not a very good day: I got something less than four hours’ sleep; it was bucketing down rain, which is lovely when you can stay indoors and listen to it, but not so lovely when you have to drive in it; and I was catastrophically sleepy. I drove extra-slowly, just in case.
I got to spend a good half-hour babbling with the doctor about my thyroid and diabetes issues, and got some good tips for food and stuff, and then I got taken down the hall for an ultrasound on my thyroid. Miss Thing lubed me up and rolled the sensor around my throat, asking me to turn my head this way and that.
At one point, with my head tilted back and pointed more or less in the direction of the monitor, I saw her clicking around, marking the edges of a brighter section.
“Is that the tumor?” I joked.
“Who told you that?” she snapped back.
“Um … it was … just a joke?”
She was silent for the rest of the ultrasound. I focused my attention on the ceiling tiles.
Then the doctor came in, to look at the pictures she had taken, and run the scanner thing around my throat himself. She pointed at something on the printout.
“I marked it, because it’s about a centimeter.” The doctor mm-hmm’d and kept ultrasounding, and in the thirty seconds before he spoke again, my mind went fucking nuts.
A centimeter? It IS a tumor, goddammit, I’ve got fucking cancer and I’m going to have to have surgeries and radiation and chemotherapy and dammit, I’m nauseated enough from the fucking diabetes medication, I don’t need even more nausea from cancer treatment and jesus christ, do I have life insurance through Loki’s insurance plan? What will happen if I die? I need to get a living will done up, and probably a regular will, and a DNR, because it is not about being hooked up to a machine and oh gods Loki is going to shit because it’ll be his brother all over again and oh gods I have cancer jesus a centimeter-sized tumor — I hold up my thumb and look at the nail, which is about a centimeter and — GODDAMN IT LOOKS GIGANTIC WHY IS THAT IN MY THROAT oh gods I’m going to die cancer cancer cancer cancer AAAAARGH and then the doctor finishes the scan and asks me to sit up.
“So,” he begins, “on the left side we see scarring, and that’s probably from your surgery. On the right side, we see this area, which could be swelling, and we’ve marked it, so we know what size it is now, and we’ll scan you again in three months and see if there’s any change, but it’s most likely not a tumor,” he concluded, way too far into that paragraph than he should have done.
“Not a tumor? Next time, START WITH THAT BIT.”
“Ah, yes, of course. No, it’s probably not a tumor, probably not cancer, but we’ll keep an eye on it.”
And I melted into a puddle of relief and exhaustion and the lifting of a weight, and went home and told Loki that I probably wasn’t going to die from a lump in my throat.
So I’ve got that going for me.
So I’m still rocking the sabbatical from gainful employment, but I have not been just sitting around, oh, no.
I have painted many walls in (mostly) pleasing colors. I have cleared out the home office. I have planted plants, tended plants, killed plants. I have freelanced and worked on websites and mowed the lawn.
But the most fun I have had is directing, shooting and editing videos.
I did a stop-motion cupcake film for my friends’ Indiegogo campaign, which was fun and frustrating and then fun again. I used chroma keying for the first time here, and learned a lot, and wish it had come out better, but I didn’t want to delay it any longer; I’d lost several days to melted cupcakes/frosting/accoutrements and didn’t want to take any longer than the project already had. The main thing I learned: It is hard to animate something with no limbs.
This was epic amounts of fun.
The last one was also fun, but had many issues. I tried to overcome these, and think I mostly succeeded.
The main thing that made this video more fun to edit was the sheer amount of footage we shot: nearly four dozen clips of performance, non-performance and silliness. Compare to the six clips we shot for the first video, two of which we were unable to use, and you can see how this one was going to be miles better just on principle. And we had a bigger and better backdrop, which allowed for more movement and more diverse angles, and much better lighting — those awesome hanging incandescent bulbs, some wicked-bright LED light-strips, moonflowers, and LED spots. Some of the shots are still too dark, but they are an order of magnitude better than the ones for Blind.
I also worked in some transitions, and tried to incorporate subtle effects, like bumping the color or saturation up or down a bit; and a slight tilt-shift effect, mainly to bring Kara to prominence in the strobe-y shots (like the still, above). I think it worked pretty well.
It made me want to just rush right out and shoot another video, and in fact we tossed around a few ideas while we were shooting, so hopefully it won’t take a year to get another video done!
Three days ago, my employer decided they no longer had need of my services, and walked me out of the building.
To say this was a shock is pretty much the understatement of the century. Six and a half years down the drain, and not because of anything I did, or didn’t do, as far as I can tell: just silly office politics and misunderstandings.
Anyway. I’m not moaning about it. I’m pretty sure there’s a better opportunity out there for me, and I intend to find it and grab it. (If you think you might know of someone who’s hiring awesome people, let me know & I’ll send you my details.)
Hilariously, this came literally right in the middle of some big improvements we’re doing to the house — improvements I now kind of regret, but there’s no going back. On the plus side, our back yard is now a place of beauty and calm, and our dreadful sliding patio door will be replaced by a lovely french door on Tuesday. I wish I could cancel the door, but it’s custom, and paid for, and non-returnable, alas. Trust me when I tell you I will be using the hell out of that door, to get the full value from it.
So I’m at a bend in the road. I’m not sure where it leads to, and the not-knowing is pretty scary, I’ll admit, but I’m also excited by the possibilities. I’m ready for more awesome in my life.
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