June 29, 2012

Pride and Predilection

Heartland Pride is this weekend, and I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about how honored I am to be there Saturday as a Planned Parenthood volunteer.  I full embrace gay rights, and believe it’s a sad fact that we should even have to fight for them.  The measure of a person is not what sets of bits they like to rub together, it’s in their deeds.  But, because we don’t live in that world where you’re not judged on who you love, I’m going to be there, standing up for my brothers, sisters, and in-betweeners.  Straight, gay, lebian, bisexual, asexual, pan sexual, intersexed, transsexual, transgender, I don’t care how you identify, I for one will not judge you based on what’s in your pants, or who you love.
Never before in my life did I think I would be politically active.  The blowhards from the street corners to the voting booths, to the marble waiting areas, to the highest elected office generally behave in such a way as to make my teeth hurt.  Rather than yell louder, it’s been my practice to be the stream and flow around the boulder in my path.  (Water is amazingly powerful, given time.)  That ability to both accept and move around an obstacle might be what I needed to finally get out there and make some noise for what I believe in.  It started with the slutwalk last year, picked up steam by taking donations for Planned Parenthood at the Samurai of Spoken Word. My voyage reached cruising altitude by saying yes, I will spend a couple of hours out in the heat speaking up and reaching out.  If it’s true, if the journey is the reward, I’m looking right at it.

June 22, 2012

Life is Binary, Accept or Deny

Apparently, I’ve been thinking about life and how to not feel like you’re caught in a riptide recently.  After the last *counts on fingers* three years, it would be easy for me to be a very bitter person.  I mean, after deciding I was done with an emotionally unfulfilling marriage, there was some serious upheaval to look forward to.  We had to file chapter 13 bankruptcy, which means 5 years of garnishments and having a financial nanny watching over us.  There was the actual divorce so that we could start our lives over.  Last but not least, there was selling the house.  Once the ex and his girlfriend moved out, it took almost a year to the day of constant cleaning, showings, fighting with the bank, and waiting to get be rid of it.

Since closing on the sale, I’ve moved twice, had two dogs with incontinence issues at separate times, and found the gas in my new apartment shut off for three weeks while my landlord made repairs.  I’m frustrated, broke, treading water, and have three years left to go before my case is discharged.  If I wanted to be, I don’t think anybody would blame me if I was a bitter, nasty recluse, hating the world from afar.  It would be easy.  The thing is, that’s not the road for me.

I am entirely honest when I say that these have been the greatest years of my life.  Nothing has made me feel more alive than my accomplishments.  Nothing has made me more determined than to realize that I was the only person I could trust with cutting through the red tape.  Nothing has felt better than knowing that now, when I get home at night, the only needs I need to meet are my own, and my dog’s. Nothing has cemented my own self-confidence than seeing that even in the face of adversity, I won't freeze, back down, or give in to feeling like a victim.  In the end, I am all I need.  And in a strangely selfish way, it's the best way to be ready for whatever, and whoever's next.

June 21, 2012

Emotional Singularity - Here There Be Peace

I’ll admit, for as much as I love the noise and excitement of being among people, I’m also just as happy to sit back and watch the ebb and flow of others’ lives.  Something I’ve noticed more of recently is the constant chase for fulfillment in the arms or someone or something else.  Happiness is not at the bottom of a Starbucks cup, a dating site profile, a smaller pair of pants, a boob job, or an entourage fawning over your every move.  Wanna know why?  Because absolutely none of those various adornments are there when you’re utterly alone with your own thoughts.  Science being unable to agree on the location of the essence of humanity, the best I can say is Happiness is somewhere behind your bellybutton in that fleshy sack we all carry around every day.

June 20, 2012

Vagina Radar Pings

I am pretty proud of my own vagina and its related gifts, as any woman should be.  But really, why is it even on the collective radar?  Not mine, specifically, but vaginas and what you do to/with them in general.  Thanks to The Blogess for posting this article about the ChildFree movement and how it shouldn't even be a thing.  Meaning, a person's choice whether to even get pregnant (not even end a pregnancy) is so far off the radar, there shouldn't even be a name for it.  It need not register at all, much less have enough attention paid to it that there's enough people for a movement.  I know I've written about it before, but besides prospective grandparents, who's business is it if others procreate?  Personally, I don't want kids.  Never have.  I have been, as my best friend puts it, fixed but not declawed.  I figured that would be the end of the story unless I'm telling someone about the Essure procedure, talking through my decision with a partner, or getting an abdominal x-ray. 

To answer some of the accusations from those who are not opposed to being a parent, yes.  It is a sort of selfishness to not have children.  As is the impulse to have them, or even impress your own biological needs onto someone else.  The thing is, it's an impulse we're all allowed to have; you in your way, me in mine.  My keeping my uterus as strictly ornamental instead of functional has no bearing on my ability to do my job, be a friend, a girlfriend, or even an upstanding citizen of the United States.  (Though, in a case of reverse discrimination, really you'd think I'd be the better candidate for a job seeing as how I won't be taking maternity leave, or driving up the cost of insurance premiums.)
Personally, I have more than just a lack of maternal instincts to procreate.  I have some very unflattering and strong opinions of the process post-orgasm.  I can't say that I'd be patient with other parents.  I have no interest in navigating today's school systems.  But, mostly, it's the fact that I've had some bumps along the way that make my body unfit to carry a baby to term without constant medical supervision or intervention.

In short, I agree with Dr Seuss when he said about children; "You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em.".

June 19, 2012

Frugal Fitness and a Love of Midtown

While my apartment certainly isn't perfect, it seems like I find new reasons to love my neighborhood more and more every day.  My building is old, charming, and filled to the brim with interesting people.  My landlord might be a little slow to get maintenance done, but he treats his tenants fairly, and takes a personal recommendation over a credit score any day.  My place is cheap.  I mean, $550 for a two bedroom apartment with two dogs, and no additional pet rent.  Unheard of, right?  I'm within walking distance of a corner store, several restaurants, a lovely park, and a booming retail development.  My neighbors consist of college students, 20-somethings, low to medium income families, oddballs, hipsters, old money millionaires, those looking to avoid keeping up with the Joneses, and people starting over.  I couldn't feel like I should live in a better part of town. This week, I discovered another reason to be happy to have picked up and moved east; my local community center.

June 15, 2012

Mailbox Hellmouth = Entrepreneurship

Yesterday, I got a bill in the mail for an additional $300+ on my recent visit to the dentist.  The short version of the story is that my insurance will only cover silver fillings, and my dentist used the clear kind.  The insult is that they called to verify benefits, and quoted me a totally different price, which I paid at the end of the visit.  This is all after I specifically asked about silver fillings because I'd had a few of the white ones leak in the past.  I was told they weren't as good a filing, and their office didn't like to use them.  Oh yeah?  Well, I don't really like to pay $450, thanks.  We left things with their receptionist saying she'd ask the doctor when he came in on Monday if they could work with me on the bill.  No idea what that meant, but it's better than a "Oooh, that sucks.  So, will that be cash or credit?".

Today, I get a bill from the gas company in the mail.  It's not an absurd amount of money, but seeing as how I had a leak in my gas lines that had my service shut off for over 3 weeks while my landlord made the repairs, I'm still a little bitter.  In looking through my $18.96 bill, I see $14 for an administration fee, $3 for the sewer separation mandate, and $1.24 for sales tax.  That leaves me with having used a whopping $0.72 worth of gas last month.  Forget social engineering or ponzi schemes, I wanna run a public utility to fund my millions!

I complain about all these things because it gave me an idea.  I said something flippant about how if I thought I could talk to anything other than a brick wall, I'd call the gas company.  That led me to thinking that I could write letters for other people who've run into similar frustrations.  I mean, why not?  I have a logical mind, a sense of fairness, use full words, have a basic understanding of how grammar works, use spellcheck, and like to see justice done to those who deserve it.  I figure, if I can get through my own letter writing campaign with my bank when it came to filling out their paperwork for the short sale, disputing a porn charge on a cable bill should be easy!

So, I think I'll throw this out there.  If you've got a dispute you want addressed, let me know.  Send me a synopsis of what's going on, the contact info you've got, any relevant information I might need, and I'll write a letter for you.  I can mail your grievance, or I can send it to you, and you can drop it in the mail as you see fit.  We can talk payment when you get in touch.  I can't imagine I'd want to charge much.  Pizza and beer money is fair, don'tcha think?  Anyway, if you've got something that need a good what fer, email me at Ephemily@gmaill.com.  I'll keep my file handy so I can make sure my teeth are nice and sharp.

June 14, 2012

My Food's Too Loud!

The subject of migraine headaches comes up semi-frequently since I know several people who suffer from them.  I also get these debilitating day-stoppers, and sometimes it's good to pass around a few tips to see if they help others who get kneecapped by their brain now and again.  One such conversation was about how awful they can get.  One of my coworkers gets ocular migraines from time to time, and he was describing how they affect his vision, and other senses, including motion and sound.  That reminded me of the very worst migraine I can ever remember having.  And, of course, in typical Ephemily style, I managed to bungle my own self-care. 

June 13, 2012

Putting My Actions Where My Intentions Are

Right as I was walking out of the office this afternoon, my phone rang.  It was from a number I didn't recognize, but I'm glad I answered.  It was a call from Planned Parenthood, and the lady on the other end wanted to know if I was still interested in volunteering.  Despite spotty reception, we were able to make a very last minute appointment for later the same night.  My stipulation was that I would stop home to let my dog out before I headed out to meet her.  It's on the way, and only takes a few minutes.  With her agreement, we hung up, and I think I may have actually skipped the last few feet to my car.  Don't get me wrong, I was still a little nervous.  My spouting support for Planned Parenthood has, thus far, been on my own terms and my own turf.  This is the chance to take that into the wilds, and that's new.  But, there's that pesky idea of doing something every day that scares you, and this is a worthy reason to be a little nervous.  It's the kind of nerves that build character.

June 11, 2012

My Pregnant Laptop

Anybody who has ever worked a job that requires talking to the public knows, it’s a thankless gig.  Make a career of it, and you know why nobody at the DMV seems to have smiled in an eon.  Most days it’s a matter of slogging through and hoping quitting time is its own tonic.  However, today, I took a call from a field tech from one of our vendors.  He was looking to install some software on a remote site, and needed admin access to do so.  He’d called in the previous week to get some prep work done on the PC in question, so today was a follow up to that.  He asked if I could take remote control of the PC in front of him and kick off another installation.  As we were talking, the subject of PC frustrations came up when the installer seemed to crap out.  I said it reminded me of how Vista would do that sometimes, but if it’s between that and a free laptop collecting dust, I guess I can live with it for a while.  He asked what I meant, and I said that I’d been given an old laptop that wasn’t working, and I was able to fix it for the cost of a new hard drive.  Not too bad, we both agreed.  I followed it up with “Yeah, that was easy enough.  But, I think it’s pregnant.  It’s missing a period.”

There was silence on the phone for a few minutes as he thought about what I meant.  As soon as he understood that the period key was missing from the keyboard, he started giggling, and told me he’s going to be laughing about that all day.  I consider those kinds of phone calls paying it forward if it means one more day without blood pressure medication or homicidal urges for a fellow CSR.

June 8, 2012

And Now, a Word From Our Sponsor

Sorry for the break guys and gals.  I've had a few things come to a head recently.  Namely, the gas in my apartment has been off since May 23rd.  There was a leak bad enough that the gas company had to turn off my service.  Long story short, the landlord is still working on getting it fixed, and I'm discovering the joys of slow cookers in lieu of using my gas stove.  My beagle was having accidents in the house at an infuriating rate.  She went to stay with the ex for a while so he could take her to the vet and I could get some peace.  My job has also been a bit of a source of irritation, so I'm trying to find a solution to that as well.  I've got a list of things I want to write about, but I need to find the time and energy for them.  So far, I'm exhausted at night, and the words don't want to flow.  I end up staring at a glowing computer monitor as I shovel leftovers into my face, get frustrated, and end up watching Law and Order re-runs in my muu-muu.  I'll be right back at it though, just give me a bit to get that damned thing called life sorted out.  Miss you much!