On The Move

On The Move
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I'm very excited to be riding a scooter. We're kind of in the boonies of the suburbs (Burboonies?) so it's not like this is totally useful for meeting up with people or running to the corner grocer to get your single person's week's worth of food. It is however a lot of fun to ride.

This isn't the scooter I'm going to be riding either. The one I'm currently trying to get working and legal is a generic Chinese 150cc scooter. I have to get a class M license, we have to get the title (bought it from someone who bought it at an auction) and then get it licensed. It also needs to be fixed, it won't start. We think it's either the starter or possible the valves. Look at who doesn't know what either of those things mean. (I kid, I can replace the starter.)

These were the scooters the ladies bought a couple years ago but used only rarely. I'm basically riding it to the bus stop and back. The kids don't need rides to school; they take the bus now. This leaves me freed up to get them ready and then take off. It's very liberating. I've been bumming rides off people or borrowing cars for a couple years now and it's wearing me down. Having this is a boost.

The other scooter is also a bit more stable and can technically go up to 70mph. Now, I don't see myself doing that on I-35, but it just means I can get downtown if I want to and go to places that aren't just close by. Again, exciting times.

Big news for Rowan: She is part of a group of musicians that will be playing at the Capitol in December. We don't know the details yet, but I have a feeling it's for the big tree lighting ceremony they do every year. It involves caroling and other musical events. We're all very proud.

Our little buddy Charlie had another cluster of seizures last night. So that's a month apart. We're supposed to go back to get his blood work done anyway, but it looks like we might need to up his meds a little so these get farther apart. If you've never seen a grand mal in a dog, I wouldn't recommend just looking it up online. It's a little traumatic. I'm sure it is for all animals. Just nothing we can do but make sure he's loved afterward.

Everything else seems to be going well. Everyone here is either at work or in school. I'm still losing weight and feeling pretty good about it. Just moving ahead. Now I'm moving ahead with 150 cubic centimeters of fun.


Mass Transit

my daily view
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
This is the view I've seen twice a day for the past year.

The car I had failed catastrophically in late 2011. I didn't have decent enough credit or much in the way of savings to get a new one. At the time, Grace and I were living together and so we'd share her car. Most of the time we would ride bikes to school/work but for dates or events at night we'd drive. We also drove to visit her parents.

When she moved away to grad school, I had a choice: Try to get a new car and likely have to pay through the nose and go further into debt with car payments, or take the bus. I chose the later, really wasn't much of a choice.

I will say I enjoy taking the bus. I think Austin's mass transit over all is really underutilized, isn't well developed, and is very under appreciated by the general public. (Just my opinion. I'm sure someone will show studies of how some cities have great mass transit.)

In Austin it's just the bus and light rail. The light rail is a single line going from way north to downtown. It runs every half hour from before rush hour till just after rush hour in the evening. It runs till midnight on the weekends. The buses have locals and expresses and some flyers or shuttles with limited stops for the airport or UT campus.

I ride the express. I get a lift to the park and ride and get downtown about 30 mins later. Then I walk a few blocks to work. Same going home. Sometimes I'll take the train, depending on if my ride needs to go that way or not. But the train fills up at that time and there's never a place to sit. Still, it's better than driving.

I thought at first not having a car would be really awkward. But it's not as bad as I thought. I think even if I had a car, I'd still take the bus. There are two cars at the house and I've been told I'm free to use either. I'm on the insurance. And while I've always threatened to ride my bike more, being that far away from things makes me glad I have options.

Soon I'll have a scooter to ride. I just bought a battery for one of the two scooters we have in the garage. The ladies got these years ago but haven't used them a whole lot. There's been mechanical issues and one needs to be licensed. Also, they're both 150cc scooters so I need to get a class M license.

Then, I'll be able to drive that to the bus stop. And they're big scooters, so technically I could drive one to work if need be.

The only problem I have with the bus right now is it gives me a lot of time to think. I used to read or nap, but the last few weeks it's been hard to do those things and I just sit and stare. I know I'll get past that, but right now it's kind of a long sad ride to work, where I sit for long sad stretches doing nothing but thinking. It's not the bus's fault and I'm really glad it's still there to take me where I need to go.


Knock It Off

Butter Beer
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I have a confession to make. I haven't been handling myself well post breakup. Instead of cutting off all contact, I've been actively looking for ways to sabotage it. It's been the act of a weak and desperate fool. I know those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter have probably noticed the remarks. For that I'm sorry.

Truth be told, I have no contact with her. All I'm doing is spinning in place and hoping I find something that sticks and lets my brain move in a new direction. Some days are better than others but I still find a lot of my time is spent just thinking and missing her. I know it's harmful and I've tried not to, but I've never been a mentally strong person.

But what I can do is stop talking to the internet about it. I have my own journal I keep in which I can write all these thoughts down without sounding like a doofus to the rest of my friends and family. So this is in essence and apology for not acting like a grown up. Thanks for you patience.


AIDS Walk Fundraising

Dear friends, strangers, robots,

Please join me as I raise funds and awareness for AIDS Walk Austin 2013! An estimated 7,000 Central Texans are living with HIV and AIDS, and about 20% of them are not aware of their status due to not getting tested.

Help me raise funds for HIV prevention efforts and care services for our friends and neighbors.
The AIDS Walk benefits AIDS Services of Austin. Founded in 1987, ASA is the region’s oldest and largest community organization addressing the local AIDS crisis. Annually, they provide direct care services to over 1,500 people and HIV prevention education to over 10,000 people.

Please take a moment to give. Even $20 or $50 goes a long way. For example, $50 will supplement food for one person for one month in ASA's Helping Hands Food Bank.

Thank you for making the difference in someone's life!  All I'm doing is walking, you are the real heros by supporting it.

If you'd like to donate, please go here to visit my page.  Thanks again!


My Buddy

This will be long, go get a cup of coffee.

My parents went through a divorce when I was about 11.  They split up and my dad moved out.  The actual divorce wasn't legalized until about 10 years later.  Today my parents are civil and will communicate with each other if needed.  However the break itself wasn't amicable and my brother and I went through a lot.  To this day there are things from which we haven't recovered.

However, we both survived.  My parents both remarried and my mom lost her husband to cancer, then married again.  My dad's been with his wife for some time now, I forget honestly how much.  I think 15 years or more.  My family isn't close.  Something happened with my brother and my parents some 20 years ago and it's never been the same.  Everyone's tried to the limits of their abilities and compassion to recover, but I think the rift is too wide.  I wish it weren't the case, and I've tried to mediate, but so much has been lost in time and emotion that I think we'll all just keep on the way we are.  As long as it's not brought up often, it's probably for the best.

I've been working on keeping in touch with my brother, and I know I could do more, but it's better lately and I think we're still good friends.  I'm sure there's things about each other that we don't like, but we're family and that's important to have.  He's been there for me and I hope he knows I'm there for him.  The physical distance isn't easy, but I think we've been actually getting a little closer.

My parents are their own people.  They still love and care for both me and my brother, but like I said, something happened and the wrong choices were made or the wrong words were said.  Now they live their own lives as best they can.  Their children have been grown adults for years and they have their own problems to worry about.  I love them too.  They've been there for me when I've needed it and although things have been bad between my brother and them, I know they still care.  I hear it all the time, but I don't think we'll ever be a very close family.

But I have my own family now too.  I have two great kids, good friends in my ex-wife and her new wife, and a group of friends that is quick with a helping hand, generous with a bar tab, and always looking out for each other.  I wouldn't say I'm super close with any one of them, and to quote Bilbo, “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”  Having this kind of support system has always been valuable.  When times were tough, there has always been people upon whom I could rely.

All of this leads up to recent events of the past month and the bond I see developing between me and my son.  Gregory and I are a lot alike, but he tends to wear his heart on his sleeve more than I do.  I don't know if I was like that as a child, but I know now that I don't express my feelings nearly as brilliantly as he does.  He has been diagnosed with ADD, and while I'm pretty sure I have it too, I've never seen a doctor for it.  I never thought it was a problem.

When we put Chimera down, Cheryl took it hard.  It was her dog.  But Gregory was the one who played with her the most, took her on the most walks, feed her the most and I think felt the most attached.  He was crushed when we had to put her down.  He's lost fish before and never took it well, but this was his first big loss.  Chim was always in his life.

We put Chim down a week after Grace left me.  I too was crushed and went through a lot of pain for the loss.  I'd lost a friend, a future, and more than a little of myself.  I was very much attached to her and the life we had.  It's been a month and I'm still a mess.  I've just recently decided I can't be friends with her for the time being and I've severed what little contact we had.  It was as painful as the first break and the notion of accepting the fact that she is forever out of my life brought up all kinds of new emotions.  But it's for the best and time will heal it all.  Whatever hope I have for reuniting with her will fade and in time I won't think of her at all.  That time is not now, but it will happen.

In the meantime, my need to feel pain and be sad and recover is paralleling Gregory's loss of Chim.  He wakes up crying because he misses her.  He thinks of her all the time.  He gets sad when he thinks of things that our new dog doesn't do that she did.  When he finds an old toy of hers, it hits him in all the feels.  It's a loss he has to deal with.

So we talk about our feelings together.  I know he's only 9 and he lacks some of the vocabulary needed, but his pain is just as real and his need to heal is just as real.  What he lacks in experience in helping him cope, or the awareness and tools to help him see what he needs to do, he makes up for in youthful optimism.  He may not need to talk as much but he's also not weighed down by what I can only call "age."  His world is smaller, and when it crashes down around him, it still hurts, but he'll recover quickly.

For my part, I've been trying to give him the tools he needs.  He's almost past the point of being sad all the time, so I don't have to do much.  I've told him he can come to me any time he feels like something is wrong and that I'll always listen to any time he just wants to vent or be sad.  I'm also doing it to talk myself down from all the hurt I have.  I've been offering advice to breakups on reddit, knowing that shared pain is pain halved.  I think in talking to Gregory too, he'll see that pain impacts everyone but that it's okay to share and talk and have feelings.  I will admit that I cry a lot when I talk to him about it.  Part of me feels bad for dragging him down with me, so I try to make sure he knows that it's okay to have these feelings and that in time we'll be able to look back with fondness rather than loss.

I experienced this with my parents as well.  When they split it was traumatic for everyone.  I saw my parents cry and rage and feel hopeless.  They had relationships after that didn't last that caused more grief and more pain.  I felt odd at the time, finally seeing that they weren't giant indestructible creatures.  Seeing your parents cry is hard to deal with.  You don't think that kind of pain is possible, but seeing it repeatedly over a lifetime you realize it's just a part of life.  It'll heal.  It leaves scars and never leaves you, but over time it gets better.  We all get up, we all dust ourselves off, and get back to what we know as life.  We get new pets, new loves and new paths.  Experiencing it with my son, having my parents talk to me, and having my friends around has been invaluable.  I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on anyone, but I would wish that if they did they were able to share it openly and have the same help as Greogry and I do.

I'll never forget Grace and Gregory will never forget Chim, but I think because of this, we'll be better friends and better to each other.  If that's the only positive that comes from all the pain, it's very much worth it.