2022 In Review

Well, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, dogs and cats, horses and cattle, rats and mice, crows and ravens, Chinook salmon and great white sharks, sanity and insanity, 2022 has come to an end, so it’s time to look back and see what the year has given me. Pope Benedict XVI and Barbara Walters lived to the very end, but missed a chance to see the sunrise of 2023. Such is life.

2022 for me was moving from Texas back to Washington to reclaim that bedroom in my son’s old manufactured home. Technically, a mobile home because it was manufactured a year before the designation changed. My bedroom was full of stuff my son put there and I brought stuff with me. I have a whole box of DVDs and no means of playing them because my son stopped watching TV, so he put it in the closet. I’m thinking of getting a bookshelf for the corner where the desk currently resides. I could probably get a small TV to sit on top of the bookshelf with my DVD player. I know my son wants the desk so he can restart his hobby of building model airplanes.

My reason for moving back was the possibility of getting new knees. I joined a gym when I arrived here, but stopped going after two weeks because I overexerted and blew out my right knee. By the time the right knee was sufficiently better, the left knee decided to start slipping. My biggest problem is losing weight. It’s the Seroquel that caused the weight gain, but pretty much all anti-psychotics cause weight gain. A good way for me to lose weight for knee surgery would be to stop taking the Seroquel, start using nicotine, start exercising more. Maybe doing that I’ll lose enough weight to get knee surgery before I flip out from not taking the psych med. Of course, that’s crazy thinking. My new psychiatrist likes me because I’m able to recognize when my thinking goes askew.

Wednesday evening (12/28), I went down to Speedway Chevrolet in Monroe and traded my 2014 Chev Impala LTZ in on a 2015 Toyota Tundra SR5 4X4 Double Cab. It’s one of the Tundra years recommended by YouTube automotive presenter Scotty Kilmer. It was well taken care of by its previous owners, so I think I made a good deal. My plan is to take road trips in the summer when my son takes his vacation. Depending on the weather, I might even try a short road trip during his Christmas vacation.

OK, time for the nitty-gritty. It’s time to discuss how Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type has affected me. First, I moved back to Gold Bar when that was probably not the correct decision in my life right now. The way the orthopedics PA explained it, being sent to a nursing home for a period of recovery after surgery wasn’t something I wanted, but if I would’ve gone to the apartment manager or possibly a local DAV rep, they probably would’ve helped me during my period of recovery. I was afraid of the what might occur if I couldn’t get my daily mail and ordering groceries. If I would’ve thought it out, I probably could get my mail and, of course, online ordering of groceries was doable. I had done it during the time I dislocated my little toe and was stuck at home. It all goes back to my biggest problem with being schizo. I just don’t think like regular people and that gets me in trouble sometimes. Not big trouble like going to jail, though I do remember in my youth contriving acts of violence that could’ve put me in prison for a long, long time. I suppose I’m lucky not being full-blown schizo.

Getting Help on The Companion

I’ve been working on the rewrite of The Companion since I received the manuscript analysis back in February. It’s been a real slog trying to change it from third person past tense to first person present tense. On October 4, I received an email from the people over at Save The Cat! to participate in a Beat Sheet workshop.

I became involved with the Save The Cat! people back in 2020 when I purchased the book Save The Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. Jessica is a successful writer of over 20 novels. My involvement was limited to reading the book. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply any of the instructions to my story-writing process.

So, why should I see if Save The Cat! can help me with The Companion? I suppose it’s because of a change that occurred in narrative of The Companion last week. Having the planet Orcol struck by a sizable interstellar asteroid similar to 1I/2017 ‘Oumuamua that visited our solar system back in 2017.

The other reason is simple. I’ve been a pantser in my story writing for as long as I’ve been doing this. I’ve fought being a plotter, but maybe now is a good time to see if I can get this rewrite going with the Save The Cat! process.

Through a glass darkly

Went to the Seattle VA Emergency Room this morning on the advice of the VA consulting nurse who I spoke to last night. Complaint this time is diminishing vision in my right eye. I don’t know what it is to go blind, so, maybe, I don’t have a serious problem. I definitely can’t see the laptop screen with only my right eye.

The ER doctor said that it was obvious I wasn’t having a stroke, so, maybe, it would be a good idea to send me home and let me try to get an appointment in the Eye Clinic to see an ophthalmologist. Going in today I was under the assumption I’d see the on call ophthalmologist. Since I didn’t have any of the signs of a stroke, they thought it best I go home. I don’t know what it is with ERs that prospective patients have to be near death before someone takes notice.

So, I have my left eye doing all the work. Hopefully, it will continue doing double duty until I can get an appointment at the Eye Clinic.

73

I made it to 73 last Saturday night at 11:30, which I believe is quite remarkable considering my physical and mental states. I’m beyond overweight, but very short of grossly obese. Basically, I love to eat all the things I shouldn’t and don’t eat enough of the things I should. Also, I don’t get enough exercise. I’ve joined a gym here and hope to get back into a steady pattern of exercise. Mentally, well, if you’ve come here often enough you know I’m basically nuts. Schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, is about as crazy as you can get without actually going insane. Lately, though, I’ve been having feelings that maybe something else might be affecting my psyche. Dementia or Alzheimer’s? I’m certainly at the age.

My father died at 52 from prostate cancer, though he wouldn’t admit that. He told my mother and everyone else he had hip cancer. His death was fairly easy being that he was able to die at home. Even though my mother knew he was dying, she was devastated that he should leave her so unexpectedly. I was in the Air Force at the time and came home on emergency leave. My Uncle Lyle and Dad’s best friend Larry met me at the airport. When I arrived home, Mother was inconsolable in her bedroom with my Aunt Hilly and Larry’s wife Annie at her side. Larry handed me a small glass half full of whiskey to help me get my nerves in order to I could help Mother in the days ahead.

I’ll admit it right now, I did not cry at my father’s funeral. If fact I didn’t cry at all when I was home. The night after I returned to Dyess Air Force Base, where I was stationed, I got drunk and we out with a bottle of whiskey and tried to burn down power poles. The base police picked me up and tossed me in their lockup. The following morning the air wing admin officer got me released. I thought they would give me at least an Article 15 administrative action, but I was sent to the base psychiatrist instead. My days of being considered nuts began.

My mother died at 83 from metastasized breast cancer. She originally got it 15 years earlier and beat it then, but as cancer often does, it hid from view slowly spreading to her abdominal wall, spinal cord, brain, and numerous lymph nodes throughout her body. When the cancer made its status known, Mom went to an oncologist. Since I wasn’t a part of her life because she hated my wife, I wasn’t a part of her final years. The last time we spoke, she said my son, Nate, would handle everything. She also had friends who helped her until she went to the nursing homes. Then they stopped seeing her.

After Mom died, the Neptune Society had her cremated and they gave her ashes to Nate. That was when I was driving long haul, so I couldn’t be there and that’s the reason Mom chose Nate to handle everything. I did my part by keeping my wife away from Mom. Mom’s desire for her ashes was to have them spread over the summit of Stormy Mountain overlooking Manson, Washington, the place of her childhood and early adulthood. Once again, I wasn’t there because if I made the attempt, my wife would desire to go too.

And, so, I’m 73. Will I make it to 74? Who’s to know. My body could give out. Or, just as easily my mind could go by going into psychiatric crisis and having Nate call 911. That would trigger a police response, which would end in a shower of bullets. Or, that feeling I’m having in my head could be Dementia or Alzheimer’s and I’ll enter a downward spiral to oblivion. Maybe, my heart will give out. Or, maybe, cancer will come my way. There’s always the chance COVID could infect me, and, maybe, I’m healthy enough to beat it. Only time will tell.

Plus, I need to get my novel, The Companion, rewritten.

Is This the Start of Something?

I’ve moved back in with my son in Gold Bar, WA.

In other words, the psychotic episode of 2020 is now over. The bogeymen didn’t find me because I had run away, far, far away.

I enjoyed myself being in Plano, TX, but being alone down there was not good for me as a whole. An orthopedic surgeon brought up the possibility of getting new knees if I’m able to get my BMI down. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that was untenable being alone in Plano. The simple fact was I didn’t have anyone to get my mail or grocery shop for me.

So, I’m back in Washington.

I’m not saying I’m going to do anything different from the last time I was here, except not attempting to find a child to become a pseudo-grandchild of mine to shower with gifts throughout its life.

I’m an introverted procrastinator who has gotten along by myself all my life. I wonder if it’s something common to only children.

However things work out, I will always have my writing. The Companion is fourteen chapters into the rewrite. Willí is in Bongos Castle as the Formal Companion to Viscount Bongos. The Earl of Melder (the viscount’s father) is his sadistic self. Lady Apello has yet to make an appearance. Willí has stepped on the red house slug and is about to lose that foot. He’ll be a gimp. In the eyes of everyone and everything that is Schtickist, he’ll be less than a purebred entertainer. He’ll be lucky to find a willing female Schtickist to mate with him, giving him the eggs to combine with his sperm, to make babies in his womb. But all of that is in the future, the far future of sequels, if I live that long.

Maybe, I’ll write those sequels and leave them to others to get published.

Things Were Going So Well

When I first moved into the apartment building, I had my Amazon, FedEx, and UPS orders delivered to my door because the building is relatively secure. This worked just fine. Then we were given a new manager and assistant manager.

One of their first changes was to encourage residents to use the lockers down by the lobby for package deliveries. It seemed like a good idea to me, so I signed up. Amazon delivery people generally utilized the lockers for their deliveries, but some just left the packages on the floor beside the lockers. FedEx and UPS delivery people generally continued to deliver to a resident’s door.

The apartment manager gave the leasing agent the responsibility to manage the lockers, especially when the Amazon deliveries ended up in the floor. That worked for a few months until the leasing agent quit. Then it fell onto the assistant manager to handle the lockers.

I didn’t have any problems even though things seemed to be in total disarray.

Then yesterday my recent order was delivered. According to the Amazon delivery person, my order was left in the mail room. There was a picture of it in a locker. Unfortunately, the delivery person didn’t send the code I need to open the locker. I went to Amazon Customer Service and communed with the chat line app. It’s sending me a refund for my order. I reordered my product and we’ll try again.

A Touch of Depression

Although I take 150 mg of Wellbutrin for depression, there are times when it simply won’t go away, like today. It’s not so bad that suicide is an option, but it’s still weighing heavily on my consciousness. I have an urge to go away for awhile. Just get in the car and drive for a few days hitting motels wherever I find them.

Of course, I can’t go this weekend because I’m having my new mattress delivered tomorrow. And, I can’t be gone next week because my new computer has shipped from the factory in Chongqing, PRC.

So, maybe once I get the new computer up and running I can take a little road trip. I’m thinking east would be a good direction. Go see the Atlantic. Maybe, go see St. Augustine. But, maybe not there considering the neuropathy is bugging the heck out of me. My feet are tingling something fierce and walking around something historic doesn’t sound like fun.

Then there’s my novel The Companion that needs to be rewritten into first person. Maybe a trip to the ocean is what I need to do first. Load the car up with CDs to listen to Richard Dawkins and James Patterson. Then there’s all the music CDs I have. It doesn’t have to be like the drive down here from Gold Bar, all a big rush. It can be a slow drive.

I wonder if a drive to, say, Palm Springs would be a good idea. I’ll have to think about that. Think about anything except for how depressed I think I am. I’ll see what my new PC thinks about it. I’ll see what my new PC thinks about everything. I certainly hope he’s better than Dr. Aziz. Oh, well, new mattress tomorrow, new PC appointment on Tuesday, new computer sometime next week, and then think about a little trip to clear my mind.

Stubbornness Is Not An Asset

So far in my old age project to write novels, I’ve written three that have been flops. Why is that? I have to admit I’m a pantser. It’s not bad being a pantser, but it’s not an efficient process in building a novel. It’s OK for short stories like I’ve been doing at gayauthors.org for the past fifteen and a half years, but pantsing doesn’t translate well into novels.

What’s the solution to this problem? I could just try again, or I could try something else. That something else is doing an outline. I’ve explored this route before, even going so far as to buying Scrivner, watching MasterClass videos by novelists who outline, and reading various books on the subject.

A couple days ago, I came across yWriter as a outlining tool in K. M. Weiland’s e-book Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, but I think I’m going to try outlining on Word as a first step. We’ll just have to see where this leads.

Honestly, This Has to Change

I had plans for today. I was going to get up at 9:00, have breakfast, get cleaned up, take the Metamucil, and go over to the gym.

In reality, I turned off the alarm. The next thing I new it was significantly past 11:30 and I was still in bed. By the time I got to the kitchen to take my morning meds, it was 12:00 and I had lost the urge to go to the gym. It’s going on 3:00 now and the necessity of going to the gym seems to have been pushed onto a back burner. Maybe tomorrow.

No, honestly, my life has to change. I’m literally stuck in this apartment. I’m not getting out. I think I’ve got PAD because getting up out of bed in the middle of the night or in the morning has become a near impossibility. I’m using the compression stockings, but I don’t think I’m supposed to wear them in bed. Something about blood clots, if I remember right.

So, I guess we’ll try for tomorrow.

On writing, I’m busily rewriting the novel into First Person Present, which was a suggestion from the Jericho Writers analyst.

On reading, I’m close to finishing How Fiction Works by James Wood. I need to get back to reading before going to sleep because I seem to sleep better doing that. Also, I’m going to have to read more during the day.

On life in general, I’ve got an appointment with my shrink on Tuesday morning. I have to remember to tell him I’ve moved my Primary Care over to the Garland clinic. That may affect where I get my mental health appointments.

Getting Some Exercise

I had plans to go to a gym next week and get started on a new exercise program. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get out of the apartment building garage, but with the ice on the streets that might not be doable. That’s right. I’m iced in. Typical North Texas wintery mix storm. Almost an inch of ice covered with sleet and insulated with snow.

Still somewhat laid up with sciatica, but it is getting better. Yesterday I only had one muscle spasm and that was in my right hip. It’s a bit sore this morning, but I’ll put some heat on it later and see what happens.

My biggest problem is getting up in the morning and being able to walk. The pain is excruciating, It’s all I can do to walk out of the bedroom to the chair at the counter. I cannot think about walking into the bathroom to pee. I’ve got a bucket by the bed to take care of that problem. I suppose I could go to the doctor, but what will he do except put me back into physical therapy. My problem is not getting enough exercise. Actually, my problem is not getting any exercise.

So, I sit in the recliner typing this, exercising my fingers wishing I had the means to get to a gym.