Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Time to stop, time to think...time to ramble

I am just beginning day 3 of seven whole days without The Employer.

It should have been nine days - five days of "PTO" (paid time off) bracketed by two weekends. But no - The Employer even managed to invade Sunday and Monday morning. Which infuriated me...I don't get paid nearly well-enough to be that "mission-critical." Part of me wanted to just say, "OK, so my life will was hell trying to get away for a week, and it's going to be hell when I come you will have accumulated an entire week's worth of resentments for all things left undone. So why even go on vacation?"

It has taken a day and a half of almost pure sloth to slow down and calm down from that.

The answer to the question, of course is, "Because you'll either die, kill yourself or kill one of us if you don't go..." I never actually heard that said, but it kind of hung there, in the background.

So I am gone.

Tom Welling and the cast of Smallville (season 2) helped start the detox process. And now Netflix has brought me an interesting present - an anniversary recording of Leonard Bernstein's Mass, recorded live at the Vatican (of all places). Now folks, that's gonna be interesting.

I had great plans to go up to Saugatuck, MI for a couple days - but a bad tire short-circuited that on Sunday night/Monday, and now a rather nasty case of some stomach/lower-GI "thang" has my guts all in knots and my nether-regions not very far from a restroom. So the side-step to Michigan will probably have to wait. Thursday, I will go to Ohio so I can go with Sue to her neurosurgeon's appointment on Friday morning.

Sue's prognosis may well determine whether I will stay in Chicago or not. If she gets as bad as I'm afraid she is, one of my alternatives may be to move back to my hometown and move in with them to help out with her (and to help support them financially). Big decisions, scary times...

It doesn't help that this is the time of year I hate most - it was still 82 degrees at 1 AM, and it evidently got all the way down to 80 this morning. There are people who just find all kinds of joy and glory when the mercury slips past 80, and just thrive on heat and sunshine.

I do not.

I have never been a trim, fit person. And I have always been of a size that would discourage public states of undress. As a friend often said (and I have often stolen), "In the winter, I can always put more clothes on. But in the summer, there is a limit to which I can with any propriety take clothes off...

And of course, the problem is also location...location...location. Down here in the historic/hysteric Pullman neighborhood, the electric supply in these old apartments will only support one "big" window air conditioner, so my choice was to keep the bedroom cool and leave the rest of the apartment open to the elements. This worked well in my seminary apartment - but that one was a ground level apartment, and it was a big bedroom, so the bedroom was combination bed-and-office. (And it had newly-replaced windows which helped keep the cool air in, too.)

The current apartment (a) is an upper apartment, so the hot air from downstairs rises, (b) has a flat tar roof that just soaks in the heat, (c) is as leaky as a sieve, so air-conditioning the whole place on one 1-ton air conditioner is impossible, and (d) only has an 11x11 bedroom, that already has a queen bed and two dressers in it. So the migration into "one air-conditioned room" is a wee bit tough. So keeping cool is a big challenge.

But that's really not the issue. At the heart of it all, I'm beginning to think my time here in Chicago is done. Was done quite a while ago, in fact.

Yes, it can be a fun city - but I came here behind the 8-ball, financially, and have never really made it out from under that, and Chicago is really only a fun place to live if you've got money to burn, I think. Regardless of all that, it seems I've never really made Chicago "home," I think. I came here for seminary, and tried to make connections - but when the seminary dream died, I think I really gave up on a lot.

While I enjoy mass transit, for the most part, I've never really reconciled myself to being a non-driver in the city - and it sucks driving here. And it's also an extremely expensive place to live.

Gas is $3.42 a gallon here in the neighborhood, $3.39 on the way downtown, or $3.29 if I drive the 8 miles across the border to Indiana. The general 9% sales tax here applies to food,too, and is supplemented by additional taxes on restaurant food and (another 2%), depending on where you are. If I can help it, I buy anything major either in Indiana or back in Toledo. Which is a mini-rant all to itself.

But I really think I could have stopped with "I never really made it 'home'." Despite the connections I've made in AA, I have never really felt "part of" the city and the community in the way that I have elsewhere.

So I am starting to think about next steps - and who knows? Maybe that's the reason for the distress in my gut.

Topics to come:
- pictures and a boatload of memories
- prayer, and why it "works" even when it doesn't work
- liturgy as "how you might do" rather than "how you ought to do"
- and whatever else comes to mind, of course.

Thank you, again, for your prayers, your emails, and your support. They all mean more than you can know...


bobbie said...

oh that is GOOD news! i think this will really give you so much hope!

i'm not sure if you've ever heard of a company called Welcome to Intercristo. it's about connecting non-pastoral workers with ministries. i don't know if that would be of help to you - but it might be a good start.

i KNOW that you are called to do something amazing in the kingdom steve - your skills and talents are so needed. i think it would be amazing if you were able to marry that desire with your abilities.

you'll continue to be in my prayers!

Poor Mad Peter said...

Day One, Steve man. You're on Day One--new life-wise. On Day Two, who knows what'll happen? One foot, then the other...

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael said...

Waiting to hear what you think of MASS. I had been trying to get it on video or DVD forever, so I am glad to hear it is now out there. I saw it twice on PBS back in the early 70's. Parts of it I liked a lot. I will have to add it to the list.

[I had posted this before but some funny typos made me remove and retype it.]