Thoughts On Visiting The States Since I’ve Been Gone

It’s coming up on a year… a whole YEAR… since I’ve moved to Portugal. It has been a crazy year.

Since I just went back to the states for a visit I thought I’d reflect on what I thought, what changed, how I felt, etc. In no particular order:

  • Traffic has gotten really bad. It wasn’t just me. Bri felt it too and everyone whom I’ve asked there said it had gotten bad. We ran into traffic three different times coming back from Uncle George’s on a Wednesday.
  • Beer is expensive. I kept paying like $8 or $9 for a beer. WTF? Portugal a caneca (a mug; close to a liter) is 2.5€ during happy hours. At most 4€. In the states at Silver Branch it was $8.50 for a token and two tokens was a liter (so $17!!!). Unbelievable.
  • On that note, we spent more than $1,000 when there! My Portuguese friend, Glenn, gave me $92 in “dirty money” and it was gone really fast. Bri also found some USD and we spent it.
  • We had an awesome time at the wedding. It was soooo good to see people and dance and have a good time. I really hope to see them again.
  • Not a lot of people have anything new or different in their lives since I left. Sure people have a few things going on here and there but nothing like life changing had happened. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or what but I got a lot of “same ol’, same ol'” when I was asking how people were.
  • A lot of people showed up to the happy hours that I wasn’t expecting to see. People I haven’t seen in years. My friend, Arlene, came up from Florida. My friend, Angela, and her baby came up all the way from Anne Arundel County (like two counties away from where we had the happy hour). Mel and Jim came out. We saw Helen every happy hour (#superfriend)! One of my friends boyfriend came who we’ve never met before came. My sister, her boyfriend, and Matt all came down from New York!
  • The final happy hour at Brookeville felt like one of our parties we used to have in Rockville. A lot of people came out. There was different groups of people but I saw and was able to spend a little time with everyone. Everyone had someone to talk to. Everyone was so cool and was sharing pizza and drinking and just good vibes. It went by so fast.
  • It feel like when you’re in the states and you’re working, you live for the weekends. (We tried not to live that way when we lived there as we were always up for doing stuff during the work week.)
  • We were bored Thursday and Friday during the day. I guess I didn’t plan anything for those days for some “down time” but we found ourselves just playing pinochle with Bri’s parents.
  • I was scared every day not having health insurance there. If something happened we would be fucked. I was also scared of shootings. Probably illogical but still… that shit doesn’t happen here.
  • I kept speaking Portuguese. I couldn’t turn it off. Some of my family even got mad at me for doing it. Waiters and waitresses looked at me funny but I think they knew what I was trying to say.
  • I really do miss my American friends. I got some good friends in the states. Great people. I really miss them.
  • Sometimes it felt like nothing changed; like we were back from a long vacation. It just clicked to be back.
  • I already knew this but just to reiterate: JETLAG SUCKS. I was up by 6:30 AM every day (that’s 11:30 Portugal time). I only got like 4 or 5 hours of sleep most nights. Now back in Portugal I’m having trouble getting to sleep by 1 or 2 AM Portugal time.
  • My stomach doesn’t like the US food anymore. My stomach hurt nearly every day. I had to keep taking Pepto. Around Tuesday is when I didn’t need to take it any more but I still took it pre-emptively on some occasions. Portuguese food is just better.
  • I drank every day but I never got drunk. Maybe slightly buzzed on a few occasions but I watched myself and never drank in excess.
  • We didn’t want to drive by our old house.

I had taken my Portuguese friend, Sam’s advice going to the states. She’s from the U.K. and she said make people come to you instead of you running around trying to please/see everyone. That was good advice. It allowed for more time. Many people wanted me to come to them but I just couldn’t. It was either too far or not enough time. I feel bad but I don’t see that changing the next time I visit.

For some things I’d do different next time:

  • Bri wanted to see his family who live in different states. Maybe we would do that… I don’t know but then I think…
  • I don’t think I could go all the way to North Carolina to see Uncle George again. It was too much driving and time. However, it was during the week when most people were working anyway but it just sucked spending 11+ hours of the trip being in a car. I don’t know what I would do about that though. We did have a lot of fun down there. We got crabs which I hadn’t had in years. We saw the family that was there. They just live really far away from anyone we could possibly make two mini-trips out of.
  • Maybe for more time Bri and I would go separately so I could stay there for like a few weeks. But I have no where to stay and no vehicle. Bri at least would have his parents. I don’t think I would like that though. The more time spent in the states is the more time without healthcare. Also, what do I do on the weekdays when people worked? Heidi took a day off to be with us but I’m not sure if some of my other friends can/would do the same.
  • I’m not sure how to tackle this but a few of my other friends moved to different states. There is like no way we could spend time to travel to see them when there. They might have to be a special trip but I don’t know how that would work since I don’t want nor plan to visit the states that frequently. (Thinking the next time we visit will be in 2025!)
  • Not plan so far in advance. I knew about the wedding months in advance but actually planning the week didn’t happen until about a month before travel. It was very stressful to me knowing our flight but not our schedule. It was difficult to wait that long to finally plan since I’m not the kind of person to give someone 3 or 4 months advance of when I’ll want to hang out. If there’s another wedding like this, I’m going to have to repeat this process which just caused me so much stress.
  • Buy a sim card when I get off the plane (or try to). Fuck Lycamobile. They said my phone would work in the US but it didn’t and I was stranded. I put 40€ on that thing for overages for nothing. I had to buy a T-mobile sim card for $31 the next day.

Diary Of States Visit September 2023

A wedding was to happen! A wedding of two of my good friends! I had to go back for that! No way I was going to miss it. So I decided to plan an entire trip seeing friends and family in the states.

We have been living in Portugal for about a year so it was about time.

Below are all the things we did during the trip. Thanks to all of the people who made time to see me and thanks to the friends and family I saw along the way!

Pictures:
http://yearscollage.com/user/niles38?set_id=146

Thursday, September 7th, 2023

  • Woke up before alarm & started moving
  • Walked the kids and ran into Lorna
  • Continued to get ready & close up
  • Walked to bis station and ran into Brandon
  • Bus to Lisbon
  • Checked bags in
  • Food court
  • Waited for gate
  • Flight to IAD
  • Long customs line but we got through easily
  • Met up with Heidi after we got bags
  • Parking $12
  • Dropped off stuff at Heidi’s & got Benji
  • Went for drinks and fries and nachos at CraftHouse $37
  • Back to Heidi’s for sleep

Friday, September 8th, 2023

  • Bri kept waking me up
  • Up at 5AM
  • Heidi got up early & went to her appointment
  • Made bread & coffee & packed up sheets
  • When Heidi got back, Walked Benji around & ran into Heidi’s neighbors
  • Tried to find & went to T mobile and got a sim card $31
  • Dropped Benji off
  • Went to Chipotle
  • Went to Makers Union Pub and got a beer
  • Back to Heidi’s to pack
  • Heidi dropped us off Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Hung out with Bri’s parents
  • Went over Britney & Jason’s
  • Played wildlife game
  • Got Chinese & drank
  • Drinking game
  • Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s

Saturday, September 9th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Duolingo
  • Went to Target $320
  • Went to grocery store
  • Went to bank
  • Back to Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Played a few hands of pinochle
  • Drove to Rochy’s
  • Hung out there & had seafood & drank a little
  • Went to nearest hotel to Aaron & Sabrina’s & dropped Stacy & Charles off
  • Went to Aaron & Sabrina’s & drank
  • Picked up Stacy & Charles
  • Matt arrived at Aaron & Sabrina’s
  • Ordered Mama Lucia’s
  • Played game & drank & pokemon & hangout
  • Dropped Stacy & Charles off at hotel
  • Hung out a little bit more & went to bed

Sunday, September 10th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Matt on couch so couldn’t do Duolingo
  • Bri got up so I did Duolingo
  • Waited around
  • Aaron & Sabrina got up around 9
  • Had coffee & coffee cake & talked
  • Picked up Stacy & Charles
  • Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s
  • Family party! Wine & saw family
  • Charles left then eventually Stacy & Matt
  • Talked to Shawn after Eagles game
  • Bri Bri Went out
  • To sleep

Monday, September 11th, 2023

  • Got up and got ready, took some sandwiches & drinks
  • Got to Uncle Georges around 12:30
  • Got in pool & had a few drinks
  • James & family came over & hung out
  • Steak dinner
  • Watched a tiny bit of the game & went to bed

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

  • Got up about 6 & did Duolingo
  • Bri slept on couch then after I got up slept in bed a bit
  • Had shrimp salad for breakfast & coffee
  • Left for beach around 10:30 AM
  • Parked in Surf City free area & walked on beach for a bit
  • Went to restaurant & got a beer & bang bang shrimp
  • Drew on table paper & ate
  • Went to get crabs & picked out live crabs
  • Stopped at several places to find Coors Light in bottles
  • Uncle George steamed crabs when we got back
  • Went in pool for a while until crabs ready
  • Brendly came over & had crab legs
  • Patrick came home
  • Everyone ate crabs for a while
  • Patrick & Brenly got in pool & we followed
  • In pool for a bit & Uncle George got in for a bit
  • Kim drinking & dancing
  • Went to sleep

 

Wednesday, September 13th 2023

  • Kicked Bri out of bed because he kept moving around
  • Got up & did Duolingo
  • Uncle George got up
  • Brenly left
  • Had breakfast (sausage and waffles)
  • Left Uncle George’s around 9:30 AM
  • Ran into bad traffic
  • Went to Target on way back
  • Arrived around 4 PM
  • Went to Streetcar 82
  • Bryan S and Helen E showed up
  • Drinks then went back to Bri’s parents

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

  • Got up early & did Duolingo & took a bath
  • Bri helped parents move safe
  • Pinochle with Uncle Neil
  • Went to dinner/lunch at Olive Garden
  • Went to Silver Branch
  • Met up with Alicia, Bryan S
  • Arlene came!
  • Helen came & we all drank
  • Later Marc came & we moved inside
  • Arlene & I went to car to retrieve wine and ran into Tony!
  • Went back to Silver Branch but last call had happened but Hung out anyway & split last beer
  • Said bye to Arlene & Tony
  • Went over Marc’s place for a hang out
  • Went back to Bri’s parents late

Friday, September 15th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • Bri’s mom made french toast when Bri got up
  • Played pinochle a good part of the day
  • Decided to ping Sabrina
  • Went over Sabrina & Aaron’s around 3 and hung out for an hour and a half
  • Went over to Helen’s place
  • Ate pizza & drank a little
  • Watched Barbarian
  • Went back to Bri’s parents

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

  • Got up early
  • When Bri’s parents got up they took us to Bob Evans (I drove)
  • After Bob Evans, back to Bri’s parents for pinochle for a while
  • Started to get ready for the wedding around 2:30
  • Left for the wedding & got there around 3:30ish
  • Awkward at first, caught up with Paul’s family & some of their friends
  • Wedding & ceremony happened where we were called out :)
  • When time to go inside, had the honor of sitting at the same table as Paul, Becky, Shawn, & Jen :)
  • Chipotle dinner & open bar
  • Paul’s dad & his brothers came over to me to ask about Paul & Becky story
  • Bri started talking to one of Paul’s uncles
  • Caught up with a lot of people like Seth, Paul’s dad, others; hung out with Shawn & Jen
  • Jen walked in on first dance
  • Danced & talked & drank
  • Helped clean up
  • Decided to go home since it was so late & we couldn’t go anywhere else

Sunday, September 17th, 2023

  • Got up early & started to pack
  • Got ready & waited around for a while
  • Finally got moving to the brewery around noon
  • Lots of traffic!
  • Stopped at Brew Belly for some beers but they didn’t have Sweet Baby Jesus or the cider Brian likes
  • Finally arrived at Brookeville Beer Farm; the area changed!
  • Eric & family & Chris were already there
  • Got a bigger table
  • Helen, Frank, Aaron & Sabrina, Tricia & Travis & family, Angela with Jasper showed up!
  • All talking & having a good time
  • Mel & Jim showed up
  • Heidi showed up then Dave
  • Talked with everyone and had a good time
  • People started leaving then we left around 5:30
  • Heidi dropped us off at IAD very early (just in case of traffic)
  • Got checked in & waited at gate for like two hours
  • Got Five Guys
  • Boarded plane
  • Couldn’t sleep too much; kept waiting for food & uncomfortable

Monday, September 18th, 2023

  • Didn’t sleep too much on flight
  • Watched the last episode of Shameless
  • Finally arrived in Lisbon
  • Several minor incidents then got to bus station
  • A few minor incidents then finally got on bus to Lagos
  • Arrived in Lagos & started to unpack
  • One of the beers had exploded in Bri’s suitcase
  • Lorna dropped the boys off but Lando isn’t doing well with his nail
  • Bri cooked dinner
  • Tried to help Lando but he was in too much pain
  • Sad night worrying about Lando

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To Portugal

There are quite a lot of things I wish I knew before moving here. The journey still isn’t over yet as we’re still not settled into a place of our own. We are days away from closing on our condo we bought in Lagos. Getting this far has been a really difficult journey.

I thought I’d write down some of my thoughts on this as this process isn’t for the faint of heart and it has definitely been depressing, trying, challenging, and downright draining. It feels like the universe is against this decision I made and it’s trying to tell me to abandon hope of this dream.

Here are some things I wish I knew before and how much I’m so depressed about this difficult situation:

  • Getting stuff shipped to Portugal is a VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS.
    • Bri flew back to the states on December 3rd to try to get all the paperwork we needed together, titles mailed, inventory, organization, timing, etc. He STILL wasn’t able to do it in THREE WEEKS!
    • Bri flew back a few days before Christmas without having much progress on getting our stuff shipped here.
    • We had to go to the Junta to get a special form like four times. The shippers fucked it up, the Junta fucked it up, and the Junta had very difficult requirements for people to meet.
    • We paid another $2,000 around January then another $6,000 in June just to get our stuff due to the shippers delays. All done I’d say we paid around $30,000 just to get our stuff here. Not worth it.
    • UPDATE 6/13/2023: We finally got our stuff on May 30th 2023!
  • You STILL need a US address for a lot of things!
    • Shipping is a big one as they need to mail back the certificado de bagagem.
    • Having your mail forwarded somewhere. The USPS won’t forward to Portugal!
  • You need some people in the US to help you!
    • My sister was able to help me with the certificado de bagagem as she can mail things and it gets there a lot sooner (and cheaper) than from Portugal.
    • Brian’s parents have helped us a lot along the way. Our mail is forwarded to their house. We still use their address for official things that need a US address.
      • Working with the embassy requires a US address.
      • Shipping stuff!
  • The dollar to euro kills you. The conversion rate varies and it makes A HUGE difference.
    • Another reason Bri flew back to the States was to move our money from our US bank to our Portuguese bank. You can do this online but it is a lot easier to do it by going to your bank. Quicker too. Our big condo purchase we had a budget; we have exceeded it since the dollar dropped so much in value by the time we hit closing.
    • Having a US credit card doesn’t help. I do minor things with euros (cash) but a lot of things I put on the credit card. It does a poor exchange rate and might charge extra since I’m out of the US.
    • I’m not sure what others do. It really is like playing the stock market on how much it changes cause it changes constantly.
  • When buying a house or a condo there are A LOT of taxes and fees. We are paying 8% of the price in taxes. There are also other fees the buyer (me) needs to pay such as 1% for the lawyer, a notary fee of 1,000€, registration fee of 250€, legal fee of 6,458€. All of these are on top of the full amount which is paid directly to the seller. No money goes into an escrow or anything like in the US.
  • Finding things can be difficult.
    • Sometimes you need to know the right things to search for in google. Example is finding carpeting. We are carpet people. In Portugal (maybe even Europe… and the US is starting to do this too) people like hardwood. Carpeting isn’t common. Finding a place that does wall to wall carpeting has been challenging. Turns out you need to google “custom carpeting” to find places that can hopefully do what they do in the states. We’re still not over this hurdle!
    • Finding a furniture place is proving to be a little difficult too. There are quite a few places that do “custom furniture” and it can be very expensive! We luckily found a few places like Marlo (in the US) that has furniture you can buy already made.
  • Without transportation, some things aren’t accessible.
  • Getting your cell phone switched was challenging. I wanted to keep my US number so I can keep up with friends and family.
    • When I originally arrived here I used my roaming which was $10 a day. Not ideal.
    • I bought a sim card for 15€ for a month with 6 gigs. Great deal!
      • Renewing this was a pain in the ass if I didn’t want to buy a new one every month.
    • I had to port my US number to another service (leaving AT&T). I needed to provide the latest bill, your account number, password, and all your information. I’m using iPlum (which turns out to be really shitty). This porting over process can take more than a week.
      • My US calls and texts are through an app on my phone (iPlum).
      • iPlum is charging me $108 a year for their service.
      • According to their Fair Usage Policy for Unlimited Plans “unlimited plans” are limited to 2,500 “credits” a month. Sending or receiving a text is a “credit.” Every minute you spend on the phone is a “credit.” I had to buy extra “credits” since I ran out last month and my service was going to be suspended. I bought $20 worth of “credits” which gives me 2,000 extra. It’s bullshit.
      • The iPlum app is a piece of shit!
        • Half the time I don’t know who is calling (I don’t recognize many phone numbers).
        • When someone sends a picture, I don’t know who sent it.
        • Sometimes I can’t even tell who sent the text message as it’s just a phone number.
        • It’s clunky as I need to touch many things and menus just to send a text or make a call.
        • I had to change my credentials since my phone is now Portuguese number and NOT US so it thought all my contacts where Portuguese numbers.
        • The calls drop sometimes and it’s difficult to hear. I have my volume to the max and I still can’t hear my uncle very well.
        • UPDATE 6/13/2023: I currently cannot text since iPlum has now required registration which I can’t prove that I’m an individual without paying a lot of money. It’s ridiculous.
    • Bottom line: be prepared for a few days of hardship and stress and don’t get iPlum. They’re a rip off and a piece of shit. I will be replacing them next year.
  • You get nickeled and dimed a lot when going through these processes. It feels like death by 1,000 cuts.
  • Don’t import cars or motorcycles over.
    • We did some research online and it felt like it was going to be a fairly simple process. It isn’t. We’re in the tenth circle of hell with this.
    • The government agencies (IMT) and Hyundai and Honda do not help you.
    • Your vehicles might need to be converted and it’s just a miserable situation. It isn’t worth it. Sell your shit. Let it go. Don’t bring it for the love of God.

I will be updating this post maybe from time to time. Many times I’m getting and got depressed about everything and it feels hopeless a lot. I wish I could go back in time and change some of my decisions.

So far I would change:

  • I would have sold/given away a lot more stuff and went with UPackWeShip or something similar.
  • I would have sold my car and my bike. It would have killed me because I love them but I would have.
  • I would have quit my job sooner in order to accomplish more in the states and have done more research before I went over so I could have been more ready for the bureocracy which is Portugal.

I miss my friends and my sister a lot.


Roles My Sister Should Have Played

As many of you know I have a very talented sister, Stacy. She’s been doing theater and acting since high school. She double majored in theater and English! She’s amazing.

I first saw her act in some high school play. I couldn’t remember what it was but she played a kid who got hit by another kid. She acted very well and I was actually quite scared for her as she had to fall off a chair. I felt like getting up on stage and punching the kid who hit her but I new it was an act and she did it perfectly.

Since she’s had a few minor things going on but I can’t help wonder what she could have done if she had the opportunities. A few key roles I would have loved to see my sister play, just to name a few, are:

  • Lumen Pierce – Dexter (season 5) – Julia Styles sucked playing this role. She was too bossy, too pushy, too needy, and too like not playing the part well. It just felt like 10 Things I Hate About You (a movie which I loved) but it was the same acting. My sister could have done this sooooo much better.
  • Jessica Hamby – True Blood (all seasons) – I felt like Deborah Ann Woll played this role well but I know my sister could have been better. Most actors on True Blood (except for a few) did not do southern accents. Even Anna Paquin only did a southern accent sporadically. The only two characters I can think of in that show that really did the southern accent like all the time were Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten; who is fucking Australian!). My sister could have totally done a southern accent.
  • Kate – Drinking Buddies – I did not like Olivia Wilde in this role. It just didn’t ring true to me. It felt like she was overacting a lot of the time. My sister could have played this role. I could have seen it done better by her.

Weddings I’ve Gone To

As I’m sitting here in BWI having a few to drink… what a perfect time to blog!

Recently (just in the past six months) my friend from work has been to (and officiated some) NINE weddings. NINE. I guess they all got delayed from years past?

Anyway it got me thinking… one, my coworker must be really popular and two, I don’t think I’ve gone to nine weddings in my entire life.

Counting them, yeah. Thought I would blog with a count.

  • Young – I went to a wedding when I was like 5. My parents were still together. All I remember was staying in a hotel and dancing a lot.
  • My own – I believe I was there at my own wedding to Bri. No one else was. Justice of the peace, baby.
  • Tricia & Travis – Good friends from college got married. I was a bridesmaid! Very good wedding. Also was the same day as Shawn and Jen but we didn’t know them yet.
  • Joe & Kate – My in-laws. Fun wedding up in New York. We had to stay at a different hotel from the rest since we had Candi. A few good stories from it.
  • Seth & Meredith – Friend from college. Good time. He had karaoke and Taylor Swift songs.
  • Leslie & Jason – Friend from college. Nice wedding up near Baltimore. Good food. I photocopied.
  • Pablo – Uncle George’s friend had a nice little wedding at his home. I think Bri and I kind of crashed it but it was fun. Very low budget. Coors Light in Coolers.
  • Mel & Jim – Right before covid. Friends I knew from Bernie’s campaign. Fun Jewish wedding.

We went to a few wedding receptions (Megan and Matt, Bri’s childhood friend), but we weren’t at the actual “I do” part.

Looking ahead, next year I will go to at least one, Bri’s cousin. I’m not sure who else is on the horizon…

Still drinking…


Pet’s Relationships

A few things have changed… In August of 2018, we brought in a cat named Brindle (who had kittens). You can read her story. Also, our cat we had from college, size_t, passed away. He had diabetes for the past few years and had slowed down on eating. It was very sad.

Now (as of February 2019), we have a dog and three cats. We decided to keep two of Brindle’s kittens. This makes for a different kind of relationships throughout the house. Bri and I are our pets parents. We are also parents to Lupin and Tonks (Brindle’s kittens; named after Harry Potter characters).

Since Brindle is also our daughter and she is mother to Lupin and Tonks, Lupin and Tonks are our son-grandsons. (But we just call them our sons.)

Wiki’s relationship is interesting because he is a brother-uncle to Tonks and Lupin and only a brother to Brindle.

Lupin and Tonks are brother-nephews to Wiki.

Brindle is Lupin and Tonks’ sister-mother.

So we have an interesting dynamic to our house.

Bonus… I’ll throw in our houses in Hogwarts!

  • Janis – Hufflepuff
  • Bri – Gryffindor
  • size_t – Gryffindor
  • Wiki – Ravenclaw

Brindle, Lupin, and Tonks are too young to be sorted yet. I’ll take the quiz to see what house they’ll be put in later in their life.


Stuff I Still Have From College

Bri and I were talking the other night about the stuff we still have from college. I thought I’d blog about it since I’m a bit bored and would like to update my blog more. So here’s a list of stuff that I still have since college (and some before):

  • Coffee table (acquired in college, was my Mom’s or her dad’s)
  • Can opener (acquired in college, we actually took it from our apartment in Frostburg)
  • Microwave (acquired in college, we bought it for $40 at Walmart)
  • My bathroom tote (acquired in high school, Ricky and I were shopping for his college when I got it for my college for a year later)
  • My pink laundry bag (acquired in high school)
  • My TV (acquired when I was a kid, I’ve had this RCA 12 inch boom tube since I was born basically)
  • size_t (acquired in college, he’s still good although he has diabetes… and yes he’s a pet not an inanimate object)
  • Most our pots & pans (acquired throughout college, we still use the same forks, plates, spatculas, etc)
  • My comforters (acquired in college, my Aunt Ruth bought them for me)
  • Chair (acquired in high school from my mom, the only stable chair we have that we can stand on)
  • Computer Chairs (acquired in college, both mine and Bri’s, we also acquired another one from Seth)
  • Boxes & bins (acquired in college, still are used to store shit in)
  • My messenger bag (acquired in high school, bought from Old Navy, used in high school & college, I’ll have it forever)
  • Spare bed (acquired in college, for Bri and my first apartment in Frostburg)
  • Junk bins (acquired in high school, storage for pens, tape, cords, etc)
  • High school & college papers (acquired throughout high school & college, I saved all my papers & notes from classes I took)
  • Stuffed animals (acquired throughout life)
  • Computer monitor (acquired in high school, was my first, now is Bri’s second monitor for his PC)

This list doesn’t include DVDs and items of the sort. Maybe I’ll update this later if I can think of more stuff I’ve had since college. Pretty cool I still have the same stuff.


Obituary For Candi

Candi

Candice “Candi” Cane Musselman, 18

Candi, of Rockville, Maryland, passed away on June 1, 2014, peacefully at her home next to her family.

Candi was born, presumably, around Glen Burnie, Maryland in the winter of 1996. She was a lost dog that was later found near a pawn shop in Glen Burnie by Ann Musselman. She immediately had a new home there with Ann and her two daughters, Janis and Stacy.

Candi mostly grew up in Pasadena, Maryland with her owner, Janis, her family, and a bunch of cats. She later lived in such places as Annapolis, Glen Burnie, Frostburg, Germantown, and finally settling down in Rockville, with her owners, Janis and Brian.

Candi enjoyed car rides, human food, walks, shedding, and, in general, being with people and her family.

Candi will be remembered by her broad smile, her ever happy attitude, the joy she brought into everybody’s life, and her saying, “I’m just a puppy.” Candi had a way of warming her way into everybody’s heart.

Survivors include her owners, Janis and Brian, her brothers, size_t and Wiki, and many others. Candi is preceded in death by Spooky, Tina, Lauren, and Rocky.

Feel free to share Candi stories in the comments below and on Facebook.


Meat 2012

In order to discourage myself from eating meat and becoming more of a vegetarian, in the entire year of 2012 I kept track of all the meat I ate. Granted this list doesn’t include seafood in which vegetarians do not eat but I still eat… I’m more of a pescetarian.

A lot of this list contains meat of which I was “forced” to eat via going over family/friends houses where their main course was meat. Also it contains instances where I ate meat because it was going to be thrown out anyway. Here’s a key for the reasons why I ate it:

^ = went over someone’s house who served meat
* = ate meat because it was going to be thrown out anyway
# = chose to eat meat

Date What I Ate Reason
1/5/12 chicken & broccoli #
1/8/12 1 piece bacon, turkey ^
1/14/12 chicken & broccoli #
1/15/12 chicken wings & sloppy joes ^
2/4/12 half hot dog, chicken & broccoli ^, #
2/14/12 chicken teriyaki #
2/17/12 bbq that ar wouldn’t have eaten *
2/25/12 chicken & spare rib ^
3/4/12 ham ^
3/11/12 lasagna with meat ^
3/22/12 chicken teriyaki #
3/24/12 pepperoni pizza ^
4/3/12 roast beef ^
4/8/12 chicken, turkey, ham ^
4/15/12 sausage ^
5/6/12 chicken teriyaki #
5/28/12 sausage, part of steak ^
6/28/12 lasagna with meat ^
7/1/12 fillet minion #
7/22/12 chicken teriyaki #
9/2/12 bbq sandwich ^
9/27/12 hamburger #
9/29/12 hamburger #
9/30/12 meat in pasta from pizza hut #/* (I didn’t realize the pasta had meat in it when we ordered… damn Pizza Hut)
11/3/12 piece of roast, little bacon ^
11/22/12 turkey, ham #
12/25/12 ham, little turkey bacon #
12/28/12 little hot dogs *

So I guess I didn’t do too bad for the year. I ate meat 28 times. I averaged eating meat once every two weeks. I only really chose to eat meat 13 times. I definitely cannot call myself a vegetarian after eating all of that meat though. I will do better in 2013 as I’m more familiar with meat substitutes (Morning Star Ribs, Veggie Chinese place, chik’n, etc).

I’ll continue to keep track and see how I do in 2013. I need to be more strict and refuse to eat meat when it’s served.

By the way, the main reason I became a quasi-vegetarian/pescetarian is to help save the planet. Eating meat is very hurtful to the environment.


Docking

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my dog, Wiki. I was hesitant about getting a dog with no tail. His tail was viciously chopped off when he was a puppy for hunting purposes, I’m sure. I’ve been watching his tail, hoping one day it could grow back but they don’t.

According to Wikipedia (not my dog, the online encyclopedia of which Wiki was named), they do it so the dogs don’t get hurt during hunting, to prevent rabies, and to make them faster. I just think it’s a cruel practice that should be made illegal.

Almost ALL first world countries ban it with some exceptions. A lot of other countries that you would think wouldn’t care also ban it. However, it’s legal in the United States. We’re in the same group as Afghanistan, Argentina, Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Malaysia, etc. I have been wanting to blog about what’s wrong with America. Docking is definitely on there now.


Candi’s DNA Results

As a Christmas present, my sister got Brian and I a DNA test for Candi. The test is available at Canine Heritage.com. It tells what kind of breed(s) make up your dog.

The results came back the other day and Candi turns out to have some Dachshund, Chow Chow, and German Shepherd in her. She has no primary or secondary breeds. She’s more than likely a very mixed dog.

Doing some research into the breeds they found (we all thought she was at least some Beagle, by the way), I compiled a list of traits from the three dogs they found in her.

Dachshund

  • Chases things with determination
  • Devotion & loyalty to owners
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Show above average intelligence
  • Clever, lively, & courageous
  • Challenges larger dogs
  • Does not like unfamiliar people, may growl & bark

Chow Chow

  • Extremely loyal
  • Curly tail
  • Prefer to watch for strangers by entrance

German Shepherd

  • Sheds all year long
  • Very smart
  • Willingness to learn
  • Loyal nature & bond well
  • Over protective of family & territory
  • Probably gets the bird on her head & colors

She’s just a puppy!


Feeding Candi

I’m really starting to take issue with people feeding my dog table scraps and treats. None of my friends do it, but my family does. My Aunt Ruth has always been bad with her, giving her numerous hot dogs. It’s not good for Candi.

My Aunt Janet said that’s what killed her dog, Emma, was people feeding her table scraps. She got obese and died early.

Candi is overweight as it is. I’ve always been a stickler for giving Candi table scraps. I only do it on rare occasions, and it’s always in small quantities.

My mother in law constantly gives Candi treats. Treat after treat. It’s pretty frustrating when I’m trying to keep Candi healthy and active. I’ve tried talking to her about it but there’s like no arguing with her. I just want to keep my dog.

Candi is going on 14 now. That’s pretty old for a dog. I want to keep her around for as long as it’s possible and she’s not in pain. I can’t help but feel sabotaged when Candi gets fed an abundance of treats and things that aren’t good for her.

Also there’s the fact that I don’t want to lose my dogs love. It’s clear anyone or anything would prefer the person giving them good stuff. With me, Candi doesn’t get many treats. It’s gotta be clear she prefers Brian’s mom.

I feel so helpless in this argument. How do I tell someone NOT to feed my dog, please?


Twenty Five Random Things

Yeah, thought I’d do it too since I need a break from work. Here’s 25 things you might not know about me.

  1. I don’t like talking on the phone (unless it’s to people I know) so I get Brian to do it usually.
  2. I will always wear a T shirt and shorts swimming, no matter what.
  3. I never ever want to have kids although I have their names picked out already.
  4. I don’t speak up enough when I should and I’m a chicken, most of the time.
  5. I’m still undecided on where I stand when it comes to gun control and legalizing marijuana.
  6. A cold Keystone Light is the only beer I can drink without cringing the first few sips.
  7. I memorized the lyrics to REM – The End Of The World, Eminem – Without Me, Linkin Park – Bleed It Out, Austin Powers Dr Evil – Just The Two Of Us, Nelly – Ride With Me, and Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire. I can sing all of them successfully. Barenaked Ladies – One Week I can’t quite sing because it’s too fast; same with Blues Travelers – Hook.
  8. It makes me feel special when people copy me. I started a few trends in High School. My friends copied my TV, my TV stand, my couch, and my phone.
  9. My two favorite things are politics and football.
  10. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and however much I wanted, but now I have to cut back a little to maintain my current weight.
  11. If my work did bother to block Facebook, I probably wouldn’t get on ever. Very seldom do I get on Facebook at home. Although I always make sure whatever I post from FriendFeed services gets posted to Facebook.
  12. I will pretend to know what people are talking about just to fit in sometimes.
  13. I’ll probably never get up the nerve to leave MORI.
  14. I love getting crushes on unobtainable guys. Daydreaming is so much fun!
  15. I sometimes hang out and have a lot of fun with peeps even though I don’t collect any quotes.
  16. I do like the song MMBop by Hanson. It’s very meaningful if you listen to the lyrics.
  17. I miss a lot of things about college like sleeping later, snow days, and hanging out with Burg people; however I’d rather have the life I have now because it sucked being poor.
  18. I don’t like to go places with a lot of people. The cruise Bri and I took I was sometimes miserable because there were so many people that were taking up everything to do.
  19. I don’t use a bed frame. I probably never will again.
  20. I have to have a TV in my bedroom even though I’ll never watch it. Rooms without TV’s or computers depress me.
  21. I hate shut doors. It’s probably a childhood issue after my parents divorced. When people stay over, I’ll never have the bedroom door shut. If I had my way, there would be no doors to bedrooms.
  22. I have OCD about a lot of things.
  23. Things I would like to collect: glasses, Cuban cigars, trophies, watches, match books, and signs (like my Dad).
  24. My stripper name is Foxie Roxie.
  25. I want people to know that they should NOT mess with me. I know people who can kill them/seriously hurt them at my command. I’m 100% serious.

New Blog

I’ve started another blog about adventures and stuff with my Dad’s house. It’s at www.longlivethemonkey.com/dadshouse. I’m currently updating it from all the past and current projects we are working on.

By the way, love the new WordPress update. I didn’t know they made it more awesome now. I can actually find things!


Why Is This?

I really hate writing depressing blogs, so I’ll try to remain as less depressing as possible.

I just want to know, does God have a vengeance on me or something? Why do things constantly go wrong in my life now?

My father died, I had to give up my social life in order to get his affairs straight. I sacrifice ALL my vacation time now in order to settle things. I miss out on so much because I have to be down in Annapolis every weekend. It’s constantly on my mind, handing me, always, a great deal of stress.

My job continuously goes down hill. Especially more so since Ernie left. It’s crap what happened today. Everyday is crap now. I want to quit even more so. I don’t think I’ve ever been this mad at my job before.

So I ask God, what’s next? My Aunt Ruth dying? My dog? Dimitri leaving? Marc leaving? What’s next? How come all this bad stuff keeps happening to me? Why? Is it because I question my faith? It seems ever since I started to question my faith, everything goes bad. Why is this?

I was so happy. I had everything. My life was so perfect. I was, for the first time I think ever, genuinely happy.


What “Heaven” Is Like

I think I should go to a priest or something to confess and talk about some things. I, logically, don’t really believe in “heaven”. I’d like to believe that there is a place when people and things die but, logically, I can’t think there is.

I hate to think that when I go, years from now, hopefully, when I am reunited with my father, he will be mad at me for mistakes I am making now.

When my Dad died, all I wanted to do was make him happy. There were a few things that I can just see him getting all upset about that we didn’t do. His obituary, for example, wasn’t ran as soon as it could because the funeral home delayed it. Not really our fault since we had the thing written on day one, but I can just imagine Dad yelling at us and being disappointed about it. If you knew my Dad, he’d totally blame us for it, even though it wasn’t our fault.

We found his living will, finally, in the safe. It was written in 1996, after my parents divorced. We followed almost everything, basically, which I am very happy we could honor his wishes like that. Unfortunately, there were a few things that were not done. For example, Dad said he wanted a catered reception after the funeral. It wasn’t. He said in his living will to forge his signature, get money out from one of his banks, and get a fancy catering service last minute to do everything. Well, sorry Dad but that’s against the law. I can see him yelling at me right now for not doing it his way, even though it’s clearly not my fault. That’s my Dad.

I want to think that he won’t get mad at me when I die for the things I’m doing right now. My Dad always blamed me for things I could not control. I want to think that when I reach “heaven” that he will be pure and not be like that. I really would like to talk to a priest about this, get it off my chest and see what they think if “heaven” is like that, if God would allow that kind of thing. I would hope, if “heaven” is the kind of place I could imagine it to be, my Dad wouldn’t be like that.


Diary Of Feelings — Re: Dad 1/7/08 – 1/31/08

Here’s a sort of diary of feelings I’ve had since my father passed away and before.

Monday January 7, 2008
Suzanne called my cell phone pretty early in the morning saying my Dad is in the hospital. She called again later that day telling me that they think it’s theroitoxicitous. I get Brian to look up the medical terms of what she said. She also said he was admitted Sunday night. I, of course, asked if there was anything I could do and to keep me updated. Suzanne also said Dad is to be released the following night.

====================

Tuesday January 8, 2008
Suzanne called me again with one update. I asked some medical questions based on the research Brian provided about said condition.

====================

Wednesday January 9, 2008
No update from Suzanne.

====================

Thursday January 10, 2008
Suzanne called with the status of Dad. Now, I believe, is the time Suzanne tells me of Dad’s staph infection. Mom also called that night. She said that I should really come down to see Dad. Dad is to undergo a test to see if the staph infection has spread to his heart. Brian researches when the hospital is open for visitation hours.

====================

Friday January 11, 2008
I start to plan to see Dad sometime. I didn’t want to that weekend because of the playoffs. Since family comes first, I try to plan to see Dad Saturday. I also plan to see him Monday, so I asked Masoud for a half day. I give in and I plan to see him in the AM on Saturday and get back home before people start showing up around 3PM. I believe I talked to Suzanne this night with more updates. She tells me that the staph infection has spread to Dad’s other organs and confirms that it has infected his heart. I ask and have the comfort of friends. Shawn is not sure how one would go about treating a staph infection to the heart. I decide to get dad stuff for his visit in the hospital. I go to Radio Shack to pick him up gadgets I think he’d like. I also plan to burn him CD’s. I pick him up a robot Panda bear, two robot bugs, a laser pointer, and lots of batteries for the CD player. When I get home, I start laying out a track list on ITunes for songs I want to burn.

Being not quite finished with the list, I went out to TGI Fridays with Marc, Shawn, Jen, and Bri. Good service. Everyone has had a crappy week (of course mine tops) and wants to drink. Marc says something really really mean to Jen to get her depressed and put her in a bad mood. I honestly didn’t think the comment was that bad, but then again I’m not trying to get pregnant either. We go home and Shawn, Jen, Bri, and I play Rockband. Shawn and I have a few car bombs. Bri and I walked home around 11 in order to finish laying out the tracks and burning the CD’s. I burn 7 CD’s for him and print him out a list of all the songs on each CD. We get to bed around 12.

====================

Saturday January 12, 2008
We get up around 9AM in order to leave and make it just in time for the 10:30AM hours of visitation. Brian and I go up and see where Dad is and travel to level 3, the ICU. We get the okay for the nurse at the desk to open the door. We walk back and try to find room 318. I hear Dad’s voice as we get closer. He’s talking to a nurse. The nurse says that he must identify us for us to go in. Bri and I go in initially to see Dad. We exchange plesentries, and I ask how he’s feeling. He doesn’t look good since he’s bed ridden. His arms seem weaker. He also complains he can’t see. He thought it was snowing when I said it was a nice day outside. I decide to bring in all the stuff I got for him. I try to get packages of the robot panda open, the CD player, the bugs, the laser pointer. The panda needs a screw driver in order to get to the batteries. No nurse has one so we said we’d work on it again when we come back. My sister comes and her and I set him up. Brian is left to wait in the waiting room. I play “Jannie’s Got A Gun” by Aerosmith and Dad rocks out. He asks to repeat the song. I let the CD player keep playing and “Jessica” plays next. It’s a long instramental song of which Dad, I think, complains about or calls it a hippy song or something. More songs play and Dad tells my sister and I to leave and enjoy our day. This is the last time I ever spoke to him. Stacy hasn’t eaten yet so we decide to go to the Annapolis Mall to get her food and try to pick up an adapter for the CD player. We ask Radio Shack but we’re not sure what adapter would work. Stacy and I buy a smoothie together and she makes plans to eat with Robbie. Stacy drops Brian and I off at the hospital and we proceed home.

At home, we clean for that night’s party. I feel down the whole rest of the day, like I was holding back something. People start to show, the first game with Green Bay against Seattle comes on. Alan and his sister show up before the first half is over. Everyone except Joe and Kate drink. We all have a good time and we order pizza. I tell Brian to pay for everyone. Joe and Kate leave after the first game. Next, we root for Jacksonville to win over New England (of course no luck there). After the games, we play Skategories, listen to music, and chill. Alan and his sister leave around 1AM. We finally get to bed. Up until this night I haven’t had much problem getting to sleep. I just remember lying there, thinking about Dad and looking forward to seeing him again.

====================

Sunday January 13, 2008
We got up and started planning what the day was going to be like. We were going to watch the playoffs. Stacy called me to tell me Mike Imbach and Kim wanted us to meet over Dad’s to discuss what’s going to happen. I was very confused and didn’t want to drive down for nothing so I called the hospital. They said they wanted to do a family meeting and designate a spokes person. They also said that Dad was knocked out because that night he started mumbling gibberish so they wanted to do a cat scan. We decided to leave for the hospital.

We gave our key to Shawn and Jen for Candi. We met Stacy and Kim at the hospital. We waited around for the doctor and he had us in a room while he explained some things. Dad was completely out of it. It was like a deep sleep for him. They kept saying they were sure he was going to wake up. They explained that he was hevily medicated because he suffered a brain frat or something the night before. We get pretty upset because the news is just not good. Kim gets so upset she storms out crying. The nurse is there to comfort us. She left and we’re talking but crying. I get so upset I throw up in the trash can. I told the nurse and the doctor I would want to try to donate Dad’s organs if we could. I knew that most of them were probably unusable anyway. We talk about what’s going to happen and decide Suzanne shouldn’t be allowed to visit because of incidents in the past. The nurse gets mine and Stacy’s information to make us POC’s.

We decided there wasn’t anything to do at the hospital so we went home. We caught the last bit of the Dallas and NY Giants game. We fixed dinner.

====================

Monday January 14, 2008
We get up early and I text message Ernie telling him that I wouldn’t be in. We had an appointment at 10 to see Littleton. We asked if Dad had a living will. He did not. We also asked about the real will. Littleton said we should look for it just in case. We visited the hospital to check on Dad. His condition didn’t change. I talked to him for a while, just telling him how I felt and how sorry I was. I told him what I wanted to say to him for years, given this opportunity. I couldn’t. He’s my father and I forgave him everything he’s ever done to hurt me. I told him I loved him and I was so sorry about anything I ever did to hurt him. Stacy came in also and we played some music for him. We met with Rita and others in the waiting room. Aunt Janet said she would be taking care of Rita for a night then she can stay over Dad’s (of course one day turns into a week). We gathered some people and decided to make some phone calls to tell people of Dad’s condition. We had another meeting about it. The doctors, again, said there wasn’t much hope. We decided to give it a few more days again. They were talking again about transferring him to another hospital that might be able to help him and do surgery.

The family and I decided to wait on it because the doctors didn’t think it was likely. I never wanted to feel like I’ve given up on someone. I’ve never wanted to feel like I had control over anyone’s life. I had control over Dad’s. It was a mutual decision. We tried to read between the lines of what the doctors were telling us and what we think Dad would have wanted. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Brian and I went home and went to work the next day. I called the hospital right before I went to bed.

====================

Tuesday January 15, 2008
Went to work like normal. I called the hospital but the nurse didn’t answer. Decided to call back in a little while. I called two or three times during this day. They said his condition hadn’t changed. I called Littleton to see what’s going on with Dad’s checks.

Suzanne wanted to write out a bunch of checks for things. They wanted to buy a bed for Rita, give Stacy and I $200 for driving. Give Kim $200 for driving. A blank check for the grocery store. Littleton said he didn’t approve. Brian called Stacy and a little tiff happened. I called Stacy later that day to explain that Brian was sorry for making people upset. She said it was cool, just that we weren’t around so we shouldn’t dictate. I just want to watch out for both of us. Stuff like that shouldn’t happen in a time like now. It’s just not fair.

When we got home, Brian got ready for his green party meeting. He went and I stayed home and watched Scrubs. I called my sister with the status of the family meeting that I couldn’t attend. She said that the infection spread to Dad’s brain. She basically said there was no hope. I got really depressed and the feelings flowed through. Brian called said he was on his way home. I decided I wanted to be drunk so I could hopefully not remember any of this. I took a shot to Dad and immediately threw up. I just lyed there, emotionless. I cried forever when Brian got home. But, yet I still feel I’m in denial.

====================

Wednesday January 16, 2008
I had planned to sleep in a bit and purposely be late for work so I could just put in four hours and bolt. The hospital called right after my alarm went off. They said a decision needs to be made about Dad right now. I told them I was on my way. We got out of bed. My mom called, then Stacy called. Seems I was the last one informed. We got Jen to watch Candi and headed on our way. I texted Mike on the way telling him I wasn’t going to be in. On the way, Brian took the wrong exit on 50. I called everyone to make sure we were all coming.

When I got there, they told me and Bri to go back. The nurse was there and she said that Dad had passed away in his sleep that morning. A wave of devastation took over me. I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there, with blank emotion. Denial had begun. I walked into see Dad one last time. He sat there like a wax sculpture. Kim was in the room crying. I told Dad I loved him and gave Kim a hug. We went out to meet people in the waiting room. Stacy, Mom, Suzanne, all came. I sat them down and told them Dad had passed away. Everyone started crying. Littleton came too and explained what we needed to do next. The hospital gave me a list of funeral homes. We gathered around the hospital, a few people went back at a time. We all waited and I contemplated what we had to do. Everything seemed so confusing, and I haven’t even started to grieve yet. I was way in denial, making jokes, livining people up. I don’t know how to explain how I felt because everything was so strange. It felt like it wasn’t real. It still doesn’t feel like it’s real. We went back to Dad’s to start planning things. We took Mom and Rita. Aunt Janet stopped at a store to get a whole bunch of food for everyone. We also wrote the obituary. We visited Littleton who said he had the will all along. He left everything to Stacy and I. I couldn’t help but cry right then and there. Dad said he wanted to be viewed with his Rolex on. We couldn’t get into the safe. There was nothing we could do. We discussed questions we had. Littleton was the executor. Our number one priority was getting the Rolex and figuring out what Dad would want. Littleton said he wanted us to decide or whatever. It’s so hard.

We then went to Singletons funeral home because Mom said Dad would want to be there, where both his parents went. We sat down and figured out some basic stuff. We then went to the cometary to arrange things. Dad had a plot there and a vault. Bri, Stacy, and I went back to Dad’s house to discuss other details. Everything was so confusing. We got a hold of some of Dad’s old friends. I talked to a few people to try to figure out what is going to happen.

Brian and I went home and fixed dinner. I kept saying to Brian how I wanted a certain episode of Scrubs where JD’s father dies. Brian went out to Best Buy and bought it for me. I guess I didn’t know how to feel. Everything was so strange. My bad dreams began that night.

====================

Thursday January 17, 2008
I tried my best to put in a half day at work. We told Stacy we were going to come down to help with the collages. I kept crying at work as I told my co workers what happened. Sometimes I just randomly cried. It looked like it was snowing pretty bad outside. I wanted to go home so much. I wanted to try to be honest and put in four hours of work, but I gave in at 11:30. The snow was really bad, the roads were horrible. I took my time and called Brian to tell him to take it slow. When I got home I watched Scrubs and waited for Bri. We watched Scrubs together, contemplating whether or not to drive. We also needed to get pictures for the slide show. My sister didn’t do them.

Around 4 or 5 we drove to Brian’s parents for the night (with Candi), right after I took a bath. We called Stacy to tell her we’d be over for the appointment but we couldn’t come down that night. I called Kim to see if she was okay.

We got to Brian’s parents safe. Right before, we stopped for dinner at KFC. We stayed up and snuggled and watched TV. Sleep is only half.

====================

Friday January 18, 2008
We got up early and went over Dad’s to pick up Stacy. She was running late. We had breakfast at Wawa. We stopped by Wawa to get Stacy something. Suzanne needed a ride to Glen Burnie, so we dropped her off before Singletons. We went to Singletons to plan the funeral. We picked out everything and planned everything. The lady there was asking us for information that we had already given them before. I was ready to snap but kept a little composure but acted rude. It was really difficult figuring out what Dad would have wanted. We picked out the perfect cascate, called the Forest II. Dad named his tractor Forest. We changed the dates of the viewing and funeral to Tuesday and Wednesday instead of Thursday and Friday.

After the funeral home, we went to the cometary. The lady was being really slow with the paper work. We had to get pictures for Dad’s slide show before 3. She said come back at 4:30. We tried to visit Littleton to get information about Dad’s heat that just went out. He was out to lunch so we decided to eat something then come back. We went to this little bar and grill place. The prices were really expensive and I lost it and stormed out. I refused to pay them $8 for a sandwich. I just walked to the other side of the building.

Brian kept calling me. At that moment, I didn’t care what happened to me for I wanted to die. All this was happening and I couldn’t control anything. I felt so alone. I refused to eat anything. We went back to Littleton’s but he was still out. We decided we couldn’t wait and went home to get pictures together. A little detour because Stacy forgot all the pictures in her friend’s car. Littleton called Brian and told him to spot $700 for the oil. It was to be delivered Saturday. We only had 45 minutes to pick out good pictures of Dad.

We got good pictures but I wasn’t happy because it didn’t show any of his childhood. After that, we went to Singletons again to drop off the pictures.

We had an hour and a half to burn so we decided to go let out Candi in Bowie because we couldn’t get a hold of Brian’s uncle. I’m still in denial. We stopped in, let her out, then went right back to Glen Burnie for the cemetery meeting. We planned it and walked out to the grave site. They seem nice but they want to be paid. Mom kept calling the entire time. We picked her up to take her to Dad’s.

Stacy was going to drop her off at someone’s house. Mom and Suzanne don’t realize how hard it is for us to do everything. We wanted to have a reception after the funeral, but if we have to plan it, I don’t think so. The added pressure of driving them everywhere they need to go. I hope people realize how hard it was for my sister and I to do everything.

Bri stops by B&T bank for the ATM for me. It kept saying “invalid pin” when I go to withdraw $700. I lost it there. I typed my pin number in correctly. I tell Brian, he calls them and gives me the phone after a long hold. I’m already nuts, kicking the building, kicking the ATM. The person tells me that I’m limited to $500 a day withdraw. I tell him it’s crap and my Dad just died and we’re trying to get money for oil cause the heat is out. I loose it and hang up on him. I had severe anger, I kept hitting myself. Brian tried to calm me down. Mom tells me to calm down but I go off on her. Stacy gets angry at me for yelling at Mom, explaining to her that we’ve been doing this all on our own with no one’s help. Brian’s been doing the driving which I still feel bad about. Brian withdraws $300 from his ATM and we’re on our way home. We give Stacy the money and finally get to go home after we pick up the puppy in Bowie.

I appologize to everyone over the phone but am still so hurt.

====================

Saturday January 19, 2008 – Sunday January 20, 2008
I take the weekend off to try not to think about anything and distress. We just relax, watch football, drink a little, play Rockband. Brian and I get our minds off of it. All Stacy is left to do is the collages.

Sunday night, Brian tells me he’s taking off Monday to make sure things are going to go as planned. I have Monday off for a federal holiday anyway.

====================

Monday January 21, 2008
Brian and I slept in until about 9 when we both got up. I believe Brian got up before me. Always when I wake up, I’m in a daze. I just lie there in disbelief that I’m still alive and that this is really happening. We got up and made our way over Brian’s parents house to drop off Candi. That’s where we’ll be staying until Wednesday. The cometary called on the way down, asking for money. I said my sister should be taking care of it, so they called her. She didn’t have it and Littleton said that we can’t access Dad’s money, so we’ll have to front it. Also, more stress, our cousin, Billy Ray, wanted to go to the funeral, but he doesn’t have the money to come up. Stacy said she could charge $600 for it, but I told her that it’s not her responsibility to do so. We’ve absorbed a lot of cost so far. With gas costs, the heating bill, stops for food, Brian taking off, we’re behind on where we should be. I called the cometary back to ask what the total we needed to carry on with the funeral was. After 20 minutes of them trying to tally a number, it came to $1,512. We, of course, didn’t have it on hand. They wanted it by 2PM. We had to ask Brian’s parents for a big favor, for them to get it. They gave us a check for $1,512. We immediately, after saying “thank you thank you thank you” went to the cometary in Glen Burnie to pay it off. We’re just so lucky Brian’s parents were off, and we’re so lucky to have them.

After the cometary, we went over Dad’s to finish the collage. Sine it was pretty early, we got pictures together and made one. Bri and I also found some stuff to decorate the room for the viewing. I’m still mad at the cometary for calling demanding money. Just seems very insensitive. We went back over Brian’s parents around 4PM because there was nothing more to do. We started placing locks (with the help of Mike Imbach) on the house.

Brian’s mom gave me stuff to wear at the viewing the next day. Brian’s parents made a good dinner and we went to bed around 12. We did watch a little bit of the democratic debate. We discussed a lot of things and I played sudoko a bit. When we went to bed, I just lied there in a mist, the day had gone okay, but I get really depressed and sad when I go to bed and when I get up.

====================

Tuesday January 22, 2008
We got up early to head over Dad’s by 10. Mike Imbach was meeting us there to put some more locks on the house. Marcus also came by. He’s one of Dad’s old friends. I don’t remember him. We chatted a while and waited for Littleton and the safe crackers to come. Mike also chatted a bit, telling us that it would be nice to drive the Camero to Dad’s funeral the next day.

Around 12 they got started. I got Brian to get me a sandwich at Wawa. Stacy, Littleton, and I stayed in Dad’s room, just chatting as the safe crackers worked. We talked about what’s going to happen, questions we had, etc. It was around 2:30 and we needed to get started to go to set up for the viewing. After discussion, Stacy decided to go with all the stuff to set up and I stay behind with Littleton. Brian opted to drop Suzanne and Kim off and pick Mom up to take her to the viewing. Bri got back around 4.

They finally got the safe open and we found Dad’s rolex. It was too late to put it on him, unfortunately, so Littleton gave his rolex to Stacy for Dad to wear. Brian and I had a good little debate with Littleton as the safe crackers were cleaning up and putting the new lock on. When everything was said and done, Littleton left and we decided to head for Aunt Janet’s where she was making dinner for us.

We heard on the way that Heath Ledger died. We had turkey and gravy at Aunt Janet’s. We discussed a lot of things. Uncle Mike offered to help with whatever we needed. We got ready and left for the viewing. There were a lot of people who showed up. Brian’s parents came, a lot of people from Dad’s past. The old gang I remember when I grew up all came. Interesting things came about. Kim Bracado took me a side at one point and told me not to trust Kim and to get her out of the house ASAP. I didn’t really know what to think. I mingled and met a lot of people I used to know. My old high school friends, Rick and Sara came. We mostly hung with them and caught up. Brian, at one point, stepped outside where the guys were talking about Kim. They, basically, flat out offered to cap her for us. It was strange.

Throughout the night, I felt like I was acting wrong. I wasn’t really happy, but I wasn’t too depressed, either. Just mingled and hung out. Towards the end, the priest who is to speak at the funeral came up to me, introduced himself to my sister and I, and asked what Dad was like. I told him the story about the flat tire. I said Dad was into boats and cars and trains. Stacy went back to her group of friends who were mingling. I prayed with the priest. Come 9, the funeral woman confronted me about things. I said we needed to get the rolex off of him, so she did. Afterwards, my sister went to Dad and cried for a good 20 minutes. Robbie comforted her. She didn’t want anyone to talk to her, she just wanted to be with Dad one last time, I guess. We chatted with Stacy’s friends who still remained. After that we packed up the stuff around Dad. Suzanne had said that she placed a ring with Dad. Whatever. We headed back to Brian’s parents house. I told them how glad I was that they came. I had both rolex’s. We compared and chatted about things. Bri and I had to be at Dad’s by 10 to get ready.

====================

Wednesday January 23, 2008
Brian woke up before me and walked Candi. I got up slowly because I was in the usual fuzz. I lied in bed for a while, just thinking about everything. I felt embarrassed to get up since Bri’s parents were still in bed. Brian’s dad made breakfast when I got up. We had to get to Dad’s at 10. When we got there, Mike got into the garage and got the car down (we had to find the key in a bunch of keys in the safe before that). We had to move the truck in order to get to it. The battery had died so Mike had to jump it. As it was charging, we went around the house and finished up some locks. We talked about the plan with Stacy and everyone who was there. Stacy agreed to drive the Camero to the funeral home and the funeral. Stacy and I got ready and went.

When we got to the funeral home, we notice a familiar face, Ms Patt, one of Dad’s old employees. She was shaking and was crying. They told her that Dad wasn’t there, she just wanted to give him a flower. We both went in. Uncle Mike also came because he thought paw barrors had to be there. The funeral home gave us all of Dad’s stuff like his flowers and everything.

Until this point I was okay. I felt very weird driving in Dad’s favorite car and the whole thing. We were one of the first people to arrive at the funeral. Ms Pat followed us, and so did Uncle Mike. People started showing up and I talked to them. Mom showed up dressed in casual clothes. I could have punched her. Aunt Ruth came, Brian’s parents, Rick and Sara, Dad’s friends, a lot of people. I started to weep a little bit because everyone else was teary, but I could only a little. I sat next to Mom and Ms Pat. The priest said good things and we prayed. When it was over, people walked up to the casket and said good bye. Mike made an announcement that we were to have a reception over Dad’s.

Rita wanted to go instead of going with Aunt Janet and Aunt Ruth to a restaurant. We stopped Brian and he took Rita. Stacy and I rode in the Camero but stopped because we needed to get gas. We made it back to Dad’s and everyone mingled. There was plenty of food and drinks. I’m so glad we didn’t need to plan that. Littleton stopped by and we talked about what was going on. He said he opened the estate. I mingled with a lot of people and showed most of the house to Brian’s parents. I was mostly outside talking to Uncle George and people. I was inside but since people had to move cars to shuffle them around, I went outside. Uncle George and I had a nice long talk and we both cried. He told me what Dad’s parents were like, and he said he loved Roland. He said how fucked up the situation was with him and that he thought he needed help. He wanted to help him. When people started clearing, we told Mom and Suzanne to get their stuff. Two less people in the house. Rita started to ask for things, and in some instances, just took things. My grandparents pictures were off the walls mysteriously. There was rumor later that she asked Mom and Brian for things. Mom and Brian have no authority to give anything away. Also there was rumor Aunt Janet told Rita that now wasn’t the time to get her stuff from there.

Aunt Janet showed up to pick up Rita. Rita used some of Kim’s boxes for her stuff. Uncle Mike took the kids around to show them the house and garage. When they left, we decided to leave. We had Mom and Suzanne to take to Glen Burnie. We stopped at Wawa because Mom wanted to get some drinks. We dropped them and all their stuff at Glen Burnie and went to Bowie. We were only there about 15 minutes.

We just got our stuff and the puppy. I returned everything and, of course, said thank you for their hospitality. Then we finally got to go home.

At home, we got a chance to relax and unwind. We are to go to back to work the next day. Everything feels so strange. I don’t know how to feel. I’m still in denial. I asked Brian to let me have two days of peace before we need to worry about anything again. This might have been the night when I dreamed of who will die next in my family.

====================

Thursday January 24, 2008
Finally back to work. It’s Steve’s last day at MORI. We go out to lunch to celebrate or whatever. I like to get off what’s going on in my life, but I tell people around the office when they ask. When Steve asked, I quickly turned attention to him. I asked what he was going to do and his plans. Steve left the office around 2 or 3. Shortly after that, we celebrated Dimitri’s birthday (which was Saturday) with a cake.

I left the office at my normal time. I’m getting back into the grove of working again. It felt like I never left. I got home and let Candi out and watched Hardball like usual. It must have been shortly after Bri got home, Brian was going out to run some errands. He mentioned that he was going to pick up some boxes. I was on the computer and I just snapped. I got so angry and I told him I didn’t want to hear it until the weekend. That I wanted two days of quazi normalcy. He couldn’t give me that. I knocked over the table, knocked over the chair. My world was spinning out of control. I hit my head like I normally do when my mind bends like that. I yelled and got really angry. I probably hit and punched Brian. His emotion and anger got to him too and he started hitting me. He hit my arm pretty bad and I started crying. I retreated to the bedroom where I collapsed in a sea of emotions and started shouting “just kill me so I can see my Dad again”. That’s all I wanted at that exact moment was to see my father. I wanted to die so badly so I could see him again. I just didn’t want to think about everything we had to do. I want my life back. I just want my life back.

Brian left and went outside. I usually just lie in bed or somewhere and think about all I’ve felt and try to get better. He came back in and we both apologized. Dust settled and we had dinner. Brian told me he spoke to Aunt Janet and that she cried on the phone because she was upset about Rita. She told me how she felt duped and fooled that Rita just came down to get her stuff. I told her it was okay but she said she wanted to protect Stacy and I. I also talked to Stacy. She seemed to be doing okay. She said she was working until Sunday.

====================

Friday January 25, 2008
Went to work like any normal day. I think I woke up in the dark and I complained to Brian that I hurt myself trying to find something. Had lunch at work, like usual. Went home and Brian went to the bank. We decided to go out to Applebees to try their three course dinner. It was pretty crowded, but we waited. While waiting, I decided to try to find a jewelry store via our GPS. Brian called them and asked for an appraisal. Welp, that’s not what I wanted. I wanted him to ask to see if they can verify if the watch we have is a real rolex or not. I just snapped there. I was going insane because Brian is so stupid sometimes. He just doesn’t get it sometimes. It was really hard at that moment. Just little things, so much stress, so much pressure. Little things get to me a lot.

====================

Saturday January 26, 2008
Half way sleep again. Anticipating what we need to do. We’re going to go over Dad’s to figure out some stuff. I couldn’t get back to sleep around 4AM. I have a bad habit of waking up every hour or so. I decided to write this note to display how I feel, when I’m going through moments.

I’ve been just going through a lot of denial and stress, and, at times, severe anger. I snap really easily. I get mad at Brian, mad at my sister. I haven’t gotten mad at my sis in years. Anyway, I decided this note might be therapeutic, if not, maybe help someone else going through the same sorts of things. It’s really hard loosing a loved one.

I finally got to sleep around 7 after writing some of this. We got up around 9 to go over Dad’s for the security system guy. He explained things, found wires of which were installed but not used. we had Candi the whole time. Mike Imbach came over and helped Brian figure out all the cars in the junk yard. Stacy said she’d pay for the security system. She just wants everything to be safe.

Afterward, we talked to Mike about things. Stacy said he shouldn’t have come up unannounced and that no one should come up while no one is there. Kim agreed, and she’s for keeping things safe because her stuff is there, too. Kim got picked up by her mom. She brought some stuff back because she will be living there now.

Stacy left for work, we locked the house up. I went though the safe a bit and disposed of pills and things of that sort. We then left for Bri’s parents. We took Dad’s laptop. we had a nice dinner over there. Afterward, Brian dug on Dad’s computer and found his 2006 tax form. Bri’s parents deciphered it for us. Dad was, obviously, cheating on his taxes.

Brian and I went to sleep around 12 to get up quazi early to help my sister and Kim move. I couldn’t get to sleep. Can’t stop thinking about Dad.

====================

Sunday January 27, 2008
Brian got up before me and let Candi out. I was sitting there pondering whether or not to get up and start this whole mess which is my life, again. Everytime I get up, a tiny portion of me still thinks and hopes that this isn’t real. Brian made pancakes for us for breakfast. Brian decided he wanted to take the van to help people move stuff, if necessary. I thought it was unnecessary. We had taken the Prius this weekend.

We got over Dad’s and discussed the agenda with Stacy, then went to the hardware store to get necessary materials. I went to Graul’s to see if they had coffee cake. I should have went to the hardware store. Brian forgot a few necessary things and had to go back in.

When we got home we discussed how we needed to seal up the house and what we needed to do. I took the things out of the bag. Brian had only got 75 feet of tape. Dad has a lot of windows. I snapped, yet again. I went off of him and called him stupid and what not. So frustrated. My world kept turning without slowing down. I started crying and yelling. I threatened to go home but I didn’t have my car. Brian gave me the keys to the van telling me to go home. I threw them back at him, breaking the remote. I was still so upset but we tried to find the buttons. My world was still spinning. I was still screaming and Brian lost it too. Brian needs to understand he needs to be stronger than me. I just want to know what he’s going to be like when one of his parents die. How strong will I be for him? He’s not strong enough for me because he looses it. I wish he’d know just hold me just comfort me. Stop my world from spinning, he can do that. Why won’t he be strong for me? It’s not hard for him, he wasn’t close to my father at all.

Brian finally just held me and stopped my head. I just cried and collapsed. The usual feeling of getting ready to throw up. I kept saying all i wanted to do was die. That’s all I wanted. To see my father again, how I wish this wasn’t happening. It slowed down and we took a logical look at where I threw the keys and found the missing parts. We assembled the remote back and it worked.

I decided to start putting the final lock on the upstairs door. Brian went with Kim’s mom to drop stuff off. I sealed up the door with a lot of tape and explored the garage. I took video of the garage. Jen called, asking when we were going to be home. I told them late because we still needed to pick up the Prius and the puppy from Bowie. I said to take the van but Brian wanted to anyway.

Brian finally got back to Dad’s. Kim left from there after she packed up most her stuff. Stacy also left with Robbie. We made sure all the doors were locked and everything. We tried to block the doors and windows as best we could. The house seemed secure. As we left, we took Dad’s looney tunes pictures with us.

We dropped off the looney tunes art and got the puppy and headed back to Germantown. We hung out with Shawn and Jen and played Rockband and watched Blades Of Glory. They ordered pizza. While watching the movie, Suzanne called to talk to me about Stacy’s tuition, the cars, and her stuff. She also called again to tell me about the tanning bed might be Christy’s. She also mentioned malpractice again.

It’s getting to the point where it’s harassment. Suzanne has called at least once every two days. If she’s harassing my sister and keeps calling, we will have a problem.

We walked home around 9. We both weren’t really tired so we decided to watch Harry Potter 5. I went to bed rather quickly, but again, half sleep.

====================

Monday January 28, 2008
I woke up this morning thankful that it wasn’t a weekend. I woke up several times during the night. Once was with Size_t sleeping on me. My side hurt a lot throughout the day because of the way I slept. I went to work, pondering what things I had to do. My phone died so I worried the whole day someone important may call. I got Brian to call Littleton to tell him what Suzanne had told me the previous day and about the tax return we found. I went to lunch with coworkers at the mall. During the day I kept thinking ahead of what we needed to do. I figure everyone make a list of things in Dad’s house. We put all their stuff in one location like the pool room.

Therefore we can sort through the house piece by piece without worrying about throwing anything valuable away. Came home, talked to Shawn for a minute, let Candi out. Watched about 5 minutes of Hardball before Brian came home. We went directly to UPS in Gaithersburg.

Dad’s thank you cards from Singleton’s arrived. I have no clue who to send them to. We had only received two flowers from the funeral.

I guess I can not do anything with them.

====================

Tuesday January 29, 2008
Having a hard time staying asleep always. I wake up frequently and I can’t not dream when I sleep. It’s a half sleep all the time. When I’m awake, I’m awake, but when I sleep I’m only half asleep. This day I went to work as usual. Had lunch. Boring day at work. When I got home I played guitar hero because I didn’t want to watch Chris Matthews. I wanted to play “When You Were Young” by the Killers but I didn’t get to that song yet. Brian made meatball subs and we went over Shawn and Jen’s to play some Rockband and watch House. During rockband, I had them play “When You Were Young”. After the song I felt like crying because I always think of Dad during that song. It was so hard but I kept tears back but they came anyway. I just miss him so much. We all watched House. When we came home we watched a bit of SVU then went to bed. Brian and I made love. Afterward, I went to the sink and started to cry uncontrollably. Brian rushed to comfort me but I kept feeling and emotions kept coming and wouldn’t stop. I almost threw up like I always feel like doing when I get that upset. I kept thinking about how I will never talk to Dad again. I’ll never hear his voice again.

====================

Wednesday January 30, 2008
I got up really angry because, like always, I haven’t been sleeping well. I woke up and needed light to see so I got mad because Brian is always still in bed. I jammed my thumb trying to get to the sink. I went to work like normal. Had lunch with Dimitri at the place down stairs. Monique told me that Lockheed Martin needs a web developer temporarily. I had a phone interview at 1PM which I did pretty well on. The guy seemed to like me. But I don’t want to go into DC. I’m not ready for another dramatic change. I only get three days of normalcy in the week. Friday’s we’re planning what we’re doing that weekend, Monday’s we’re recovering from what we did. And even there, I’m always “on call” with everything. Suzanne calls, Littleton calls sometimes. I can’t get a break anyway. I can’t go.

My life is too hectic now. I was desperate to talk to someone about it but decided to talk to Brian when I got home. I talked to him and we decided I should talk to Bri’s Dad about it. After the grocery store and dinner, I called him. I told him I didn’t want to seem selfish in asking that it’s not a good time for me to go anywhere. It’s just another thing I need to worry about right now. My life is too messed up right now. Maybe after the summer, maybe when things can cool down. I just lost my father, I need a break. It’s hard enough going to work sometimes, but I need the money so I don’t have a choice. Everything’s so difficult. That night right before we went to bed I talked to Seth a little bit. Right before bed I cried again. Brian held me forever. I had finally told him my one dream I had. The next people to die in my family are Aunt Ruth, Candi, Mom.

====================

Thursday January 31, 2008
It marks the first time I got a decent sleep in a long time. Granted, I went to bed late like always. Went to work, had lunch. Debated a lot with Seth on the debate group. Brian forgot the tax form of Dad’s. He went home during his lunch break and let the puppy out and got it. He faxed it and the canceled check (for the cometary) over to Littleton. I got home and played some guitar hero. We had dinner. Shawn stopped over to borrow one of Brian’s suits for his interview on Friday. After dinner we went over Shawn and Jens to watch the Comebacks. After the movie, we went home and snuggled. We made love again. I think it was like the forth time in like three weeks. No real emotions came over me when I went to bed. Brian and I just talked. I always think right before I go to sleep of how I wish I could wake up and this not be happening.

====================

Currently, I still have bad dreams some nights. Right before I go to bed I worry about a lot of things. I think about and worry about a lot of things all the time, really. I’m still in denial, I think. I don’t know when it’s really going to hit me. I keep thinking back to the way my Dad coughed when he picked up the phone, and his voice. I can’t express it into words how hard to believe it is that he’s gone. I feel so much guilt about everything.