This is really the best blog ever.

An end to an era?

September 2, 2017
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So…
 
Bellini’s finally happened. I talked myself out of last week, for whatever reasons. I planned to do it today and started talking myself out of it earlier, and said, “No, this is just depression rearing its ugly head again,” and made myself go.
 
(For the uninitiated, Bellini’s is my favourite restaurant. It’s a little Italian deli, opened decades ago by Mr. Bellini, who had retired from running a deli in New York and moved to Florida. His wife was an English and Latin teacher at my high school, so he got bored being the only one home all day, so he opened a deli down here. I’ve been going to Bellini’s for approximately 35 years.)
 
I walked in and felt something was different. The decor was slightly different, there were small differences here and there. Shelves with bottles of pickled veggies and sauces weren’t there. But… it was more than that. Something felt… off.
 
I glanced over behind the counter, expecting to see Scott, the owner, working with his employees, making food… but he wasn’t there. Kinda odd for an early afternoon Saturday, but not unheard of. I walked back to the dining area, saw a server I know, and she seemed… not upset, but not her usual self. She greeted me with a, “hey, baby,” like she always does (and she’s a cutie, but as much as I’d like to think that means anything, I know it doesn’t), but there was a distraction in her demeanor. (Now, at the time, I didn’t think anything of it. Service help can’t always be 100% bastions of sunshine and joy, real life can dampen that.)
 
I sat at (one of) my usual table(s), and she came over, asking if I needed a menu. I told her I didn’t, and she repeated my usual to me (pretty good, considering I’d not been there in a few months, and only a couple times in 2017… but she’s worked there six years now), which I confirmed. She seemed a bit more her usual self then.
 
Food came, it was delicious as usual, but I wondered if it tasted a little different. Still great, but yes, it did. Maybe they were using different bread, maybe a different provider of veggies or meat or cheese? Wasn’t sure. Still, it was great, and I enjoyed every toasty bite of my Italian hero, all the way, hot.
 
When she (I really should learn her name) brought over my check, she asked if I had heard Scott had sold the place. I hadn’t, and voice my surprise. Health issues and long hours and such led him to do so, and the new owners took over last week. (Remember, two weeks ago, I went and they were unexpectedly closed? I bet that had something to do with that.) She asked if I enjoyed the sub, I said I had, and she remarked they hadn’t changed anything in the menu… and appended with with a “yet.”
 
I said that I hoped they didn’t, and she agreed. We talked a little bit more (they weren’t busy, so I wasn’t keeping her from any waiting customers), I gave her her tip and went to pay my bill.
 
So… we’ll see. When new owners bought Bellybusters years ago (2008ish?), they signed a contract agreeing they had to keep certain items, the specialty items Bellybusters was known for, on the menu… but they changed things. Went from fresh ground beef on the burgers to chopping up frozen patties. And it made a big difference.
 
So much so, more new owners ended up buying it from them, changing things back to the way they were, and getting back all the customers the first changes had driven away (myself included.)
 
I don’t know if there was any contractual (or otherwise) agreement along those lines here. We’ll see what changes they’ll affect as time goes on.
 
Regardless, it’s not the same without Scott there. When I first went, I was 12 years old, volunteering at the public library/playing D&D (and other RPGs) in the basement, and one of the other volunteers/players suggested we grab it for lunch. Back then, Scott and his wife (the daughter of Mr and Mrs Bellini) were still living in New York, attending college, but they would come down for the summer and on holidays and work… and I remember him being a skinny, tall early 20something.
 
As time went by, we both got older, less skinny, and got on a first name basis. No matter how long between visits, I could always expect to walk in and hear a friendly, hearty, “Hey, Terry,” from Scott. For the past six years or so, when he was off (usually evenings), his son-in-law, Paul, was working and would greet me in lieu of Scott.
 
Certainly, it’s not exactly what the song was about, but I think “Where everybody knows your name” said it best:
 
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
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Fighting Depression #32 – Oh, hai, I’m still alive and doing well enough.

August 20, 2017
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Wow, been fifty days since my last post here!

Been busy working, mostly six day work weeks.

When I get home after being away from the house for 10-12 hours each day, I’m exhausted and worn out (moreso each day of the week) and posting here hasn’t even really occurred to me, to be honest.

Depression hasn’t had much time to prey on me, to be honest.  This is a mostly good thing.  It has popped up occasionally, usually during my one day weekends, and, in fact, was why I haven’t gotten my oil changed, though it was due weeks ago.

I took care of that this morning, though, so fuck you, depression.

On the plus side, we have the opportunity to take every other Saturday off; my first one was a couple weeks ago, and my next one is this upcoming Saturday.  Really looking forward to a two day weekend, it’ll be indulgent.

Been catching up on tasks around the house that have been put off for months – when I had all the free time in the world (so to speak), depression was running roughshod over me.  Now, I’m so tired when I come home/get up, there’s only so much I can get accomplished… but I’m making some headway here and there.  Miles to go and all that, but headway is headway.

Here’s my checklist for today:

Slept 6.5 hours ✔
Walked Smiley ✔
Morning coffee ✔
Gave back time to loosen up for day ✔
Oil Change ✔
Shopping to restock “storm kit” ✔
Grocery shopping ✔
Publix sub for brunch ✔
Fed Smiley

Change out cat litter boxes✔
Laundry (in progress)
Climb on roof to check for storm-related dangers (limbs, etc)✔
Miscellaneous housework (in progress)
Fine tune budget for next couple weeks
(Add any other tasks that I can’t think of/have forgotten)


 

so, yeah, not a whole lot to report on here.  Work is decent (hot work, not too physically demanding, get along with everyone on my crew, bosses aren’t the best but not the worst I’ve ever worked for, pay is better than I’ve ever made in my life by several $ per hour), don’t have a lot of free time.  Getting lonely, would love to find a gaming group or something like that, but not sure about time commitments.  Would love to find someone to date, but options are limited (and time is limited, so she’d have to be understanding as all get out.)

Will try to post before too long.

As always, thanks for reading.


Fighting Depression #31 – Things are going pretty well right now.

July 1, 2017
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The new job is good, but very demanding/taxing.  Working overtime most days, so away from the house half a day, and when I’m home, I’m exhausted/beat.

(Four day weekend for the holiday right now, so that’s rather exciting.  Conversely, we’ll be working next Saturday, so that week we’ll only have a one day weekend.  Bah.  I think it’s funny, considering that I had what amounts to a five and third month long weekend for the first half of the year.)

The work is interesting enough – I’m officially a “Press Line Operator” or a “Machine Operator” (I’ve seen my title referred to as both.)  I’ve been trained on nine machines (flatteners, stakers, piercer/deburrers, knurlers), and as of this past week, I’ve also been trained and spending about half my time in the wash station (which I refer to as the “dish pit”, as it strongly reminds me of that.)

The work is hot (especially in the dish pit) – temperatures of 100F plus are common.  (Our shift starts at 3pm, and since 3-6 is generally the warmest part of the day, it tends to get cooler as the shift goes on, fortunately.  Days where it rains makes a huge difference, too.)  But I don’t really mind hot work; there’s plenty of fans, so it’s (mostly) tolerable.  (And, depending on the temperature, we are eligible for extra breaks in the air conditioned break rooms.)

The work is physical, especially in the dish pit (lifting baskets/dumping them in in the machine, reloading, etc, plus another part of the job is ferrying stacks to their next stop.)  I don’t mind physical, but after 5+ months of a mostly sedentary life, it’s taking a bit to get used to.  The past couple days seemed to be less taxing, so we’ll see how it continues.

The people I work with are very cool, for the most part.  I’ve gotten friendly with a few folks already, and everyone else ranges from politely aloof to cordial.

I’m being paid several dollars an hour more than at the shelter (no surprise, this is a big corporation vs a small non-profit that really didn’t appreciate its workforce), but I’m in a higher tax bracket, so not bringing home quite as much more as you’d think.  (Still, with the overtime, I’ll have brought home in two weeks what I’d have brought home in 2/3rds of a month from the shelter.  This will greatly help in catching up on the debt I’ve accrued this year.)

Being busy and productive and bringing in cash and being social is very good for me, mentally.  It’s keeping my depression/issues fairly quiet for the time being.  Doubts and fears and such are still there, but the voices are drowned out by everything else going on, at least for the time being.

Here’s hoping this trend continues.

As always, thank you for reading along.


Fighting Depression #30 – Hey, I started my new job…

June 19, 2017
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So, as anyone following knows, the biggest thing that’s defined this year is my being fired from the non-profit no-kill animal shelter that I bled, sweated and shed tears over for the past twelve-plus years.  (I won’t go into the long, detailed story again, but for those who are newer and/or don’t know the story of me and the shelter, I wrote about it in detail two months ago.)

I started a new job today.  It’s “temp-to-hire”, but I’m hoping that I’m able to prove myself and turn it into a permanent hire position before long.

Today was orientation, so that meant a morning meeting with HR and several other new hires, and then most of the rest of the day taking tests on the computer.  The last couple hours, I sat in on the beginning of the shift meeting for the department/team I’ll be starting with, and was walked around and given the grand tour and explained many policies and introduced to a bunch of people by my team leader, Linda.

Tomorrow, I begin actually being part of the crew/team/department (not sure their term for it – team, I’m thinking, but I’m uncertain.)  Excited, a bit anxious.  There’s a lot for me to learn; it’s manufacturing, and while I have had a job in that field before, it wasn’t this particular type of manufacturing.

And, of course, depression/anxiety is having me second guess everything and beat myself up… yay.  But, I’m doing my best to ignore that, battle those thoughts with positive ones.

So, onward and upward, right?

(As always, thank you for reading.)


Fighting Depression #29 – I’m still here!

June 9, 2017
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So, 15 days gone by, not a post from me.  (sheepish grin)

Let’s see… quick recap, bullet points style!

  • I’m still unemployed.  Still collecting unemployment (“ReEmployment Assistance” in Florida.)  Still putting out applications left and right (minimum required to be on RA is 5/week, I’m exceeding that every week.)
  • I have a job interview next week; I’m nervous as fuck about it.  I did a phone interview, and then an online assessment and now the next step is in-person interview.  This would be a cool job, I think, and it’s 2nd shift (I’m so not a morning person, so that’s a good thing) and it’s manufacturing, so the pay should be more than I was making.  (And, while I’m not really about money, I do like being able to pay bills and the like… plus I’ve accrued some extra debt doing the jobless thing the past five months.)
  • Technically, tomorrow will be five months from when I found out that I was being fired for no reason.  (Yes, I’m still bitter about that.  Even though, from things I hear, I think it’s a good thing I’m not there any more.  Let’s just say, standards have fallen.)
  • I’m scraping by, I’m managing.  Selling stuff online and making some here and there, finding some money I had squirreled away in an envelope three years ago and completely forgot about helps.  I’m starting to look into other avenues should the ReEmployment Assistance run out before I find a job, and there are avenues.
  • Been going to the gym, twice a week most weeks (there was a ten day stretch between visits a couple weeks ago, so that wasn’t good.)  I’m thinking about boosting it three times a week.  Better for my weight loss (which is happening, been about a pound a week most weeks), better for my mental health, too.
  • Saw two new release movies, one last week, one this week.  Last week was ALIEN: COVENANT (I enjoyed it, it wasn’t great, but it was fun) and this week was WONDER WOMAN (oh, so very awesome, loved it.)  I paid $6 to see both of them (did a blood donation a couple weeks ago, and got a $10 Gift Card to EPIC THEATRES.  On Tuesdays, it’s “Discount Day”, shows are $6, $8 on the XL Screen – and, trust me, superhero and scifi movies are MUCH better on that bigger screen.  So worth the extra $2.)
  • I have good, productive days and I have bad days.  Time is starting to get tighter in regards to a steady income (such that it is), so I’m going to have to force myself to have more good, productive days.  I have a plan for the weekend and even early next week.  Plans and lists are tools that help me stay on track, or get back on track when I derail.

So, that’s it, in a nutshell.  Pretty much a holding pattern/same-old, same-old the past few weeks.  Hopefully, this coming week brings good news, but if not, then I’ve got to go into overdrive.  While I’m waiting for that, working on things, looking into avenues, the like.

As always, I thank you for reading.


Fighting Depression #28 – Today was a bad day.

May 25, 2017
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Today, everything just came slamming down on me, mentally and emotionally.

It was a bad day.  A very bad day.

I’m okay, though.  Not gonna beat myself up for having a shit day and doing pretty much nothing all day.

Gonna chill for a little bit, try to get to bed before long, and tomorrow’s a new day.  I have a game plan for the rest of the week.  I will get things done, I will take care of business.

But, damn, did today hurt.

 


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Fighting Depression #27 – I’m okay.

May 22, 2017
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(Quick plug: I still am selling personal items to help pay bills while seeking employment.  If you like DVDs and Blu Rays, please check out this post.  If you like games – roleplaying, tabletop or PS4, check out this post.)

I’m okay.  (It’s been eleven days since my last post, so you might be wondering…)

I’m not great.  I’m still unemployed.  I still have days where… I just lose myself for a bit.  I’m still a little overwhelmed most of the time, and a lot overwhelmed on occasion.

I’m not horrible.  I’m paying (most of) the bills.  I have a buffer, thanks to the ReEmployment Assistance (though that’s going to run out, it’s not a long-term thing – I’m almost at the halfway point now.)  I have food in my stomach, a roof over my head.  My critters are healthy and happy.  I’m mostly healthy, I believe, and there are times i’m happy.

There have been several screening interviews for jobs (mostly by phone, one in-person.)  There’s been an actual in-person interview/skills test.  They didn’t say how soon to expect a call if I got hired… and I get the sense that it’s not unreasonable to not have heard from them just yet, so there’s still a chance, I’m thinking.

I’m lonely.  I can’t afford to go places on a regular basis that might help me meet or interact with people.  (That being said, I’m likely going to go see a couple movies this week – last week, I donated blood and got a $10 gift card for the local theatre, and tomorrow is their Discount Day, so I’m intending to go see Alien: Covenant… and I got a free screening pass for Wonder Woman on Wednesday.)

I really crave some intimacy with someone, too.  And, really, there’s no way I’m a “catch” right now.  I’m a mess, my life is a mess, my house is a mess.

I’m frustrated with life right now.  Last year, I enacted a plan to Make Things Better.  I budgeted better, got caught up on payments, improved my credit.  Even with the extra weeks’ worth of work I missed last year (and didn’t make up), I was able to do all that.

I had a plan for this year – my five day wrestling weekend was going to involve a hotel room local to the venue (I actually had money saved up for that, but that was used to pay bills to get me through until after said wrestling weekend), and then the rest of the year, the game plan was getting a new(?) car and doing some home improvement projects.

So, yeah.

But, I’m okay.  I.  AM.  OKAY.  I’m not (yet) in danger of losing the house, of being homeless, etc.  I still have time, I still have options.  I need to refocus and tuck my chin and charge through that wall.

I have a reputation.

(Well, I have MANY reputations.  Sadly, most of them are based in truth.)

But, I have a reputation.  I am considered a bit of a force of nature when it comes to my stubborn (some will say bull-headed) nature

So, maybe I need to tap into that and get shit done.


Fighting Depression #26/Movie Time: Guardians of the Galaxy Double Shot

May 11, 2017
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A week ago today, I went to a double feature at the local theatre, the EPIC Theatres West Volusia with Epic XL.  It was a double feature of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the debuting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

gotg double

This isn’t going to be a break it down to basics review, you’ve probably already seen plenty of those.  This is going to talk about the experience and how it was good for my mental health.

For those new here; I’m blogging some life stuff/etc to help deal with my depression.  I’m self-diagnosed and not seeking professional help at this stage.  I’m also going through a particularly tough time, having been fired (without any explanation) from the not-for-profit no-kill animal shelter that I gave twelve-plus years of my life to.

So, couple weeks back, I saw that there was a double feature of GotG on Thursday, May 4th.  Now, I LOVE GotG.  It’s my favourite Marvel Studios movie.  It’s one of my favourite movies, period.  I own it on blu ray (and it’s one of a select bunch that I am NOT selling – if you want to help a guy pay some bills, please consider looking at the movies I am selling… or you can check here to see the tabletop/roleplaying/PS4 games I have for sale, too.)  I’ve seen it a good 4-5 times now.

The idea of seeing it on the big screen again really appealed to me.  I thought that would be much fun.

The ticket for the double feature was $20.  A bit pricey for my budget, but I had a gift certificate for $12, so it would only cost me $8.  I could justify that – I’ve been treating myself to a meal out about once a week – if I’m having to sell my personal items to pay bills, some of that money is going towards fun stuff.  So I decided this would be my treat for the week.

Now, a little history.  I really dig movie marathons.  I’ve only ever been to two others in actual theatres.  Back in 1987, my friend Todd and I went to Orlando (sadly, I don’t recall the name of the theatre – it wasn’t a big box one, it was a small community theatre with a balcony – we sat in the balcony, it was very cool) and saw A Nightmare On Elm Street and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (neither of which I’d seen in the theatre because they were rated R, I was only 15 for the first one, and I didn’t have a consenting adult to go with), as well as the debut of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

It was a VERY cool experience; it was a Friday afternoon, so I played hooky from school (I was a junior in high school, Todd was a senior) and we went to Orlando.  The auditorium was filled to the max, maybe 300-350 people, all rabid Freddy fans.  Watching the first two on the big screen was a lot of fun, we were yelling out lines and such… one vivid memory I have, thirty years later, is EVERYONE yelling the line in sync when Nancy tells her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp), “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.”

Fast forward to 2014.  Now, I’m a big Planet of the Apes fan.  The original is probably my favourite scifi movie.  It’s certainly my favourite post-apocalypse movie (and I’m a rather big fan of that genre of story.)  I like the five movie series, even the bad one, Beneath The Planet of the Apes.  I own the set on blu ray (and again, NOT SELLING them.)

In 2011, when Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out, I was excited, but with very big reservations, as the 2001 movie sucked balls (though, to be honest, I find myself wanting to revisit that, just to see if it’s as bad as I think I remember it being.)  I put off seeing it at the theatres, so I had to wait until it came out on video (I believe I watched it via Amazon when it did.)  I loved it and was kicking myself for not going to see it… so when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was coming out, I was excited to see that the UA Seminole Towne Center 10 was having a double-feature with both movies.  (And, yes, I currently own both on blu ray, and, no, I’m not selling them, either.)

I, of course, went.  Was so thrilled to watch RotPotA on the big screen.  Loved the movie even more for it.  (There are some movies that are just so much better on the big screen… and this one was one I already loved.)

Then, DotPotA came on.  It was a 3D movie.

I was horrified.

I’m legally blind in my left eye.  Traditional 3D (the glasses with one red lens, one blue lens) does NOT work for me.  At all.  My brain processes about 98% of my vision through my right eye.  (Even when I cover my right eye, my brain processes so that I ‘see’ through my hand – it processes the left eye image and the image of my hand together.  It’s really cool and weird.)

I thought… ok… well, I’ll try and watch it without.  (I used to try that with the old style of 3D, and get a headache within minutes.)  Then, before the movie actually started, I was like, “fuck it, we’ll try the 3D”.  So, I had to go out and get a pair of 3D glasses (I had no idea DofPotA was 3D, it hadn’t been stated obviously on the website I got the ticket from, though it was listed on the ticket, in small print… I’d have passed on the ticket, or looked for another venue where they were showing the regular version of the 2nd movie instead.)

Guess what?  The new 3D works for me… mostly.  I still don’t get the full experience, but I can see SOME depth and difference.  And, wearing the glasses, I don’t get a headache, so that was good.  (Bottom line, I was able to experience the movie and enjoy it.)

Now, this double feature experience wasn’t as cool as the ANoES triple feature was, because there were only about a dozen people and it was a more sedated experience… but the movies were more than fun enough to make it an experience that I hold dear.

So, walking into the GotG double feature, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was about 4pm when I walked into the lobby; the movie was scheduled to start at 4:30.  There was a line queued up already, about twenty-some people.  I got in line, found out there was a raffle, so I presented my ticket to get a number.  There were 5 soundtracks and 3 t-shirts being raffled away, either would be fine to win, I thought, though the soundtrack was the ideal (and everyone else seemed to agree.)

I didn’t win anything, sadly.  I also forgot to pick up the complimentary button/mini-poster set, so there’s that.

All told, I think there were about fifty people as we filed into the auditorium.  I got to sit the very top row, exact center, which is my preferred seat, so I was pleased with that.

This was more of a fun experience, because everyone was EXCITED to see GotG on the big screen again.  When it started, people clapped and cheered.  Throughout the movie, people clapped, cheered, awww’d and more.

The new movie… I loved it.  I know a lot of people out there have complaints, I think you’re all nuts.  It was just as good as the first, I think – and in some ways better (and in some ways, not quite as good.)

Loved the villain; he’s one of my favourite somewhat obscure villains from Marvel comics, so I really enjoyed that.  Loved the little Easter Eggs.  Did I think Stallone was the perfect casting for Stakar?  No, but he didn’t have that much screen time, and what he did, he did fine for the character as it was presented.

Loved the credit scenes.  All five of them.  Third one’s the best, but they were all good.

And the crowd was hip and into it (though about half left after the 2nd credits scene, dummies.)

So, for $8 I got a super fun experience that I’ll remember for years.  And it’s stuff like that that helps me fight the negativity and such swirling around in my brain.

As always, thanks for reading.


Fighting Depression #25 – A little good news goes a long way.

May 2, 2017
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I’ve had some good news today that I REALLY needed to hear, so I had a nice, strong drink to “celebrate”… so this post is going to be short so I don’t make a fool of myself.

The good news: I finally got approved for unemployment compensation.  This was weighing on me as there were “pending issues” that could “delay or disqualify” me from getting the UC.  (Oh, yeah, here in Florida, it’s called “ReEmployment Assistance” now.)  Even though I knew there shouldn’t have been any reasons for me to not get approved (I was terminated for no doing of my own, I am not otherwise earning an income), it’s VERY stressful to see that in my account every time I checked it.

But, finally, I got the letters of approval on both the termination and remuneration issues.  (The latter was b/c I got severance pay from the shelter when I was fired, but since that’s long been used up and more than enough time has elapsed, that’s been determined not to be a factor.)

So, that’s a MAJOR weight off my shoulders.  I’ll be getting some money on a regular basis, and that means I can now apply for mortgage assistance from the Florida’s Hardest Hit program, as well as food stamps, to help me out.

Today was pretty much a wash; I didn’t get much done, but I’m okay with that.  Tomorrow, back to being productive and pro-active.  Gotta get some job applications done for the week, plus apply for the aforementioned programs.


Online Yard Sale #2 – Game night! #PS4 #tabletop #roleplaying

April 28, 2017
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(This is the 2nd “Online Yard Sale” post.  The first one has blu rays and DVDs, you can find them here.  Short version, I’m unemployed and need help paying bills, so I’m selling my stuff.  Please share this post with your friends/social networks who might be interested in buying.)

 

EDIT – JUNE 17: As I’m starting a (temp-to-hire) job in two days, I’m pulling the ONLINE YARD SALE posts.  If this job doesn’t work out, then I’ll likely revisit them.  (Additionally, I will be selling some stuff, not all that I had listed, on eBay – you can find my listings here – currently none but there will be some later in June – as I still need to catch up on debt accrued during my unemployment.)

A big thanks to everyone who purchased items from me and those who signal boosted.  I made several hundred dollars through this, and that helped with the bill payments BIG TIME.


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