Back from the Upsidedown – July 9, 2019

So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. Life got a little messy, as it sometimes can, and things got away from me a bit.

I’ve continued writing, though. Not in the volume or with the consistency as before, but I have been keeping up with it. The novel is still inching along.

I had hoped to have the first draft finished by the end of June, but as usual, my prediction was a bit premature. As it stands, I’m nearly done the climax (I think), and then there will just be the wrapping up of all the storylines.

The draft has gotten embarrassingly long, but from what I understand that’s a common thing with first novel attempts. One of the lessons I’m hoping this experience will teach me is “economy of words”, learning to say what I want to say in as few words as necessary. I’m hoping my experience with editing this mess will help me learn that.

So, what’s been going on in my life? Why the break in posting?

I guess that boils down to three factors, really. I’ve had a few incidents recently involving my health, my family life, and a need to distract myself with a rather large project.

A few weeks ago I had a doctor’s appointment and received some disappointing news. Though I know there are a few more things I can do, a few more lifestyle changes I need to make, I have been really trying to do all the things I should be doing to keep my blood glucose levels low.

During my last doctor’s appointment, I got the results for my latest A1C test, and they weren’t stellar. Worse was that my doctor thinks that much of the work I’ve been doing to try and get that under control may, in fact, be somewhat futile.

She thinks I may be among the five percent of Type 2 Diabetics that have what doctors jokingly refer to as Type 1.5 Diabetes, meaning that though I have Type 2, in me it behaves more like Type 1.

My Diabetes is an unfortunate result of a pre-existing Thyroid condition coupled with genetics. I kind of won the Diabetes lottery it seems, and probably, no matter what I do to try and keep my blood glucose under control, it will likely not do much good, and I’ll end up on insulin.

Getting that news really sucked, and put me in a bit of a depressed state. It made me feel as if I’d failed somehow, which I know isn’t the case, it’s just a result of genetic bad luck. Still, part of me feels as if this is somehow my fault, that I did this to myself and just haven’t been trying hard enough.

I’m also a bit needle-phobic, and it’s hard enough just to take my glucose levels with the little finger-tip pin-prick every day. I can’t imagine how I’ll be when I do have to inject myself with an actual hypodermic every day.

The only upside, I suppose, will be that if I do go on insulin, I can ditch the pharmacopeia of pills I currently have to take every day, so I have that going for me.

So that’s the health thing.

Some of you who have been reading my blog all along (yes, both of you), may remember several months back a post I made concerning an incident at my mom’s 75th birthday party. I made mention that a relative of mine spoiled the day with some crappy behaviour which left bent noses all around.

That situation has only gotten worse.

The relative I had mentioned is, in fact, my younger brother, and his behaviour has only gotten worse.
Either out of shame, or cowardice, or just obstinateness, he and his wife have refused to show up at any family gatherings, of which there have been a few since that incident back in February. They even refused to attend our nephew’s Confirmation dinner, which was held at the restaurant my brother part owns.

That behaviour has further hurt my mother, as it means she doesn’t get to see her youngest grandchild, my brother’s daughter, nearly as much as she should. My family and I also haven’t seen my niece since the incident in February.

This situation has really put a strain on my family life. Several important milestones have passed, including the anniversary of my father’s death, what would have been my father’s 75th birthday, and a large family reunion, all of which my brother and his wife refused to attend.

Everyone, including some extended family members who were present at the original incident, agrees that my brother is at fault in this situation, and is being influenced by his wife, who has always given the impression that she thought our family beneath her status, to cut us out of his life.

For my part, I think it’s a combination of shame at his behaviour, and a fear of confronting me again that is keeping him away. I’ve come to see my little brother as a petulant coward, and fear that our relationship is now damaged beyond repair.

So there’s that.

If you had been following my blog at all, you’ll know that I’ve been wrapped up in a bit of a crazy building project for the past few months, one that has kind of taken over my life. I’ve been building a greenhouse in my backyard.

My father had a greenhouse that he had begun building nearly 25 years ago and spent the last twenty years of his life tinkering with and perfecting. When my father passed, my mother asked me to dismantle it as she didn’t want the trouble of keeping it up.

I never felt very good about being the agent of destruction for a project that made up so much of my father’s life. When I was tearing the greenhouse down, it felt as if I were erasing a part of him.

I salvaged much of the greenhouse, and stored the pieces where I could, a friend’s farm and in my back yard, always intending to build a greenhouse of my own, using as much of his as I could, as a bit of a tribute to my dad. This year, in part, because the pieces were there, and because I felt I needed the distraction, I finally got around to doing just that.

When things go a bit sideways in my life, I build things. Spending time in my workshop, or immersing myself in a large project puts me in kind of a “Zen” state. I can shut out the rest of the world, temporarily ignore any problems or difficulties I’m having in my life, and just concentrate on the task at hand. Building things helps me to re-center myself and gives me the space to think through issues.

Now, that only works for projects I don’t really have to do. It doesn’t work for things I must do.

The greenhouse kind of fulfilled that requirement. It’s a giant and unnecessary endeavour. It’s a bit silly and whimsical, but it’s been great fun.

The build is coming along nicely. It’s all sealed in, and I’ve begun tricking out the interior with shelves and lights. There are a few more components to it – rain gutters to capture and store rainwater, a thermostat for the ventilation fan, a wood-burning rocket-stove to provide heat for it in the winter, etc. – that will no doubt keep me busy for the foreseeable future. It’s a project I can tinker with for years to come, which I’m happy about.

So, those are the three main issues that have contributed to my silence of late.
As for what else has been going on in my life lately?

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic Farewell Tour concert and had an absolute blast. Going to the concert meant having to skip one of the events that I’m usually responsible for hosting, which was actually a good thing. I asked someone else to take over hosting duties for that night. It was good to take a break from that particular event and not have to worry about dealing with the possibility of any petty dramas.

My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. We went out for dinner at dessert at a couple of our favourite restaurants and had a wonderful evening.

This week, I started on a five-week-long shut-down/layoff from work. The plant will be down for some re-tooling, which suits me just fine. Having five weeks off in the middle of summer is by no means a tragedy, and will give me some time to relax, and finish many of the languishing projects around the house. I’m already enjoying being a gentleman of leisure, and have accomplished quite a few tasks in the first three days of my vacation.

Ok, so I think that just about catches me up. I’m hoping to get back to making these posts regularly, and hopefully, it won’t be too long before I can announce the completion of the project for which this blog was started.

Hope you’re all well.

Novel Word Count – 206,557

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