Thursday, May 30, 2013

And on I tick

Well I had my fitness assessment—no, he's not going back there again—but this was followed with a doctor's visit which said I was unfit for another few weeks. And, even when I return, it could take weeks for a position to be found that is suitable. Except, of course, I need not go down that path. I am now capable of actively seeking work off the sheer dint of legacy of my decade plus service to the public. 

I know; I have quite the opinion of myself. It's probably my basting myself in my man lair for many hours each day—the inside walls of the shed ringing with art and memorabilia from uni and work (1).

I did have a brush with oldwork recently, in addition to being assessed. I did something nice for some former colleagues to thank them for their awesome work. But I said it was from everyone, then and now, 'cos we all felt that way. Only when they found out it was specifically me management went into a tizzy and reacted weirdly. Yes, niceness actually frightened them. I liken it to undead recoiling from sunlight.

I got sad then anxious that I'd worried my former colleagues. I managed to contact one and she laughed about it and said not to worry. So after that I felt okay. Then I felt angry, because toxic people had done something toxic again. 

But that's the environment they're in. The system is broken and so broken people break the system even more. 

It also was a fresh reminder how lucky I am that I never have to step in there again. 

Wellness, comrades, for the win!

(1) Save, that is, for memorabilia oldwork. That's too fresh a wound.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An oldwork broadside

I have to have a fitness assessment by my current organsation. To see how I be in the aftermath of my two months away due to a workplace-induced series of collapses. 

Well I be better; but I am not yet well. As blogged tremours abound and my gut is firing with growling gurgles of discomfort and pain. So while Mikey mentally knows he is now Special Agent Rimmer instead of the shit one his body has still to get the message. 

I forgot this assessment is so soon and I got angsty thinking about it. Tremours fired up and I needed meds and pacing-about to help deal. But as I entered the house through the outside-to-in airlock of the laundry and back door a thought came to mind; one of those actual Zen phrases that can have a Zen-like impact if you're prepared to receive it. 

"All you own are your actions." 

And I have nothing but a rich legacy of good service at obvious cost to my mental and physical health. Indeed as Hutch has soeth been scored; "I went insane for Australia." (1)

I know that may seem somewhat grandiose. But the work I did was fucking important and I believed in what I did so much that I delayed surgery three months so my hip operation and recovery would fall across Christmas stand-down. I did that because I believed in my mission and my mission was critical, even as I dragged myself limping around a decaying building undergoing a refit, sweat of pain laced across my face.

As I talk with others who've blown clear of old work I reflect on that Zen concept of the only thing you own are your actions and, like they, I can take pride in what I did.

I left the laundry and into the spinal corridor of our house and with that thought I felt my anxiety creep away, though it's still here now as I type. But I don't have to fear because I can say that I own my actions and that those actions speak for themselves.

I am an exceptional public servant. I just hope I can still do it. 

(1) Hutch, my book hutch for my desk my Dad made me in the '80s and that lives in my man lair, has numerous statements of self-worth scribed upon it along with the date. It's armour against feeling shit about myself ever again. Those days are done with. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Where Mikey goes Chumbawamba

I'm preparing to get back on my feet from my being knocked down by oldwork. It's been just over two months since I literally went insane and my recovery has been a good one. The time away from work has allowed me to heal, though in the first several weeks I had to sleep most afternoons as leaden fatigue overcame me. 

I'm a lot better than I was but the physical effects of anxiety linger, especially if I've had to think or engage about oldwork; fibromyalgia flares, for example, tick up as does gut pain and a gassy tum. The most noticeable effect though are the tremours, my shaking hands which cannot remain completely still. They vibrate with a fine shake, though the shaking is more pronounced if my oldwork engagement is pronounced.

I've managed to start the 'what next?' phase for my life after leave and what I will do in the future. I've been reaching out to former colleagues as well as those I've dealt with to ask them to be references since nice words of oldwork cannot be expected. The chats I've had with others who've "blown clear", in person and by e, have been illuminating. Especially when we compare our separation journeys; there's catharsis in them thar sharing stories!

Of course the 'what next' phase means using the legacy of oldwork and writing and talking about oldwork fires up lingering after-effects of the severe anxiety. 

I do not, however, suffer fear. For I am not scared of old work. And while these shakes and gut pain and muscle flare are irkesome I view my maladies as wounds of good service. Because my job was really important and I helped a lot of people. It was worth the impact on my health.

And now I get well. 

Wellness, as ever, for the win.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where Mikey takes a big step...

I just re-fired up my play by email, or PBEM, D&D 3.5 (variant) game of 10 years duration. I'd paused the game in the immediate aftermath of my work-induced collapse because my game had been too associated with old work—I used the game as a relaxation break and wellness tool during my working day where I'd take time now and then to ping a move back. This gave me a chance to write narrative, descriptive text, use rule mechanics, and govern the actions of an array of competing forces. But because that game was part of my oldwork life for as long as I was doing oldwork, the game starting around the same time. So oldwork was tied to the game, staining it. Making the game part of what was once my working life, and tying the horrors of oldwork to it. 

But that association has frayed now, with oldwork's damage done. My PBEM is resurrected and will never be sullied with the stain of oldwork again.

Nerdy gaming wellness for the win.

A pleasing encounter with an old foe...

Our lovely super friends—I'll call them the Os—came to visit, with S--- of the super friends being just a year less in age than theBoy. She and he played together, though there were deliciously entertaining tense moments which naturally occur when two ego monsters circle each other.

We sat outside in the light cool of an autumnal afternoon and talked about work and about life. I bailed O--- up—a lovely tall ginger moppet—in my man lair as I wittered on about all the dystopic bureaucratic horrors that I'd endured on behalf of the nation and then spat out a couple of examples of Orwellian Newspeakery I was forced to commit whilst under the harness of oldwork, likely flecking him with rant-spittle and little gobs of chicken and porridge, possibly speckling his shirt at his breastplate given my height disparity to he. It was nice of him to take my gibbering in. Plus, he's very huggable and smells good—he has an enchanting man musk! If he ever achieves celebrity success I may just have to add him to my Laminated Man Hug Card register, a list of tall men I'd allow to spoon me were that is my spooning be required for some noble purpose such as to fuel a hug-powered asteroid deflecting machine. 

I then got to talk to K---, who is a professional in the mental wellness field, about what had happened with me, what happens with her, and all our other assorted real life bedevilments. All as our kids played together, fruits of our meeting each other at university all those years ago. That got us talking about those old days and how theWife and K--- would huddle in theWife's room in front of the fireplace, smoking cig after cig as they pulled an all-nighter on their psych assignments, lighting a fresh cig off the end of the dying one before flicking the dying one into the fire.

The autumnal day drifted on and the kids left as friends after some hilarious on the swing singing where I rudely pretended the lyrics to a sea-saw themed kids' song had changed to specifically empower me the ability to tickle them at well. "Sorry, kids, it's the rules. The lyrics have changed. And if I sing it; I'm allowed to do it." (1)

As ever, wellness for the win.

(1) theBoy countered by singing the song back and then adding "and I can hit Daddy's bottom" and then smacked me as he swung past. He's like a cyberman; "UPGRADE".

Friday, May 24, 2013

Got the oldwork blues ... but only a hint

I found out today oldwork provided their account of what happened to me—from their perspective—in regards to my my work-induced collapse. In this account then much blame is placed upon me, with accusations of inappropriate anger on my part and apparent incompetence (feedback I was not offered, however, when I was at work). Oddly, none of the building health issues that concerned me were addressed in this account even though during my stress attack I was literally gibbering about systemic building health failures for a good two minutes, a two minutes where I actually went insane at my desk. As in reality had, at that point, failed for me and my brain could not actually comprehend what was happening.

theWife, bless her, revealed the tale of the oldwork account as she got home and as we left on the walk to pick up theBoy from after school care she told me oldwork had stated X and Y, and that I would probably find the specifics of what they said hurtful and upsetting should I read the account. 

I have chosen not to.

But, as theWife said, that's oldwork. They will say those things but that does not matter. My release is medically ordered and oldwork's opinion as to why I collapsed is irrelevant; what is relevant is I can never return and oldwork cannot hurt me any more than they have. One nice thing came out of the account's revelation though. My organisation's case manager—the person assigned by my work to shepherd me through the rehabilitation process—knew I would find the oldwork account hurtful and upsetting and worked with theWife to find the best way to let me know about it, which was theWife easing me into what had happened as we got ready to walk along in the chill of an Autumnal late afternoon to retrieve the best part of our lives.

That initial "sorry, Honey, but this has happened" and then the details dripped out on the walk was the best way I could have heard about the oldwork account and, then there was the good news. My iPhone had been upgraded the same time as theWife and I too was to have a brand new phone!

Huh, well there you go. Nice new things do make you feel better. That and the fact we played in the playground as a family, all of us embracing the spaceship and spacebase scenarios that feature when theBoy and I walk home from after school care via the big playground, and I got to walk home with the people I love most in the world.

This separation from oldwork has been trying, and these occasional bursts of oldwork inflicted pain and sadness do take a toll. However I am far more resilient than I was before my collapse. Even just a week ago I could have ended up shivering in the dark of a hot shower with the lights off when afflicted by something like this. Instead here I am being as Zen as I can be, though admittedly that Zen is backed by some hefty medicinal assistance.

Besides, I need to cut those back at oldwork some slack. When you work in an unwell unsupportive environment then you do unwell unsupportive things. At least I am free of that life and whatever oldwork think of me no longer matters. I have more than enough people who see the value in what I have done and the value in what I can do. I do not need oldwork any more. 

Wellness for the win. 

~FIN~

Survived again!

Well I had my day procedure. I was dropped off by theWife, processed efficiently by hospital staff, got to wear a snazzy dressing gown, and by 4:30 pm I was out the door and awaiting pick up by theWife downstairs in the foyer of the hospital. 

Hands down it was the best surgical experience I've had to date. I wasn't scared, even when the admin girls down the bottom asked about organ donation deets. I told them it's a shame butts weren't on the card 'cos I was packing a tasty bum that alas to date only few have seen. The nurses who checked me in were awesome—"You don't look like you weigh XXX" was one nice comment—and the fact there were dressing gowns to wear over your backless gown was a welcome innovation since last I visited. And, as an added bonus, I found out my knock out drugs were the same type that killed Michael Jackson.

My ear is feeling much better, I just have to add drops twice a day for a few days. But the stents are in and I am feeling fine. 

I was pretty Zen when I lay in the entry foyer to the theatre beyond, all snuggled in my warmed-up blanket. Indeed my specialist, also my surgeon, remarked on how calm I was. 

But it was no biggie. Certainly not with compared with all the near-hits and assorted medical crap that lay in past-Mikey's wake. 

Anyway, wellness for the win—and I made sure to let the people know who looked after me that I appreciated it. 

I'm Mikey; giving positive feedback is what I do.  

Also a big thanks to all those peeps who touched base with me to see how I went and how I was feeling. Thanks heaps, guys!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh ye gawds...

My system is recovering from anti-biotics, with stomach bacteria boosted by my taking pro-biotics again now the anti-biotic course has run its ... er ... course. 

But far out ... it's like being dragged back into abdominal pain hell that I used to experience on an almost daily basis.

I had to drop theBoy at school. He was running laps of my person as I turned in place and as the cramping pain ate at my insides. I just made it home in time to "go" again and the going was painful. Even now echoes of contraction pain spasm through my gut as my body subsides. 

And because I am driving today—I have to go see a specialist—it means no SUPERMEDS!™ so alas I cannot banish the pain as I usually would.

And that's okay. Because that used to be my life—struggling with gut pain and working and unable to have good pain relief because I was at work and driving—but it's not any more. It's just for today that this aberration of gut pain twixed with an inability to properly meet it head on with medication. 

Right ... now to struggle with loading drivers for a label maker. 

Wish me luck...

UPDATE: Still feel like shit, but a better class of shit, but I was able to get the label maker installed and working properly! Of course the USB hub it's plugged into only has one working port so that's irritating. Sigh. Oh, I saw my specialist. I get a day procedure this week. So once more Mikey has to go medically unconscious... 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nice work, Aisha Muharrar and Alan Yang

Aisha Muharrar and Alan Yang are the writers of the "Bus Tour" episode, number 21 in season four of Parks and Recreation

In the ep there's a press conference after Leslie Knope has just finished reading her children's story to school children and where she then faces accompanying press questions about her recent ill-timed comments about the just-deceased town patriarch, and also about a glaring plot deficiency in her book about an ill-tempered anthropomorphic waffle.

The shouted-out question by the reporter to the departing Knope about whether the waffle swam across the syrup river cracks me up each and every time I replay the bit. It was a perfectly written scene, with a beautifully set up rule of three on the questions about the waffle book's questionable plot. It was pitch-fucking-perfect writing and beautifully executed  by cast and crew.

The men and women of of Parks and Recreation never phone it in. If you've not watched the series it's worth the time investment. Great writing, great acting, great moments of impro, great cast. And it's the best work Rob Lowe has ever done; his Chris Traeger is golden. 

Well that's this panegyric done with. Back to the shed to watch the rest of the ep.

The inner me

I've been on antibiotics for a few days due to an ear infection—I see my specialist shortly to have my damaged ear drained (I can't hear out of that ear)—and as such it has mucked up my innards. Just as I finished the end of the antibiotic run my system seized and acute gut pain set in. So many pain killers were had and hot water bottles were pressed against tummies. It was about 2 pm before my fatigue over came pain to allow sleep.

I got up around 10 am, the pain still there, and once more pain killers were taken. Thankfully, though, my system coughed back into life—think the sputtering exhaust of a Model T—and I've managed to "nothing to see here, please disperse" a fair chunk of compacted solid waste. 

Now that pain used to be my life, a daily upset. Since I've given up normal milk—I drink A2 milk with no stomach upsets—and commercially-prepared dairy tinged foodstuffs and I've boosted my exercise regime I've had a low frequency of abdominal discomfort, both in incidence and level. But on antibiotics, which kill the bacteria in my stomach that helps break down food, my system goes into full YARRRRRGH, like a pirate with a rum hangover waking up draped over a barrel like a Dali-clock within the full glare of a tropical sun. 

That's where I was at today when I went to sleep and when I then awoke. Now, a couple of hours on from waking and many visits to the toilet later, not to mention lots of pain killers, I am feeling so much better. Back to normal me and normal me, apart from my muscular skeletal crap, is one without constant abdominal pain. Because that was my life for a decade until I finally discovered it was normal dairy wot done it when it came to my abdominal discomfort.

My health trajectory is still on the up. 

Wellness for the win.  

UPDATE: Spoke too soon; ouch—though that could have been exacerbated by the ranch dressing I had with my chicken wings. But ... last day of those meds, and no more dressing, so I should be okay soon. I did spend from about 3.30 pm until theWife came home curled up on the bed in the dark with a hot water bottle pressed against my tummy. Oh, Mikey, you are a fixer-upper, aren't you? Well ... aren't we all?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

An actual comment made by me to my Doctor

"I've gone from a place of no self esteem to one where I have too much of it. I need to find a happy balance."

Wellness for the win.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where Mikey goes the Mata Hari in his man lair

Mata Hari was a famous figure from World War One. She was a Dutch woman who danced in a Javanese style in France and who also fed info to ze Germans. She was shot by firing squad some nine months after her arrest. 

That's multiculturalism for you. 

Anyway Mata Hari, as a dancer, was best known for her shedding of clothes until she was left in her near all-together with just a jewelled bra and body stocking for textile company.

My man lair is the new sobriquet for the illegal shed which houses assorted sediment from our lives together—boxes of uni tat, photo albums, keep sakes, as well as our powered garden and maintenance tools such as the whipper snipper and blow-vac. It also houses my exercise bike, a writing nook, and the inside of the walls of the shed are filled with magnet affixed papery remnants of my past life as well as photos of theWife and theBoy and assorted other goodness. Because it's a wellness engine for me—all around me are positive mementos of my university and career-to-date (so no oldwork just yet)—I hang out in there quite a bit. Sometimes I just stand in front of the heater and idly think about stuff as my gaze wanders across the back wall of newspaper front pages, comedy tour posters, doodles from from work or uni, and even a Ugandan flag, a gift from M--- from Uganda, a student who lived with us in my old town in the '80s. She used to paint her toe nails, her long legs hanging over the arm of the chair, as she hooted with delight at the antics on A Perfect Match

Yesterday I didn't make it into my man lair for my SoTPC session until late at night, having waited for medication to be in my possession and then delayed further to enjoy Eurovision watching goodness with the best person in the world to watch it with; theWife (saucer of milk, table one; rwwoooorrrr). 

So it was cold as fuck in the shed when I entered, and even with the heater on full power—to almost 'she cannae take it!' style Scotty levels—I still had to wear a long sleeved shirt over my short sleeved T, and since I wear over-sized shirts anyway it wasn't a restriction. 

I clambered aboard SoTPC and started riding. And as I rode I progressively got warmer. So off went the long-sleeved shirt, and then using the skeletal-themed back scratcher that I keep as a universal tool—kind of my sonic screwdriver I guess (1)—I whacked the scratcher's back fist onto the first temp button, then the second, then turned the halogen heater off completely, with just the LCD of the bike's display and glow from my tablet lighting up my form with bands of blue and red. Finally, near the end, I took off my shirt. It was just me in my trackie-daks and the headband as I rode to the finish point.

A Mata Hari move in other words, only antithetically sexy.

Today, my back was slicked with sweat. It irritated me. Since I like to fix things I paused my ride to go an get a pair of pegs. Then I pegged a sweat flannel to the skeletal back scratcher, and used the flannel wrapped non fist end to daub up the sweat that had slicked through my back fur. 

And yes ... that image did come

But only for a moment. For I can accept now the body I have because I am at least attempting to maintain if not improve and in the face of constant discomfort and pain. 

And because I'm Mikey and I survive.

Wellness for the win.

(1) The back scratcher is a skeleton hand in claw mode attacked to a skeletal forearm. At the end is a kind of shoe horn like protrusion. Both the fist and the shoe horn can detatch from the forearm stem and both can rotate in place. It extends my reach from atop SoTPC by about 40 cm and it comes in ... most handy...

Where Mikey ruminates about the strength of his router and of his manly form

In my man lair, our illegal shed I have turned into a roomy Orgone machine, our internet wireless router's strength is such that I can readily call up YouTube and videos buffer with a decent speed.

So as I spend my days recovering I typically hang out in my shed, with the heater on, playing songs from my found Mp3 or from YouTube, along with assorted TV shows I love like Parks and Recreation. I particularly love DAAS videos, as well as various songs of victory and defiance that accord well with my wellness-infused mental state.

It makes a hell of a difference to your psyche when you no longer look at your life for the devils that bedevil it but for all the riches and wealth you have. 

I keep thinking about all the times I've nearly died, I would have been dead within three months were it not for modern surgery, let alone accidents and illness in childhood. Not to mention some surreal moments I've had where I was also nearly set on fire, blown up, killed by flying rocks and shot (though different incidents). 

I should be dead a hundred times over but, here I am, alive and kicking—and supported and loved by scads of people, family and friends. 

Late last night (1), as I rode SoTPC, my exercise bike, a keyhole scar glinting like a nubbin below my real man nip in the ruddy light of the halogen heater, I couldn't but help realise that I am pretty fucking awesome. In that there I was, a 40-year-old man, with a hip replacement and a Magician's never-ending hankie of assorted physiological issues that have required numerous bouts of surgical intervention, cruising towards the end of a daily 40 minute exercise bike session. 

I hated physical exertion as a kid, for the simple fact that merely walking caused me discomfort, let alone running. I had to give up sport and physical education at an early age—and at an all boy's private school raised on principles of manliness and organised thuggery this proved somewhat of an emotional burden to bear such as teachers pointing to me as an example of what not to be. But then I discovered that using an exercise bike doesn't have the same pain-laced crud of walking—I walked every day for three years until I discovered I needed an urgent hip replacement—and that I finally had something I could embrace that helped.

And so there I was, 40-years-old and riddled with defects, but still exercise bike riding for 40 minutes a day.

Take that, assorted fucktardary (2) from my youth: I win. 

(1) I'd delayed my ride 'cos I was getting my SUPERMEDS™ and wasn't able to climb aboard SoTPC until after watching Eurovision with theWife, where we got to voice catty remarks to each other as theWife also shared her caustic commentary with assorted Facebook peeps. Gold. 
(2) In the last 400 metres of my ride—my current aim for point is 16 kays—I imagine sweeping around the back 400 m oval of the private school where I was sentenced as a kid, and as I close on the finish line I sideways shoot a paintball handgun at the groin of the '80s stubbie short wearing Newcombe impersonating fucktard that was one of the many bandy legged fucknards from the Physical Education component of said school. Occasionally, when I am in my former home town, I wonder what it would be like running into him. Now he'd be an aged fuck in the Winter of his life. Then I imagine snarling at him about my fucked up skeleton, his monstrous cruelty as an educator and as a human being, then power shoving that fuck so he fell over. I know ... bully revenge fantasies are not constructive. But still ... it is a nice thought to have sometimes. And it compliments nicely my gangsta blowing his nads into his body with my paintball handgun as I ride past his now supine paint-splattered groaning form.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where Mikey is inspired by My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding is over ten years old now but it still stands the test of time. For a RomCom to succeed it needs heart as well as laughs, and something to set it apart from the rest. If you've not seen it then the movie is worth a watch. However I will now discuss plot so look away...

Those have seen it can attest to the comedic goodness of the bottle of Windex. The humble glass cleaner is used by the bride's father for all manner of stains, even injuries, spraying the offending region with Windex no matter the cause. It's basically the adage of "To a man with a hammer the world looks like a nail" applied to a cleansing solvent. 

If you ever deign to read a young full-time author's dust jacket then there's a fair chance they will brag that now they're now going to work in the pyjamas. Get it? Because they work at home; braggart-shouting cock-and-lady-cock-spanks. I won't bother naming names but it's true nonetheless. 

I haven't been writing—still too wounded—but I have been spending most of my days in PJs while I recover at home. Only here's something writers in PJs don't add; you need to wear underpants if you're going to spend all day in your PJs. Because while you're up your bowel system activates and there's a fair chance during your indolent night-time attire during the day phase that you will have to go to the toilet. And sometimes ... sometimes it can get messy. 

Combine that with a bowel system that could best be described as 'a bit tricky' with a hirsute condition around the lip of the exit area, then now and then things happen.Such as bits being trapped in man fur.

Or horrors such as a seat seep. 

I didn't notice it at first, my arse numbed from the ride, but when I did I recoiled in horror; seat seep! As in a fart had been a shart and brown goo had blown through the thin weave of my PJ pants and reverse crop-circled the top of the gel-padded bike seat. 

Aghast in horror I cleaned it all up. Except ... except the stain, the shart's outline, would not go away. Any time I came into the shed and I was at an angle to see the skylight reflected on the gel seat's surface the outline of the sharting could still be seen, mocking me with its turd Turin presence.

Shudder.

Then I saw it; an old bottle of spray on insect repellent, the bottle aged with time and exposure, but with the lemon-coloured chemical soup was still within. 

So I went the Windex method and sprayed the seat down with the insect spray then wiped it away. 

And, fuck me, it worked. The shart stain was gone; gone to wherever shart stain spirits soar. Freed by the application of the insect repellent, My Big Fat Greek Wedding style. The seat now even has a pleasing scent.

Later, I burned my finger. The insect repellent was to hand. So ... I tried spraying the burn. 

It did nothing.

You can only push movie > life thing so far I think. 

So I wrote my letter...

I was tasked by my psychologist to write a letter to the triumvirate of management that caused my collapse—three tiers above me that lined up in a perfect way to maximise stress and pain to those below them. 

Our printer died a while back and we have a new one ready to go. But I couldn't face the job of drafting a letter and sorting out a hardware (slash) software installation for a printer.

So I wrote the letter by hand. I pulled pages from an exercise book—I have a half dozen books and pads in my man lair so I can write down ideas for the future as they come to me—sat down at the desk where I'd put the old laptop (1) and started to write.

I wrote eight pages in the end. The first four pages pulled from a centre staple was a distilled essence of my mutterings low these past two months about my organisation's poor management system that encourages overwork and bullying. The second four addressed the bullying and poor treatment I received. 

I rarely write by hand now as to write by hand induces discomfort. Indeed by the end of my last exam back in 2006, where I had spent three hours writing about 30 pages of responses, my hand was an agonised claw for hours afterwards, with ink stains blotting the bottom half of my right hand from where it rubbed across the freshly scribed pen as I frantically vomited my words into paper (2).

So unaccustomed to writing by hand my hand hurts a little bit. I get a cramping feeling in my wrist and my fingers ache from holding the pen. 

But at least it's out. And, like my therapist said, writing it down instead of pacing up and down and repeating the same angry points over and over, seems to have helped. To have solidified how I felt and how I feel in paper and ink.

So that is that. Time to catch the bus and go see my therapist. The important thing is, at the end of both sets of four pages, was my stating that I will not let what happened lie. That I will get redress for the people left behind. Because what they do is important and who they look after are important. And more importantly we deserve to work in a workplace that promotes wellness; not one ruled by bullying or decree. 

Because that's what I do. I see things that are broken and I try and fix them.

I'm Mikey and I'm here to help.  

(1) I plan to start entering notes from books into the computer given my handwriting is terrible and I get worried about future me trying to decipher the scrawl. The old laptop is 2004 in age and is pre-wireless. However my tablet can pick up the wireless signal so if I need to go online to check something I can. But I have crafted a new writing nook and so hopefully I will make use of that soon. I need to get the spare keyboard to go with it, however, because I hate laptop keyboards since my writing style is to balance my forearms on a desk and two finger type the keys. The laptop keyboard does not lend itself to that style since the forearms drape over the lip of the laptop and it makes for an unpleasant tactile experience.
(2) I actually do well in exams. I can write so it helps. I even put in jokes and doodles to make the exam marker smile. Actually, I've always done that. Go Mikey for looking out for his markers!

Monday, May 13, 2013

So a report came out...

My oldwork released a report; it's the first one out since I left.  The report is a month late but at least it's out. I was not expecting them to keep going with it so when a copy turned up at home—I put myself on the distribution list from the beginning so I could track delivery times through the post—I was quite shocked and it sparked an anxiety spike; I had to have a womb shower then I hopped naked into bed with the light off and electric blanket on.

I shivered beneath the doonah and thought about it. Then theWife came in and sat in the dark. She reminded me that it's not my concern any more and whatever they do with it then they do with it; it's just not with me. She's right, of course. Then, feeling better, I repaired to my shed of wellness to contemplate further, with just the cheery red of the heater for light.  

And realised it's a win. Because the reports were and are important and oldwork have kept going with producing them; even if management doesn't want to do it now I've left. And besides, I left well-written and easy-to-follow Standard Operating Procedures and all they had to do was follow the course I charted. That and when I collapsed they'd already had received the bulk of the report's input and really only had to shepherd its being put together and sent out.

So take that, universe: I still win. And, more importantly, the people who get the reports win. Because they're fucking important and they deserve the absolute maximum support we can give them. 

Right on. 

Comrade Mikey out. 

UPDATE: I should also note there was a mistake on the front cover; delicious. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Aw, theBoy

Ever since theWife found my old Sony Mp3 player—now about six-years-old and with but 1 gig of space—I've been basting myself in music from the Sony stick. The soundtracks to Rocky Horror and Keating!, Tripod and Tenacious D, The Fauves, and even The Rolling Stones (Emotional Rescue). And if I know the words I'll sing along; lustily and loud.

However since I hang out in the shed more—with the shed's metal interior festooned with happy thought producing tatt from my before life such as artwork, posters and memorabilia it's essentially a roomy Orgone machine—it means theBoy gets annoyed by my greater absences. He's forever clamouring at the shed door to demand I hurry the fuck up so I will play with him. Which is friggin' beautiful that my precious little man enjoys hanging with me—as I enjoy hanging out with him since he turned out to be the final puzzle piece of my life. 

So sometimes he just sits and waits for me, especially if I've told him I'll only be a few minutes. 

The other day I opened the door, as the Mp3 played on behind me. There, just beyond the sweep of the door's arc, was theBoy, dancing on the concrete ramp that leads to the shed door. 

'I've been dancing to your music,' he said happily.

Wellness for the win.

Go Casso More!

Casso got a deal on her project; go Casso!

I'm deliciously proud of her. Plus, I'm pretty sure the hot redhead is based on me.

Hooray!

Construction complete

theWife led forth a Herculean re-arrange, swapping our end (computer) room with the our bedroom, restoring in fact the balance for the end (computer) room was the master bedroom anyway. We just had a fuck load of books and figured we'd make the master bedroom a kind of second lounge (slash) guest room.

So balance is restored—though the bookshelves remain in the master bedroom (formerly end [computer] room)—and in the process the final break of association of this computer and that location with my poisonous oldwork has been made. I had done a fuck load of work at home, often whilst crippled with gut pain, this work including several extreme periods of super efforts like when I was preparing two reports of a 100 total pages simultaneously and had to get them out before Christmas mail kicked in. So after my ten days in March, the incubation period of my severe anxiety, the association of the computer in the end (computer) room with the horrors was so great I could barely send an email let alone open Microsoft Word—which is still a struggle; I can blog as it's therapeutic but using Word is still painful.

But now it's better. The master bedroom is the master bedroom and the computer room is now just the computer room instead of it being a hyper parenthestical. 

I like it. The room is cosy—the couch bed is behind me—and the rosy glow of the bar heater makes for a nice atmos. The art has remained in the room so I have a print of Kimpt's 'The Kiss' on the left wall and a spray of photos of theBoy from when he was at daycare and they had a professional photographer in to take shots on the wall to my right. The photos of theBoy—with shaggy hair, aged I think just four—are of him in various locales; behind a tree, on a tricycle, or close ups of his face. There's three close ups that stick out for me. In the first his expression is angelic; the second his expression is peaceful, composed; the third, diabolical. It's like photo pictorial triptych as per Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic from the old D&D Basic set.

Most of all though the re-arrangement is a fresh start; another association break from oldwork. And, on a nice day, I can open the curtain in the computer room and look out on theWife's gardening efforts, our kewl vine-wreathed arches, and our quirky outdoor metal art and solar lights, the lights glowing to life when the sun goes down. 

Wellness for the win. 

I was off being social this afternoon, seeing my lovely former work buds S--- and then C---, both of whom escaped oldwork ahead of me. I laughed that we were like cult survivors who'd blown clear. theWife was midway through the re-arrange when I left at 2 pm.

So I came in the door after 10 pm and found the re-arrangement was done, theWife asleep in the master bedroom, our bed in its new position with the against the left wall. Construction complete in other words (1).

Go theWife!

(1) From the Dune 3 game which theWife and I played together on her dad's PC when we hung out together during uni holidays. When an item you'd been building in the building window was ready the computer would say 'Construction complete'. So it entered our couplespeak; our lingo we share from 20 years together as partner and friend. Wellness for the win!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Another beach memory

We recently stayed at a beach resort on the south coast. We stayed there just as the moon was waxing, a great medal of gold hanging in the clouded night sky.

It didn't rain much while we were there, though there was a chill at night and you needed a jacket or jumper if outside for more than 10 minutes. 

On the night the moon was at its fullest, around midnight, I walked to the fence of the resort that screened off a 30 metre gap of beach trees, bushes and scrub which separated the beach from the clipped grass of the resort. 

I stood at a fence post, resting my arms on the weathered top, and looked at the moon as the waves pounded the beach, the surf concussive on my ears. I watched and pondered eternity, how no matter what happens the tide will always be and the moon will always be. At least, that is, in the likely lifetime of me. 

And I soaked in the wellness of the moonlit night, the chorus of eternal rhythmically pulsing through me, committing the moment to memory as a ward against any future real life crap that tries to take me down again (1). 

Wellness for the win.  

(1) Then ... then I went on a midnight moonlit mission to sneak up on a sleeping roo and got within two feet of the fucker before it bounded away. Why? Well ... when in Rome...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A beach memory

We recently went to the south coast for a few days, staying at a most-awesome beach-side fusion of villas, vans and tent sites.

Holy toe-tapping Christ I needed that.


It was the first time I’d been away from Canberra since my Ten days in March, the period covering my initial in-work stress attack combined with illness prompting numerous anxiety attacks over the next nine days that were so severe that after reclaiming the last of my working life from old work, and never to return, on that final day I then had to literally check myself into the mental health ward.


It was late-April when we went, taking advantage of the change to off-peak season. Then we spent our time lairing in a small but cosy villa, and dividing our time between the heated indoor pool and craft sessions hosted each morning, and trips into town for adventures, such as seeing Escape from Planet Earth. Or simply hanging around the villa reading books as theBoy consumed vast quantities of Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo (1).


I’m not a fan of the beach. I think that’s mostly down to my suffering a severe sunburn and having to recover in a sauna of canvas over many days as a child. But the balm of the ocean, the wind, the sea and the sheer delight of theBoy as he scampered along the newly-wet sand where the water kissed the shore was like 10 CCs of wellness jammed right into the mental resilience spot, causing me to erupt into a big, relaxed grin like I was a portly bearded Mrs Wallace needle-resurrected to life.


A flock of seagulls were croaking from their roosting on the damp sand about a body length from where the sea’s retreat began and I shouted out to theBoy as he ran ahead of me. “Go get the seagulls, Chooky!” I yelled.


Gleefully he ran at the flock, waving his arms and hooting, the gulls taking to a panicked flight, one of the gulls actually voiding itself as it madly took to the air, a runny sauce squirt of white and black shit Pollock’ed across the sand. 


“Look, Chooky,” I yelled, pointing at the Dalmatian-themed blob of just squirted avian poo, “you literally scared the shit out of one of them!”


theBoy altered course, still running, turning in a wide arc to check the results of his fear run. Then, as he passed the spot where the seagull’s voiding lay and whilst still running he leaned down like a Polo player and ran his index finger through the shit and sand, scoring a line across it like a Zoro-swish of triumph.


Then he continued on his maddened run along the border of damp and wet, his sturdy feet thumping wetly into the distance...


(1) My iRiver Mp3 now completely dead, and fortuitously just after my three-year extended warranty expired, meant I was without audio stimulus for my walk. Yes, walking, reduced back to the walk for the duration of the stay since the resort was without a gym or exercise bikes. So on a whim I decided to read a book through my Kindle emulator on my tablet, since the tablet could be easily carried and read before me as I wearily trod along the gravel path between the empty tent sites. Even though I already had a couple of books on the go then on a whim I decided to set myself the mission of reading Pride and Prejudice. Mission accomplished! A well-told tale about romance amongst the parasitical non-working elites who will be up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Where Mikey scores epiphanies on Hutch

My bookshelf desk hutch which my Dad made for me in the eighties is now a wellness board, for I have been writing statements of good worth upon the hutch so as to remind myself never to feel shit about myself again, the hutch sitting in my shed where I both exercise and ruminate—a man lair, if you will (1). So far there's about 20 statements on Hutch, the bookshelf hutch's name, along with the date, scrawled with black marker. Supportive noises such as "you are a one-man joy machine"—because I realised that what I love to do in life is inculcate wellness. If I see despair-inducing behaviour or environment or system then I want to fix it. So instead of sadness and despair the change brings bring peace and love, Mr-Burns-When-High-style

I'm actively using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy tools to steep myself in wellness and positivity, figuratively basting myself like I've been hosed with the energised pink spoof of telepathically induced wellness the Ghostbuster lads spray inside Lady Liberty Ghostbusters II in order to make the statue walk from the island to the New York Art Museum, boosting morale as she trots through the city (2). Tools and techniques such as writing down each day at least five things that made me happy or that had a positive outcome. I don't record the shit; just the goodness. Something as simple as that can vaccinate your Ego Defence against creeping despair when real life badness creeps up on you and you then suddenly discover you're monstrously unwell. 

So I've realised now that when you have genetic dispositions for depression then you have to actively learn then use tools and techniques to defeat the tendency to suck yourself into worry and gloom. And as I learn these tool (slash) techniques then I pass them onto my brothers and Dad, for they have the black dog barking at them too. 

When I use one of the these tools to defeat the creeping return of sad I imagine that tool (slash) technique as a contoured piece of body armour part flying onto my body like in Iron Man, where Tony Stark's assorted armoured bits and bobs telekinetically sweep in to fit snuggly to his light-centred body as he needs them.

So here's an aphorism I shall now scribe on Hutch, a kind of eternal plaster cast to fix my broken spirit that my well self has scribbled all over (3).

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Tools and Techniques—
Iron Man armour for your psyche.


Wellness for the win!

(1) I have posters and artwork from my university and public service life magnetically affixed to the walls of the metal shed. I am basted in wellness. I cannot stress enough to have that alone space that's yours. I see now why my Dad spent so much time in one; he needed it for his sanity. 
(2) And, of course, the great lady serving as the ideological opposite to the similarly sized though city hurting Staypuft Marshmellow man.  
(3) Like those attention-seeking fucknards in school got and when they were lucky enough to really hurt themselves and therefore earn playground-esque social rewards like cards, attention and the signing of a plaster cast. That's rewarding stupidity and I will not have it! (3a)
(3a) In my occasional shed-based pacings as I reflect on my future ambitions I occasionally drop a loud "And I will not have it" whilst dramatically pointing at the roof or doing a kind of leap in the air then body crouch with my fist clenched and out Michael Jackson-style move (3b).
(3b) One of Jackson's dancing move; not his final move of 'hook me up to the anaesthetic, Doc. Time for Mikey to go sleepy-sleeps'. What, too soon? 

Ben Stiller never phones it in

Part of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is learning tools to promote positive feelings or to perform activities that are positive. For example, helping others. Because if you help others then it's another win for the day. Now I can write again—in fits and bursts, however, some projects and current email games are in pause mode as I struggle with that area of my life—I've been sending out texts when I think of something funny. I then think about who would like that particular missive. Such as my former work-bestie, theBeve, a skilled graphic designer at the cutting edge of his industry with perfect artistic and electronic fusion of delivery; My former desk buddy L---, whose writing skills are both mad and awesome (and shared similar loves as me for comedy, song and theatre); D---, a twin-finned shaper of young minds who, alas, has probably sparked some unrequited longing in students he's taught ... from both sides of the gender aisle—or straddling it, my TB brother (slash) sisters! And of course, A---, whose presence by my side as both a fellow workplace writer (slash) information delivery artist helped me endure the utter insanity of the management above us. Sometimes clutching each other like Daphne and Velma (he's Daphne) as looming monsters of utter ineptitude and rank bigotry loomed above us (1).

So I'm passing wellness on, in other words. Because it gives me joy to send joy. So when I think of someone or something that I admire then chances are I will fire up a panegyric about it. Because it's CBT Iron Man Armour for my body to exalt in something that gives you joy. For example, enjoying well-honed comedic acting via a most-enjoyable movie.

I am watching Dodgeball. I just paused my re-heated next day still-delish Thai food consumption to say that Ben Stiller has never phoned it in. Every fucking project he's ever fucking done then he's put his fucking guts into it. The man is a consummate professional.

My name is Mikey and I damn wished I knew Ben Stiller in real life.

(1) A--- gave me resilience. He was, and still is, my brother in arms. We both worked to the mission and we were sneering well-educated elbow-patched lefties who could not believe the sclerotic fuckwittery that surrounded us. A---, you were also the Louise to my Thelma. Or Thelma to my Louise. I never remember who is who of them. 

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Well that just happened

As theWife will attest I am always attempting shtick when conversing with service providers. Be it a checkout chick or a strapping lad clad in Baker's Delight garb I will go into an improvised word babble of stream of consciousness comedy as I give my order or receive my purchase. Sometimes it misfires but whatever happened then I've brighten their day and as I've just told Hutch (1)(2) 'I open my arse and joy falls out.' Because my talking butt impression is ace-bananas, let alone the many merry tales of my life that have centered around things going in and out of my no no place. 

We live in the south of Canberra, near a nexus point of shopping centre and take-away and dining strip, with about 20 fast and or slow food places in a single long row opposite a nearby Woolworths and remora-clinging lessers.There's a Thai place on the strip whose dining in and delivery induced food is reasonably priced and of excellent quality. It's a regular sought-after pleasure by our house.

Tonight as I ordered I naturally went into shtick mode. And why not? I was home alone and about to order an insane amount of foodage that was culturally delivered by the same people that bring you the fusion of Hapsburg self-awarded decorations on top and parachute pants on the bottom (3). I chit-chatted back and forth and then, when the charming lad I was speaking to asked if I wanted a receipt, I said in a crafty voice 'Yes ... for I could claim it as a business expense,'. And even though I was home alone I narrowed my eyes then swivelled the balls side-to-side in a furtled manner (4). 

He said 'Okay'.

Forty minutes from my vantage point in the shed's doorway later I saw him arrive, the shed's interior exposed behind me and limed in cherry red from the halogen heater as the chill of a star spotted evening fell on my hobbit-like feet. 

I presumed he was the same guy I'd talked to, because on the phone he sounded in early-20s mode and sure enough as was this dude. He also had a kewl animé (slash) Korean-Pop style hair cut combined with a face and body that would not go astray on a bodice ripper designed for the Asian market. 

Fuck me he was handsome. 

Anyway as he handed over the food he added 'And here's the tax invoice you asked for', which I immediately saw had meant I'd burdened him with an un-needed task because my self-amusing joke of pretending I could claim a shit-load of food as a business expense had caused him to print wallet-stuffing tat I would immediately discard. 

'Oh,' I said, 'um ... that was a joke. I can't really claim it. Sorry, I was just trying to be funny.'

He smiled brightly, instantly flooding my moist-lady parts with desire would that I have such lady parts, and then he laughed lionly. 'No worries,' he said, and off he happily off, closing the gate behind him as per my farewell request. 

As I unpacked my food I self-laughed about how I go into shtick mode whenever I am talking to pretty much anyone who is not a friend or a work-related person but then made the discovery that he'd forgotten the fucking duck. Only ... had he? Because in my attempt to go full Dangerfield during the ordering process I could not recall ever having confirmed the order with the duck being included when he read it back to me. 

But, how is this for fucking wellness? When I discovered the missing duck my first reaction was not 'Fuck, the duck!' and then induce myself a mental pic of shaking my fist at the sky in healthy Gods-defiance. Rather it was 'Oh well, that's kewl. I still have plenty to eat and, besides, he made me laugh and he served as an audience' (5).

I think I went full-positive as the initial response to the absence of duck because in the scheme of things that mistake doesn't matter. Besides, their food is so good I can forgive the lapse. We're all human.

Anyway, my food is here. I'm off to continue wellness by eating delish food and watching awesome teev. 

Wellness for the win!

(1) The desk hutch my dad built me for a desk they'd purchased as an upgrade from my primary school model. It's jammed up against the shed wall and behind the old vanity table theWife looted from the left-behind leavings of our most interesting friend S---, who was a big part of our uni life section of our entwined lives. Hourglass, sands and so forth.
(2) On the side of the hutch I am writing positive statements along with the date when I realise something awesome I have done or to immortalise how I am feeling. It's Iron Man CBT (2a) armour against my fucking horrid genetic and/or physicality restricted depression; CBT for the win!
(2a) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I'm getting therapy and I'm loving every minute of it!
(3) In other words the fashion choice for much of the cultural life of the Thai Royal Family  Sorry would-be sex tourist future Mikey, I have now had you barred from Thailand. For insulting the King and his vast array of MC Hammer parachute pants I have committed lèse majesté and Thai commandos may now attempt a Mossad-style extraction for my having offended the completely-by-random-happen-stance-they-still-have-a-role-in-government Royal family. That and my penchant for lighting my pipe with Thai banknotes, for immolating a pic of the king which is upon the money is a Neddy No and can likewise get you banged up for offensive behaviour to living history (3a). Etcetera, and so forth. Anyway, sorry would-be sex tourist future Mikey. Though I have realised I have also cruelled cheap Western-style surgery with a significant risk of complications and morbidity tourist Mikey. Apologies to you as well. But hey, that silver jumpsuit you all voted for totally snuggles your butt. 
(3a) As part of one of the many additional admin things I'd volunteer for was reading the Smartraveller brief on a country to people going overseas. The Thai brief with its 'don't burn the money!' reminder was my most-fave to deliver. Because, you see, I could go the shtick. Mikey; joy bringer. 
(4) Furtle; a portmanteau of "furtive" and "turtling", because that's what I do when I'm up to no good. 
(5)  As well as make me steam in a girly fashion in the parts of me that distinguish me from a man, you know, if I had them. Which I don't.

SMH Photo Goodness

Another reminder of why the SMH rawks. 

From the story titled 'No revisiting gay marriage: Abbott' from May 3. Copyright belongs to Fairfax Media.



Friday, May 03, 2013

The re-arrange is bliss

Due to my many physical and mental health issues over the last few years I've done a fair wedge of work from home. Either logging in remotely or copying (slash) emailing work home to work on. 

After I wrote a 9000 word 'this is what happened' document in the immediate week of my leaving I then didn't write anything more than the occasional email or text until this Wednesday, so about six weeks. Indeed you can see I barely blogged, I think just three posts in that time as well. I just couldn't because my desktop computer was too associated with my old workplace given the hundreds of hours I'd spent working at home, sometimes with three computers going—my desktop, a work desktop brought home and a laptop—in order to collate all the input needed for the next big report. 

So I wrote fuck all until just the other day when I'd accepted restarting my alternate Wednesday game and had to boot up Word to draft the adventure (1). I actually sat and wrote (slash) edited for two-and-a-half hours in the one sitting. Indeed so unused to sitting at a computer to write was I that I twinged my back when I rose from the chair, having remained in a hunch for the last 150 minutes without rising (2). 

My therapist recommended changing my home environment so as to break that association of old work with the desktop's positioning. So theWife put on her organising shoes and got to work, relocating the desktop to near the bay window. Not only is the new locale far superior the location is right next to the phone plug. Our four metres of cord has shrunk to but a half metre and the internet connection to the desktop PC is far zippier. 

Today I blissed out on some writing and surfing as I looked out on the garden, our remaining cat C--- sitting on his paws by the window next to me. 

theWife; she's an atheist fung shui'er! (3).

By the way, I am announcing the birth of a new tag. This tag's name is wellness. Because I am steeping in wellness as the horror that gripped me sloughs away. My days of late are pretty much like the Cat from Red Dwarf

Wellness; fuck me it's a far superior feeling to being sad as fuck all the time.

(1) I ripped the smuggler's section from The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and had the smuggler's ship in Westgate harbour, Oceanius the elf held captive after he'd snuck aboard seeking a cultural artefact.
(2) At real work, however, I made sure to get up every 20 minutes so as to forestall horrors on my bod from simply sitting for long stretches at a time.
(3) Seriously, she's militant about it now. She was worried about the chance theBoy was receiving Judeo-Christian inculcation at his govie primary school in violation of our wishes and she arc'ed up big time, marching up and down the corridor and hissing "I will not have it!". It turned out it was a theBoy induced miscommunication; the crosses the teacher got them to draw was inside a circle as part of art lessons on how to draw a head. But I was super proud of her "I will not have it!" stance. Go theWife; you fuck with her at your peril.

I can't believe I lost at the brush game

theBoy, theWife and I invent games to play ... and invent penalties for losing as well. For example, if I fail to kick Mr Wobble—a Ben 10 themed space hopper—into the mesh-walled trampoline I have to do a "stupid lap" of the trampoline's circumference that ends when I bounce across the small exercise trampoline that sits next to the plastic Wendy house from Wollongong ("bounce, bounce" I say wearily) then step off that onto the side safety mat that brackets the chair theBoy uses to get into the trampoline ("step"). 

Yesterday, whilst summoning courage to mount SoTPC, my replacement exercise bike after its sire died in service to my body, I heard theBoy arrive home from school. I opened the shed door, saw him down by the gate, saw the long-handled brush broom, grabbed the broom, then charged at him whilst shouting "I'M GOING TO BRUSH YOUR BOTTOM". Naturally he fled for the trampoline, scrambling up the back of the chair stair and diving onto the mat like a penguin to slide away to safety as I lunged through the zippered entry hole of the trampoline with the broom extended, my hands gripping the very end of the handle.

I tried it on again after lamely attempting to lure him out of the trampoline and once more he successfully fled. 

Then ... then as I walked towards the shed he grabbed the broom and charged after me. I screamed and ran in my most Godzilla! way possible until I slammed up against the shed door, my arms raised as per horror victim taken down by the monster just at the portal to safety. He then gleefully brushed my bottom with the long-handled brush broom whilst saying "brush, brush, brush" as he stroked downward, like B roll circus footage of the elephant trainer but at x2 speed.

I can't believe I lost the inaugural brush game. 

theBoy just made my enemies list! Er ... it's ... er ... just Nixon's list with my name in place of his and theBoy's real name appended at the bottom.

But it still counts.

I think I may have to hide in the Wendy house then gently extend out the long-handled brush broom through the now opened shuttered windows after he's foolishly walked past without checking to see if I'm lurking for him, Cato-style...