Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bama Jamma

My friend Sally if you remember from my older blog lost her job in November 2007 and has been juggling things since then with two jobs combined that paid less than her single job.   It's been seven years of sweat, tears, and fears.    There were many times I've helped her emotionally and financially whenever issues crept up.   It's been a crazy journey for Sally culminating to a recent hysterectomy over the summer due to an incompetent primary physician who failed to diagnose her fibroids.   Sally did get another IT job in 2012 but that only wound up being a temporary job for five months before she was let go again.    Luckily she had still held on to her retail job so at least she wasn't totally out of work.

 In the midst of all that craziness, a long time friend of hers who I met a couple times when she lived in Chitown in the late 90s, recently became a IT manager for a major bank in Alabama.   Dara had a couple openings for system analysts in her group and wanted Sally to interview for one of the positions.    The timing of the position perfectly coincided with Sally's recovery period ending.   There was an initial phone interview with Dara herself but Sally would need to fly to Alabama for a second interview with Dara and a couple of her teammates.    Sally of course didn't have the funds to get a ticket so a few of us chipped in and got the ticket for her.

The interview went well but for whatever reasons things seemed to be dragging with HR.   Dara kept assuring Sally that the HR rep would contact Sally with info on what to do to get the background check going.    Then Dara needed to have a separate meeting with her manager since that manager was on vacation when Sally was in town.    Sally had to also provide an updated resume to that manager.

Things continued to drag for another week and even though Dara assured Sally that the job was hers, Sally didn't trust 100% that to be the case due to two past times where she supposedly had the job and then the rug was pulled under her.   One of those times there was even an offer letter presented so in her mind she didn't want to get her hopes up.

But finally she got the official offer and word that the job was hers and she would be making about as much as she made in her former job before losing it.   Needless to say it was a mad rush for me to help Sally pack as much as she could before needing to head down to Alabama.    She also had a pet that she wanted to keep but wouldn't be able to take with her initially.    Thankfully one of her cousins came through and was able to drive her pet to Detroit to her Mom.

I wound up helping her load up her car and splitting driving duties as we made our way on the 11 hour trip to Alabama and ultimately Dara's home in Birmingham.   It was a bit of a surreal experience, both of us excited about her new opportunity and amazed at the timing of it all.

We arrived in Alabama at 1am on Thanksgiving morning.   The three of us chatted for a bit before turning in.    Thanksgiving Day was spent with lots of Dara's family as well as her boyfriend.     We all definitely had a lot to be thankful for this year.

Friday morning we went for a quick breakfast and then Dara took Sally and I for a quick trip to the corporate office as well as a downtown trip and tour of Kelly Ingram Park, located in Birmingham's Civil Rights District.    We took a moment there to reflect on the experiences blacks went through in the 60's in the fight for basic rights.    Structures of the dogs and firehouses used to confront demonstrators were present throughout the four acre park.   It's a reminder that we've come a long way though in some ways even in 2014 and beyond, we have a long way to go.

Before I knew it, it was time to drop me off at the airport for my return flight to Chicago.   I said my goodbyes to Dara and Sally.    Sally and I kept our emotions in check.    But I teared up a bit on the plane ride thinking of not having Sally in Chicago anymore.   We've been friends for over 19 years and shared a lot of good and bad times together.    But I'm so happy for Sally.     One of her friends told her that it was fitting that things came together exactly seven years from when she lost her IT job.   In the Bible there are many references to sevenfold and seventh.   For example in Genesis it took seven days and nights for God to create the world.    On the other end of the Bible in Revelation, there are seven angels to the seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpet plagues, seven thunders and the seven last plagues.

I look forward to visiting Birmingham a little more often in my future.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Forking Forward

As I mentioned in my last post I had a follow up appointment with my anal specialist.   The specialist wound up moving to another practice in Chicago so at first I was going to go with another specialist in the same practice.   But when I called to confirm if the new specialist was going to do an anal pap smear, the nurse suggested I go to my original specialist in Chicago.     Anal pap smears aren't being done in a lot of places and I really didn't want to have another high resolution anoscopy to check for abnormalities as that would require being put under and several days of recovery.    So I wound up going to my original specialist at his new practice.

The anal pap smear went well and I got the best news possible.    There were no more abnormalities found and that I just have to follow up again in a year.     I was definitely relieved at the news.

Around that same time I had a quick email chat with a new guy.   Actually Dom wasn't all that new.   I tried chatting with him two years back but he didn't follow up with me.    So in early September he sent me a couple compliments on my pics but recalling how it went back then, I didn't respond right away.    When I did get back to him, I kept it short and simple.

So Dom is the organist for a local GLBTQ church in Gary, IN.  So yeah he lives an hour and some change from me currently.    He invited me to his church to check it out and to meet him afterwards.    That went well.   We seemed to have an instant connection.   He lives not too far from the lakefront so after service we walked there.    He took several opportunities to kiss me along the lakefront.    He stated his particular area was considered gay friendly and while he's not a full on PDA type of person, he does like sneaking in kisses here and there.    And I really did enjoy our kisses.    We went back to his place (against his rules) and spent a nice afternoon there before I took off.

Later that week his church was having its first movie night so he invited me to that.   I wound up spending the night with him.   Subsequently we've been seeing each other several more times and even most of the congregation at his church seemed to take a liking to me.    It's going on a month and a half since our first meeting.   

So Dom and I agreed that we should take our time getting to know each other before committing.   One thing he has going for him is that we've met more times than I've had with any other guy since ending things with Rock in 2008.    That's actually kind of sad but my luck with guys have been really shitty.

I've had to adjust to the concept of going to church regularly again, something I haven't done in years.    It's not that I don't believe in God but I've of course been used to not going regularly.   Also it's a small church and he goes an hour and a half early so I've had to go early too (since we're not at that stage yet where he's comfortable leaving me alone at his place).    It's a little awkward at times interacting with the congregation cause some of course keep inquiring on where Dom and I stand, which is really none of their business but in a way since Dom includes me in his church activities, it is.    He's bought past dates to meet him at his service as well.   It's a bit atypical but since he's a school teacher and goes to bed early, he really has limited time to interact with dates so he tells them up front that church is a big part of his life and anyone who wants to be with him, will have to understand that.

Also Dom is coming into my life on the tail end of my health issues.   I've told him about my HPV and how thankfully everything is clear now (even though it's likely dormant in my system).    But he hasn't been there through my surgeries and recovery.    I hope I don't have any recurrences or another abnormal pap smear but if I do, will he be there or will he freak out and run away?

So many questions which is why I'm glad we're taking our time and getting to know each other, even though we've hit home base a couple times already.   I know it's bad but it was so good...*LOL*.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Fork In E's Road

Wow...time really has gone so fast.   It's been a crazy year dealing with some personal health issues as well as those of my parents.    Since my last entry, my parents have had their home shot at, my Mom had a breakdown as the result of said shooting, and after over 36 years of living in their home, they finally downgraded to a smaller 2 bedroom senior living apartment.   They officially moved there a few days before Christmas 2013.    Somehow they managed to move almost 9 bedrooms of stuff into the unit, so it's quite cluttered.   At least though they are in a somewhat safer environment.

I myself had to deal with some minor outpatient procedures for anal dysplasia a few times last year and this year due to an occurrence and recurrence of anal warts, which I first discovered in February 2013 but didn't talk about prior to now.    It's an embarrassing thing to happen but is actually quite common.    They say anywhere from 50% to 80% of sexually active persons gets HPV so I'm not alone.    The procedure itself lasts about 15 - 20 minutes and you're knocked out so you have no idea what's going on.   But you definitely feel the pain for several days afterwards and that first bowel movement, post surgery, let's just say, it's a mother.

I haven't had a recurrence of the warts since June 2013 but unfortunately last February I was found to still have abnormal cells in my anal area, which they call anal dysplasia and had to have a procedure last March to remove them.    I have a six month follow up at the end of the month where they will do an anal pap smear to see if there's still abnormal cells.    If there are, unfortunately I'll have to have yet another outpatient procedure to remove them.    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not the case.

My friend Sally, who's had her own trials and turbulations over the years, was there for me during all three of my outpatient procedures to take me to the hospital.   I'm grateful for her as outside of her, my friend Eugene, and my sisters Tasha and Trina, I haven't shared with anyone extensively about my health issue...till now.

Now that I shared all that...*LOL*.

My dating life has completely sucked, partially due to my situation, but mostly due to the assholes I'm unfortunately drawn to.   I'm at the point now I'm wondering if I may be better off moving to a different state to start over.    Though yes I know assholes are everywhere...*LOL*.

I do know that I'm ready to get the hell out of my townhome that I'm living in now.    I've wanted to move for years but didn't due to the economy.   Thankfully I've had my job (yeah the same one I've been talking about getting away from...*LOL*) for over 17 years now which has helped keep me afloat.    But I'm so ready to make a change and move elsewhere.    My new next door neighbor, who I think is on the DL, is a total dick.   He got off on the wrong foot when the first words out of his mouth after introducing himself to me was if he could store some stuff in my garage.    Since then we've pretty much been ignoring each other when we happen to be outside at same time.   Worse yet another new neighbor decided this year to organize a block party which made me realize as the only double minority how out of place I really am on the block.   Most of my neighbors across from me are cordial but there were definitely a few dicks and dickettes that I could do without.   In fact next year I think I'll go out of town.

In all honesty though I wanted to move a while ago so the recent incidents just added more fuel to that fire.   I haven't been happy living here for a long time.    I'm looking now to fix up the place so I can get it on the market hopefully by 2015 or 2016 but trying not to spend too much since I likely won't get a lot back.

For now I do want to move more eastward closer to the city and hopefully to a more diverse area where I'm not the only black or gay person.   But I'm contemplating whether I should downsize and move back to an apartment.    I mean I'm gonna be 42 in October.   I don't have any kids and probably won't at the rate I'm going.    What's the point of having a house, especially since I don't really use the deck and I'm not fond of gardening.   Plus it's annoying having to pay for all repairs.

Also I'm thinking I may want to move out of Illinois and if I do, I don't want to be tied to a house since it'll take longer to unload.    The "American Dream" of owning a home I've learned is really the "American Nightmare".  

I have a lot to think about.  I don't even know where I want to go.   A part of me don't want to live much further from my parents (currently 5 hours away) though I have to balance that with needing to live my own life.   I've thought of Toronto, Vancouver (though I've never been...*LOL*), Atlanta, and even good ol' Charlotte again.   Of course I'll have to find a job before moving and that in itself is a challenge.

Yes life is a trip.    But it goes on and on and hopefully I'll find time to keep this updated.