A Salute to the Summer of 2013

Sometimes I write things down.  In order to do that, I have to be motivated to tell a story,
have the energy to put it together, and the time to get it all done.  Over the last 10 months I’ve been lacking in at least one of those categories, but thanks to the Summer of 2013, I think my dance card is finally open.  And oh, is it time to dance.

A lot can happen in 3 months...

In my recently updated “About ODBarn” page, I mention the quote “Attitude is a choice, not a result.”  I really do try to look at everything that happens as an opportunity to see where things stand in my version of “the world.”  Taking a smack from The Universe™ every once in a while isn’t a bad thing, it’s a chance to judge your character and your resolve.

The Universe™ took me to the wood shed this summer.

We start on June 23rd.  The season finale of Mad Men aired.  Now we’d have to wait until April 2014 to see what happens with recently jobless Don Draper.  Who’d have thought at the start of the summer I’d have something in common with Don Draper?

Outside of that date, I can’t complain much about the run from the end of June through July.  There was a fantastic celebration of my grandfather’s 80th birthday with almost everyone he’s responsible for bringing into this world enjoying the day.  Look at this group:

House Turner

Stylish.  Except for that guy on the left, who thought we were all going swimming, and at the last minute had to throw on his shirt, which after the photo was continuously pointed out didn’t really match.  Still a good looking group overall.  We could take the Lannisters.

There were concerts and festivals, bbq’s and bar nights, golf days and weekend getaways…the Summer of 2013 seemed to be going alright, outside of the whole Mad Men thing.  And maybe the fact that True Blood was getting ridiculous, even being held to True Blood standards.  The calendar flipped to August.

WHAM.  Pressure in my forehead and pain in my scalp.  Why was that happening?  Oh, it’s because I need to have teeth ripped out of my head.  After going 34+ years without stitches, concussions, surgery or anything resembling “physical issues”, it was time go under and get rid of the offending mandible irritants.  Side note: when going under for the first time, it’s always fun to have your sedation nurse tell you in a thick Russian accent “First one you feel heavy, second one you go night-night.” I don’t know if it made it better or worse, but apparently I survived:

The Face of Extraction

What followed was the typical week of “Mouthful of blood to spit out for a few hours, get stringy molasses medication sick for a few hours, sit up with ice packs on your face for a few overnight hours, consume nothing but soft liquid foods” goodness.  No complaining here though, tons of people have gone through it, and at the follow-up a week later the dentist said I recovering at a great rate.  Also, I didn’t wake up with a tube in my nose because they tried to get it in there for about 5 minutes and couldn’t get it through.  Hence the blowing blood out of my sinuses for four days afterwards.  Of course, that came after what had happened three days following surgery.

WHAM.  My girlfriend’s Grandad passed away.  He had been sick for a while, so it wasn’t a surprise, but really, is that supposed to make it easier?  The memorial was set for early September with the hope that his wife, who was also sick, would be healthy enough to attend.  Nana had shared the same hospital room as Grandad in those final days, and family members were taking turns going in for a visit.  All of these things by themselves could take enough out of a person, but the Summer of 2013 was just getting started.

WHAM.  “We have to let you go.”

Like any job, working in radio can be fun, exciting, social, rewarding, and quite frankly, a Oh good.great way to make a living.  Also like any job, it can also be long, exhausting, frustrating, and stressful.  Finally, like any job, it is a business, and as anyone who has been let go from any line of work can say, when you don’t fit the business, the business lets you know.  And radio is an extreme example of that.  Everything is great…right up until the business takes a turn in a different direction.  And honestly, if it’s a direction that you’re not needed for, it’s thanks, but we gotta go over here now.  That’s essentially what happened with me.  It was nothing personal, and quite honestly, I’ve always said “You’re not really in radio until you get let go.”  It was handled professionally on both sides as it happened, and has been professional ever since.  There are honestly no hard feelings.  That being said, the fact that I got to discover and enjoy the inner workings and wonders that make up the Canadian Employment Insurance program at this specific time in life, with everything else that was happening in “the world”, I’d started to look around with the “Are you serious Universe™?  This is what you’re choosing to spend your time on right now?”  Well, at least things can’t get any wor…

…WHAM.  Memorial time.  And sadly, Nana couldn’t attend, because she had taken a turn for the worse two days before hand.  So now the memorial was for Grandad AND Nana.

LITERAL WHAM.  I scraped and damaged my bumper trying to squeeze into the parking lot at the memorial.

WHAM.  Nana passed away a week later.

Nana and Grandad

It started off as an alright Summer, but did it make up for lost time starting in August.  This doesn’t include the random moments of WHAM…friends and family around me going through illness, dizziness, car issues, life threatening accidents, lumps in places there shouldn’t be any, all the things that happen in life that as one offs get serious focus by themselves, but when added to the pile that is the Summer of 2013, it seemed like a horrible unrelenting trend.

Looking back on this last day of Summer, even now just re-reading the words, it’s hard to describe the amount of physical and emotional stress and turmoil that has been endured in the past three months.  Too many cards and flowers, too many condolences and regrets.  For anyone who’s gone through situations like these, it makes perfect sense to sit back, throw your hands up and say “Why me?  Forget you world, I’m tapping out for a while.”  Sometimes it feels like someone is purposefully trying to smoother your happiness.  But like anything in life, there comes a point when you turn the page/take the next step/start fresh/etc. etc. etc…and I’ve honestly tried to wake up every day since the Summer of 2013 took personal offense to my happiness and reminded myself:

Attitude is a choice, not a result.

Everyday I wake up is a good day.  I have a roof over my head.  I have food.  I have warmth.  I have family and friends.  I have a girlfriend who is well beyond anything I deserve in this life or any others to come.  I live in a place where I can get treatment for health issues at reduced or NO extra costs.  I work in a country that gives me money when I lose my job so I can get back on my feet.  I go about my daily routine free from oppression of my beliefs and fear for my life.  So even though life occasionally throws you in the bushes, things could be a lot worse.  And it’s my hope that with a positive attitude and a little time, The Universe™ will finally take pity on me and realize that worse isn’t exactly needed over here right now.  Maybe that’s what the Fall of 2013 is for.

Sun goes up, Sun goes down.

So that’s the quick of it.  That’s the past three months in a nutshell.  So many things happened between the last time I wrote and now outside of that time frame I don’t even know where to start.  But I know that I’m motivated, have the energy, and definitely have the time to start writing again.  We’ll see how often it happens, but I promise it’ll be the same way it was before…sarcastic, rant-filled, nearly pointless, and tons of fun.  Besides, Nana said I should write.  It’s the least I can do.

I finish with one last taunt ringing from the Summer of 2013’s death throes, as it leaves me a comical bookendish conclusion.  The news of the day says that instead of airing all at once, the final season of Mad Men will be split into TWO 7 episode halves airing in 2014 and 2015.

Bring on the Fall.

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