Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Last Day

I’ve had the privilege of having had 5 days that were incredibly meaningful, that many people die in, that I don’t remember a moment of them. One is the one we all share, my birthday. I never really celebrate my birthday, having had probably a handful of birthday parties in my entire life. This despite the fact that I have a special one 8/8/80 (we had a big one on 8/8/08). Long before this, when people ask when my birthday, I always say I don’t remember but people tell me 8/8/80.

But I have 4 more days that were pretty meaningful that I have no memory of… Two are those moments where I remember the moment before being unconscious and missing about an hour after where my brain decided to shut itself off while possibly damaging itself. Two brain surgeries, one a biopsy and one a very risk one where I cracked jokes right before and hugged and kissed people I loved, assuming I wasn’t coming out. I am grateful I did. It really has given me an even more intense last day concept… I’ve made some very stupid and some intelligent decisions because of it. At work, when I returned from the surgery, I’d always been the kid who pushed back. Friends, coworkers and one the Austin Marathon staff said they couldn’t believe someone like me worked for the government… well now I don’t… and there was a few months between the surgery and the dismissal where I just did what I was told, a lot more yes ma’am and no ma’am and less, hey why don’t we do it different than I ever had but that felt like being dead long before I got there so I went back to my can we do this better. I have ran some ulti tournaments for years and despite the fact that they are solid, I always try to make them grow, make them better, more creative… usually with a team that contributes to that helping succeed overall and each time, I write up a report of what went right, what went wrong. Is good enough really a good enough way to live? Did that attitude contribute in getting me fired; I think so… probably never would have had I not called in that 3rd party of the EEOC but even as I asked for permission to keep the bike in my office to train and challenged the fact that every year the only way we encourage exercise is by measuring weight loss, the facility director literally told me, look even an athlete like you causes us medical insurance costs. That was tough to hear. 

I’ve looked for jobs and had a couple of offers of jobs without benefits, one higher and one lower pay but both essentially in sales. They aren’t standing offers but my honest to gut reaction both because of the lack of benefits and because I don’t believe in the product being sold is to say no; I’m not sure how stupid or smart that is. We know something is wrong with my brain but I’d rather clean toilets with full effort than sell something that I don’t believe in. The doctors hoped initially to get me to 40… the median survival rate is 4 years and the victory date seems to be if you make it past 7. I’m 32 soon. If I die tomorrow, the county retirement plan would pay 400 a month to Kiana for her entire life which means if she made 70 she’d get 320,000 approximately over the course of her life (as opposed to if I withdrew it, it’d be more like 15 grand). Somehow that’s comforting and enough motivation to leave it always alone. Do I want to teach her that you go to work for money or only for money? I applied to a position at Livestrong as their concierge but organizations like that get plenty of very qualified professionals I’ve come to learn fast. While I’ve organized big events and tournaments my entire life since high school, somehow volunteer work doesn’t translate well in a resume. 

 I talked to Kiana about the possibility that we might have to move and am talking to a realtor Tuesday, accepting that there comes a point where finances, or lack thereof is a circumstance that wins. My mortgage is my biggest month to month expense (though despite no medical appointments so far this month due to no insurance, I still got a medical bill). When I spoke with Kiana as age appropriate as I could about possibly having to sell the house, she said well, okay, as long as we can keep puppy. I brought the dog from my volunteer time in the South Pacific with me and between me having done that, Kiana’s reaction and seeing a homeless guy in the corner asking for dog food… something felt very illogical but good about her having that natural affection. 

I spent some more time online looking for jobs and had to stop by the mall to pick up a pair of pants that had been there being fixed. There were a lot of help wanted jobs… and I thought about applying at some of them…wondering if maybe a job like that is safer with a guy who has lost some confidence. I don’t know. 

Still, this weekend, I helped train people for a marathon with Austin Fit, went to a kids birthday party (me and the only other dad there not related to the birthday person talked about how we couldn’t quite get why it was only the moms who showed up at so many of these events. I also went to a baby shower of a previous coworker (its awkward saying hello to the guy who fired you less than a month ago), made cookies with Kiana, went to a meeting about organizing the BrainPower5k, went to a going away party for a friend who is moving and went to a nutrition class where as is the norm, and went to a nutritional class. Kiana stole the show at almost all the events. I tried to pull off a couple of other events with intensity, not all did I pull off. I wondered about taking Kiana to these but each time it was me having to talk her into leaving not the other way around. 

I have some things I need to learn to do with more grace, perhaps more education but I don’t want to do it with less intensity. My Boston qualifying marathon went better not because of less intensity or better weather but better training and a good mindset. I think some of my parenting and running and cycling keeps better because of that.  I am doing another 5k this week in training for the Brain Power5k and while I’m glad to be have the best result so far this summer ( I am trying to beat me more than others in this one. No promises to results  though as I’m doing my longest training ride tomorrow, 70 miles but I promise the effort will be there. But as exciting as that century is… well today I rode with Kiana for the first time and if I had to pick one or the other I’d pick riding around the block with Kiana. Luckily I don’t have to. 

It’s tough thinking about sell the house since purchasing it wasn’t a financial decision; it was an emotional one bought because I wanted my daughter to have a room of her own. I am looking at options that may let me keep it like getting a roommate and me moving into the garage if necessary (though I liked a friend’s joke about how they couldn’t believe I wasn’t advertising for a sugar mama on craig’s list). Kiana nearly cried when I mentioned the possibility to her. Todd and I once talked about how I’d rather be homeless than be institutionalized but the kid changes the game…

I had 5 days in my life that I have no memory of incredibly significant events that have killed far better people than me. Maybe tomorrow will be one of those; maybe it won’t. But in my occupation, in my parenting, in my training, in my relationships, in my mistakes, in my seeking fun, in my believing in things, I really want to try to assume today is my last so I’m grateful for each of them.  

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