Sunday, May 29, 2011

Here's Your Sign


I went to bed but did nothing but toss and turn. After an hour and a half, I got up. Just too much stuff running through my head tonight. I figured I come do a post, hoping it will help clear it out so I can get to sleep.

I'm worried about my job. Since moving to the other department, nothing has seemed to go right. My sales have suffered terribly. The goals are unbelievable high, surprisingly much higher everyday than when I was in fine jewelry. I've been written up twice for things I had no knowledge was against policy. I'm on some sort of probation because of them. The first was leaving earlier than scheduled when I was in fine jewelry. (The others have done the same thing and told me it was ok, if there was floor coverage. They have since been spoken to as well, but I have know I idea if they were written up or to what extent.) The day I started was the last day the manager that hired me worked. I started in August of 2010. They finally said something about it in January. According to them, they were cutting me some slack because of that, so they skipped the first two write ups, wiped the slate clean, and let me start over, but did it as a third write up for my personnel folder. Some favor huh? The second was the recent suspension. Again something everyone in the department did and I get nailed for it. The girl that trained me did it. Told me that is what we do if there is a watch band we can't size. We would send them to another jeweler in the mall, let them bring us a receipt and then adjust the price of the watch, under $10, to make up for it. I even put the receipt in the drawer so whoever checked the stuff we turned in would know what the discount was for. I once again, had done this since I started in August of 2010. They finally said something in May of 2011. Not once did that person or anyone else ever come to me or anyone else in the department to inquire as to why there was deductions or receipts from another jewelry store in our paperwork. So now, I have these two strikes against me, through no fault of my own. That is the way I was trained. (I don't know if how the manager that hired me was, since I never worked with her, so maybe the others were trained properly. I have no idea.) I had no reason to doubt it or question it. Yet they have held me (and others) responsible for not knowing these things. It seems unfair to me. Almost like scapegoating. I have to wonder did the manager get any write ups or the other person for not asking questions? I bet not. I show up on time or early when scheduled. (I have missed 2 days because I was sick. 2 days with my eye emergency. And 2 days for snow, that doesn't count because the store closed.) Work while I'm there. Give it my best. I have been transferred from an area I love and superbly qualified for. Written up for things I was trained to do from the start. Now my sales are suffering from once again a lack of training. (I was actually suppose to go to a watch training seminar last Wednesday, but the manager never mentioned to me. When a saw a rep in the store the day before, she mentioned it. When I inquired of management about it, they told me they couldn't authorize the extra hours on my paycheck for me to go. And I was already scheduled off that day, I could have went.) To top it all off, I cover a huge area by myself most mornings and nights because they don't schedule but one person. I have stock twice a week that literally takes hours to open, put out and merchandise. I also now cover, other departments for their lunches and breaks. All I do is run from one side the store to the other to try to watch for customers, and try to help them. I do more clerking than assisting. ( It isn't just me. Everyone in the dapartment goes through the same thing at some point during the week, every week.) I don't like that. Supposedly, that isn't what Macy's wants us to do, but we have little choice when you are spread so thin. There is no way to give professional service when you are constantly on the move in a department that literally spans the width of the store. I use to love going to work. Now I hate it. I feel like they are trying to force me out though I can't imagine why. I'm on eggshells. I'm worn out and irritable from trying to do too much by myself. Now I fear I'll be let go because of sales performance. When I was in fine jewelry, I was always in the top ten sales for the store. Now, most days, I'm lucky if I get half my goal. I don't know what to do to improve it either at the moment. I've been applying for other jobs and buying lottery tickets. Maybe one of those actions will pay off soon. I need a job but not the stress. I have enough of that with everything else going with my parents. I need something really good to happen soon. End rant.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Goodbyes and the Inevitable

This has been a rough week around the Ultra household. My great aunt passed away yesterday morning after being moved to Hospice Tuesday from an assisted living facility. I have posted about her earlier and the way her family treats her. Not saying she wasn't a handful herself, but she, anybody, deserves better. She had a rough life all the way around. An alcoholic husband. Living in a rented house, by the kindness of family friends for only $40 a month. No retirement of her own except social security and money from the Army from her oldest son that died in Vietiam. She had lost the ability to take care of herself. She couldn't half see, bathe, cook, clean or walk without support. I'm sad she had it so rough, but in all honesty, she wanted everyone to take care of her. For most of her life she had her wish. I spoke with my mother briefly this morning to find out about services and such. I neglected to ask if her son, daughter in law or her two grandsons were present when she passed. I have a feeling she died alone. So sad.

Also, Tommy's mother is in very bad shape suddenly. She is 85 years old, but until the last couple of weeks, seemed to have few problems health wise. When Tommy visited 2 weeks ago (like he does every week), she mentioned some lumps on her back that had suddenly appeared, as well as being very weak, tired and no appetite. Last week he took her to the doctor to have them removed and biopsied (he had one sister die of breast cancer last year) and a general check up. Turns out they are a form of aggressive cancer. He said there were about 5 or 6 of varying sizes. ***It has turned out to be far worse than expected. Hospice has been called in and he has taken a leave from work to be by her side.***

I want to comfort him in some way. I just don't know how or what to say. I haven't lost a parent, while he has already lost his father years ago. I have experienced many losses but none as close as a parent. The sadness emanating from him is overwhelming. I wrote the last two entries with him in mind. I've thought of passing copies to him, but not sure how they will be received. I just want to hug him till everything is all better. I wish it were that simple.

My father went for his check up today. His lung capacity is down to 15% now. He is constantly on oxygen. A new medicine, some inflatable jacket thing that suppose to help him breathe, his adjustable bed and lord knows what else. My mother ordered a wheelchair to help get him to and from doctor's appointments. (Since the first of the year, between the two of them, they have had over 100.) She has also requested my schedule to set up appointments so I can be there to help get him to and from the doctors on my days off. She just can't do it on her own any more. He talks a lot about things he wants to get done before he is gone. What he hopes for after he is gone. In between gasping and coughing when he takes the oxygen tube off. It breaks my heart, but I know it is coming. He knows it's coming. My mother knows it's coming. I'll be strong for my mother, some how.

I know that this happens day in and day out all over the world to people and their families in varying degrees. I always knew that my parents would never live forever either. Nobody does. I always expected my father to die in his sleep from a heart attack, not cancer or emphysema. (the latter appears to be doing him in more so than the cancer at this point.) I don't think my sister truly understands the gravity of their health issues. Nor the stress it puts on me. It doesn't matter though. I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make sure neither has to go to an assisted living center or that they die with strangers or worse alone. Not as long as I, myself am breathing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not Now

I see the sadness in your eyes.
I know what you are going through.
I want to tell you it will be ok.
But that would be a lie.
You will suffer
as we all do.
I want to comfort you.
I want to hold you tight.
I want you to know
it will be alright.
In the end.
But not right now.
Not at this moment.
This is you must face.
The change you must embrace.
Without it, you will be forever lost.
To yourself.
To your potential.
You will find peace again.
You will once again know happiness.
But not right now.
Muddle through.
Buckle down.
Rant and cry if need be.
Let it out.
Let it go.
In the end, you will see
everything has a purpose,
a reason to be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Edge of Tears

There are tears we shed because of happiness or sadness or frustration or empathy. Some tears are sweet, others bitter. All seem to be cathartic. The emotions that trigger them are varied. At times, we are primed and ready to weep at a sad story or picture. Other times, it takes death or destruction to bring on uncontrollable sobs. Whether an Iron Man or house wife, the tears come to us all at some point. Tears seem to bring a sense of release when we allow them to flow freely, without hesitation. The emotional flood sweeps over the body, cleansing it, making it pure in a way. Releasing tension in muscles, quickening the breath. It's a good thing. Likened to a static discharge that makes it safe to touch metal again. We are somehow steeled against the emotional onslaught that ravages our psyche that touches our hearts and souls daily. The things that move us, we suppress the emotions to carry on. Just shed a tear. Just weep, if need be. Sob if you have to. After the last tear falls, we are stronger and more focused. More in touch and expressive with how we feel. Maybe we humans should walk on the edge of tears all the time, so we can be made whole and strong again at a moments notice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time In A Bottle

Another day. They pass so quickly now. A blur is usually all I recall. Once vivid details lost in the mix. Which day did this happen or was it that day instead. It's difficult to give each their due. I use to imagine time as a straight line. Then it became circular. Now I picture it more as a whirlpool. No, more like batter in a mixing bowl. Stirred up, from top to bottom. Left to right. Homogenized to the point where there is little separation of the days, the weeks, the months, the years. And now decades as I've gotten older. It's impossible to recall when something happened unless it was less than an hour ago. Of course somethings, people, events stand as beacons against the onslaught. I recall the terrorist attacks of 9/11 vividly. I recall the first time I met both of my ex's. I remember my first visit to a gay bar. I remember going to the doctor with my mother for her breast cancer check up. I remember all the times my father and I worked on projects around the house together. I remember family gatherings at the lake house for holiday weekends. Looking back now, with new eyes and a bit of wisdom, I pay more attention to detail. take more pictures, in hopes that it will help in the future. (It would probably help more if I would learn to set the correct time and date stamp on the camera.) I've learned to cherish time. Time with my parents, family, friends even coworkers. I know these moments are fleeting. No matter how routine something becomes, how trivial it may seem at the moment, I want to recall it in vivid detail. I want to relive the memory and the feelings it contains. I want to know least I forget in my old age some important lesson, milestone, event or person. I really wish I could save time in a bottle.

Here's Your Sign

Not sure where this is located, but I can only imagine the ribbing they get

when asked where they are from!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Worrisome Worries

I worry. A lot.
I know there is very little I can do to change things.
I worry about my mother. What it will be like after my father is gone.
They have been married 54 years this November, if he makes it that long.
I worry that she may not survive long after he is gone.
I worry that I want be able to handle it and be there for her.
These last 2 years has brought me and my father closer together than ever before.
I'm grateful for that.
I worry that maybe their money will run out and I won't be able to help out.
I worry that maybe I should forgo them buying me a house and let them just bank it.
I worry that my sister will be no help when it comes time to take of my father
or when my mother's health begins to fail at some point.
I worry that my father's illness will be prolonged and he will suffer.
I worry at the toll it will take on my mother's health if that should be the case.
I worry that when they do buy me a house, I won't be able to keep it up.
I worry that I won't be able to buy the furniture I need to replace.
I worry that after waiting all these years to finally get house, still no one will visit because it is too far away.
I worry that Izzy will pass away about the same time as my mother does, and I will be alone.
I worry that I still haven't met anyone that I can truly rely on when all this happens.
I worry that I'll begin to have health issues of my own.
I worry that I will face them by myself.
I worry that I will die alone and no one will ever know I'm gone.
I worry that I will never find a better paying job, with better hours and benefits.
I worry that if I do survive to a ripe old age, I won't have the money to retire.
I worry that I may never get to travel.
I worry that nothing will ever change.
I worry that everything in my life will change.
I worry.
A lot.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Most days I feel like this.

On a bad day I may get ankle deep.

On a really bad day, I may get knee deep :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Simple Odds

A time and place unnamed.
Darkness drawn round,
clinging tightly
to hopes and dreams,
of kindred souls,
of happy ever after.
Discovered by chance.
The need deep and unmet.
Wondering what is real
and what is not.
Knowing it can all change
in a instant,
in a blink of an eye,
with that one person you meet,
that leaves you breathless,
that leaves you wanting more.

Paths untrod.
Unsung songs.
Misdirected energies.
Every moment of your life
coalesced into now,
this moment.
Heaven sent,
or simple fate,
or simply the odds played out.

Has been too long.
It seems to come to all at some point
Wondering if now is the time
or maybe later.
Holding your breath.
Saying your prayers.
How does it play out?
Parlayed advances.
Slow building trust.
Glimpses of what could be
or might have been.
Haunted by shadows of the past.
Dappled in hope and mystery
are the spirits of things yet to come.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grilling Out

Grilled chicken, pasta salad, scolloped potatoes, garlic toast and beer! Yum!

A rare view of the top of Tommy's head. He is 6'4".

Tommy posing for bicep pic.

Tommy's 19" bicep.

Gonna use this one for a profile pic on his website.

After grilling, eating, flexing and picture taking were out of the way, we settled down and watch "The Haunting" on DVD. A great 7 hours or so with a great chef and all around good guy. A wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Tease

Can I get an "Amen"?


I saw a squirrel play the other day while on my break at work. The little fella would run a foot or so up the tree and jump off, rolling himself into a ball before landing. He would jump up, look around and do it again. He then discovered a twig that quickly became his best friend. He would roll over on his back and toss it in the air. Then he would jump over it, and around it as it laid on the ground. He would pick it up in his little paws and nipple the bud on the end then toss it in the air again. He rolled around on the ground. Jumped up and down. Up and down the tree. He paused, long enough to clean his paws and fluff his tail. Then back at it all again. He did this the entire 15 minutes I watched. Oblivious to the traffic in the parking lot a few feet away. Not caring that he was being watched. He kept himself amused. The birds chirped. The sun light dappled under the tree where he played. I stood mesmerized. I wanted to be a squirrel.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Daddy Update

My father has had a really rough week so far with his breathing. He has no stamina what so ever any more. He use to eat breakfast with his cronies every morning. This week he has gone through the drive thru for breakfast and brought it home to eat. He does nothing but cough it seems like. My sister stopped by this week after not seeing him for a couple of weeks and thought he needed to go the hospital it was so bad. So far, he isn't coughing up blood, which is very good, but he is coughing far more than he use to and for longer. My mother called me at work this morning and asked me to stop by on the way home. I did. I got the shower stool down from the attic that my grandfather used. Apparently, my father doesn't have the energy to shower standing up now. That is of great concern. Enough that today, she set an appointment with the doctor for Friday morning. I'm worried. My mother is worried. My father is trying to put on a brave front, but I see the worry, maybe even fear, in his eyes when he looks at me. It's un-nerving and upsetting to see how steep his decline in health has been over the last 6 months. It's even worse to know there is nothing the doctors can do at this point. Sad doesn't even begin to cover it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Along The Walk

Pictures from along the AIDS Walk


When my grandfather passed away in July 2008, I never would have guessed it would take three years to get my parent's old place on the market. After remodeling my grandfather's place, moving the parents in, remodeling the old place, it is finally done. The real estate agent came Friday to list the property. I've been trying to find the link to post but so far haven't been successful. As soon as I can, I will edit this post and add it. It has been a long three years and much has happened to hold up the progress. Along with the declining housing market and crappy economy, there was my mother's battle with breast cancer and my father's lung cancer and overall failing health slowing us down tremendously. But it all finally finished and on the market! It is a huge sigh of relief from all of us. I hope the place sells quickly. I'm trying to be optimistic that it will. The sooner it sells the less I and my parents have to try to keep up with and I can finally get a house of my own! Woohoo!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Thanks for all you do!

Love you!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crossing Ships

Friday, I worked till 5pm and Tommy was scheduled in at 6pm. I asked him if he wanted to come early and grab a bite in the food court at the mall before he clocked in for work. At first he wasn't sure. The money thing again. Then he mentioned his regular gym time. I left it with call me if you change your mind. That was that.

Around 3pm he called and asked if I still wanted to meet for dinner. I said, "Sure." He came in about 15 minutes till 5pm and let me know he was there. I had a late customer, but managed to pawn them off on another associate. (Never fails, make plans, some indecisive customer will make you late.) Needless to say, we finally got to go eat together. We each paid our own way, so no awkwardness there. We sat down, ate, and talked till time for him to head to work.

It was a great conversation. We talked about everything that was going on with each of us. He said, "We" again. (We need to do something together to make money.) He wants me to do some artful nudes of him. Of course, I agreed. He just needs to tell me when. We talked about money, work, my eye, moving, buying houses, websites, working out, etc. Even had some laughs. I had a great time. I think he did too.

It wasn't weird or awkward, even though Thursday was the first time in over a month I had seen him. We have been emailing, posting, and commenting on Facebook for the last 10 days or so. Guess we were trying to feel the other out, since our last time out ended not so well. I'm just going with the flow. We have discussed pool parties later in the season with my old high school gang. When those come up, I will mention it to him. Otherwise, from here on out, I'm giving the reins to him. He can do the inviting. I figure that way I don't feel pushy and he doesn't feel pushed. I think it will only end in friendship, but that is ok. If I haven't had sex or gotten even close after all this time with a guy, it ain't gonna happen. Once they become friends, sex is out of the question. A new best friend isn't such a bad thing....

A Mile In Some Else's Shoes

The AIDS Walk was great this morning. The weather was perfect. The cause fabulous. I enjoyed myself. I managed to raise $85 this year. A little short of the $100 goal I had, and short of the $355 I raised last year. It's a hard year for everyone. Next year, I'll do better! I'm curious as to what the total was. The figures should be out in the next couple of days. I do know my team, The Walking Miracles, raised over $11,000! Impressive in this economy!

AIDS Walk 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Look! No Tanlines!

Tommy and I was working last night, when the subject of me going to the nudie pool came up. He asked me why I went. I didn't get a full response before we were interrupted. I gave it some thought last night and decided to do a post on it. I know many of my readers also enjoy such activities. Here is my take on it.

I enjoy nudity with other men because it builds an intimate bond without sex or the expectation of sex. It also helps with my self image problems. I get to see and appreciate the male body in all it's diversity, which helps me better accept my body and that makes me feel good about myself. Probably the best therapy around for self image concerns. It also helps level the playing field some what on a social-economic level. For someone like me, who struggles with weight and economic issues, there are no designer labels that shout status or fancy jewelry, except maybe the occasional cockring, that indicates anything about the person's job, income, taste, proclivities, activities, etc. You truly meet the person, not who they want to be perceived as. You get to know the person in a neutral setting. To me, it is the best way to meet someone. I also don't like tanlines and it also fun. A bit more exciting to look at real live naked men rather than porn. Tommy says he isn't shy, but he doesn't get into the social nudity thing. For the most part, neither do I. I do like to go to the pool and nude sunbathe, maybe splash in the pool a bit and have a chat with friends or make new ones. It's very liberating. It's almost spiritual to me. I think it is the ultimate in male bonding experiences without having sex. Of course sharing that experience with someone you have an intimate relationship with, I think, forges a deeper bond of acceptance and trust. But that is just me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Morning Giggle

Remember when this was how we stayed connected?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today's Exciting News

I woke up this morning around 4am with excoriating pain in my right eye. I stumbled around in the dark, half asleep trying to see what was going on with it in the bathroom mirror. No luck, couldn't see a damn thing. I did manage to get dress, take the dog out and head to my parents. How I got there in the dark, barely being able to see is beyond me. Thankfully, my father was up by the time I got there around 430am to 445 am. We tried rinsing under the faucet. Didn't work. It was burning and red as a tomato. My mother got up and took a look at it. She couldn't see anything. We used an eye rinse solution and then some eye drops. Nothing was working. Finally, she got dressed and took me to the local ER. We arrived there around 630 am. After about an hour's wait the doctor came in and gave me some numbing eye drops and did an exam. He couldn't locate any objects that would be causing it, but he did see scratches on my corona(?). So he set me up with some antibiotic drops and some other type of drops to use. I missed work today because of this. As of now, it is fine. I'm wearing sunglasses since my eyes are still dilated. My mother went to town and filled my prescriptions for me. Now all I can do is wait......and not rub it.

The doctor speculates that I may have scratched my eye in my sleep. Everything was fine before bed. I guess that is a good a reason as any. I hate to see the bill from the hospital for this. Out of $120 for the prescription, I only had to pay $18. Hopefully, the cost for the ER visit will be similarly reduced.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Are Working On It

Things are slowly returning to the way it use to be with Tommy. We have communicated via email several times over the past couple of weeks. It's good to be relating to him again in some way. It does feel tentitive but not forced, so that is a good sign. Of course, I had to make the first move, as always. I was weak and gave in. That part bothers me. It will definitely have to be addressed at some point between us. At least now that opportunity exist to do so. It isn't that I expect a whole lot out of the guy, but I do think any relationship, plutonic or romantic, involves a certain level of equalness. It doesn't have to be 50/50, but certainly closer to it than it is currently. I know that is one of his issues. Something he will have to deal with on his on. I'm glad he is back and even showing up for work again. Whatever it is or will be, will sort itself out, in it's own time, in it's own way. I'll just go with the flow.

Food For Thought

Sometimes we do things, not to make ourselves happy, but to make someone else happy (Which, surprisingly does make use happy after all). ~ Ultra Dave

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