More Thanks: Free From Addiction (Part 2)

A week of posts where I complain and whine about my health issues. Who would have thought that is possible? Well, it is. Even as I type this, I am coughing like someone with a 20 year chain-smoking habit. That has caused my voice to go out a few times. You could not imagine the number of people who will call you to chat when you tell them you have a sore throat and you’re about to cough up a lung or two. It feels like this happens every time. I don’t know if it’s a form of validation to see whether I am really that sick or not, but it happens–a lot.

This isn’t what I do, but it sure looks how I feel/sound. (Wait… did that make any sense?)

Regardless, I am starting to feel somewhat better which is great. So, I guess I am thankful that I am feeling a bit better right now.

Speaking about that, a few days ago, before my voice went out and I felt like I drank a quart (which is about 1.15 litres, because the measurement really counts here) of dumpster juice, I had a chat with one of my cousins and I realised something: Wow, my family is really messed up. I still love them so I don’t mean that as something that makes me angry. It makes me more sad than anything.

As my cousin was more or less naming off the drugs he does and how much he drinks, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am that I never really started. There are reasons for this though. My dad was quite an alcoholic when I was a kid. Mostly, things were relatively calm at my house. He wasn’t one of those belligerent drunks that punched holes in walls every night (he did do this a few times, but only 2-3 times) or anything, but when he was angry while drinking, things would go flying across the room. The music would get really, really loud. He’d always want to have these chats with my sister and I that were, I guess, deep for him in his inebriated state. I learned quickly just to stay out of his way because he’d either have a hangover or he’d be drunk to the point where bonding wasn’t possible. It really made me sad. He finally was able to get himself together years later, but the damage was already done.

I am a binge drinker when I drink. It probably explains the 2-3 day hangovers I get. Luckily it’s only a day or two per year, but for the past few years, I’ve been drinking responsibly… and that’s good, right?

That’s the main reason why I don’t drink more than I do (perhaps 2-3 times per year up until now). Plus, hangovers are a bitch for me… and I tend to over-drink. Let’s just say that it’s really hard to balance that quantity vs time aspect. I do admit that when I first moved here, drinking became a coping mechanism for me and for a while I drank about 4-5 times per week. I put on a lot of weight and just felt pretty bad. It only lasted about a month.

On one side of the family, all my uncles are alcoholics (including my cousin’s dad). Every holiday we had over my grandparents’ house was a chaotic mess. Every year it was the same old thing: “I quit drinking.” Out of the corner of my eye, I’d see them sipping on something, go and smell it, and it would be strong enough to burn the hairs out of your nose. No one ever really stopped drinking, I think.

I don’t know why or how, but I have avoided falling into that lifestyle. I hardly drink. I certainly wouldn’t even dream using drugs like my cousin does. Addiction is a horrible thing in my family, I feel and I am thankful that I never let it fully grasp me. It really messed with my childhood a lot and it still affects me in one way or another now in my adult life (but at least now, I can be more vocal about it). I wouldn’t wish this kind of thing on any child or spouse. I don’t know where I got the strength from becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs, but I’m thankful I have it. I guess that applies to smoking cigarettes too…

Ah, and about my health… I am from a family of smokers too. I saw pictures of my mother smoking while she was pregnant with me. I like to blame that for all my allergies, breathing issues, and for getting sick all the time. I don’t smoke either and never had the urge. Hell, I don’t know what I’d be like if I did.

I do get sick a lot and take a lot of sick days. People see this as a little excessive (and unwarranted) but I know my body. I know what I am capable of and not capable of when I am sick. I know when I can push myself and when I need to stay still and rest. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for taking care of myself.

I know this post is a bit strange. It was brought on by something, but I was going to post something about my health regardless if I got sick or not. I decided after my last post that I was going to post something about the thanks I owe myself for being strong in other ways. I know stuff seems a bit negative and stuff, but it’s my way of processing it.

So that’s that! I hope this long post makes up for my lack of updates lately. I’m gonna try to do my next batch of Thanksgiving-themed thanks posts later.

My Week Sucked

I’ve spent most of the week being immobile, being unable to see out of my right eye, and having a cold. It really stopped me from doing anything productive. I’ve been trying to gather my strength to write a bit, but haven’t been able to write much. Not only that, I ended up having unexpected company for almost the full week too.

For the past few days, I’ve been staying in bed, trying to get better. I was hoping to feel much better today but it didn’t happen.

Not a pleasant week for me to be on vacation. Maybe next week will be a little better.

 

Eye Hate

Over the past few days, I have been trying to type something about my relationship, but I can’t manage to sit and type for long, or look at a computer screen (or any display for that matter) for too long. I’m having some problem with my eye. The lower eyelid is swollen quite badly and every time I blink my eye, it hurts so bad. So, I haven’t been able to finish any of my writing.

I suspect that I got something in my eye the other day that I’m allergic to, so it hasn’t been very pleasant. I’m putting medicated antibiotic drops in my eye so hopefully that will fix it.

I will be back once it’s healed. Talk to you girls and guys later.

I Hate the Air Right Now

The weekend is here. Unfortunately, this weekend I don’t feel like doing much because I feel like I have a huge, forever-tightening clamp on my head. Or a better way to put it is this:

explodedhead

Basically, I feel like that will be my head at any moment. I’ve spent almost all my time since Friday in a darkened room and sleeping whenever I can. I woke up today and felt a little better but it’s getting a little bit worse as the time goes on.

I feel like it’s more of a problem with my sinuses than anything. Spring is here and people are mowing their grass every chance they get. The smell of freshly mown grass is enough to make me feel like this. I hate grass. I’m allergic to it, actually. My parents pretended like I wasn’t and made me the official grass mower when I was a kid. Every time I’d finish mowing, I’d look like, feel like, and sound like I had the flu for the past 3 years. I think my allergen immunotherapy needs a little bit of a recharge but then, I ask myself whether I want to subject myself to immunisations every week. (Hint: I don’t. Plus, it’s not really that bad. Not as near as bad when I was in Texas.)

So yes, I’ve been hiding this weekend and if it doesn’t get any better, I will be hiding all this week too.

Thanks! (Part 1)

To save myself from posting every day, I thought I would tell you about the things, people, and places that I am thankful for, once a week only. I did this last year, but all my posts got lost in an accident, so there’s nothing to go back to. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

I’m Thankful for My Friends

First thing’s first. I have to give credit to my friends for keeping me sane (mostly). I think that a good network of friends is important to have though I can be a bit of a loner at times. Over the years, they’ve learned a lot about who I am and what I am, and they still care for and support me. I’m really thankful for that.

I’m Thankful for My Family

Since I’ve moved overseas, my interactions with my family are somewhat limited but thanks to Facebook, I can stay in touch with them. When things get a bit scary, I know that I can have a chat with either my sister or mom, and then I feel better. It works every time.

I’m Thankful for My Partner

It takes people with a lot of patience to be with me. I know that it’s not really easy, but my partner has stuck with me for years. He’s a really great guy. He has been absolutely wonderful since I’ve met him and I’m a lucky guy to have found such a great guy. He’s been really patient with me during our 2 year engagement too.

I’m Thankful for You, My Followers/Readers

Thanks for reading this stuff, even if you fit into one of the categories above. I know I’m not as interesting as I used to be, so thanks for sticking around! I don’t get much traffic these days and it means a lot that you come and check up on me.


That’s it for now. Look for more next week! 🙂

Hello, November!

Hi! You know what today is, don’t you? It’s the beginning of November! And do you know what that means?! It’s time for everybody to post each day about what they’re thankful for. Unfortunately, I haven’t really made the decision whether I’m going to do that every day because, well, it’s a lot of writing and it requires me to be extremely nice. So maybe a post every Saturday? Sounds good?

Usually, this is my favourite time of the year but that applies only when I am in the USA. I like the lead up into winter. Here in Australia, it’s basically the opposite, where we’re heading into summer. The fact that it’s getting hotter at this time of the year is a bit of a bummer because I still like it being a little cold now. It takes away the feeling of the start of the holidays.

One of the questions that people ask me is if I celebrate Thanksgiving while I’m here. I don’t. Why not? Because I can’t bake turkeys and well, it’s hard getting into the spirit when no one else does. So! I save all my Thanksgiving cheer for when I’m in the USA with my family. I’m looking forward to going back at that time next year.

So how am I going to start this off? I’m going to say that I am thankful that I have gotten a chance to live overseas. Most, if not all, of my family haven’t had this opportunity and I believe I am extremely lucky to be able to travel so far away. I do love Australia a lot and you’ve probably heard that a lot, but still, as Dorothy says, “there’s no place like home”. Though I think about it sometimes, I’m thankful that I can travel back and forth and have dual citizenship too. (But I think we all know how it would go if I was forced to choose one…)

That is all. I need to change my theme for the month, so I’ll be doing some work on that. Have a great November everybody.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it’s a good (and scary) day for you. I don’t do much for Halloween since I’ve been in Australia. Australia tries to get into the spirit, but it does a terrible job.

(Not my weenie dog, unfortunately.)

My Mac Journey

Once upon a time, I had a HP laptop that I bought in 2007. I used it up until early this year. There were no speed problems with it, but it was starting to run really hot and noisy. It ran a few different versions of Windows and for the most part, I was a happy guy. It worked well for me and I am still amazed that it lasted as long as it did. (It was a fairly expensive laptop though. I don’t do cheap computers unless I’m desperate.) The hard drive died in it once and the mic/camera was a bit flaky, but its performance was absolutely solid. I could run everything I needed on it up until the end. (Gaming got a bit iffy though. The graphics card was getting to be obsolete and unsupported by just about everything.)

I retired that old laptop and replaced it with a desktop. I was trying to decide whether I wanted a HP desktop (I know, right???), a Surface Studio, or an iMac with a 5k display. It came down to how many pixels I could get on the display. The HP desktops weren’t really that impressive to me. I knew I wanted an all-in-one design and the power and resolution I needed just wasn’t available. The Surface Studio was just a bit overpriced and I was thinking, would I ever use it for what they’re built for? Probably not. Also, while I was considering it, I remembered how anxious I’d get because I got a lot of bad updates from Windows. I never knew whether the upgrades would go smooth or not. Some of them had left me without a laptop for a day or two. That left me with the decision to get a Mac.

Why Mac?

The award for my most favourite computer ever goes to the iMac G4.

I am no stranger to Macs. I got my first one around 2003 and it was great. It was one of those lamp-looking ones (the G4) and it, probably to this day, was my favourite computer (with the one I’m using now being #2 and the HP laptop being #3). After that one got a little too old, I gave it to my nephew and got one that wasn’t as visually stunning (the G5). That last one ran hot and I don’t think I got to use it much because at the time I had planned to move to Australia and I wasn’t going to bother bringing it with me, so I let my sister have it. If I’m not mistaken, she used it for a really long time. I bought one of the last PowerBooks, and headed off to Australia. That one was rock solid, but I got it right when Apple was transitioning to Intel processors. (The last time I checked, this one still works. Someone begged me for it, so I gave it to them.) To replace that one, I got one of the white plastic MacBooks that kind of picked up every bit of oil off my hands. I’m a very oily man. Not good, but the computer was good. No problems. I donated that one to a kid in The Philippines.  THEN (this story does end), I got an iMac that started failing less than a year I got it. I was just about to go to the USA, so I thought I’d come back and take care of it. I called AppleCare who said that the warranty had expired 3 days before. So, it sat around gathering dust. (The graphics card was defective and the hard drive had already failed.) This jaded my decision to get another Mac. That’s when I got the HP laptop.

After the HP laptop’s hard drive failed, I didn’t have time to replace it (and I thought that the insides had melted anyway) so I got a MacBook Pro. I still have this one and I absolutely, 100% hate this piece of shit. It is the slowest computer I’ve ever used and it was slow when I first got it. Nothing I’ve done to it has speeded it up. I use it now when I HAVE to. I don’t use it because I want to. I got it with the impression that it will be as reliable as the other Macs I’ve gotten. It hasn’t had any major issues, but DAMN is it slow. When it isn’t cripplingly slow, it’s okay. I’ll give it that. I should have sold off that thing a long time ago.

The new iMac

8 GB of memory isn’t enough, but don’t buy your memory from Apple. Just don’t do it, you’ll pay out the nose for it. (It’s also why you shouldn’t get a computer from them if you can’t change the memory yourself.)

So here I am. No technology has been 100% nice to me. I’m certainly not a Mac zealot. I have Windows 10 on here, but I use it only when I have to. I end up going back to macOS when I possibly can though because it’s been more reliable for me. I don’t get strange “An error has occurred somewhere” kind of messages. I don’t get error messages about drivers. It just works out really well for me. As far as programming goes, it doesn’t really get in my way. If I need to, I can just head over to my Windows 10 Bootcamp install. The display is gorgeous. I love all the millions of pixels. Everything’s crisp and clear. (It makes pictures on Facebook look terrible though.)

When I got this thing, I wasn’t impressed with the pre-installed memory of 8 GB. I also wasn’t impressed with the cost that Apple wants to charge for memory either. It is incredibly horrible. If this thing didn’t have user-serviceable memory, I wouldn’t have bothered. Seriously. I got an extra 32 GB for about A$400 and eventually, I’ll get another 32 GB. Right now I am standing on 40 GB.

I would have preferred the i7 version, but I don’t think the difference between the i5 and i7 will affect me that much. It hasn’t really been a problem at all, not that I’ve noticed anyway. The graphics card was the highest I could get with this model of iMac. The storage is at 2 TB. The OS is installed on flash storage so it’s speedy. The rest of the junk is on the hard drive part of the Fusion Drive.

So far it’s been a solid machine. It’s totally restored my confidence in Macs. It’s also made me happy that I no longer have to subject myself to the mysteries of the Windows operating system (unless I want to).

Oh, and I totally hate the Apple Magic Mouse 2. But you can read about that here. If you’re too lazy to click the link, basically it is the most uncomfortable mouse ever and the “scroll wheel” on it is so incredibly sensitive. Also, the charging port for it is ON THE BOTTOM. Do yourself a favour if you get one… get a better mouse that feels better in your hand… and one that works a lot better too!

Oh, and the Microsoft Surface?

Thinking about getting their Surface Pro? It’s really good. That’s what I usually suggest for people who are okay with Windows or they’re used to Windows. If you’re thinking of getting a new “laptop”, they’ve been pretty solid. I forgot to mention that I got one of these too, but it was the RT version. I liked it. The rest of the world didn’t. I’ve also suggested this so many times to people (who bought one and they’ve been happy), Microsoft should pay me!

My Age is Showing

One of the reasons I have been able to post so much lately is because I am taking some time off right now. I am also pretty bored, so a lot of thoughts enter into my head. If everything I thought about came out as a post, I think I would drive you good people crazy and I try not to do that.

Once these candles are ablaze, this is going to be one waxy-ass cake!

It’s no secret, my birthday is coming up and like every year, I think about how old I am getting and how next year will be my 20 year anniversary of graduating high school. I think about how much has changed since then and how different my life has turned out. In so many ways, I still feel like that 17- or 18-year-old who just left high school. I still want to go places and do things. I’m not young anymore though, so it’s a lot harder.

But again, something always comes back to haunt me and that’s about my future. Where am I going to end up? One of the hardest things about living away from the country you were born and raised in is the fact that though you don’t always speak highly of it, you still want to go back sometimes. That is where my family is, after all. I don’t know if I will ever live in my hometown again, but I am pretty sure I want to try to give New York another go. I do miss New York. I think that it will be much less likely to chew me up and spit me out. (Not that it happened in the first place. I loved living there. It was hard, but it was exciting and fun.)

Every so often, I think about this. It doesn’t mean that I am going to pack my bags and leave tomorrow but I think at some point I will. I’ll get there and then realise how much I miss Australia, and come back here. Then I’ll go to the USA. It’s just so hard because I honestly love Australia so much. I am pretty happy here but I also wished that I had my family a little closer. That’s what bothers me the most and as I get older, I am wanting to spend more time with them, but right now, I can’t. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I just don’t know when any of this is going to happen yet. It’s also a little bit harder when I have a partner who may or may not want to stay in the USA just in case. I haven’t really discussed it much. Where we are is closer to his family in India, and really closer to his family living in Australia (who live in the same suburb as we do, and who he visits often). I know what it feels like missing my nephews growing up and because my sister won’t be having anymore (that I know of), I won’t have that opportunity anymore.

It’s just something to think about. I want to make us both happy but we have a lot of planning to do and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of compromising to do which might actually veer towards some uncomfortable consequences. I don’t know that though. We will see though.

Is this a normal part of ageing, by the way? My sister told me the other day that this is the age where she really started thinking about things and how she’s probably more than halfway to her death. Yeah, we’re a morbid family.

I Miss American Breakfast Places

I miss the all-day breakfast places in the USA. As far as I know, Australia doesn’t have them. Yes, Macca’s does all-day breakfast but it’s not the same (plus, 90% of the time, fast food breakfasts make me very ill and that’s probably a very good thing).

These are some of the places I’d go to when I lived in or visited Texas. If you’re Australian and you’re looking for a place to go, go to these places once at least. Either you’ll be in love or totally disgusted.

Denny’s

One of my favourite places to go is called Denny’s. Not only did they have really good, greasy American breakfasts, but they had fried cheese sticks and lots of other fried stuff I love. The other thing is that the one that I went to was between my house and work. It was also open 24 hours a day, so when I’d leave work at 2 am sometimes, I’d go. If I wanted scrambled eggs and cheese then, I could get that. If I wanted a burger, I could get that too.

My Memories of Denny’s

My best friend and I would go together a lot and there was a waitress who was like the best waitress when she started but as time passed, she got worse and worse. We still joke about that sometimes. (I miss the both of those women!)

It was actually a place where a few of us would meet up and I have to admit that I really miss that at my old age. It makes me a little sad thinking about it, but I guess life does go on. Right?

IHOP

I think everybody knows about IHOP but I hardly ever went there. The gays would usually go after clubbing and stuff though. I got invited to go a few times. I do remember that they had really good pancakes. Unfortunately, I can’t remember anything I had there besides pancakes. (Give me some slack, it’s been more than 7 years since I’ve been!!)

My Memories of IHOP

I went out on a date with a guy there. This guy was notoriously well-known for singing show tunes every chance he got. He was a sweet guy, cute too. Still cute, but I don’t talk to him much anymore.

My best friend and I went here a couple of times and we’d order unlimited pancakes. She had a peculiar habit of eating her pancakes inside out. Good idea, but I’m still amused that she did that.

Waffle House

I saved the best for last. My feelings about Waffle House are split down the middle. In my hometown, it was a place where people could smoke inside of it. It was a one room place, so going in was quite stinky. I’d go in there for waffles. They aren’t like the waffles you can get here though. Most of the time, here in Australia, you get waffles loaded down with fruit, ice cream, and syrup. They’re really good. The waffles in Waffle House are well, just waffles. Optionally, you can load it down with butter and syrup. Still, really good. Very sweet, and very tasty.

My Memories of Waffle House

Seeing that this was a place you could smoke in, and a lot of my friends smoked, it was a place we’d go to a lot. I’d go in for unlimited cups of coffee and hash browns with cheese. I’d end up spending later in the bathroom from coffee overload. I liked their coffee though. It helped me get over the stench of cigarette smoke.

One night (on a trip to the USA) it snowed and my friend and I went. I saw a few high school friends for the first time in forever. I got home, played in the snow (I made an army of snowmen on my dad’s truck), waited for my parents to wake up (they’d wake up really early) and my dad and I played in the snow before he left. Little things like that make me miss my dad a lot.

While I was visiting and before I moved, my dad would wake up early and bring me here to have breakfast. He was always like “Order anything you want.” I wasn’t a big breakfast eater (and I’m still not). He’d chat with the people there because he was a regular. He went there every morning before work so he knew everybody. It was a little embarrassing because I don’t like to be considered as a “regular” somewhere. Especially when the food isn’t that great for you. Something he’d do is bring a little container of sugar-free syrup (which gave him really bad gas) and a LOT of butter. I never got that.

I kinda ran away from home once. I just didn’t go home after school so I could meet up with someone I had a little crush on. We went here and from there I called my parents to tell them that I wasn’t dead. I just think they weren’t happy that I was out socialising.