Friday, April 15, 2016

Starting Over

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: risk, reward, reuse, claim, quit, quiet. They were submitted by:


I’ve been quiet lately. Seemingly.

My mind has been anything but, though. Outside I am a placid lake on a windless day, but once you peek beyond that surface illusion, you find a roiling storm of a sea amid a civil war of merpeople. Monsters from the deep joining forces with mermen and mermaids battling each other to rule my brain.


Burn out.




I’ve spent the last few months evaluating every goal I have ever had. It wasn’t an all of a sudden review, but I started noticing how much passion I lost for the career path I have been working towards for a decade now on and off, longer than that if we talk generalities. Anxiety about it began to stake its claim on the beaches of my mind and before I knew it full burnout set in. I have zero desire to learn anything knew, zero desire to do assignments and find myself figuring out just how many papers I can miss to still pass the class. That’s not me or, at least, that has never been me, and I began to see just how unhappy I was looking forward for the first time in years.

Being a not so small personality in a village, looking forward was everything. That I was working towards something better than small town goals made life worth living. It was a reason to keep going, to deal with the drudgery of daily life. Helping others, working miracles, saving lives…it’s all I ever wanted, and finally, maybe, it would alleviate some of the stress of living check to check.

For nearly a decade now, I have wanted to work as a counselor for inmates. I wanted to work with inmates who had life sentences, but I also wanted to work with offenders getting ready for release to give them some kind of chance, hopefully, at actually leading a legitimate life one day. A criminal record destroys that opportunity. Jobs are harder to get as well as loans, housing, credit cards… Everything a person needs to move forward in life crumbles to impossibility with a record.

I have also been writing people in prison offering what help I can for the last, oh, 9ish years. My goals and my writing have always sort of coincided. I wrote because of my goals and my goals evolved the more I wrote.

And then they evolved into a puddle of shit.

The more people I have written and helped and talked to about everything under the sun including the feasibility of my goals the more I have seen how idealistic it all was. I have had to do a risk and reward evaluation. The risks are high--burnout, being overworked and underpaid, little appreciation, budgets, red tape, managed care, stress, violence, real threat of injury or death. No matter how sincere I was with clients they would likely always see me as a part of the institution imprisoning them, as a cop as I have been told. But what of the rewards? Maybe potentially helping a handful of people over a long career in which I make little money and use most of what I do make paying off student loans while I continue to rack up debt from for-profit schools that have predatory lending practices.

That doesn’t leave me with many options hence all the anxiety and stress and a bit of burnout already, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to quit school. I can still work in the justice field if I want with the bachelor’s degree I already have. Maybe. I can still help people the same way I do now—quite honestly it is easier to help people through writing than it would ever be in an institutional setting. It’s not the end of my dream to help people but an overhaul of the way I plan on accomplishing that. Currently, for example, I am trying to get someone into a CDL school for when he gets out in a few months.

Either way, it has been a battle learning to let go which has taken quite a toll on me. Right now, I want to get a part time job in the next 6 months or so, keep on homeschooling the kiddo, and maybe write a little more than I have been in a few months. I came to the conclusion that I would rather work a job where my biggest stressor was an asshole customer that day who reports me to the manager for not letting her keep her coupons to reuse later (though I hope it doesn’t actually come to that) than counseling a convicted rapist who keeps assaulting fellow inmates. I mean, I can’t even do an assignment on handling a rape victim in crisis without getting triggered and having a near panic attack myself. How the ever loving fuck am I supposed to handle that in real life?

If Sharknado and 2012 were combined into one film, that chaos would still pale in comparison to my thoughts, every shark a pang of anxiety driving my pulse rate through the roof and keeping me from getting any sleep. Finally, though, the inside is starting to quiet down to match the outside. I don’t feel like I’m a quitting, like I’m giving up. A weight has lifted and a feel a little more free than before. Starting over at 34 has its benefits.


Here are the links to the other participants. Enjoy: Baking In A Tornado Southern Belle Charm Not That Sarah Michelle Spatulas on Parade The Angrivated Mom The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part time working mom Never Ever Give Up Hope My Brain on Kids The Bergham Chronicles

Friday, April 8, 2016


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My secret subject is: Tell us about these April showers. It was submitted by:

This really isn't my kind of prompt (no offense to anyone). I don't really give two fucks about Spring. Allergies, rain storms that keep me from being able to dry the clothes, and the fact that I kinda live like a vampire pretty much means Spring is not my season. My legs cause snow blindness if I am in direct sunlight. So, here's a story about a sex worker instead. Enjoy. 

April Showers. Hmmm. That’s a cheesy name for an escort, Morty had thought. He was sitting in a Vegas hotel room. It wasn’t a 5 star kind of place, but it wasn’t cheap either. The first time he had come to Sin City he had gotten himself one of the cheapest he could find. It was one of those hotels where most of the people were renting by the week for a place to live. He thought he could save more spending money for gambling, but it was the shittiest choice he made that trip. He could see the appeal of living in a hotel by the week if that’s all you could afford, but add Vegas in the mix and most of the folks there were gambling addicts with a side of at least alcoholism and a healthy dose of meth abuse. From the looks of ‘em anyway. That place made the hotel room in Fear and Loathing look like a pristine surgical suite. 

Anyway, this time he had saved up a bit more money and sprung for a better room which must have brought him luck because he had won pretty big playing Craps the first day there. He was up 30 planned on playing it safe. He had no intention of being one of those schmucks who won big, lost it all, and left in the hole.

Instead, he had wanted to treat himself to something he would never have done at home in his regular life as an IT guy for a car and home insurance company that pretty much screwed its clients as often and hard as they possibly could without lube or mercy. And for vacation he wanted to get screwed as often and hard as possible but certainly not by his insurance.

That’s what had lead him to scrolling through images of escorts online. Treat yo’self, he thought, and giggled a little. Always a Parks and Rec fan. It was April Showers that stopped him. She looked to be a bit petite, bleached blonde, smallish lips, smooth calves… She was pretty but not in a conventional sort of way. She wasn’t, by far, the prettiest one on the sites he perused, but she offered something different than most of the others. A girlfriend experience.

“Looking for something more than unrequited passion? Craving intimacy? Want to share more than an hour of naked sweating? Let’s have an adventure together you will never forget.”

In the fine print, the ad stated Ms. Showers would stay for a night for a couple grand or for a week for $10,000. He was only in town for 6 more days but a week with a good-looking woman that promised more than a quick shag. He hadn’t had a girlfriend since college and that had been a bit fleeting. She hadn’t been able to deal with his hours upon hours of World of Warcraft every weekend. Morty felt like he needed that sort of connection with someone for once before the loneliness drove him insane.

So, he had dialed the number on the ad with his hands shaking and a bit clammy and hoped for the best.


“uh…April Showers?”

“Yes, honey. Can I help you?”

“Fuck..I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. It’s just I’ve never done this before and I…well…I don’t know how this works.”

“Don’t worry about that. You just give me your address and how many days you’re looking for and I’ll be on my way. Someone will come with me, a bodyguard of sorts to vet ya, but then he’ll be gone lickety-split, and we can get on to having our adventure.”

“Alright, okay… I don’t know the address, but I’m in Room 313 at the Rio on Flamingo Rd.”

“See you soon, doll.”

And with that she had hung up the phone.

Something like 2 hours later, he finally heard a knock at the door. He had been nervous at first, but at this point, it had already been dragged out so damn long, he didn’t care anymore. Then he had opened the door and… what the fuck.

She was there, but it wasn’t exactly what he expected. He had known when he saw her that it was the same woman--petite, bleach blonde--but, she didn’t look ANYTHING like the photo. She had her hair pulled back in a messy bun, no makeup, sweats, socks with Crocs. Still pretty but not at all what he had expected. A guy that had to be like 6’7 and 400 lbs flanked her and blew past him into room. That guy didn’t make a sound, didn’t introduce himself, took a sweep of the room, dug around in Morty’s suitcase, and pushed his way back out just as abruptly as he arrived.

April waltzed her way into the room with a dance of her hips that hinted to the vixen that was pictured online. She stopped in front of him, close, and leaned in to give him a hug that was far too intimate for someone he just met.

“Hey, sweetie, how was your day?” she asked before parking herself on the tiny couch in the room and covered up with a throw she pulled from one of her bags. He had no idea who the fuck needed a throw in Vegas in the middle of summer whilst wearing sweats, but whatever.

“Uh… fine. Do you want me to pay you now or….?”

Her face changed then. That sweet smirk wiped right off and was replaced by something quite similar to a possessed witch high on meth with a side case of PMS. “Don’t fucking interrupt me when I’m in character. Sampson will be back to take your payment. I’m staying all week, and you’re going to love it.”

That innocent look was back before he could blink. What are these goddamn animals, he thought, and smiled at his own joke (well not techinically his joke since it was Hunter Thompson’s words but still…)

“Where’s the tv remote, babe?”

His brow furrowed at her question, and he had hoped that maybe she was putting on porn…

She had grabbed the remote as soon as he pointed to it on the end table and flipped it to Dancing With the Stars before patting the spot right beside her beckoning him to come sit down. He did as requested, but before his ass could even make an impression on the cushion, she was on her cell phone playing Candy Crush. That’s how it stayed the rest of that night, too—the two of them on the couch with her on her phone pretty much ignoring his existence unless she made a snide remark about something she saw on television. If he dared to fall asleep, she let him know in a hailstorm of swears that she wasn’t with him tonight to watch him sleep. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SPENDING TIME WITH HER, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

That’s how it had gone really for the next 6 days of that trip to Vegas, his last trip to Vegas. The guy who was supposed to come back and collect never showed. April only had sex with him maybe once the entire time, and it wasn’t…well, passionate. It felt like the two of them had slept together a thousand boring times. He bought her tampons, took her to dinner, watched her pop her zits… once she even came into the bathroom while he took a dump and acted like she had seen him on the toilet every day for the entirety of their lives, like it was no big deal. He hadn’t EVER dared even pee in front of a woman before much less dropped a deuce.

5 years ago that was. 5 years. And here she is, still in the bathroom with him popping her zits while he takes a shit. The girlfriend experience packed up and left to go home with him even when he insisted he couldn’t get her a flight out. They rented a car and drove instead with her freaking out about his driving and the two of them fighting the whole 18 hour drive home.

Married, they are. And now she calls herself May. May Flowers-Holstein.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there: Baking In A Tornado Southern Belle Charm Not That Sarah Michelle The Lieber Family Blog Spatulas on Parade The Angrivated Mom The Bergham Chronicles The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Someone Else’s Genius My Brain on Kids

http:// Confessions of a part time working mom Never Ever Give Up Hope