Thursday, August 31, 2006


Because our house hasn’t sold, and because we have had a couple would-be buyers walk away because of “pet smells” (aka pet urine smell), we are spending a couple grand having the carpets replaced today. It’s painful spending money to upgrade a place I don’t even live in anymore. Hopefully, this will do the trick and the house will sell.

My mood seems a little fragile today. Maybe I’m just feeling fragile. Last night, with a full load of alprazolam on board (that would be 2mg of extended release and 1.5mg of regular), I was very worried about what my mood today was going to be like. I don’t think that I've ever had that kind of concern before. Once I take the alprazolam (usually about 6:30 in the evening), I generally don’t worry about anything at all. And I usually don’t find reason to dread the next day’s mood. I usually don't see bad moods coming at all. So, maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy that my mood when I got up this morning was a little down. But I recovered nicely by staying busy and out of the house all morning and working from a list of “things to do” all afternoon. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, waiting for the bottom to drop out. Maybe its just fear of depression in general. Whatever it is, the last 15 hours have been odd.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Better again

After my post earlier this week describing how my Saturday went, things have gotten better and been pretty stable. I think I alarmed some people with my last post, and I apologize for not following it up with an “I’m better” post sooner. I forget, sometimes, that I’m not just writing for me.

As quickly as Saturday’s bad mood came, it left. I wouldn’t say that I’ve been exuberant since Saturday, but certainly better than I was. Melissa and I had an interesting bit of conversation Monday. She is always the optimist. She is very good about lifting me up when things are bad and redirecting my focus onto the positives in my life. We were talking about Saturday and how my mood had plummeted from Friday and how quickly my fear about my illness worsening rises when things get a little bad. I made the comment “I don’t think I have another major fight with depression left in me.” What was interesting was her response, which didn’t occur to me until later. She said “I know you don’t.” In the past, that response would have been something like “Yes you do” or “We’ll get through it.” Maybe the stress of our present lives was just demanding too much of her for her to contest my statement. Maybe she sees that I don’t have another fight in me. She and I have talked, recently, about how it would make her very sad and it would be very hard for her if I wasn’t around anymore (aka if I suicided), but I think she has become comfortable with the notion that if that happens, there was nothing more that she could have done for me. I absolutely agree with her. I could never have asked for a more supportive and caring partner through all we've been through. I have no plans for ending my life. I have no intention of taking that step. But I guess her response, acknowledging that my capability to survive another serious depression is limited, is on some level comforting. It lets me know that, if the day ever comes when I just can’t take any more, Melissa knows better than to blame herself for anything, and she knows that she can be confident that she did absolutely everything that could have been done to help me.

Over the last few days, in looking back on all of the stressors in my recent life and the things that still cause stress today, I continue to realize how much I (my family and I) have been through recently. I know that those difficult things continue to cause stress and that they will for some time to come. I think the trend in my bad moods, the worsening of each dip in my mood over time, can be explained by the stress sustained. I think, as that stress fades into the past, the trend will turn around. I realized today that there is only one major, financial, stress in my life at present: I have a house to sell. That stressor is spawning several other financial concerns, but they all come back to “the house.” All of the other things that I would point to as negatives relate to life change. I know those things will improve with time and patience, as will “the house” stress. I know, in the state of mind that I am in today, that given time, things will improve. Its those periods when my mood drops and my perspective on everything shifts that I worry about.

Until next time…my mood is better and things are running smoothly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The rise and fall of the tides

About the time I finished my last post, I realized that I have been being, potentially, dishonest with myself, my family and everyone else, too. I have refused to realize and denied the presence of a slow trend in my mood. I simply cannot stand the idea that I might be getting depressed again with a depression that isn’t superficial and short-lived and circumstantial. I can’t live with the idea that my real illness, the real mood swings and depressions, might be returning. Acknowledging that fact scares the shit out of me, and required me to put a burden on Melissa and my family that I just can’t do.

As I said in my last post, my mood is fairly stable. That’s the short, incomplete story. My mood is stable as long as I ignore several things in my life, isolate myself from Mic to a large degree, and stay very busy. Absent those practices, my mood fluctuates more.

I’ve noticed a more and more predominant depression creeping in each time my mood dips. The depression is like a tide coming and going. There are high tides and low. During high tide, depression is more evident and I have to work hard to get through the day and ride it out. That looks, to people around, me like a grumpy, bad mood. Until the last couple of days, I have allowed myself to write those high tides off to too much work, or too muych time with Mic, or the downswing to a more manic period, or to the overall stress level produced by the move. The truth, however, is that, looked at carefully, I’m not so sure my mood IS stable. And the depression is getting worse with each swing. Its like every high tide reaches a little farther up the beach than the previous. Each depression grows in intensity just a little. At first they were just bad moods. Then they became really bad moods during which I could fight off the thoughts of hopelessness and suicide if I tried really hard. I’m to a point, now, that these depressions are effecting my life, and they show through my attempts to hide them. When I’m in one of these depressions, I’m certain that its not situational, and that I’m getting sick again. When the depression lifts (usually not more than a day or two), I can more easily believe that the mood was “move” related. Its just so hard to tell.

Today, Saturday, I’m pretty down and I’m writing this post in that context. In the last few weeks, two people connected, distantly, to my life have committed suicide. One was the girlfriend of a co-worker, the other a pharmacist that worked with my mother-in-law. If honest with myself, I don’t look at those events in the same horror and tragedy as everyone else seems to. Somewhere, not quite on the surface yet but closer than it has been, is an envy or a realization of the peace that such an act might bring. I find my thoughts, with each period of depression, going more and more to suicide. Mostly to HOW I would do it, which is usually an early stage. When I get to thoughts of the ramifications for those I leave behind and rationalizing the act as “best for everyone around me”, that’s when I am dangerous to myself.

The times between depressions are good. Some days are a little on the manic side, and there have been those days since the end of ECT. The depression days were completely gone for a while. And they stayed gone through a long and very stressful period leading up to and through the physical move to Arkansas. I am coming to realize just how scared I am of depression’s return. I’m scared to death. I can’t DO another round of ECT. The first round did too much damage for the sake of lifting the depression for that to be an option. IF my mood is on a down trend that continues, I don’t know what I CAN do to combat my illness other than continue to avoid focusing on the negatives in my life, stay away from Mic to the extent possible, and stay busy. And I fear that those things will only forestall the inevitable return of the Beast. The fear of depression returning is that, now, I’ve tried everything to make it go away and stay away. I’ve used the weapons of mass destruction. If the enemy is still alive in me, I don’t HAVE any more weapons for battling it. I can run, and I can hide, but I fear that those are temporary remedies. I also fear letting Melissa know what’s going on. I’ve asked too much of her already, and she is carrying too much load for me to add another round of my illness to it. Between work, and Mic, and Maggie’s tough time settling into a new school, and missing her friends in Denver, and dealing with the idea that she has to be the bread-winner, Melissa is already carrying too much. I can’t, I won’t, add another round of my illness for her to deal with. And, from my own perspective, I can’t do another big battle with depression either. I just don’t think I have another big fight in me.

For now, I’ll keep remembering that I have just gone through, hell, am still going through, an interstate move, one of the hardest emotional things a person can face. I’ll keep remembering that much of my mood swings and depression is likely to be associated with the move and the many changes it has brought, and the incredible stress related to those changes. I’ll keep trying to focus on all of the positive things in my life and being thankful for those things. But, for the first time since early 2006, I’m scared. Scared that all of the anti-ECT people are right, that ECT, if it works, is temporary and its effects fade with time. Right now, I am living day to day watching for signs of the return of the Beast. If nothing more, I have bought myself a happy, albeit chaotic, 8 months with my family that I would have not had absent ECT. Somehow, knowing that death is always an option is a relief, and makes thoughts of suicide less pressing when things are at thier worst. I keep coming back to (1) that everyone is subject to downward mood swings, and (2) that I have just gone through one of the most emotionally difficult things a person can go through. I just need to give it time, and hang on to where I am.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Making Lemonade

My mood has been fairly stable lately. The less I think about our house in Denver not being sold and the less time I spend with Mic, the better my mental health is. I feel bad, guilty, admitting that time with my son is a negative in the mood category when time with my daughter is a positive, but it’s a truth. My frustration tolerance, overall, isn’t quite what I would want it to be, but it may never be. Work is going well (it gets a bit boring at times, but then its not a very tough job either.) I’m not making much, and its not glamorous, but its more than I was doing a month ago, and I’m handling “work” better now than I have in 5 or 6 years.

Friday night, the family had planned to go out for dinner, and afterwards, mom and Maggie were going to get Maggie some new clothes. It seems that tomboy Maggie and her “boyish” clothes weren’t fitting in quite so well at the new school. Maggie is feeling like an outsider already, being the new kid, and the clothes were just exacerbating the problem. Maggie wanted to go a little more “girlie” (but NOT frilly). I told her that she didn’t need to change a thing to fit in, just to be the same old Maggie and friends would come with time, but I’m just the dad…what do I know? Clothes shopping with Maggie is like fishing in the bathtub…not much chance of catching anything. Especially if I’m holding the pole.

Given the plans and Mic’s mental status this week, it was foreseeable that Mic would have a say in what the family plans actually turned into. About 30 minutes before we were to leave, Mic had a total screaming, cursing, hitting himself in the face, hitting walls, crying, throwing things melt-down. Its been a daily event this week, and the episodes are getting more outrageous and violent with time. I really worry that he’s going to hurt himself soon, or worse, hurt Melissa, or worse yet, hurt Maggie. He’s taken a swing at her once and threatened to hurt her or kill her more than once. I think my concern, even some fear for myself and my family, is warranted. Maggie has voiced that she is afraid of him. I can’t even remember what last night’s ordeal was over (aka where it began. After the origin, the continuation of the fit is always just irrational psychotic chaos.) I think school in the current setting is just WAY too much for him. Melissa and I differ on this point, but I think Mic and all of us would be better off with Mic in a higher level of care (probably residential.) Anyway, I decided, after about 30 minutes of the fit, that I wasn’t going anywhere with him for dinner or anything else. I was prepared to stay home with him while the girls went shopping and to eat, but the stress of being in public with him was just too much for me. The stress of staying at home with him was easier to deal with. The girls could just bring me something and I would fix something for Mic and get him to bed.

I’m just the dad…what do I know? Melissa and I haggled for about 45 minutes about who was staying home and who was taking Maggie, each wanting the other to go. Melissa: “No, you and Maggie go. I’m prepared today to deal with Mic and I don’t want your weekend mood set by this episode. Go and have a nice dinner and get Maggie some clothes.” Me: “YOU go. You deal with him most of the time, I’m not really hungry or in the mood to go have a good time after all of this crap, and what do I know about shopping for Maggie’s clothes? We will wind up with no new clothes if I go. You two go, have a nice meal, GET some clothes, and bring me something to eat. I’m ok to deal with Mic this evening (and I was.)” Back and forth we went, interspersed with random flare-ups from Mic. I lost. Maggie and I set out and I had little optimism that I would be able to help her find anything suitable to wear (between what she WOULD wear and what was girlie enough to fit in.) But I was ready for the challenge, and I love spending time with Maggie.

We shopped for a couple of hours. Old Navy, Target, other places…and actually found some shirts! At Target, I FOUND three shirts for her that she agreed to! Me…dad…found the shirts for Maggie. Who would have believed it? Then, she and I shared a great meal at O’Charley’s (sort of a limited menu Chili’s…not sure if there are other locations or not.) By the time we got home (two and half hours after we left), Mic was asleep, mom was settled and comfortable, and all was quiet on the home front.

So, from a horrible start (another horrible afternoon) (aka lemons), came this wonderful several hour period with just Maggie and I doing something we never do together (shop) and having dinner alone (aka lemonade.) It was a great evening, and something we need to do more of. It was the first meal with kid or kids in longer than I can remember (remember that “as long as I can remember” isn’t very long) during which the meal wasn’t subject to the constant threat of a Mic explosion or Melissa and Mic going over and over Mic’s horrible table manners (I keep expecting his eating behavior to improve…and I should realize that its not going to. Another topic in and of itself, but he crams food in as fast as he can, like someone’s going to take it if he doesn’t hurry, and chews with his mouth open with food all over his face. It drives Melissa NUTS.) It was a nice, enjoyable, normal dinner and evening out, only over-shadowed by my guilty feelings because Melissa was missing out on it by staying home with Mic. A good example of enjoying the moment, and ignoring all the things that are wrong with my life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The System

Today is better than at last posting. Actually, yesterday was better too. I really think working two midnight shifts back-to-back was problematic for me. Anyway, the kids began school. A very tense day for everyone. Maggie is beginning to meld, and Mic, well, I don’t know what to think about Mic’s transition. Its almost like it didn’t happened. Like there was no change at all. But at the same time, his mood and behavior over the last week or so have been characteristic of lots of stress in his young head. As usual…very strange.

We found out Monday that Social Security Insurance was terminating Mic’s benefits. It seems that, because we let SSI know that we had moved, now they view the house that we have for sale as an asset which is too big for Mic to still qualify for SSI. Never mind the fact that we are paying a mortgage AND rent now. Because we no longer live in the house, it is now an “asset” instead of a “residence.” So, today, I got to go to the Social Security Office, take a number and have some alone timsamplingsampoling of the mass populi and a good book. If we had just not let them know about the move and let the US Post Office taken care of getting the monthly check forwarded to us, all would have been cool.

The motivation from the system SHOULD BE to do the right thing and notify SSI of the move. But like so many features of our governmental systems, SSI motivates one to keep his/her mouth shut and keep them in the dark about the move so as not to interrupt services. I think the US government as a whole needs to just scrap the entire set-up and start over. Our government and all of its entities are bonkers and well past the point of being correctable. But yet we see fit to force democracy on others. Sorry, end of rant.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Analyzing a bad day

Today began badly. My mood when I woke up seemed ok. I got up and showered but, by the time I started my day, my mood was very flat. It got worse quickly. We went to eat lunch with my mother-in-law. Something I should have enjoyed. But it was miserable (the food was good.) I drove the whole way to the restaurant trying to fight back tears. I won the fight, but only because I couldn’t imagine trying to explain to my mother-in-law what was wrong with me. Maybe the late night shifts at work are getting to me. Two back-to-back might have done it. Yesterday wasn’t a good day, after the first of two night shifts. But today got a little scary bad. Thoughts of hurting myself, thoughts about how I was sick and tired of fighting this fight every day and “pretending” to be happy. Very bad, negative and withdrawn. As much as I hate to admit it, very depressive. I feel like admitting that I was depressed is the same as conceding that I’m sick again and that the ECT treatment benefits are gone. I KNOW I’m going to have good days and bad. I know I’m susceptible to short periods of depression. But that’s a fact easily forgotten when things go south.

Actually, I think things might have begun last night . I found myself, at work, feeling really down on myself. All of these middle-aged guys come into the store dressed nicely and enjoying the weekend break from their “real” jobs. Its easy to see myself as inferior because I work at a liquor store for $8.00/hour instead of working a six figure salary job. Someone asked me, last night, if I owned the store. I took that as a “you must be the owner because why else would you, a middle-aged guy of seemingly reasonable intelligence, be working here?” Perspective. I’m having trouble keeping things in perspective.

So, now that things are feeling a bit better, I’ve come up with a short list of what might be driving this mood dip: (1) the “start/stop” schedule I now have, unlike the furious fast paced life I led while getting the house ready to sell and preparing to move (periods of “nothing to do, instead of being restful and tranquil, give my mood a chance to slip); (2) intermittent trouble remembering that I’m living a “new life”, and to let the old one go; (3) WAY too much time with Mic…stressful, which is just a lubricant for a bad mood (my mood battle is hard enough without the added constant stress of waiting for his next explosion); and (4) the stress from our unsold house as a backdrop to everything else. The first two items I can do something about, and I have to keep working on them. The second two I have little control over. The house will sell when it sells. Mic is who he is, and he’s part of my life, like it or not. But Mic is certainly one of the things that my mind dwells on when I'm not well (how much easier life and my fight against depression would be without that added daily challenge.)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Live the moment, damnit!

Today seems to be a little rough around the edges. I worked at the liquor store 8:00 to midnight yesterday. Midnight is WAY past my bedtime. It was close to 1:00 before I got to bed, and I was EXHAUSTED. Its tough being on your feet for 8 hours when you aren’t used to it . I’m sure it will get easier. I slept until 10:30 this morning, and I feel pretty tired today. I work the same shift again tonight (next week I go to days, as the kids will be in school.) I have a little bit of the “What have I done to my life?” feeling today. It has come and gone a few times since we’ve been here. Its still easy to look at life from the perspective of “what I have lost” instead of “where am I going?” I have to keep reminding myself that what has been lost is in the past, and out of my control. What is in the future is, to some degree, subject to my direction (with the understanding that life goes where it pleases.)

I always feel like I’m looking forward to today being over and to getting to the next “stage” of life. For example, all week I was looking forward to next week when school begins. Before that, I was looking forward to starting work at the liquor store. Before that it was getting out truckload of things to Arkansas. Before that it was the movers getting to out house to load out things, Before that, it was Melissa getting back to Colorado from her 2 weeks in Arkansas without us (aka my two weeks alone with the kids in Colorado.) Instead of living the moment and enjoying where I am and what I’m doing, enjoying time with my family, I’m looking down the road and longing for that time to arrive. I can’t seem to be happy in the moment much of the time, unless I’m busy and just not allowing my mind enough time to think about “life.”

Time with Mic seems to be getting harder for me. Maybe its just that I’ve had so much time with him lately, and that his behavior and illness are getting worse as the stress of starting a new school and all of the new things he has coming up increase. But time with him, right now, is simply a bad mood waiting to happen. I have to find a way to accept him for who he is, and finding that acceptance has always been, and continues to be, my biggest challenge. I know that my life and my mental health would be much better without dealing with the constant dread of his next outburst. And I know that that life, without Mic’s challenges, isn’t a real option. But somehow Mic still has a huge impact on my mood and on the battle I have to face every day to keep my mood at a reasonable place.

Life goes on. The more I figure out, the more I realize there is to figure out. I keep telling myself to live the moment, and I have to find a way to get better at that very skill.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

One order of Normalcy, Coming right up!

OK, so, in the new house (notice I didn’t say “home”) with our stuff now or 10 days. Its coming together and it looks like a home now. Not crazy about the house, but it’ll work for now. Our house in Denver is still not sold. I keep thinking that, if we could just get that sold, then my mind would be at ease and my stress level would be diminished. I know, however, that once that stressor is gone, I’ll just find another to replace it.

My mood has been pretty stable. A little up some days, a little down others. No big swings. I’ve bordered on some mania or some manic-like things. I got really into online poker before we actually moved. Not playing for real money, but playing. I got and have read a book on strategy. I mostly just got VERY into the game itself and the nuances. Wines are the new thing. Nothin over-the-top. Not spending any ridiculous amounts of money on manic runs (not my usual, but it could happen.) All seems good. I’m a little bored during the day, but I start working days next week.

We had to find a new home for beau, one of our dogs. Beau is a Lab/Catahoula mix (a Lab what???) it’s a Louisiana hunting dog, very high strung and full of energy. He’s the dog I ran with in Denver. Great dog on a spiritual basis, but very destructive. Having no fence at this house, having a law against chaining your dog up in the yard, and a leash law left us no choice. I DID find Beau a new home (not an animal shelter. A couple my mother-in-law knows from work has three dogs and 13 acres in the country. Beau went to “the farm.” They let the dogs roam the land. PERFECT. He left Friday in a very emotional send-off.

The kids start school Monday. THANK THE GODS! Maggie is doing fine, but she's not out socializing any. The pool in the neighborhood (her one haven and social outlet that MIGHT have worked until school starts) is broken and the water is a nice deep shade of green. Its too hot to do anything else outside. She’s spending lots of time with my in-laws. Mic had a TOTAL F****NG MELTDOWN Monday night. He physically came after both Melissa and I. Tried to run over me in an effort to get to the door (or something), and then ran at me to try to knock me down. He would up on the short end of that endeavor. Banged his head against the wall and the floor, yelled and screamed about hating himself and that we hate him and that he hates us, took a swing at Melissa and pushed her a couple of times. When he ran into me, I flattened him (or he flattened himself.) Then he started yelling about child abuse. I went and got him the phone and told him to call and report me. This went on for about an hour. He was supposed to go to Vista Health for an assessment Monday night, which we had to reschedule. The assessment is where the health services provider evaluates the patient and tells you what they might be able and willing to offer. He went last night. After seeing his history and meeting him, they offered whatever we need, day treatment, residential, pdocs, therapists, etc. He's getting too physically big to act like a six year old in a tantrum.

Work at the liquor store is interesting. You should SEE some of the dregs that come in! The real gems, however, come to the drive through b/c they are too drunk or fat and lazy to get out and come inside. Its the princesses that are too busy on their cell phones to roll down the window and tell me what they want, and the ones that want me to go see what margarita mixes we have and let them choose that crack me up. If you know what you want, the drive through is great. If you need to shop, get in the store and shop. And if you need to hand me an empty fifth of vodka to make room in the car for another bottle, please be off the road by the time I drive home!

Some people come by so often and get the same thing that the young guys who have been there a while know what they want before they get to the drive-up window. The other day, this cute lady pulled up in her SUV. I was working the register in the drive-up window. She pulled up and her order was sitting on the counter waiting for her. I told her her total and she said "For what? What am I getting?" Very strange look on her face. No one had actually taken her order, they just went and got it. "A 1.5 liter Yellow Tail Merlot." She gave me this look and smiled and said "How did you know that?" “I’m psychic like that.” And I left it at that. I was thinking "Why don’t you just buy a case, make the trips to the store and get a discount??"

There was this cute young lady in the drive-up Saturday night. I carded her (I card everyone unless you look older than me.) She said "Thanks, make me feel even younger than I am!" I told her that when she got be my age, she'd appreciate people thinking she was younger. She said "You can't a day over 30." I told her I'd be 40 in October. She said "Well, you look great for 30, much less 39, and besides, I think bald guys are HOT anyway."

Another lady cam up going on and on about her husmand putting pictures on the internet of him and his 20 year old girlfriend. She bought a fifth of vodka, a liter of tonic and got some cups and ice. Her comment: "F**k him, I'm going to have a little photo session of my own.

Its a fun job. People are fun to observe. And its a great workout, mentally and physically. Remembering what a car in the drive-up wants long enough to run back to the cooler and get it is good for my brain and my body. I actually got 2 CARS at the same time Tuesday night!! They were easy ones (“a case of Busch” and “a case of Bud Light Bottles”), though. Damn, we sell a LOT of booze out of that place.

Live it like you mean it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Moved in, Moving on

Monday, the moving truck arrived. The chaos of the day was very trying. By Tuesday night, we had most boxes unpacked that needed to be unpacked, TVs hooked up, bedrooms set up, etc. By Wednesday, I had the garage boxes and other stuff separated into holiday decoration boxes on one wall, boxes that I needed to keep in the garage (but not necessarily unpack) on another wall, and bikes out of the way. Enough so that we can get one car and a motorcycle in the garage. Everything has been taken to the storage building we rented. Very hard work.

Monday, I got a job at a liquor store that a friend of the family owns. I've worked two shifts so far. Its a blast. I work with a bunch of kids half my age (some of them were talking about "when school starts" last night.) Its fast paced (a very busy place with a drive-through), and a lot of fun. Works for now! Kids start school a week from Monday. YEA!

We are having to find another home for Beau, our Lab/Catahoula mix. I'm sure I've mentioned him before. He is SUPER high energy, and very destructive when contained. We have no fence here, its illegal to chain a dog up, and Beau quickly figured out that he can chew through rope. Not to mention that he barks constantly while tied up. He either has to be in with us or in his crate when we are gone. He's pretty miserable. So, my mother-in-law knows someone with 2 dogs and a home on 13 acres of land. They just let the dogs roam, chase squirrels, and be dogs. Perfect for Beau. AND, we can visit him. He leaves today. I can envision us all standing in the drive way crying as he gets driven away. The right decisions are usually the hard ones.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We have arrived

The drive from Colorado to Arkansas was much better than I expected. I'll tell you, however, that driving cross country in a soft-top jeep at 75 miles/hour is a NOISY, ROUGH ride! The dogs (all three of them) did great (we drugged them with benedryl.) The kids did great too (and we didn't even have to drug 'em.)

Of course, our truckload of belongings isn't scheduled to arrive until the last day of the "spread" they gave us. They said, before moving day, delivery in the range of August 3 through August 7. Its going to be the 7th. So, 5 days in a house with three beds, a TV (which we borrowed) and 4 folding chairs. Its like camping with an air conditioner and no campfire. Then, the movers (Atlas) tried to pull a fast one on me (as a good friend has said of me "They haven't discovered that your an attorney, and a dick, yet, have they?") All moving interstate moving companies are subject to Federal tariffs and have to bill according to those tariffs. Everything is billed by weight. My Atlas representative came out, months ago, and estimated our weight to be 19,999 pounds which, as he told me then, was "way too high, but he wanted to be sure to give me a number they could guarantee." The coordinator guy told me yesterday that they "forgot" to get an empty weight for the trailer before they loaded our stuff, so they were "just going to charge me based on the estimated weight." "The hell you are!" We have gotten rid of three beds and a 700 pound weight set since the estimate. I told him very clearly that it wasn't my problem that they failed to get a weight pre-load, that my shipment was lighter than the estimate, and that I simply was NOT going to pay the estimate. They figured out that they had a "standard weight" for the trailer (duh!) and that they would bill me based on that weight and then weigh the real trailer once it was empty and adjust my bill based on the actual weight. Do some people really let them get away with that shit?

We never have intense thunderstorms in Denver. Never. We might have some rolling thunder in the distance and some sprinkles, but never anything more. As the movers were finishing up on Tuesday loading the truck (which took them from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm), we had this VIOLENT storm with pouring rain (things were washing down the gutter streams) and very proximate cloud-to-ground lightening. It was a brilliantly symbolic send-off for the Harrell's departure from Colorado.

We did 3 hours of the drive Tuesday night, slept in a smelly Super 8 Motel (so we could sneak the three dogs in) and finished up Wednesday. Now, if only we had some belongings to go with our new (temporary) home...

Take care.