Well tried to get out of my head a bit today, and returned to the news and Olympics. Seems the latest out of Colorado is that the shooter was being treated by a psychiatrist. One who has been disciplined in the past, both for conduct and also indiscriminate prescribing of meds. Thought it was pretty damn hard for them to actually get disciplined, since it is normally their word against a psych patient’s. I’d hate to be her as these next few months unfold, and the courts get more documents. She may become a Public Enemy right next to the shooter. If she knew he was coming apart and did not report the threat. What an awful position to be in. It may well be the end of her career.
The Olympics are a bit weird this year, since they are not showing them live. Primetime coverage is all taped, and most of it (unless you never look at your computer or phone) is old news. It isn’t much fun watching when you know the outcome. I don’t remember much of Beijing, except that opening ceremony, but I don’t think we knew the results before we watched. Just odd, that’s all. I have been catching some of the daytime coverage, and that is actually live. The equestrian venues are amazing. I can’t help but think about our friend Courtney. 4 years ago she was competing at the Olympics. She was at the very top of her sport. Unfortunately her horse had a positive drug test. In the years that followed, she would lose that horse to colic and be in a freak accident. It left her in a coma, and with a TBI which she still struggles to recover from. She attempted to make the ParaOlympics this year, but did not have a suitable horse. She fought so hard to try to make it. This past week she underwent surgery to have a Baclofen pump inserted to help control spasms in her one side. She has come so far, but she cannot walk without a cane, and her speech is still difficult to understand. It is remarkable how far she has come. Most would have given up long ago. Not Court. She is stubborn as an ox. Always was. She is an inspiration to many, myself included. I can only hope she continues to recover and will someday make the Olympics again, even if it isn’t as an able bodied athlete.
I knew the minute I opened my eyes this morning, it was different. Very different. It was as if someone had wrapped everything in smothering dark wool. It was so utter and complete. Walking from my bed to the bathroom seemed difficult and slow. I know this place. It is an ugly place, a sad place. It isn’t foreign, nor scary anymore. It is just so fucking sad. Fighting was pointless. I made my way downstairs for a cup of coffee, but quickly retreated. It was emotionally painful even keeping my eyes open. I just gave in. Curled up under my comforter and closed my eyes. I know I am reacting emotionally to all of the events that have unfolded over the past few weeks, months and years. They are cumulative and bone crushing. There is the true settling of reality. Deep in the corners of my mind. Functioning doesn’t happen in moments like this. Brushing teeth feels like climbing Everest. Only sleep is an ally. I want no contact with anyone, or anything. Words are too difficult right now. Withdrawing is the only option that feels doable. I need this time to regroup and to get myself back together. It may take not functioning for a bit to do that.
It is a sobering moment when reality suddenly becomes clear. There is no need to keep swimming against the current. It is pointless. It is a sad place to be. Years of our lives have gone into making this place ours. But it was just a myth, it was never really ours. Just an illusion. Far great a property, well beyond our means. Beyond our ability to manage. Initially as a business, but also as our home. I wish now, more than ever, that we had seen this reality. God we were idiots. True idiots to imagine we could ever be good enough for all this. Good enough to make it work. We are buried now. In debt, and in horses. We cannot solve this, not this time. Somehow, each and every time we get to this spot, something comes along and we scrape by. Not this time. I don’t want it. I don’t want a last second bail out, to just keep us guessing until the next time. Stressing until the next crunch. I’m worn thin, from the past couple years. There is a stillness in me now. As reality really settles in. It is okay. If I think about everything we are losing, I cannot cope, so I need to just keep telling myself it is okay. I never was cut out for this life. Never able to deal with this stress. The past ten years have proven that. Not sure what I am cut out for, maybe nothing. I know how to take care of these creatures, large and small. But somehow seem unable to take care of myself at the same time. I get lost in it and can’t cope. This thing gets so big and so stressful, I just can’t see outside of it. Tonight I saw my breaking point, that moment when the panic becomes totally encompassing. It is like feeling waves crash over you, you lose sight of the sky and the beach. It all gets jumbled in the crashing white water. There is a sickening feeling of vertigo. Which way is up? What is safe? I have been in this place so many times. Many with terrible results. I think in this moment tonight I realize I have no control of what happens here. But I do control me. I will not let this destroy me. I can’t. I can’t give up. I can only try to center myself and observe as everything goes to shit. This place, the bills, the fleas, the horses…all of it. I am watching the ship sink. I’m not the ship. I’m not sinking with it. I have not fought all these years to stay alive, to lose it now. It would be so easy to fold, and give up. It would be so simple, just let go. In the panic tonight I ran out of this house. Unable to even see straight. It was a quiet evening. The storms moving over had passed and a thick moist air was blanketing the farm. I just started walking (limping), not sure where I was headed, or what I was doing. I needed to move, to stop thinking. I wandered down the driveway and came face to face with the great heron. Tonight he was settled on the fence gazing over the wetlands. The frogs sang in the background. It was still, and peaceful. I stood looking at him, and he looking back. I didn’t move for many moments. Eventually he rose off the fence and flew into the pond. I remained there, unable to move. Surrounded by the majesty of this place. Home. A place we may well lose. It was indeed sobering. I know that heron was there for a reason. It was a way to get grounded and out of my head. Thanks heron.
Well it is another Olympics. I happen to love sports, so it is great to watch. Today has been vacuuming and sports. At least part of the day is okay. They showed the dressage portion of eventing this afternoon. Amazingly we still have power after another round of thunderstorms. This weather has been crazy. Tons of water, lots of flooding due to the heavy frequent down pours. I’m still treading water emotionally. The weather seems to be mirroring my mood well.
well we have commenced the vacuum everyday routine to try and rid our house of the fucking fleas. I have to note, I hate domestic chores of any sort. Cleaning the barn, no problem. House work….not so much. I think it is a reaction to living all those years in my mother’s home. She keeps a house so orderly, I often asked if Home and Garden were coming for a photo shoot- I shit you not! She will vacuum herself out of a room, so not to leave footprints. And to vacuum in such a manner that there are few is any lines left in the carpet. Why??? Why would anyone need to behave like this? So needless to say, I am not an orderly person. Sad really. I’d like to be anal and keep a pristine home, but who has time?? If I were to start cleaning each day when I walked in the door from the barn, I’d be cleaning overnight. For years I have said I need four in help- yes, 4. One would not do. Most people think I am saying “foreign help”, nope, I need a couple. Maybe one day it will happen…
So needless to say, I am so frustrated. I’m hobbling around vacuuming this big old farmhouse. It is a rambling old house, with lots of wood floors. Plenty of gaps for the little fuckers to hide out and reproduce. So each day we need to vacuum it from top to bottom. That takes a good couple hours. Time I don’t have. What a mess. This is the only was to get rid of them completely.
I think I need to find some new coping skills. Are there any dealing with fleas coping skills? I just need a break, even a brief one. I’m exhausted physically and mentally right now.
What a long day. Started with a violent thunderstorm barreling thru at a bit before 7AM and it ended with a very wild storm. We were lucky, and only got a ton of lightning and wind. It is amazing watching mother nature unleash her power. So I had some bad luck at the gym and will be laid up for a bit. It is frustrating as hell. I don’t have time to be hobbling around. The whole “put up your foot and stay off it for a couple days” doesn’t much work here. Glad it isn’t broken, so I can go ahead and limp around. It’ll heal eventually. On the flea front, the little fuckers are still here, though few in number. So, we need another round of chemicals. I’m going to rip my hair out. yeah, I’ll be the bald limping chick. I can’t even write tonight I’m so frustrated. Maybe tomorrow will be better….
Yesterday that weird panic feeling changed into a complete and utter exhaustion. Not really a true physical exhaustion, though that was part of it. It was a deep emotional exhaustion. A sense of being just fried. I hate reaching that point. If the world were ideal, I’d be able to go sit on a beach somewhere. I don’t even like beaches, but anywhere but here would be fine. It was not swimming against the current, it was sinking.
In the past two weeks we have treated this house repeatedly for fleas with no success. I have never in my life seen anything like it. I talked to our vet, and he said it is the worst year he as ever had with fleas. It appears the little fuckers are immune to the Frontline treatment we use regularly on the dogs. The other problems if the parrot flings his food, and in this ancient house the little mice come up thru the holes in the corners to grab the food. They bring fleas from outside. So, not that we have an all out infestation, as the terminex guy told me, but we still have a problem. In my book, one damn flea is far too many. We changed the treatment on the dogs and of course the fleas are hungry so I get eaten. It is awful. Some people are very sensitive to the bites, and others not at all. I happen to be in the former group. Fucking lovely. So, after trying every remedy known to man, vacuuming, bombing, dusting, and trapping, we gave up and called Terminex. Not like we remotely have any money for this, but it just had to get done. They told us we would need to be out of the house for 4 hours. After a full day of work, the guy shows up to spray at 4pm. You have got to be kidding. They couldn’t do this while we were out of the house. Needless to say, we did not walk into the till 10pm last night. With it still reeking of chemicals. The poor bird had to spend the night on the deck in a cage under the canopy. Until the thunderstorms came thru very early this am and we had to run to bring him inside. I hope it is ok. It would really be awful if something happened to him. Yesterday pushed me way out there to the limit of what I can deal with. It wasn’t really the fleas, or the chemicals, or the timing of it. It was this on top of everything else that has been going on. It was that one last thing that just tipped it over the edge.
Ever feel like you are just charging along, but not getting anywhere? I have this distinct feeling of swimming against the current. It is an awful feeling, because eventually you realize you just aren’t going to make it. So, when do you decide to turn around? or do you just keep swimming because that is what everyone around you is doing. I start to feel this ever-present panic on days like today. Am I the only one who sees the reality of the situation? or am I the one that is the wack job that overreacts to everything and I should just shut up and keep swimming. I don’t know the answer to that. I can’t see the reality because I’m buried under it.
I know we are in deep, that is obvious. I just don’t have a solution. Maybe let the place go to foreclosure and bail. Is that the answer? or do I keep on fighting to stay here. I feel so fucking far removed from my partner, and my board of directors. But I may very well be the reason we are not thriving. Am I somehow sabotaging what we are doing? If I were to give 200% could we get back on our feet? My gut tells me no. I think it would take an epic turnaround to save us. All around me I see rescues failing and closing. They probably were giving 200% and it didn’t matter. It is simple economics. These horses are phenomenally expensive to keep, never mind all the farm expenses and upkeep. I made a major mistake in accepting this new horse. I know it now. It may well be the last straw for us.
What will become of all of them? and what will happen with the farm? and what will become of us? The past three years have been a battle to keep this place and find our way as a rescue. If that was gone, what would we do? My partner joked and said I should go back to Africa. Believe me, it sounds inviting. There is a very simple equation= find food, find water, survive. Obviously AIDS and tribal warfare complicate that. Yet, it is such a beautiful place. In a very rugged, straightforward way. I was pretty lost the last time I set foot on the continent. But I was able to walk away from the disaster of my life here, and help somebody. Actually help a lot of people. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make that trip. And for the opportunity to return to Africa. It is a place like no other. So when she brought that up I can’t say I didn’t fantasize a bit. Maybe someday I’ll find my way back there. To the vast expanse of great blue sky that seems to go on forever and the deep red clay where it meets the earth. Africa is a place I visit in my dreams.
It was a good fantasy, but the reality of life is harsh. There is no hopping on a plane for 18 hours and settling in Kenya. This is our battleground. We either have to figure out a way to survive here, or we give up and move on. This unsettled feeling of swimming against the current is my brain saying Give Up. But maybe I just don’t have the strength to carry on like this. In the past week, with one freakin thing after another, I have had it up to my eye balls. There is no drug in the world powerful enough to face off with this stress. It is scary when an hour sweating buckets at the gym is inviting. I know I am running, running from here. Finding somewhere to hide for a bit. These days that is on the elliptical, or the treadmill running 50 miles a week watching NatGeo. How did my life get to this? and what the fuck am I doing? All it seems to be is questions, and no answers. I’ve fucking had it. So I just keep running, running away from the feeling of drowning. I can only swim against the current for so long.
I have spent much of the day avoiding the news coverage. I feel a bit more grounded. I will try to continue this over the coming days. I will watch the evening news, as is our normal, but beyond that I won’t follow the media coverage. This will help me get some distance from all the horrible news. Though I will add, the average evening news coverage isn’t all that happy.
This incident in Colorado does have my partner and I talking quite a bit. She and I don’t see eye to eye on gun control, so it has been interesting. It helps to talk about it, and to see how our views differ. I understand why she feels the way she does. Not everyone likes guns. Not everyone feels they are important. But, keep in mind she is Canadian. They have very different gun laws. They have far less gun violence. It is remarkable the differences between us, and between the two countries. I do agree with her that 100 round magazines have no purpose, even in warfare. The drum type magazine he used jams, as happened to him. But he obviously had no knowledge of guns, and that may well have made a huge difference, and saved lives. I live in a state where these magazines are outlawed. Colorado does not have the same restrictions. I agree with my partner that they should not be available. I also agree with her that some system needs to be put into place to flag multiple purchases of guns, and or ammo within short periods of time. It may well help in cases like this. Your average gun owner doesn’t need to purchase like that. Beyond the freedom of ownership, and the love of the weapon itself they are not driven by some diabolical plan in their head. So my partner and I do agree on something. Unfortunately, I doubt anything will change. The NRA is a strong entity and their lobby is powerful. Americans love their Second Amendment right, and it is going to stay. I doubt either candidate will pull this into the presidential race. It will happen again, just a matter of where and when. I think the questions of why this guy didn’t get help is far more important than the gun control issue. or how he probably used NIH grant money toward his purchases. Those seem like better questions to ask, than why gun laws in Colorado allow high cap magazines.
On the opposite end of the evening news, we have the Penn State NCAA ruling. I am thrilled with such a strong and decisive action handed down against Penn State. With all the information released and the reports issued, it is clear there were many in power that knew what was going on. Abuse occurred for years, and they all looked the other way. I hope this ruling makes other programs think twice when they think something might be going on. For most programs it is all about saving face, and keeping the image of the program intact. Keep the money rolling in, and keep the alumni happy. When they are happy the donations continue. Penn State will have a rough time recovering from this, and I think that is great. All those men have a lifetime to try and recover, it is not easy for them. Let Penn State suffer for a while. I feel bad for the students, they had nothing to do with this scandal. Yet, they will have their lives turned upside down. Athletes recruited in will have to find other programs to fit into. That is collateral damage in this mess. The whole thing has been a disaster waiting to happen, since Sandusky started his awful reign. But in the end, I think it was important that the NCAA ruled the way they did. Good for them.
I think I have reached my saturation point. The news coming out of Colorado, and now the president addressing the nation. There is a point when the brain just says enough, I think I have reached that point. The stories are so heart breaking. It is awful to listen to and even harder to comprehend. I don’t think there is any way to grasp it. My instinct is to shut off the TV, close the laptop and go watch the sunset. Yet somehow I remain riveted by the coverage. What is it that drives us to just keep watching? Keep wondering, and keep looking for answers.
There may not be any answers, not anytime soon. I think all of us that watch and seek these answers will reach a point where we can’t listen to is anymore. It was no different after Columbine, or after 9/11. I think it is okay. We don’t need to absorb all this. We need to take care of ourselves too. I know I have reached the point where I need to change the channel and get some distance from it all. I am thankful that I can do that. Many people and families are not that lucky. My thoughts and prayers are with them.