Subterranean Homesick Blues
(27 November - 6 December 2004)

6 December 2004
-At least the third sickness in five months is having the decency to get itself over with quickly.  I already seem to be at the hacking cough stage, with most of the congestion stage being over.  At this rate, I might actually be well by Wednesday, which is quite exciting.
-I'm still plowing through work overwhelmed & exhausted what with all the sickness.  Got floated out to another house today, which was a nice break from all the politics at the main house.  Younger kids work so much better with this program anyway... it just wasn't designed for apathetic teens.  As I've been telling a few people lately, teenagers who don't have horrible pasts & emotional trauma have a hard enough time coping with adults, authority, & life.  The combination is almost devastating.
-I am utterly schizophrenic in my feelings about this job.  No matter how much longer I stay with it, I will be quite thankful for the people it's introduced me to.  There are murmurs of a second try at the writers' group & the poker crew alone is an amazing contribution.

5 December 2004
-Once again, I was so close to calling out today.  But my sore throat was gone, so the worst of the illness is by far over.  By shift's end, though, I was feeling pretty miserable with 18 kinds of congestion.  Things at work today were vaguely strained, but nothing too problematic.  Some days, it seems like problems amongst the staff outweigh any issues the kids bring to us.

4 December 2004
-The Weakerthans concert was stellar, & as good as could be hoped experientially given that I was so sick.  I was wrapped up like a the stay-puft green mummy for the whole opening act (well, the first of three opening acts), but had reduced to four layers from an original six by the time the Weakerthans went on, as well as shedding my hat & gloves.  Oh yes, & we were in the front row.  Em got to the show before Fish & I coming across bridge traffic, & she was able to be the third person in line!  So we were front & dead center, though an obnoxious girl muscled Fish out of the front row for the middle two bands as she claimed she just "wanted to take a picture" & then stayed for two sets before Fish asked her space-saving friend to have a little dignity & let him back in the front after she had cheated him so.  Even at good concerts, you just can't seem to trust people.  Either way, I had never been in a front row (lots of second rows, but never cracking the front), so this was quite a big deal.  & since it was a small club show rather than a big show, the front row actually was up against the stage, not against the security row guarding the stage.  I was in range to touch the lead singer or grab his drink if I had so felt inclined.  We were also able to snag the setlist after the show, which I intend to scan onto the page.  The set itself wasn't ideal... it relied a lot on the newest album, which was to be expected.  But it did have most of the best songs from said album & some nice highlights from the prior two.  When John K. Samson came out for the first song of the encore by himself, I was alternating yells that someone was shouting for "My Favorite Chords" as I was shouting for "Sounds Familiar".  He seemed very surprised to hear the latter song requested, & then someone shouted for "Free Bird" & everyone else told him to shut up.  John K. said he wished he knew how to play "Free Bird" & then some other guy said that he hated Winnipeg & John K. said "Do you?  Well, I have some friends from there.  I'm going to play this for them." Which of course led to "One Great City" As the setlist he'd written revealed, there probably wasn't any chance of getting any other song, which was fine since I love that song too, & he probably doesn't play "Sounds Familiar" anyway.  I was pleased enough to hear "Left & Leaving", "Aside", "This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open", & "Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist", among all the good stuff off the new one.  & now, as with most of my concert wrap-ups, this is competing for one of the longest entries ever.  My voice is much worse now, but I care a little less.
-Sore throat:  worse.  Motivation:  worse.  Vocal abilities:  worse.  Being sick over & over:  priceless.  There are some things sickness can't ruin, but I'm not sure what they are.
-Here's the setlist from last night.  For the first time ever, it includes the lead singer's written-out setlist too!

3 December 2004
-Poker night was incredibly fun last night, with victories in all corners.  We had a good solid crew of people, everyone seemed to be in a good mood, I was rolling with the announcer-style jokes, & I came out up $25.  This brings my overall poker night stakes to +$68, which more than makes up for my losses online in a similar stretch.  It was just great overall, & I was expecting things to be not so great, so it was even greater by comparison.
-Flip side:  I'm sick again.  This marks my third sore throat in five months, which is abysmally bad luck & hearkens back to 2001, when my immune system died.  Given how I would rather have almost any non-life-threatening ailment than a sore throat, this is appalling to me.  To make matters worse, there's a concert tonight, as well as November's notes, & nothing is getting done.
-Russ & Greg took the moratorium about as well as I expected them to.  We'll see.
-Am I going to be able to enjoy this show while so sick?

2 December 2004
-Even without video games, my ability to be productive with regards to mental health notes is sorely lacking.  Ah, I got nothing.
-Things are looking pretty low right now.

1 December 2004
-Fish & I have embarked on a three-week moratorium on all video games, including computer games, Gamecube, PS2, online poker, & so on.  From now till we leave for Albuquerque (I'm leaving on the 22nd, he on the 23rd), there will be no electronic gaming in the Big Blue House.  We made the possible exception that if someone comes to visit us, we might play a little PS2/Gamecube with them.  But that's it.  I can't believe I'm actually taking this on, but at the same time, I'm excited to see how much more productive I can be without my default outlet for fun.  I anticipate having a very difficult time actually following through with the challenge, but I think I'll be glad for the time that I can.
-Honesty is always the best policy.  It doesn't make it easy.  Institutional honesty is just as vital, & even harder when it comes to dealing with our kids.  This is going to be a long week; I'm glad my week here is done.
-So much for timeliness of notes.  Ah, it's the same thing every month.  Silly me.
-About 12 hours into the moratorium, Fish & I hauled out the chess board & clock for the first time since we moved into the Big Blue House.  This is going to be good for us.

30 November 2004
-One month left in this year.  Unbelievable.  I can tangibly feel how much less time each year seems to take as I grow older.  It's something I wouldn't have believed until it started scaring me annually.

29 November 2004
-...& what a storm it was.  Probably the 2nd least in control the staff have been of a situation at work.  I actually yelled at some kids today just to prevent the ongoing crisis from exploding even more.  When 4 kids go off almost simultaneously, there just aren't that many good options.

28 November 2004
-Came this close to calling out today, but it wound up for the best that I didn't.  Working through a migraine isn't fun, but if I didn't work through some of them, I would never get much done.
-The Sunday calm always hints at the Monday storm...

27 November 2004
[from Clovis, California]
-Maybe eggs are making me sick.  Should ease up on them for a while.  Maybe my body is telling me to go vegan.
-It's going to be fun to see all these kids grow up.
-Sometimes the mere passage of time is enough to make me cry.
-Finally saw "Ray" & I'm quite glad we did.  It's intense, but very well done & features unbelievably good acting.

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