Winter Blahs

Sunset shadows

This happens every winter.

We get to the last week of January or the first week in February, and the blahs hit.  The weather is stuck in freezer mode, the skies are perpetually gray, and the days get monotonous.  So it is for me right now.

I know I need to get out of here for a while.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a vacation of any kind, and I really could benefit from the recharge.  I have a few ideas in mind– just weekend trips, nothing that would last a full week — but I’m definitely exploring the options.

There are a few fun things ahead, however.  Next weekend my friends and I are traveling to Whitewater, WI to go skiing.  I’ve never gone skiing before (which may shock some of you), but the idea of just getting away from the city for a while sounds really exciting.  We’ll be staying at our friend Jeff’s family cottage which is not far from Alpine Valley, where the resort is.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to even attempt skiing or just sit in the lodge and drink cocoa or hot toddies and wave.  Either way, I’m really looking forward to the trip.

This weekend is my nieces’ 2nd birthday, so of course a party is planned.  I’m looking forward to seeing them, as I always do.  I can hardly believe they’re already 2 years old.   Time sure flies quickly around here.

In the meantime, I will keep wrapping myself like a mummy and braving the elements.  Each day that passes means that spring is coming closer.  I can’t wait for that first 50 degree day, when runners hit the paths and the city comes alive.  From there, everything will get better.  That’s the glory of seasons, right?

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Aaaarrrrrrrggggh!! I can't take it anymore!!!

OK… OK! I have been silent long enough.

I didn’t want to make a big stink, but I just can’t help it. I have to say something, and if I don’t do it soon, I’m gonna friggin’ explode.

OK, my Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, and Questioning brothers and sisters… I am talking to you.

We’re not a happy bunch right now. Any visit to the news, or to blogs, or to chatrooms, or to Facebook or Twitter will tell you that. We are an angry bunch. We want what we want, and we want it NOW!

We want Gay Marriage. We want a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We want a repeal of DOMA. We want Anti-Discrimination laws. We want Anti-Defamation laws. And don’t forget about Gay Marriage…

Yes, we really do want what is rightfully ours, and really, who can blame us? We’ve been an oppressed group for as long as we’ve been around. Other groups have got their rights, why can’t we?

Well yeah, I agree… and I want those rights, too. But did it ever strike you as odd that we’re demanding EVERYTHING to happen RIGHT NOW? Right now, when our country is still just barely recovering from the worst economic crisis it has seen since the Great Depression? Right now, when we are still fighting a war in Iraq and still trying to find the mastermind of 9/11? Right now, when the entire world is unstable, both economically and politically, and we are relying on our country’s leadership to ATTEMPT to keep everything together?

Did you ever think that maybe RIGHT NOW is a little TOO SOON?

I have, and I have said so and thought so since before Barack Obama got himself elected. Sure, he’s made some mistakes (that DOMA brief really did suck), but I truly have to believe, in my heart, that he wants to help us out. We just need to understand that, just like Rome was not built in a day, LGBTQ rights cannot be applied to us in 24 hours. It takes time, and it takes making the right moves and taking the right steps.

Our impatience comes from years and years of pain, sorrow and neglect, and I feel that pain, sorrow and neglect just as much as the rest of you. I understand why we are angry, and I understand why we want action. And I understand why we want to yell and scream and carry on when we feel we’ve been maligned.

But at what point will our voices blend in with the rest of the background noise? How long will ranting and raving and screaming work to get our country’s attention? And will it work at all?

I’m trying to find the answers, because I don’t know what they are. I’m just suggesting that we are going about it in the wrong way, and I’m concerned that our voices will not be heard, because those who we want to hear us are just going to plug their ears to drown out the noise.

It took this much animosity for me to break out of my blogging funk and write again… maybe it’s time we all try to do the same. Pick up the pen, or turn on your computer, and write your feelings. Send them to those who you want to hear your thoughts. Think out your grievances before airing them, and put them into context. Make them understand why you are so passionate about what you want.

Screaming will just make you hoarse. Intelligent thinking will get you heard.

What's Bugging Rick? (Episode #483)

1. I really like my new blog template, but I hate all that crud at the bottom.  And I don’t like that it just says “Comments” where you click to go to the comments page.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to (easily) fix this?

2. My allergies have been THROUGH THE ROOF this last week, and even though drugs are helping (yay drugs!), I still feel like my head is full of cotton or poly-fill or some other crud that doesn’t belong there.  Is there ANY time during the year where allergies are not a problem (besides the dead of winter?)  Just being rhetorical here… unless, of course, you have some magic solution.

3. I just bought a new 22″ flat screen monitor that I LOVE but now I have three… count ’em… THREE monitors hanging around my apartment: The new one and two 17″ CRTs.  Anyone need a monitor?
I bought a new mop a couple weeks ago that featured a “convenient” telescoping handle for “easy storage.”  I can’t get the goddamned thing extended.  And I was desperate for a mop, so I used it anyway.  The kicker: It cost me $15 for the stupid thing.  Now I’m stuck with a mop fit for a little person.  Any little people out there that need a mop?

4. My air conditioning is out on my car (and has been for the last year and a half), and now the brakes are going.  It just doesn’t pay to have a car.  It costs.  Lots.

5. Barack Obama made his VP choice and the media has leaked the news… before I got my text message.  (His website now shows Biden.  I guess it’s official now.) And instead of more people jumping on the bandwagon, all I see in news comments and other reports are more bitter Hillary supporters saying they are voting for McCain.  What the hell is wrong with these people?  I just don’t understand their supposed logic.

*UPDATE* 4:00a.m. – I finally got my text message.

6. On the other hand, I am fully in support of Obama and will vote for him in November, but the man has got to grow a pair and fast.  I’m tired of his silence in the press.  Lately it seems that all he does is defend himself against McCain’s attacks.  It’s time for Obama to start attacking.  Change, schmange.  It’s MAKE IT WORK time.

And that’s all for this week’s installment of “What’s Bugging Rick?”  Have a great weekend!

Chaos!!!!

You know how it seems like things go nuts all at once? That’s life in my humble little abode lately.

I renewed my lease again, which means I’ll be staying in my apartment for a record seventh year. I swear it doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long, but the leases don’t lie– first one was in 2002, and this one goes until 2009. Geesh.

Cracks and Chips in the Tile

So to celebrate, I decided it was high time to ask my landlord when my kitchen floor would be replaced. Most of the other apartments had theirs replaced when the tenants moved out, and they were replaced with a really nice ceramic floor. Mine is this cheap-ass, nasty no-wax tile that was laid in squares which is now coming up and/or cracking and denting all throughout my kitchen. It’s so ugly. I want it gone.

So when I told my landlord I was renewing my lease, I threw a bargaining chip on the table– fix my floor. She cautioned me that it would take a few days and my kitchen would be out of commission for a while, but I replied that I didn’t mind. I’ll take a new floor over a few days of inconvenience.

I wasn’t ready for the next part though… apparently there is a leak coming from my bathroom that has been seeping into the apartment below me. She just found out about this from the guy who lives under me — who, along with me, is the longest-term resident in our building. Apparently it’s been a problem for a long time but he never mentioned it to her. Um, hello… if your walls are falling down around you– fix it! That’s the glory of renting. Someone comes in and fixes everything for you. Why live with crumbling walls?

Of course I had no idea that this was happening either — the leak is obviously not visible to me, so how am I supposed to tell if there’s a problem?

So in addition to the piles of tiles and bags of spackle, there are about 5-6 panels of sheetrock outside my apartment door.

Does anyone have room for a guy and his two kitties for a few days?  I might need to get away from this insanity — and quickly!