November 5, 2020

It\’s nearly midnight. I\’m sitting at the living room table, which is messy, typing on a cold keyboard that is starting to warm up. I just finished playing Diablo III for nearly six hours straight. Caitlin is asleep. Dani is in her room watching something. Grr is wandering the house; she slept all day curled up in our bed. Carolyn is texting me. Across the street, in a lit the third floor window, there\’s a skinny guy in his 20\’s wearing a maroon tank top looking like he\’s washing dishes.

I feel too-awake. I finished an energy drink at noon. That might still be in my system. 

The gym has been going well. My bench is relatively weak. And I still suck at wide-grip pullups. But I\’ve been making steady progress. I\’m up nearly ten pounds. And I comfortably squatted 215 lbs for 5-reps over 8-sets. I\’m hoping to be repping 315 in two months. And I would be really proud of myself if I could one-rep-max 405.

I\’m going to need to find work soon.  COVID unemployment ends in a little over a month.

On a related note, my neurotic persistence paid off; alternatively, I was lucky in the sense that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I\’ve submitted multiple applications to become an apprentice electrician: one in Seattle, one near Salem/Covalis, and one in Spokane. The way it goes is that I am going to take a test, then I will attend an interview. If I am accepted, I will become an apprentice. 

Well, I called the Seattle branch and the person on the phone said that I was tentatively scheduled to test in February. However, I managed to snag the last open spot only two weeks; the catch is that it\’s 300 miles away in Redmond, Oregon. —Worth it. And the funny part is that I don\’t need to pass. I get a free pass to interview because I am a veteran. To quote the lady on the phone, \”the test is for tutoring purposes; we need to know where you\’re at.\” So, once I test, I\’ll be on the list to interview. 

This is good news.

Grr is sitting on the corner of the bed in our room facing the door. She has her feet tucked in, and it\’s the cutest thing. That cat has really stolen our heart. I would take a photo, but the lighting doesn\’t allow for it. 

Caitlin and I rearranged our bedroom. It completely transformed the way our room feels. I mean that in a practical way but also in a more metaphysical way. The vibe, or maybe the texture, is different somehow. 

She has a box of her old dog\’s stuff that she needs to go through. She tears up when she mentions it. But it\’s time for her to move on. She has been hanging onto it for two years and hasn\’t opened it.

I have a classic case of insomnia on my hands. Let\’s see if I can write in a flow until I get tired. No. I doubt I have the ability to sustain focus like that. 

I briefly spoke with my uncle Pawel before he received a letter I sent him. I told him that I was going to pursue an inside wireman apprenticeship. He said, \”The work is hard, and it can be very tedious, but it pays well—six figures, easily.\” I could almost swear he sounded proud of me. Almost. —At the least we\’ll be able to relate to each other better. Common ground.

I wonder what I\’m getting myself into.

When I started at Amazon, I had high hopes. I was overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. It was excessive, and, apparently, it was unstable. I didn\’t have a goal. I just wanted to be successful. But I never defined what success meant; and that was a big mistake. I had money that I didn\’t know what to do with. 

I still remember how excruciatingly painful it felt to even begin thinking about saving for a house. I didn\’t even have the fortitude to even think about it. So, instead I spent all my money on misc. I wanted the-ill-defined-everything, so I ended up with nothing. Well, I did get some good clothes out of my excess spending and camping gear.

Things are much different now. I\’ll be starting at a much lower wage. If I\’m in the Puget Sound region, I\’ll be starting at ~$20 an hour plus benefits, which is fantastic, actually. I was technically earning over $35 an hour at AWS. But that came at a price: risk of stagnation and immobility.

The work will be physically demanding. I am physically equipped for that.

I will have a lot to learn. I\’m looking forward to that. I want a skill that will make me valuable. And then I want to use that skill to make money. And I want to use that money to buy a house. And I want a small farm.

I didn\’t realize that I wanted a farm. It took me a while to realize that what I had been describing to multiple people was in fact a farm—dogs, chickens, a large vegetable garden, etc—a farm.

Holy shit, this could be beautiful. 

A motorcycle farm, perhaps? 


Anyway, going into this apprenticeship, I\’m a good candidate. But I\’m going to need to stay humble.

My god, I\’ve been unemployed for over seven months now. I am looking forward to getting back on track with a career. 

It\’s important to make the most of this time, of course (i.e. not playing Diablo III for six hours straight too often.) There is a very real trap of potentially getting too involved with work. But really, why even work? Money is good. But money isn\’t an end. Money is a means. And it\’s important for me to stay grounded in my ends, my goals and values. 

Reminder: when you have a really important dream, it\’s important not to blab too much about it. It must be, to some degree, a secret. You can\’t go bragging to everyone everyday that you\’re going to buy a yacht or whatever; the process devolves into mere spectacle. 

You know, the funny thing I\’ve learned about writing is that sitting around, gritting your teeth and puckering your butt doesn\’t do any good. (Unless you\’re editing.) Writing has to flow. 

It\’s almost as if you gotta keep looking at the thing that you\’re writing about. You can\’t focus on the keyboard or the pen or your grammar or your fans. You need to keep your eyes on the thing itself, the idea that\’s there, latent in your mind, behind a thin veil, just under that quicksilver glimmer on the surface of a pond; you can\’t quite see it, but it\’s there, and it calls to you; and you know it\’s full of life, so you sit and you stare because it\’s important. It\’s magic. That\’s the magic I find in my dreams. And that\’s the magic of \”writing as an act of revelation and creation.\” 

You can\’t force it. It comes from who you are. And, for the self aware and the initiated, such a reflection is absolutely terrifying.

I\’m becoming increasingly tired of social media, namely people sharing political posts. I just want to shake everyone by their shirts and say, \”YOU\’RE NOT SPREADING AWARENESS; YOU\’RE BRINGING IN AD REVENUE.\” 

Is that too cynical? Calling out that behavior is ironic because I would be doing the same thing by posting more noise on the same platform.

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