errantember: (Little Cowboy Scott)
Although most of the day was somewhat of an emotional toilet-bowl, I worked out a Plan with my Mom I think we can all live with. It gets her maximal help during the critical period between now and her next Dr's. appointment, and gets me to Portland in time for my only real pre-negotiated deadline, and right in the middle of beautiful summer weather, with an appropriately undefined return date.

The rest is execution.

*Lots* of execution.
errantember: (darth bobo)
Jesus. I've been helping my Mom recover from foot surgery recently, and it's been tough on both of us. I've been 200 miles away from home for almost 30 of the past 45 days, and today we found out she may not be walking again for another six weeks. I have Huge Plans to drive to Portland this summer that have already been hugely delayed, but she lives alone, and can barely get around with a wheelchair and walkers without help. She also can't reach all of her own feet, which makes keeping track of her Activac mechanical wound vampire thing difficult. She teaches adult education, and has lots of devoted students, friends and neighbors helping her, but naturally they can't do as good a job as a devoted family member. My Mom really busted her ass taking care of me as a child, with a bipolar and often out-of-work father. Her incredible devotion, focus, and hard work is the main reason I'm where I am today, and I know I can never full repay that debt. It feels like the least I can do is take a few weeks out of my life to help her through what should be a temporary hardship. Paying someone else to do it amounts to thousands of dollars per *week*.

Balanced against staying and helping is the fact that the trip to Portland is not some kind of recreational vacation. It's something I've been working on for months, if not years, and is the first major step to manifesting my new life of mobile development and living light in people's back yards. Mom's house is also filled with cigarette smoke and Fox News 24/7, and it's nearly impossible for me to get any work done on my career while I'm here. I have a huge amount of momentum making the move from corporate cog to independent developer, and a lot of will be lost if I stay here too long. More to the point, distractions and depression are the two biggest obstacles to me being able to pay the bills as an App developer, and both of those are going to be hard-core monkeys on my back as long as I'm here. Of course, the guilt of leaving will be with me if I choose to do that. I've also put thousands of dollars in parts and hundreds of hours of labor into getting my car ready for the trip. Finally, I have existing and potential romantic relationships in Portland, and this is the last funded trip I have before cutting myself off pending money from my new career. I chose to remove money from my retirement account for the second time just yesterday to keep myself afloat, and, even with everything as uncertain as it is, I still steadfastly refuse to seek full-time corporate work. I know if stay focused on my App development, I can get to a point where I'm paying my bill in six months or less, but if I let *anything* distract me, I won't make it.

Finally, my Mom has some issues with feeling loved and appreciated due to her tough life, and combined with the guilt issues I've had for years over our relationship, there's a very real threat that she will continue to see her own need as trumping what's going on in my life if I don't assert some boundaries. I'm fairly certain there's an internal monologue in her head that says "my son isn't really amounting to anything, he's committing financial suicide, and compared to what he has going on taking care of me is *much* more important." As much as I want to help her, I have my own life with a huge number of moving parts, and I can't simply turn it off, no matter how important the motivation. If it were a longer-term situation of her needing help, I'd have to put my foot down and say "if you really need long-term help from me, you're going to have to move to my town," but the fact that this is of medium-but-undetermined-term makes the water much muddier.

I've also had the luxury of living a pretty soft, self-centered life, and this is forcing me to grown up in a lot of ways that are painful but probably good in the long term. I really love my Mom, and being forced into a pressure cooker with her has actually allowed me to re-connect with some kinds of love for her that got blocked in my childhood. Those issues have caused intimacy problems with my partners, and I can already see the breaking of some emotional dams overflowing into those relationships.

The good news is that she has long term care insurance that kicks in in mid-July, and assuming she qualifies, she should be able to get more comprehensive home care.

From a taking action perspective, I think the best way forward may be to go home for as long as I need to to get the place ready for a five week absence, then return to D/FW on my way to Portland, with no intention of returning home before I head out. This will allow me to get what I need to get done done, but provide her with as much support as I can before I'm unavailable for a month. It will actually be a better test of living in yurt, which I will set up in her back yard, than doing it at home, since I won't have access to all my own shit there. I still have an overheating problem with the car I'll be taking on this 4400+ mile sojourn, and driving back up to D/FW will be a good test of the new radiator I have on order before trekking out cross country.
errantember: (darth bobo)
About two months ago, I had three functional vehicles: a Honda SUV, a Geo Metro, and my infamous EVTA R-20 Electric Scooter. I now have zero. I sold the Honda (for a really excellent price), the batteries on the scooter died, so I was down to the Metro. I took it up to D/FW to see my Mom, then almost immediately to San Antonio to visit an old friend with a new baby. No problems on those trips. However, it's now randomly stalling out, and all the previous solutions I've tried haven't been working. I've got another message out on the Geo Metro list, and have previously gotten Monster Help from them, but in the meantime I'm vehicle-less. The kind of problem I'm seeing is one of those issues where any one of ten different things could be causing it, and the only way to find out which one is to systematically try them all.

The Metro probably isn't going anywhere for a while.

I'm intending on replacing the batteries on the scooter before I sell it, but I wasn't planning on doing that until spring. In the meantime, I'm looking seriously into buying a gas-powered scooter. I can get one for under $1,000, and, unlike my electric scooter, I'll be able to drive anywhere I want without having to worry about running out of power, waiting to recharge, or worrying about rain. It's really too bad, because electric scooters have the potential to be *way* better than gas ones, but unfortunately none of the major manufacturers are making them, and the ones that do get made often suck or are outrageously expensive.

I also don't have the money for something like this at the moment, and it greatly increases the likelihood that I'm going to have start dipping into my retirement savings if I don't see some serious gaming income soon.

Time to re-double my already re-doubled efforts!
errantember: (Default)
I was headed to D/FW to see my Mom for Christmas, but after I left the Metro in the cold for about 30 minutes on a stop just past Georgetown, the transmission started making a soft but clearly wrong grindy noise whenever I would let out the clutch.
Read more... )
errantember: (Default)
In other news, I've put the lie to recent criticisms that my yard is becoming a vehicle junkyard by wiping out the yellow jackets that had created a nest inside the driver's-side mirror of Echo's Geo Metro. This had the perfect yin/yang effect of both taking me one step closer to being able to work on it while also providing me with a perfect excuse not to work on it *today*. If I can get this vehicle working again, I'll have raised the Road-Legal-and-Functional-Index of my home to an impressive 40%, 20% higher than it's current value. The wasp attack I didn't notice was happening until I was several pages into the Chilton's manual also provided a nice symmetry with the recent bee attack on my father.

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