Saturday, August 25, 2007

Even more drama...

And I fucking hate drama.

Went to the hospital again on Monday to check in with the psychs, and they continued my prescription for Wellbutrin, as I'm not having any side effects. I left & wandered aimlessly around the city for a while, and eventually got something to eat. Around 6, I called work and asked if they needed me, because I really wanted to go back home. Unfortunately, they did.

Work has sucked all week. Previous weeks had been dead. Monday, the floodgates of stupidity opened. Two very large jobs had to be reprinted. One because a client doesn't understand how to size a file properly (what the fuck does "pixel size" mean when you print in inches? NOTHING, that's what.). The other because they didn't do any proofreading until AFTER we got approval to print. I've stayed late every night except Friday night, because I needed to pick up groceries before the store closed.

But life at home was much more exciting. I woke up Wednesday morning to the sound of the carbon monoxide detector going off. Since CO is a poison, I called 911 and waited outside for the fire department. Two trucks came over, they went through the find my landlord cooking some tomatoes on an antiquated stove in the basement (I'm on the second floor).

He doesn't live here! WTF is he doing cooking down there?


He's always bitching about how we MIGHT be the cause of some problem or another (like R's girlfriend is a stranger and might be a serial murderer, don't you watch the news, the world is going to hell, you can't trust anyone, blah blah blah), and it's never true. Now something happens and it's his damn fault.

I wasn't allowed back inside until the CO went down to safe levels. We had all our windows open anyway. The CO accumulated right in front of the door to the apartment, which is where the detector is. The landlord's wife thanked me for calling the fire department.

Thursday morning, he ambushed my other roommate on her way to work. She was late, and didn't discuss it. She left, which I sure as fuck don't blame her for.

Since he was unable to yell at her, he leaned on the door buzzer to wake me up & yell at me.

He says the FD caused him a lot of problems. He said they had to break open a window in the basement. He said we should have called him or ConEd.

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. Maybe you shouldn't be cooking your tomatoes on an antiquated stove in a house you don't even live in.

In his broken English, he reiterated that we're supposed to call him & ConEd.

I tell him that the alarm itself says, "Call 911 or the Fire Department." says the same thing. What will you be able to do if we all pass out/die from CO poisoning? I'm trying to protect everyone, and you have a problem with this?

He started ranting about the tomatoes and his reputation, and I interrupted.

You know what? I'm sick of this. Every little thing we do, you freak out over. If we have guests, you assume they're serial killers, and we're trying to move them in. If we have a leaky faucet, you assume we're breaking the pipes with a sledgehammer. The ONE TIME something really dangerous happens, and it's your fault. A CO detector doesn't pick up the smell of tomatoes, it picks up CO. You know, a POISON. Thousands of people a year die from this! I don't want to die! I don't want you to die! I don't want our neighbors to die (well, except for that slutty bitch in the basement next door)!

He started yelling back in broken English.

It could have been much worse than it was! I called 911 because it's the law! IT'S THE LAW. IT'S THE LAW!


(Your house? THIS! IS! SPARTA! And I kicked him down the stairs.)

(Okay, I didn't do that.)


He stormed off, and I closed the door.

I love getting death threats in the morning.


Inger's wake is tonight. It's going to be too hot to wear all black.

I'm helping Mike move tomorrow, from the Bronx to Astoria. It'll be good to have another friend in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Meme tagged

RAB over at Estoreal has tagged me as the next sucker to fill out this stuff. I can promise that none of the answers will be interesting. Here we go:

Four jobs I've had or currently have in my life:

1. landscaping
2. Costume shop counter help during a Halloween rush
3. coffee bitch
4. Printer (current)

Four countries I've been to:


Yeah, I know they're blank. Traveling is for people with money.

Four places I'd rather be right now:

1. The Shakespearean Garden in Central Park.

Four foods I like to eat:

1. Chocolate
2. Pie (apple, blueberry, strawberry, lemon meringue, etc.)
3. Eggplant parmigiana
4. Guacamole

Four personal heroes, past or present:

1. whoever discovered ibuprofen.

Four books I've just read or am currently reading:


I'm going through an illiteracy phase right now.

Four words or phrases I'd like to see used more often:

1. "Fuckstick McDouchebag"
2. "A-Chicka-Quack-Quack"
3. "Jeff, please take this $100 million off my hands."
4. "I want to have lots and lots of sex with Jeff." (preferably used by single women in their mid-20s-early 30s, without irony)

Four performances in history I'd attend If I had a TARDIS to bring me there:


I don't care much about live performances.

our things I like:

1. Comics
2. Jazz
3. Science
4. Philosophy

And the category I'll add to this meme is...what questions do you NEVER want to hear?

1. Which of your limbs would you like removed?
2. Does this make me look fat?
3. Do you think she's prettier than me?
4. Who let the dogs out?

And the four people I'll tag are:

Ah, like I'm cruel enough to ask anyone to participate.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today's mood swing is brought to you by...

The "fun" part about anti-depressants is that at first, they don't help. It takes a few weeks, sometimes up to two months or so for the positive benefits to kick in. Variably, they can make the depression feel worse.

So, take a wild guess about how I'm feeling. The previous post should make it clear.

I honestly don't remember the last time I felt happy. My incuriosity (oooh, I made up a word) grows daily. I have so little interest in participating in this world.

Everything feels so...old. Like I've been there and done that, a hundred times over. I've been called "an old soul" before, but this is a tad ridiculous.

I'm jealous of people who see things as new and/or exciting. I tried getting psyched up about MoCCA, but when it happened...I fell flat. All it did was remind me of how pointless I am.

The psychologist at the hospital asked me to keep a journal of what I'm feeling in social situations. For example, a Rocketship party. I listen in to conversations, and go blank. I have nothing to add to them. She asked if it was fear of saying the wrong thing.

That's not the problem; it's just not having anything to say in the first place. I don't know what people are talking about most of the time. Books, TV, movies, music, politics, etc. My total apathy towards seeking new things keeps me out of it. What's worse is that I'm growing bored with the things I used to be passionate about. It just feeds into itself.

I guess I'll just write "apathy" in the journal and be done with it.

Of course, I'd have to insert myself into social situations in order to have something to write about. Where would I go? What would I do when I don't want to do anything, when all I can muster up is "meh"?

I have to keep reminding myself that this is the beginning of my treatment, and that it's going to be a while before I get better.

I can't work on my book anymore because it's dredging up so much pain. I'll have to cash in on that meal ticket another time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm sorry.

I'm so damned jealous of your happiness that it's poisoning me.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I must be a Drama Magnet

Last Sunday, I was feeling really down in the dumps. Just really fucking low, as evidenced by my post last Tuesday before I left for work. Like, three months away from becoming another statistic.

The previous weekend, I was doing all right. We all went up to Chris & Yanellie's place, and had great pizza, & fun playing with their boys. When Victor gave me a hug, Chris noted that I looked content holding him. He was correct.

Anyway, on Monday, I went into work, and filled out forms for insurance.

On Tuesday, I got a message from my buddy Matt on CBR. He'd read my blog post and demanded that I go to a hospital "NOW."

Smart lad, he is.

I played it cool; I was feeling a little better. Then I got the news that I can only apply for insurance within certain windows. The next one being in January.

I called up the insurance company and proceeded to get the runaround. I asked three people where the logic in this policy was, and got no answer. I asked them, "is it not stupid that we have to wait? I want to give you money. I don't understand what the problem is."

I was getting angry. "What multi-millionaire CEO do I have to talk to in order to get an answer around here?"

I was put on hold.

I hung up. I was very angry. I felt frustrated. I felt hopeless. I wanted to scream and cry. I was going to explode. I pulled myself together long enough to tell my boss that I was leaving.

A 2-hour workday. Nice.

I ran out of the office and tried to recall a list of places to go if you don't have insurance. The name Bellevue Hospital stuck out in my mind, as it was very close to SVA. I got on the 1 train, switched to the L at 14th, and then switched to the 6 train to 23rd Street. I got out of the subway, sent a text message to Lynne and Morts (another friend from CBR) saying, "hey, I'm going to the hospital, I'll talk to you soon."

On my way over, Lynne called and offered to come with me. I found a pizza place, grabbed something to eat, and waited for Lynne.

We walked up & over to Bellevue, and tried to figure out where to go. We settled on the Emergency Room, and got directed to the psych ward. Bowie & Carlos came to the hospital after they got out of work, but couldn't get to the area we were in. From 4 to 9:30, we sat in the waiting room. Lynne called the guys every half hour to update them. Around 8, she told them to go home. During that time, I was given an initial triage interview, then I spoke to a student psych & a resident psych, then right before we left, the psychiatrist.

Also during that time, we got to witness real crazy. People who stay in the ward, people were brought in when they didn't take their meds & committed crimes, people who were released and came back because they didn't know what to do...basically, great reference for stories.

It was late, we were exhausted. I called Carlos, Bowie, & Morts, and explained what happened in slightly better detail. We got more pizza, and I took Lynne home. I walked home from her place, stopping at the Neptune Diner for some "blueberry" pie a la mode.

Another CBR pal was working on a painting of blueberry pie, and I was craving it. Too bad the pie really sucked. It didn't have blueberries. It was a slab of purple gel baked between two crusts.

I finished my walk home, turned on my computer, opened my email, and saw a new message from Francis with the subject, "Bad News."

I didn't need to open it, but I did anyway. Inger had died Monday night. The wake is scheduled for August 25th, at a bar she used to frequent.

I sank down in my chair and went numb. Well, more numb than I had already been that day. I sort of coasted through the week. Friday, I left work early and spent the night at Lynne's; I really didn't want to be alone.

Carlos & Tara invited me to hang out with them, but I just couldn't. I have a rule: no matter how much I love them, I can't hang out with a happy couple. There's nothing else that reminds me more of just how much of a complete social fuckup I am than being a third wheel. I prefer one-on-one or small groups.

So when Morts had invited me out to spend the weekend with him & his family in Teaneck for a change in scenery, I accepted. He and his wife Suzannah have an adorable 6 year old daughter (see the MoCCA post) who likes me a lot, plus his sister-in-law and aunt were visiting.

I showed up at his house Saturday evening just before the end of Shabbos, and was greeted with a familial dilemma. The sister-in-law (SIL) was in a shitty relationship. She lived with her boyfriend in Kew Gardens, Queens. The boyfriend/douchebag is a controlling, manipulative jerk, who's 20+ years her senior. SIL has daddy issues and seeks approval from him. He takes every opportunity to degrade her. Over the past couple of years, they've broken up many times, each time it lasted for a day, if that. She got her own apartment a few months ago, but hadn't moved in. But now, she finally had enough of him.

"Hey, Jeff, wanna help us move her out?"

This is extra funny, because the first time I went over to Morts' house was to help him move over Labor Day weekend last year. That's all I do when I go there is move stuff around. Plus, I'm taller than everyone else there, so I'm just rather helpful getting things down from tall shelves, etc.

Morts and I talked for a while, watched some TV, and slowly put together a plan to move SIL out. He called up my hetero life mate Mike, and his friend David to help out. I was the "secret weapon" in the moving crew. I'm more physically intimidating (for once, I can use my powers for good) than anyone else in the crew, and the douchebag had never met me.

We all retired for the night, but something prevented us from sleeping. Morts' neighbors downstairs were having a party, which they do very often. The bass was jumping. People were loud. After a few minutes, Morts called the police. Their doorbell rang shortly after, and the place went SILENT.

We got in a good six hours of sleep, piled into two cars, and headed out to Kew Gardens. The Pale Posse Moving Crew (Morts & David are Orthodox Jews who shun the sun, Mike and I are White Nerds with Computeritis) stayed in the new apartment while a U-Haul van and Mike were picked up.

The four of us got in the van with the SIL, and I escorted her to her old apartment, with Morts & Mike behind me with folded boxes and a hand truck. David waited at the van so we could hand stuff off to him.

SIL and I went in, and the douchebag asked me to wait outside so they could have a minute. I asked her if it was okay, and she said yes. I stepped outside and he closed the door.

I could hear them talking, but couldn't make out any words. I'll let Mike sum up the immediate event:

Scene: Outside SIL & Douchebag's apartment. Jeff, Michael, and Morts are standing around talking shit about CBR posters.

SFX (from inside apartment): Thud.

Jeff: (knocks on door; it opens): Is everything all right?

Douchebag: It's fine. Just give us a minute.

Jeff: From what I've heard about you, you don't get a minute.

Douchebag: (angrily slams door)

Jeff: (forcibly shoves the door open, forcing Douchebag to step/cower backwards to avoid getting his noggin split open) You do NOT slam the door on me. (pulls the door gently closed. It locks from inside.)

Michael and Morts: (stand in awe of Jeff's distilled badassery)

You can read the full story here (just do it after you finish this post):

It turns out he had thrown the box of bubble wrap down the hallway by the front door (he didn't throw it at her).

SIL came out a little while later and asked up to grab lunch while she packed. The douchebag did not want us around while he got all weepy.

We returned an hour later, and got her stuff out in a half hour. It was pretty easy, as there wasn't any furniture to move, just books, clothes, & videos.

We got to the new place, unloaded the van into the lobby, and the ladies took the van back to U-Haul. Mike & David also departed, as they had other appointments to keep. Morts and I got about 1/3 done bringing things up in the elevator when it decided to not work properly. We called for it, but it would never show up on our floor. It stopped one floor above wherever we needed it to go. While Morts tried to figure out a cheat code of sorts, I went up to find the superintendent. He experimented for a bit, and went to the basement to reset the computer that controls the elevator. That fixed it, and we finished the job quickly.

Suzannah & SIL talked about how I scared the shit out of the guy, and apparently they think I'm just dreamy. Here's a synopsis of their conversation, as told to me by Morts:

"He's cute."

"He's an atheist."

I suppose that can put a damper on things if you're very religious, but I'm not interested anyway.

After everything was sorted out, I got dropped off at home. I cleaned up and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Monday, I had my 4 PM appointment at Bellevue. I was under the impression that I was going to see a social worker about getting health care, but instead, I talked to a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

It was very difficult telling the same story to more people I don't know. I cried a few times, talking about dad, Eric, and Inger. It was all overwhelming and draining. The psychiatrist prescribed a week of Effexor XR (Venlafaxine) at 75 mg, which I had to pick up Tuesday before work, as the hospital pharmacy was closed by the time I got out of there. It's a week-long prescription because they want to see if I can handle the side effects. Within two hours, I became extremely drowsy, and my libido has absolutely decreased - believe it or not, I can deal with that. It's better than being horny & frustrated all the time.

*cough* carpal tunnel *cough*

I have another appointment with the doctors next Monday. They're definitely going to put me in a program of therapy & medication.

I walked out of the hospital with something I haven't felt in a long time.

A glimmer of hope.