Tag Archives: Coffee

Dad’s Wrecked Car Wrecks My Week

I would like to say I would’ve had a blog post out in the last week if the week itself wasn’t so damn shitty. I’m probably lying to myself here. My motivation is still at an all-time low.

I can probably get something posted Friday. Oh wait, no I can’t, because Friday is going to suck ass like every other day this week. If I’m going to churn anything out it has to be finished now. Thursday. Today was a hot day, I’m mentally and physically destroyed, and writing anything now feels like a chore. Scheduling a post also means EDITING! which is the worst part of writing by far.

Two weeks ago my dad was involved in a car wreck. I’m not sure of the details, but someone in front of him was turning right, so he slowed down like a good driver. The guy behind him, sadly, wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended my dad. This caused Dad to slide into the person in front of him leading to a three-way fender-bender. It wasn’t really a big deal; despite him being hit by a big-ass SUV in the rear, his car took the least amount of damage of the three. The guy behind him? Car was fucked. (He was younger, his mom showed up, and according to my dad she was not pleased with him. He had the worst day of three by far, not even considering his damaged car…) Lady in front of him? Car: fucked. Dad’s car doesn’t have anything to hint that he was slammed into another car, just a tiny scratch or dent on the front if you really pay attention. Most importantly no one was hurt.

(His tank of a car, by the way, is a 2006 Chevy Cruise. If you’d like your next high-mileage used car to be impervious to damage, look into the Cruise.)

I looked at his car the following day and it was fine. Cosmetic damage to his trunk and bumpers but the car itself was fine. All the doors worked. The thing drove okay. Nothing of functional importance was harmed at all. He asked me my opinion on what he should do about the car: ignore the wreck or make an insurance claim? Dad doesn’t have a job, can’t afford shit, and is waiting on Social Security to either approve or deny his benefits/payments/whatever they’re called. In short, I told him to not worry about it. Cars are meant to get you from point A to point B, his car still did this, so why even worry about it? Insurance probably wouldn’t do shit about it anyways…

He didn’t take my advice (big surprise there). He made an insurance claim which was itself a pain in my ass. My sister and I have a deal where we pay for his insurance and split the bill. When I set this up I put everything in my name. My email, my phone number, with only his name on the policy. It was easier to do it that way. Since his insurance claim involves him he should ideally be the guy dealing with the insurance company. Since they’re unaware of my impromptu setup (we didn’t think he’d ever actually make a claim), they’ve been blowing up my phone trying to contact my dad. Emailing me and me having to relay the email to him and calling me so I can call him and tell him to call them back. They miss his call and call me back. It’s my own fault — I even said so when I replied to their email giving them his actual contact information — but it’s still a pain in the ass to deal with.

I was wrong about his claim by the way. They did not do jack shit; in fact they decided to total his car and write him a check for $6,075. Holy hell! I was certain I put him on liability insurance; where did all the money come from? It didn’t make sense to me at all, but hey, I’m not a hot-shot insurance worker. Apparently this makes perfect sense to them. They grabbed his car last Thursday.

(We use Metromile. They’re a pay-per-mile insurance provider fitting for my dad, who logically, shouldn’t drive that much at all. I own 200 shares of Metromile (MILE) and was tempted to sell them when I found out about the massive payout to him for insignificant cosmetic damage. Was this company really the one I should be investing in?)

And here’s where my trouble really begins. It was easy: dad gets his check, we get him a new car. Nope, life is never that easy.

Since Monday was Memorial Day his check didn’t arrive until Tuesday. He also doesn’t have a bank account. I was to put the money into my bank temporarily. Okay. Tuesday was a trip to my bank so he wouldn’t have to pay a whopping $200 check-cashing fee. (I should open up my own check cashing place. A 3% fee to give people their own money? Hell…) Normally I deposit any checks I receive via my bank’s mobile app. Doing this with a check in his name might be a terrible idea, and I didn’t want to hold things up longer than I needed to. Dad is fairly independent and wants a car, so we’ve been trying to do this stuff as quickly as possible.

We went to look at cars (on Memorial Day) and that sucked. All the places were closed so we drove to those questionable used-car lots that are more numerous than I remembered (they’re everywhere) and shopped unhindered by pesky salesmen. He knew he couldn’t buy a car that day, but surely he’d find one that he liked. Nope. Buying a car is a big deal and isn’t as easy as deciding on a fast-food restaurant when hungry. It’s Thursday and he still doesn’t know what car he wants.

Since the cash is in my account, I’ll have to be involved in the car buying process as well, whenever that actually happens. Not really ‘involved — I’m not buying the damn thing — but he can’t really leave with a car until I write a check to the place, usually the last fucking step in the process. One more big hurdle before I’m free, but if we don’t pull this shit off tomorrow it’ll surely be a shitty weekend driving him around to wherever.

Today involved driving him to the smoke shop for tobacco and finding him a window AC unit. This whole fiasco occurred right before the first real heatwave of the year. He’s a bigger guy so he kinda suffers unnecessarily in the heat and needs an AC. Luckily, my mother-in-law had an older AC unit to give him; the errands were a bit easier because we didn’t have to buy him a new one from Menard’s or something. Hauling an AC unit around an hour after waking up isn’t a joy, but it’s better than going shopping.

Obviously I’m driving him everywhere he needs to go. He tries not to be a bother and I don’t mind helping, but it is getting old having that in my schedule to work around. My insomnia is still kicking my ass — I don’t sleep until 6 a.m. and try to be up around noon — and each day is a struggle to pound down as much coffee as possible and get out of the house to haul dad around. By the time I’m functional, I have a good two and a half hours to do stuff before going to work. Sometimes we’ll finish early, not early enough to go home but too early to go to work. Tuesday I was in the work parking lot 45 minutes before I had to start, just sitting and zoning out to music. I did get to see what time my coworkers pull into the parking lot which was mildly interesting. Some people get there really early, but who was I to judge?

Friday is a fun day because I go to work at 7 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.; I have all the time in the world before work to ‘be productive.’ Hopefully I can get something written but probably not though. Groggily awake at 12 p.m. Therapy at 2, hauling dad around to hopefully buy a car around 3:30 p.m., and how long will that take? Tomorrow is fucked. Saturday will probably be fucked as well. I know it’ll be fucked. I can predict the future: Dad won’t have a car yet and I’ll have to take him to get groceries or something. Sunday I’m hanging out with a friend (cool and all, but damn I’m dreading being social…), and maybe I should put a new belt on the lawn mower? And maybe I should weed the garden? And I need to go to the store. And I need to clean the cat litter. Those windows in my car really need to be cleaned — I haven’t washed them since fall — and the outside could stand to be washed as well. And…and…I’m sure there’ll be tons of time to write a blog post.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

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Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

My Sobriety is…Meh

Today is my fourth day sober. It’s nothing to celebrate, but after the past month it kinda is. Before this recent streak, I had been drunk for nearly three weeks. Not perpetually drunk but just drinking everyday. The worst days were those where I pounded down 15 or 18 beers (although it’s hard to count after that many drinks) and the best days were those where I “only” had six. It was a mess and my life was a blur.

Only one day out of those three weeks did I stay sober. Somehow, during all the haze, I called the airport and scheduled a flight lesson to become current with flying again (three landings in the past 90 days). The night before that I didn’t drink because one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t want to fly a plane hungover; you get hot, you sweat, you get airsick, and everything is generally awful and uncomfortable. Add in the anxiety of an instructor judging your skills the entire flight and it’s a recipe for disaster.

The flight went okay, by the way. He was impressed with my professional flying skills, until my first landing that is. I bounced the plane three damn times and it was embarrassing like nothing else. Here you are trying to show an instructor that you’re good to fly and you bounce the plane a few hundred feet down the runway. Yikes. I vaguely remember trying to get the plane under control while muttering to my instructor over the intercom, “God…..damnit. Jeez…Man…” as we hit the ground, went back up, hit the ground again, went back up, until the plane finally decided to land.

The mighty Cessna 172 SKYCOCK

I told my therapist about my total two-week binge (it was only two-weeks at the time) fearing she’d shit all over me and tell me to get the hell out of her office. How I’ve fallen, how much progress I’ve pissed away since the start of the year. Remember the “drink once a week” goal from January? Whoops. Surprisingly she almost seemed supportive of it, mostly worried that I was drinking to cope. “No,” I said, “I don’t know why I’ve been drinking so much. I’ve been in a good mood and I’m not depressed or anything. It just seems like something to do I guess.” She kinda smiled and said something along the lines of, “Well, sometimes you need to do whatever works, and if you’re mood has been good…” That sounds really bad but it wasn’t worded that strongly; she didn’t seem to be encouraging me to drink. Like she was acknowledging that maybe there was some reason for it all and that maybe I had to abuse my body until I felt I was done with it or something. What she said felt very cryptic.

And damn if there doesn’t seem to be some good to it all. In the final week of my binge I was starting to feel pretty worn down. Just tired and exhausted and burned out all the time and feeling like I should take a break for a bit. Not for my mental health (because I wasn’t suffering from depression/anxiety issues for some reason) but for my physical health. Anyone who has drank that much should know what I’m talking about here. That ever-present exhaustion with life that comes with drinking all the time.

I also realized that I wasn’t taking sleeping pills every night either. I used to have issues with sleeping, but during my binge I wasn’t taking many pills to sleep. Sure, I’d stay up until 5 a.m. but I’d go to sleep “naturally” (minus the alcohol, of course) without the need for Benadryls or Alka-Seltzer Night TimeLemon Flavor. In my three-week binge totally abusing alcohol I somehow stopped taking sleeping meds like I had been doing the past three or four months. Is this progress?

And towards the end of my binge I realized I wasn’t even drinking coffee when I woke up like I usually did. Sure, I’d try to drink my usual three or four cups of coffee, but when you’re hungover, jittery, anxious, hot, sweaty, and nauseous the last thing your body really wants or needs is caffeine. I’d make my coffee, drink maybe half of it, and head off to work. As before, is this progress?

I decided I’d just stop consuming caffeine and sleeping meds during the final days of my drinking binge. The sleeping pills were mostly gone, but I was still weary of the dreaded caffeine withdrawal, most terrifying of the symptoms being the headaches. Caffeine headaches aren’t like any other kind of headaches, and luckily I can’t explain why they’re different because I weened myself off coffee this time. Sunday, I had two cups, and Monday I had singular cup of coffee, just enough to ward off the headaches. But Tuesday, my first sober day with alcohol, was also my first day with zero caffeine. I was mildly hungover and sleepy and really wanted a cup of coffee, but stayed strong and felt okay the entire day.

I did have a Coke from Chick-Fil-A today but that’s like, what 90 mg of the stuff at most? That’s not going to do anything and my main goal was to not require like hundreds of milligrams of the drug to function during the day which I’m glad to say I’m succeeding at.

It really makes me notice how much I’ve been forcing my body to do what I want it to do by using drugs. Can’t sleep and want to sleep? Benadryl/Alka-Seltzer. Wake up groggy and nonfunctioning (probably due to the Benadryl at 3 a.m.): caffeine! Hundreds of milligrams of caffeine! Can’t sleep because of the caffeine? Benadryl! And repeat this over and over. By not taking either of these drugs that seem to lead to the other, it’s like I’ve broken the cycle and don’t need them anymore. I feel worn out and tired at the end of the day and it’s a healthy and natural exhaustion; my body is ready to sleep and does so easily. Amazingly, I even wake up and not feel dead either! Who would’ve guessed! Sure I still need my nicotine to get going, but it’s tons better than needing nicotine and caffeine to wake up.

It’s strange that by abusing alcohol for three weeks I’ve somehow came to this random idea to not drink caffeine or take sleeping pills every night. I doubt this is what the therapist was hoping I’d do, but I still feel like I’ve made some positive life choices by abusing alcohol for three weeks. I’m not saying that if you want to stop drinking coffee or needing pills to sleep you should go on a three-week drinking binge (any week-long drinking binge isn’t smart for any reason) but I’m rather surprised that’s what it took to get me where I am. I’ll take any minimal form of progress I can and try to be happy with it.