this week, raw & uncut

The other day, this was our truth:

I had abdominal surgery a few days ago.

I have three small birds and we are not in a safe place. I am still too weak and in terrible pain to take care of myself and them both. No matter how much I hurt, they depend on me. I cannot let them down.

I am too afraid and anxious to leave the room I am staying in. I can’t go into the kitchen or to the bathroom unless I know there is no threat in the house. There is only one person in the house willing to help me, but, he is usually intoxicated and often forgets and leaves me without food or water.

The people who own this house no longer want me, here. They won’t talk to me. They refused to  take me to the hospital when I begged. Instead, they left. It’s because their daughter moved back into the house.

She has threatened to hurt me on sight and destroys my things. She destroyed my vehicle. She used my personal information to open phone accounts and buy a phone the day of my surgery. She stands outside the door and says things that are not true or that mean to make me feel worthless. I try not to hear her.

No one here will protect me or make it stop.

I am trapped, today, and I feel like my birds and I are going to probably die. I have no where to go. I can barely move because of this pain. It shouldn’t hurt this way.

I am alone. I am so desperate and afraid. I would beg anyone to help me, please help me. If I have to lose my flock I have nothing. We are each other’s everything, right now. The oldest is 30 years old. My Lou. Qt has been my companion for 15 years. Alo is only 7, but he is Qt’s best friend.

I won’t leave or abandon them. I promised them I would never let that happen to them.

Please help me keep my promise to never leave them.

Please, God, help us. Don’t abandon us.

Please.

I am so afraid.

there comes a time

I, alone, cannot solve the problems I have, today. The resources and relationships required, I do not possess. Specific to relationships, I do not have any with anyone who is both sufficiently invested in the outcome of my life and in the position to suffer ‘being hungry as the dog’ confidently.
Those things I would provide myself, I cannot. Not even the most base needs did I satisfy for many more months than I want to acknowledge, here.
So, it is at this point therefore that I must decide when it is reasonable to recognize that nothing noble is hoped for in suffering, longer, still, and make a demand on behalf of whatever personal dignity remain. A demand of self-agency should I come to that moment of recognition that, if not in living, then in dying, I will have mastered something–anything–other than abject failure.

The feeling of grief is profound, conceding that I have drifted to the bottom of an unfathomable world. One, I would never completely sense I belonged at any time.

I cannot think thoughts of never touching or beholding my children, again. That may very well be my fate should I live longer than the stones I kick in the road.

If I pray for one thing, only, it will be mercy. My entire life I have asked for and received God’s mercy. Death, I hope, will not withhold the mercy my suffering begs out to be greeted, in the truest sense, silence from the living. At least the living that offer sacrifice to their gods at the altar of scarcity.

God was not unclear that ours was meant to be a life lived abundant. No belief of abundance creates a merciless world. One I would not survive under any circumstance. Mercy is, to me, the love we bring and the love we are brought.

I am not a soldier. I am not a deserter. I am a fighter that remains until my fight is done and I step down and out of the ring and into something softer, more forgiving, more true.
But God knows I will fight until I am absolutely beaten. With everything I have. So it goes with me. So it goes.

But, how long should it go? Really?

An Open Letter to Euro-Pro CEO, Mark Rosenzweig (aka Mark Rosen) from A Very Sad Woman

UPDATE 2016-03-14:

After posting on @SharkClean ‘s Twitter feed about my frustration and disappointment, I was contacted directly by one of their customer service representatives in SharkNinja’s Claims Department. After explaining my specific complaints about the Shark LiftAway model I have and also about the steam mop I purchased at the same time, she offered to accept my return of the product for Quality Assurance to inspect in exchange for my being sent their current model, the Power LiftAway, as well as their steam mop, all without charge.

So, this is what I intend to do:

When the return label is sent, I’ll ship the vacuum you see in the picture, below. After I receive the replacement, I’m going to give it a thorough work out of all its’ features and functions. Then, I’m going to sit down and write a comprehensive, 100% honest review of how the product worked, highlights of my experience with the design & features and if I would, based on this experience, return to the flock and take up the cause to promote SharkNinja products as I have previously or if I will remain as I am, now: vacuum challenged and putting pennies in a jar to save up for a Dyson.

Will let you know!

Executive Summary: A company product evangelist since 2007, I  now feel it is my responsibility to recant my praise and recall my recommendations.

Believe me when I say that I recognizefail-shark that writing letters about cleaning appliances to a company’s CEO and President just smacks of someone who is habitually disgruntled and unhappy, a person who probably complains about everything, always, and who has too much time on their hands (perhaps for their lack of having any friends willing to listen to their perpetual discontent.)

In response to possibly having my letter dismissed as being written with this potential case being true, I want to preface what follows with the assertion that I have never in my multiple decades, as a paying consumer of goods and services, ever felt compelled to take the time necessary to sit down and express in writing my experience with something I have purchased. In this case, I stopped everything I was doing because my Shark vacuum fell over into a cupboard and broke another dish. Enough.

Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)  is a reasonable principle. It reminds me that I am accountable for making as certain as I can that where I choose to spend my hard earned money  is worth the value, whether that be a car, an insurance policy, or a vacuum cleaner and steam mop.

As far as vacuum cleaners and steam mops went, I want you to know directly, that since 2008, I have been a die-hard, committed evangelist of Shark products. Having done my homework, tested the products, used the products extensively and compared the results to that of other products of every price range, I can tell you that a rare few people that I engaged with over the past 7 or more years were not subject to my enthusiastic praise and unhesitating recommendation of the Shark brand.

Alone, I probably generated at least a couple dozen sales by those acting on my dogged faith in the quality of your vacuum cleaners and steam mops.

But, I must insist you not thank me, yet, because, sadly, I now feel it is my responsibility to recant my praise and recall my recommendations.

Anyone who, upon my influence and persuasion, purchased a Lift-Away model within the previous two or two and a half years, of either the vacuum or the steam mop, has, I believe, been misled. My credibility in this case being completely lacking, I have been consoled, only by the fact that I have shared in the frustration and losses incurred while using these products.

Sir, what in God’s name were you thinking when the design was approved for manufacturing the Lift-Away Deluxe? It is immediately apparent that using this machine is worse than difficult, it is downright painful.

Do you have any idea how many bruises, skin abrasions and broken objects I have accumulated in this past year, alone, since the purchase and use of the Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe?

I am sure you do not. Because, if you did, the persons responsible for this abominable machine design would have been banished from ever being in a position to destroy the reputation of a company, again.

Suction, be damned, if the vacuum is designed to fall over with every move of the wand attachment.

As for the steam mop, I don’t even know where to begin. It never worked in the upright position and soon after its purchase, simply stopped working altogether. It caused more than its share of wasted hours and embarrassing moments trying to explain the problem to others who were promised altogether superior results.

The original Shark products I purchased and used repeatedly and in the most extreme conditions for a solid 5 years and that worked as well the day they were retired as the day they were received, earned my utmost respect and loyalty as a customer.

Then, after saving for months and excited about finally being able to upgrade to a newer model with all the attachments, pads, cleaners, you name it, I am now left with a vacuum that causes me to swear like a drunken sea merchant every time I have to use it (and I try so hard not to have to use it…which, is so so so sad in its own right.) and no steam cleaner, at all, which I have depended upon for years.

In fact, at the very moment of my writing this letter, I can see where the Navigator lay on its’ side, where I left it while trying to vacuum my bedroom. After first falling over into my shin bone for the zillioneth time, in my frustration and disappointment, I decided you deserved to have this letter written to you so you could participate in this small way in my experience.

And, sadly, I now have to consider sharing with others that I am no longer a convert, and can no longer advocate as I have for Shark.

In some strange way, this experience has caused me to lose something special–the ability to feel excited about stuff.

Thank you for your time. Please speak to the the people that designed the Lift-Away line. They kill happiness.

Sincerely,

Disillusioned in the Santa Cruz Mountains  Portland, Oregon

If it Ain’t the Horse, It’s the Donkey

Always something, as my grandmother would say.

My “something” is a combination package of cluster headaches upwards of 5 or more, every day for the last couple of weeks wrapped in a poison oak rash that includes my face, most disruptively, my left eye. This eye being intermittent,y swollen shut or not, depending on who knows what.

I had managed to avoid poison oak and its’ wrath for the 30 or so years I have been on the west coast. Until now, that is. And, to my credit, I tried preventing contact with the vines that caused the rash I have, but, all those efforts be damned when the little dog that lives next door to the house I was clearing brush from, ran underneath and tripped me as I was raking up a huge pile of yard debris on to the tarp.

I fell face first into a mound of poison oak vines, thorny weed stems and crab grass. And, even then, I hustled as fast as I could to wash my skin with the soap I brought for this very purpose. It was too little, too late, I guess.
I console myself with the thought of it having been much much worse had I not done anything, at all. Admittedly, it’s a pretty small consolation.

As,for the headaches, what can I say? If you experience cluster headaches, you already know that words can’t do a description justice and if you never experienced them, there aren’t any words that would bring their description anywhere close to what they actually feel like. They defy language and its’ ability to represent the world as we experience it.

Cluster headaches, for what it’s worth, are also referred to as “suicide headaches“. I find that as apt a description as any I could come up with.

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The Day is Iffy

I don’t know if I’m going to pull it, today.

The tightness that began in my chest when I learned that the ass-hats who have my birds are about to screw me over, again, due to their combined control pathos so that I might lose them, forever, has not budged.

I slept in 30 minutes stretches between hours of anxious wakefulness. I don’t even know if I managed a full 3 hours of sleep.

I know I was freezing my ass off outside before 6 a.m., this morning. I still can’t feel my damn feet.

Combining this imminent state of anxious panic with my lack of rest, no where to use a bathroom, not having been able to take a shower since early last week, another prospective day crammed in this 2′ x 2′ opening without food and surrounded by open hostility from once beloved people who have squarely lost their minds in some black pit of badness. (Real badness, as in evil bad not not bad-ass bad) .. it’s the queasy, greasy disquiet felt after eating a questionable burrito.

Okay.

I have to keep my head out of my ass. Seriously.

So, this is what I got to work with, today. I have to begin with prayer. It’s literally all I have left, what remains of my mind. Imagine that.

Psalm 138:7 
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

I don’t know if I’m going to pull it, today, but, God knows I am going to try with everything I’ve got

Why We Save Them

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Zuri, a Congo African Grey, in hospice care through Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue.

The following is a re-post of a message to Mickaboo volunteers written by Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue co-founder and CEO, Michelle Yesney. It has been published here with her gracious permission.

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As you all know, Mickaboo is a rescue.  That means we often take in birds that are injured, sick, maimed, and terrified.  We take whatever measures are necessary to see that they receive the medical care they need, and our trained and compassionate volunteers help nurse them back to health.

But not all of the birds who come to us can be “cured”.  Not all of them can recover fully.

Birds that have lost all or part of a wing, all or part of a leg or foot, or have had part of their beak torn off, cannot grow back the missing part.  Birds that have plucked for a long time may have damaged the follicles such that their feathers cannot all grow back.  Scar tissue can impede the full use of wings, legs, and regrowth of feathers.

These birds will never be able to behave or act exactly the way a “normal” healthy bird would act or move.  Their lives will never be the same.

So why does Mickaboo rehabilitate these birds?  Why do we spend time, money, and valuable volunteer resources on these damaged birds?  Wouldn’t it be kinder to humanely euthanize them, “put them out of their misery”, since they can never be just like other birds?

People do ask me these questions, and it seems appropriate to give you all my answer – and to explain why you might want to consider fostering or adopting a “special needs” bird.

The first and most important thing to understand is that no matter how savage the injury or damage the bird may have sustained, no matter how severe the mutilation – birds don’t think of themselves as crippled or handicapped.

Once their pain can be controlled, the bird immediately begins to work through the actions and behavior changes necessary to resume its “normal” life.  They never feel sorry for themselves.

Loss of a wing may be the most significant injury that can occur to a bird – the loss of flight.**  A few years ago, I cared for a cockatiel after his surgery (for a wing amputation).  He was clearly grieving; he didn’t move around very much and was silent and withdrawn.  His surgical site healed, but he remained very quiet.  Then spring arrived and with it, a lot more sunshine.  It was almost as though he had been sleeping for weeks – he began singing and calling to the other birds, he was active and had to be moved to a much larger cage.  He was probably the most musical – and joyous – cockatiel I have ever met – his name is Picabo.

Birds seem so fragile and delicate.  When they survive a terrible injury or lose part of their body due to injury or illness, it is easy to assume they will die.  But often they do not.  They can be incredibly tough and amazingly resilient.

We take in birds that are so badly hurt, often compounded by bad care or neglect, that our experienced avian vets are horrified by their condition.  But we try never to assume that an injury is fatal.  So many of the birds that come to us with horrible damage do recover.  Chacco the Galah (or rose-breasted cockatoo) came to us with horrible injuries, many of which had caused flesh on his wing and body to become necrotic (literally, it had died).  The smell was horrible.

Take a look at him now on our web page (under Special Needs Birds).  He lost a wing, but he is a beautiful, active bird who is learning to trust humans again.

Violet the budgie came to me with a huge hernia the size of her head attached to her vent.  It has been repaired now and she is as active as any other budgie.  She must never be allowed to lay eggs, but she likes to chitter at me in a soft voice, and is just as spunky as any budgie hen I’ve met.

We label birds “special needs” –  but everyday the ones I know remind me that mostly they are just special.

And I am lucky to have them in my life.

I invite each of you to consider fostering a special needs bird.  It is an experience that may change you life. ​ Perhaps some of you can also share your experience with “special” birds.​

Michelle

Secretly, I Knew I Might Drop Dead at Work

Good.co has a great article posted to their blog, today, with 11 very concerning stats about the world of work and just how hard it is to keep ourselves from kicking the bucket overdoing it. For example, 57% of U.S. vacation time goes unused because folks would rather work than, presumably, return to what might be worse (that’s what would happen in my experience. I was afraid to be out more than 2 days running or come back to find my office was under a stairwell in the basement or my co-workers were laying siege to overthrow the fascist regime–admittedly, mine. I’m since reformed.).

But, more importantly, the picture of Judy Garland is priceless. Damn, girl, you sure were pretty!

Before Spanking Syria, Mr. President…

In 1985, after another stand-off between officers of the Philadelphia Police Department and the West Philadelphia based MOVE organization, frustrated attempts to remove the residents from an occupied building coupled with the recent aftermath of the convictions of 9 MOVE members for the slaying of police officer,…, a police helicopter dropped two, one pound bombs on the targeted house located among the block of connected row homes in the West Philadelphia neighborhood. 11 people were killed by the ensuing fire, including four children, six adults and MOVE organization leader, … . 65 homes were consumed and destroyed.

This is what a related Wikipedia Article describes happened in 1986:

Mayor W. Wilson Goode soon appointed an investigative commission called the PSIC or MOVE commission. It issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.”[15] No one from the city government was charged criminally.

An admitted unconscionable action, yet, no criminal indictments. Not a single person who was party to this unconscionable decision to drop bombs on a house occupied by children in a residential, urban neighborhood of connected row homes was held accountable for what they had done: destroying the homes and life long memories of 65 innocent families and the destroying, literally, the lives of 11 human beings-four of which, were only children.

Yet, the nation is overflowing with overpopulated prisons and jails filled with people branded as criminals for petty and victimless violations of law far and away from the moral deficiency required to be considered an unconscionable action. Yet, our president would like more Syrians to perish for killing civilians.

WTF is wrong with this picture? Please, before any more self righteous speeches about the inhumanity (which, indeed, it was) of Syria to drop bombs on civilians, could someone please remember to remove the plank from this government’s eye, first? It is *VERY* distracting.
How do people accept this as their reality then in the same breath demand obedience to governmental authority? What a disgusting legacy of irrationality.

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Fighting Goliath

Pain. It really is unbearable and 4 ibuprofen with a salt tablet can’t fix this one.
Existential, emotional pain is frustratingly resistant to OTC analgesic remedies. This particular bout of agony so far proves unwilling to negotiate or compromise with me, either. Which leads me with just a few options. Giving voice to it, here, is the first exercise addressing it and although it cannot resolve the cause, I desperately hope it will dull the excruciating feeling of my breathing being crushed under an impossible weight. I know this is beyond my ability to manage for long. I *am* desperate. Just saying.

The tipping point was discovering via the internet that my mother had sold her home last summer to live with my brother, who, consequently, I learned (again, via the internet) has been engaged to marry since May of this year.

It brought into my immediate awareness the unresolved, ever-present hurt I have spent almost three decades burying, numbing and trying to ignore. These demons will not be cast out, it seems, and, now it is clear that they intend to give no quarter. No mercy. And, frankly, I don’t feel up to the battle with this.

I have no relationship with either my mother or my brother. Despite the many attempts and overtures I have made over the years, there has been no contact. At least none that has ever been welcomed when I’ve tried.

I have four, perfect, beautiful adult children. My mother could not tell you what any of their names are. She has never even asked. The abandonment and rejection dealt to me was hard. When it was extended to my children, who deserve only love, who committed offense to no one, that hurt transcended into protective rage that has been slowly consuming me until now, that my babies are grown and safe and happy, leaves me without much will to live.

It has swallowed my interest in life. I have no joy. Just pain. My offense to my family is simply that I exist. My mother has hated my presence since birth. Her actions have never suggested otherwise. In my absence, I suspect she crafted some story of woe to spin with others to explain the missing daughter. She’s incapable of telling the truth as I have had to learn over the course of my life.
Because of this, I still, after 44 years, know nothing about who my real father was. Everything I was told turned out to be a lie. That was hard to accept, too. But, accepting is all that I can do and I thought I had mastered it.

Until, today. I guess I haven’t accepted enough. If I did, I would not be in the suffering pain suffocating me, today.

I have never asked my mother or anyone in my family for anything my entire life. She has never offered me any help of any kind. I have no memory of her ever holding me, even. Her hate has evolved into apathy. I never existed. I am not worth a thought.

Yet, I do exist and have to run across evidence of my mother and brother’s lives and happiness and know that they enjoy material things like homes and money while I have nothing.
I could once be proud of my success, earned by my own determination and faith that God would provide.

Then I slowly lost everything to illness and what I realize, now, is decay from what was being murdered inside me as I ate my rage and confusion in silence all these years.

Just one word shatters the quiet. It screams, “Why?!”

I hope God gets this message and if He does, maybe His Grace will come.
I really don’t think I can wait long, though.

God knows I’m tough. Fierce, even. But, I’m not strong enough for this one. It is Goliath. I have no rocks to throw.

A Problem with My Problems

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I have a problem. Actually, I have quite a few problems, but the one this blog has been most effected by is the problem I have with blogging, which is: I can’t decide if I’m going to commit to a blog site that is transparent, translucent, or opaque. I’m really on the fence about this because privacy is my favorite creature comfort. I potentially care much more about other people’s opinions of me than I’ve previously been aware admitting.

This, by the way, is another one of my problems that is included in a cluster of similarly situated issues I have in my problem storage. I organize my problems by storing them in sets of matching type, origin, and/or urgency. One problem can occupy more than one group, which means that I can honestly say look someone dead in the eye and deny having a of a long list of problems. Instead of a single list, I have tables of them that are indexed. In essence, my problems are multidimensional. Not in a semantic sort of way, but in a relational database sort of way. In order to tackle one of my problems, my self-help tools include SQL queries. I’m not clever enough to write stored procedures.

But, I digress.

To be fair, privacy is important, to me. I’m basically a very private person simply because I’m basically a very introverted type person.

Upshot: When I figure out my comfort level, my posts will inevitably be either irregular in their delivery or irregular in their content. That’s my way of saying what I write about will be so obscure (my modus operendi is suffocation by abstraction) as to be impossible to understand. Oh, readers will often think they understand. They may even comment with a well placed admonishment to seek help soon, but, in truth, the meaning was buried alive in all that verbosity.