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Tony Karas
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I'm kind of at odds today. Not really sure what to do with myself. I did the dishes. Straightened up the kitchen. Did 2 loads of wash and folded the clothes and put them away. Now I'm kind of lost. My wife is still out. She should be home soon but Lord only knows for real. We have had very little rain but it has been gray and cold all day. They say we have a warm front moving in but you can't tell it by me. Miah is here now along with his father. He is really wound up. Damn little tyke has taken to calling everyone a dumbass. I keep telling him to say dummy but the more I tell him not to say ass the more he does. Contrary little devil.

I hope to get out of this place when my wife gets home. I am going stir crazy. The walls are pressing in and gray leaden skies outside don't help any at all.

Depression is creeping back in. I can feel it coming. The sadness and the pressing tears and the beast winding up to his usual obnoxious self. I am hungry. There is food in the freezer but nothing I feel like making. Besides I don't want to mess up the kitchen after I straightened it up.

I really am at odds today. Itchy. Needing to get out of here and go do something. Anything at all. Maybe we can see an afternoon matinee. Maybe... oh who am I fooling? She will have running to do and we will be able to do nothing at all.

Such is life. Nothing at all. Everything is nothing and nothing is everything.

God I'm getting morose. Gotta nip that in the bud.

Maybe I'll listen to some tunes. That should help. Maybe some Neil Young. Or Guns 'n Roses. Yeah. Guns 'n Roses sounds good.

The pace of life is so much more laid back at our place down in North Carolina. it is mountain country and the pace reflects it. I had work I had planned to do but our means were limited and so none of it got done. Instead we spent our days driving winding mountain roads just exploring. The scenery was unbelievable. Cloud covered mountains and greenery. We discovered the state park with a waterfalls at the end of a mile long trail. The park would be perfect for camping. I would like to take the boys back there for a weekend. We never did make it back to the waterfalls due to inclement weather but we tried. We actually go to within 0.2 of mile before we were forced to turn back by lightning and thunder. The trail grew to be very rough after a while. I am glad we waited until we were properly prepared before we attempted it. Just the day before Carol wanted to do it in flipflops. No way would that have been a good idea. You need a good stout pair of hiking boots to do it.

We also discovered a quaint little main street eatery that was rated five stars. The food was delicious and the ambience was just perfect. A limited menu was made up for by the quality of the food.

We went to the car show in town on Friday night. It was a cruising scene right out of the 50's with hot rod coupes, classic cars, antiques... you name it they had it. It was centered around the local ice cream shop of course.

We spent one day at Dollywood in Tennessee. That was a disappointment. They had maybe 10 adult rides. The rest was mostly shops. They did have the world's fastest launched wooden roller coaster which was out of this world. Almost the entire ride yoy we lifted out of your seat by the g forces. Well worth the wait in line. We got to see Dolly's tour bus inside and out. It was the apex of luxury. In 1970 dollars it cost $750,000. It got 7 miles to the gasllon yet had a tank large enough to travel over 2,000 miles between refueling stops. Never once was it stopped for a traffic infraction. She has a new bus now and when she retires that one to Dollywood she will take the original to her home. Sentimental value and all that.

Carol and George could not take the slow pace and laid back nature. They were bored stiff and so we came home early for them. They were going stir crazy. I know how that is. Sometimes I get that way too. This time I brought my Nook so I had plenty to read while I was there. I came down with a nasty cold though and so I was not feeling too well. Another reason to come home.

Tianna enjoyed herself too. She was amazed to see people actually carrying guns in holsters. I had hope to take her to the gun range and teach her to shoot but leaving early put the kabosh on that idea. Next time perhaps. I know she will enjoy that and it is useful knowledge to have.

I played hide and seek with depression while were there. When it was too bad I hid in my room just like I do at home. Mostly though it was light enough to deal with. Still feeling a bit of depression yet today. Just a little bit. I have to get a note from the shrink and then see work's doctor before I return to work again on Friday. What a pain in the ass he is.

I have heard it said that the first 10 years are the hardest. If so then we were the exception. Sure those 10 years were hard. We had to adjust to life together. I was a partying fool whenever I was off, which was not as often as I liked. I did not yet make enough money to support a family of 3 then 4 then 5. We had bought a home then sold it and bought a brand new one. In doing so we had bit off more than we could chew. I relied upon overtime to make ends meet and I worked a lot of it. Consequently my wife, who did not work, was left home to raise the kids. I remember very little of their early years since I was never there. I was always at work it seemed.

In those early years I first began to manifest my cycles, the cycles of the bipolar which would plague our lives forever more. As our first decade passed I became more and more isolated and my wife and I began to live separate lives. This worsened during the second decade. It was then that I truly began to go nuts. The end of that decade would see me in my first true crisis state. It was the first time I almost lost my life to the beast.

But good came out of that. At last I was diagnosed and received treatment. My wife saw my struggles and so we both worked to restore our lives together. I was still working every overtime I could get and so I missed out on my kids early teen years too. But the little lady and I began to grow back together and ever since it has been her support that kept me alive.

Our third decade was one of pure hell. I was totally lost to the beast as I tried every medication known to man looking for a cure to the cycles, to the madness. At times she feared me. At other times she feared for me. But she stuck by my side. God love that woman I put her through hell and still she held on.

Our 4th decade has still been rough but out of them all it has been our best so far. I am finally on meds that actually help. I still had an alcohol problem until last year. We still had very rocky times sometimes. During one of them she finally reached the breaking point and she left me. But I fought for her back. I gave up the alcohol and straightened out my act. I still cycle but the cycles are so much more manageable since I gave up self medicating.

As we approach our fifth decade we are in a better place then we ever were. We are closer and stronger. I no longer need to work so much overtime and am home far more often. We are more than a team. We are one together.

Today is one year since I've had even one drop of alcohol. Unfortunately it is also the one year anniversary of one of the worst periods in my life. One year ago today I lost my wife to my insanity. I ended up in the hospital and then the crisis center after an accidental overdose damn near took my life. They all thought it was a suicide attempt but it was not. It took over a month for them to release me. Then I had to face life without my wife.

Fortunately for me I did win her back. It was not an easy thing to do. It took all my strength and all my fortitude to maintain an even keel and fight for her. I honestly thought I had no chance but I could not give up without a fight. And it paid off for here we are one year later and she is and has been back. Things between us have rarely been better.

I told her I did not want to celebrate this anniversary. That I did not deserve it. Yet still she bought me a new zippo lighter engraved "Tony 1 year free 8-11-16". I will always treasure it. It is a bronze lighter and looks really good all polished up.

Tomorrow is our 38th wedding anniversary. We are going out to dinner to celebrate. We are currenly planning a big bash for our 40th in two years. We will have our vows blessed then have a party. It will be catered with a DJ in a nice hall. We will invite our friends and family. On my side there will be few of either but her side will make up for it.

Speaking of anniversaries - in March of this year it was 38 years that I've been working at the refinery. A lifetime I know. Especially when I did not expect to make it 10 years. In that time I have been laid off and called back twice. Well the second time I wasn't exactly called back. I applied for a shift supervisor position and was hired. That means that, believe it or not, I started over as a new employee. I did get 4 weeks vacation at least although I had 6 when I was laid off. Still it beats the 2 weeks I should have had based on being a new employee again.

So this week is a week of anniversaries for me. 1 good one, one proud one and one bad one all clustered together. The trick is to let the bad one go and celebrate the other two.

I'm adrift on an endless gray sea
Storms and tempests surrounding me

Yet here I sit in the eye of the storm
Questioning why I was ever born

Perchance to drift but never to live
There's nothing left for me to give

Bereft of life yet existing still
All of this a most bitter pill

What I'd give to live a minute
To look at life and see me in it

Rather than drift with the tide
Among the waves a place to hide

I am trying. Trying very hard to remain positive. All alone today and it's NOT a good day at all. Tears haunt me today. Those bloody tears. I tried tunes but they did not work. They only brought more tears as I remembered the good times. I did some laundry. Did the dishes. Straightened up the kitchen. The living room is a bomb and I will not touch it. I made the bed. I've been trying to keep busy but it is a miserable day inside and outside. I am miserable myself inside. The voice... ahhh the voice. Staying busy usually helps but today it's not doing the trick. I have run out of things to do anyway. I have a damn cold and that's kicking my butt on top of everything else. You know how the first couple days of a cold makes you feel like crap. At least I'm no longer coughing up blood. My wife saw the blood spots and was all concerned at first. Then it became an item of the past as all things do so quickly around here. She tried Googling it and found nothing conclusive so it became not a concern. Probably COPD I'd say. God knows I've been smoking long enough for it. No wheezing though. Only shortness of breath in conjunction with the chest pain whenever that comes. I'm ashamed at my condition. I was always in such good shape. Now I'm a mess, emotionally, mentally and physically. That's shameful to let yourself get that way.

Katy is being a pain in the ass today. She needs extra attention. Either that or she senses my mood and is trying in her small way to comfort me. Dogs sometimes do that I know. I remember Cocoa, a dog belonging to friends of mine. The day the father went to work and dropped dead Cocoa took his lunch before work and ran around the house with it. First and only time he ever did something like that. Almost like he was trying to keep him home from work because he knew something was wrong. I still swear that he did know it.
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