Things That Make Your Skin Crawl, Ugly News, Bill Collectors, Trickling Beads Of Sweat Oh And Fleas!

Life has its challenges. We often solve our challenges the best we can in the moment, and pay for less than perfect solutions later. We attribute ‘wisdom’ to people, who find perfect solutions for both the ‘Now’ and their ‘Future’. This is essentially foresight.

Some people never live in the ‘Now’ but have a keen eye towards alleviating their pain in their ‘Future’. We often think of people like this as Stoics. For those that grew up on Disney movies, we might even remember the fable and cartoon of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper plays all day while the ant stores away food underground. Unlike George R. R. Martin’s ‘Winter,’ the Grasshopper appears lazy and short-sighted. A white walker does not come for the Grasshopper, his own lack of planning does him in. While the ant is happy underground in an ant city with lots of food.

Some people are just one way and some are another. Some people, and I count myself in this next batch, take turns living in many roles, catching up on things we needed to do in the past, working on making our future easier or living in the Now. Occasionally, some of us can cover multiple things at once.

Over the last year, I lived in the ‘Now’ to survive. I could not focus on the past as that brought on depression stopping me in my tracks.

I could not focus on the past as that brought on depression stopping me in my tracks.  I could not focus on the future, as that brought on anxiety that would also stop me in my tracks.

I could not focus on the future, as that brought on anxiety that would also stop me in my tracks. Following the start of my divorce, my ability to make short-term decisions was terrible, medium term decisions were impossible and long-term decisions were so far-fetched, I would have had a better shot at finding a magic wand and turning myself into a rabbit.

Living in the ‘Now’ was the thing that saved me at the time. It is still the thing that keeps me happy.

I am learning (again) that when I live in the Now I have many choices. Some of those choices work for the Now and that is it. Some of those choices work for the Now and for the future.

One of my current goals is to find peace for myself and my emotions by living in the Now. Another of my goals is to be present with other people when I am around them. These are similar goals.

I have a lot of people in my life (and by choice). There are times when I need to find ways to be there for people even when they are not physically present. Cell phones and social media helps….

Snuffles’ Parting Gift

A couple of weeks ago, I shared an experience relating to a cat that helped save me this last year. I was not able to keep the cat named, Snuffles, permanently. I did keep her long enough to improve her health and help her raise some kittens. Then with the help of my daughter, Zoe, we found them all a permanent home together.

It broke my heart a little to let that cat go. She had been there for me when I was not fully prepared to be alone. Like a person learning to ride a bike for the first time, Snuffles was like the person that holds the bike seat and runs along with the new bicyclist keeping them from twisting the handlebars and doing a face plant in a barberry bush.

Taking in a stray cat and fostering her kittens, this was not the wisest nor most prudent thing to do for many many reasons. (Understatement!)

It was the right thing for me to do in the moment to not only survive the ‘Now’ but to help heal myself during that ‘Now’. If I went back in time, I would do it again.

Snuffles and her kittens named One, Two, and Three-Four and Four-or-Three, left me with a parting gift that I did not discover until about a week after they left.

That didn’t really become relevant until early this week, but let me back up before I explain….

Going Broke (Temporarily)

Starting about 2-3 weeks ago, right around the time that I found Snuffles and her kittens a forever home, I pretty much ran out of money. I did not go bankrupt. That is not a legal option for me. It wouldn’t do me any good either. Essentially, I can not go bankrupt.

I can run out of money and that is what happened. New business was not coming in, especially during the holidays when everyone was away on vacation and traveling.

My business as a freelance WordPress web developer and writer has always experienced slow periods during the summer.

[Just fielded a call from a client back from summer related activities and just about ready to get business started even more by hiring me to do more. Thank you!]

In the past, I would do my best in the spring to set aside money to see me through the end of August.  If there was a slow-down in business. I would then work to force myself to take time off during the summer a bit and do family things and to also use that time to work on my marketing efforts or business infrastructure.

This year, I was not able to set aside enough money during the spring. The demands of setting up a new household and a host of other expenses just didn’t let that happen.


[Just took another quick break to …]

So as business slowed to a halt and my cash flow out did not, I literally ran out of money and credit too for that matter.

I could see the slow down coming months ago. Last December I started looking for a job of any type. That effort continues to this day.

So far it has not resulted in a job offer nor a new source of more reliable income or supplementary income or anything. I keep looking. I keep applying to jobs. It is not easy as I have not had a hit on an application or resume in months.

Early last week after the fourth, a friend sent me a gift of money. It was $150 in cash and two gift cards for my kids.

This gift helped pay for groceries and gas. 🙂

It had an amazing impact on my efforts to turn things around. Since a week ago Tuesday or so, I redoubled all of my efforts on every front. I had not let up before that, but I have attacked things with a higher level of energy.

The gift gave me even more than money. It gave me the sense that I was not in this alone.

I knew already that I was not in this alone. I have had all types of support and help in many ways before and sense. That gift from a person that had seen very tough times and major life changes as well, helped me crystallize the positive intention of many many friends and family.

[Just took another quick break for reasons that I am getting to…]

I am setting up a top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top new way of marketing to, advertising to, connecting with and communicating with new clients in my business. I am looking at my resume and my ability to rapidly customize it for each slightly different job opportunity that crosses my radar.What I was doing was not working. I had to change it. I am changing it.

What I was doing was not working. I had to change it. I am changing it.

Snuffles’ Gift

Sometimes those decisions we make to keep ourselves alive and happy and in the moment, they trigger things in the future.Over the weekend

Over the weekend, I don’t recall exactly which day, I opened the door to my daughter’s room. My children had been gone for the last 2-3 weeks before that with their mother and her family on vacation in Florida. I used this time to work my butt off and to get things back on track before they returned. I didn’t get that done, but I made huge progress. I walked into their room and was attacked. I was wearing shorts and toe shoes as is my norm.

I hadn’t been in the room for a couple of weeks as I had been out-of-town working in the mountains and now was back.

Their room had turned into one big flea nest!

Snuffles and her kittens had left their gift. The door had been shut and the fleas did not spread to the rest of the place and I had not noticed they were there.That began the battle to rid the place of fleas!

That began the battle to rid the place of fleas! In addition to everything else, I have now treated their room with flea powder first, which had a big impact.

It was not enough.

The next day they were still there and my kids were coming the next night.I bought flea bombs and bombed the entire place. To do this type of thing, I had to move out lots of

I bought flea bombs and bombed the entire place. To do this type of thing, I had to move lots of pieces of furniture. I had to get all the bedding stripped off the beds. I had to put food and anything that would touch the skin in safe places before hand. The bomb had a big impact.

It was not enough.

I still had to clean everything, every surface of the apartment in all the rooms and bathrooms and kitchen and lots of dishes and utensils and laundry.

Yesterday, I got more flea bombs, a different brand and repeated the process.

While we wevacuated from the place, I was working at a friend’s house on business. My kids went to a local pool with my friend’s daughter. We had dinner with them. I came home and aired the place out and started the cleaning regime. It was about 98 degrees out and I had the windows open and vacuumed every square inch of the place and then started the wipe down.

It was hot!

This morning as I got up and walked through the place, I noticed they were still not all gone.

It was not enough.

So back to the store. I had done some more research and the bombs can do better with a week or so in between. Plus, it is not healthy for people to bomb too many times.

So this time around I’m turning to direct spray application stuff to hit the few places that are left.

The powder took out about 80% of the fleas in the bedroom. That 20% spread.

The bombs took out 80% of the 20%. The remaining 20% of that spread.

The next bombs took out by my estimates about 70% of the 20%. (Raid bombs did not seem to be as good as the Hart bombs, which were also 3x the price.)

This time, I bought some Black Flag spray. The remaining 20% of each of those iterations seem to be sparsely out and about in different areas. Whenever, I run across one somewhere, I spray a quick little area.

Tomorrow, I’m buying more flea powder too, but using it requires a two-hour seclusion from that area of the house and no air conditioning running in it.

I’m going to keep doing spot applications of spray and powder until the kids leave to see their Mom next Friday.

Then I’ll bomb the place again.

It is getting better, but every now and then one of the little buggers jumps on my leg and I walked it to the restroom and wash it down the sink.

Working My Ass off and the Fleas off my ass

I’m not a werewolf but if you watch or read recent popular tv shows or books about werewolves, they typically are a lot warmer than normal people. That’s me.I’m also a bit on the hairy side, especially my calves. My calves seem to attract the buggers, but my hide is too thick for them to bite.

I’m also a bit on the hairy side, especially my calves. My calves seem to attract the buggers, but my hide is too thick for them to bite.  This is a good thing, they jump on me, I pick them off and wash them away and they don’t go after my kids.

This is a good thing, they jump on me, I pick them off and wash them away and they don’t go after my kids.

This has been the backdrop for all of my work this week.

I’ve been writing and rebuilding and executing business plans, while vacuuming 3-4 times per day and bombing and powdering and coming and going in and out of my place.  Plus doing lots of pushups for the 22 Push Up challenge and feeding and cleaning and taking care of the kids and shopping for more and more supplies every day with money I don’t really have.

In addition to reworking everything about my business, I’m also now, walking flea paper!

Other things that make my skin crawl

On occasion, I venture outside to run errands for food, or flea stuff or whatever. The air conditioner in my car is still busted and it is 98 out. So as I venture out, sweat happens. I’ve noticed that occasionally, it will trickle down my calves and then I can’t tell if it is a flea or a sweat!

It is going to take me a week or two to get used to not itching after I have these pests whipped.
I think it is going to take me a long time before I ever rent or buy a place with carpet again and much, much longer before I take in a stray cat and kittens too. I might give a starving cat some food outside, but not bringing them in.

Snuffles was awesome and did a lot of good for me in the Now, but the future repercussions have not made life easier.

If I’m being honest, this flea situation does keep me hopping!

Epilogue – a few days later, or in the Now as I publish this thing…

I wrote this about 4-5 days before I could get around to publishing it.  Since then I have turned to more natural means of controlling the fleas and those methods are working better.

Healing from Writing, Listening & Re-Reading

Good Morning!

It is Saturday morning, July 2nd. Just as I started to type this sentence the sun came out of a cloud over my left shoulder and far above the mountain behind me. It is a beautiful day and I can hear kids playing in the distance, birds singing all around me, a woodpecker tapping out a mating call and the woman I love showering about twenty feet away. I just shed more tears for Snuffles after re-reading my own article from two days ago.

Last year, I learned a valuable lesson about healing myself and growing and evolving. Many people, many self-help books and many counselors often recommend keeping a journal and writing down the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in our heads. I started doing this last year when I was exploring brand new depths of emotional pain and despair, but it did not help me very much.

It helped a little but not much.

I needed to connect with people. I did not want to dump and re-dump my problems on them endlessly. I did need to connect.
I also realized that many of my friends and family and loved ones had experienced similar emotional pain and trauma. They had gained a great deal of wisdom and their perspectives and knowledge could be extremely helpful. It was helpful for me to hear it and I believe helpful for many of them to share it.

Their wisdom and knowledge however was their own. I could not ‘take’ their lessons and apply them directly to my own challenges. 

I had to learn to filter out the lessons I could use and those that I could not. I had to filter through the lessons I could apply now and those that might need to wait because it wasn’t the right time for the situation or because I was not ready to do something useful with an advanced lesson.

The irony is that in talking with friends and hearing their truth and their wisdom and lessons, I could not absorb enough and definitely couldn’t always make a wise decision on what to use or not to use.

Combining several things – Journaling, Social Media, Diverse Perspectives & My Own Context

I developed a process that worked for me. In retrospect it worked very well for me.

1. I would write my challenge or my pain. I held back no truth. I held back no emotional pain either. I kept it as real and as honest as I knew how.

2. I shared this writing on Facebook. At first, I mistakenly shared it with everyone. It was a mistake in that it was completely unfiltered. Some of my friends and family were not ready or in a place to hear this, read it let alone provide anything that helped either of us. I was going through a divorce and some family and friends were too close to both sides emotionally themselves.

3. I corrected this by creating a list of ‘confidants’ and only shared my truth through writing with them. I had to ween this list as time went just a bit, but for the most part this worked very well. Around the clock and around the world, I had family and friends that could choose to read my truth or not as they chose. They could respond as they chose or not as well. The result was that I received a wide and diverse perspective. I heard from people that cheered me on. I heard from people that pointed out my blind spots. I heard from people that found flaws and faults in my response to things. I valued and did my best to use all of this diverse perspective. I did not take their responses personally to promote any agenda of my own. I did not take it personally when the responses could have been interpreted to invalidate myself. Here is how I did that…

4. This was a KEY STEP! Before reading each response from people, I went back and re-read my own original writing. I needed to insure I was grounded in my own context before reading their reaction to my writing. I needed to insure I could subjectively view it through my lens and find the useful aspect of their response and not get lost in their own subjective view. Sometimes the responses were written beautifully and sometimes they were rough and raw. I needed my context first so that I could apply the loving intent in the message and not get hung up on misplaced words or emotions from their words that might not belong. As these things went, I could easily find myself re-reading my own article dozens of times. This helped me tremendously in working through my emotions and exhausting the pain of those emotions, while preparing to heal myself and rebuild with the additional love and perspective provided by my friends and family.

Getting the Dosage of the Re-Reading message Right

A year ago, I re-read my own writing every time someone hit the Like button on facebook, everytime someone commented, and everytime a reply to a reply was made. I was very hurt and in lots of pain. I prescribed myself a high dosage of Re-Reading medicine.

A year later, I am in a much better place.
After my Snuffles Article I was feeling some new pain and working through some newer hurt. I did not need a high dosage though. As I received ‘Likes’ for my article and replies, I did not go back and re-read it every time. I had other things to do, life building and business and career things to do. I had healthy things to do. I did them. I am getting better at not allowing life events to throw my life off the rails.

Just took a quick break from writing to play with a chocolate lab that came by to say hello and run through my girlfriend’s garden. Super friendly dog…. 😊

This morning after breakfast, I finally did go back and I re-read my article. The last couple nights as I go to bed, I see Snuffles on the back of my eye-lids as I go to sleep. I knew I had more work to do. This morning was the morning to do the work.

I re-read my article in 4-5 batches. I’m not known for my brevity. I am not concise. The journey to the insight is as important to me as the phrase or sentence that contains the insight. I will never make a meme writer.

The tears came fresh again as I re-read my own article. It had a lot of sad stuff in that article. The sadness is still fresh in my memory as well.

Yet, re-reading it helped me to work through some more of it. Sharon, my girlfriend gave me a shoulder and back massage this morning too. She is an amazing massage therapist professionally. The massage helped to work out some of the things caught in my muscles and joints and system in general.

Hormones and other things from grief can get trapped in our bodies and those hormones are like toxic poison for our bodies, cortisol and other stress and grief triggered hormones are not chemicals that we need to leave in our bodies or brains.

Exercise, meditation, yoga, running, hiking, massage, tai chi, accupuncture and much more, are some of the great ways to get those chemicals released from our joints and the pockets between our muscle fibers.

The chocolate lab just came by again. He had a difficult time explaining before but this time he led me to a small pile of rabbit scat. He wanted to know where the rabbits were hiding. Unfortunately, I did not know the answer to this question, but pointed out the rabbits were not currently hiding in plain sight and he’d have to use his brain and nose to sniff them out. He took off again…

So re-reading my own writing after the feedback and help and love I received also helped me to literally cry out some more of those emotions and hormones. 

The Missing Step 5

5. It is important not to let the process above become all consuming. It is important not to let the process take on a nuclear fusion that ignites and becomes self sustaining. There is only so much processing that the human brain can perform in any given sitting or attempt.

We do not have computer fans in our heads (well breathing does help) to cool off our processor. The more processing we do in one session, the less efficient we become at completing the processing itself. The longer we go at it, the shorter our foot steps become. Each step towards our goal starts to get cut in half, and then cut by 60% and 70% and 80% and 90% and then 91% until an hour of processing emotions yields us almost no benefit.

We have to take a break from it for an hour, a day, a week or a month or more. Then revisit when our processor is cooled down and ready to take a full step towards the goal again. With luck and time we will reach that goal and breeze past it.

So I took two days off, then took several large steps towards my goal today by re-reading my own writing. I feel infinitely better. The tears shed this time truly felt like they had accomplished something good for me. We cry so as not to hold in the negative. Then we cry to heal. Two days ago, I cried to avoid holding in too much grief. Today I cried to heal. I may or may not need to cry again for Snuffles and the temporary separation from my kids for an extended period of time. If I do it will be to heal more completely.

I do not need to feed the grief and allow the processing and a processor that is stuck processing to allow me to fall into despair.

The sun is still shining. As I finish this article and thought, I am working up a healthy dose of vitamin D. I am sweating out some toxins through my pores, probably some of those same toxic hormones that Sharon worked lose during her massage and some of the same toxic hormones from my brain that were released when I had a healthy healing cry and more as I finish putting the bandage on my healing wound with this new article.

I have several new business prospects I am chasing down today. Some of them are coming from a new source that my friend Mike McAllen helped point out to me yesterday. He is an amazingly positive friend and has been a great help to me and an inspiration too as he has worked like crazy to heal and grow from an injury last year and also to heal and grow his own business and career. Just last week, he launched a wonderful new service called Podcasting for Events as he works to leverage years and years of experience in the business of Managing large events and conferences through his original company Grass Shack Media and now through this new enterprise that also adds in his decade of experience as a Podcaster running a great show called the Meetings Podcast.

I met him at a wonderful conference in Ontario California almost ten years ago now called the Podcast Expo. I met a large number of current and amazing friends through that conference, and now he is working to help other conferences achieve some of that same magic through Podcasting for Events.

In his spare time, he turned me on to a handy Marketing match making type of service called and I’m using that today to work through some new business prospects that might help me achieve my own goals and not just keep my head above water, but do some of that life building I was hoping for two days ago.

I share all this to let you know and see that I am healing. I’m doing this to share how I am doing that healing in case you can use or morph any part of this to help yourself heal and grow.

I’m ready to continue making this a beautiful day. I invite you to join in and make your own beautiful day! I’d love to hear how you go about doing just that as my way is not the only way, and I definitely benefit from diverse perspectives and hope you can find a way to do the same!