Things have begun moving at a slightly uncomfortable pace, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and slow them down again. I’m still hoping to hear back from Jupiter within the next few days, but, that being said, I’ve come to the end of the line at the Bear’s Lair. I had several reasons ready for walking away, but then something actually important came along and made the decision practically automatic. I may have been dealing with some things deep within my head these past couple of weeks, but all of that soul-searching came abruptly to an end when I spoke to my Wildflower this morning (though really, at that hour, it’s should still be considered night). She’d left work early because she’d been nearly crippled by a headache and an unending bout of dizziness (for those of you who knew me a few years ago, these were the same symptoms she was exhibiting when she had to go to the hospital (the end result of that visit was a night spent uncomfortably in the world’s most expensive hotel room (you try going to a hospital without insurance), absolutely no idea what was causing her discomfort, and a bill larger than my wife’s annual salary after taxes), and which have been reappearing at random intervals since then), but didn’t manage to actually get in to see a doctor at Urgent Care until a little after noon. And by that, I mean that she actually got to see a doctor sometime around two. Sadly, but not at all unexpected, the longest part of her medical journey (in terms of time, at least), was the part where she had to wait almost five hours to get her prescriptions from Walgreen’s (despite having been told that they would be ready in two hours, and then when we arrived two hours after that, being told that nothing had been done for either because her insurance wouldn’t cover one of the prescriptions (which was only $19.99). After I said that money (in that range, anyway) was no object, we were then told that it would be just a few minutes, and her name would be called. An hour later the actual pharmacist (not the register monkey) chided us for not picking up the prescriptions sooner…).

All of that, and the best that this doctor could tell her was that she was suffering from “stress” and that she needed to take a few days and relax. She was told not to return to work until the fifteenth of December, and to try to take it easy at home. Now, to tie this in with the swirling pageant of self-loathing to which I’ve been subjected recently, it did occur to me that it could, in fact, actually be stress, and that, as I wasn’t the lowest maintenance chulo on the block, perhaps I should test the maxim about setting someone free (for the record, when presented this idea, Wildflower informed me in no uncertain terms that she just couldn’t deal with my dramatic bullshit today, and to put a lid on it). Of course, I don’t entirely believe that mere stress is entirely to blame, but I’m no doctor, or at least that’s what they keep screaming at me every time I try to go behind the counter at the Clinic in an attempt to actually provide healthcare for people. Whatever. Of course, none of this explains why I began this post with talk of jobs in both the past and future tense, subtly, yet ubiquitously leaving out the present tense. Not being one for half-measures (the only things I halve are asses (and then, only in regards to determination and/or dedication), sandwiches), I cobbled together a plan in the time between conversations with my wife. If she is to rest, and I mean that she take an actual proper rest, then she cannot be burdened with a duty of care for the Monkey Man. Combine that with the news that my adult children will be house sitting for the next few weeks, and I really had no alternative: I will be looking after David (and subjecting him to Quality Time with Dad) until Flor either feels better, or cannot bear to listen to his whining any longer, and can stand up long enough to actually do something about it.

With only seven more days until the Lair is shut down for nearly one month, its employees subject to Seasonal Layoffs (a whole different column, I promise), I felt that it was unfair of me to have to ditch out for five of them (in the interest of fairness, I would have only been missing three days of work), and even then, not be able to guarantee my return, should my wife’s condition worsen. Couple that with the probability that someone from Jupiter will be calling back within the next three to eleven days (though, as always with my life, the job isn’t a complete lock), and I felt that I’d no choice but to make a clean break. Sure, I could have found some sort of corporate loophole through which to squeeze myself, and stuck it out until we closed, and then, per their instructions, register with the EDD for seasonal unemployment, just in case things didn’t pan out with Jupiter, but that just seems… I don’t know… petty. That, and my boss has been on me since Wednesday in an attempt to secure my commitment to return after the break. No, as much as the thought of repeating the Big! Lots! Boogie sends shivers down my spine (and not the good kind), I think that it was the right time to pull away. There are some good ideas coming to the forefront now, and I think that, after having exhausted almost all possible avenues of failure, there is a decent chance for at least some modest form of success. I do not know how many people will be returning in Mid-January, but I do know that there won’t be many, as most of them (of us) have quit. Again, that is probably for the best, as we have been burnt out, and if there is to be a new chance at success, with a new Captain at the helm, it must necessarily come to pass without us. What the Lair needs now is a Belief In The Ideal, and having seen the sausage made, not that many True Believers still remain. I do, however, wish them the best of luck.

Now, however, I am moving on to bigger and better things. I know that I was saying much the same one year ago, but nothing about my dream has changed, save, perhaps, for the geography. I don’t know how much time I will have before I must return to the daily grind of full-time employment, but I know that I must take advantage of this downtime, and write for all that I am worth. I am inspired once again (well, not at this exact moment, but that may have more to do with a perpetual sense of exhaustion which I have been carrying for the past few days), and there are some things that I know that I must get out while I can. And, as with most things of artistic merit, I really just want to show off a little. There’s nothing like trying to impress new friends to get the creative juices going. Time will tell if I have made the right decision, or if I somehow managed to bollocks it all up again. But since everything this past year happened at exactly the moment in which I needed it to happen, I’m going to keep on rolling with the punches. So here’s to the coming year, and here’s to the once which is coming to an end.

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