The Fear of the Unknown

I’m home after being gone for days. Not because I want to be, but because I need to be. That said, I have hated every minute since I stepped through my door tonight. It’s horribly quiet in here, even with everything going on around me right now.

It’s been a week since we had Ash hospitalized. Unfortunately, she is still there, and we don’t know for sure when she will be discharged. There was talk of possibly letting her out tomorrow, but her doctor let that cat out of the bag, against my wishes, which got in the way of the progress she was making. However, I have a feeling that the hospital is going to play the insurance card here sometime soon and she will come home.

A lot has happened this past week: I managed to piss Ash off during my first visit with her; I have spoken with her doctor and therapist quite a few different times; we have had two family therapy sessions; Ash, on her own, asked Tim to visit her up at the hospital; and Tim and The Ex physically met for the first time. So far, no one has died.

We all, the three “parents” in her life and her treatment team at the hospital, seem to be in agreement that the “voices” Ash claims to be hearing are not actually psychotic events, but more of the internal dialogue of thoughts in her head. We are all on the same page about not prescribing her any meds. We also all agree that she needs to focus on her coping skills, including getting better at identifying when she actually needs to use them.

I have been going through a number of emotions this week, as you can imagine. The most dominant ones right now are anger and fear. I am angry that she is still in the hospital. I am angry because I sometimes think she doesn’t really want to come home and gets in the way of her own progress. And I am afraid of what will happen once she actually does come home.

I am not sleeping well, no matter where I am. Tim mentioned this morning that the tension is practically radiating off me at night. He has been worried about me, while also dealing with his own feelings for Ash. I hate that I have added more stress to him when he is already dealing with so much. For that reason, along with others, I left him a few hours ago to come home, even though I really didn’t want to.

Things still need to be done, though. So I keep going, keep moving. I keep doing those inane things I must do: go to work, do laundry, keep my car running.

And one moment I’m fine, but the next I’m not. It’s a shitty way to be, let me tell you. I don’t wish it on anyone.

My daughter isn’t with me.

24 hours ago, those words meant something totally different than they do right now.

Ash was with The Ex this weekend; it was his normal weekend. But they were planning to leave for a week-long California trip on Tuesday, so she wasn’t going to come home tonight like she normally would. I wasn’t looking forward to her being gone. At the same time, though, I hoped she would have a good time.

The trip is now off.

Tim burst into the bedroom this morning to wake me because The Ex called him. Ash had apparently called a suicide hotline during the night, and two crisis counselors were at his house. Still not quite awake, I understandably started freaking out. And I couldn’t get out the door fast enough. I don’t even know exactly how long it took me to get to my child, but it wasn’t very long, I can promise you that.

After talking with Ash, The Ex, and the crisis counselors, we chose to make a decision on what to do next until after speaking with Ash’s therapist. My first thought, though, was to put her back inpatient. After all, my job is to protect my child, even if it means protecting her from herself. When the therapist called, she agreed that we needed to err on the side of caution, and at least get Ash assessed. So, we took her in.

And she was admitted.

I can’t tell you just how much I hated writing those words.

I also think there is more to this than meets the eye. Ash says that she has been hearing voices for the past few months, and they have been telling her to hurt herself. Funny, how she hasn’t mentioned any of this to me, or her father, or her therapist. In fact, she has been telling us the exact opposite. Plus, the timing seems too coincidental to rule out completely. I think that, again, there is something she doesn’t want to face, or talk about, and this is how she is handling it. Not the best way to go about it IMHO.

So now we wait. We wait to find out about her treatment team. We wait to find out just how much she is willing to work to get better. I wait to find a time when I can try to get the truth out of her. And I wait for The Ex to explode because he gets his little feelings hurt, which I’m sure will happen.

In some ways, dealing with Ash’s hospitalization last year without The Ex was a lot easier.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I told someone that I was going to write this, so I guess it’s time I actually got to writing.

I am proud of the work I did on Z-boy’s senior pictures. I didn’t know what to expect for my first senior session. My only hope was to end up with something good for Z-boy, because he deserved to have a keepsake of his senior year.

Mission accomplished. Apparently.

The photo book I made as a graduation gift for Z-boy was a BIG hit with his mom and her family. To be honest, that kind of caught me off guard. Hearing that his mom and grandmother were showing everyone his photo book just sounded so weird to me. But this was what I wanted to happen eventually with my business, right? I guess I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

It didn’t stop there, though. Sunday was Z-boy’s graduation party, and the accolades kept coming. It was one thing to hear the compliments from a third-party, but to hear them straight from the horses’ mouths… was both flattering and awkward at the same time. Oh, I sincerely said “Thank you!” to each and every compliment, but it still felt so surreal doing it. Is that normal?

I don’t know, but it does lead me to real point of this post.

During the party, Tim walked back in after talking to some people outside, and told me that I might be asked to shoot a wedding.

Wait. Did he just say wedding?

Apparently, the topic of conversation outside was the upcoming wedding for a couple of the party guests. Z-boy’s grandmother threw MY name in as a potential photographer for their wedding. Tim told the group that if I was chosen as the photographer, it wouldn’t be for free.

There is just onnnnne problem, though. The thought of shooting a wedding terrifies me. I’m hoping that they decide to go with another photographer. Actually, I’m praying for that very thing.

I’ve mentioned on one social media outlet or another that I do not yet know what my niche is. I have pretty much figured out, though, that weddings are not it. And there is a very good reason for that. Being a wedding photographer has one major downside.

There is no do-over.

You cannot reshoot. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and I couldn’t bear the thought of, at best, not getting enough good images. And what if I fuck it all up? Yeah, let’s not even go there, ok?

So, I bet you’re wondering where we left it. Kind of in limbo, actually, since it was just a recommendation. I’ll just have to wait and see if they decide to hire me, and try to keep my anxiety on its leash until then. Oh, and maybe figure out what I might charge to do it.

It’s true what they say. Be careful what you wish for.

Hold me.

All the news that’s fit to print (and some that might be questionable).

I’m praying to the Monster gods this morning, but so far they don’t seem to be listening. When will I learn that three hours of sleep just does NOT cut it? Apparently never. Ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe I should just go with I might learn once Tim and I are no longer maintaining two households, I’m not fitting in my photography around a full-time job/school/family, I’m worrying about my health, I’m not worrying about Tim’s health, Tim’s out of school, I’m out of school, THE KIDS are out of school… Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more I could add to that list, so perhaps it’s not that much of an exaggeration after all.

Ash passed on Schnoz Plague 2014 to me, because apparently she is all about giving to others right now. And this would, of course, be AFTER she killed our tissue reserves. So, I may be telling the therapist tonight that we need to rethink this whole “sharing” thing she has Ash working on. Sometimes you really can share too much, IMHO.

Graduation is next week for both Z-boy and Tim, which reminds me that I haven’t accomplished anywhere near what I wanted to this past month. I had an awesome list of all the things I wanted to get done before the arrival of Hurricane Tim’s Mom, like remove a layer (or two) of dust in my apartment, uncover the source of the eau de Marley that still plagues me (after what, a year now?), clear out the forest floor that is my balcony, and hit the gym. HARD. Sadly, none of those things have been done, especially that last one. I had a grand goal of being down at least ten pounds by now. Unfortunately, with everything we had going on this month, and my recent diverticulitis diagnosis, the gym has been one of the last things on my mind. So, last night, as I was figuring out my wardrobe for next week (bcuz even though I feel like crap, I am still going to look damn good for both events), I realized I have to become reacquainted with my old “friend” Spanx. And to be honest, I had hoped we cut our ties for good after the last time. *sigh*

My first senior session is nearly put to bed. YAY ME. I admit that I was thoroughly freaked out when I first started this project, even though it was 100% my idea (and my grad gift to the senior). After the first round of images was finished, I felt fairly positive about the session. But I also felt it needed more, like a new outfit, a new location, etc, so we scheduled a second round. Those images are nearly finished now, and my outlook on the session has gone from fairly positive to DAMN I’M GOOD. I had a blast working with this senior, and I honestly think I captured his personality. I also found areas of my work that could use some improvement, but I am taking them for what they are – learning tools. Some of you know what a perfectionist I am when it comes to my photography, so for me to accept a self-critique like that is HUGE.

Ok, I guess it’s time to get back to work. Short work weeks have their pros and cons, that’s for sure. As I wrap up this latest edition of This is My Life – It Could Always be Worse*, I’ll leave you with this parting thought:

Lately, I wonder what shower sex looks like with a height difference.

For a friend.

 

*Not a real thing. Or a real thought. I actually think my life is pretty great right now.

An Interesting Night

I went out for a while tonight for one reason and one reason only… to shoot the moon. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I wanted. In more ways than one.

I’ll admit last night would have been a better night to do this. The moon rose an hour earlier, well before sunset. The sky was clear and a beautiful blue. With snow still on the tops of the Wasatch it would have been a great image! But nooooo! I just had to be not paying attention until it was too late and the moon was too high in the sky to get anything I would have wanted. Craaaaap.

After driving a bit without a clear destination, I decided to give the downtown public library a shot. Since I was arriving after they closed, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I wanted to use their amazing sweeping stairs attached to the building for my setup. Well, that didn’t happen, as that area was already closed off for the night. Not to be deterred, I wandered around for a few seconds, choose a “meh, it will do” spot, set up the tripod, changed lenses on my camera, figured out where the moon would rise over the mountains, and waited for the “money shot.”

I was still in the same clothes I wore to work, because up until the minute I walked out the door I was still trying to convince myself to not go. My outfit wasn’t anything big, though. Jeans, a shirt, and cowboy boots. WOW. And on top of that I had my tripod and camera bags all over me to keep them close. But apparently, I might as well have been wearing hooker heels and spandex, because guys starting coming up to me! Da fuq?

What exactly about me screamed, “Yeah, I’m out, at night, with a camera and tripod, working away, not talking to anyone, wanting to get my shots and get the hell outta Dodge, but please PLEASE come up to me and try to start a conversation”? They are just lucky the only thing that happened was me yelling at them to leave me alone. They have no idea I was ready to swing my tripod on them. WITH my camera still attached. Idiots.

Some may think I overreacted to the situation. However, given the time of night, where I was, and what I was doing, I don’t think so. I think I handled it just right. Regardless, Tim is not going to be happy with me when he finds out what I did.

To top it all off, I didn’t get anything remotely good out my camera.

Yeah, last night definitely would have been a better night.

Does Size Really Matter?

This post is not about what you might think it is. Trust me.

My company had product that was damaged while it was in transport from one of our factories to one of our warehouses. The walls of the containers had holes, which allowed water inside. You can just imagine what that water did to the cardboard packaging, as well as our wood furniture. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

I was tasked with compiling and sending the freight damage claim to the carrier. At the time, I was still fairly new here, but it still seemed an easy enough task. I gathered all the documentation and photos, wrote the letters (for which I received kudos from my boss), and sent the claims to the carrier.

Fast forward a couple of months. I hadn’t heard anything as to whether the claims were resolved or not. My boss called me into his office on Monday and let me know that the carrier was claiming they never received the emails. When my boss tried to resend the emails to them, he received an error message. The emails were too big; their mail server wouldn’t accept them. Huh? And why didn’t I see anything when the claims were initially submitted? On top of that, the files weren’t that big! I didn’t get it. With the current state of technology, and with email becoming the more common form of business communication, there are still organizations out there that have those kinds of limits? Um, ok.

So, my boss gave me a new task: reduce the file size and resend the claims. Loverly. But, I did it, and received confirmation of receipt from the carrier. Whew, that was over.

Or so I thought.

The next day, we were notified by the carrier that my calculation of pro-rated freight was incorrect. They clarified that it needed to be based on the number of cartons damaged, as opposed to cubic feet (or cube) damaged, because the bill of lading is listed in carton quantities. That seemed simple enough to me, so I revised the claims to match their calculations.

My boss thinks otherwise. He thinks it should be based on cube, because the carton sizes vary by product. And he wants to fight it.

I’m not saying he’s wrong (after all, I’m still the newbie here). I do, however, think he’s fighting a fight he won’t be able to win. The shipping documentation is listed in quantity of cartons, not cube. This is the information that is filed with U.S. Customs for entry into this country. What recourse do we really have to change how they calculate pro-rated freight?

I recognize that I could, in fact, be the one who is wrong. Maybe the fight is worth it. Maybe the carrier will agree. Maybe they will change their calculations.

Or maybe he’s trying to save face after the $56,000.00 anti-dumping duty fiasco.

Who knows.

Making the Right Decision

A couple days ago, I took Ash out to get some shots to test my camera. I wanted to make sure I was really ready for a portrait session I have tomorrow, the first after having my camera’s noise problem fixed. What would be the point of taking people out if there was no chance of getting any decent photos, right? Using Ash as a model for test shots had multiple benefits: I would get reassurance that my camera was ready and I would have more photos of my daughter. So, I talked her into it. Not an easy feat let me tell you.

I choose a location that I have always wanted to use for a photo shoot, but hadn’t yet. Since it was a weekday evening, and we had to wait until after work to go out, we were losing the light quickly. I knew we wouldn’t be able to get a lot of shots, but we dove right in. Ash was great. She paid close attention to what I was trying to accomplish and followed my posing suggestions really well. I didn’t know how the shots would turn out, but I was definitely hopeful.

What I ended up with was, well, downright awesome. I got some shots that didn’t need a lot of post processing. It confirmed that my camera is ready for the photo shoot, and I got some amazing shots of Ash for both my portfolio and as her mother.

As any good parent would do, I shared the images with her father. He responded that he liked them, and I was glad that I did it.

Yesterday, I received an email from The Ex asking me for one of the photos. He didn’t ask to get a print of the photo, though. He asked me for the image file, so that he could print a copy for himself.

Am I wrong to be bothered by this? At best, his request was presumptuous; at worst, it was rude and selfish.

I am a photographer. When I took those photos, it wasn’t as her mother. I took those photos as part of my business. The fact that I got amazing shots of my daughter was just a bonus. It’s not as if The Ex is not aware that I am working to build a business either. There were other ways to get a copy of the image. To ask me for the file was… well, let’s just say my emotions have been kind of all over the place.

On the other hand, he is her father. I do understand that, which is why I have shared a lot of images I have taken with him. Granted they have all been lo-res and watermarked, but I never thought twice about sending him copies of them. Because she is his daughter too.

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking of what to do. The answer just isn’t that simple. What I came up with is this…

I will offer to get him a print from my lab. I will even offer to get it for him at my cost. Then again, I may even decide to just give him the print once it arrives. I won’t even mention how inappropriate I think it was for him to request the image file. I will just point him in the right direction. Subtly.

If he chooses to not accept the print option, I will give him the image file. It will, however, not be a high-res file. And it will be watermarked.

When The Ex arrived yesterday to pick Ash up, he asked me what type of camera I use. Have I mentioned that tact was never his strong suit? He didn’t, however, mention the email. I didn’t mention it either. I hadn’t yet decided what I was going to do, so I felt it was best to not take a chance of saying something I would regret later.

I think I made the right decision. Across the board.

I remember

I remember
Your arm around me, pulling me close
The heat of your skin against mine
The sound of your voice in my ear

I remember
The touch of your lips on my skin
“Two thumbs up”
Knowing I would be back with you soon

I remember
Your eyes claiming me
Hearing that you missed me
Feeling truly wanted for the first time

I remember

Yesterday

I decided to try my hand at a hosted site again. Short-term of course.

I’m giving it a month, or so, to see if it sticks this time. And if it doesn’t, there’s always the free site to fall back on. I will just be sure to back up my site this time.

Three years of posts. Gone.

*sighs and shakes head*

Anyway… after setting up my hosting, I began the search for a theme. What fun THAT was, let me tell you. There are so many themes out there! And none of them had everything I wanted. Go figure. I did, however, find one that was pretty close to what I was looking for as a starting point. There was just one teensy, weensy problem.

No logo area.

Ok. I wasn’t gonna let that stop me. I started digging in the editor, increased the size of the top menu area, and made some minor adjustments to the page and post layouts. Good first step. I had already found the image I wanted to use initially, so I just had to figure out how and where to put the code to call the image. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about CSS. And I know even less about PHP. Great.

Thank goodness for the Internet. I found a link with code that was for a different WordPress theme, but thought, “What the hell? Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work, and I’ll be no worse off then I was when I started. LET’S DO THIS.”

And what do you know? It. Worked.

So, my site is getting closer to where I want it to be. And I’m reminded why I chose web design for my major when I first started college.

Writing about captivity and my bouts with Stockholm Syndrome since 2008.