The Fat Crawler Experience
Journal (August 2003)
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My Journal for August 2003

August 15, 2003
Can you hear the angels singing?  I finally bought a new computer and figured out how to make it work!  So let's see, where am I in the scheme of things?  I've pretty much given up all hope of the job search and I'm probably just going to wait it out until Immigration gets around to hiring me.  (Don't they know what they're missing?)  I may also become a substitute teacher.  Remember those most-hated people that were always so uncool?  That's probably going to be me on a part-time basis.  Hooray!  It's not the worst job in the world, though, as far as I can tell.  You get to rule over some undeserving brats with the added challenge of trying not to let them run all over you, but you don't have to plan any classes or do any real work.  Sounds perfect for me and anybody can do it (at least in my state).  I've also had a revival in my feeling about becoming a singer.  I've been to kareoke a couple more times and everybody keeps telling me that I should really do something with it.  It's just so hard to get started.  It takes a lot of serious dough.  And lawd know I don't have any kind of cash.  I even had to spend all of the Monopoly money I had in the house and try to pass them off as foodstamps.  (Okay, that last thing may or may not have actually happened.)  I also feel like I may be losing my ability to speak Spanish, if for no other reason, because I never get a chance to speak it.  My community is just so damn white!  Anywho, I just had my twenty-second birthday two days ago.  I know it sounds stupid, but I really feel chronilogically old for the first time in my life.  I'm not a kid anymore in any way, shape, or form.  Twenty-one is the final milestone birthday until I'm forty, which will not exactly be cause to celebrate.  But to make the day special, my Mom let all of the kids go to the county fair (remember where they tried to kick me out of the grandstands for being in a wheelchair?) so that I didn't have to baby-sit.  That was the best present I could have gotten next to a million bucks.  I just spent the whole day relaxing and watching the meteor shower that night.  It was heaven...literally.  (I crack myself up.)  I also went through the tremendous task of getting a smaller bed in my room and reorganizing because there wasn't enough room to get around in the room before with my wheelchair.  My brother, Thomas, and I also put a computer desk in here for my new machine.  It was so cheap at Wal-mart.  It only cost me $498.00 before tax, of which there was none because I bought it in New Hampshire.  Now for the biggest news of all.  I have officially hit the seventy pound weightloss mark.  That makes me now 357 pounds, only fourteen pounds more than my lowest weight in Mexico.  I have been slacking in the exercise department, however.  I don't know why because it's not like my day is overly filled with activity.  I've just gotten lazy.  Well no more.  Tomorrow I start anew with good ol' Richard.  We're going to dance our pants off and sweat to the oldies together.  We might even groove in the house if I get desperate enough.  I have found that if I don't exercise at all during the week, I will lose three pounds.  If I do, I will lose at least seven.  And seeing that my "six month window of opportunity" is halfway closed, I had better get my ass in gear.  I'm also thinking about taking those first dreaded, but long-awaited, steps with my leg brace.  Whenever I stand up to get in bed or to reach something, even getting in the shower, it is so much easier to stand than it was before, and I think that is a sign that it is time to stop being lazy and get my act together.  It will be very painful at first.  My skin is going to break open.  My muscles are going to be screaming, but putting it off won't make it any easier when I finally get around to it.  Okay, enough preaching to myself.  Yesterday I spent three hours in an attempt to tune my banjo because I want to start learning how to play, especially if I'm ever going to get serious about a music career, but learning off of the Internet is just too hard.  You can't ask questions and it's pretty much a guess if you think you're doing it right because there is no one to show you exactly how.  My belly seems to have gotten small enough to where I can sort of fit it on my lap, but I think I need to buy a strap to hang it on my shoulders.  Maybe I'll put an add in the paper or on the Trading Post, our local radio flea market, to advertise for a teacher.  I've also gotten back on track with my medication and vitamins.  Mom nagged me enough so that now I just do it before she gets a chance to say a word.  I think that woman could create world peace if we put her in a room with all of the world leaders for a day.  They would agree to get along just so they don't have to hear the sermon.  I reckon that's all the juicy gossip for tonight and I have all of that exercise to look forward to tomorrow.  Accountability, that's what Dr. Phil says, and we all know that he knows everything.  G' night all.
August 20, 2003
I have been feeling very strange this afternoon.  If I didn't know better, I would say I was PMSing...but I know better.  I have just still been down in the dumps about all I haven't accomplished by this point in my life, all brought on by my recent birthday.  I've also been missing Mexico terribly.  I miss the person I was there.  I always went out and did things.  I was a fixture on the campus and everybody seemed to know who I was...and for the most-part, actually liked me.  I also miss my friends.  I only have three friends here outside of the house, and we don't hang out all that much together because they all have jobs and lives (much unlike myself).  Actually, that's not entirely true.  This week I started working as a baby-sitter for my cousin.  I take his daughter for four days every week while he works down in New Hampshire.  I don't know how long it will last, but I'm getting a hundred bucks per week out of the deal (if I actually get paid, that is).  I have also started actively working for my mother, too, cleaning the house and preparing meals for fifteen dollars per day.  It's a lot of work, but I'm here anyway, it gives me lots of exercise, and I get some cash to pay on my ever-growing credit card bill.  But back to my bad mood...  I was really tired after a long day here at the house.  I weighed today and found that I had lost another four pounds last week (yay me!), but I saw my reflection in the window in our living room last night and I was less than pleased with the shape I saw.  But on the brighter side (and for all of you who have been waiting to hear this) I put on my leg brace for the first time since before my surgery.  I was really apprehensive about doing it because I didn't know how much it would hurt or how much my muscles would ache afterward, but I have good news.  It was much easier to walk around than I had anticipated and all of the weight I have lost made it seem much easier to walk than it had been in a long time.  So why should I be in such a bad mood?  Well, that's harder to explain.  I can no longer eat to stuff my emotions, as anyone who has had this operation can tell you.  First of all, you can never eat enough to release any substantial amount of endorphins, and second of all, if you do eat anything, you're going to feel like crap for about an hour afterward.  I believe I have expressed my lack of relationship with beef as of late (i.e. I throw up every time I eat it unless it's in sliced roast beef or jerky form, but I digress...) and have even "blown" the proverbial "chunks" twice this week, including my very expensive prime rib birthday dinner.  So this has not put me in the best mood, but I figure that to simply be part of the post-op life.  The real problems consist of several parts of the same thing.  The first is my restlessness.  All of my adult life I have had an oddly developed need to change my residence every few months.  First it was going to college, then homesickness, then school again, home again, then came Mexico, whereby I was homesick again, came home, went to school, graduated, and am now in my present form located in the very bedroom I had for many years growing up.  This would not be out of the ordinary except I have no destination in mind for the coming fall and I am feeling quite out of place.  The second part of the equation is my desperate miss of Mexico, which was aforementioned.  The third part is lonliness of friendship (specifically Cara, but many people in Mexico).  The final part is lonliness from having no companion, girlfriend, woman, mall...what you will (specifically Natalie).  Now I know that I've said in the past that I thought I was over her, but there are some things that you just can't make go away no matter how hard you try.  I really miss her, but as I promised beforehand (though not to her, personally), I won't make her feel guilty for not loving me no matter how much it kills.  All I care about is that she is happy.  This is truth.  She even has a boyfriend now (who a friend told me is very ugly, but that's irrelevant), and as far as I know, she is more happy now than she has ever been.  I certainly hope so.  I just miss her.  I miss her laughing.  I miss the way that, literally, magical, completely unpredictable events would happen around her.  I loved the way that she made me feel and how she made me want to be a better person.  Those are the things I miss the most.  I miss singing under our tree together.  I miss watching the sun set behind the volcano with her.  I miss looking for a place that serves cappucino at eleven o'clock at night.  I miss all of the good times we had and how she always included me in them, no matter how ridiculous they sounded or physically impossible they at first appeared.  So anyway, I miss her.  That is why I have been in a bad mood.  That is why I was sitting in my room tonight, crying because I couldn't eat anything to make this pain go away.
August 28, 2003
Ahh, what better time to write than 12:30 in the morning, right?  Well, my pessimism finally passed.  It seems that exercise actually does release endorphins, which leads to a happier, healthier Danny.  Alright, I'm still really bummed about Natalie, and let's face it, it won't be the last time.  But I digress...   Now that I've started working for my parents as a housecleaner/babysitter (that's paid, not pro-bono), the days have been filled with plenty of activity.  This includes breaking up never-ending fights between the kids, washing dishes four times per day, minimum, listening to the children tattle on each other constantly, yelling at the little darlings for not picking up after themselves, and cooking meals at every chittlin's whim.  Not to mention how I scrubbed the kitchen floor with a brush, sitting on the floor, for over two hours.  I've also washed the filthy walls in the hallway so that they are white again and folded countless (in every sense of the word) loads of clean clothes.  This place has been nearly spotless, kids taken care of, meals prepared, and my darling mother actually had the gaul today to say how I haven't been doing as good of a job because I forgot to sweep the sparkling floors one time.  (Not that I'm angry and bitter, or anything...)  My cousin has also yet to have paid me for baby-sitting his daughter last week, but he is supposedly going to pay me the bucks this weekend.  Honestly, I'll be quite surprised if I ever see a dime, but that's what I get for agreeing to work for family.  That's always been my one rule:  No Family Business Ventures.  You always get screwed and they figure it's okay because you had the same grandparents.  Life is so fair.  Anyway, I have other physical issues that some pre-ops may be interested to know.  (As a fair warning, this is about to get really gross.  Don't come crying to me when you're eyes start burning from reading it.)  Since surgery, my, umm, bathroom habits have changed dramatically.  In the beginning, there were few bowel movements, and it was good.  Then I started eating more solid foods in slightly larger quantities than the meager servings I was eating in the beginning.  (They are still very meager by "normal" standards, but just less so.)  Well, it seems my body has decided to have, what I am calling, Dry Days and Crap Days.  One day I will not have to go to the bathroom once, then the following day I have a small bowel movement every hour or two.  And since we're on the subject, it is much harder to control the colon after surgery.  At least it is for me.  At the risk of shaming myself from public acceptance, I tell you the following.  Since surgery, I have shit my pants on more than one occasion after fooling myself into thinking I could hold it like before.  One should remember that all of this food passes through the body within a couple of hours because the digestion track is so much shorter.  The food also doesn't get as compact and ends up being more like diarrhea in the end.  After surgery, you will have very few bowel movements like before.  Previous to surgery, I was in the bathroom two or three times each day, every time a heavy load.  (I so cannot believe I am writing this.)  I had developed a quite serious hemarrhoid because of it.  It hasn't bothered me since the operation because the pressure just isn't there.  The warning is just of these changes.  I don't know if they happen for everyone or how long they last, but it's something to keep in mind when contemplating a meal before a long trip.  But it can also be helpful.  I won't eat a lot of things because I know I'll be in the bathroom all day if I do.  Anyhoo, enough about the grotesque.  You have been alerted.  The emergency is over.  And for me it's good news because tomorrow is a Dry Day.  (Okay, that wasn't necessary.)  Try not to think about all that when you're going to sleep tonight!
August 29, 2003
This may come as a surprise to some of you long-term readers, but I have come to a very unexpected conclusion about my life.  After puttering around for the last couple of days, I have decided that given an intellectually stimulating, slightly challenging, and interesting job as well as an ample opportunity to travel the world occasionally, I could feel that Vermont is my home, and ultimately, a paradise.  Wow, even I have a hard time believing that and I just wrote it.  But it's true.  The people here aren't overly open and friendly, but they'll help you when you're down and struggling.  There may be a mosquito problem during the summer, but the landscape is beyond comparison here.  The air is always fresh and there is a lot of undisturbed nature for the imagination's scope.  The trees are gorgeous no matter the season, but of course they are spectacular in autumn.  (By the way, the leaves haven't changed yet, so I'm not just saying this because today was pretty.)  It's not over-crowded here, and even our cities are tiny by comparison to other states.  Vermont is truly an untouched, and seemingly unnoticed, gem in this country.  I can't say that the population is overly diverse by racial standards, but there is an entire spectrum in belief systems and politics.  We are the state of gay marriages, but also famous for our cows, maple syrup, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  My hometown is about as close to hardcore Republican as one can get, but even the Liberals and Democrats are so set in their ways that they can seem close-minded.  Passions flow strongly, but privately.  Though an argument about such matters could last for hours between friends, opinions would never be expressed publicly in forms of public protest and the like.  But over the mountain range, the other end of the spectrum exists.  There are captivating towns and villages that scatter the countryside, surrounding our cities that exist mostly for the universities they contain.  People there are from all locations and all walks of life, and yet they seem to manage with extremely low levels of violence or major discontent.  And though the winters may seem bitter and unrelenting at many times, where would we Vermonters be without sleigh rides, giant snowmen, and trees covered in ice that look like diamonds when the setting sun hits them just right?  Our lakes are to be envied and the wildlife is grand.  Now it is no secret that I am a restless person that has a fascination for other cultures and places around the world.  My true passions lie in music, foreign languages, and intercultural relations.  But I right now feel that for the first time in my life I am allowing myself to see the beauty and uniqueness that is my homeland.  All of my life I have wanted to run away from this place and see other, "better" places, but I'm now realizing that this place is just as valuable as all of the others.  I had just become accustomed to it.  This doesn't mean that I no longer want to discover the world; actually, it's quite the contrary.  But I feel as if for the moment I should take some time to rediscover my own home.  For the absolute first time in my life I am looking forward to the winter season.  I can't wait to see the Christmas lights glowing through the snow on a tall pine or sit in my car some early morning and wait for the sun to defrost the windshield because the heater in my car isn't working.  I know these things sound simple and stupid at some level, (usually the one I use to judge things), but isn't it the simple things in life that make it worth living?  Yesterday I took my two youngest siblings and my basset hound, Baby, to a land observatory in Brownington.  This is a town which consists mainly of woods and fields and isn't just located in the middle of nowhere, it is the middle of nowhere.  We call the observatory "The Watchtower".  From there you can see a hundred miles in every direction, mainly mountain ranges and small towns, but it's constructed at the top of some rolling hills at the side of the road.  There are only dirt roads in Brownington that turn to large stretches of mud in the spring, which are covered by canopies of leaves in the summer and fall.  The entire scene is straight out of a William Faulkner novel, only with snow in the winters.  Every farm or antique home I passed on the road to The Watchtower made me think "What place could be more perfect than this?"  I have always believed that good fences make good neighbors, but I would be willing to bet that large fields and forests make better ones.  Now comes the dilemma.  I have an inner need for a more rural lifestyle.  I love going to the city and talking to people in shops and cafes.  But I feel touched by God when I drive by a lavender and gold field and listen to the grasshoppers singing their summer anthem.  However, this is a very poor area in the way of employment, whereas in Burlington, where I went to college, they can't beg people to come in and apply for all of the positions that are available.  The only thing I can think of is that I will have to be rich enough to own two homes.  *LOL*  I laughed as I wrote that because it's so ridiculous.  Maybe I'll do that when I'm a rich and famous country singer and on the cover of a modelling magazine.  While I'm at it, maybe I should ask Beyonce Knowles if she'll marry me!  Well, I just wanted to share a little bit of the good aspects of my home as it seems that I so often focus on the bad.  A trip to visit this place would certainly be worth it.  A lifetime here would leave you blessed.  (By the way, we don't mind all of you "flatlanders" too much.  And just so you know, in Vermont, anyone not born in Vermont is a flatlander...or a foreigner.  Oh yeah, and you will have to learn how to say things correctly.  When in doubt, go with the French pronuciation.  Quebec is only about a mile away, after all.  And since we're on the topic, it's pronounced soder, not soda...moun'n, not'n, not kitten...gararge, not get the idear.)  And best of all, you can visit me while you're here.  For some reason, no matter how many people are here, my house never feels full, so you are more than welcome to sleep on our couch, eat our food, and call us when you need somebody to pull you out of a ditch.  And put that money away before you insult us.

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