Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Neferious September Slump of 2008, 5 years later.

I didn't even realize that today is 9/11 and i'm pretty ambivalent the whole thing. I'm more interested in events from 5 years ago this month.
I lost my grandfather to cancer, moved into a two bedroom apartment dubbed "310 to Yuma" because it was apartment 310 and we had a poster of the remake behind the door. I moved in with Carrie Royce.
And how we got fired on the same day( make me think of that line in "Float On" by Modest Mouse) after I came back from my grandfather funeral. I think we drank that night. That was a shit ton of stuff to happen in the first two weeks of September 2008.

Firstly, I started the month in the middle of a week long vacation from the movie theater I was working at so that I could pack my old studio apartment on Stevens Square further uptown in the 2 bedroom place with my co-worker Carrie. I also used that week to go to events surrounding the protests of the Republican National Convention that was taking place in St. Paul at the Excel Center. Saw a couple concerts including a Labor Day fest where Atmosphere, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg among a few others played in a park right across the river from the Excel Center. It was a bitch getting there because of all the guards with assault rifles and the "God Hates Fags" comedy troupe( oh wait, that's right they are very serious, hard to tell). It was even more difficult coming back across the river because even with our bikes the police had closed every bridge with full on roadblocks but we found one that let us sneak back across so we could go home.
So there was that.
Like I said I was moving to a new apartment so I took packed up the last of my junk and then took a shower waiting for the landlord to come and do the final inspection before I handed over my keys. Then it was boxes and boxes and more boxes to go through in the new place. It was a pain in the ass moving my couch and huge bed up the three flights of stairs. I let Carrie have the bigger room of the apartment( i ended up taking over the living room 90% of the time so that was a small concession on my part)

Then I got a call from my mom that my Grandfather who had terminal cancer and was in hospice care at the time I believe, anyway she informed me that my Grandpa wasn't doing to well and I asked if I should drive down to Des Moines to see him but she told me that he didn't want visitors.
So I sat on my bed letting that news sink in. It wasn't terribly long after that she told me he had passed away. I was kind of stunned the way I assume most people are when they get that kind of news. Then I started to feel really bad because I couldn't remember the last time I saw him. It had been over a year at least. I felt totally shitty.
After I was composed enough I called my boss to let him know what was going on. I was on my last day of my week long vacation. This was September 4th. I had to let my boss know that I had to go down to Des Moines for the funeral and I'd need another 2 days or so. He was very nice about it, understood and that was that.
If I remember correctly I drove the 3 hours plus down to Wisconsin to pick up my mom then the 6 1/2 hours from Lodi, Wisconsin to Des Moines, IA. My brother who was still in the army( prior to being kicked out) flew in the next morning. My Uncle Dave and Aunt Lola's house was kind our general gathering place for those few days.

One thing that made me feel like such a terrible grandson, his first born grandchild, was when I saw that the rest of the family had started this remembrance list of quotes and other funny things my Grandfather always said. I was asked if I wanted to add to the list and I drew a complete blank. I had nothing. All I thought was how I hardly knew him.
We visited nearly ever summer when I was in elementary school up until I was in middle school. Every year we drove down to spend a weekend with him and my step-grandma I guess you'd call her. We'd swim in the backyard pool or go to the Wakonda Club where they were members. Sometimes we'd come see him at Storey-Kenworthy, the family business, where he would have a silver dollar for each of us.
After I hit middle school we didn't go down any more.
My Grandfather would come up to Wisconsin to visit us usually around Memorial Day. We'd go to the same restaurant on Lake Wisconsin for dinner, the he would golf with my Dad, then the morning he left we would have breakfast at the Downtown Cafe. I never engaged him in any meaningful conversations. My parents ( my Dad mostly) would make sure we were on our best behavior when he was down so I never felt like I could say a whole lot except what was going on in school and other small talk.
Never anything in depth.
It was my fault that I didn't know much of anything about my Grandfather except I was told that my Dad's parents disliked each other which was the excuse as to why only my Grandmother showed up for my high school graduation though they both came to my brother's graduation to my confusion from the information that I was knew about how the two of them felt about each other.
What I mean by it's my fault, is when I was 16 I had a car. Gas was cheap. I could have easily driven down anytime during the summer to visit. I could have done it whenever I wanted after high school but I was too wrapped up in my own life. It's what happens i guess. He always sent birthday cards. He was always very jovial when he did come see us. Always had a big, huge grin nearly the whole time. Thats what I remember of him.
I should have asked him more about his life, World War II, the family business, anything. But I never did. My family didn't know him as intimately as the rest of my Dad's side of the family and I still feel bad to this day about it. It's on us, or me that I have such limited memories of him.
It was hard hearing everyone talk so lovingly about "Papa", having these great stories of times spent with him. And I didn't have any to share. Honestly that was extremely embarrassing.
The rest of the time down there was when not talking about my Grandfather, they were asking my "brother" about being in the military. From what I was told both he and my Grandpa trained at the same military base. The funeral was just as sad as when I was at my Dad's but this time I didn't have anything I could say during it. I didn't feel like I could make eye contact with all the people who came to his funeral because each of them knew more of Jim Kenworthy Sr. than I ever have or will.
That feeling really sucks.
I got far too wrapped up in my own life being too selfish to remember that family is important and I should have been a better grandson.
I drove Mom, Dakota and myself back to Wisconsin. Trying to be brotherly, I had my "brother" switch where he was flying out of back to where he was stationed from Milwaukee to Minneapolis so I could spend time with him. That whole time was awkward and not nearly as fun as I imagined it would be.

So I have returned back to Minneapolis on I'm thinking it was a Friday because I went back to work that Saturday night?(i think). I worked two shifts at the theater where new owners had just taken over just as I was taking the start of my vacation. I was told they were sitting each of the employees down to have a talk to get to know the employees and what improvement ideas we could bring to the table. I never got that chance to impart my ideas.
On that Monday the 8th I believe I got a phone call waking me up around 10-ish. It was my boss letting me know that I was being let go and he was very sorry and it wasn't his choice. I was taken aback a little but said I understood, last hired, first fired.
I walked out of my bedroom to tell Carrie who was sitting in the living room and just as I got half way through telling her what just happened, her phone starts ringing. She looked and announced to me that it was from the theater. She answered and got the same explanation as I did. I think she might have cried a little. One thing I knew for sure was we drank that night. I also discovered that another manager other than myself was shit-canned, the illustrious "Rock n' Roll" Ray Whalen. We were the three kicked to the curb while a few other  employees who by work ethic should have gotten the ax instead of us.

So here I am the first week into my new year long lease and both people occupying this apartment no longer had a paycheck coming through. It was a shit situation which we somehow made work for two years before I had to make plans to move back to Wisco.
In those two years I had some of the best times of my life some that I wouldn't have had if I were still working at the theater.
September 2008 was a depressing time, a bottom out of sorts and it was a blast on the way back up.

Final Summation: 5 fucking years on... 9/11 doesn't mean shit to me. 9/4 does.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beyond The White Wall

I didn't think this would happen.
I'm hooked on Game of Thrones. I wasn't a huge fan of Lord Of The Rings and most medieval movies. I suppose its lot like when I tried to avoid The Harry Potter craze but I succumbed and it's pretty much what has happened with GoT.
The show is so damn addicting.