.journal 2001.04.08
Awaiting my grandfather's death.

Now listening to: Johann Pachelbel, Canon in D Major
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
Now playing: Final Fantasy Anthology (Playstation)

For those of you not on the mailing list who didn't notice the little addition to the homepage last week, I decided to go ahead and launch my own blog recently. "Blog" is short for weblog, and it's basically just a little place where I can type down quick little thoughts in a nice little Javascript window, and they automatically get added to the other thoughts with a handy little timestamp. Not only that, but I can host it on another site, so I don't have to worry about it applying to my bandwidth charges here. So for those of you who haven't visited seanshannon.org.blog yet, I encourage you to go do so. If anything, it's an interesting look at my thought processes throughout the day.

Unfortunately, there's been something heavier on my mind recently, that being the rapidly deteriorating condition of my paternal grandfather. Last summer his prostate cancer came out of remission, and the resulting struggle has just drained all the life out of him. His condition really began to worsen recently, and as if his body wasn't weak enough from both the cancer and the treatment, he contracted pneumonia on Friday. My father went up to the hospital in Michigan on both Thursday and Friday night, and for about the past forty-eight hours we've all just basically been waiting for "the call" here at the house.

I wish I had some fun stories to relate about my grandfather, but unfortunately none really come to mind. He owns a nice cottage on Bois Blanc Island in Michigan, which is just an absolutely gorgeous, secluded place, untouched by the commercialism that has haunted nearby Mackinac Island. Unfortunately, it was also on that island that I was raped when I was 11 years old, a memory that I'd somehow blocked from my mind for seven years before it finally came out while I was in college. Since then I haven't been able to go back there, not that I think I'd be welcome anyway, but if I can possibly do so I'd like to go up there with L. so she and I can hopefully make myself better. Believe me, I will need her help in doing so.

But I guess I was never close to my grandfather, and that's just the way things went. My father was very close to his father, and I can only imagine how hard things must be on him. My current ostracization from the rest of the family is obviously paining him as well, especially at a time like this, but I know that losing his father must be killing him inside. I've tried to stay out of my father's hair recently and be patient with him, but things have boiled over every once in a while and it's been kind of hard.

When it comes down to it, what I'm feeling from my father isn't so different from what I'm feeling from the rest of his family, it's just that it's not on such a radical level. I feel this tremendous sense of disappointment from all of them that I didn't turn out to be the person they wanted me to be, not someone who fit into their preconceived notion of how people should be and act. From my father's perspective I guess he just wanted an offspring with whom he could share experiences like he did with his father. I guess when my sister was nine years old he began to realize he could never have that experience with her, so that's why I came around. But I wasn't the child he wanted either, and now with my mother well past menopause and his father's pending death reminding him of his own mortality and his closeness to it, my father's got a lot to grieve about.

I can't change for him, though. I spent too much time in my life kowtowing to other people's concepts of who I should be, and wasn't true to myself, and as a result I've got some real problems that I'm still fighting through in my recovery. I'm sorry if my father's family thinks so poorly of me that they want nothing to do with me, and if I wasn't the child my father wanted, but there's nothing I can do about that. I have to be true to myself first, and if that means painful separation from the rest of the family, or the barbs of other people who only know me from what I write online, then so be it. It took me most of my life to finally be happy and comfortable with myself, and have the strength to distance myself from bad people and bad situations, and I'm never going to go back to the way things were.

One of the things that's run through the Shannon line is a bit of an entrepreneurial streak. My grandfather owned his own steel plant, and when I was ten my father left the illustration firm that had employed him for many, many years and started his own company. (No, I didn't design the Website, thanks for asking.) And I guess partly to try to instill that spirit in me, although I suspect it was mostly done because my old man is such a skinflint and wanted to save money on personal care, for most of the next two school years I was taken to his office after work (back when it was in one of the seediest sections of Toledo, mind you) and not home. For a long time there, instead of doing the playing and having fun that kids of that age are supposed to be doing, I was stuck in a poorly-ventilated carpet-covered plywood shack with a whole bunch of smokers, unable to do much of anything except homework and brochure-stuffing (for all of $2 an hour), and the only sunlight I ever got to play in was on the weekends. That really screwed me up a lot, and it will probably remain a big bone of contention between the two of us for the rest of our lives because, of course, he thought he was doing me a favour, helping instill his "business wisdom" in me.

Well, last year I got a chance to put that wisdom to some practical use, because I did start my own Website development company and tried to do it on my own. And quite frankly, I failed miserably. I had one client whose work I was basically doing for next to nothing, and that was it. I kept trying to get more clients, listing myself on all the job sites, applying to any positions I could find, and nobody ever took me seriously. Yeah, that was two years of my life well-spent, father, thanks a whole hell of a lot. Finally I just folded the whole thing up last year, and now I'm back where I was before, working for my father. Sigh.

I mention this because recently I had to do the business taxes, which was a whole lot of fun. I used TaxCut Home and Business to take care of both my business and personal taxes, and after putting in my personal information I saw that I was entitled to a nice little refund, not too much but still enough to really boost up my car fund. But the software insisted I do my business taxes at the same time, and when I did I saw my nice little refund disappear, and in its place was a huge payment I had to make to the IRS. As you can imagine, this did not make me a happy camper.

Unfortunately, right after e-filing my return and having the IRS accept it, I was dismayed to find out that I still had to print out a form, sign it and send it to the IRS. And this posed a problem, because my old Epson Stylus Color 400 printer had bitten the dust recently, with the mechanisms which opened the ink cartridges jamming shut and not letting any ink escape. And given how much the repair would have cost, I could have save money by getting a new printer instead. Eep.

So, since Jeff came over Saturday afternoon to check on all of us, I had him take me to Best Buy (I really can't borrow the folks' van because my father will likely be heading right back up to Michigan once he gets "the call") and I bought a brand new HP DeskJet 842C to handle the task. Despite costing less than my Epson (which was less than two years old), this thing prints about twenty times better, is about 15% as noisy and is just blowing my mind. I never have much cause for printing anything, mind you, but knowing I have this thing at my disposal is nice.

While Jeff was out, I also bumped over to Media Play to return the two Lords of Acid CDs I bought there, Farstucker and Lust, due to them both having skips (Farstucker having a skip in the exact same spot as the first copy I bought there). The music clerk didn't seem too concerned that the store had obviously received a lot of defective CDs, but I still got cash back for Lust and store credit for Farstucker, which was nice. Mind you, I still really want both CDs, but I'm not going to buy them from Media Play at this point. Hopefully I can find someplace else to buy them soon, but I really wasn't in a shopping mood while I was out so I just took the money and came back home.

I guess now I'm just biding time until "the call" comes in. I have to fill out a rebate form for the printer and also for the Complete Japanese Learning Suite software I bought recently (I can't even remember if I wrote about that in here or not), and I've been doing other small things like tidying up my bookmarks. I also got back into Exquisite Corpse recently, and I have Wildwood photos scanned to put up here, I only have to upload the pics and create the HTML pages here. The snow pictures didn't turn out so well, but these first two rolls with a "real" camera have turned out real well. Of course I've been trying to work on my music and writing as much as I can here, because those are the fora through which I can express the things inside me the best, but at times like this your spirit and mind can do some strange things. But I think I'll be okay. At least now that I've experienced a death in the family, I have some perspective on things.

Anyway, I have to turn in here, plus I'm trying to carry on a chat with L., so I think I'll wrap up here for now. Keep checking the blog, keep checking back here (I'll try to have some Wildwood photos posted in the next couple of days), and if you can, please hope with me that my grandfather's suffering ends as peacefully and painlessly as it can. At least I know Herne is awaiting him on the other side, ready to welcome him into the hunt.

- Sean