Idle Hands

Part one

The following series is more of a therapy for what I had experience over the last four years and hopefully a show of support for those who experienced something similar. If you were to ask me what was the hardest or toughest experience of my life you might expect me to say having my daughter in the NICU for 91 days after being born at 23 weeks and weighing just over a pound. That would be the wrong answer. No, there was something worse that happened to me, a form of mental abuse that doesn’t go away, I know this because even after moving, working several different jobs, and finding ways to stay busy all the time, I find my self thinking about this every single day. My mind is tired. My soul is still crushed. My heart remains broken.

I can sum everything up into a few words, Wokeism, Communism, and CRT. This is what my life revolved around for three years and I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t care for my job at the County, a dead-end position with no future, no advancement, and less pay as time went on. Funny how government works like that. I had a friend from college who worked at the local library and the pay and benefits seemed to be good, if fact they were some of the bests around. Low 30k for starting out in the maintenance and custodian department plus health insurance that actually covered medical bills. Where do I sign up? Clearly this is a place that must have its shit together, right? I applied, was hired, and started working at the library.

The people were nice, most of them. There were those who wore a mask and while they smiled you had the impression that you were wasting their time. The checks started to roll in and I had health insurance the same day I started. Things were looking pretty good.

Not long after I started working at the library my daughter was born. For the full story on that you can look up my book Hobbit Baby or find the original blog post on the Good Men Project website. I never left work. for the 91 days my daughter was in the NICU I continued to go to work, running over to the hospital on my lunch breaks and after work. I wasn’t through my probationary period yet and didn’t want to risk losing my job like I had seen happen to so many others at the local hospital while I worked there. “Oh, just take a day off. Go to the funeral. You need to take care of that.” The manager would say, then a week later call the same employee in to write them up or fire them for too many occurrences. After working at a “caring” hospital I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t be kicked while I was down.

After 91 days Zoey came home and I continued work. I had picked up an extra part time job at a local brewery cleaning the restrooms. I learned from the owner that his bartenders refused to clean them after work and he needed to have somebody take care of them before the place opened. My friend from college did that job for a while until he quit. Then the reigns were handed over to me. I would stop in during the morning hours and clean but then their hours changed. Lunch wasn’t a big selling time fore a brewery so they switched to evening hours. I started to leave an hour early to go to work and cleaned before starting my shift. I would clean the bathrooms, chat with the brew master until I had to be at work, and that was it.

The time that I started my shift was the same time that the day shift finished. The brewery was one block down from the library and there were a few times that I would leave the brewery, locking the door behind me, and walked to work passing library co-workers on the way. It didn’t take long before my friend from college took me aside and asked “Are you drinking before work?” Unknown to me, a rumor had gone around the library that I was an alcoholic and that I was drinking before coming to work. People also knew that I had the side job and used to payment of beer to take my wife out on the weekend without it costing a fortune. Here is the weird thing about this situation, I was never accused of drinking on the job, meaning that I was never taken to the hospital to have a blood draw. The rumor itself was viewed as a fact and I found people treating me differently and looking down at me while I was there. Some of the things I had seen in previous weeks made sense after my friend had taken me aside. Even stranger was when I asked the evening shift supervisor if he had heard the rumor. With a stern look on his face he said “if I ever think you have been drinking on the job or smell anything that resembles beer coming from you, we’re are going to the hospital and doing a blood draw. Do you understand me?” I didn’t understand his reaction and clearly, he had heard the rumor and from what I was gathering he must have thought it was true. This should have been my first sign to get the hell out of the library and find another job but the pay and benefits were so good I told myself this must have been a fluke. I continued to work for the brewery until the Covid-19 plandemic of 2020. At no time was I ever tested for alcohol while working at the library.

End of part one.

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The end of an era

Last week was my daughter’s second birthday. Unlike the year prior I had to wait a few days before visiting the NICU where she had stayed for 91 days to drop off some doughnuts and say hello. I went to the local Sweetwater’s Doughnut mill and picked up two dozen of the city’s best treats. Zoey had a clean bill of health the day before on her two-year checkup. For being born four months early she was doing great.
We drove downtown and found a spot before going inside. Everything looked the same as it had two years ago. The elevator took us to the fourth floor and I realized this was the first time Zoey would be walking onto the floor by herself. We run into her old nurses from time to time and they tell us about her picture taped to the desk at the end of the hall where she stayed. The doctors still talk about how well she did and how fast she had recovered. At the desk was a woman I didn’t recognize. I told her Zoey was there to visit and that it was her birthday. I was given an odd look as I set the doughnuts down on the counter.
The greeter wanted names of nurses, the hall that we stayed in. I gave her a list and mentioned that Rob had been given the Daisy award for taking care of her. Normally the greeter would call the charge nurse and say Zoey was there to visit, word would spread and people would come out to say hi. That didn’t happen.
I was told that none of the nurses were working, I didn’t know who was in charge. Nobody came out to grab the doughnuts for the breakroom. In the waiting room I played with Zoey and watched the clock tick by. The greeters changed shifts and when the new girl asked about the doughnuts a vague answer was given and the new girl set them on a table behind the desk and forgot about them. Staff came and went, people I didn’t know waved hi to Zoey but nobody talked to me again.
Zoey is no longer a preemie. The one pound six-ounce baby had grown up and we were no longer patients. She had been replaced by the newcomers, the ones who were in the NICU now. After thirty minutes I figured it was time to move on in more ways than one. I’m sure that many of the staff had moved on and transferred to other departments. Zoey was another face on a wall and while people recognized her from her picture there wasn’t that connection anymore. I can’t keep thinking of my daughter as the tiny hobbit baby in a plastic box. She has other priorities now bouncing balls, birds, cars, and Elmo. When problems arise, they wouldn’t be of the NICU variety.
I left without saying goodbye, there was nobody to say goodbye to. I can’t say I will miss seeing those double doors ever again. I felt guilty for not taking the doughnuts in on her birthday but I have a feeling that emotion will be gone next year. I get to take my daughter for walks now, letting her see the vast world that she is now a part of and maybe it’s time to leave behind the tiny world that she had come from.
We rode the elevator down, walked down the halls as people’s heads turned talking about how cute she was and left the hospital for the last time. I still wonder if the NICU ever got their doughnuts not that they would know who they were from but I can always hope.

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