Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Revisiting the scene of the accident

This is probably going to be a difficult blog to write.
Starting about 2002, I began reloading ammo for handguns. It was a way of saving lots of money, but more than that, it was I hobby I took pride in. And that sentence ends with a preposition, but I don't care, this is MY blog. 
I started out just loading for the .45, and as time went on I added different calibers: 9 mm, .38/.357, and even a couple of rifle calibers. I bought more sophisticated equipment, and I cast my own lead bullets. I polished the used brass, tried different powders to see what I could do, and in general just had a lot of fun with the whole project. I did all the work on my work table in the tool shed outdoors, and it was relaxing and productive.
Then I got sick.
But I kept reloading; it was something I could do, and I could get some instant gratification from the loading, and from the shooting, at a time when there wasn't very much in my life that seemed to be working.
And then I got sicker. The insomnia became an overwhelming part of my life; I doubt that there was a single week that went by that I didn't miss one night of sleep, and it got to where my cut-off was four nights; I knew if I had gone that long, I was going to be non-functional. 
But I guess I kept trying to reload, for a while. I certainly wasn't shooting anymore. I still had my guns, but family members didn't really trust me, and so to keep the peace, I stopped shooting. That's not entirely true; it was in part to keep the peace, although the peace was long gone, and the most important part of it never returned; mostly, I guess I stopped because I just couldn't do it anymore. Either pain or meds or insomnia-induced fatigue got in the way of everything I did. I didn't do anything, except go to work and sit. And then they told me I couldn't go to work anymore; and even though it was traumatic, they were right right; I was not functioning as a competent person. At any rate, I stopped going to my reloading bench.
I guess it's been about four years now that I started trying to pull the fragments of my life together. It was three years ago that we finally, formally put an end to a 32 year marriage. And a year and a half ago, I married my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa. And a year ago, this month, I decided that even though I was still suffering from chronic pain, I wanted to get off the daily doses of narcotics, and try to be more...here. And six months ago, I learned that if I lost weight, I might be able to breathe again, so I started doing that. And I've been trying to do other things as well, to return to a functional life.
And today, I decided I was going to start reloading again. There has been a severe ammunition shortage, and I've got all the supplies I need to make thousands of rounds, and I'm trying to interest my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa in shooting, and there are probably other reasons; but mostly, reloading would be another sign that I was getting my life back.
So I went out to the tool shed, which I had avoided for years, and I took a look at my reloading equipment; it was awful. I had broken things; I had pieces of equipment laying all over; my supplies, at one time so very well organized and coherent, were chaotic, and I couldn't even get my brass polishing tumbler to work. 
Right now, all that together is saying this to me: this is how sick you were. This is how sick you were. You couldn't take care of your stuff, you couldn't take care of your self, and there was no one who could take care of you, and so it all disintegrated.
Now, that is NOT the final word. The truth? I'm a little bit excited about buying a new brass tumbler, and some of the other new supplies I need to get organized. The tumbler was the only bit of equipment with a motor; evidently I had ordered another handle to the bullet mold as a replacement to the one I broke. And whether my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa goes shooting with me or not, I know I have some hours of peaceful, productive time ahead of me. So, in a little bit, it's going to be blue skies and sunshine.
But right now, at this moment, I'm having to face how sick I was, and remembering what I've lost ain't no fun at all.

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