This is not really much more than an update about how I’m progressing, my developing social life and my job searches.
First of all then, my progress. I think this is going quite well. I’m currently sporting a fairly unique post-chemo hairstyle the like of which has possibly only ever been seen previously on either a fashion week cat walk or at a punk concert. It’s a kind of post-punk trying to meet hippy sort of thing lol It’s definitely coming back darker than it was before it went. My stamina is also increasing though I still need more sleep and rest than I used to do, but at least, now, I can usually manage without an afternoon nap.
My social life also seems to be on the up, I’m glad to say. Last weekend saw my wife and myself attend a thank you party given by Bill Penzer for those involved in his most recent book “How to Cope Better When You Have Cancer“. It was a very pleasant party and the people there were interesting for many reasons. Bill was kind enough to give those of us who are mentioned in the book our own copy. I haven’t started on the book yet as I’ve been finishing off the one I was reading, but, tonight seems like it will see me open the covers and go for it. In actual fact I did have a bit of a dip into the book as Bill had marked the pages on which I got a mention. I’d already seen those parts as he’d submitted them to me for approval, but it was still something of a shock to read them again and discover just where I had been only those short months ago – an emotional experience. One thing which did strike me at the party was being referred to, along with several others, as a “survivor”. As I said to Bill, I hadn’t really thought of myself in that way. To me a survivor is someone who comes through something such as a train wreck. Bill was quick to point out that he sees cancer pretty much as a train wreck, but my point was that I expected to be cured, that I, personally, wasn’t suffering from a life threatening disease as some of you are, that I was told I would be cured and I have been. On that basis although my life has been significantly impacted by the cancer, and I really wouldn’t wish to downplay that impact, for me it was never life-threatening and so I don’t really see how I am entitled to call myself as “a survivor”. There’s emotional stuff in there somewhere I think and, yes, it is quite possible that I’m unknowingly choosing to create a perspective which allows me to avoid that emotional impact.
My wife I are still going along to Davie Police’s Civilian Police Academy and thoroughly enjoying it. This week we were taken through a homicide investigation by the investigating officer Detective John Stokes. The investigation was fascinating and made all the more so by the, shall we say, especially unique, style of the presentation. Looking ahead to Sunday I get to join one of Davie’s finest for his shift from 2 p.m. until midnight. Some people on the course have already had their shift in the car and were tremendously enthusiastic about the experience and what they had learned from it. Hopefully I will have a similarly interesting experience without anyone deciding to take a shot at us!
As a measure of my increasing stamina my wife and myself have been able to commit to going to a bonfire party this weekend, with friends Melvyn and Lisa, to mark the failure of The Gunpowder Plot and which is often called Guy Fawke’s Night as effigies of Guy are traditionally burned on the bonfire. I always associate Bonfire Night with frost, cold winds and a smoke bedraggled landscape on the next morning; with wrapping up in woolly hat, scarf, gloves, two pairs of socks and a duffle coat (doubt there will be many dressed like that despite being in autumnal Florida!) while eating roast potatoes made by Jackie’s mum, Mrs. Taylor, wrapped up in serviettes so that they wouldn’t burn our fingers while melted butter would dribble down each chin. By today’s standards I suppose the fireworks were relatively weedy affairs but I still remember the excitement as either my dad or Jackie’s dad would fasten a spinning wheel to the outside of the toilet door – I ought to point out that back then no-one in our street had an indoor toilet – and we all waited with almost bated breath to see whether it had benn affixed too tightly in which case it wouldn’t spin, too loosely in which case it would fly off and gyrate around the area, or whether it had been fastened just right and would spin away happily. Sadly out of the two families who got together for the fires only two of us are now alive and if I’d had my cancer a few years earlier there might only have been one.
My job hunting continues apace and I have to admit that I find it quite tiring. I’m applying for a wide range of jobs so each application needs to have it’s own resume and to produce a good customised one takes quite a considerable time. Then there’s the time taken to fill in the online applications. Usually this goes well but then there are instances such as today with the Comcast site where having completed each field on the form I pressed submit and got a message telling me that I couldn’t submit the application until I had filled in two additional fields. The only problem is that those two fields aren’t on that form. Yes, I’m absolutely certain they aren’t. I looked. I looked again, and again. I did a search with CTRL + F and the only time the relevant words came up were in the error messages. Is there a help function. You betcha, of course there is. Does it work? You betcha, of course it doesn’t there’s a Java error. Is there a contact us either on the job ad or on the job form. Of course not. So it occurs to me that maybe the problem is because I’m using Chrome and I decide to try the same thing with Internet Explorer. The problem (well you knew there was going to be a problem didn’t you?) was that going into the site again I needed to log in. Now, I don’t know about you but my log ins are pretty much variations on a theme so, even though I couldn’t remember what they were for this particular site, actually I couldn’t even remember them for this particular site, I was happy to give it a go and guess what they probably were. My guesses were futile but I wasn’t going to be outdone. “I’ll do it again for a different email account”, I thought to myself, so I did but I wasn’t required to log in, or create a password before starting the application so I was no better off than before. This is a major company and there is no direct way of contacting them about this. Other than that I applied, amongst others to citi a while ago and today had my telephone interview. I may, or may not, hear from their “local recruiter” in the next seven to ten days to take my application to the next level. So far since starting my job hunt I’ve usually applied for two or three jobs most days and I’m hoping that some of them are now sufficiently far advanced to be looked at by a real person.