A lot going on. Catching up.
Here we are into October and this is my first post here on the blog since July. This entry will be more like a mini-journal of my life, both personal and professional, since then. It’s going to be kinda random, and I’m probably going to miss a few things so maybe what is missed will show up in later posts. Or I may just blow them off. :)
Right off I’ll tell you all: I’m a grandpa!!!! Yes! After years on years of waiting we were blessed with Ainslee Emiliah Kilburg. The most beautiful bundle of baby I have ever seen. (of course!) She is a doll and we love her so, so much. She has the best smile. Bright blue eyes and the thickest dark hair ever seen on a baby. We are so looking forward to growing with her and being a part of her’s and her parent’s life.
I bought another camera. Another GFX 50s. My old body fell off my tripod in late July right outside my house of all places. Weirdest feeling ever seeing an almost $6k camera leaving the RSS ballhead and arc’ing towards the ground. Followed by a sickening scraping sound. The lens on it costs half as much but it seemed to whether the fall fine although I will need to test it on the new body when it gets here. I filed a claim with State Farm and my no deductible personal articles policy paid me for the body. No questions asked, and quick payment. Fujifilm offered me a brand new replacement at a pretty decent price but Adorama (and other stores) have it on sale for only $200 more right now and its a full warranty. For some reason, Fujifilm only offers six months warranty on new replacement equipment. And they only take Visa and American Express and I wanted to use my Discover card for the points and because that’s the card I chose for large business purchases. So my order went to Adorama. I have to say, I was shocked that the body was totaled after the fall. These mirrorless cameras, filled with electronics and processors, need to be handled gently I guess. I will bet you see a 50s upgrade in the next six to seven months. I could have waited and bought into it. Or, I could have taken my claim money and thrown some extra funds in and gotten a GFX 100 instead. I mean the GFX 100 is $10k so its the perfect time to go with one if I want to do that, what with 60% of the cost covered. I didn’t want to. It’s a great camera for sure but just not my sort of thing. I’m cool with 51 megapixels on a large sensor.
So why so long to file a claim? Well, a few things. For one, I’ve been busy with a new client I picked up a in late July. A very nice little local company run by a person who has also become a good friend, at least I think of her as a good friend. It has been a godsend of sorts and helps to keep my hand in the business. It keeps me busy too. It’s all product photography for now with a slant toward creating online images used on Pinterest, Etsy and Amazon. The company is Amanda Creation, Inc. and if you need any sort of party products, and I mean anything, its your one stop shop. Try it out. It’s locally owned and run by regular people - Mom’s and Dad’s and neighbors. A unique, cool company. And they ship nationally.
The other thing keeping me busy is the increased needs of my wife has as she moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s. She needs a full 24/7 care program now. I need some space too per doctors orders. So I have a respite care agreement with a care provider for my wife for seven hours on Thursdays each week. I use the Thursdays to work my photography business, take meetings for other things, and in general just to catch up on other social and professional issues. Knowing the requirements for care for my wife at the time, I took the product gig figuring I could use the time when home with my wife to back fill work like image processing but that’s not exactly working out. As my wife’s condition advances, it takes more and more time and effort to tend and care for her. So much so, I find it tough to fulfill my image delivery obligations in a professional manner. It can take me two weeks to get a themed shoot delivered. So far, Amanda Creation has been exceptionally patient and undemanding but it bothers me. I’m debating quitting the gig but I really love the work and interacting with other people. I’m not doing it for the money, although it does go towards paying for the respite care, which is nice. My friends are talking me out of it, and even offering to help with post processing and the customer has even offered to help. They do not want me to quit. That makes all of us. I would love to keep the job. I do have some wonderful friends and I love them all. I do not know what will happen. My wife comes first obviously, but if I can care for her and work, it’s by far the most healthy option for both of us. Stay tuned on this.
I lost another friend to cancer too. It hit me pretty hard because Ken was a “budding” friend, and I feel cheated over conversations that we never had. We met up via family get togethers (not held often enough) and found we had a lot in common with both of us enjoying a glass of whiskey, a cigar and some good conversation. We hoped to get together more often and made plans for cookouts and what have you and then the dreaded disease reared its head. He fought hard but it won. It often does. His passing added to my developing “funk” or depression stemmed by my worry about my business practices and poor service, plus my worry over my wife, her care and her worsening behavior.
Not long after my friend’s passing, my Mother passed away. Dementia and its effects coupled with old age took its toll. She was ready though and in lucid moments admitted to being ready to meet her Lord and be reunited with my Father who she missed dearly since his death 18 years ago. I don’t have the same religious beliefs as my mother but I know she is not suffering anymore, and while I miss her dearly (just typing these words makes tears form along with a lump in my throat) my only wish was always that she be happy whether it be here on Earth or in the heaven she seeks. My Mom was a great woman, she helped shape my outlook on life. She was tough, yet very caring - but she did not suffer fools. Cross her once and you never had a chance to do it again. Talk about zero tolerance. Family meant a lot and her kids were her treasure. She wanted to hear from her kids too. Regularly. Or you heard about it. it was always a point of contention and as a parent now, I get it. I never see enough of my son and his family, but it was often overwhelming to me prior to Fatherhood. Back when, I was in my late teens, a Marine on temporary duty in the Philippines. I worked 24 hrs. on and got most of the next 24 hrs off, when one day while I was enjoying some down time; I was just laying around, and this jeep shows up outside my quonset hut. An MP jeep with a Corporal looking for me. My CO wanted to see me ASAP. I jumped in the jeep and reported as ordered. I was reprimanded heavily and ordered to write one letter a week to my mother who it seems worked the chain of command until she found my CO. She told him I wasn’t writing home and she wanted to know what the Marines could do to help? Thats the way she was. I miss her so much.
So depression, or my funk, as it is, has been holding me back. It feeds on my worry, my stress and misery as it happens. It’s not an enabling mental state. There are several other things too that have added to my funk and at times I feel like they are just piling on. My furnace quit working. It’s working again now but there is always the dreaded “oh no” when a major appliance like that craps out. Some family matters playing heavy on my mind contributed but I think the major contributor is with the changes in my wife. She is at a point where her behavior is consistent with late stage Alzheimers and its totally unpredictable. Her actions cycle so quick now, they can change hourly, like throwing a light switch. She will not do things anymore like buckle her seat belt. She will unbuckle the belt while I’m driving. She spits food out. Won’t eat certain things one day but they are fine the next. She will not take her meds some days. She wanders and mumbles. The list grows and grows and becomes different every day. It’s extremely difficult to watch knowing this independent and capable women for decades; and it’s a challenge to keep up with it all. On top of all this the seasons are changing, and fall is upon us. It’s my favorite time of the year but I have yard work and house prep outdoors to get done before winter! So my funk just kept dragging me down and down. But, with the help of some friends and their words of encouragement, I’m climbing out of my well of funk. I have a plan. I have priorities. I have a list and do the things on it. Like writing this post, settling the claim on my camera and finding ways to combat the behavioral changes presented by my wife. I have things pretty well straight now and hope to keep things that way.
The new camera will help. I hope to snag a Thursday soon, rent some studio space and with a willing model, just work a nice photo shoot for ME. I have not done that in so long. Maybe afterwards I’ll spend some time looking for fall colors. Who knows? I want to get my wife out walking more before it snows. The list is long but its not meant to be conquered. It’s more of a roadmap to sanity.
This post has dragged on long enough. Thanks for listening if you did. Beware of depression, it’s a dangerous state of mind. It creeps in undetected and if it gets a foothold, its hard to get rid of. Stay safe my friends, until next time.