Sunday, May 31, 2009

They did what????

Now: I am going to see Scott's show today at Dominion Stage, "Jeffrey". He opened on friday with success. I just hope I will like it because I am not a very good liar. Next weekend I plan on going down to Williamsburg to help my stepdad get ready for his yard sale which I'm going to be running on the last weekend in June.

Busy learning lines, eBaying, cleaning house, yard work and all of that. Not a lot of new to report.

My Life: WeSell, where I work, is getting harder for me everyday. I have to stand a lot and do a lot of walkiing to get my job done. My legs aren't co-operating and are screaming at me. I have a high tolerance for pain and I keep on working. I do, however go to the HR office and have a chat with the manager. He tells me that everything I say is confidential like a lawyer - client contract. This prompts me to open up to him about everything, almost.

I tell him that I have been HIV+ for many years and that I don't have the energy I used to have. I disclose to him that I have been diagnosed with Neuropothy and my legs hurt all the time. I tell him that I will be setting up docto'rs appointments and will probably need some time off in the near future. He tells me that is no problem and that I needn't worry.

On the home front, I am dating Ken and still living with Jim. Ken comes by the house everyday and we do eBay together. He doesn't know how to do anything on the computer so he helps with packing things up and shipping.

About Ken: He is a neat freak. Everything in it's place and a place for everything. He likes his cocaine but doesn't drink at all. He seems to be one of the nicest people around and is almost always happy. He is totally infatuated with me.

At this point in my life I am not looking for another relationship. I am drinking heavily and doing cocaine with Ken. The pain gets worse and Jim keeps spying on my every move.

The week after I went to HR at WeSell, some of the employees started to avoid me and would no longer talk to me. I was being stared at by the secretaries. Even some of the people who talked to me everyday now avoided any contact with me. I knew something was wrong so I went back to HR. I explained to him what was going on and I saw the fear in his eyes. He told me that he had told the owners of the company about my problems. My world began to crumble. Both owners, although married, were having affairs with their assistants. The assitants were good friends with other employees. Tell the owner something and everyone finds out.

Only one person in the office would really speak to me. Her name was Maria Scorsinelli and she was from Trinidad-Tobago. She was a closeted lesbian because she was afraid that WeSell would fire her if they found out she were gay. She told me that the entire office knew I was HIV+ and that they were all afaid that I was going to give them AIDS.

By this era, the truth about AIDS and HIV had been discovered and through education everyone knew how it was transmitted. You couldn't get it by just being around someone who had it. There had to be an exchange of body fluids or sharing needles. No by sitting on a toilet seat or drinking from a cup!! This didn't stop the predjudice and stigma that came from being HIV+.

I couldn't get any work done at WeSell so I called a lawyer. We met and I told him what had happened and he took my case. Should I win a law suit he would recieve %40 of my take. Should I lose I would only pay a few thousand for his services. He told me I had a good case so I took him on. He told me the case would only take a couple of months from beginning to end.

The one problem I had was no one at WeSell would be a willing witness on my behalf. Not even Maria, whom I couldn't blame her for not wanting to. I documented everything for a week. I made copies of my files and hours I put in since I had started with them. By the end of the second week, I couldn't bare it anymore. The silence at WeSell was deafening. I walked out and never looked back.

Ken and I started going to yardsales together and buying everything we could to sell on eBay. The auction business was booming. We would get big bucks for crappy stuff. I would spend most of my nights with Ken. We got along fabulously.

The court date came...

Today: Sorry, I just got a new client to sell some stuff and he wants me to come to his home right away to pick it all up. Seems he needs his garage empty immediately. Thank god I had business cards with me yesterday as I was yard saleing.

Love & Peave,


Sunday, May 24, 2009

I want out!

Today: Nothing much new to say. Trying to learn my lines for the show I am in. Yard sales were few this weekend so not a lot of new products for me to sell. I'll be working on the garage today to get that cleaned out some more. At least I'm feeling better.

My Life: When Jim and I moved into the new home in Alexandria I started drinking heavily again. Since the drugs were less I added more alcohol. I really didn't like myself very much. I thought I was a happy drunk and I did everything I could to please everyone around me. That wasn't working because Jim would get angry about my consumption of booze. I am the type of person that will hide his emotions when upset. The silent angry type. That doesn't help in any relationship.

I started going out at night to the "Eagle" in D.C.. I avoided being around Jim as much as possible. When we did cross paths, all we did was fight. He was constantly harping on me. He would get on my computer and track all the websites and chat rooms I had been in. He knew how to find everything on it and he stole my privacy from me. I know that relationships are built on love & trust but we were both breaking the rules. He spyed on me and I cheated on him. He began to cheat on me too. It wasn't pretty.

One morning I had a hangover so bad that I was taking a shower and fell in the tub. My neck missed the edge of the tub by inches and I slammed my shoulder instead. It hurt really bad but I have a high tolerance for pain. Jim slept through the fall. He never got out of bed before 1PM anyway. So I drove to work and checked in with my staff. As I was talking to someone about the fall my shoulder made a large cracking noise. They cringed and told me to go to the hospital. I drove there and had an x-ray done. Broken in 3 places. I wore a cast for 4 months or so.

Healed from the shoulder, my body started making it's own changes. I began feeling a pins and needles like sensation in my legs. I was wearing down and had no energy. My muscles hurt and I became depressed. I couldn't stand as much and had to sit often. I went to the doctor's office and he couldn't find anything wrong with me other than being HIV+.

My routine was: I drank. I did more drugs. I fought with Jim. I drank. I went to the gay bar. I drank. I picked up men. I barely went to work. I hurt, so I drank more.

Jim and I were all but through. We just lived together. I wanted to move but I didn't have the funds to do so.

A friend from work introduced me to eBay and I gave it a try. I started out with a mermaid troll doll that I had purchased at a yard sale for a dollar. It was in mint condition and I sold it on eBay for $75.00. I was hooked. I had found a new way to help pay for my drinking, smoking and drug habits.

The pain in my body was getting worse and I would go in for tests on a regular basis. Finally there was a test where they hooked up these electrodes to my legs and turned on a machine that would shock me. When they did this to me, I felt nothing. There wasn't any feeling of shock. They hooked it up to my upper leg and I felt it. I was stunned. The lower portion of my legs seemed to be asleep most of the time. The doctor told me I had peripheral neuropathy. The nerves in my legs were dying. No wonder I couldn't stand as long as I had used to. They gave me a medication called neuronton and told me I should feel relief in about 6 weeks.

I was so lost in my own mind. I wanted out! I wanted out of my relationship! I wanted out of my house! I wanted out of my life! I began to hate going to work because of the pain! The only thing that kept me from killing myself was my dog Stryker.

Then I met Ken Danfelt at the Eagle bar...

Love & Peace,


Sunday, May 17, 2009

WeSell Bliss

It's cold and rainy outside. Rain makes my legs hurt worse than they already do. I picked up a lot of stuff at yard sales yesterday so I have a lot to do on eBay today. Gotta make that grocery money.

Scott is back to his normal self again. Feeling better, so I guess all the new medications are working. I, on the other hand, have been feeling a bit on the wrong sides of the tracks. My legs have been acting up terribly, I'm gaining weight and getting headaches. I guess I am going to have to make another doctor appointment. Mentally I'm great.

My Life: Two of Jim's best friends were Janice & Rishi. They are the nicest lesbian couple I have ever met. Janice is American Indian and Rishi is a love child who reads astrological charts. We became good friends too. I took them to see Carol Channing when she was in town again and got back stage passes for them. They were in total awe.

We got our first computer and began learning everything we could. Of course the first thing we took to were chat rooms. There we could meet other gay people who didn't hang out in bars and talk to strangers like we had known them forever.

During those first years with Jim, I had more friends and felt so loved. It wasn't going to last. The landlord decided to keep raising the rent and Jim and I couldn't afford to stay. Jay & Kenny, out of the blue, didn't want anything to do with us anymore. We had been doing too much cocaine and now we had to move. My job wasn't promoting me like I thought they would so I was looking for another one. Something uppper mangement.

The first thing we did was give up the coke. Then we found a home in Alexandria that was owned by a friend of Jim's. The move was amazing. Whitman Walker Clinic gathered up about 25 volunteers and they all came by and moved us in. It was one of those two story homes with a basement. Kinda small but looked great at first. Once we were moved in, we felt a little cramped.

I had an interview that year with a new and upcoming telemarketing company. I am not allowed to say their name in my writings so I will call them WeSell. (more about that later) WeSell hired me as a sales manager after the second interview. I had asked for full health coverage from day one and a nice salary. Impressed by my sales abilities and past, they gave me the job. I was to keep the people on the floor motivated and give them expertise on how to close a sale. I ran contests for them, did schedules, hired, fired and kept track of sales volumes. It was a job I really enjoyed.

Home life was changing too. We had two computers at home. One for Jim and one for me. They were both set up in the same room. Jim would spend all day and night on his and the house was fallinig apart. I was working 50 hour weeks and didn't want to come home and clean all night. I did the best I could but it gets to the point where it becomes futile. I was beginning to hate where I lived but I loved my job.

Within months, I applied for a trainers position at WeSell. I had done so well with my staff that they promoted me to a salary job. I put together training manuals, wrote sales scripts, taught all the new employees when they came in the door and everyone on updates as needed. The company expanded to two locations and I trained everyone at the second location too. I worked my ass off. One quarter I was named employee of the quarter and recieved a $500.00 check, a new ski coat and trophy as well as recognition on their wall of fame. I really loved this job. People looked up to me and said I was one of the nicest and best trainers they had ever had.

Then I got sick...

Love & Peace,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Do I Look Like an Old Woman?

I got a call from the director of the 3 man Dracula show and he told me I wasn't cast. He told me who got each role and he cast the worst actor in the biggest part. I really believe it was cast on looks and not ability. Anyway, I wasn't heartbroken.

Monday night I had an audition for "Tartuffe" at Vpstart Crow. It's not a very good play but they are setting it in the 1980's and plan on camping it up. The theater also pays their actors a small stipend. The audition was fun and on Wednesday I got the call that they wanted me to play the old woman role. They thought it would be hysterical. Sort of Bea Arthur meets Joan Collins. I just know I will make one ugly woman so I took the role. It opens in July so more on that later.

Scott has been battling fever and sinus attacks again. We went to two different emergency rooms this week. He is home and stable and recovering. I get so worried about him.

Today is house cleaning, grass mowing and eBaying. I really could use an assistant or maid. Come to think of it, how about a million dollars and a vacation? Ah, it is nice to dream.

My Life: I found a job almost immediately in Tyson's Corner. It was...wait for it...
Time Life Libraries again! Selling books, CD's over the phone. All those collections you used to see on TV were the ones I called people about. There was a quota to be met every week and I was always at the top of my game. This was an easy job for.

Living with Jim and Stryker was fun those first couple of years. We did a lot of cocaine but I didn't do a lot of drinking. Oh. I drank but moderately. Our friends Jay and Kenny would come by all the time and we played cards and snorted our brains out. I even got Kenny a job at Time Life. We were the best of buds.

I had also met Tony during this time. He was a few years younger than me and a friend of Jims. When ever I went to the bars I would wear my motorcycle leather and Tony wanted to try some on one night. Once I put my jacket on him, he was hooked. He looked good too. We would go to the Eagle in DC and hang out. Tony asked me one night if I would enter into the Mr. Leather contest with him. He pretty much wanted me as his security blanket. I said yes even though I didn't think I could beat him.

There were 15 entries into the contest and I was lucky number 13. It was broken down to the final five and both Tony and I were still standing. It was quite intense. The interview process was done by a bunch of leather guys who did a lot for the gay community. Tony came in 4th and I came in 3rd. It was fun. The next year, Tony would win the Mr. Eagle contest. I was so proud of him. He would also end up doing porn magazines and not the better ones. Today Tony is 5'5" and weighs around 300 pounds.

These were happier times for me. I loved going to Gay Pride every year, hanging out with friends and snorting coke. My job was awesome and I had started to train the newcomers. I was moving up in the company, I thought.

Then this new thing called the home personal computer with Internet came along...

Love and Peace,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Beginning of an End

I went to an audition yesterday in Falls Church, VA for a play that will be in the "Fringe Festival" this year. It is called Count Dracula's Cafe and it reads well with a Dracula that is my age. At the audition the Director put me down on more than one occasion. He said I was the worst singer he had ever heard (I only sang one line), he said I was going bald and that I had to grow hair in the back because I couldn't in the front. He thought the worst actor auditioning was the best actor there. There were only 4 of us and I know I didn't suck that bad.

With Scott gone almost every night directing his show and my closest friends passing away or moving, it's getting a little lonely. I haven't found any new friends since we've moved. Every audition has gone bad this year. Business is way down and I am feeling the burn.

Today I will make a GREAT day. It is time to clean out some more stuff so look out eBay this week!

My Life: Jim sent me the tickets to Orlando. I just told Ken that a friend invited me on a trip for a week and left. I wasn't at all concerned if Ken cared. I just left. When I got to Orlando, Jim picked me up and we went to the resort he was staying at. It was one of those fancy "gay" resorts. Jim and I did a lot of cocaine that week. He didn't drink but he bought me vodka.

Jim had bought me a speedo bathing suit and asked me if I would wear it to the pool. I had a hot body at the time and did so with pleasure. I was feeling sexy as hell that week, being cruised by all the men. I never wanted to leave.

The last day of the trip, Jim gave me a present. It was my first CD boom box. I was still listening to cassettes back then. I was overwhelmed with joy. Music was the one thing that took me away from my troubles. Jim then took me to the store and purchased a bunch of my favorite music. We went back to the resort and talked. I told him that I still loved him and that I had always loved him since the first time we had met. He said he loved me too and that I should move back to Virginia with him. I was all for it. I hated where I was in my life and was ready to go. Jim said he would rent a van and drive down to get me and my stuff.

I got back to Ken's house in Ocala and started to pack. I had no problem telling Ken that I was moving away and taking Stryker with me. I told him Jim would be here by the end of the week. That week, I hardly saw Ken at all. Jim arrived, we packed the van full and we left without looking back. I was exhausted!

We checked into a hotel the first night and I called my mom and dad to let them know where I was. My dad informed me that my mother was in the hospital and not doing well. Everyone thought she wasn't going to make it this time. Jim asked me if I wanted to visit on the way back and of course I said yes. She lived in Williamsburg which is only a couple hours from Arlington.

When we got to the hospital I almost lost it. My mother looked so weak and frail. I whispered in her ear that if she wanted to go that we would be fine. That night she began to get well again. She was a fighter! I told her about Jim and she seemed pleased.

Jim and I got back to his place. It was an apartment complex that didn't allow dogs. I refused to give up Stryker so Jim said we would look for a place to live together. Jim didn't have a job back then. He collected social security because of AIDS and he sold cocaine to supplement his income. He had sold his life insurance policy because he thought he wasn't going to live long and used most of the money for the trip in Orlando. I had no job and had no idea what I was going to do. We looked for a place to live.

Remember the house I lived in with all those guys in Arlington? Well, Jim and I rented the house across the street from it. 2 Story with a big yard. The upstairs was one big room and Jim allowed me to do want I wanted with it. I turned it into ClaytonLand. It was a reflection of my personality and all of my quirkiness.

A few of Jim's friends were very wary of me, thinking I was a taker. Others accepted me into their lives. Janice & Rishi, a lesbian couple, took to me immediately as did Kenny and Jay. 3 gay couples, lots of cocaine and booze, we would play cards and just hang out.

During the first week, Ken would call me every night and cry for me to come back to Florida. He said he was sorry and that he missed and loved me. It was heartbreaking to listen to him but I stood strong and told him what was done was done. he would write letters after that, that I never responded to. Finally those stopped coming too. I have not, to this day, talked to him again.

That first month in Arlington, Jim took me to see the AIDS quilt in D.C. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. I found a few of my friends names on the quilt. Even found my own name, although it wasn't made for me. It was so emotionally overwhelming that I just collapsed on the ground. I will never, ever forget that feeling.

Now, with all the extra cocaine that was going in my nose, Jim insisted that I find a job. Here we go again...

Love & Peace,