Don’t Need to Attend Hearing

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So, we’re learning just how the attorney earns her fees… R doesn’t have to attend a hearing in Winston-Salem next month. The attorney phones in an “informal” (her words) conversation with the DOR and we just wait. We’ve been waiting almost 2  1/2 years now, going on 3, for VA compensation for R’s being sexually assaulted while serving his country in Air Force. He should have been safe from sexual predators instead he was drugged and raped (1988) by a superior officer. Told he would be booted from the Air Force with a dishonorable discharge if he reported the crime, he stayed silent for years. Then one day he just popped mentally.

It took about 25 years to hit him completely. Before that, he was most certainly mentally ill but it wasn’t anything specific. I thought of it more as an Aspergers type personality quirk, or quirks. But truly it was so much more. It’s not that he has Aspergers, it’s that he can’t trust or connect with people. We’ve been together over 20 years now and believe me, I know him.

R is kind, compassionate and loving. I get smarter every day that I deal with him. Schizo-affective disorder, OCD, General Anxiety Disorder and more to go with his PTSD. The Air Force does not pay compensation for PTSD, we’ve learned, what they “pay” for is the after-effects of it. The mental side of it — the schizo-affective disorder and all the other diagnoses in R’s mental baggage. His suitcase is full.

This is difficult to write about but I am assured that no one is reading this, and if they are, I trust they’ll read it with a compassionate heart and a knowing mind. He is very much affected by the stigma of mental illness and it lurks just beneath the surface every time he leaves the house.

He always asks if he’s acting normal. Fine … let’s all define normal. He is able to greet people appropriately, known or unknown, he is polite, well-groomed in public (at home that’s another story) and tries hard to be accommodating.

He takes great care of the boys and has always been an integral part in their upbringing. They are both fine young men, aged 12 and 13. They are actually quite amazing. Polite. Caring. Loving. Very much teenagers but that is to be expected. They don’t bad-mouth their parents, are appropriately defiant about chores (who can get a teenager to do anything??), and keep their rooms in the usual disarray of their gender and their age. I find them delightful and rejoice when they come to visit.

They grew up in this house with us. We’ve been here over 16 years and they spent the last 6 years just 3 blocks from our house. Their visits are frequent and very low key. The 13 year old, O, says this is his real house, he’s in boarding school all week (at his house). This is a running joke with us when he comes here for the weekend. They don’t come as often as they used to, they’re growing up and don’t need our wifi any more. All grown up with their own phones… and unlimited data (I think)

I have a friend who has a very unruly, disrespectful bully of a 12 year old son. I don’t know how to handle him, he came over many times over the last weekend and we had to entertain him as he brought games and cards over for us to “play” with him. R was quite kind and enjoyed the game time but I bored of it quickly and wanted to do other things, yet stuck as I was, I couldn’t get out of paying attention to him during the hours he spent in our house. Turns out, his mom banned him from the internet, so he came here. His mom took the power cord to the TV to  punish him yesterday, so he came over after school yesterday.

She told me that when he came home (she’s a single mom, it’s just the 2 of them in her house, no Dad influence at all) he had such an attitude, a bad one, that she slapped him. Then she told me she should have hit him harder. I am appalled and now withdraw from contact with ether of them. His aggression could turn on us and we aren’t raising any more children. Hence, the backing away. How horrid! I can’t imagine striking a 12 year old in the face, just can’t imagine it. He definitely had ADHD and they gave up trying to medicate him. J and I agree, you keep trying different drugs until you find the right one, you don’t give up on the first try. That’s why E is on meds, it took a couple tries to get it right but he is completely ok when he takes his meds. Without them, the whole oppositional defiance thing kicks in, it’s what the kid is feeling and he can’t control himself. Being slapped isn’t going to knock him into behaving. I can’t believe she did that and thought she should have been more physical with him.

She’s small and will eventually have to deal with him hitting her back. Where do they go then? He bullies her, his 80 year old grandparents and I can’t imagine him having any friends at school. He’s very smart, maybe too smart, so he’ll see his way around any punishment she metes out, even physical. He’ll just laugh at her, I can see it, just totally can see him laughing at her after she strikes him.

I will stay out of it. Not going to be part of such a child raising. Not gonna’ do it. I raised two daughters who are amazing, two grandsons who are superb and I am not taking on another kid that’s not related to me — to raise. She’s on her own from now on. I will resist her attempts to “go places” like out to eat or to the local bar down the street. I’m not her friend any more and it will be difficult to passively withdraw from our burgeoning relationship. I can do it.

Meanwhile, V has finished her FB fundraiser. She will get $114 via my checking account which I will then deposit into her PayPal account. Walmart online accepts PayPal so she can buy her necessary “pee pads” from there and have them delivered. She anxiously awaits the money but I fear it’ll be another week until she gets it. She pees on herself because of urinary cancer issues, I believe. We’ve been friends, online, for over 7 years, and she’s been homeless and alone for years. She found someone to live with in RI a year ago and she regrets moving in with a very dysfunctional family. She was/is supposed to care for the elderly mother at night in return for room and board but since she moved in, one of the family’s breadwinners has lost his job, the money is tight, she receives little or no (on some days) food and he (the job loser) resents her being there so he harasses her every day by stalking her. Or so she says. She could be just over-reacting to a difficult situation. I don’t know her reality any more.

I know my reality. I am anxious but hopeful. Aware of my surroundings and in a good place, all in all. We have enough money to pay for the 1/2 mortgage payment thru October and this is reassuring. It will take every penny we have to go that long but we can do it. After that, we’re totally fucked. There is no more money. I’ve managed, if we go through to Oct, to make the car’s sale ($5000) last for almost a year, if memory serves. I think I sold the car in late Nov … it was a 1972 Buick Riviera. We traded R’s old decrepit Harley Davidson for it. The bike was shit, really, but R thought it was wonderful. After he had a fender bender, actually no damage was done to the vehicle he bumped, the State took his driver’s license away and he was supposed to turn it in but he never did. He’s got to have a picture ID. I suppose this causes me a lot of angst but I put it away. I tamp it down and don’t think about it because I can’t fix it right now. I think we’ll hire an attorney once we get the money and get his license back — if we can. They may not allow him to have one because then, after the compensation goes through, he will truly have a mental illness diagnosis. It will help that he has a fairly clean driving record, I think.

Right now I have a wonderful car, a 2007 Volvo XC90 given to me as a Christmas present from my eldest daughter and her husband. J and A very graciously gave it to me rather than use it for a trade-in when J got a new Volvo. It was the right thing to do but that doesn’t mean that had to do it. I am forever grateful to them. We didn’t have a car for 3 years. If you live in a metropolitan area, that’s not a big deal. We live in rural South where there’s no public transportation other than calling a cab and people must drive everywhere. I tried riding a moped, it’s torn up and in the garage, I’ll give it away some day if someone wants it for parts. It has a gas leak and I couldn’t fix it, but I gave it the old Heinold try. I tried riding a bike but it has a flat … and I’ve become so anxious lately, it’s weird.

When I first started driving the car, after Xmas, it was as if I was 16 again and trying to drive. I was so intimidated. I’m almost over that but I lack confidence in almost everything so it’s not surprising that I’m nervous about driving. The brakes need work and J has assured me that they’ll pay for it and we can pay them back. I’ve hesitated talking to her about it, but they’re getting worse, starting to make a sqeeeeeeee noise when I drive. I’ve got to get the washer fixed and that behind us before I approach her. My anxiety precedes any actions. I need to stop obsessing about other people’s reactions to my actions and just move forward.

My therapist canceled today. It’s a real shame, I need her. I’ve so much swimming around upstairs in my brain’s aquarium. Lots of strange fish. I’ll go to C’s shop the afternoon, after Sears finishes with the washer, and we can have our own family therapy session. I need to unload all the VA complications, the canceled appointments, the attorney actions, and the pending disability hearing in August.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I took Provigil today, so my brain is functioning well — it’s just overloaded with possibilities. I think it makes R nervous when I sit here and type for a long time but I’ve told no one about this. Wait, I think I told R I had a random blog and typing in it helped me cope. I could type all this into my word processor but there’s something so gratifying about having my words out there, accessible by anyone but actually read by no one.

There’s this art therapy technique where a person must write 3 pages a day, every day, before doing anything else. It was/is very therapeutic for me, very freeing. I believe this is what the blog is, my 3 pages. I should rename the blog My Three Pages but The Assemblagist has been around for so long, and spellcheck just hate it, I guess I’ll keep it.

Old guy working on P’s porch. He’s slow, he says, but I say all that mitering takes time. I hear his saw as I type and know he’s hard at work. She’s gone to the beach for a few days. I was supposed to feed her Mama Kitty last night but guy blocked access to porch with boards so I didn’t step over them. I noticed food in the bowl and starlings fighting over it, so I figure the cat’s ok. Will put more food out later today. She has no idea that she’s feeding bluejays, starlings, stray cats and her own cat. I am a firm believer in NOT feeding any animals on my porch. We tried it, years ago, in another house out in the country and ended up with an opossum eating right out of the bowl.

I have a photo of it somewhere.

F is still waiting on the weather to behave so we can go to estuary area to try his time-lapse photography experiment. His last attempt, at Dinah’s Landing, failed miserably and he only got white … no images. He blasted back in full force after his ablation procedure, thank god. I’m definitely not ready to lose him!

time to sign off… thanks for not reading. you’ve been a great audience.

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Notice of appeal hearing

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R received a notice of an appeal hearing scheduled for June 13 in Winston-Salem. The VA.GOV website lists the hearing as canceled and R’s claim complete. No other information. We believe the RAMP application superseded the appeal process, thus canceling the hearing (which is a shame, we may have shot ourselves in the foot by requesting a RAMP hearing). There’s no way the RAMP scheduling is for this soon. All I can do is email different people at the attorney’s office and hope someone has a definitive answer. I think it’s canceled. I think it’s interesting to note that we’ll have to go to Winston-Salem for the hearing. I’m surprised it we have a hearing at all, thought it was a done deal with all the paperwork but apparently not.

*heard from attorney, she will handle it all, we do not have to attend a hearing. repeat, do not have to go to winston-salem. this is rip-roaring good news. There is light at the end of this 3 year tunnel.

R will do fine in an interview. He always nails it. He does have schizo-affective disorder, he is OCD and his future employment opportunities were definitely affected by his military sexual trauma. It’s been documented by two psychiatrists. One paid for by the VA, called a C&P exam and R was found to be whatever we claim him to be, hands down, no question. Then the attorney hired an independent psychiatrist to evaluate R for his claim. This doctor used to do C&P exams and his interview/assessment of R is quite extensive. He said the magic words we’ve been waiting for, the magic words in any claim against the Air Force for MST — “more likely than not” caused by the MST.

If you’re filing a claim for VA compensation, this is the phrase a doctor MUST write down for you. If you can’t get this verification, you will be denied. I think this is all going to come down rather quickly but it still surprises me that the website says the hearing is canceled.

My confusion, my angst, my difficulties lie in communication breakdowns. I’ve emailed 2 different attorney reps about this and hope to hear from them today. One of them an attorney named N, is usually very prompt in his replies. I could contact CP, the head of it all, but I’ll wait and see what her minions say first. She’s also very prompt in her replies.

F wants to go try his time-lapse photography again this afternoon. He’s recovering nicely from his heart procedure yesterday and needs to get out of the house. He’s not allowed to mow or lift anything over 5 lbs for two weeks. He has to be hyperaware of the places on his leg where the probes or whatever they were, were inserted. I know I can’t keep him in a chair all day, which is where he should be, but I can control his movements by driving him to the Estuarium pond where he wants to go to take photos.

We tried time-lapse photography last Sunday at Dinah’s Landing but he told me the photos turned out white, nothing works. He’s hot to try it again and thinks the sun will be a in good place around 4. I told him I’d take him. He was very happy with that. He says I’m an angel but really — in reality — I’m just a good friend. I care a lot about him

I was really worried about him yesterday. His brother, B, was very worried and it was sort of an honor to be here for both of them. They have children but the sons are far away, 10 hour drives, so we can’t expect them to be here for F and B whenever something happens. B’s son drove all the way from Indiana to see F’s photography exhibit at the Arts Council. It was very dear of him. F also had a sweet couple fly in from IN for the opening night. She took wonderful photographs and compiled them in a book for F as a memory! It’s an awesome book. My photo is in there many times and I must say, my arms are really fat! ha ha. I have the typical body of a 63 year old woman. A bit round in the middle with okay legs and nice ankles. My neighbor has cankles, just horrid looking and she is very much aware of them. But she wears nice sandals, so it must not bother her. I’d wear boots, ha ha.

I have to remember to feed neighbor’s cat tonight. She feeds a cat left behind by previous homeowner across the street. It’s a strange situation. He’s been gone over a year and P (the neighbor) makes him buy the cat food. Funny. I’ve been to the store for her to buy it and she always pays me back, even though she buys bags that are less than $5 a piece. The cat, called mama kitty, won’t let you near her, but she comes up to the porch to eat twice a day.

P went to the beach, I’m sure. She and the beach cottage owner go every chance they get. I think it’s only a couple hours drive from here. She is very fortunate to have a friend with a beach house. J and O dream of owning one some day, something they can rent out and then have available for family whenever we want to go. Sounds like a great plan and I’m thinking way out side the box here, but maybe we can invest in the house with them. Be part owners. I’d love that. I think it might encourage them to make the purchase if we promised $10K towards it. Like I said, thinking outside the box.

Meanwhile, I have V to worry about. She’s in RI and has urinary tract problems, pees on herself all the time and needs pads for her incontinence. She posted a FB fund raiser and made around $120 but had no bank account to send it to, so I sent her our particulars so she could use our account. I realize how sketchy that is to do for someone but I’m not worried about her misusing the account. It’s not like she can check the balance online or anything. I spoke to C about it, obviously not to R (he’d have a fit and fall in it) and she agreed it was the right thing to do. Once the $$ is disbursed, I’ll transfer it to her PayPal account so she can spend it at Walmart online store. She is going to buy 90day supply of the pads, rather than her original thought of 30. I’m relieved she’s thinking in those terms.

She wants/dreams/hopes that we’ll help her when the money arrives. And I do plan on helping her out. It’s not that I can get her out of RI, despite her belief that she can live upstairs here, we just don’t have room and she can’t handle stairs, so how would she cook or anything? She’s not going to get to come here but I can make her stay in RI a more acceptable one by sending her $100 a month. I plan on doing that, I think R will be on board.

She’s been homeless, has lived in a half-way house, been abused and is generally all around fucked by life. V is a sweet woman to talk with every day and I cherish our friendship.

R is concerned by my incessant typing. I know he wonders what I’m writing about even though I told him I was scanning the VA documents and sending them to the attorney reps that I find I’ve talked with before now. Hopefully I’ll get an answer today. I leave for F’s photographic moment in about 2 hours, plenty of time to get a response.

I’m sure this whole June 13th thing has R in a tizzy. Have sent him to our room to lie down for a while. He’s shaking his leg, bouncing around, his eyes are bloodshot and swollen and he stayed up too late last night, as I detailed in a previous post.

I get messages from WordPress saying people read my posts. I doubt this. No one is reading this and on the off chance someone is, well, God bless you. If you’re reading, you’re learning about the good and bad of a 60-something woman who’s been a house wife her entire life. Now I live with R, have for over 20 years. Previously I was married to B who left me to return, ha ha, to his Mommy 22 years ago. We were married for over 22 years and had 2 girls. One is now 40, she’s J, and then there’s C who is 38. They are amazing women and impress me daily with their wit, wisdom and beauty.

For Mother’s Day, J and A (her spouse) gave us carte blanche on getting our washing machine fixed. The parts came in today and the repairman will be here tomorrow sometime between 1 and 5. I have my weekly therapist appointment tomorrow at 1-2. I have been in M’s care for over a year. She’s a good therapist, leads me gently toward the truth but never gives bad advice. She knows more about me than I know about myself. I figure, when the VA compensation and the IU comes through, I’ll lose Medicare and Medicaid and have to pay the $120 out of pocket to see her. We’ll find a way to afford it. I’ll probably have to buy health insurance until I’m 65 but we’ll find a way to afford that too. I’ll probably have to get a really shitty policy but then again, I only go to Dr. C twice a year for check ups and I’ve been to dentist lately and had 2 fillings.

So that’s me in a nutshell. I have a degree in history, graduate work in American history and I’m as liberal as the day is long. I receive SNAP benefits and without it, we would surely be in sad shape. I also have Medicare and Medicaid. I have been on disability since 2002 because of my arthritis, had spinal fusion surgery in 1988 and am also considered bi-polar but I haven’t been manic in over 10 years, although I do suffer from depression and take meds for it. I see a psychiatrist every 3-4 months, just to get my meds, but M is my therapist and does more good than the meds, well … maybe not. I was severely depressed and the meds have to have had something to do with my not feeling so hopeless.

It’s easy to succumb to depression. I totally get how deep one can go, how low. Living on this tiny income with the threat of impending homelessness hanging over our heads — our mortgagee has agreed to take a half-mortgage payment until we get our benefits, then we will play catch up and maybe be able to pay for the house in full. We owe less than $30K on it.

That’s my brain dump for now. That’s two dumps in one day. No one is reading this but I feel better for having said it all.

And E did fair to middling on his Food Network interview yesterday. Apparently they now take video excerpts and submit them to the Network for the final choices … he’s up against hundreds of other kids.

R’s Long Day’s Journey into Night

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no paragraph breaks are showing up in this, sorry about that. Read on and try to imagine that I break when necessary, creating a lot of white space in order to facilitate ease of reading. See deadmule.com for more examples. I really put in the paragraph breaks in the literary journal.
R was suddenly manic last night, talked on phone to his mom, aunt and brother for over 4 hours, from around 8 until midnight. Very strange — then I remembered how medical emergencies trigger something in him and realized Fred’s surgery must have really disconnected him — especially my going to hospital to sit with him and then bring him home.
He seems hung over today, like he expended all his energy in those phone calls. His mom’s advice last night was apparently a half an hour of telling him not to let me spend the money we receive from the settlements. AS IF!! I get completely control. R doesn’t have a clue as to how to pay bills, let alone what we need to pay off, to pay monthly, what needs to be repaired on the house … she’s just worried 1) cuz she’s a bitch and 2) she thinks I won’t give her any money. I’m fully aware that we owe her money and I intend to pay it off, slowly — for sure — but I will pay it off.
What a bitch, I mean … really. I am going to enjoy watching her face when we get the siding replaced on the corners of the house, a 100 year old building needs repairs — so yes, I’ll have to pay for that. Geezus. We can spend the money any way we like, we can help V, we can help C … we can put it all in a can and bury it in the back yard, ain’t none of her business and believe me, I won’t be having any conversations with her about how much we receive or how much we have monthly. She can rot in her own personal hell (which she already does). It upset R that she said that, he told her I was the reason he was alive, that I was the reason we were not homeless, that living on $700 a month plus food stamps has been a challenge I’ve met head on and he’s never going to NOT be grateful for all I’ve done.
So there! but still, his being able to repeat the conversation shows how much it affected him. He rarely remembers even when a person calls … so his remembering a complete conversation is so rare and so significant. She’s wicked bad, it’s none of her business how we spend the money. Nor is it any of her business the amount of money we receive. We owe her a piddling amount for a second mortgage she loaned us, about 6 or 7 years ago.
With that money we had the back porch repair (new stairs built), had the house raised, yes we did, had it leveled and raised with cement blocks, a long and difficult couple of days for the repair/man, and we paid off several loans we’d received. I think we splurged and bought shoes, things we hadn’t bought in literally years. I bought my shoes at SAMS, so you can imagine how inexpensive they were.
J bought us a window unit A/C last May and for that we are forever grateful. It cost less than $200 and she put it on her Lowe’s credit card, we’ll pay her back for that. Jbrother owes her so much more than we could ever even conceive of owing, but that payback whine, that plan, will never be paid back, if that sentence makes sense (maybe I need more coffee). What I mean is, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Jbrother will ever pay her back one penny of what he owes her and he continues to add to his debt, he doesn’t even pay rent for the house she owns that he lives in. She depended upon his paying rent for her monthly how to-survive budget. Guess she screwed herself. J tries to keep her business going but since she never answers her phone and doesn’t return phone calls, I don’t see a whole lot of success coming her way (financially).
She’s been rudderless ever since B died. Despite the fact that he was an abusive tyrant, she misses his friendship. He wanted to marry her, as did A, but she said it was too much trouble. The facts are: both men had little financial wealth so there was no benefit for her, financially, to marry either of them, no matter how much affection or “love” she felt for them. I found both of them intolerable. Couldn’t stand to be in their company. One the blustery abusive arrogant fool and the other a complete utter bigot, lost in the Old South and dreams of Confederate glory.
R is chain-smoking again. He found enough change to buy a pack last night and walked the 3 blocks to the store to get a pack. Surprised me. He said he was afraid I’d be mad at him for doing that. I assured him that wasn’t the case BUT he smoked THE ENTIRE PACK last night while talking on the phone to J, Jbrother, and his aunt W. All of them told him not to let me have any  money when the settlement comes through. How dare they?
I refuse to let their mean-spirited conversation get to me, although I know it’s rattled R. I can’t get into his head but I can try to direct his thoughts, his self-esteem images … I think another MST workshop starts in June and I  truly hope he’s right when he says that. He did really well with the last 8 week session, it helped him with “trust issues” he said and he hoped future sessions would deal with like subjects. I think having to be somewhere, one day a week, helped him too. The workshop/sessions made him feel as if he was doing something to help himself. And he was. I sit at the VA cafeteria/Starbucks for two hours while he’s in his sessions. Yes, I do that for him, sit for 2 hours once a week so he can get some emotional/personal support from the VA. The fact that he was asked to be in a MST-workshop shows the Air Force admits culpability for his behaviors, at least that’s what Melanie said. The last IME doctor said R is suffering from “all of the above” and it is more likely than not the fault of the Air Force assault. These are magical words.
The C&P examiner, paid for by the VA, said R was not, definitely NOT, a malingerer. I had to look the word up so I could understand the importance of its use in the R context and it shook me to the core to think R could be considered that. Made me so grateful that he was not considered a malingerer, never thought he was, but to have that determination in the hands of a stranger, well, quite humbling. I realize how mentally ill R is, but wonder who else notices. Apparently anyone who’s a professional can tell. This is quite gratifying. I’m not alone in this.
R has been hospitalized for a suicide attempt last September.
Now I remember what I was going to blog about today. About death and loss. I certainly did not even venture into that territory with today’s discussion. Guess my thoughts were pre-empted by J’s mean-spirited discussion of how I should not control the distribution of funds. Here’s what we’re waiting for: Social Security Disability (hearing Aug 28), VA compensation for the rape that occurred while R was in Air Force back in 1989, Individual Unemployability (IU) from VA for R’s current jobless state.
Bob asked me, last night on the way to Greenville to pick up F from his heart procedure, what R does all day. I was hard-pressed to find a way to explain it. He (R) watches videos, talks to me incessantly about the content of the videos, studies philosophy, studies the idea of philosophy and religion, smokes, discusses whether or not aliens are present or were present in the history of mankind.
J just called R and she’s full of herself, I can hear her talking, his phone’s volume must be set really high. Whatever she wants, it’s not good, his voice is changing, he’s telling her “it’s all good” so she must be reeling from last night’s conversation — now he’s talking about what he said to Jbrother, he’s now telling J that he won’t let Jbrother know about the amount we receive because he’s afraid Jbrother will WANT us to buy things for him, which — with me in charge of the money — won’t ever happen. I’m not throwing good money after bad.
J is totally intrusive about her questioning. She wants to know amounts, wants to know how much money he’s getting — questions him about what I’m doing. She needs to back the fuck off or I’ll get onto her about making R nervous. R is singing my praises, about how I handle all the VA/SS paperwork and I’m genius at it. I keep him up to date as well I can but he gets anxious about it (so did I until I realized ONE of US has to stay sane through this).
I think J is counting her chickens before they hatch. We will not give her money if it means we can’t do the things we plan on. Mostly it’s fixing up the house. I figure it’ll cost around $20K to do the exterior of the house, replacing boards, repairing (possibly replacing) windows and we’l have to go through the historic district commission and get approval for it all. It’ll be a long process and I’m ready for it. R will be anxious and nervous, affected by it all but I’ll keep him on track.
R cannot hammer a nail in place. He’s got no aptitude for repairs of any kind. It’s sort of humorous. That’s why he needs to stand back and let the folks we hire fix the house. He says he wants to learn about how to do repairs but I think it’s a moot request. I can’t see him helping or learning.
R wants to take a small engine repair class at the Community College. Now that I can see. Sounds like a really good plan. He can then not be afraid of the lawn mower, know the schematics behind a 2-stroke engine (I assume) and feel more in control. I think most of R’s inability to truly function comes from fear he’s going to mess something up and not be able to either repair it or pay for a new one. Once we have money and he’s secure in that we have replacement funding, maybe he’ll become more aggressive in what he needs to accomplish.
He’s so smart. He’ll find his path. I’ll help… maybe go back to college, ECU via the community college first, and then knowledge, the pursuit of it, will be his daily grind. I’d love that. I’d love to go to graduate school.
We have to get R’s driver’s license re-instated, if possible. We’ll hire an attorney and see what happens next with that. I am truly afraid he won’t get it back but I don’t tell him that. The state of NC can take away your driver’s license if you’re deemed “mentally ill” and that’s really crazy. I mean, I’m supposedly bi-polar, which puts me in jeopardy. What a fear based ridiculous law. R’s license was taken away when he had the fender bender with his long gone Harley. Now there’s a hell of a  story, not to be told at this time.
Time to sign off. That’s enough of a brain dump for today. I’m mentally exhausted after typing all of that but I took a Provigil this morning so I’m thinking very clearly, thoughts are succinct and seemingly easy to access.
Take of yourself, Id. I’ll be thinking about you today.

Fred’s Surgery Went Well

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For those of you keeping track, Fred, age 78, had a heart procedure today. He came through it with flying colors. No lawn mowing for 2 weeks, so R is going to do it for him. He has a self-propelled kick ass mower.

I didn’t want to admit how worried I was about him. He is, after all, one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Wanted two soft tacos for dinner thus we slammed through Taco Hell on our way home. I got a chicken quesadilla, just to make him happy because he insisted I get something. It’s still sitting on the kitchen table. I doubt I’ll eat it, but R will find it eventually and finish it.

Mortality.

I’ve lost lots of friends and family members in my lifetime. That’s a good topic for my next post — death and the void that’s left in the aftermath.

Never knew my grandparents. My brother committed suicide, or so it appeared, back when he was only 21, my sister died 10 years ago, she was only 64, both my parents dead (dad at 72, mom at 93) and then there are all the friends I’ve lost. I should write a tribute post to each person that has died. Nice remembering them, cherishing those memories. I miss mom like a body part. I’ll never get used to her being gone from my life.

That’s all for today, it’s getting late. Just know Fred’s ok and that I had another visit from A from Raleigh today. A good visit, for about an hour or so then she had to get back home. She is a dear friend, I couldn’t stand it if something happened to her but fortunately, I’ve got about 15 years on her, she’ll be around a long time.

Fred and Ablation Surgery

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My best friend is 78. He lives around the corner and we share conversation on a daily basis. We also share a love for photography and I frequently drive us to nearby parks and recreation areas to search out objects to photograph. Yesterday we went out to Dinah’s Landing, a boat access ramp at the end of a long road to nowhere but there. Fred tried out some timed photographic challenges, using special lenses and long pauses between photos. He’s fascinating to watch, so into the process. I snap away at anything that amuses me, a momentary photographer, looking for inspiration in waves, fishermen sitting on buckets, and children throwing rocks into the river.

Yesterday a four year old little girl (estimated age) and her dad spent about an hour trying to fish and then resorting to entertain of the most wonderful sort. She would fill a small beach-sand bucket with rocks from the parking lot then walk to the end of the pier (boat loading / retrieving dock) and throw them in the water, one by one. She was quite proud of her process. She refilled the bucket at least 5 times and I must say, her father was very lenient.

He told me about their recent kayak trip. They were hit, suddenly, by 2 foot waves, something that rarely happens in the river and it turned the kayak over. They were in water less than two feet deep, so everyone was safe. He said she panicked until she realized she could stand up and then the adventure resumed with happy smiles and loads of fun.

What a nice dad, I couldn’t help but think. He was an older man, so one can speculate many stories about the kid. Second or third marriage? Last kid in a line of more? I thought he was the grandfather, then heard her call him “Daddy”, so that describes his look. Whatever the circumstances, he was a pleasant, complacent man, taking care to allow her to entertain herself and he didn’t pressure her to do anything. Maybe it’s a sad divorce case where he gets her on the weekend? I prefer to think they have special time together on Sunday afternoon and they all live in bliss in a regular family setting. Why not? I can day dream and have it turn out any way I want.

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Fred was oblivious to the little girl and her dad. So intent upon taking photos in a certain slow shutter speed way. At one point his camera “froze up” and I told him it might be a case of the memory card being slow to load with the new photo and he agreed that could be the case. He rebooted his considerable camera and all worked properly again.

I care so much for this friend. We’ve had many adventures over the last 10 years. We met at the dog park, around 2009, probably in the fall when the park first opened. He had Dewey, the beagle, my friend Al (another dear friend who died last year) had Scooter, a mixed breed brute of a dog, a wonderful dog but very powerfully built, and I had Linus and Thompson, the Jack Russells, and Roxanne the Shar-Pei/Rottweiler mix. We became fast friends, spending at least an hour each day together on the park bench, watching the dogs run around together. I miss that camaraderie.

Al confessed his many sins to me as we sat under the oak tree. Complicated stories of his 5 wives and how he tried to save them from themselves. His current wife, 20 years his junior, needed more saving than many … he said she was Catholic and wouldn’t sleep with him until he married her and he found her so appealing, he married her. He confessed that he’d neglected his past wives, often taking 2-3 jobs in what he thought was a well-intentioned path to financial security. Apparently that meant not enough quality time with the wives and the wives strayed. He never blamed them for leaving him, such was his demeanor.

But what a fascinating man he was. As I’ve said, he was a hard working guy. He was a in the Marines, I believe. He told me that he once burned his house down, on purpose, for insurance money. He eventually became a Catholic, like his wife, and I believe the only reason he did it was so he’d have a person, besides me, to confess to each week. He became very ill the last year of his life, macular degeneration rendered him almost completely blind and his heart failed him. A huge bulk of a man, he was at least 6’6″ and barrel chested. Had huge mitts for hands… but he was as gentle as can be.

His wife was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago. They were living on his social security and waiting for her disability to go through, it took 2.5 years, similar to what we’re going through, and when she received her back pay, they bought a van, and fixed various problems with their house. He was scared to death that she’d fritter and waste the money so he kept it from her. She wanted things like a new bed and not unreasonable wants — this is where his stubbornness and lack of understanding came in. They’d, believe it or not, adopted a 3 year old with special needs, a grand-daughter. She’s probably around 12 now and I can’t help but wonder how Al’s wife is able to care for her as her MS has progressed to the foot dragging stage and she’ll be wheelchair bound eventually. What a miserable situation, I did not step in upon his death, seeing myself as someone the wife would cling to and I can’t be clung to right now. I’ve got my own problems to deal with, can’t take on someone new.

Sounds like I’m an awful person but the truth is, I’m not equipped with the skills or temperament to deal with more than one person at a time so R gets all my compassion and care taking for the time being. The special needs child is deaf, has spina bifida but is able to walk, is willful and was neglected and abused as a baby. It’s absolutely horrid. Al wanted to save the baby, as he did try to save any female in his life. I believe I was the only woman he ever met the didn’t need him, that just wanted to be his friend and he talked and talk tome each day.

This was back when R worked at developmental center and Mom was alive. What a different time that was. You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. Those days we had enough money to live on, I enjoyed cooking for Mom and R, and the boys were cute little toddlers, spreading joy through every day. Jane dropped them off almost every day, they were here all the time, especially O, as Jane would care for newborn E while O came here to play and to be loved by me, Mom and R. What a happy time it was too. Mom was still a viable human, laughing and witty and full of wonder at this great-grandson she witnessed daily. Also, C4 was ok then. In love with J who at the time was all promise and no dysfunction, that was to come years later, after Mom died.

What a complicated time it has been. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the relationships I’ve had and the family I’ve nurtured.

Now I’m just nervous for Fred, to bring the conversation around full circle. Back to my original thoughts. Bob just called, we pick Fred up at 6, which means me picking up Bob at 4:45 so I can get there early. In Bob-driving-time, a 20 minute drive must take an hour or more.

People start blogs to inspire “people who look like me” and other reasons. I started this blog to mind-dump and get my head straight each day. It’s working. I can dump all the spinning emotional propaganda and the mind-numbing worries, then dump the thoughts I have and it relaxes me — sometimes. Other times I just sends me on a spiral, wondering when the VA will release R’s compensation for his military rape, when Individual Employability will kick in as he cannot hold a job, something attested to and proven by two, count them two, separate C&P exams (he is not a malingerer, proven and documented) and then social security compensation… disability.

I don’t know but I realized last night that I’ll most likely lose my benefits when R receives his. We’ll have to buy health insurance and prescription drug coverage and lose the $700 a month I receive. Also the cell phone and the Medicaid, which means dental coverage. It spurred me onto getting my teeth cleaned and the subsequent 2 cavities filled this month. I imagine my insurance will be insanely expensive, I have no idea what part of R’s compensation is taxable, is reportable, is whatever … I’ll rely on attorney to let us know all of that. I know we’ll have too much $$ for me to get disability, I think I know that.

I just don’t want to get slammed after thinking we can get my benefits for like a year or something and then we have to repay them. I know someone that happened to. Not going to happen to me, I’m going to disability office as soon as we know something. Going to hedge our bets with knowledge on the day of!

 

 

Emmett Bakes #bakerskid

Emmett, age 12, has been scouted by the Food Network. Quite impressive, they found Oliver’s photo on Instagram but older brother has no desire to be on TV. Younger boy? You bet.

Emmett has an audition with show’s producer on Monday at 5:30 p.m. so send all your good wishes and vibes to Washington at the appointed time. I’ve got to search my computer for more Emmett photos for Jane to add to the application.

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Searching for Emmett photos and found this great one from the past. Large collard bags. They rule.

It’s a great day to think about manifesting an imaginative vision in reality. My horoscope.

Sears repairman just left

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In the ever exciting news of my day, the Sears repairman just left. He ordered two parts and a repairman will be here on Wednesday (if the parts arrive) to install them. He said it was an easy fix but also told me the Samsung I have is a horrid machine. In so many words. We’ve not had trouble with it, but if the “bearing” goes out, as it does on many of them, it’s an over $800 fix. So if the bearing goes out, it damn sure better wait another year until I have the money to buy a new one. He doesn’t like the brand, doesn’t like front loading washers, doesn’t think anyone should buy them. Jane bought a top-loader and can wash an immense amount of clothing at one time, a week’s worth of two boys laundry. At one time. Amazing. It’s a huge machine.

We’ve had the Samsung for about 5 years, if I remember correctly, maybe even longer than that, yeah … longer than that. So it’s not tearing up and it’s not a bad machine. Of course, we don’t do huge loads, that may be why it’s not messing up. I caused the recent mess by removing the filters from the hoses, trying to get more water pressure, which was stupid because now silt covered the sensor for filling up. He said it was an easy fix. Yeah for that. Yeah for Jane and Andy for giving me the $$ to get it fixed as a Mother’s Day present. What a wonderful gift.

The parts should be here on Wed and then a repair man will come to finish the paid in full job. He said I could use the machine if I just shut off the water after the spin cycle but the dryer isn’t plugged in and I don’t have clothesline, so that ain’t happening. Wow, a post about washing machines, how droll.

I bought my first washing machine from Ronnie Eastburn in Hot Springs, AR back around 1980 when I was pregnant with Caroline. I brought that machine with me here to Washington and used it for at least 12 years before buying a new one for the house on Main St. I think we bought a new one because we had to leave the old one in the Weyerhauser house for the next occupants. We had to buy a microwave too, if I recall …

When we moved into this house, it had a washer, so we gave ours to Peggy’s daughter who had no machine. We probably would still be using the Ronnie washer if it was here. Those old machines didn’t break down, they were just motors and gears and knobs. No special computers, no singing songs when they were finished. That’s what Melanie was remembering about her old washer, it was avocado and she bets it’s still running somewhere. She had a Samsung and got rid of it after 2-3 years because it kept breaking down. We haven’t had that problem, thank god, this is the first repair we’ve needed. I hope this machine will last at least a couple more years… we’ll have to replace it with another front loader and the repairman really didn’t have anything nice to say about front loaders.

Oh well. Such is life. The machine we bought had high consumer satisfaction ratings and was said to be top of the line when we researched it. It was also half price. Caroline used her Lowe’s card to pay for it and we made the payments each month. Less than $800 for the pair. And they’re blue.

Jane’s new Maytag is huge. Her dryer is so big, Emmett can fit in it. Not smart, putting that much weight on the tub, but hey, it’s not my call — he thinks it’s really funny.

They lost the feral cat Lucky when thew new HVAC was installed. No big loss in my mind, the cat picked on the other cats. It’s much more peaceful there with the dumpster-found cat gone.

At their core, a healthy amount of daydreaming and reflection enable memory consolidation, and they allow non-linear connections to form, which both help our ability to break down and target issues and look at them through a new lens. — just read that.

Get this:

Jane’s been posting instagram photos of Emmett baking over the last 5 years. He’s 12 now, started baking at a very early age.

She always does #thekidbakes for the pictures. Lots and lots of photos over time…

The FOOD NETWORK found them! He’s auditioning, via Skype, for the Kids Bake-Off show. Can you believe it?

We’re dying laughing about it, because Emmett never met a person he doesn’t know, goes full bore 24/7 and can outtalk anyone. He’s perfect for it. He’s also extremely photogenic… a real cute little kid, he looks younger than 12 but he’s all personality.

So, he auditions via Skype on Monday at 5:30. I can’t wait to see how this all turns out. Jane says, “so what if he’s the first kid voted off, the experience alone will be worth it.” They’re going to bake all weekend, to up his skill level but he’s been baking cakes since he was 4 or 5 with us. None of it is new to him, he can make croissants, cinnamon rolls — you name it. He’s not big on decorating with fondant and Jane says that might be his downfall but how knows?

so that’s your fun news for the day.