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.
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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.

learning of friend dying

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I learned to day that a friend of mine died and I didn’t even know it until her husband died and she was mentioned in the obituary. I feel just awful. It’s just the knowing that we need to feel, not always the attending of the funeral but I would have sent a card, made some acknowledgment if I’d known she died. And now he’s dead. At 75, not really old in today’s terms. Maybe living without his wife of 50 years just proved too difficult because it says he died suddenly.

Dying suddenly is the way to go now. I notice the obituary didn’t say “passed away” a sorry euphemism for death in the south. We don’t die, we pass. It’s silly. I don’t say it any more, and that’s difficult — to say “died” sounds harsh in my head but it’s even worse to say “passed” so I have changed my vocabulary to fit the occasion.

I never remember to put only one “s” in occasion, and am so thankful for spellcheck in this day and age. I grew up in the 1960s-1970s when we used typewriters, not even electric ones, in typing class. I learned to type quickly and accurately but my quickness is often blighted by typos. Thanks be to spellcheck because teh and the never seem to come out right. True that, eh?

Today is Sears appliance repair day. The Sears guy (I assume it’s a guy, no slight meant to women here but I don’t think I’ve ever had a woman repair person in my 63 years on this earth, so guy seems appropriate) is coming some time this afternoon. Sears has the wrong phone number for me, so I’m hoping they’re not calling to confirm because it’s not happening. I received a n/a text message this morning which I’m sure was a Sears confirmation text, hope the answer to wasn’t necessary to facilitate the appointment. I can’t wait until I get a smart phone that actually functions.

My phone is basically a flip phone, no camera, no receiving anything but standard text. I can check the internet but it’s 2004 on the phone. Oddly enough, I check my horoscope every day online on the phone because it’s a splendid horoscope. Don’t know who does it but it’s usually spot-on and very detailed. Today is says my brain is working really well and I need to get down to tasks — so I’m remembering this blog and adding to it — knowing full well no one will ever read it and my words are safe here.

If you’ve found this blog and are reading it, good for you. I have a lot to say but most of it is trivial and relates to my family and me.

We are in year 3 of waiting  for VA compensation for my Air Force husband who was raped while in the service of his country. It’s a horrid story, just mind-numbing and he deserves to be compensated for the assault. We have a slam-dunk case, supported by more than three psychiatrists and VA as well as independent analysis of his inability to function (schizo-affective disorder, OCD, general anxiety disorder and more to go with this PTSD he suffers from) His madness is held in check by proper medications –which is apparent by his years of inaction before the meds. He tried to commit suicide by taking too many drugs, he wasn’t even aware he was doing it, back in Sept when he was hospitalized for a week.

We are now entering the RAMP phase of discovery, the final step in his disability claim. He also has an August hearing for social security disability for his mental illness. We don’t know where but we do know when and we have an attorney conversation in July to prep him for the appointment. He comes across as ok to me, it’s when I try to view him through the eyes of others, I see the dysfunction

gotta’ let the dogs out, back later. ok, that was easy. on with my stream of consciousness reflections here. We live on less than $750 a month now. It’s like a bad dream coming true. We were able to convince the mortgage holder on our house to take half a payment until this is resolved and he’s allowed it for almost a year. I await his pronouncement, his need for more cash and Rob having to beg him to hang on for a little longer. The RAMP decision, according to Carol Ponton, our attorney, can happen in as little as 3 months. So we’ve got that plus Individual Unemployability claim coming up … as I said before, and perhaps he (the mortgage holder) will be happy until then.

Living in such poverty is strange. We buy nothing extra except toilet paper and dog food. Luckily, the dogs do well on Purina One and it costs less than $15 a month for a bag of food. I don’t know how I’m going to afford flea spray for them this summer but I do still have some flea shampoo left over from last year that will help. Giving them a bath is a legendary experience. They certainly don’t like it.

The kitchen sink has become the only sink the downstairs of the house. We didn’t have enough money to repair the one in the downstairs bathroom/utility room so I put in shelves in front of where it belongs. There are no closets in this 100 year old house so everything is on shelves and out in the open. I’m used to it but I’m sure it’s overwhelming to anyone who’s ever come into the kitchen or who looks at our living room. We don’t hoard, we have objects we love and they are on display. Upstairs is another story.

Back to the kitchen sink. So we brush out teeth there, rather than go upstairs to the bathroom sink that’s available. I think this is lazy in one sense but necessary in another since my climbing stairs can result in real damage to my physical self. We moved the bedroom downstairs a couple years ago because our aging Jack Russell couldn’t climb the stairs any more. We took the bed apart and put the mattress/box springs on the floor for him. We had a really nice bedroom upstairs and it was the only room with a closet.

but we’ll do anything for our dogs. Thompson died last year, along with Roxanne, a Shar-Pei/Rottweiler mix. She was only 7, Thompson, the man, was 17. He was blind and needed Roxie to show him where to go and we think her dying sped up his process …

something just went BANG and the electricity went out for a second. Everything is rebooting, including the internet router, so this isn’t being saved. I suppose it will all be ok in a few minutes. The BANG came from nearby so I expect city trucks to arrive to check it out eventually. I got a warning from the AirPort router, saying it had no DNS server, which means Suddenlink (our service provider) was affected by the big bang. so this still isn’t being saved and yet I type on. I have faith in the system… it will fix itself soon, I hope. I think the reboot takes about 4 or 5 minutes to completely cycle back on.

It’s all back. Good job, Suddenlink. Good job, airPort router. You have been plugging along for a long time and we salute you. We pay the extra buck or two to Suddenlink so we don’t have to pay for router problems or cable problems when they make a house call. It seems a smart thing to do. The internet/cable bill is about the same as the utility bill for our house but we don’t really need cable, it’s just something that comes with the internet. I lowered the bill by lowering our data transfer rate and we don’t even notice it’s slower.

wow, I’m really just emptying my mind. This is like the Three Pages the artist workbook recommended. Everything just dumps out and then, the exhaustion of telling it all completes the cycle. Like my therapist days, with Melanie, where I spend an hour just exhausting myself talking about the same things, every week for over a year. How I’m anxious and nervous, how the boys are doing, what Jane and Andy are up to and how Caroline is ill but I don’t really talk about Caroline as much as I see her and think about her. I just realized that. And she is so very on my mind. When the money is here, we can make her life better.

It’s hard to imagine living on $6K a month and how it will change our lives. I don’t think I’d be doing anything different than what I’m doing now if I had the money. I might be in a more comfortable chair, although this one is pretty damn just right for me but I am wearing it out, but I’d still be typing away, dumping my thoughts at noon on a Thursday while I await the Sears Man.

Caroline had EDS, Ehlos-Daners syndrome and it occupies her mind as well as her physical self. She can’t find a physician to help her manage it and it consumes her, the quest. She seemed actually surprised that no one local knows anything about it, the local orthopedist refused to make an appointment with her, recommended she call eastern Ortho in Greenville but suggested her quest would likely be fulfilled by visiting a doctor in Raleigh or the Triangle area that specializes in the syndrome. She is depressed, fatigued all the time and only rarely shows that zest for life that she used to display. Money problems plague her, make her insane and cause much of her discontent. I think it’s more than finding a doctor that will help her, I think it’s our eventually $1K a month (which we plan to give her) and the new roof we’ll put on their house that will change her life. I think the mildew in the house probably contributes to her ill health and a new roof will fix that.

Rob wants to do something really big for Dave when the money comes in. I suggested a new roof and he likes that. If we get a new car, we’ll get the AC fixed on the Volvo and other fixes and give it to C4, I think. I’m not sure. Jane and Andy have dreams of it being Oliver’s high school car and it would make a really good, heavy, safe one, so maybe we just pay to get everything fixed on C4’s truck and offer to make repay some of Dave’s debt so he can afford a car payment — that will probably be the best idea — and save our Volvo for Oliver.

Caroline is deeply in debt so we’ll pay that all off, her credit cards and her current $$ problems, paying the accountant and paying for her renter’s insurance policy, also her taxes, the business ones, if any are due. If this mess would just be resolved, it will have such a trickle down effect on so many people. Even the company we hire to paint the outside of the house. That means employment, so it even helps. It’s such a relief to know we don’t have to help Jane and her family. Knowing they are financially stable creates a sense of well-being I didn’t know existed. Their inheritance will secure them, make them able to have decent retirement $$, make them able to afford what the boys need, and as an added bonus, they’ll spend money on the house, fixing it up and making it a showplace. I’m really excited about that… the kitchen remodel and the exterior paint. Although, Jane seems to want to paint the house barn red, which sounds so awful to me, with black and white trim, I just can’t imagine it. It’s the same color scheme she’s using in her kitchen but I don’t think it will work on a Victorian house. We shall see. It might be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I’m up to over 2000 words now and still it spills out. No one reading this helps, and knowing it exists, just for me, makes me happy inside. I just ate some cottage cheese, something to tide me over until I can go to grocery store. Today, the SNAP card reloads and we have our monthly food budget. It lasts us, it sustains us. Without it, we couldn’t survive. I can feed us on $75 a week, I just have to be careful. We don’t buy Oreos or a lot of processed food, aside from frozen chicken nuggets, frozen burritos, and the occasional brownie mix (which costs around a buck, so it’s not a real splurge) Sometimes I buy nabs at 2 for $5 for Rob to eat at night before bed. yes I could buy cheese, cut it up, use Ritz cracker (store brand) but I think it would cost more in the long run to do that. And so I splurge on the most insignificant of things.

Back to Fluffy dying. He was a kind and funny man. Worked at Weyerhauser in the safety department for, I think, decades. Carol, his wife, was a school teacher. They lived in Washington for around 25 years, must have come here just after I did. I’ve been here for 30 years now and that is hard to wrap my head around. Remembering the beginning years here is a pleasant remembering, and you’d think I’d be bitter but I’m not in the least. The halcyon days of little kids needing attention, fixing up everything so mom could live here, then moving Ann here and her boys. Everyone is scattered to the winds except my girls — or dead, like Annie and Mom. Her sons are in Raleigh, CT and Brooklyn. they seem to be doing well, if the little info I can get be trusted. They each have 2 kids, Matt is wealthy, Forrest is a hard working guy and Alex is in some form of banking or trust or something. I don’t feel the need to know more but if they ever extended the hand of friendship — I’d grab on and never let go. Especially Matt. I do miss him and I know I could open up the doors to a relationship if I wanted to. Some day we’ll see him again…

We see Doug sporadically and he’s always friendly and smiling. Some day … we’ll talk of Annie and it will be a good thing. I couldn’t be here for her funeral and I know it was awful for them for me to not be here (with C4 and Rob) but we had just driven to Pittsburgh and couldn’t drive right back, we had Caroline’s divorce to finish, we had to capture a moment with Jamie and get the divorce settlement done. Without us being there, she’d never have rec’d the house, the tuition money to finish her final semester of school or even the car. He didn’t have to “give” her anything, according to Penn. law. How could we leave her, trying to deal with all that and him threatening to leave for St Martin any moment? Some day I’ll tell Doug all about it. The conversation will be for me, not for him.

I think I’m about tapped out for now and it’s time to prepare for the repair guy, time to feed the dogs, time to clean up the house a bit for Amanda’s eventual arrival. I can’t wait to see her, she’ll have photos of her house, they’re redecorating, new floors, new furniture, new TV. Gotta’ go. Will write more to myself soon.

–me

Fix it and go

mindofthemachine.com hmmmmm. The translator that the Vatican hired to do the translation on the Old Testament …. they didn’t like the literal translation at all. Interesting website, I recommend it.

The car is now ours. The DMV experience took less than 45 minutes, probably close to half an hour. This is what living in a small southern town can do for you. Rural has its benefits. No “take a number and sit down” waiting periods. Just a few minutes in a line and then the administrative part is done. It was amazing — knowing the car is ours now and we are true and complete owners of a car — after three years.

Now we’re off to pick up a 79 year old friend who is hosting his own retrospective — photography over the last 40? or more years. We’re going to get his photos (framed) and put them on the wall at the Arts Council. His show is on Friday. He’s got the food planned, sent out real invitations to the event and we’re hopeful to have a crowd of 25-30 people show up. He’s obviously nervous about the event. Is going to Walmart to buy new jeans and a new shirt for the event! His name will be on the Arts Council marquee and that, I believe, is the crowning achievement of his whole lifetime.

I spoke with the director of the Arts Council over a month ago about the name on the marquee thing and she was so enthusiastic about it. I hope they come through with their marquee promise.

We hung the over 30 photographs and the arts council walls are glorious. His photographs really shine, his talent is obvious. He seemed very gratified by the placement and the outlay of the photographs. Each one is framed. They are not truly for sale, but he’d sell anything, just like the rest of us, if someone wanted it. He can always reprint, well, in most cases he can reprint. Some of the photos are from film camera days, back when we all used 35MM cameras.

Now that the car is mine, in my name, the responsibility rests upon me in the way it was considered resting for the last six months. Here I thought responsibility for the car was with the legal owner, but oh no, it was with me, despite my not owning it. They could have saved a few insurance bucks if they’d done this sooner, but they care not about trivial amounts of what is spare change to them.

Now comes the cleaning out of the house. The benefactor’s home is filled with model trains, worthless coin collections (he bought those advertised “gold” mint coins that many people are sucked into buying, suffering under the false illusion the coins will increase in value. We have an 88 year old friend who also suffers from the same false belief and he buys them every month. Something should be done to stop this type of sale but it’s legal, so onward it goes) beds with good mattresses that need to go to the sons of the daughter and more. She and he will sort it all out in due fashion, it’s hard to be motivated into going through such a large amount of stuff and it’s all just that, STUFF.

The idea of emptying the benefactor’s home struck me right where I live. Literally. I feel a great amount of sorrow (ha) for whomever goes through my home when I pass away, as they say, but I say, when I die. I feel sorry that the daughters don’t know why some of this stuff is significant, the seemingly innocuous little Asian figurine that — came from my Uncle Floyd’s time living in Thailand right after WWII. Or the blue horses, the amazing blue horses, that mother nurtured and gently moved … I never thought to ask her where they came from, all those years with the horses being the objects of primary worth in her china cabinet, never thought to do anything but admire them.

And whatever happened to dad’s model of the Robert E. Lee paddlewheel? It was extraordinary and it disappeared when they left Fort Smith for Hot Springs back in 1980s. Why do we have certain books? Well, many of those old volumes were my grandfather’s college textbooks and he graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1899 so they’re old. Not perhaps worth any appreciable amount, but in terms of family worth, they’re priceless. The daughters won’t care, unless I begin to catalog these objects. Yes, I will, even though it seem overwhelming, I can do it. I need to catalog why, when, what, who owned it, why we still have it. Create a database and photos, I suppose, although that seems an easy task, in practice, it will take time. I’d do it lickety split if it was on paper, the digital idea sounds quick but hell… I should set it up and go to town on it. I would enjoy it. Cataloging mom and dad, grand parents and more.

That’s enough for today, less than 900 words. Today is  therapist day so I must prepare my brain for such conversation. I am also attending step-granddaughter’s track meet, the regional competition, after I go to therapy. It’s lovely outside, in the mid 80s, just fine and dandy for such an event. She will invariably win her competitions, as she usually does, unless something’s happened to interfere with her forward winning motion! I’m so proud of her, she’s a truly good kid at 16, perhaps a bit lonely but what a survivor. Next year she gets to be in band (started/transferred to this school too late in the year to join band but next year she will be in it, I’ve been assured). She has had a horrid childhood, when she lived with her mother, but is now with her father and my daughter, a stable, conservative in a good way, life. Conservative life means not going overboard, eating dinner together every night, not over spending, maintaining loving relationships — I will adapt that term, think of another to represent what I’m saying but I mean it in this way — living life without excess (spending, character traits, whatehave you). Excess that leads to over-extension. Excess that leads to stress. No screaming or arguing, sticking with each other through thick and thin.

Boy, I really went off on that. I’m proud of both daughters for living the life I showed them. Family dinners are monumental, social science studies prove that over and over again. Being available, listening, to your children — so important. Providing a stable environment, something step-granddaughter sorely needed, and other daughter has always provided for sons, these are important aspects of a successful childhood, the foundations of raising decent adults. Not that kids can’t surmount the obstacles in their path when they don’t have these things – just saying – having stable living conditions, knowing who your parents are from day to day, these are reasonably and arguably the most important aspects of raising kids right. I’m rambling. My blood sugar is level, I think, just had Greek yogurt, honey, blueberries and banana so that ought to be ok. We eat the same thing every day for breakfast.

Wow, now I’m up to over 1200 words. Today’s rambling truly went off the rails. From step-granddaughter to Greek yogurt in 400 words or less. True mind dump.

Speaking of dump — how about what’s going on in Washington? It’s not to drain the swamp, it’s to continue piling garbage on the dump we call government.

Clever. You can have that, whoever you are, you random unknown person reading this blog. If you are reading this, good for you. It is the mind dump of a 63 year old woman who has to clear her brain before moving forward each morning or sometimes afternoon. I leave the page open, type on it randomly for about 24 hours, then I close it and start a new page/entry. I know these aren’t pages, I understand blog terminology but it appears as a page when I’m typing on it, so suck it.

Daughter and husband are going to beach for weekend and leaving children at home to fend for themselves. Unbelievable. I keep my tongue firmly placed behind my teeth rather than say what I feel which is “Are you crazy?”. They leave Friday at 2:30, take ferry to island, come back Sunday morning. Boys are 12 and 13 and 12 year old has very many oppositional defiance disorders problems. Oldest is a sweetheart who tries to care for irrational 12 year old. Twelve year old is a consummate liar, knows how to cry on demand and manipulate all who come into contact with him. And yet, and yet, I adore him. I see through his failings and see a wonderful boy with a huge imagination.

Enough for today. I rest my case.

DVM