Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Part of the farm in Texas. This had been the grape arbor Rudy had built for Minnie Lee. It is gone now like so much there is gone.

1/11/06 Wednesday
Guess I slept OK last night because I didn’t wake up exhausted. I am running a 7 this morning. Hope I stay at least that good. I am going to take Barb to Social Security this morning. I will call her first because I want to look through her paperwork and need to make sure she is up. It would be a good idea to stop at the post office to send this packet to the VA. Then I will stop by Wayne’s to drop of the socks were giving him.

Allen called last night and wanted me to drive him to Livonia so he could pick up gardening materials. I did this for him last year in the Lincoln and that was not a comfortable journey. Besides he has a pick up truck and just wants me to drive him up there saving his gas. I told him no, that today was booked. “How about Thursday” he pressed. I said no again but I did agree to help him unload. I have no interest in taking Fred’s car that far.

I called Barb. She told me that Shannon was going to get her file from St. Paul so I will wait till that comes in. Then I will contact all those providing services such as the cell phone and gas companies and get a payment history to compare it with what St. Paul has paid out. This will help me determine if anything has been skimmed off.
I told Barb to call me when or if her check comes in so I can take her to the bank and then the grocery store. This is the way I like to do it because it insures some of her money goes for her needs instead of disappearing down that dark hole that seems to suck her dry. I asked Barb if Shannon knew who I was and she said that Shannon knew I was Fred’s friend. I told Barb to let Shannon know I was acting as an advocate and that it would be better if we could work together. “Barb, the more people you have on your team the better off you are” I said. Fred has some stuff for her I will drop off regardless along with the socks for Wayne. I called Fred to let him know what was happening.

I am thinking about dropping by the YMCA before all this but on second thought it would be running too close. It is already 11:17 and Barb’s check usually comes at around 1:00. When I go to the Y I need to be able to spend more than an hour.

I was heading for Wayne’s place to drop off the socks when Barb called and said her check came. I said I would be there after I dropped Wayne’s stuff off and I was. Pulling in I see my “buddy” out on his cell phone with a different car that had somebody sitting in it. As he talked on the phone he headed for the next door neighbors door. Seeing me he started kind of watching me furtively so I wouldn’t notice. I did. Can’t fool me. He’s the dope man conducting business.
Walking up to Barb’s apartment I knocked on the door. After a while Basil opened the door. Seeing me he got a puzzled look on his face and said “Barb just went to the pharmacy to get stuff. She’ll be right back”. I had a seat and did the small talk thing with Basil as I waited.
The phone rang and Basil answered. Somebody was calling for toilette paper and Basil says “I’ll bring you a package. Wait till Barb gets back”. Then the phone rang again and it was a request for a couple of cigarettes. These are all people living in the strip of about ten apartments. Most, no, all of them have serious issues running from physical illnesses, diseases, drug and alcohol addiction, and mental illness. None of them have just one of these problems, they have combinations involving all of these in different mixes. Always something going on.
When Barb gets back Basil rushes out of the apartment and closing the door behind him so I couldn’t hear talked with her. Something passed hands and he was off down the row, ostensibly to deliver the toilette paper. Barb came in and her jaw was ratcheting again. This is what I call her “Coke” jaw. She doesn’t like that and I decided not to make a point with it. I was told it wasn’t Barb’s check that came, it was Basil’s unemployment check. Now Barb said she was sick and didn’t want to go. It starts out like this “I hate throwing up. Been doing it all day”. I know better. Basil came back after his second trip to deliver something, this time a cigarette. He was upset that Barb wasn’t going shopping. “I got to get going guys” I said as I got up. Glad to be out of there especially with what I am sure was going on. I used to like being in dope city but knowing how it ravages and kills the soul I run when I can’t rescue.

Out of there I called Eileen. When she answered she sounded better than the last time so I said “Remember that picture of us you asked for? I finally remembered to bring it so I thought I might drop by to give it to you”. After telling me about her bad tooth and nausea she said she would be glad for me to come over. I brought her some of the herbal medication that works so well with the type of pain that comes with spinal injuries. It also helps with nausea.

When I got there Eileen opened the door right when my hand was descending to knock on it. She was either just talking to Glen in the living room (In Glens case it really is the “living” room. He seldom leaves it and has Eileen run to deliver all his needs so he won’t have to) or she was waiting for me. Anyway she answered the door. I went in and said hi to Glenn and Terry. Eileen asked me if I would like some coffee and saying yes I followed her to the kitchen. She made a fresh pot of coffee and just as we were settling down Terry came scurrying back so he wouldn’t miss out on anything. We made him happy so he left.
Eileen and I started talking about her toothache which was killing her. She said she doesn’t know which is worse, the toothache or her left leg. (For those of you who don’t know Eileen has Scoliosis so bad doctors bring in students to see it every time she comes in. This causes extreme pain from the nerve damage as her spine crumbles under her) I told her probably the tooth because she is more used to the leg which has bothered her for years.
I had gotten one sip of my coffee when the phone rang. I could tell right away that something was wrong. “What!!! His hand? Did you call Bobby?” Eileen began. Then it turned into a debate with Eileen’s daughter, Suzie, who was the one on the phone. This girl is a piece of work. I have never seen a woman who was more self engrossed, caustic, and bitter. I seldom hear her saying anything without it having a bite to it. One time she looked at me and said something like “How do you like wearing the apron? Are you going to clean the house today?”. This is typical for those with a low self esteem. By looking for the faults in everyone they try to feel like they are better than the others. The abrasive hard image she portrays helps her keep others away. Kind of a defensive wall.

Come to find out Eileen’s son’s little boy had put his hand through a glass window or door at school. Eileen had gotten off the phone with Suzie and Suzie called right back. As Eileen was telling Suzie to call Bobby, not her, Bobby came rushing in. Now all hell breaks loose. Everyone’s panicking. Where to go, how to get there, what’s going on. Suzie lives practically across the street from the school so Eileen calls and asks her why she didn’t just go over there. Suzie, with her typical attitude, said “Well I’m at the store now. I’m not going to drop everything for him”. She has the F--- you attitude down pat. The sibling rivalry between Suzie and Bobby is intense but mostly on Suzie’s side. She won’t go out of her way for Bobby unless she has to and then she makes him pay. Bobby on the other hand will run to help every time Suzie cries.
Bobby gets mad at Eileen because she wanted him to find another way to get to the school so she could visit with me. After much high strung emotion Eileen is crying and goes to take Bobby to the school. With them gone I go in to visit with Glenn. This consists of watching James Bond on his big screen TV and talking about who the best James Bond was. All four of the dogs flocked to me and three of them weaseled their way up with the fourth whining because there was no room for him.

Eileen made it back so I excused myself and went back to the kitchen where we could renew our visit. She was visibly shaken and in pain. She checked the clock and decided it wouldn’t hurt to take her morphine prescription an hour early. I gave her the herbal stuff that should help her with the pain and nausea.
Then we talked. About seven or eight times we would hear Glen’s voice bellowing “Eileen, Come here” and she would rush to attend to his majesties needs. I watched her face each time he called and could tell it was wearing on her. I talked to her about it and said that she needs to let Glenn know how much it hurt for her to do this. “Eileen, he needs to take care of himself some. You need to negotiate this with him and let him know you hurt as much as he does.” I said but to no avail. She tells me how much she loves Glenn and rationalizes it all away. My heart goes out to her because I know her pain and the trap she is in. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

As we talked Texas came up. “Eileen, we may move to the farm in Texas” I told her. This brought a sadness to her face and she looked at me “Bob, you belong here in Toledo. This is home. Besides I would miss you if you left”. Now one of the points in my internal debate regarding Texas is brought home.
My entire life from birth has been one of moving every two or three years until I came to Toledo with Cherie in 1980. I have been up here for twenty five years. This is the closest to roots I have ever had. Eileen is the one friend I have that approaches the level of closeness described by the Greek word “Phileo” (I probably spelled that wrong) This word is one of the three words translated as Love in the Bible. It describes the love a person has for close family and friends who are regarded as such.

I know you are going to read this Eileen but it is nothing you don’t already know. You are as close to family as I have. With the exception of Cherie no one in the world knows me like you. You worked for me since 1992 and have been faithful and true. Quite frankly that makes you a most unusual and rare person for few show those traits when it costs them. You stuck by me through it all. (This will come out in the book)

I told Eileen that we didn’t know what we were going to do. “Eileen, even if we go I’ll be coming back to visit”. Then I looked at her and said “How about I take you to Texas with us. It would do you good to get away”. “No” she replied “I can’t go. I’d get in trouble and Glen needs me”. “Could you come and visit? I’d buy your ticket” I tried to convince her but don’t think it helped much. We talked of old times but she started to get sick with the nausea and told me she may have to run to the bathroom. I figured it would be an appropriate time to head home so told her good bye.

Cherie was exhausted when she got home so I said I would cook dinner. I had a problem juggling the tasks necessary to cook dinner and got frustrated. Then our next door neighbor, Kathy, knocked on our door. She had locked her keys in her apartment as asked if I could help her get in. I had done this for her before by slipping the lock with a credit card. Her dad and Fred were out there and had pulled out some of the door trim. I wasn’t able to slip the lock which puzzled me because I had done it before. It wasn’t till after we had taken everything apart I remembered why I couldn’t open it. When I had done it a year or so ago I fixed the trim for her so it allowed the bolt to properly seat making it hard to slip.

With all that done I finished cooking dinner and we ate. Cherie finished sewing the shirt she was making for her sister Cathy and took it over there. About that time Allen called. He said “Do you mind if I ask you why you didn’t want to go with me to Detroit?”. That was the start of a twisted conversation as Allen tried to convey his frustration. I told him several times I just did not feel like driving to Detroit. “Do you think I wouldn’t have paid you for gas” he said so I repeated that I didn’t go because I didn’t want to. Then came the Zinger.
“It was beautiful Bob. I went and got my stuff and then went to Burger King like I usually do. When I got out I saw the tarp pulled back on the truck. Someone stole a box with $400 worth of stuff in it”. With that was the implied reference that it would not have happened if I had gone with him. Allen then started on the “I feel like putting a bullet in my head” theme that he knew always got a reaction out of me before. That was it. That is enough so I let loose. “Allen we live in a tough world. You need to grow up and quit this pity party. Shit happens for everyone so deal with it. Be a man and quit whining”. This caught him by surprise so he made a couple of more attempts to make me feel bad with no success. “Allen I have to go” I told him. “Goodbye”.

That pretty much sums up my day folks. It is 10:30 which is my bedtime or at least when I try to go to sleep.

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