Monday, June 26, 2006

A little better?


6/26/06 Monday
Doing a little better than yesterday.

7:22 PM. There is allot to keep up with as we draw closer to our targeted departure date. Wayne called me several times to worry about things and I wasn’t very nice. “Wayne, you’ve got to learn to take care of your problems yourself” I bluntly told him. I was pissed when Wayne told me that the medical cab would not take him to his doctors appointment at the Veteran’s clinic. According to Wayne this is because the VA won’t pay for it but that doesn’t make sense. I think they won’t because the VA has a program to transport disabled vets to the clinic and back home.

I took the truck to American Auto (That’s a guess as I don’t remember what came after American) to see if the door handle came in. It didn’t but the lock thingy that was missing did. Steve wasn’t there so I talked to the same guy I saw when I picked up the door panel. I told him about the catalytic converters and he suggested I go to a place in Swanton that has the same name as the place Nate or Jeremy sent me too in Toledo.

The guy put the truck on a lift and pounded on the converters with his gloved hand. Each time he his it you could hear something rattling inside. “Yep, they’re bad” he told me. Then he went into the office to try and figure out what it would cost to fix. I watched him scoot out of the office to check something out on the truck a couple of times. Then he had the other guy in the shop come into the office where I could watch them study various books and the computer as they did their detective work to see what the hell GM did. He got on the phone and they discussed some more.

Finally he came out to talk to me. On THIS particular truck you have to purchase a whole exhaust pipe assembly that contains dual catalytic converters. $640.00 give or take a few bucks. BAM!!! This is getting expensive. I just spent $660 at Firestone for them to not notice this problem. I told the guy I had to check my finances and left.

I dropped by Firestone on the way back into town. Just kinda curious what their quote would be. He was in the middle of a customer so said he would call me with the quote. I got it a few hours later. “It will be somewhere between $400 and 1,000” what’s his name said. Now that is a rather broad range. Tells me what I need to know. Not going there again.

Sometime during my day I went to find a trailer for sale. First I went to John’s on Tremainsville Road…No, I saw a place in Swanton, near the airport, that had about a hundred new trailers out in a big lot. I did a U turn and checked it out. Nice stuff so I went inside. The first person I saw was the person I needed to see. I let him know what I was looking for and he told me it would be $975.00. That’s another BAM!!

I got his card and a one page catalog of all the trailers they offer. Lots of them but all expensive. The one I want is at the bottom of the pricing range. I got out of there and hit the road. This is when I went to Firestone. Right now I can’t remember what I did after that. At some point I ended up on Woodville Rd. Let me think…OK, I went to John’s on Tremainsville after Firestone at this time. His trailers were comparable to the ones I looked at near the airport. For that matter they could have been identical but I wouldn’t remember.

In case you can’t tell from the writing I am a little slow, mostly the memory. I can remember doing something but not when.

It was after John’s that I went out to Woodville Rd. I went to a place called “Truck Cap City” or something. They were the same folks who sell the A.R.E. caps I had called to get an idea of what mine was worth. He sold the caps used as well as new so I thought maybe he might have picked up a trailer he wanted to get rid of. No he didn’t. I went on down Woodville road, getting out into farm country heading to Genoa. I thought “Hey, maybe there’s one set out for sale” I thought to myself. I saw lots of trailers but none for sale.

Time to head back into town. I called Allen as I would be going past his house. He was in and awake. “Come on by” he invited me. I needed to check up on him anyway. We talked about nothing for a bit and then he decided to open the big stack of mail he had. In it were the letters from Social Security denying his disability. “Well, that was a waste of time” Allen said with his defeatism resurrecting it’s head again. “Allen, everyone gets denied the first time. You need to file an appeal”. I went over this with him and tried to get some fight back into his spirit. Hard to do with his level of depression.

At this time Allen talked about things that are deep with him. This is a rare moment of his letting his guard down and being honest. I stayed over there a couple of hours. I picked up a five gallon bucket full of water and that was a mistake. The pain at mid back is pretty bad. I have to sit at this computer with my back arching as I sit at attention. Stooping at all won’t work.

As I was leaving Allen stopped me at the door. “I might turn myself in at a methadone clinic so I can get off these oxy’s” he said seriously. “Allen, that’s the best thing I’ve heard you say in a while. Getting it out will help you with this disability and could get you the type of medical attention you need” I encouraged him. It is good to hear and being honest about his problem is the most important step in his recovery. I’m not a praying man but I’ll say a prayer for him.

I came home after that and was pretty much wiped out. Cherie came home shortly after. “Did you eat anything all day?” she asked. “Noo” I sheepishly said. I watched the news as Cherie fixed some Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes with real potatoes, not the mix. I tried to stay awake but would wander in and out, seeing portions of the stories they ran. The one thing that stood out was how pissed Bush was at the press for daring to be honest and revealing that the government was tracing bank information for terrorist. Hell, the terrorist already know that so what’s the big deal. They are quite adept at moving money around. Oh I know. It makes Bush look bad and lowers his approval rating. Personally I’m all for this (The tracing terrorist finances part) and think it should be done to locate upper level drug dealers.

I sat Cherie down long enough to review our “Farm Fund” account and to explain the expenditures we were looking at with the truck and trailer. I paid $4100 for the truck. I immediately got soaked for $660.00 at Firestone. Now I’m looking at another $650 or so. That adds up to $5,410.00. Now there’s the cost of a trailer. $890.00 at John’s so now we are looking at $6300.00 out of that fund. It’s getting slim. I’m figuring the trip to Texas and back will cost $600.00 in gas alone. We may not get a trailer for this trip. The guy at John’s said something about renting trailers. “DOH!!” I need to put on my calendar to call him and see how much it would cost. Better do it now before I forget.

Wow. It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. I’ve got to get Wayne to Family Services on time so he will actually be seen. The stress is making me a bit short nowadays. Stress is a big, big enemy of brain injuries. Makes the computer that’s our brain get lost on occasion.

Let’s see, call John’s Trailers, Wayne to welfare, talk to the bank about how to handle getting $37,000 to Larry, then the most important thing on my list. That is to meet my youngest son, Adam, and take him to dinner someplace. We haven’t really talked in over two years. A quick “How are you” on the phone on occasion. I’ve been sending him E mails, always asking for a him to contact me, even just send a blank Repy to let me know he received it. Never got one, but that’s understandable. The divorce wasn’t pleasant in any way and left deep scars on him that will be hard to heal. Here, let me tell you about Bruce’s welcome home house warming party.

I think I told you of Cherie’s emotions regarding meeting Barb or even seeing her so I went by myself. I carefully write down Bruce’s address and intently studied the map on the computer that showed his street. I got lost. I knew it was near Wernert’s Corner, which is where Tremainsville, Douglas, and I think Laskey cross. It is a big intersection that has six roads feeding into the middle. I know where that’s at. I came to an intersection that had three streets crossing like Wernert’s Corners. “I found it” I thought and began looking for the street Bruce lives on. No, it’s not on this road so I go to another, and then another, and, and I began to wonder. I remembered Wernert’s Corners but not where it was or what buildings are there. Now I am confused. I drive on down Tremainsville because I knew it was at the cross section I am looking for. I soon was at Wernert’s corners. I had forgotten there were two intersections like this. Nothing like getting lost in the town you spent 25 years in.

I found Bruce’s house. Bruce was grilling hamburgers and had roasted the corn in the husk just the way I used to do it with them. Bruce greeted me warmly though he was busy cooking. I showed him the casserole dish and hot pads Cherie had bought as a housewarming gift. Bruce directed me into the house telling me to place the dish on the dining room table with the rest of what had been brought. “Go ahead and fix a plate. There’s beer and pop in the fridge” Bruce instructed me.

Going in I saw Bob and Kiki Thomas. They were glad to see me as I was to see them. I really don’t know what to expect at this party so familiar faces are always a relief. I looked around and didn’t recognize anybody. Neither Barb or Adam were there. I relaxed and enjoyed being there, making sure I spent some time with Bruce.

After everyone ate their fill we all settled in the living room where we carried on some lively conversation. From the back door I heard a familiar voice. Barb was here. Adam came with her. Barb saw me sitting at the far side of the living room and did a good job of not noticing. I didn’t want to stare either despite the fact I wanted to discern how she’s doing. She’s gained weight but don’t we all as we get older.

Adam sat at the kitchen table across from his mom. I had to say “Hi Adam” to get him to acknowledge I was there. He said Hi quietly and sat down to eat. Barb jumped right in the conversation and would bring up things from our past. When the conversation touched on poison ivy Barb pipes up “Ask Bob about poison ivy. Remember how bad you had it?” and then tells of a three day ordeal that almost put me in the hospital. I don’t remember that though I do remember spraying roundup on some to kill it. When I told Barb I didn’t remember she looked surprised. I still don’t. Some memories return when triggered by a recollection but some never return.

Barb disappeared into Bruce’s bedroom for quite a while. I kind of wondered if she had gone there to cry. As much as she tried to hide it she was impacted by my presence. This is the first time we have sat in the same room since the last day of the divorce. We have talked on the phone maybe eight times since I woke up from the coma five years ago. I tried talking to her before but it always turned venomous quickly. Part of what I hoped for was some help recovering memories. Barb spent seventeen years with me so holds the keys to many memories. Many I don’t care to have back but I view all memories as lessons for the future.

Towards the end of my visit I said something about how I should have brought the camera so I could have pictures of the boys. Barb said “Yeah, you probably have old pictures of the boys”. When I told her “Barb, I don’t have any old pictures. I lost everything except what I scavenged out of the car at the junk yard. This seemed to catch her by surprise. She seems to be unaware of much of this. I wish I had a picture of Adam now. I'd like to post it so you can see what a good looking kid he is.

Adam was still sitting at the table. I was heading slowly for the door to call it an evening and stopped right next to him where he couldn’t escape. “How are you doing Adam” was my original conversation starter. “Fine” Adam said looking down. I engaged him more, trying to draw him out. He said he was getting all my E mails and when pressed about not responding told me “It’s the past. There’s lots of bad stuff there”. I tried to let him know that I understood I had been an ass back then but was truly sorry. I also tried to help him know that I was sorry for that but had been sick. I pinned Adam down on meeting me for dinner tomorrow. I will pick him up at 5:00. It will be a little strained. He is a stranger to me now for in the six years since I was around he has graduated from high school and become a man.

Folks, it’s 11:40. I’m going to call it a night.

2 comments:

ByronB said...

Busy day!
Glad you're getting back together with your family - I guess persistence is the key.

Bob said...

Persistence is easy when motivated by love. I will always care about them but give them space, trying not to push too hard.