Monday, October 16, 2006

Progress and more goodbye's

Yesterday's sunset

10/16/06 Monday
Yesterday we got a whole lot done. I piddled with small stuff like wiring the lights I removed for Allen’s sheetmetal job back on the trailer until close to noon. Unable to reach Nate or Cathy by phone Cherie and I loaded the truck with another batch of packed boxes and took them to the rapidly filling up storage unit. Then we stopped by her parents house to see if there was room for me to bring the trailer for the welding it needed. There was a crowd of vehicles as both Nate and Jeremy were working on them. Nate said something about this being the last day he’d be working on cars in the driveway so I’m sure he’s trying to finish up some projects. Don’t really know but I know he was busy but still made room for me.

Learning that I called Wayne to let him know I would be picking him up if he still felt up to doing the welding. He did so I grabbed him and we went to the apartment and picked up the trailer. This was the first time I had taken it on the road since I installed the electric brakes so it was a test run also. The brakes worked very well. I got accustomed to how to set them which wasn’t hard and am generally pleased that I got this right.

Getting Wayne to help is one of the best ideas I’ve had in a while. It took a few seconds for him to get it moving, especially because of the paint and crap he had to weld through. It didn’t take Wayne too long before you could see his hand was giving out and Nate jumped in to help. It was cool to see how Nate worked with Wayne to further his sense of self worth. While Nate did a big part of the welding Wayne imparted some of the know how he has from decades of welding. All of this helped Wayne feel useful and valuable. BIG BIG plus. When a man looses that it feeds a depression that is debilitating.

They worked on the trailer quite a while, welding up a storm. I did some more wiring figuring I’d pretty much just be in the way of them. Don’t interrupt busy men while they’re working.

Cherie and I had gotten a hold of Eileen and agreed to pick her up at six. Wayne and Nate finished at a perfect time for me to get Wayne home, the trailer back, and for Cherie and I to go pick up Eileen.

We visited in her home some before leaving for the restaurant. Things continue to be tough for Eileen. The relationship with Mick seems to have gotten a little cool which is sad to see. Eileen had been so happy and excited about that renewal of an old love but now it’s a source of sadness. She is seriously considering letting her son, his wife, and the four kids move in with her. This may or may not be a good idea. If they can all get along both sides would get a great benefit. It would help greatly with both of their financial hardships. Eileen has a hard time just meeting basic needs and Bobby and Nancy pay an outrageous rent for a dilapidated house with a leaky roof. I had lived in that house for a short time so I know the landlord is an ass.

The dinner at Red Lobster was fantastic. It took a while to get Eileen to relax and not worry about how much food cost. The first thing she had done was look at the prices and both Cherie and I had to work to convince her it was a gift and money isn’t a problem. When you’ve lived most of your life scrimping and just getting by it’s hard to do. Taking Eileen out was a revelation on just how isolated from the outside world she had been. The outside world I refer to is anything that’s not on the East side. The East side is it’s own world, populated with the largely Irish blue collar workforce who drink and fight hard. Like all poorer sections of a city drugs and crime are rampant and it is looked down on by those more fortunate.

The very thought that the restaurant would bag her uneaten food to take home was so novel to Eileen she just beemed and thanked the waitress who put it in a box for her about fifty times. Eileen had only been to a nice restaurant one time and it was at Red Lobster some ten years ago. When we gave the waitress a $25 dollar tip (That was 20% plus a little bonus) Eileen’s jaw just dropped. We hid how much the meal cost but couldn’t hide the tip. The tip was more than what she would have ever paid for a meal with three people. The smiles we put on her face were worth every dime.

Eileen cried a few times during the evening telling me how much she’ll miss me. “I can’t believe you’re leaving me” she said. We have invited her to come to Texas anytime she wants and in fact said she could live with us. For those of you reading I suppose I should explain who Eileen is. Eileen was my secretary and worked for me longer than any other employee. The stories she holds of the years we worked together are something else. She spoke of several events that are not in my damaged memory at all. I encouraged her to write them down or perhaps get a recorder and tell them. These are stories of both good and bad things that happened. Her help would be invaluable in writing my book, in fact almost necessary. So much to tell and such a fascinating life that I am amazed when I hear these tales. Of course for me they are often totally new and my comments last night often were “Really? I did that? Wow”. It is so strange to hear what you did and not have a shred of memory about it. Sometimes the memories come but the ones most damaged by the brain injury were the later years when Eileen worked for me. That was since 1992 by the way.

It’s supposed to rain later today but is fine now so I need to get moving while it’s good. When it rains I’ll come in and take furniture apart. Cherie whipped up some eggs to make sure I eat something and is already busy packing. She’s been busting her butt for days now.

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