Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More family stuff

Well Nate just started a blog, I suppose to counter mine. In it he reveals what Cherie’s mom and dad, and possibly her sister had to say about me before Cherie and I got married. This is twenty year old bitterness that they never let go. This from the family that played a big part in encouraging Cherie to divorce me.
Let me fill you in on that time. I had fallen 30 feet from a tree, breaking my back, neck, and getting a concussion. This resulted in a traumatic brain injury which doctors didn’t understand much about twenty years ago. A drastic personality change is one of the evidences of this. I would become angry or cry easily. Emotional control became an issue. Now it takes the brain three to five years to come back into balance. Cherie and I were first loves and when we met twenty years later there was no question we still loved each other and never should have divorced.
Nate throws all kinds of stones, I suppose to make him look better by making me look bad. It also shows how out of touch he is about us. He calls me a mooch and talks about how I was wandering around like a chicken with its head cut off. Gee, lets look at that. I wake up from a coma with traumatic brain injury. I lost big portions of my memory and my brain freezes up when under stress. I knew I had friends but couldn’t remember who they were so was featured on the news as Toledo’s John Doe. That let my friends know where I was and was also how Cherie and I got back together. What’s wrong with that? I have no shame here. I suppose Nate feels it makes him a better person. Read his blog and read the comments. He seems to think we are financially strapped. If we were what difference would that make? Fact is we’re not. I get my Veterans pension and have been paying the rent for years now. At least I pay rent. What do you pay Nate? Just your toys and your personal pleasures while the house you live in for free is trashed. Would you be proud if Mom’s church came over? Do you know why their friends and family don’t like to come over and visit? Why don’t you quit being wrapped up around yourself and look at the others in your life. It’s not all “ME”. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Again I don’t want to hurt, I want you to grow up and be a man. Take care of yourself. If you get over this we could be friends.

Kick against the goads

The results of stubborness and pride. How's this for a wake up call?

This morning I am to get Allen to Family Services so he can get help. I've tried to call a few times and his phone has been busy. I think he took it off the hook. I just got through to Allen. He did have the phone off the hook but evidently had set his alarm to get up. A good sign. I will run over there at 9:00. I took my pill but am having the ears ringing dizzy thing going on.

Jeremy responded to my blog entry. I guess he is “You know who”. He is being real religious, which is good because that can keep him out of trouble and inspire him to be a good man. I have seen religious conversion change cold blooded murderer’s into people with a conscience, determined to not go back into an old lifestyle and truly become a new person. It doesn’t always work but when it does society is better for it.
Nuff said on that.

Cherie is pretty upset. She called her mom and heard Nate in the background saying he was “opening some more shit” in reference to looking at the blog. It fascinates me how people are. My creed is “Love life, Live a life you can love, Become a person you can be proud of.” If you do that there is nothing anyone can say that will bother you. The whole world can look at your home and your life and you won’t be ashamed. But if you are ashamed who’s fault is it? When you get angry and upset because someone exposes you then why can’t you see that maybe you have a problem. If you can’t be proud of what others see of your life ask yourself, Why am I not proud of this? Why is it so hard to just do better guys? Pick up your trash and fix your mess. Make your life something you can be proud of and not embarrassed for the world to see. It really works a whole lot better and you can walk with your head held up high.

I got Allen to Family Services and helped him go through the whole process. I was surprised to see how easily confused he got and was glad I was there to lead him through it. When we got done there I took him to Social Security where he started the process to apply for disability. Allen hasn’t been able to work in four years and has maxed out his credit cards. I should have talked him into doing this three years ago but like most people he had to get in bad shape to wake up. I gave him a good smack in the face to get him to open his eyes. He didn’t like it at first but who does. Now he is thanking me and told me several times how grateful he was.

This is the way of things. Some use the term “Tough love” for this. For me it took several wake up calls to figure things out. First was when I went to prison in 1975 and I did well until I fell out of a tree in 1981. Then, after the divorce, I hooked up with the second wife who started me on a slow downhill slide. I woke up a little when I was sent to prison again for being drunk and being stupid but I got back with the “bitch” when I got out. After catching her whoring around again I went off the deep end. Then came the car wreck. Nothing like learning you had died and had slept for a month to make you think about “What is really important?” It wasn’t a slap in the face, that was a two by four upside the head saying “Wake up dumbass”. OK!! I GOT IT. Now I try to wake up others before they have to go through it as well. It’s not being mean, it’s saying “Come on. Look at yourself. You can do better so why don’t you?”
There is an ancient metaphor about an Ox kicking against the pricks that is also used in Acts chapter 9.5 of the Bible. It refers to how an ox kicks when goaded thus causing himself greater injury. The more he does this, the more stubborn he is, the worse he makes things for himself. If he had just figured things out life would have been much easier and better and frankly he would be regarded as a much better ox.
This metaphor is thousands of years old and has been told by wise men and fathers many times over the centuries to help stubborn children understand their ways. Of course there were always those who were too proud to acknowledge any need for improvement.Pride always goes before a fall.

Today I had people from Bulgaria, Norway, and Switzerland looking at the blog. Kinda blows me away. Of course I go blogging and look at blogs from all over the world. I am fascinated at being able look through these windows into other worlds, cultures, and lives. The more we understand others the wiser we all become.

Probate is today

What will again be a garden in Texas. Lots of work here.

2/28/06 Tuesday
It’s the last day of the month. Today in Texas Probate Court is scheduled to do it’s hearing on Lee’s estate. How quick things move after that I do not know but this is the time things get more complicated. I have been doing well lately with far fewer slow downs. I suppose that means my stress level is down despite all the family flap. I have to wonder about that. Is my stress not up there because I am convinced of the rightness of my position. Cherie tells me that the City of Toledo sent her parents another letter about the mess Nate continues to pile up in the yard. She said that Cathy would again have busted her ass to clean up Nate’s mess. Of course it may have already been cleaned. I don't know because I was told I am not welcome to go over. This is an old and consistent problem and Cherie's parents have been summoned to court for it yet Nate continues to make a mess. I know this will keep our tiff going but right is right. Hopefully I am wrong and Nate will actually get his butt out there and take care of the problem he is responsible for. This is a time I would dearly love to be wrong and I usually hate to be wrong.
Today I will write about my experience at the Volunteers of America in response to the anonymous comment from some one who would only identify himself as “you know who”. I think I do but don’t like to presume (Again because I hate to be wrong).
This morning I am to get Allen to Family Services so he can get help. I've tried to call a few times and his phone has been busy. I think he took it off the hook.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I’m home now. Took Allen to family services to start the process of getting him enrolled so he can get help. We waited in line for quite a while and when we got to the guy behind a computer terminal were told that they stopped taking new applications at noon. He said they only accept a limited number of applications a day and suggested we get there at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. That will be hard for Allen because he generally doesn’t get up till 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon but that’s the way it is. Allen didn’t gripe about having to get up early at all, which surprised me. He thanked me for everything I was doing and gave me a DVD of the battle of Britain. I said “Allen, don’t buy me stuff” because it made me a bit uncomfortable. Allen seems to be very sincere about getting help and understands that he cannot continue self medication for his pain.
I took him home after all that. Allen is so isolated he wasn’t even aware that there had been a big bust of terrorists here in Toledo last week. I told him all about it and some of the other things going on in the world outside his narrow realm. All he knows is what he gets on his satellite TV and he doesn’t even watch national news.
I’ll have to call him and get him up early tomorrow.
I hurried home because I was to meet Cherie at the gym today. I washed the dishes and grabbed my gym bag, heading out to the YMCA. I got there and suited up but Cherie never made it. She was so worn from the emotional strain of her family reading my blog and my just getting a little honest with them that she came home from work and went to sleep. I did a quick workout and came home. She was still asleep when I got here so I was quiet to not wake her.
She’s awake now and I apologized again for causing her so much anguish. I said I wasn’t sorry for what I said to her family because it needed to be said, just for the problems it cause for her. My hope is still that her family get it together. I feel that sometimes a little bluntness is needed to get a point across. It worked with Allen and many others I have known. A little kick in the ass and dose of reality can wake you up. I had to die and go into a coma to wake up.

Well Cherie called and asked me to remove this portion of my journal from the blog. For her I will but I am thinking to E mail it to Nate.
Cherie just came home crying her heart out because of what I had posted. She said I was destroying what relationship she has with the family, slim as that is. She has a point. It is just hard for me to watch this family that put the D in dysfunctional. Learning to keep my mouth shut is a big part of this brain injury where I say what I think without considering the consequences. It got me in trouble with the courts and got me put in jail when I told the director of the VOA he was running a dope house and that I was going to expose them on TV. So they had me jailed for smoking a cigarette in the TV room. That’s a Civil Rights lawsuit but when you can’t afford a lawyer your civil rights get walked right over. After thirty days without charges ever being filed I was released when I went on a hunger strike. They just put me in a van and drove me to a place for the homeless and dumped me out without saying a word.
Typical for Toledo and the corruption that runs through it.

Stirring the pot.

2/27/06 Monday
Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle -- when the sun comes up, you had better be running." – unknown

Well it’s starting. The firestorm of indignation has begun as they squirm under the spotlight. I encourage them to post their side on this blog and will gladly let them throw all the stones they can at the mirror. It is my hope that after they get done being offended they will open their eyes and look around. Nate said the timing is bad for this, I assume because mom just had a wreck. Actually this all should have been addressed years ago. Cherie has asked me to keep my mouth shut whenever I would go and visit and her mom, Pat, would often thank me for not saying anything when I did come over.
I removed the rest of what I had written at the request of my wife, whom I love dearly.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Look into a mirror and see the truth

If you look into a mirror and don’t like what you see, is it the mirrors fault? Do you scream at the mirror, denying what is before your eyes? Not wanting, or willing to acknowledge the truth that is in front of you, do you just turn away and pretend you never saw it? There is an interesting scripture in the Bible that illustrates this.

James 1;22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

In the Christian religion, and in all of society, it is recognized that we have a tendency to not practice what we preach. There is the front put up for everyone around to see, a false image so others will think better of us. We start to believe what we know is not the truth, deceiving ourselves into believing our own lie. Then someone holds up a mirror and that hurts. We run from the truth, deny what is right before us and get mad at the one who dared to be honest.
I opened up such a can of worms with this journal yesterday. When Cherie’s family read the blog they looked at a mirror and recoiled at what they saw. Now they are angry and taking this as an attack on them, not understanding it is not an attack, it is my desire to open their eyes and look at themselves. I know that for them to continue on the path they are on will lead to further destruction and pain.
It is just like my friend Allen. I couldn’t sit and watch him destroying his life with his addiction. I had to try and help him get free and it can only be done through honesty and truth. None of this “Hey buddy, yeah your just fine” pretending cause I don’t have the balls to tell him the truth. When I was sinking into darkness, no one said anything. Nobody was honest with me but now, five years later, I hear “I wish I had done something”. I had to die and lay in a hospital bed in a coma for a month to even begin to see the truth, to look in that mirror and acknowledge the image that stared back at me.
Now I have no pretense. I don’t run and hide. I freely and publicly face my shame and in doing so I have set myself free from my past. Now I live by the creed I carved into a piece of wood I recovered from my car crash.
I will love life
I will live a life I love
I will be a person I can be proud of (And I am now)
This blog is a part of that. I choose to not have any secrets and by making my life an open book I make choices that are far wiser because I know the world is watching. Imagine if you will, that there is a camera on you everywhere you go. Do you think you would act a little different if you knew Mama was watching? (Or whoever else you want to respect who you are)
I can’t stand by and watch my family continue to destroy themselves. In their mind I am sure they see me as mean and vindictive and do not understand how much I care. Caring comes with pain. The two often go together. The pain now is my having to accept their anger as a price of being honest. This is tearing Cherie up but I have watched her come home after visiting her parents just heartbroken too many times. She would just hold me and sob deeply from what she saw. Friends and family of her parents no longer go over to visit because of what they see. I know there is fury directed towards me for writing this but it is my prayer that from that will come good. That their eyes will be opened and they will stop choosing to be blind to what surrounds them. Only time will tell.
Truth is seldom easy but truth is truth. You may not like it but it is there no matter what. To choose to believe a lie is to choose death over life.
Enough heavy stuff. Do good, be good, choose well. Good night

How firm is your foundation?

How firm is your foundation? Can you trust the world you made not to crumble beneath you?

2/26/06 Sunday
It’s another bright cloudless day. We are going to the Westside church this morning. It’s more to see the people we know there than to be churchy. I am still uncomfortable there. A good example of what bothers me came up with Cherie’s mom yesterday. She was telling how a guest speaker at the Cornerstone Church she goes to was a “True Prophet”. Then she went rambling on about the “word from the Lord” he had for her. “It just gave me chills running up and down my back bob” she told me. “It confirmed a word the Lord gave me fifteen years ago that I just didn’t understand till now”. I listened politely as she tried to explain the Biblical story this “Prophesy” was based on. After a while I asked her if she could sum it up. She couldn’t, all she could come up with was something vague about she was where she was supposed to be that could be “interpreted” pretty much anyway you would want.
Prophecy in the Bible was specific and to the point. The one to Jezebel said she would be thrown out of a window, trampled into the ground, guts spewed out, and eaten by dogs. Nothing vague there. No room for various interpretations. At Westside they have a Prophetic Ministry where those who have the “Gift” gather and tell you what God is saying. During the service they line up to use the microphone and prophesy. Again it is generalities like “Get your heart right” or “I have seen you and…”. Being the perverse guy that I am I kinda wanted to go up to the mike and say something like “This is God, Y’all come back now, ya’hear?”. Of course I won’t cause Cherie would kick my ass for five years for that. All that aside, they are good people with good hearts, and have been friends.
Well, Nate read this blog last night. I am not sure if he saw my last entry cause I didn’t get it out till about 2:00 this morning. Cherie is worried but I told her not to be. “The truth is the truth Cherie. They may not like it but it needs to be said. You know me, I don’t hold anything back. Maybe this will help open Nate’s eyes and help him see himself” I told her. I know there will be fallout but that is a price of the creed I live by “Say what you mean, Do what you say”. They may not see it but all I want is to help them improve their lives, to be better people and have better lives by making better decisions. Poor Cathy will bear the brunt of this. She is as much a victim of her choices as they all are but she has been carrying the whole family on her shoulders and it is a heavy load. From my view she should be superwoman because all she does despite some serious medical issues. It keeps her on a frazzled psychological edge that worries me. There is much I can do to help them all but am not allowed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

How fast things can change

Cherie and I went to the park. It was a brisk day and the wind was coming and then going with a random vigor. Sometimes it would blow through the tops of the trees, making them sway back and forth, then it would come down and gust through at ground level, stirring up little vortexes of leaves. It would spin them like a miniature tornado, only to vanish again, letting the leaves fall lifeless back to the ground. I wish I could convey the wonder, the feel of the forest that is full of life despite appearing dead in this winter season. There was so much sound. The wind could be heard coming like a jet aircraft in the distance. I was fascinated to watch the tall leafless trees swaying in opposite directions with the tops moving ten or fifteen feet back and forth.

You could hear them creaking and whining like rusty hinges of a door swinging in the wind. Each tree with its own distinctive voice repeating its cry over and over. And you could hear the sound of trees colliding with each other. On top of all that was the occasional plaintive cry of different birds and the scolding chatter of a squirrel.

We walked, enjoying the feel of the cold wind but glad we had warm coats. I was carrying the camera and had to switch hands regularly to put one in my coat pocket to warm it up. Took lots of pictures as you can see. We walked one of our favorite trails and as it came out of the woods we saw two deer who noticed us at the same time we saw them. Cherie said “Oh look, I didn’t think we would see any deer”. I set the camera for the shot and we quietly kept going towards them. These deer are so used to people that we have sometimes been able to get to fifteen feet from them. Not this time. The two bolted and with that about ten other deer we hadn’t seen also started. I snapped a shot but you really can’t see them clearly in it.

It was exciting regardless. We continued our walk, hoping to see the deer again but they were long gone. It is so good to be in love, not the emotional infatuation kind of love you have as a teenager but the kind where the two of you are one. Life is shared and what one of you enjoys the other does too. Alright, enough mushy stuff.
(Can you see the birdie?)
As we walked I couldn’t help but think how much I will miss this part of the country when we move to Texas. We headed back to the car and Cherie called Nate because he had picked up a washer and drier set from Lowes that he said he would give us a good deal on. I heard Cherie say “What! I didn’t get a message. When did that happen?”. I could tell right away something was wrong. She shut her cell phone and I asked “What’s wrong”. Her mom had just been in a car wreck involving three cars at Detroit Ave and Dorr. Cherie said something about running home but I said “Get in the car. We’re going straight to the wreck site.”

I got us there a bit quicker than I should of. Detroit was closed off and I could see the cars in the intersection. I pulled up to the barricade and we got out. They were just loading a white pick up onto a flatbed and we could see Mom’s white mini van with the front end smashed. Cherie went to talk to the officer taking a report and I took pictures of the three cars involved. Getting back to Cherie we learned they had taken her mom to St. Vincent’s hospital so headed straight there.

We were directed to her room at the emergency room reception area. Going in Cherie’s mom, Patsy, was hooked up to the standard vital signs machine and talking with a police officer. He was reviewing the accident with her and trying to determine what happened. He asked if the light was red when she went through the intersection and she said “I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know. I really can’t remember”. I listened carefully to see what had happened but also to try and make sure she wasn’t going to get cited if it wasn’t her fault.

She was heading East and the pick up she hit was going south. The impact launched the truck into the air and it landed on a Mercedes that was stopped at the light heading north. The driver of the Mercedes said he had come to the light and stopped but he didn’t know if it was still red when the accident happened cause he wasn’t paying attention. When the cop asked Patsy if she was going fast I had to joke “Are you kidding? She pokes around so slow she drives me nuts”. That brought some laughter into the situation. If nothing else I can make people laugh.
We were the first to get there and Patsy was glad to see us to say the least. Fortunately she wasn’t too badly damaged. I talked with the officer a little about the upcoming increase of the police force and my son’s desire to transfer from the sheriffs department to the Toledo Police. We also talked about Iraq and some of the political issues. With that he had to go and we began to visit with mom.
There was much to talk about but she started off with this “God must not have wanted me to go minister at the nursing home” crap. She visits nursing homes as part of her church thing, which is fine, but she spiritualizes everything. I told her not to talk like that cause God isn’t about to cause a wreck just because He didn’t want her to go visit old people. That got her back to a form of reality for the moment but I knew it wouldn’t last.
I did get a chance to talk to her about things that have been on my mind ever since I became a part of the family again. A big part of that is to get her to realize she needs to make some long term plans because of her and Ted’s age and failing health. Also about how her grandson needs learn how to be a man. He has gotten to where he runs the house and basically intimidates everyone including his mother. He’s a good kid and smart as a whip but I think he has gotten so used to getting his way he doesn’t even realize how he treats everyone else. The house is trashed. Not only does he just lays out greasy tools and stuff on the couch with no regard for others but there are windows and doors he has broken and not repaired. It’s pretty much at the level I have seen in the ghetto with crackheads and winos.
There is no discipline or accountability. If Patsy says to not do something she is ignored. I talked to her in a way she could accept or at least understand. I asked her “If you have a child and don’t ever spank it what do you think will happen?” I had to answer for her “That kid will just run wild and will end up in a bad way”. I explained that by allowing things to continue she is going to make it worse. “Nate needs to learn how to act right and you need to help him do that. That is your house. Not his”. Patsy told me that she is helpless and can’t do anything. Plus she said that Ted wouldn’t allow it. “Patsy, Ted has had several strokes and can’t get around. You know he is scared of being alone and helpless so he clings to everything he can” I told her. I also said that at some point she needed to take charge cause Ted’s ability to make good decisions is deteriorating. Patsy also said that Ted is starting to have temper problems that are getting out of hand. I asked if he was getting physical and she said not yet but it was getting close.

I talked to her about getting out of the neighborhood before it was too late because of the increasing gang and drug activity.
It came time to leave so we excused ourselves. Cathy and her son Nate had brought Patsy’s husband Ted up. We talked of lots including us moving to Texas. My pain level got pretty high so I couldn’t stand or sit long. When all was done I took Cherie to a nice restaurant where we had steak because we deserved it. Then we came home. I tried to do something with the pictures I took but the brain was freezing up and I gave up in frustration. It’s a bitch to have once been tested with an IQ in the low end of the genius range and now to get confused doing some simple things. Enough whining. Good night. Oh Yeah. Can’t forget this. Ran into a blog called “SHARE BEAR EXPRESS” http://spaces.msn.com/sharebearexpress/PersonalSpace That I thought has a good spirit. She directed others to this site so am returning the sign of respect.

Too much, will catch up later

2/25/06 Saturday
It’s another day and I look forward to seeing how it goes. There was a time I greeted each day with dread but that has changed. Much of that change comes from my life circumstances having improved drastically but a big factor is my choosing to be positive. I still suffer from depression but it only comes to visit now and then. I choose, by force of will, not to allow it to stay. Instead of letting a thought process run willy nilly through my mind that I know is not good I will focus on something else. Literally “Telling” that thought that I will not think that way. It doesn’t always work but, Hey! This is my mind damn it, I will have it under control. It doesn’t always work but it is what I have been teaching Wayne and Allen to help them with their depression.

Bernie asked me to give him a call at 11:00 to see if he is available for us to grab lunch. I hope so. He was a good friend and I suppose still is but I am sure he is less comfortable than before. I know I would be. My slide into darkness cost me more than property. It cost me things who’s value far exceeds anything you could measure in dollars. Friendships and my name, my reputation. You can’t buy a good friend and you can’t buy a good reputation. Both are earned by your actions and by how you live your life. I will never regain what I lost. You reap what you sow is a truth that you can’t escape.

This morning is bright and sunny. It will get up to 45 degrees or so. It’s going to drop down to 13 or so tomorrow. I told Cherie we need to go walk in the park because we haven’t done so in a while.

We walked, we loved each others company, and then we got a call telling us Cherie’s mom was in a three car accident. Went to the scene, took pictures and then went to the hospital. Mom is shook up but no major damage. We visited, we got something to eat and now we are home. I am having a hard time doing simple things right now so will have to fill in this day later. Right now I must lay down and distress.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Look forward to tomorrow

I am blessed. I get to spend the rest of my life with someone that I not only love but can trust implicitly. The miracle of our reunion after twenty years will still stir me twenty years from now.

2/24/06 Friday
Just as I was publishing the last entry the door bell rang. It was UPS and my software for building the website came. It seems like things are coming together. I still have that sense that there is an outside hand putting things together in our lives. Time to get to food cooked.
I overcooked the chicken. Cherie called to say she needed to get her prescription. I just loaded the Web Easy software and it proved to be too much for me. I got it done but now I am slow. Headache is coming.

I am still slow. Running about a 4 on the Bob scale. Tired but its early. This is one of the physical slow downs where I have a hard time walking. The partial paralysis of my right leg becomes pronounced at these times. I have to be careful and try to keep my hand in contact with a wall or piece of furniture. This helps allot for some reason. I took Tramadol and aspirin for the headache. Will hold off on the Zomig until or if this hits migraine level.

The chicken was great despite being over cooked. Cherie dished it up cause I was not doing well when she got home. I have been a little crabby but she’s a sweetheart and let it go. I recognized I was being picky and apologized. It is good to be in love. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.
There are lots of hits on the blog today. Got someone from the UK. (I think that’s England but can’t be sure when I’m slow)
I got an E mail from Bruce today. Here’s what he said;
700 new police jobs, good, good.
Doing as well as can be expected for a war zone
anyways. They are doing a real good job at killing each
other. 80% of the fire is directed at each other. But
that 20% worries me.
I love that kid. Be glad when he gets back stateside. Cherie pointed out a mistake I made on yesterdays journal that I must correct. I left out a word and it made it sound like I didn’t want Bruce to be a cop. No, I am proud of him and encourage this as much as I can. In fact I had talked him into changing his MOS in the National Guard from being a bomb loader to military police telling him there were more civilian job opportunities in that field. I know some who would wonder at an ex-con telling his son to be a cop but I’m not your typical ex-con. That will be in another book.
I’m done for the night. Look forward to tomorrow. Do well, be well, and decide well folks for you must live with the fruits of those decisions/

The bank and grocery store

It'll take a while but we will be pulling up roots and going to Texas.

I stopped by the Huntington Bank on the way to get groceries. I’ve been wanting to talk to someone there for a while about getting a credit card now that our bankruptcy has gone through. Mathew, the banker who had first opened my account when I got the VA pension was the one I talked to. I didn’t recognize his face but I don’t recognize anyone’s face because that’s one of the areas I lost with the TBI. “Do you remember me?” I asked him. “How could I? You’ve got a story that’s impossible to forget” he replied. Sitting down I told him we would like to get a credit card now that the bankruptcy is done. He asked when it went through but of course I can’t remember. Just know it wasn’t too long ago.
I explained we would be going to Texas and said “Huntington doesn’t have branches in Texas do they?”. “No” he replied and then began to explain that we could still have a card through them but just had to pay by mail. Matt was real good at making things clear to me on rebuilding credit and had some suggestions I will have to run by Cherie. It’s all a process that takes some time. When he learned of the inheritance he told me a way to get credit that I think we will use. We will just take out a loan secured by cash from the bank and make payments. This we will do in Texas at the Stanton bank, or at least I think so. In the meantime we will apply for a card at Huntington. They use a different way of looking at credit apps than many. Instead of just using the “Credit score” they look at your history.
With that done I went to Kroger. I had that dizzy disorientation feeling I often do when I walked in the door. It followed me the whole time I was there but I had a list which helps at times like this. I got everything on the list and only got a few additional items. Cherie will be proud of me. I got out of the store with only spending $19.82. Allot better than the $60 or $70 I sometimes spend when I go in to buy a gallon of milk. One time I couldn’t remember or figure out what to get so I got a little of everything.
Now I need to get started on food. I’m going to make some of my Guacamole and some kind of chicken with a sesame ginger glaze. Best get moving.
(I think this multiple posting will be a good idea. It breaks these entries up into smaller bites that are easier to digest)

A Glimmer of Hope

A glimmer of hope. I just talked to Holly at River East and she said she had been trying to get Don to read the letter but he is busy. He just got the responsibility to get the Marina District project going here in Toledo. She did say that Don told her I can come in and clean up but she had to find someone willing to sit and watch me the whole time. I can’t blame them for not trusting me because of what happened before. (See “What happened?) He also told her that he didn’t want me picking just a few things out and leaving the rest, that I had to take it all. I told her I would come in and finish staining and putting a finish on the mahogany furniture and just let Don have it. “It’s nice stuff and I’d hate to just let it go to hell” I told her. I don’t know but this is the only crack in the door I have seen. It is hard to do the right thing but if it was easy doing the right thing would lose it’s value.

I called Allen and he wasn’t up to going to Family Services today so I scheduled it for Monday. I’m gonna get him help one way or the other. He can’t continue treating this chronic pain with street drugs or his life will be trash. It already is.
I also called the lady at the Multiple Sclerosis Society to get Wayne some help also. There are many loose ends I need to tie up before we go to Texas. Too many people depend on my little brain damaged ass. Go figure, the blind leading the blind.
Just called Eileen and left a message. Told her we would love to have her come over for dinner and she could bring her friend also. I’ll probably have to chase her down because she hasn’t returned calls in the past. It seems calling her daughter works better.
I gotta go get some groceries. I’m cooking dinner tonight.

Multiple Posts?? I'm gonna try to keep a running commentary of the day

2/24/06 Friday
I didn’t get much done after the slow down yesterday. These sometimes take allot out of me. This morning I am running medium, about a 7 on the Bob scale. (I always use the term Bob scale for the search engine when I need to look this up for doctors and stuff)
I am eating oatmeal cookies with coffee for breakfast. How healthy is that? It is bright and sunny out. A front blew through last night so we went from 50 to 30. Still above normal. Don’t know what I will do today. Had a restless night. Hit the TV remote with my elbow as I tossed and turned, turning it on and startling us both awake at three or four in the morning.
I am tired. Just took my pill. Staying with the 100 mg for now but will increase of I have more of the slow downs. I need to go back through this journal and map those out. I think I have fewer now than before but really can’t say because I don’t remember. That’s why I keep this journal.
With all this terrorist stuff going on in Toledo I am wondering about Ahmed. For you readers use the Blogger search engine for my blog to see who I mean. He is my next door neighbor and is a Sunni Moslem from Lebanon. His views are radical and scary. He thinks 911 is a CIA plot to cause problems. He drives truck and usually comes home on Friday.
Just got an E mail from James Adray. He said he had replaced his office furniture and no longer needed the items left at River East. Well I tried. I’m disappointed I can’t finish the job. Now there are two very expensive pieces of Mahogany office furniture just sitting there going to waste. Hell I’d finish them and give them to River East just on principle. I doubt they would let me even give them that gift. It’s only $5000 worth of stuff not counting the custom desk I was also making. I am sure they would suspect some ulterior motive from me wanting to do that. For many it is incomprehensible that someone would want to sacrifice to do something right. They are just unable to believe such a thing and would rather assume some diabolical motive. I can see them now, sitting around and saying “Can you believe that guy. He must think we’re stupid, that we would honestly believe he wants to make things right. He’ll rob us blind”. They are already blind, unable or unwilling to see what is before them. Blinded by lies and preconceptions. I’ll do the best I can and go to Texas with a clean conscious.
Well I hit over 200 on those who visited my blog this month. Several have me on a feed that lets them know when I post. When I posted last night I checked and there was suddenly a bunch of folks looking. Too cool. For a man who felt alone and rejected in this world just a few interested in my life is a big boost. Of course everyone likes a winner and I intend to keep moving in a positive direction and live a life I am proud of.

It is frustrating for me to not be able to do things. I just tried to put a picture on the profile part of the blog. I have tried this several times before with the same result. I try and try to understand things like putting a URL for the picture I want. It didn’t work, said the file size was too big. I got farther this time than before but this mental strain has slowed me down drastically. My typing is slow and I am running at a 3 now. This brain is like an old 286 computer and freezes up with when strained. I’m going to lay down for a while. Remember my joke, I am either the smartest dumb man or the dumbest smart man you will ever meet. Just depends on the moment you meet me.

Laying down helped. These kinds of slow downs are different from the one I had yesterday. They are simply stress freeze ups not partial seizures like I had at the MS luncheon. I think I need to start calling them freeze ups to differentiate them from the partials. Freeze ups are what I have when I go into the grocery store or any other situation with lots going on where this brain must struggle to sort it all out.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Unfinished business

Here's another woodcarving project I never finished. The list of starts that never finished is long.

02/23/06 Thursday
I love it when I wake up alert. As always I hope I stay this way but understand that won’t be. Just took my pill. Sticking with the smaller one for it appears to give me more alert time.
I was kind of drifting off, probably from the medication, when the phone rang. It was Wayne. He said he was feeling bad and didn’t want to go to the MS luncheon. I tried to encourage him and will try again later because he needs this fellowship to combat his depression.
I wrote a letter the attorney, Jim Adray, who’s furniture I had not completed prior to the wreck. I let him know that River East refused to let me access the furniture so I could complete the job with the hope they would release it to him. We’ll see. I’m trying as hard as I can. Maybe I’m trying too hard.
Called Wayne and told him I was going to come by and visit. Then I called Bernie. He was busy but we talked a bit. I will call him Saturday to see about going to get lunch.

This will require push but I must write. Went to visit Wayne. He is hurting bad and has been since Monday. I went ahead to the MS luncheon without him with the hope of learning better how to help him. I was sharp, running a good 8 or maybe 9 on the Bob scale. Joked and made folks laugh, fitting in well socially. When they started going through programs coming up such as the MS walk I could feel a slow down coming. I just sat there looking at my hands, which were clasped together on the table in front of me. I could feel little bouts of sweat and heat run over the surface of my skin.
Our food came and we all ate. I was able to do that fine but someone noticed me looking around. I wanted the salt shaker that was out of reach and had been trying to decide how to get it. Making decisions is what becomes difficult for me at these times. When I asked the gentleman next to them to please pass the salt the lady who had noticed me spoke up. “I wondered what you wanted. I saw you looking around. Give that man his salt cause he can’t start eating his meal without it” she said with good humor. I ate and listened to the conversation, no longer participating.
I was waiting to ask a question concerning medication for Wayne because everyone was talking about this med and that med they had or were taking for their Multiple Sclerosis. By the time I could ask with out interrupting I was down to a 3. I didn’t know what to expect and had debated whether to ask at all. Finally there was a break in the conversation so I ventured out.
“I would like to ask a question” I tentatively said. “Oh God” I told myself “You sound like hell”. It was what I feared. I explained I was having a slow down, a partial seizure. There were many who had input on the question but I couldn’t follow what they were saying. The lady next to wrote things down for me. She said she has similar partials so understood. I know seizures are a part of MS for some. Wayne’s doctor mentioned it. I told everyone I probably should go home now and left early. Of course the partial paralysis comes out at these times so even walking had to be done with care.
I don’t know if I have had a slow down in the middle of interacting in the public. No! I do know, Yes I have. It happened several times at Cedar Creek, often triggered by stress. I was going to get Allen and take him to family services after but not now. I’m staying home.
Now I am laying down with this laptop nestled on my raised knees. I type like this lots. I can feel the migraine coming so I took the full battery. Two aspirin, a Tramadol, and the Zomig melt in your mouth migraine pill. Closed the blinds and of course no TV or music cause I know this will be a bad one. Haven’t had too many migraines lately. That’s slowed down after a few weeks of getting hammered. This slow down doesn’t seem to be connected to the stress triggers many others are. The migraines often follow this type of seizure.
Someone in Toledo was looking at my blog this afternoon. I wonder if it is someone connected with River East? I hope so because maybe they can see I’m not the bad guy they have me pegged as.
It is hard to write. I am up to a 4 now but the headache is increasing.

It is now 4:33. I am just waking up. Not sure what level I am operating at. Never sure until I have to interact with someone. My typing speed would suggest about a 5. I had dreams in which I was confused about how to go places and do things for Wayne. The pain of my migraine is not bad at all but the strange thing is my sensitivity to sound and light are still way up there. I suppose the meds helped the pain part but not the rest.
I really missed fellowshipping with the MS bunch. Jill had come in late and her sweet spirit always lifts me and everyone else up. Denise does also. Bowling Green University has a curling program that they created for people with MS. Curling, in case you don’t know,(which would require extreme isolation because it is one of the new areas of competition in the Olympics) is kind of like shuffle board played on ice with 48 pound stone things.
Denise went there and played. She told of how her wheelchair went spinning on the ice when she pushed the disc. It was great fun to hear her talk and laugh about it. Especially because of her condition from the MS. I wish I could convey how difficult even talking can be for her. Her motor controls are such that she often needs help putting a fork to her mouth but she resolutely tries to do it herself despite help being right there. Wow, talk about intestinal fortitude. Who am I to complain about my problems. This is one of the reasons I try to make Wayne come to these monthly meetings. The bravery shown by these people with this horrible disease can be contagious.
Cherie just came home and talking with her confirms how slow I am. But enough of that. There was just a story on NBC 24 about a kid who has advanced autism. He has been on the basketball team at his high school for a few seasons. What he did was help pass balls during practice and stuff like that. This is one of those kids that everyone feels with and likes. The coach told the kid to suit up for a game. This was known to the school and many turnout for the game wearing T shirts with the kid’s face on it.
During the game he was passed the ball and tried a three pointer. He missed by six feet. Now this kid is swamped by the others on the court but they passed him the ball again. He shot and it went in. The whole place just erupted with everyone standing to their feet cheering. They passed the ball to him again and again and he consistently made his shots. This was in a real game and the energy kept increasing in the stadium. After a while I could see the opposing team being overcome with the spirit of the situation. When the game ended everyone rushed the court and picked the kid up. He had scored a record sixteen points and was named MVP. I had tears running down my face by the end of this story. It is the ones who are viewed as the least in our society who need the most. This type of support of someone with a serious disability shows a side of us that needs to be highlighted more often.

It is 6:16. I am speeding up now. Back up to an 8 or so. My head still feels funny and the right ear is ringing but my typing speed is up and thinking is not such a struggle. Nothing like being a Yo-Yo. Now if I could learn to do Yo-Yo tricks like loop de loop with this brain thing it would be more fun. At least it would drive anyone around me crazy. Oh yeah! That’s right, I already drive everyone crazy.
I sent Bruce an E mail to let him know that the city will be hiring 700 more police officers. I know he wants to get in and hope being in Iraq will not prevent him from getting his application in. Actually I would bet he has already applied.

I am doing fine and it is 9:30 at night. Hate missing out on a chunk of my day. I sent the “What happened” paper out to a big list of people. Wonder what that will do. Being honest can be embarrassing but that is it’s price. I was who I was and I did what I did. I won’t run and hide but I will live every day in a way I can be proud of.
Good night all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2/22/06 Wednesday
It is 3:43. I woke up with the River East thing on my mind. I tried to be nice and correct for four years. But when I heard that they would rather throw away what remains of my things instead of letting me come in and clean up the area while in the process recovering the few items that have value to me I understand that nice won’t work. River East’s concept of me is based on falsehoods and gossip spread by the very people who had profited from selling and stealing what they could out of my stuff. I am sure that legally, after five years, they can consider this stuff abandoned despite my asking for it to be returned or secured but now their actions seem to be malicious. I’m done being nice.I printed up 4 copies of the paper titled “What happened?” I wrote regarding River East. (I am going to print it as a separate entry in this journal and blog) I took one to River East. Holly smiled and said Hi but I wasn’t sure if her smile was real. I gave her the letter and explained it needs to be read because I would release it to the press otherwise. Not that they would even print or air it but what else can I do. Kinda like that Earl character on TV. I keep trying to correct my karma or something. What do they think?? I know part of what they think and that’s why I wrote the paper. I’m asking to pick up what to them is garbage. Why is that a hard question to answer yes. I’d be “Yeah. Come get your garbage out of here!”..I went up and took a bunch of pictures of the old shop then dropped off a copy of “What happened” on Bernie’s couch cause he wasn’t in. Then I went to the Huntington bank and left a copy for Denny, who is on the board at River East. I’d love to get a list of all the board members.
Then I decided to drop by Eileen’s. This time I wasn’t calling first so just parked and knocked on the door. I heard the dogs and Suzie came to the door. Turning just a little she said in her “I’m not thrilled” voice “It’s Bob”. She let me in and I walked back to the kitchen. Eileen instantly gave me a hug. She looked good considering what she’s been through. Her hair is done and she’s wearing make up. Not that she doesn’t usually but I could tell she put some more effort in than when she knew she would not be going anywhere. “You want some coffee?” she asked “I’ll make a fresh pot”. I told her no. Bobby was there along with Calvin and Nancy.
Eileen started to fill me in and things turned into an instant cacophony of opinions. Vera was going for everything she could, she was going to get the bank account, Social Security, and on they went. I tried to explain what the law is and what Eileen needs to do but couldn’t with everyone, which is mainly Suzie, jumping in with their opinion. I finally looked at Suzie and said “Can I finish a sentence before you start talking?”. That helped.
The phone kept ringing and finally Eileen told me she lost the blog address so we went into the adjoining room where her computer was. She turned it on and we were finally able to talk. There was lots to talk about but little time because I had to come back for the old man.
Eileen told me about Merle, whom I had met at the VOA when he was transitioning out of prison. He talked about Eileen then and I guess has been stalking her for years. I warned her that Merle was crazy (I mean that literally) and to not talk with him. I could tell how conflicted she was, one moment missing Glen and the next glad she is now free. There are many directions she is being pulled so I tried to get her to focus on what is important like getting herself declared to be Glen’s common-law wife. This is the most important thing she needs to do as it legally establishes her relationship with Glen and thus stops the crap she is getting from his side of the family. She has been getting the wrong advise from the wrong people who evidently don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. I explained several times that what I do is help people.
She finally got around to talking about Nick after dancing around it for a while. Nick (I hope I got his name right) I think is the father of one of her kids, probably Bobby. Anyway they had been in love but it didn’t work out. He told her he never stopped loving her. It sounds a little like Cherie and I. Actually allot. I invited her to come over and she said she would like that and might bring over Nick. I had told her I would like to meet him and besides he sounds like my kind of guy.

I just got back from taking Fred and Barb to the Trilby church. Dixie went also and it was good for her to get out. I made sure I complimented her about that and told her she was looking good. She needs all of that she can get so she doesn’t fall back into the depression. When we got back I fixed Dixie’s vacuum for her. After that I took Fred to Kroger. He was feeling good and glad to get out so went slowly down each isle. “That’s the deli section, those are Little Debbie snacks, Yes it’s on sale. Here Fred you like these, they’re donut sticks.” I kept the running banter as we went along. He would squeeze a box and complain there was nothing in it.
(I am tired now. Will meet Cherie at the YMCA at 5:00 so should take a rest.)

We got to the gym and worked out. I was tired and so was Cherie so we called it a day quickly. Cherie is sleeping right now and I am pushing to finish this journal. My thoughts still go back to River East. I am sure that those in charge are confident they are better people than I am. I wonder if they can see how petty and spiteful they are being. The old adage of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
This organization is hurting financially and the building is half empty but they would rather throw things out than allow me to come in and spend the time to clean it up. Perhaps they think I might profit from some of what remains and want to deprive me of that. They don’t know I inherited a farm in Texas and care little for the few hundred dollars I could make through refinishing some of the remaining antiques. I am going to Texas and have no desire to lug this stuff with me.The property of Jim Adray was already paid for and the effort I am willing to put in to finish that project would not put a dime in my pocket.
To these people the terms “Honor and integrity” are ones I am sure they like to throw around but I doubt they understand or believe someone like me can put them into action in my life. What kind of effort or self sacrifice would they put in to correct a past mistake? It’s not the mistakes one makes that are a mark of a man, it’s how he handles those mistakes.
So what is it then? Do they think to deprive me? If so do they not see how like a spiteful little child they are acting, these great men of business? I will let the world judge, the readers of this blog. Write them and let them know what you think. The address is River East Associates, 615 Front St. Toledo, Ohio 43605
It is 9:34. I am tired and need to call it a night.

What happened?

What happened?

It has been hard to piece this all together but through research and interviews with those who were there I have been able to get a pretty good picture of the events leading up to my demise. This is not an excuse for what happened but an explanation. It is also an attempt to bring out the truth when it is clear that the general opinions of these events are based on rumors and gossip, not facts.
I was doing good, proud of overcoming personal failings and creating two successful companies. Things looked great and the future even better but that was soon to change.
My former secretary, Eileen Sterling, told me of when I fell fifteen feet from the pallet racking in my warehouse, knocking me out for about five minutes. The impact was so loud that it brought members of River East, who’s offices were directly underneath, running upstairs to see what happened. This occurred about the same time I wrecked my Lincoln Mark VIII. According to her I became an “asshole” immediately after. It is an established fact that this is a sign of traumatic brain injury. MRI’s at St Charles verify I sustained this type of injury. These show both old and fresh areas of damage in my brain. I remember being in intense pain but as a general rule I did not go to doctors so just bore the pain. I was to later learn that I had broken two ribs.
I had just hired an employee at the recommendation of Joe Pena, the maintenance man in our building. This employee was an old friend of Joe’s and they had gone to school and grown up together. That employee, Melvin Losek, said he had some pain pills that would help. They were expensive but they helped me continue working through the pain. I began taking more and more of these pills called “Oxycontin”. I didn’t have a clue they were highly addictive until it was too late. Research shows that drug use is common after brain injuries and amplifies the effects of such injury over time.
After the fall I began to have many other problems. I know you don’t want to hear this but it is germane to this story. Among other things I became increasingly sexually dysfunctional (another symptom of brain injury) This on top of my personality change was a big factor in my wife’s infidelity, at least I think so but she had fooled around before so who’s to say for sure.
I began to make poor business decisions with the resulting increase of money problems. Things were going downhill and I let my marketing company lapse as I concentrated on Corporate Liquidation. Melvin said he could no longer get the Oxy’s for me and when, to my surprise, I started experiencing withdrawals he said he could get me heroin which would stop the withdrawals. I was going through hell so agreed. It did stop the pain but I had to keep taking it or the withdrawals would resume. I had a company to run and it was in trouble so I had to keep going.
Then I caught my wife performing a sex act after hours in the parking lot of the mall she worked at. Our marriage was already rocky to say the least. I spent as much time as I could at work to avoid going home so it wasn’t a surprise but it still hit hard. All these things happened in quick succession. Bam, Bam, Bam…I felt like a boxer who had just received a well timed series of hits. My head was spinning and I moved out of my house into a room I set up in my business. There I isolated myself and it was the start of a depression that would eat me up inside.
I had already started the process of getting a second mortgage on my home to get the cash I so badly needed for my liquidation company. This was when Montgomery Wards was going out of business and I purchased a large amount of their assets. It was push to get what I purchased out of the stores before the deadline set by the auction company so I left the warehouse in hands of Melvin.
One day I began to notice that some of the merchandize I was hauling in seemed to be disappearing so began to keep an eye on it. Sure enough a large number of the security cameras from the Wards purchase were gone. I called the police about it and they sent two detectives from the Scott Park office. Because I didn’t have any proof Melvin stole these items they couldn’t do more than take a report.
With that I began to set up hidden surveillance cameras to record Melvin’s theft. There was nobody else who could be doing this. When Melvin’s good friend, Joe Pena, learned of this he told Melvin who immediately quit. Now I am pissed. I started putting out posters every where I could offering a reward for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of “Whoever” stole these security cameras. Come to find out Joe was tearing these down as fast as I put them up.
Unfortunately, during all of this I was locked into what had become a bitter, year long divorce with my unfaithful wife, who was going after as much as she could. My depression had become a progressive disease, as it often does, and the drug and alcohol use I turned too in an attempt to hide my pain made it much worse. I was rapidly unraveling.
I believe the pressure I was causing with my “Reward” posters and the continuing theft from not only me but other companies in my building motivated Melvin to have his wife and father come forward with a computer they claimed to have purchased from me. According to court documents, Joe Pena “just happened” to drop by Melvin’s house and instantly recognized this computer as being the one that had been stolen from a company in my building. Now it looked like all computers, a white box with no labels or distinguishing marks on it. Joe, by the way, was still studying to learn how to read in an attempt to get a GED but he could tell this was the computer. (He still can’t read)
Now I was arrested and being charged with the felony of “receiving stolen goods”. More and more things would come up missing. Even the security cameras I had put up were being stolen though I did get a tape of a figure that sure looked like Joe stealing the one I had looking down into the garage area of the building. This camera was hidden in a remote area that no one would know about unless they were intimate with the building. Of course all those video tapes are gone now.
My mental state was getting progressively worse from the extreme drug use and sever depression. From what I am told I had given up on living and seemed to be purposely destroying everything I had built and been so proud of. One person and hospital records from St Charles psych ward, where I was admitted after being found in a parking lot crying and unable to tell my name, said I told them I was trying to die. I think that is true. Life meant nothing to me anymore.
While I was in this mental state my court appointed lawyer convinced me that if I pleaded no contest the judge might find me not guilty. I just wanted everything to be done. Of course that’s not how it goes. I was found guilty and given a sentence of work release and probation. By this time I am a mess. My secretary told me that one time I came to her door, wearing a wig and hat in an attempt to disguise myself. She said I was disappointed when she recognized me. What was left in my warehouse was being quickly stolen. The door to the back area, where my woodshop and most of my tools and remaining valuables were, had been literally unbolted and was laying on the ground. I had chained my bicycle in the alley at the warehouse to find the chain cut and it stolen the next day. I found out it had been pawned by Joe Pena at Liberal Loan, a pawn shop run by an old business associate, Jascha Chieveroni. Jasch had also been purchasing a large number of my security cameras from Joe and Melvin, which were displayed for sale, but back pedaled hard when I talked to him about it due to the legal ramifications.
I signed my divorce papers November 14, 2001. I packed as much as I could in the car I had purchased with money borrowed from my father in Texas. It was stuffed to the roof and there was barely room for me to get in the drivers seat. I tried to fix the brakes, which had not worked for weeks, with little success and headed out for my old home, Texas, where I was going too curl up like a dog that’s been beat too much and lick my wounds. I made it as far as Oklahoma when I fell asleep at the wheel. After rolling the car at eighty miles an hour and being flung out of the car, I died. I was brought back by the emergency medical team that responded but remained in a coma for a month.
It took me over a year to make it back to Toledo but I was still in bad shape. I suffered partial memory loss from the accident but have been able to recover most of it. When I first walked back into River East it caused a stir as they thought I was dead. Joe’s reaction was particularly strong as he told me to step out into the alley so he could kick my ass. Mary Ellen Potaralsky was also upset and would later claim to have put out a restraining order against me. Court records indicate none was ever issued. It’s hard to believe that she was my first employee when I started Westbrook Marketing twelve years previously. I had asked for financial records so I could complete my income taxes and she said they would only be released to an attorney.
When I went upstairs to survey what was left I began to understand the reaction. Later interviews with local business men would confirm that they had purchased thousands of dollars worth of equipment from Joe Pena, evidently with Mary Ellen’s knowledge. From what I have been able to ascertain the proceeds from those sales were never applied to my back rent and went into their pockets.
One of those business men, Les Ramler of Monroe Michigan said that Joe bragged to him while he was purchasing equipment that he had found $4,000 I had hidden in my area. This would sound right considering I had lots of cash from the $60,000 second mortgage but had become highly paranoid because of the drugs. That also is how much I had told others was in my wallet that had been stolen from my office.
I have been told that the thefts Joe was anxious to point his finger at me for continued even after I left the state. Joe is no angel and was on probation for repeated DUI’s and possession of cocaine. He was leaving the probation building as I was going in one day and laughed at me as he got in his car. “Thanks for buying me this car” he smugly told me. Melvin’s whole family has an extensive criminal history and his house was in the news a few months ago when two people entered it and fired bullets into the ceiling in an evident attempt to intimidate them over a drug matter.
A man I did business with became concerned when he learned I had hired Melvin. He told me that he had paid Melvin and Joe to clean up at his warehouse and shortly after that some airplane parts worth thousands of dollars came up missing and were probably sold for scrap metal.
For a period Joe, Melvin, and I got along and would go to places like the German American Festival together. They bragged to me about being paid to torch a house. Joe said he had put too much gasoline out and the house blew, burning Melvin’s brother Tim. Joe laughed because he said he was in the paper for saving Tim’s life when they claimed to be walking by the house when it blew up. Tim was hospitalized from the burns.
These are the people who trumped up charges against me and spread as many stories as they could to denigrate my reputation. Now I admit I gave them lots of ammunition but I never had a reason to steal, especially with thousands of dollars worth of product, equipment, and the cash from my second mortgage. I was liquidating everything and had become a depressed mess, just wanting to go away.
Now I am mad. I have been trying to make amends for the past but find it frustrating when the lies told by those who were stealing from me cloud the minds of the ones I wish to do right to. Because of my injuries I will never be able to run a company like I had when I was the second largest tenant at River East so I have nothing to gain other than a portion of my self respect from doing what is, in my mind, the right thing.
Among those things I wanted to do was to recover furniture I was refinishing for the attorney Jim Adray along with the parts of the desk I was building for him. This would be to complete the job he had paid for despite the fact he wrote it off and expects nothing.
There was a little desk I had refinished half of that would have absolutely no value to anyone but would help demonstrate my refinishing capabilities. This might allow me to generate enough work to augment my Veterans Disability pension.
It is frustrating when I want to display a semblance of honor and integrity to be blocked from doing so. To be not allowed to correct past mistakes, in at least a partial way, is surprising when it could save River East time and money. Over the last three years I have made repeated attempts to open a dialog with River East with no success. I have offered to clean up the mess left after everything was picked through. I offered to pay for its self storage. I wrote letters for presentation to the board and executive committee. I have received no response of any kind.
I have documented much of what is in this statement. My attorney, Chuck Boyk, suggested I try publicity such as the local television stations advocacy programs as a means of motivating River East prior to filing a lawsuit. Despite the fact that the value of any recoverable items is minute I will pursue this on principle.

I can be reached at 419-351-7332. My E-mail is bobcarver1@yahoo.com If you are interested in who I am now and my activities you can find a complete journal on my blog at http://walkedwithangels.blogspot.com
My mailing address is;
Bob Westbrook
Toledo, Ohio 43614

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here are the signs that pointed to my old offices. I suppose this would be one of the pictures they say they don't want me to take. I don't understand that kind of stupidity or whatever it is. Maybe they will explain but I doubt it.

2/21/06 Tuesday
We’re Off. It’s another day and my brain is working. I think the slight reduction of medication is having the desired effect. Just took the 100mg pill so expect to slow down a bit when the drug starts coursing through my system. This seems to last about two hours after which I stabilize somewhat. Channel 24 has already answered my E mail regarding River East. I need to hurry up and write the facts of that time period, not only to give them an understanding of what happened but to help me because this brain freezes up when under pressure to answer questions. Writing will be my way of preparing for this.
I need to get showered and ready for today. Fred wants to go to the store and I told Allen I would come by and help him fill out his paperwork as well as do some stuff around his house he physically has hard time with. Time to get moving. I am running about a 9 on the Bob scale at the moment. Hopefully the medication won’t slow me sown too much.

I just sent this reply to Shenikwa at NBC channel 24
Dear Shenikwa, Thank you for your quick response. If your staff would like to learn more about me and the miracle of my life since I woke up, both physically and I guess you would say spiritually they may go to my blog at http://walkedwithangels.blogspot.com Here they will find my journal where I record what life is like with a brain injury. My past is checkered but I hide nothing.
By the way. I understand that at one time you were on the board of Mission Toledo run by Jim Watson. He has since left town as has bee his pattern for the last twenty years or so. When I went there to teach a Bible study to his residents I saw things that raised serious concerns so my wife and I began to research his past. He was fired by Cherry St Mission for misrepresentation. (A nice way of saying he consistently lied. What we found was a pattern starting with the multimillion dollar organization in Connecticut he claimed to have founded. The fact is the organization was in existence long before he came on the scene, I believe since before Mr Watson was born. We traced his steps since that time and found a pattern of starting a mission, raising money for it, and leaving after about three years after a final appeal to his contributors for funds to "Save" his mission just like he did here. I understand Mr. Watson has now gone to Adrian Michigan where he is starting the same thing all over again. If you have any contacts there we would be happy to turn over our research to expose him. He did more harm than good and his actions caused the imprisonment of one of his residents. Thank you for your time. Bob Westbrook

I love it when the old Bob is back. Understand that the first company I founded was Westbrook Marketing. This was a marketing firm that offered business to business telemarketing as well as my services as a consultant to teach companies how to find and sell to their customers. Thus I know the power of the press and that this can be used for both good and evil. I choose to do as much good with it as I can.
This is prime time. I just got done cleaning the kitchen. My fingers are dancing on this keyboard. I have energy and am positive, confident I can do anything I put my mind to. As always I dream that this will last forever and inevitably am brought back to a reality I refuse to accept by another slow down. I will get as much done as I can while I am doing well. Time to call Fred and see if he still wants to get out and go to Kroger.
Fred said he would rather get out tomorrow when it is a little warmer. Besides that he wants to take Barb to the Trilby church so she can get a food basket. That would be a good use of time. She has to be back by 2:00 to catch the medical cab for her doctors appointment. This works out because it allows me to use more prime time writing instead of driving. Time to get to writing.

It is 11:44. I got allot written on a paper I titled “What happened?” I called Allen to make sure he is up before I go down there to make sure he has filled out his paperwork. I doubt I will be able to talk him into going to rehab but hope to at least get him some medical attention.
Unfortunately what I feared is happening. My ears are ringing and I have that dizzy loss of equilibrium that is a precursor of a partial seizure. My typing speed is rapidly slowing down. This sucks. I have an hour before I go to Allen’s so will lay down. Hope this is a short one.

It is 8:53. I took my second pill and it seems to be hitting hard as I am having a hard time staying awake. I made it to Allen’s OK. He is figuring things out and asked me how long it took to detox from the Oxycontin. I told him at least five days to get through the rough part. He told me again that I had saved his life before because he would have committed suicide if not for me. It always makes me uncomfortable to hear this and I hear it from more than one person. Beats me why I have this thing but I guess it’s good to be able to give life. I will take Allen to family services soon to turn in his paper work. We talked for a while. Allen is desperately lonely and was not even aware it had gone down to the single digits temperature wise for the last few days. I made sure he knew the rules of engagement I had set for us after he had tried to pull a fast one for a few bucks. He understands well and why. He is genuine about getting his life together and thanked me again. Enough with the thank you’s.
I am slow now. Good night. Didn’t hear from the TV stations yet. Don has lots of political influence and that may quash things. All I wanted from them is my stuff that they will throw out anyway. Not a good time to write as I may not make good sense while this slow.

Monday, February 20, 2006

2/20/06 Monday
It is a bright cloudless morning. Allot warmer than it has been, now 15 degrees. It has been single digits with a wind chill of twenty below yesterday. Cherie has been working on our taxes. They are simple this year but that is going to change with us getting the farm. We will have to have an accountant do takes then, probably Billy Pinkerton who did Lee’s taxes. It will be especially complex because Larry and I will be sharing the inheritance.
I took the 100 mg pill this morning. I take the 150 mg one at night. It is my hope that the 50 mg reduction during the day will increase my times of being sharp. I’m not sure if I will tell the doctors about that. I have to be careful because they are always ready to pull my driving privileges at the first hint I might have a full seizure. I seriously doubt that will happen and the partials only slow my reaction times though I sometimes get lost. That hasn’t happened in a while. It is strange to be going down the street and suddenly not recognize anything or where you were going. I still have no problem driving when this happens cause other than my reaction times being slowed I’m OK. I just keep driving until I recognize where I am and then it’s OK. It’s kinda like being eighty years old or something.
I’m defragmenting Cherie’s computer right now. Then I will go to the gym. I have a busy day ahead. Hope I stay sharp. After the gym I will drop by River East to see if the board met about my offer to clean up the mess there. Also I would like to recover what I can of my property. Of course I will stop by and see Bernie and then call Eileen to see if she is up for visitors. I will take this laptop because it has all the research I did for her. At 1:30 I will pick up Wayne and take him to the Zeph center. I have to take there twice. Once to see his new case worker and once to see the shrink. I will go in with him to motivate the case worker about Wayne getting medical cab.
I need to get back to making to-do lists for myself so things actually get done.

Just got back from the YMCA. This time I did two sets of many of the machines. I called Holly at River East. She had just stopped in to pick up some stuff. Her attitude has changed and she thought I was copping an attitude. I wasn’t, just was trying to understand what was going on. I feel bad she thought that but never had a chance to let her know I wasn’t cause she cut the conversation short.
She said something about she thought a restraining order had been taken out on me. This is another of Mary Ellen’s lies from two years ago that persists. When I had heard about a restraining order then I checked with the courts and there had never been one issued at anytime. It would seem that they would rather throw things out than let me remove them. I guess I will have to get a lawyer. I’ll call Chuck Boyk now. I called and left a message with Chuck. Also called Bernie and Eileen and got their machines. It is frustrating to be not allowed to remedy some of the mistakes of my past.

Chuck called. He suggested I call channel 11 or 13 about the River East problem. I think I’ll do that… OK, I E mailed all three major stations. ABC,CBS,NBC. I suppose raising a stink might work but we will see. I tried to be nice, I’ve tried to do the right thing for four years, I don’t know what else to do. I still get depressed when I think about it.

Right now I am at the Zeph Center. I’m sitting in waiting room while Wayne talks with the shrink. We’ve been here an hour now. I got him here at 2:30 for his initial appointment with his new caseworker, Jennifer. She is new here at Zeph. Wayne is doing OK but is talking too much and doesn’t let Jennifer finish her question. She was paged and had to take care of some problem so asked me if I could help with Wayne answering a questionnaire. “Sure, I’d be glad to” I let her know and she handed me the form and took off.
It was an interesting questionnaire that mostly covered Wayne’s psychological state. It was hard to keep Wayne focused on the questions and I had to resist guiding his answers but we got through it. Jennifer came back halfway through. I asked if she wanted to take over but she said I was doing fine. Wayne only got confused a couple of times so I clarified by explaining what I thought they were trying to say. The form was designed to be filled out by Wayne and had multiple choice answers with boxes to check next to each answer. This was hard for Wayne when I was reading him the questions and statements. He would reply to a “How do you feel” question with “poor” despite my telling him the choices were Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree.
By the time we got to the end Jennifer was smiling and occasionally laughing because of how I was conducting this interview. I like to inject humor into whatever I do when it is appropriate. With Wayne it was a little harder to do and the questions brought out many of Wayne’s psychological issues such as self esteem and the depression he must always fight.
When that was all done I ran my the house to see if I had left my phone there. I had so grabbed it. Cherie was home and reminded me that we had some chicken we bought on sale and were giving half of it to Wayne. I grabbed that and a shirt we were also giving Wayne. Then I took Wayne to Kroger for some basic food needs. That done I took him home and came home myself.

It is 7:15 now. Cherie fixed a great Chicken dinner with the marinaded chicken we get from K&J meat and like so much. After that she baked cinnamon rolls for desert. I am worn out. For me this has been a long day though I think it would not be much for most people. The conversation I had with Holly has been running in my head all day. The change in her attitude struck me first then I heard the “I don’t want to get fired” thing she had told us three years ago again. I have to wonder what kind of pressure is put on her regarding her. What is there regarding my situation that would cause so much angst that Don Monroe or someone in that organization to threaten Holly. I know she is a good and conscientious worker who has stepped up to fill the void left by Mary Ellen. (That is if she left a void. I personally think they are relieved for her to go) Is it that Mary Ellen has something she can hold over Don Monroe’s head? During my twelve years there as their second largest tenant I heard many rumors of corruption.
What I know is that when I first showed back up after the coma there was panic with Mary Ellen and Joe. They were the two who profited from selling my property. Joe was stealing and selling my stuff long before I had the accident. Something else Holly said was that she had heard what the River East people would say about me and because of that she doubted they would allow me to have anything back. What they know about me is what they heard from Joe. I can just see, in my minds eye, these guys sitting around like old fogies’, gossiping and passing judgment on me like a bunch of old women. The thing is, all they know is rumor and innuendo they heard from the very ones who were picking the bones of my companies before they, and I, were even dead.
None of them have bothered to seek the truth. The letters I wrote to the board were never presented because they were intercepted by Mary Ellen and who knows who else. Holly told me she did not present my latest letter to the executive committee this week or last week and that she didn’t think Don Monroe has seen it either.

Then Holly started on the statement I told her about taking pictures of the area and documenting the theft of items. Her tone was accusatory as if I was being a criminal. I know she was under the impression there was a restraining order on me but doesn’t know there was never a restraining order issued regarding me in any court at any time for any situation anywhere. This is another of the lies that has been circulated. Many of the people I interviewed when putting together the pieces of that period had some fantastic stories of what Joe was saying about me. He showed them a drawer with hundreds of hypodermic needles he claimed I had used. I know what needles they talked of. They were the ones I used to inject glue underneath the veneers of antiques I was restoring and were the size of nails. When I was injecting the heroin I was using I used diabetic needles and would throw them out. This was during a short period I am deeply ashamed of towards the end of my life.

Anyway, I went up and took pictures three times in three years though I did go up and look at the ashes of my life several times in that period. It was too painful for me to go up there more. I also would go up to visit Bernie and Keith and usually would go to the office first.

I almost hesitate too put this in my journal for I know several who would use it against me and I also know how some would judge me for it. But I have promised myself to live an honest and open life. There is much I am ashamed of but we all make mistakes. Most of us keep them hidden, buried deep out of sight, but fear these things coming out in the light. I now live a life I can be proud of. The old things have passed away and all things are now new. What I have gained from my past is wisdom and I use that to help others I meet on this journey.

I tried to call Eileen several times today and when she did not return any calls began to worry that she was getting sicker and possibly was hospitalized again. Finally I called her daughter Suzie. She answered and said her mom was right there and OK. I asked if she was up to talking with me. Suzie said “Yeah, if you want to wait till she’s done puking”. “Why don’t you have her call me when she’s a little more up to it Suzie” I told her. With her backbone crumbling from scoliosis and everything else going on I know my old friend is incredibly fragile right now. I always can make her laugh and she needs that now but I think her kids are trying to protect her, and they need to but I can help and strengthen her. I don’t know. Just want to help and feel helpless.

I am thinking about putting the whole story of what happened to me at River East down on paper for the board there. You know, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That way they will have more information than the lies presented by Joe and Mary Ellen who’s opinions are generated by Joe. I already have most of it down for my book.

It is getting late. It looks like my readership will exceed two hundred this month. That covers those who regularly check in and the ones who just glance at this blog as they go blogging. I don’t do that as much now. Catch too much garbage like spyware that way though I am able to blog safely by using the Blogflux and other directories. (I need to learn how to do the link thing so that readers can click on the word Blogflux and be sent there) Anyway guys, if you go to my links sidebar you will see a little box that says BF/Directory. Click on that and it will take you there. Check out John Skalza’s blog “Whatever”. He is an author with several books published. I just like his brain and attitude. Good guy, best I can tell. Goodnight all and take care. Glad I can share my life. Bob

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Isn't she beautiful?

2/19/06 Sunday
I am sharp this morning. Took the hundred milligram Lamotrigine (The seizure pill) and will wait for the expected lethargy. Purchased web building software we got a discount on. Cherie and I are talking about the house, as we will till we get there. No, we will always be entertaining things we would like to do with our “home”. Home is such a good word that covers a huge arena of (there’s a word I need here but can’t find so I’ll make a list) emotions, thoughts, concepts, philosophy. Home, a place that is always there, a place to return to, where life can be centered, sanctuary.
10:17 – I could feel the medication as it kicked in and am slowed down from it. There is no question the Lamotrigine dopes me up. I dropped from an 9 to about a 4 now on the Bob scale. This sucks. Is it a price I must pay to prevent seizures? I went back through this journal to research this. Other than daily slow downs I only have a record of two major seizures. The grand mal on 3/28/04 and one on 7/11/04. I just want to be lucid as much as possible. Right now it is hard to write.
I called Eileen and her son Bobby answered. She is still sick and the greed and nastiness I predicted is coming out. Someone went to Social Security and got Glens check sent to them instead of it going to her. Then a brother in law or something came this morning and insisted on waking Eileen up to pressure her about something. She cannot access Glen’s bank account because she has not done what she needs to regarding being declared his legal common law wife. I knew this would happen and offered many times to help. I don’t know if others influenced her to not do so or if she is just overwhelmed. After talking with Bobby I see that I must do some research and approach this in writing. Right now I am too slow to do anything. I am angry at those who are trying to walk over my best friend and fill their pockets. Wish I could sit on her front porch with a shot gun to protect her at this time of great sorrow and confusion. I love my friend like a sister. I am one of the few who would not stand to get personal gain out of this situation so am not just unbiased but would look after her best interest.
I need to lay down a bit. Headache is coming. Hate this. 10:40 and not up to simple things.
Fifteen minutes later and I am running at an 8 or 9. Being angry speeds me up. I saw the dishwater I had poured and forgot so decided to wash the dishes before I laid down. As I washed I thought about Eileen and the whole situation. The more I thought about it the angrier I got. Of all the things I despise in my fellow human beings this personal greed and stealing from your own family is at the top of the list. These people are the ones I call “low life pieces of shit”. That is strong language but it’s the label that best fits these assholes. Stirs me right up. They are just below child molesters and murderers in my book. If one of you low life’s are reading this and don’t like it call me. I’d love to tell you in person.

It’s nearly three now. Cherie went over to her mom’s. I know she will be a mess when she gets back. We have talked and talked about that situation but I don’t think anything will ever happen. She said she was going to fix the window and disintegrated fireplace herself and that got a reaction from me. I told her I would be more than willing to go over there and fix anything and had always been. It’s just that she knows it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut. It’s gotten to the point where adult services or the law need to be brought in but no one seems willing to do that.
I spent the last few hours studying the law regarding Eileen’s problems. My years of doing legal research for inmates in prison help me understand how to navigate some of that. I also read through the MS stuff. I have lots of work to do to help Wayne, just hope I am up to it. I seem unable to follow through on much of anything.
I am tired now and need to lay down.

Cherie’s Note: I survived my visit to the folks and I’m not a mess. Actually, I realized today that I’m free – of them and the mess they have allowed. I will always love them and help when I can – but I didn’t create the problems they have and I don’t have the power to fix any of it. Despite what they think or how they try to make me feel, I am going to make my life work, and much of my future will probably not include them – this makes me sad. I sat in the basement as I did some laundry there, looking at the mess –
I wouldn’t even know how to describe it. I cannot take a step without stepping on something – clothes, towels, junk – I would have to dig through a layer of stuff just to see the concrete basement floor, but I try not to because of the filth and mildew. My sister did help me cover the gaping hole left from the fireplace falling apart. It is very cold here right now, and the basement is freezing. Not my problem – I can’t help – It’s not wanted.

I am about done for today. Was fairly sharp all day long. I did get tired but I always do that. I’ll call it a night.