Sunday, April 30, 2006

Love it when a plan comes together.

Can't wait to get started bringing things back to life at the farm

4/30/06 Sunday
It’s a bright morning, not outside but in my brain. I am running a good 8 on the Bob scale. Yesterday wasn’t bad either. Things worked out for Fred so that’s an uplifting thing. I am working to make sure everyone is taken care of in preparation for our moving to Texas. We have to plan carefully how we handle the money when it comes. We will need to buy a pick up truck for sure. It will help in moving things down from Toledo but more importantly will be vital as we build, rebuild, and get furniture and supplies.

Beside that I am seriously thinking about doing some farming. We plan of having an extensive garden that will provide a large portion of our food needs and I want to have a little of everything in it. This could produce enough to supply a roadside or farmers market booth. Add to that is the fruit orchard we want to put in. There is much we need to learn. What will grow down there in that part of Texas? What won’t?

I have a great vision for how I can build the garden. For that matter the whole place I have been designing in my head. All the aspects I mull over daily. We had both been dreaming of what we could do but stopped when things looked a little shaky. Now that things appear to be settled we dare to dream again. I will be writing these plans and hopes all out in detail shortly. Writing is one of the ways I think things through. Some days what you read is me thinking out loud on paper. Besides that it will become a sort of business plan we will present to the banks and government agencies when it comes time to look for the money.

I just talked to Fred. He had given me the paperwork from the car to look at for him. He asked me to write the figures from the loan in big letters on the outside of the envelope containing this paperwork so he could see them. Fred thanked me again for helping him with the Cadillac dilemma. I explained again how Ed Schmidt had really taken care of him. “Fred, the asking price on the Buick was $15,000. You owed $8,000 on the Caddy. They gave you $4,000 off the Buick and a $4,000 credit on the Cadillac which adds up to $8,000. You paid the asking price for the Buick and your Cadillac is paid off. That’s a pretty good deal, they treated you right” I spelled out to him. He understands. I let Fred know that Cherie and I will be visiting today and would like to use his car. Actually he just said “If you want to go anywhere with the car just go, don’t worry, use it as much as you like”. I’ll worry about him when we go.

I called Eileen to let her know we would like to stop by. Her son, Bobby, got jumped in Eileen’s driveway yesterday and knocked out. Bobby said it was a friend and won’t press charges. “I can’t do that” he simply said when Eileen pressed him to file charges. There’s something up cause you don’t get beat up by your friend for nothing. Course it is a rough culture on the East Side and fists are commonly used to solve or start problems. I’m comfortable there but it’s not a world Cherie is familiar with. We will be leaving in a moment to go see her.

Just got back from visiting Eileen. Fred’s car is nice and seems to be running well. Eileen was glad to see us but she is having an allergic reaction to the hair dye she used this morning. She was itching something fierce so I ran to the store and bought some Benadryl for her. She took two of them and we talked of old times with Eileen telling stories of the days she worked for me. There are lots of stories with a wide range of flavors. Happy times, anxious times, sad times, they are all there. We talked about how my ex Barb acted when she was running my companies while I was in prison, how she stole money to buy things for her boyfriend like the down payment for a boat. There were the many women that came through the doors who were promiscuous and stole and lots of other things. Eileen always helps me remember even though some of the stuff would be better off forgotten.

Eileen talked about Mick and showed Cherie all the things he has bought for her. She is however very protective and wouldn’t say the name of the restaurant she meets him at for breakfast telling me she didn’t know it. I asked again when I would get to meet him she was evasive, telling me Mick is different and didn’t like to meet people. He’s a Vietnam Vet who saw serious action so I understand this reticence. It’s part of the package.

The Benadryl was hitting Eileen and you could tell she was fighting to stay awake. We shared some more stories, some of which were quite a shock for Cherie, and excused ourselves. “Eileen, why don’t you get some sleep. We’ll see you later.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A beautiful day

It's good, when you come to a fork in the road, to have a clear idea of which path to take.

4/29/06 Saturday
Cherie had to work half a day this morning so she’s gone. I’m not going anywhere this morning so she took the car instead of me dropping her off. I am running fair this morning, about a six on the Bob scale. It is a beautiful day, 48 degrees this morning with a high of 68 expected. I want to enjoy this cool weather while I can cause there won’t be to much of that in Texas. When Cherie comes home I think I will encourage her to go to the park. There I will use up the last roll of film in her camera. The trees are in bloom everywhere and I want to make sure I capture it. I hope I get the digital back from Kodak soon. There’s going to be allot of pictures when we get the film developed folks so be prepared.
That went well. Greg from Ed Schmidt called me at 10:30 or so this morning. “I think I’ve figured out some options for you. Can you and Fred come in today?” he said. I called Fred and he had to get ready so we agreed to leave at 11:30. I didn’t know what to expect but when we got there we were warmly greeted by Greg. Fred told me several times “You do the talking Bob, you decide for me, I’ll do what you say, you know what’s best’. This again makes me uncomfortable but I realize the truth is he must rely on me.

I found Fred a seat cause he needed to sit down. I looked at Gregg and asked him “What have you got for us?” explaining that I was to check everything out and then advise Fred. Gregg told me that he had a nice car picked out and they would get Fred’s Cadillac loan paid off and could do it for about $269.00 a month. That was right in line with what we had talked about Friday when I told Gregg Fred could afford maybe one hundred dollars more a month.

Gregg had JD, the salesman who originally sold Fred the Caddy, come over and help us. “Just wait here and I’ll have them bring the car up” Greg said as he handed JD to us. The car is a 2001 Buick LeSabre. It looked pretty sharp and is a little bigger than the Cadillac. I took it for a test drive, looked under the hood and in the trunk. It’s a nice car though it doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the Caddy. That works for me as I haven’t figured out how to use all the bells and whistles on the Caddy after driving it for five months. The car manual was like an encyclopedia. Hey, if it starts, stops, and the radio works that’s fine with me.

I took the car for a test drive and it is nice. I am surprised at the get up and go of the V-6 engine in that larger car and the gas mileage was comparable to the Caddy. The brakes are sound, the tranny shifts smoothly, I can’t find anything wrong though I did hear a small rattle when I had the door open. “How much do they want for this car?” I asked JD. He didn’t know what price Gregg was giving it to us for so he checked his sheet. “It says here that we’re asking $15,900 for it” JD said when he found it.

Getting back JD went to get Gregg after hearing me tell him I liked the car. We sat and waited for quite a while. I took Fred out to the Buick to let him see it and explained that I thought it was a good car. “Fred, it three years newer and it won’t cost an arm and a leg to keep it running, besides it’ll get out of that Cadillac” I told him. Fred liked the car and poked through it a bit. “What’s this stuff?” he asked, jabbing his finger at some elastic webbing that is part of the trunk restraining thingamajig. I explained it to him and he asked “What do you think? Should I get it?”. “Fred it looks like a good deal but I need to hear the bottom line figures before I decide” I said and we went back in and waited.

Greg stopped by to see how things were progressing. I talked with him for a bit and was pretty satisfied so agreed to proceed. JD came and did the paperwork needed to start the financing stuff so we could nail down the figures. That took quite a while. I went and got Fred a cup of coffee and talked with him as we waited. Gregg stopped in again so check on things and when he heard we were still waiting on the paperwork hustled off to motivate things.

We were ushered into the finance manager’s office. His name is Mark. Come to find out Fred knew Mark’s parent’s, grandparent’s, and a bunch more people. Mark was crunching the numbers and talking to the finance company trying to make things work. Gregg was there till he got paged to take care of something. He’s the head of the whole dealership there in Maumee so his personal attention to Fred’s plight showed his concern. Good to see.

Poor Mark was having to work to get this down to a payment in the range that had been stipulated. He had to scurry out and get prices adjusted to work. That means he had to reduce the price of the car or how much of the Cadillac they were eating. He came to an answer and began to explain what he had. I translated things in a language Fred could understand. Once Mark said he would explain something by drawing it out. I could tell he lost Fred at the first use of a word like “Amorization” so explained things to him later.

Now comes the point I must take back everything I said about Ed Schmidt. These guys bit the bullet to make things right. They dropped four grand off the price of the Buick and ate four grand on the Caddy, which isn’t worth snot without a motor. Fred does have to pay about four thousand of the Cadillac’s note but they transferred it to the loan on the Buick. So what it boils down to is Fred no longer has to pay the $8,000 he owed on the Caddy, that’s cleared, and is buying the Buick at it’s original asking price. He is happy and I feel like I did something. We will let time be the judge of that.. I looked at Mark and told him how much we appreciated how things were taken care of. I told him and later Greg as we walked out that they had redeemed themselves. I told Mark about the blog and he got the usual thumbnail I give about the miracle of my life and the restoration of my marriage. He said he would read this so Hi Mark, Y’all done good. I can recommend you now so if my readers in England, Australia, or all the other places that stumble on this blog want to buy a Chevy they’ll get on a plane and come here. That’s how much weight my recommendation carries. …NO, I’m not delusional, I really think this. It’s true. You just wait and see!

Cherie was happy to see me home. I took her to pick up her car where I had to leave it at the dealership in order to drive Fred and his new car home. Then we went to the park and walked till our legs were tired. I took the whole roll of film like I knew I would. I’ve missed so much of the forest waking up. Everything is springing up fast with that bright green of new growth interspersed with the wilted red fall like leaves that were hit by the freeze a couple of days ago. Tons of bright flowering trees were all about. Most of the petals on the tree on the parking lot side of our building are gone. It was cool to see them falling when the wind would blow gently. There would be a puff of breeze followed by a shower of white petals falling like big fluffy snow flakes in a winter squall. I loved it. The ground was covered almost solidly in white flower petals. That would have made a good picture. Hope they get the digital camera back soon.

We saw some of our deer feeding in the woods. Didn’t get to be as close as at other times but still got to watch. The water was clear and low. The low lying areas are finally drying up. Cherie is still depressed and talked to me about it. I think I will have to start another journal that won’t be published because writing is one of the ways I think things out. There’s just things I can’t talk about here because of the problems people make out of it. Little bitter people are sad people who have little joy left in their life. They often blame others for their misery failing to see it is their own creation.

Life is good because we choose it to be and make decisions to keep it so. Fred was commenting on how he noticed that I plan ahead. I don’t know if I learned that from founding and leading my companies of from before that but it is true. I’m more concerned about where we will be twenty years from now than tomorrow. My body is beat up, my brain is damaged, and I am getting older like we all do. I don’t know how long these broken bones will hold up and I understand that my multiple brain injuries greatly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease so I will prepare for those possibilities. I also know that staying active both physically and mentally will lengthen my days of life with quality.

Well folks it’s getting late. Cherie has long since gone to bed and I’ve been working on these meandering thoughts. It is 11:23. It has been a good day that I feel positive about. Do Good, Be Good. (Sounds like some kinda Vulcan greeting) See ya tomorrow.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Life moves on

4/28/06 Friday
Things have brightened up for us now. I thought about getting Larry to pay what he promised me he would from what he stole out of our mother’s estate but I think he would just lie like he did several times before about it. It would be nice if he could be man enough to just be honest instead of telling me whatever he thinks will put me off for a while.

I got Cherie to work this morning. She made a point of getting to bed early last night because she has been so tired in the morning. She was not rushed and late this morning like she often is. Cherie was in a somber mood and I had a hard time cheering her up. There is so much change before us and change is always traumatic to one degree or another. For us it will be major change with much uncertainty. We will be pulling up our roots and venturing out to a whole new world. So much to plan for, so much to decide, and so much to do. It can be overwhelming and is particularly so for Cherie who has a tendency to take the world on her shoulders. She did make a list of things for me to do today which is good. I always ask her to share the burdens but she still takes it all on herself. She loves me and enjoys doing things for me but she needs to give herself a break.

I had my Friday breakfast with Jeff at the Waffle House. We talked about Texas and the dreams we have for the farm. He found those plans to be fascinating and looking at me said “Farmer Bob huh, you got the hat yet”. I let him know that out in Texas a hat was a prerequisite because of the sun. “You should have a sombrero” Jeff joked. It was a good breakfast as it always is. Jeff filled me in on some of the issues at his company. It seems that when four people got fired from their job at a pharmacy they trashed the place on the way out, turning over displays and picnic tables. Jeff naturally dismissed them from his company (a temporary employment agency). So what do they do? They run to the civil rights commission and file discrimination charges because they are black. Now Jeff has to go through all kinds of paperwork crap. He tells me that it is common for companies to avoid all this and settle by paying “damages”. It seems to be a well known fact in that culture (or whatever you call it) so they cry racism all the time to get paid. Our government at work, subsidizing stupidity. “Hey, we’ll pay you for being an ass”.

After that I went and did everything on the list Cherie gave me. Then I went to Ed Schmidt and talked with the general manager about Fred’s situation. He was sympathetic and said he will do what he can, possibly get Fred in another car. He didn’t think putting an engine in the Caddy would be a good idea because the car costs so much to maintain. That’s a good point. When spark plug wires cost $299 that’s a clue. He got my number and will see what he can put together. We will see how this works out.

I called Fred when I got back to let him know. He asked if I had some time this afternoon to take him for a haircut so that’s what I will be doing in about ten minutes. I’ll see if I can get this posted first.
Wow! I just checked my mapstats and followed one of the threads (if that’s the correct term) It led to a site called Omaha Injury Board(Hey Byron, thanks for showing me how to do this link thing)
In it the editor said he was an avid reader of my blog and recommended it. I am humbled? amazed? Something I can’t find a word for now, but it makes me feel good that others are interested in my life and that it may have a positive impact. Cherie and I went out for dinner and I told her about this. “Really? That’s so good! Wow!” she said. I puckered my face into it’s “I’m a little kid” look and told her “Somebody likes me”. I know it sounds corny but that’s a tinge of what it feels like.

I ran over to Allen’s to check on how he’s doing. He looked like crap and said he had been throwing up. “I forced myself to eat and fixed a big healthy dinner. You shoulda seen the pork chop! It was this big!” he exclaimed as he held his fingers about three inches apart. “Allen, it’s good you forced yourself to eat but eat a few small meals instead of stuffing down a ton of stuff after not eating for a day or so” I tried to reason with him. He kinda brushed it off so I know I didn’t get through. I talked with him a bit. He used his foodstamp card for the first time which is good but he needs more. Food’s one thing but the rest of his body needs medical attention.

Cherie and I discussed this and I told her “Allen’s body is coming apart. He’s been incredibly stressed for a few years, he’s taking allot of pain meds, he’s been working hard labor since he was seven so he has arthritis, he’s beat”. I could see Cherie feel this as I talked. I guess I conveyed the sadness of Allen’s plight fairly well. To feel others pain is to understand, thus bringing compassion.

That’s all for today folks. It’s 7:30. I know that’s early but that’s the way it is.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Looks like a good day

Here is another picture of our dream, the farm. This is a corner of the garden and you can see how high the West Texas wind has drifted the sand. (click on it to see, that's a four foot high fence) Lots of work here but it will be peaceful work. We look forward to that. Nice to hear from you Byron. You're probably right about this being easier than helping others with their problems but doing that gives my life meaning.

The defining characteristic of guarding alertness
In brief is only this:
To examine again and again
The condition of my body and mind.

Therefore I shall put this way of life into actual practice,
For what can be achieved by merely talking about it?
Will a sick man be benefited
Merely by reading the medical texts?

-Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"
From "365 Buddha: Daily Meditations,"

4/27/06 Thursday
I seem to be doing well this morning. It is a bright sunny day. Yesterday was cold with frost on everything in the morning.
I just got back from taking Cherie to work. Had chest pains on the drive back so I took a couple of aspirin to thin my blood. I would not be surprised if my arteries are plugging up because I eat allot of fatty stuff like bacon and don’t get to exercise much. Not a good combo. One of my hopes with moving to Texas is that it will help me, and Cherie for that matter, get back into shape. I miss the days when I outworked all my employees at my companies.

There is nothing scheduled today. I will call Fred because he mentioned he needed to get groceries and see if he is up to going today.
He is. Fred will call me after he has finished his laundry so I can take him shopping. I am running about a 6 on the Bob scale this morning. Hopefully that will improve. There is a slight headache but that’s not unusual. I am still on dial up so I suppose I better get used to it. It was nice to be able to have the high speed Wi Fi for free but that is the way of things. I think I will try to write some letters for Fred. One to Firestone and the other to the Ed Schmidt car dealership.

I just got back from taking Fred shopping. He is doing well and fairly energetic for being 89 with Emphysema. He bought me some pecan rolls and strawberries that were on sale. I always appreciate when he does things like this to say thanks for what I do. Cherie’s car is small so it is harder for Fred to get in and out. I will have to clean the trunk out to accommodate those I serve. Hope to hear from the dealership today. If I don’t I will go there and make myself known. Fred is putting away his groceries and I will take him to get his prescriptions filled next.

It’s 1:30 now. It is frustrating to tire out so easily. I called Allen to see if he was up but apparently isn’t. Nothing unusual there. Fred told me that Barb let him know that the spot on her lungs was gone. She also said that Dixie is getting worse, yelling and screaming when she isn’t hiding. She is spending more time over at the pervert’s place drinking the coffee she isn’t supposed to have. I hate to see this but it is no surprise. Dixie is another of the thousands of women who were abused as kids and then through the rest of their lives in the sex industry. It is a sad portrayal of the consequences of that lifestyle. Is she a victim? Yes but! Yes but she must take some ownership in this. While she was a product of abuse she chose her life and continued making those choices though out that life. I have known many Dixie’s in my life. The girls who lived next door to me in Michigan had been abused by their father, who was sent to prison for it. Tina was wild and promiscuous as a teen and then became a stripper and everything else that goes with that world. I haven’t heard of her for fifteen years but the last time I saw her she looked double her age, worn and weathered.

Toledo can be a rough little city. We can claim some of the biggest scam artists this country has known. I helped liquidate the largest IRS seizure in their history. I wouldn’t be surprised if that has been surpassed. There was the Bell Beckwith investment scandal, Frankel, who embezzled hundreds of millions from the insurance industry, and most recent is Tom Noe who ripped off the State of Ohio for an estimated twelve million and counting. Now we are having a trial that has and will be shown on national TV. That is the Father Robinson murder trial. Here we have a Catholic Priest who is accused of murdering a nun in a ritualistic manner in the sacristy of the church located in a hospital. This happened twenty six years ago but is just now coming to trial. I doubt they will get a conviction this many years later and suspect some gung ho district attorney brought this up to make a name for himself.

Toledo is an old mafia town that is strategically located between Chicago and Detroit. Many of the old houses here have, or had, underground passageways that had been built to facilitate criminal activity and escape. There is still much going on here but rumors on the street say this is a retirement community for old mobsters now. I did business with a few. All legal stuff now through my liquidation company but still had to be careful. Right now Bob McCloskey, a city councilman who just resigned, is going to trial for accepting bribes. Everyone on the East side, where my companies were, knew he was on the take but he got things done and that was the bottom line. Corruption permeates this city. Perhaps I will talk of that when we are safely moved to Texas. Won’t do it here cause it would bring trouble. I left that life behind and intend to keep it there.
In looking back through this journal I see I never completed telling how things went with Eileen. Social Security said that they no longer recognize common law marriages so she had no recourse there. With that Eileen just wanted to go home. It had demoralized her. I talked to her as we drove along telling her that she still needed to get official recognition as Glen’s common law wife from the state of Ohio. Eileen didn’t want to telling me “What good would that do? It won’t make a difference”. I explained that it would protect her from further harassment from Vera but that didn’t convince her.

Now there is 360 acres of land out in the Pennsylvania mountains that is in Glen’s name. Eileen has the paperwork on it but had presumed it would be gone. As we drove through the downtown streets Eileen asks “Where are we going”. As I pulled into a parking space I told her “This is the legal service’s office Eileen. I’m going to take you up and talk with them”. She didn’t have much to say then. I know it was kinda pushy but I also know she needs this.

We waited for a while before someone could talk with us. The lawyer or intern who interviewed us started asking Eileen questions about why she was there. She didn’t know what to say so I pretty much took over after telling the intern who I was. Once it was clear what the problem was she said the case would be referred to a “Pro Bono” lawyer. (That would be one who is working for free as a public service) Eileen will be contacted within ten days we were told. So that is what happened.

This is a picture of Sharon in the apartment we moved her to for protection after being attacked by one of the local crack addicts

Sharon called me today to let us know how the court case went with the guy who beat her up. Well the judge for her case is the same judge that is handling the Father Robinson case. That is a national media circus with television trucks parked all around the courthouse. Because of all this her case was continued. The wacko that beat Sharon up is now saying that Sharon had paid him $50.00 to beat her up so NPI would move her. He wouldn’t accept a plea agreement of one to five years so will take it to trial.
Here we are moving her. Waynes apartment is the one under the stairs. he is the next one I will get moved.

I told Sharon that was good news. “Why would you say that Bob, it means I have to go through this for a while” Sharon questioned me. I explained that when someone makes the courts go through a trial and does not accept a plea agreement they will get hammered. “That judge is a mean judge Sharon. He doesn’t mess around so he will give the whacko the maximum sentence he can” I reassured her. The whacko had called Sharon’s parents twice after the judge had sent an order to the jail that if he should call again he was to be placed in solitary. He needs to go away for a while.

I picked Cherie up from work. She is tired and a little moody. She kept apologizing for being grouchy but I told her it was her turn. “I’m grouchy all the time so your due. Go for it. Bitch me out. Tell me something mean. Do it. You’ll feel better” I told her as I made funny faces and danced around. It worked. She was laughing up a storm by the time I got finished.

Patrick (The lawyer in Texas) just called. He explained things to me so I could understand better. It took a bit for me to get a handle on things but he was able to clear up my misconceptions. He said he sent me an E mail about it which I will go look at in a moment. From what he said this should all be cleared up in three or four weeks. This is exciting for us. Things have been so up and down we both were waiting for everything to go sour. That has been a history for us both. Right when things are looking up we would get crapped on. After decades of that you kind of shy away from dreams, become a pessimist, and get nervous when things start to look good again.

Cherie is fixing some strawberry shortcake now. It smells great. I think I will go check my E mail now and send Patrick the address to the blog like I said I would.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Long day, hard ending

4/26/06 Wednesday
2:09 – It has been a long day already. I just got back from taking Fred over to the dealership about his car. That went predictably as no one takes responsibility. After talking to the service manager and the mechanic I took Fred to see the sales manager. He will talk to his boss and have him call me tomorrow. I took Fred over to his Caddy to get some stuff out and then came home. Right now I am exhausted so will lay down for a short time. I have to pick Cherie up from work at 4:45.

Managed to pick up Cherie almost on time. I don’t know why I am so tired. Cherie tells me I have been this way for a couple of days. Who knows what’s going on. Cherie is doing laundry right now so I thought it would be a good time to catch up on this journal.

This morning I took Wayne to the housing class at LMHA. It took two hours but is needed to get Wayne moved out. It also helps me understand how the system works in this area. Wayne always talks my ear off when we get together. I really feel bad because this is due to his being alone with few chances for conversation. His son comes by but usually to bum money or food. The last time he visited with his child and the child’s mother Wayne caught him trying to steal money out of his wallet. Not good. If I can get Wayne moved he may be in an area where he has people he can talk to without worrying about getting robbed.

With that done I came home and got Fred. He wanted to go to the dollar stores and Radio Shack before I took him to see about his Caddy. Fred was looking for a phone cord for Barb. There were none at the dollar stores and Radio Shack wanted $7.00 for their twenty five foot one. Fred almost had a fit at that, loudly proclaiming how he wouldn’t pay that much and could buy it for a dollar somewhere else. I got the light bulbs Fred always buys for his magnifying reader and apologized to the store clerk as he bagged them.

Fred is broken by the Caddy breaking down. He asked me to do all the talking at the dealership. I am not comfortable with this. I have hard enough of a time trying to take care of my own problems much less taking on Fred’s decisions here. It is no problem spending time taking Fred to the store and being a chauffeur but now he is handing me more responsibility. I will do the best I can because I know he has few others to help him. Most of his friends and family are dead now. I will do what I can.

Here again is the car I had my wreck in. I know it looks bad but the wreck was a good thing, leading to a reevaluation of life and helping me get free of the demons that plagued me at the time. Plus it was what led me back to Cherie.

It is 7:30 now. I am going through a slow down. It started maybe twenty minutes ago. The brain isn’t doing too badly but the paralysis on the right side is pronounced. There is a headache coming and I have already had Cherie close the blinds because I am getting sensitive to the light. I have been disconnected for the last few days and got lost while driving both Monday and Tuesday. You can see it in my incomplete entries to this journal. It makes me worry about my ability to handle rebuilding the farm. NBC news has featured brain injuries with our soldiers in Iraq for the last two days. Today they showed a soldier who’s brain injury did not become apparent till he came home. His wife started noticing how he would easily get angry about things that would not normally bother him. In addition he has memory problems. As Cherie watched she said it sounded like they were describing me. They were. This is par for the course with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Right now I am trying to publish this entry and two pictures on the blog. I just thought of a good analogy for my slow downs. It is like being stuck with a dial up internet connection. Processing information takes much longer and I often have to start over because I lost something just like I am with uploading this picture. I am now on the third try and suspect I will have to try again. I am blessed to have a wife who understands and takes the role of a caregiver during these times. Sometimes I get grouchy and she endures it, knowing it will pass.

Looks like it is time for try number four to get this picture published.
I got one up earlier but this last one showing the Texas skyline at the farm is giving me fits. The partial seizure has my ears ringing and head spinning. I have to be careful walking because in addition to the loss of equilibrium my control of the right leg is hampered. It can be hard when you are not aware of where your foot is or is going. Fun Fun. Nothing like having to look down to make sure your foot is where it needs to be in order to walk.
Enough whining. It is time for try number five on the picture.

It took me two hours to get this entry published. I finally chose a different picture to put on the blog and that worked right away. This has happened before but this time it took a while to figure it out. I hate when my brain is on dial up. The analogy works well here and may help me convey what it is like to have these episodes. I am tired and will call it a day now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cherie's birthday.

4/25/06 Tuesday
Today is Cherie’s birthday. No, I will not say how old she is. I may have brain damage but I am not dumb, at least not all the time though I do have my moments. Speaking of that lets get to today. It is 12:40 in the afternoon now. I just got done checking my E mail and the blog. Dial up sucks. I hope the bar turns back on their Wi Fi but if they don’t I could always drive to the library, Burger King, or any one of many other hot spots to go online. I suppose I would do that when I want to transfer pictures or download big files. I have hard enough of a time just getting the text of this journal uploaded to the blog.

My calendar said I was to get Wayne to LMHA for his housing class. Cherie is going out to lunch with her mother as they both have the same birthday. We had discussed this and whether I was to get her something for her birthday but I forgot. Cherie got me up and I heard her fixing breakfast. I tell her she needs to be getting ready for work and she laughs. “We talked about this. It’s my birthday and I have the day off. Mom and I are going to spend some time together”.

Oh…what day is it? It’s Cherie’s birthday! “Happy birthday honey” I said as she gave me a kiss with a big smile. We loved each other as we do so I won’t go into the details of the “Your beautiful”, “Your handsome”, “I love you” conversation that we engage in. I’ll just say it is good to be so in love. It is still strong after 25 years, especially the last three years since we remarried.

I get showered and shaved, ready to go out and get Wayne to this important class at the housing authority. I’m running late so call Wayne so he is outside ready when I drive up. Yep! He’s there. I get Wayne loaded in. He has to put his walker in the back seat as it won’t fit in the trunk of Cherie’s car. I took off as soon as Wayne got settled, hurrying to get him to the appointment.

I get on the highway and head down the road on a path that is familiar from years of travel. I am scooting along, making good time and avoiding the idiots effectively. Wayne is talking a mile a minute but I have to ask him to be quiet. I am slow this morning, woke up exhausted and running at a 5 on the Bob scale. I think about where I am going and “Damn. Wayne we’re going the wrong way” I exclaimed. I was heading to the Veteran’s clinic, where I take Wayne often. I often do this, kinda go on auto pilot and steer down familiar paths unaware it is the wrong way. Yesterday was particularly bad for this also. I can’t remember much but I know I got lost taking Wayne somewhere. I should check yesterdays entry to see what happened…OK, I took Wayne to the VA yesterday. Now I remember, we talked to the VA social worker about Wayne’s housing issues.

I got Wayne to LMHA, which was packed with people, and went to the front window to announce “I have Wayne Schmitz here for the housing class”. The lady just looked up uninterestedly and said “We don’t have a housing class today”. Then I asked for his case worker, who’s name I couldn’t remember. We waited as a constant stream of people went too and fro in front of us. Finally Wayne’s name was called. We got up and made it to her office. She was happy face smiley and said “Oh! What an unexpected visit, what can I do for you?”. Upon learning we thought we were here for housing she looked on her computer, “That’s tomorrow” she said. Time to feel stupid or embarrassed or for me frustrated at this constant reminder of the TBI.

Now I am heading out to take Wayne to the Neurologist providing I have the right day. I’ll try to post this first.

That went well, allot faster than yesterday. The phone just rang. It is Eric at Ed Schmitz. The news is not good. It looks like the motor is blown. Eric said it would cost almost $6,000 to replace. He thinks that perhaps Firestone had something to do with it going bad. I don’t know but I called Fred to tell him. It was a cruel blow for him. He still has about $8,000 he still owes on the car. I suggested he get a lawyer but he doesn’t know any. I need to look into what he can do.

4:32 – I’m batting one thousand now. I picked up Wayne and got him to MUO. It was a madhouse again so I let Wayne off at the entrance and went in search of a parking space. Finding one I hurried back to find Wayne. He was seated at the registration desk with a troubled looking receptionist. (I’m sure they have a title for her that is different from “receptionist” but I do the best I can with what I know)

“I don’t have an appointment at all for a Wayne Schmitz anywhere” she was telling Wayne as I walked up. Now we have a puzzle. Who? What? Where? were all asked but still no answer. BUT WAIT, there’s a clue she says. Great now the problem is solved. We are in the wrong building. I got directions and we quickly left, heading for the other building. Of course it’s under construction, how do I get in? No!! dead end, gotta turn around.

Finally found the right door. “IIIt’s behind door number five Bob” the announcer said as I finally pulled up. I let Wayne out at the door and backed up to get a parking space. Walking in the first sign I saw said “OBGYN – GYNOCOLOGIST Sign in here”. Looking around I saw a bunch of late baby boomer women and thought “OK,,,Where is neurology? I hope we’re not the only males in here”.

I was relieved to see another sign for neurology so let the receptionist know we were here. “But your late. You should have been here at 2:30. I don’t know. Let me check with the doctor” she says before disappearing through a door behind the counter.
Wayne had made his way to the bathroom where I could hear he was struggling to deal with his walker. I sat down and waited.

The doc can’t see us right now so I try to set up another appointment. Now again begins the process of figuring out who Wayne is. Where did he meet the doctor? When? There is nothing available anytime soon so she searches for another avenue. “So he’s a new patient. Dr. Bhat hasn’t seen him before so he can see another doctor” she reasoned out loud. She asked a few carefully worded questions to follow some protocol and we got an appointment with somebody new.

I’m not doing well and am a bit…not nice. That would be a good way to put it. Nothing quite worked out today but still got stuff done. I said little as I drove Wayne home. I got him in and headed slowly for home.

Cherie wasn’t there so I called her cell and let her know I was home. She called while mom was bringing her home. I went outside to say hi to mom as odds are I won’t see her much before we go to Texas. Mom and Cherie were both in a jolly mood. She showed me her new PT Cruiser proudly. We talked a little and brushed some subjects tenderly. I asked Pat permission to even put this much in the blog. Kinda get a little gun shy when folks get themselves all twisted up over next to nothing. Anyway Mom looked good. I told her that they were invited to the house in Texas when we get it fixed up. She seems to be more comfortable about that as Cherie was able to convey our dream for the place. It is good to make mom happy. I gotta go now.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Can't keep up, too much going on

4/23/06 Sunday
This is a good morning. While I am not too speedy I am still doing well. Cherie and I are going to the Art Museum to see the Tiffany show that will end soon.

4/24/06 Monday
I am not real clear headed this morning. Running a 4 or 5 on the Bob scale. Yesterday was a hard day also. The museum was great and there is little doubt on Louis Tiffany’s artistic talent. When we went in the doors of the museum I got that confusion that often comes when I am in unfamiliar territory. I looked at Cherie and said “Cherie, I’m going to depend on you to take the lead here. You make the decisions”. This was one of those days I get lost and confused easily.

Cherie and I took Fred’s car down to Ed Schmitz this morning. The car barely made it there. It stalled a few times and was putting out some nasty fumes. I think it is in the lower end. Sounded like it was about to throw a rod. I explained to the service manager what was going on and left the car there. Then I drove Cherie to work and came home. Poor Fred is kinda overwhelmed about this and repeatedly asked “Now be honest with me, what would you do? Should I keep the car?”.

“Fred” I said “Your screwed either way. If you want to keep this car you have to pay. If you want to sell the car you can’t get anything for it cause the motors blown. I feel bad because you’re the one taking the hit”. The service manager called and told me that the reason this happened was because Firestone had done everything wrong. They used the wrong spark plugs and basically knocked all the carbon loose so it is clogging up the motor. He gave me a base price of $700 and said that was just the start. He also said he didn’t think there was a rod knock but that will be evident later.

I talked to Fred and again answered the “What should I do” question. “Fred, you’re going to have to spend the money to do this right, otherwise you don’t have a car.” I explained and he gave me permission to spend seven hundred “But no more” Fred admonished.

Instead of calling I drove over to Ed Schmitz and talked to the service manager. After giving him the green light I asked if he could document all the things that were done wrong by Firestone. I will try to recover the two hundred plus Fred spent at Firestone to have a job done so poorly.

The phone just rang. It was Patrick Duffy, the lawyer from Texas. It took a few seconds for my mind to identify this name. Patrick told me he had gotten a letter from McGilvray showing the inventory of the estate. We talked with me trying to keep up with what was being said. That was hard because I am not real speedy this morning. I slowed Patrick down a couple of times, explaining I was getting confused. He helped me get a mental picture of things. The mineral rights were surprisingly high but when all is said and done there should be enough cash left for Cherie and I to make the move. My original concept of having to come down and get a loan to buy Larry out with proved to be not real practical. It would be easier to get a loan after the property was in our name. It helps me when someone takes the time to work things out so I understand what is happening.

I am tired. It has been a rough few days and I am pretty worn out. I have to take Wayne to the VA today. Hope I am in better shape. Had a big breakfast because I fixed to much. Still reeling from the talk with the lawyer.

1:09 – I called Cherie to tell her about the call from Patrick Duffey. I had a hard time answering her questions and was unable to continue. I am confused as I review what I remember. It seems that the land is worth $80,000 and there is one hundred ten or so thousand in the checking account and CDs. I heard Patrick say that Larry would get a check for $80,000 and then would get half of what was left, leaving me with twenty thousand or so. It really isn’t adding up to me. If Larry gets a check for $80,000 wouldn’t that cover the forty grand his half of the land is worth and half the cash?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Been gone, been busy

Sorry folks. I'm stuck on dial up cause the free wi fi I was tapping into from the bar is apparently out of order.

4/21/06 Friday
This will be a busy day. I am starting out meeting Jeff at Waffle House where I am at as I write this. Here I am sure we will talk about the deep meanings of life and how to save the world. After that I intend to pick up Eileen and start helping her with the fight against greed regarding the estate of her husband. Damn. I should have grabbed the stuff


4/22/06 Saturday
I missed yesterday on this journal. It was a busy day and there is much to reconstruct. I saw Jeff coming into the restaurant while I was in mid sentence and that was the end of writing for the day. I got allot done, at least I think so. Jeff and I had a good visit but I can’t remember what we talked about. It’s been awhile so I lots to catch him up on. He let me know how things were in his world. The divorce seems to be coming to a close and that is always a release, a weight off the shoulders.

I called Eileen from the parking lot so I wouldn’t be on the cell while driving. She’s been up and ready but didn’t feel to good. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes” I warned her and headed out.

Man!! What a change I see in Eileen. She is bouncing around with an energy I haven’t seen before. The last time I saw her I complimented her on how she was taking the time to...(I’m not sure how to say this without sounding rude)…She put on make up, OK.

Eileen is happy, just beaming, in love again with her first love. This is kind of reminiscent of Cherie and I finding each other again. Mick is the father of her first child, lost at birth. There was a sad parting between them, the details of which I don’t know. I know the emotions were strong then as well as the connection between the two.

Mick was all she was talking about. Eileen showed me all the things Mick bought her like a child showing off it’s birthday presents. I loved it. She so deserves to have a good man and be treated right. For twenty six years she was the house keeper and servant to her husband and was absolutely not used to being treated this way. You know how it is, when your best friend is happy your happy with them.

I just felt great for her and listened, enthralled by how this is turning out. “Your probably tired of hearing about Mick. That’s all I’m talking about” she told me. “Eileen, Do you remember when I first got back with Cherie?” I asked. “Yes” was her response so I explained “That was all I talked about then wasn’t it? So I understand. Keep going”.

Eileen was the first person I was able to find when I first got back to Toledo after the wreck. I would sign out of the VOA, where I was placed by the court under a sort of house arrest, and go walking on the East Side of Toledo. This was where my companies had been and where I spent allot of time, so more of it was familiar to me. I first walked past the building that had housed my companies. This was at the time I was starting to reconstruct my memory. I did this by seeking out anything that was familiar because that would often unlock memories.

For four days I walked up and down the streets looking for Eileen’s house. I finally found the right street but wasn’t sure if the house I was looking at was the right one till I studied the one next to it. I knew then that I had lived in the house next to Eileen but it didn’t look right. “Ahh the hec with it” I said as I walked up to the house and knocked on the door. If was the wrong one I would at least know that.

There was a commotion of dogs barking and I heard a voice telling them “Shut up. Geeze you dogs”. Then the door opened and Eileen saw me. She had a strange questioning look as she studied my face intently. Her jaw literally dropped and she said “Bob? Is that you?”. “Hi Eileen” I simply said. “I thought you were dead, they said you were dead!” She let me know. Glen was there and amazed to see me. I explained things to them as best I could. This was just a year after I woke up so I was still in bad shape. The house next door was the one I had lived in with Yolanda (I’ll have to explain that later). Despite having lived next to Eileen’s house it took me four days to find it. I would walk and just get lost, forgetting where I was and how I got there.

For those of you that don’t know, Eileen was my secretary for twelve years or so. She was there when know one else was at the end of my slide into madness. She is my best friend and Cherie and I both love her. Eileen holds the keys to many of my memories for she saw more of me than anyone else. She told me about when I threw my ex, Barb, out of the company, telling her “I can’t believe you!! You’re impossible to work with. Get the hell out of here! Go home!”. I don’t actually remember that moment, though I wish I did, but it helped me remember that I had asked Barb to help or she had insisted. Don’t really know for sure but she was there. She had trashed both of my companies while I was doing time in 1992 and was trying to tell me how to run them. Anyway, that will be a part of the story I’ll have to get to later.

I get side tracked easily so back to yesterday. Eileen and I visited for a long time. She showed me a picture of Mick with an apology. “I know he looks like a hippy but he’s a good man. He’s allot better than he looks” Eileen said as she studied my face for approval. I laughed and told her “Do you remember me? I was a hippy too. I like this guy. The more you tell me about him the more I want to meet him”. Eileen has the lack of self worth that comes with twenty six years of being a servant that had to jump when called. That is getting better now, which is great to see.

“Hey Eileen! We need to get going” I let her know. She hemmed and hawed. “What good will this do? Why do I even have to do this?” she said so I explained it again “Eileen, this will get Vera off your ass. This will protect you. Lets go”.

I got her loaded in the car and we drove off with Eileen talking about how nice the Caddy was. There was a nice car in her driveway instead of the old beat up car she had before. “That’s a nice looking car Eileen” I asked with a statement. Eileen pulled a piece of paper from the overstuffed folder she had full of the documents I had asked her to find. “Look at this. I’ve never had one of these before. It’s a car title” Eileen enthusiastically. She told me how she had answered an ad for a car and found a relative who she hadn’t known before. He gave her a great deal on the car so this is the nicest car she’s driven. I love watching good things come to good people.

We went
Thats as far as I got with the journal. Something distracted me and that was it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The best laid plans?

4/20/06 Thursday
Another clear day. All my well laid plans just unraveled. Eileen has to go to the pain management clinic this morning. She had forgotten that when we scheduled my taking her to Social Security and the law firm. When I called her this morning I heard her mention that Vera had put an ad in the paper declaring her the executor of Glen’s estate. I got to thinking about that and called her back. “Eileen, when did Vera put that ad in the paper? I asked. Then I explained “What that means is Vera can claim anything that was Glen’s”. Eileen protested that there was no estate, Glen didn’t have anything. “Eileen, what Vera is going after is everything in the house. She can try to get the furniture, his car, the television, anything she can”. I explained it would not be easy because it had to go through the courts and she would have to prove it. This upset Eileen so I let her know that this was why she has to be declared Glen’s common law wife. This would settle all of that. Then Eileen told me that Glen had about $30,000 in credit card debt. That’s another part of the equation I didn’t know. It will require some study and legal advice. I will pick her up tomorrow.

I called Fred to let him know my day was freed up. He will call Barb and see if she still wants to go to the Huntington Community Center for food. Who knows.

Allen was doing as well as I expected. He complained he didn’t even have enough money to buy cigarettes and to fix his truck. I watched him call Steve and try to bum some money. I would help him some but our money is very tight. Besides that I wouldn’t just hand him cash because I won’t help him buy pain medication. I would take him to the store and get what he needed.

So I am waiting to see how this day will turn out. Check back in later.

1:46 – I am back from running Fred and Barb to the community center for the food handout. Barb was telling me of a new tenant at her place who is a perv. I guess he grabbed Dixie’s tits and ass. He kept offering things like candy to Barb and tried to put the flip flops he wanted to give her down her blouse. “Did you call the police?” I asked her. She said no so I told her that this guy would not get better, only worse so she needs to call NPI (the landlords) and let them know what is going on. “They won’t move fast but you need to call them every time this guy comes knocking on your door” I said.

I am fixing to run over to Allen’s. Social Security called and left a message so he needs to respond. Unfortunately he is often not awake during business hours. I also need to take him to family services because he lost his pin number for is food stamp card. I also want to see if they got his paperwork also. Time to move. By the way I am running at an 8 on the Bob scale. So far it’s been a good brain day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Love a good start

Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything. Let come what comes, and accomodate yourself to that, whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine, too. Look on all of it as equal, and make yourself comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English" (Budhist teachings)

4/19/06 Wednesday
It is a good morning, one of the better ones I have had lately, I am running a good 8 on the Bob scale. Hope it stays that way all day. There is nothing on my calendar so I need to make a plan. That way things will get accomplished. There is much house cleaning that needs to be done so I will concentrate on that. Of course I might get a call from Fred or one of the others I help and have to go take care of them.

These gas prices are killing me. I am spending around $150.00 a month, mostly driving others around. Add to that what goes into Cherie’s car and we hit $250.00. That’s about what her car payment is. We are both being very conservative. Cherie no longer comes home for lunch to avoid the extra twenty mile journey. I won’t go visiting at all now though I will go see Allen to make sure he continues the path I laid out for him.

He returned my call last night but I missed it. I had called him at 4:00 or so and he returned it at 9:00. Hope he wasn’t just getting up. We watched the television show “The Unit” last night. On it they portrayed a wheelchair bound Veteran who was addicted to pain killers. From the description it was Oxycontin. It was very similar to Allen with the mood changes and manipulation to hide and minimize the addiction.

Speaking of TV shows, Dr. Phil had an interesting one that focused on out of control children. There was film of a kid who would fly into a rage at a moments notice, breaking windows, kicking doors off their hinges, and even taking an axe and chopping holes in the walls. He would attack his younger brother, his father and mother, calling her a bitch and lots of other stuff that was bleeped out. He would get out knives and threaten them.

What struck me was how the mother would minimize the problem. At one time she said “I’m not afraid to die” in reference to this son. She seemed to be blind to how bad things were. This mother knew there was a problem but said “Boys will be boy’s”. Dr. Phil was pretty clear on this. He understood that the maternal instinct to protect a child is one of the strongest drives a woman has and was a big part of this. But he said that if they did not do something now the boy would have a really bad life. Part of the problem was his disregard of rules and the law. Dr. Phil said he had seen this many times in the court system and that if something wasn’t done this kid would end up hurting someone and, or go to prison.

I’ve seen this type of thing and in fact can relate to it very well. I used to fly off the handle as a kid myself and was held back in the fifth grade because I went after a girl with a pair of scissors because she took the desk I wanted. To say I had a troubled life would be an understatement. As I got older I would settle down a little. Not because I was straightening up but because I suffered some serious consequences for my actions that included prison. That was a kick in the butt that helped wake me up. Still I had a core of rebellion that would cause problems the rest of my life. Now I channel it by fighting the system where it fails to do it’s stated job. Fighting for Wayne’s Social Security, housing, and medical needs is a good example of that.

You can always tell when I am doing well by how much I write. When this brain is active it covers allot of territory. I miss the time when I was like this twenty four hours a day and was on top of the world. I need to get moving while I am at prime time and get as much done as I can because I never know how long it will last. Stay tuned for more. I will add to this entry as the day moves along so come back and check now and then.

There is a steady increase of visitors to this blog. Had one from Saudi Arabia that had Googled “Ahmed”. He (or she) read quite a bit about my neighbor, the Sunni Muslim. That was an earful for them I am sure. The list of regular and sometimes daily visitors is also growing. I suppose that means some part of our life is interesting. Hey folks, leave a comment and say hi. I look at other blogs and see there is a regular dialog on some of them. Of course they are written to get that instead of just rambling on about personal things of little interest to those who are not family and friends. One of the ones I like is by the author “John Scalzi” at (one of these days I will learn how to put links in this)

I didn’t finish what happened yesterday. Cherie and I went to the park. She knew I was feeling down from having several bad days and also because the camera is in the shop right when everything is coming to life. Cherie got out her camera and loaded a new roll of film. “You know what we haven’t done in a while? We haven’t gone for our walk. We need to do that”. What a lovely woman I married. She knows and understands me. She has a wisdom that helps her comprehend what will help me. Wait till you see the pictures. I shot the whole roll of film. I am spoiled by the digital camera and it grates a little to have to wait and pay to get the film developed, especially with our budget being so tight. The cost of the lawyer in Texas is a big strain and on top of that $110 to fix the camera hurts.

Time to get moving now. It’s 9:00.

11:35 – Been cleaning up a storm, sort of. The bathroom is halfway done as I am removing everything off the shelves and washing the shelves as well as the many bottles of stuff. The dust, or whatever you call it, from Cherie’s make up has built up on the top of every surface along with regular dust. I have just been doing a superficial wipe down up to this point so now I pay the price. It is frustrating to be faced with just how out of shape I am. My arm got tired just washing the mirror, actually scrubbing it because there are drops of paint from before Cherie moved in. I worked up a sweat doing these simple things. Part of that is because I never really had the chance to recover my strength after the coma. I had just started physical rehabilitation when I was extradited from St. Louis. We joined the YMCA and both started working out but couldn’t afford to continue after the scholarship ended.

Cherie came home for lunch. That surprised me but I always like to see her. I was able to talk with her about how to get more organized in the bathroom. I know what to do with my stuff but don’t dare mess with the woman’s domain. Half the stuff I am clueless about and I definitely understand how you like to have everything right where you want it. She had me put everything in a box so I could clean the shelves and she will go through it all later.

Eileen called while I was making a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Eileen is my former secretary who worked for me twelve or so years. She told me that the gas company came to shut her gas off. It seems that Glen’s sister, Vera, called them and told them Glen was dead so the gas needed to be turned off. (Just to fill in the blanks for you readers out there, Glen was Eileen’s common law husband for 25 years. For more details put her name in the search engine at the top of this blog)

This caused some consternation to say the least. Vera has been as much of a greedy bitch as it is possible to be. She got herself declared executor of Glen’s estate and next of kin. This way she was able to access and clean out their bank account, which unfortunately was in Glen's name, and get Glen’s Social Security check sent to her. Eileen went to the bank their mortgage is at and learned that Vera had two lawyers trying to take the house away from Eileen and put in her name. Vera had told both the bank and gas company that Eileen had illegally used Glen’s last name. Actually she had it put down as Carder-Sterling, using both her last name and Glen’s. This is good as it will help her be officially recognized as his common law wife.

I had been trying to convince Eileen to get this done ever since Glen died but she wouldn’t do it. Now she understands and tomorrow I will take her to Social Security and ABLE (A legal service for those who cannot afford an attorney). Here I go again, fighting for the rights of the oppressed.

I got the bathroom scrubbed. It killed my back so I think I will lay down. No, I will carve. I can do that from a position that is not too painful. Typing at this computer hurts like hell at the moment.

I forced myself to vacuum and wash the dishes. I called Allen to see if he made it to Social Security. He said he was unable to because the window on his truck was stuck down. That doesn’t hold much water because it was yesterday he was to do that after begging off Monday. He was driving his truck somewhere when the window got stuck. I’ll go over there tonight and fix it as well as talk to his depressed ass. Allen told me “I’m at the end of my rope. I don’t know what to do”. I said I knew this was coming and that was why I’ve been pushing him so hard. “I’ve been down this road before Allen. I already know the song and the dance that goes with it” I let him know. If I have to baby sit him I will because it will save his life. He told me his head hurt because he was thinking to much about what he shouldn’t be. That would be suicide.

Then I got my tools out and carved for a while. I just quit because I am doing more harm than good. Cherie will be home soon. We are having crab cakes. I’ll see how she feels about me running to Allen’s tonight.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Migraine start

(The last entry made yesterday. Didn’t get it published) We’re at the Zeph Center now. When I drove up and parked on the side of the building there was a pick up next to us. A guy leaned out of the passenger side window and asked Wayne if he wanted to buy anything. Can’t get away from it. Selling crack at the mental health clinic right next to the front door. I suppose a large percentage of the clients have drug problems, In fact I am pretty sure of it.

4/18/06 Tuesday
7:53 - I am a little rough this morning.
11:36 – Not doing good at all. Fred called and asked me to take him to the Pharm at 10:30. We just got back. I had a mild headache when I woke up but it is now at migraine level. Walking with Fred through the store was a chore, not only because he was being difficult but I am very unsteady on my feet. That in addition to being physically weak made time slow down so everything seemed to take forever.

Fred wanted aspirin so I led him to the aspirin aisle which took forever as he would peer intently at every item on every shelf along the way. Once, sweeping his arm to indicate what he was talking about he said “Looks like they have all their Easter candy out”. “Fred, that’s the bags of charcoal and barbeque stuff” I let him know. When we finally made it to the aspirin he had me look for the specific type of Bayer aspirin he insists on. I found it and handed it to him. “No, that’s not the right stuff. That says pain relief on it” Fred protested. I explained it was the kind he likes and wanted but he said “I know what I want”. I had read every label of every type of Bayer aspirin and with this gave up. I just shut up and let him go through all the boxes again, watching as he would put them up to his face to try and discern what they said. Finally he picked up the same box I had originally gave him and said “Is this the same one you had? I guess it’ll have to do”. From there I dutifully followed him, announcing what aisle he was entering “This is cat food and soaps on the other side. Here is the candy isle you wanted”.

I was glad when he finally went to the cash register. The headache was really there and I just wanted to get home where I am now. Glad to be home. I am scheduled to go see Cindy Smith and help her with her computer today but I suspect that won’t happen. Not unless I go through a dramatic improvement.

3:00 – I just called Cherie and thus see I am only running at a 4 or 5 on the Bob scale. To help y’all (I was born in Texas so I can say Y’all) understand that I’ll explain. While I am by myself I am less able to determine how fast this damaged brain is working. However when I have to interact with someone by having a conversation it becomes quickly apparent. In the course of conversation I must process what I hear as well as formulate what I will say. When I am slow it can be heard in my voice, which becomes less lively and kind of paced, literally slower. By the way I use the label “Bob scale” so I can use the search engine to find this information. This helps me map how I do on a day to day basis as well as over the entire year. Part of the motivation for this is to be able to supply doctors with this information. They ask me how I do and I can’t remember so am unable to give a good answer. “How many migraines did you have since we saw you last?” they would ask. I used to just guess at it but that doesn’t help them help me. That’s one of the reasons for publishing this journal on the blog. I can go online at the doc’s office and accurately answer their questions.

I called Cindy to let her know I am not going to make it. Worked out because her hubby was home in bed with a bad back and she was fighting her computer all day trying to get switched over to broadband from her dial up connection. I tried to help her over the phone but get lost on my own computer so that wasn’t a good idea. Was smart enough to end that attempt at being helpful. Probably would have crashed her computer.

I also called the attorney in Kentucky to see if she got Wayne’s info. She will get back to me. Her mother in law died and of course that ties things up, especially when she is the only attorney in the family. Everyone is leaning on her for advice.

4:00 – Still moving through a fog. At least the migraine has backed down to manageable levels. It is hard to believe that in another life I paid money to be in this condition or worse and called it fun. If it wasn’t at the bar it was drugs. Now I don’t have to pay to get lost in the house and be confused, it’s all FREE, LUCKY ME, I’m naturally stoned whenever I don’t want to be. Brain damage is so much fun. I think I should take a break now before my sarcasm gets to unmanageable levels and I have to explain I am not serious. Seriously!
I was going to have ice cream for lunch but forgot to eat lunch. That's Bob life.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Never fear, UnderBob is here

4/17/06 Monday
It is a bright shiny day out and I have a bright shiny mind this morning. It will be a busy day for me. Starts with taking Fred and Barb to Page Plus cell phones for what I plan to make a confrontational meeting. They sold her a used cell phone as new. I looked them up on the Better Business Bureau website and see they don’t have a good reputation.

At 2:00 I take Wayne to the Zeph Center where I will discuss with his case worker NPI’s refusal to move Wayne. Perhaps they will have some suggestions on how to proceed or get more involved, perhaps calling NPI. Don’t know but I’m not dropping this one. I think I will contact the political section of this city. That would be the mayors office and Congress woman Marcy Kaptur, who is one of the few politicians I am impressed with.

At some point I need to go to Kroger and let them know their computer failed to give me my discount on gas.

Looks like I have scheduled a day of complaining. That is disturbing in a way because I really don’t have much tolerance for whiners in general. But I can “Justify” my whining by golly. I’m becoming a professional bitcher but I bitch to get right things done, to correct the evils of the world. I need to order my super hero uniform and cape. What kind of a clever name should I take for myself??? Superman is taken and the Joker was a bad guy so that won’t work. What fits? Super Bitch is too feminine. This I will have to think on.... Here’s one from the old cartoons. I can hear it now… “Ta da Dat de daaa, Never fear, UnderBob is here”. Yeah, that might work. The disabled helping the disabled. That pretty much describes what I do. Kinda like the blind leading the blind.

Well it’s off I go, to fight for the rights of the weak and helpless, to force bureaucrats to actually do their job. I can hear them shaking in their boots now, knowing “UnderBob” is coming.
Sounds good but I really just need to take a shower and eat something. Besides I suspect that the bureaucrats just say “There’s that A..hole coming. What a pain in the ass”. Hey, Whatever works.

There is no life without death. This is a truth we see every day. Just as this tree dies it gives life to that which feeds on its remains. It is the way of things, a cycle that will not be broken.

12:02 – That was loads of not fun. It started with Ahmed coming out at the same time Fred and I did. He walked up to the car and told me he had taken the girl back to Chicago. “I know” I told him hoping it would be the end of the conversation. Nooo, I’m not going to be that lucky. Ahmed went on to tell me how she had gone down to using only three packs of heroin (or crack, who knows what he was buying her) from seven. He was smiling like he had really done something and was proud, bragging about what a good guy he was. “She lied to me. She was starting problems for me with some guy” Ahmed began to explain. I didn’t beat around the bush (I seldom do). “Ahmed, she’s a coke whore. She's just using you. You don’t help a drug addict by buying them drugs. That’s stupid. I told you she needed to be in a program. There is no way you can do this by yourself” I unleashed. He said she was too young to be in a program and other inane things. It got old and I got tired of talking to "nobody there" so I cut him short. “Good by Ahmed” I said as I closed the door. He got the message. Fred and I commented on that as I drove to Barb’s.

Basil was hiding in Barb’s. I could see him trying to lean back in the chair so he was behind the door. Barb went through her usual elaborate ruse of locking the door and got in the car. I drove them to Cricket and went in with the concept of getting involved and straightening things out. Not going to happen. Barb says “Quit talking Bob, I know what’s wrong with my phone” so fine, I quit. I went and sat down and let Fred and Barb take care of it. The guy was waffling around when Fred threw a fit “I want a new phone damn it. I paid $179 dollars for it and it doesn’t work”. As he was working himself up the guy looked at his boss and they agreed to get a new phone. I suppose that was more effective than anything I would have done cause they were probably scared Fred would have a heart attack and die.

Barb told Fred that the heater he bought for her didn’t work anymore. He suggested I go in and look at it but that was met with a quick response. “It’s broke Fred. There’s nothing he can do” She stated derisively. When we pulled up Fred suggested that again and Barb was really not happy with that. I already know why. She doesn’t want me to know Basil is still there. I was halfway tempted to say I would go up and get it out of her apartment so we could return it but I really don’t care anymore. She’s a grown woman and despite her brain damage can still make her own decisions. Nothing I can say there. We all live with the choices we make.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Better than yesterday

It is frustrating to have my camera in the shop. I had wanted to record everything waking up for spring and it is going by fast.

4/16/06 Sunday
Woke up a little better this morning and so did Cherie. She has been depressed for reasons I can’t go into on the blog. It is good to start out the day well. We will be going to dinner (or lunch) with Fred, Barb, and Wayne. Of course it will be a mad house at the Home Buffet. It is Easter Sunday and Fred wants to get there right when everyone is getting out of church. I reminded him of that but it didn’t seem to register so we will plan on a long line. At least Wayne has a built in seat with his walker.

While I am in a philosophic mode here is a short essay on a common human trait. Honesty is that mark of character that is the integral part of Christianity and the basis of our society in America. It is touted by all from our government on down to the American family. But the truth is that honesty is only acceptable if it conforms to what the hearer want to hear. We all have our own view of reality. For many reality is a created delusion. It is built up to support the life they live, to make them feel good about themselves, to blind their eyes from the truth surrounding them.

Allen is a good example of that. In his mind he is not a drug addict and feels he has everything under control. His financial problems, his constant search for pills, his painful withdrawals, all this he tries to sweep under a rug and pretend it is “Not that bad”. (One of his common phrases) I have slowly been able to open his eyes to the truth but he still clings to his “reality”. For most of us, anything that threatens to burst the bubble of the delusion we created, will be feared and attacked. We will avoid what we fear and shrink into the protective shell of our delusion, hiding from the truth that exposes that delusion.

Honesty? No! Lie to me. Tell me what I want to hear. And don’t you dare make me see myself or I won’t like you. I’ll attack you. I’ll find or create any fault in you I can. That will make me feel better. If your not perfect I don’t have to listen. Anything you say will have no value. There is no truth. Only what I decide I want. The hell with reality.

I have a big mess to fix. In trying to back up my files on this laptop I have inadvertently deleted what I wished to save. I should never try to do things like that when I am slow as I have been for the last couple of days. I had tried to organize things that were all over the computer and think I did a good job of it but evidently didn’t save that so now I start over. I am restoring everything I deleted but there is tons of stuff in the recycle bin that hasn’t been emptied in a year or so. This will take hours. The fact that I am not really on top of computer stuff combined with how easily I get confused doesn’t help.

The following narrative was written by Cherie.

Cherie: We are finally back from the Easter dinner thing. As usual, it was both entertaining and frustrating. We got Fred in the car and took off to pick up Wayne and Barb. Fred doesn’t like the way Bob usually travels to pick up Wayne as it means going through one of the more dangerous areas of town. Bob drives fast to get through it and I always close my eyes at some point in the journey – it’s just easier that way. He gets through the traffic and I keep my mouth shut – if I don’t see it I can’t complain about it, get it?

Anyway, we went a different route which was pleasant – though took longer. Fred made the argument that the shortest route between two places is a straight line. This was not a straight line. He kept trying to make conversation, Bob was moody, and I just sat in the back, realizing that in a few minutes I would be squished in the middle of the back seat with Wayne and Barb. We got Wayne (he stuffs his walker in the trunk) and left to pick up Barb, but we had to make a side trip up to Kroger Grocery Store to get gas.

Kroger has had this promotion going on where the more you spend with your special Kroger customer savings card, the more you can save on each gallon of gas. And it’s good for 4 fill-ups in a month’s time. Between our own shopping, we also used the card for Fred and Wayne and Barb for their shopping. We are up to 30 cents off per gallon this month. There are lots of Kroger’s in the Toledo area, but only three of them have gas stations.

Well, we finally got to the closest one and their computers were down, so Bob only got 3 cents off instead of 30. This did not make him (or me) very happy. There are other places I like to shop, but have been trying to get most everything at Kroger’s because of the gas thing. Now he’ll have to go back there tomorrow and go inside to complain and try to get it taken off his bill – glad I get to go to work!

After he got the gas we went and picked up Barb, who really did make an effort to look nice. She had on nice clothes, (and a bra), and had washed and set her hair and even put on a little make-up! We all talked about different things and the conversation always kind of goes in circles, but it wasn’t too bad. Other than being close (like a can of sardines, Wayne said), we were all anxious to get going with this lunch thing.

Now for the real fun. Fred had decided he would take us to Home Town Buffet, which is close to our apartment. Bob had tried to talk him out of it, or to at least change the time. Nope. Fred is 88 years old, and stubborn. We had left our apartment promptly at 12:45, and after picking up people and getting gas, we headed back to our end of town. By this time all the churches had let out as Bob knew they would and the place was packed. There were no handicapped spaces open, so Bob let us out at the door and he went to find a parking space.

The line went out the door and was at least an hour long. I knew this wasn’t going to work – so did the others and the decision was made to try someplace else. Fred suggested a Chinese place over by Kazmaier’s (another grocery store), but I didn’t think it would be open. However, Fred was determined, so we all piled back into the car and off we went. We got over there and sure enough it was closed.

Everyone was talking trying to think of someplace else to go – at that point McDonalds would’ve been fine, and I could feel myself start to zombie out a bit. Fred decided on Café Marie’s over in Maumee, so we headed in that direction. For some odd reason, all of a sudden I thought the whole thing was funny and had to try and hide my laughter – I didn’t want to try to explain why I thought it was all so funny. I wasn’t sure myself. I thought they would be closed because they’re a breakfast place. I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to find they are now open until 3:00PM. It was 2:00PM, so we were in time to get in there and get served.

There were hardly any people in the place (probably had a huge breakfast crowd) as it was getting past the late breakfast (brunch) hour. Café Marie’s now has a luncheon menu and it’s pretty nice. I got the Chicken Crepes and they were delicious. We all got to try something new we hadn’t had before and we were all happy, except Fred. Sometimes I think he’s just not happy unless he can complain about something. But he also doesn’t have any teeth and pretty much has to get soft stuff that he can gnaw on.

He had wanted to take just Bob and I and Barb out to dinner, but Bob knew that Wayne didn’t have anywhere or anyone to share the day with and promised Fred he would pay for Wayne’s meal. He actually paid for his own also, which was better for Fred, who didn’t have a clue he didn’t pay for Bob’s. It wasn’t that expensive – Barb, Fred and my meals only came to $21.84. Bob and Wayne’s were around $13.00 or so. Wayne decided to leave a tip, pulled out $2.00 and Bob added $3.00 to that.

We knew Fred wouldn’t leave a tip – at least not much of one. The last time we went to a restaurant with him – the bill was $40.00 and Fred was going to leave the waitress about 50 cents. wow. Anyway when Fred went up to the counter, he gave the cashier $22.00 and told the girl “it’s all yours”. She looked a little puzzled and I had to get out the door because I was already laughing. Barb was too. “Well, that’s Fred”. That’s all she had to say. Bob and Wayne were going to see a movie and although they wanted me to go, I wanted to finish packing up the winter clothes to put into storage, so Bob headed home to drop me off. Fred meanwhile asked Barb about cat litter and it turned out she needed some, so they were going to go to the Dollar Store after dropping me off.

Now we’re back to me (Bob) writing. I had planned on taking Wayne to a movie but that wasn’t going to work out as Fred was still with us. I dropped Wayne off and he thanked us for the meal. The drive home was…well interesting. I don’t know if Fred crapped his pants or what but for about five miles I thought we were driving through some kind of sewer or sulfur leak. Having the windows rolled down in 53 degree weather at forty five miles per hour didn’t dissipate it so I just hung in there. Fortunately one of the results of my brain injury is a reduced sense of smell. Wasn’t reduced enough.

Reminds me of a time I took Fred shopping at Kroger and had a hard time telling him the price on items he held up because I was trying to keep at least five feet behind him. Actually I tried to stay in front of him as following made sure I would be in his rather odiferous wake. “What’s this?” he would ask so I would creep up close enough to see, then step back so I could open my mouth without inhaling too much. Hey, Fred’s almost ninety years old. I am sure I’ll be a stinker if I make it that far. That’s all part of the territory.

Tomorrow will be another fun day in the life of Bob. Barb’s new phone isn’t working right so we will take it back. Now that I think about it, the phone was sold as new but when we took it to Cricket we were told it had been opened, possibly voiding the warranty. I checked the BBB listing on Page Plus and they are labeled unsatisfactory. On top of that they did not give Fred the credit they promised for the phone Barb turned in. Tastes like one of those little cell phone scam outfits that weasel as much as they can from their customers. I think I will have to get a little involved this time instead of letting Fred and Barb get manipulated. I am good at not being nice. Just ask…nah, can’t say who cause it’ll cause more crap. I’m only pissey when it’s needed.

That’s enough for tonight. It was a good day with no slow downs at all. Love when that happens. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same way. Night all.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Muddy morning, hard day

4/15/06 Saturday
This is an exceptionally rough morning. I woke up a little slow with a minor headache and just got slower. On top of that the headache got steadily worse. I took the Tramadol and aspirin, reserving the Zomig till it got to migraine level as I usually do. Don’t like taking pills in general so take as few as I can. It is 12:11 and I will go take the Zomig now. I will have to check with Cherie but I think I had to take one last night. This will be one of the longer slow downs, the ones that are not stress triggered.

I am attempting to back up the stuff on this computer that is valuable to me. That has turned into a chore as it usually is. I always have to learn all over again how to do this because I don’t do it with enough frequency to remember. As I looked at what I want to save I see the confusion my files have become. I am trying to sort and organize them and have been working on it since 9:00 or so. It is hard to do when I am slow. I had to learn how to put folders side by side because I would get confused. Even that is a chore. This will take a while because I am moving in slow motion.

Cherie is doing the laundry.

This is an exceptionally hard day. I went to bed doing poorly and taking a Zomig for the headache and woke up not too swift. It is 4:40 PM now and I am still not doing well. Fred called and asked if I had told Wayne he was invited to the Easter dinner he was buying. He said “You don’t sound good” and asked if I was OK. You can hear it in my voice when I am operating at a four or lower on the Bob scale.

Cherie isn’t feeling too hot either but it seems more like a depression or something. She just went shopping which usually helps ease her mind. I was going to carve but that won’t happen when I’m like this. Might cut a finger off or something playing with razor sharp tools. I will lay down and watch more TV like I have done with most of this day.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A good start

4/14/06 Friday
Starting out much better this morning. Woke up just before 8:00 with the mind sharp and lucid. Running a strong 8 on the Bob scale. Yesterday was different. I woke up slow, got sharp as a tack for a good part of the day and then, as you can tell from the journal entry, slowed down to the point I really couldn’t write well. That’s the unpredictability of this brain injury that is so frustrating for me. My joke is “I am either the smartest dumb person or the dumbest smart person you will ever meet. It just depends on the moment you meet me”. That is a fairly accurate description of me. It is always good to try and get some humor out of the situations one finds themselves in.

I watched a news article on the first man to go to space. He’s not the one most of us think of because he didn’t take a rocket. Before the US launched a manned rocket into space they sent a man up in a balloon that went something like twenty miles up which they consider to be in space. Then he jumped out and parachuted back to earth. Whoa! He was a fighter pilot and a test pilot like my father was. In Vietnam he flew some four hundred and sixty plus missions and was shot down and captured. I wish I could remember his name but he spent the next eleven months in the infamous prison known as the Hanoi Hilton. As I watched this interview I was amazed at how he cracked jokes about the “room service” and other things regarding his torturous stay. When I was interviewed on channel 13 for their story on me Jason Knowles, the reporter, remarked on my sense of humor in my circumstances. I told him that laughing was a lot better than crying.

I just got a call from Jeanine, who is Wayne’s case worker with LMHA. She was just now reading the letter I dropped off last week regarding getting Wayne moved. Jeanine said she was a bit confused about why NPI refused to move him. She asked me if Wayne had a year lease or was month to month because if he was month to month there should be no reason for NPI not to let him move. I called Wayne and had him look up his paper work. Sure enough he is on a month to month lease. I left a message on Jeanine’s phone and look forward to hearing from her.

I think I will call regarding Denise and her offer to have Wayne move in with as her roommate. I can’t remember the name of the woman who brought her to the M.S. support group so I will call Cindy Smith who is involved with the M.S. Society.
Got a hold of Cindy and she directed me to Susan. I left a message with her and further examine this avenue when she calls.

I am grateful to be sharp this morning so I can do some good here. As always I will try to accomplish as much as I can while my cognizance is high because I never know how long it will last.

Can’t believe it is already 10:22. Things are moving along at a good pace. Cherie just left to return the tennis shoes she bought and do some grocery shopping.
Fred called as I was writing this and would like to get out so I’ll get my shoes on and do that.

Got Fred out. We stopped by Tom’s at the gas station and then I took him to the Dollar Tree. There Fred looked for a picture frame for Barb and another one to put his auto club certificate in. He would look and say “It’s too small. That one will work to put Barb’s birth certificate in but won’t work for me”. I suggested he check his certificate on the frame he is buying for Barb but he said he knew it wouldn’t work.

From there we went to another dollar store and again looked for frames. Jeanine from LMHA called while we were there so I talked to her about Wayne’s housing while Fred peered at things. I was unable to tell him what he was looking at so hurried to finish with Jeanine. We set up a time for Wayne to take a required class in order for him to move. With that done I went back to being Fred’s eyes. Unfortunately he couldn’t think of what he needed so we looked at everything.

When I told Fred we were in the women’s isle it didn’t seem to register. Actually he didn’t seem to listen to much of anything I said. “Fred, this whole section is women’s make up. There is nothing here you need” I would explain and he would reach out and grab something off a shelf. “What’s this?” he asked. “That is little girl lipstick Fred” I answered “This is all women’s stuff”. “I don’t need that” Fred said and picking up something else asked “What’s this”. “Fred, that’s for douches” I told him trying to hide my frustration and not laugh at the same time. This went on and on. Finally he says “I know what I want” so I took him to where cleaning brushes were. This is when Susan returned my call about Denise. We talked and I tried to get a clearer idea of Denise’s circumstances. I will have too call Denise as Susan was not up on everything though she was a great help.

Now I am at home with Cherie. I called Allen to make sure he was up. He answered the phone before the first ring was done, which I thought was a good sign. Then he said he was moving slow and asked for more time. That didn’t set right so I tried to keep it to our schedule. Allen said he could not be ready until 2:30. I don’t know any man who needs an hour and a half to throw on clothes and get out of the house. Hell, Cherie doesn’t need that long and she does the whole woman make up be perfect routine. It sounds like Allen is trying to get some pain killers and that would account for his anxiously waiting by the phone. That’s what I am working to get him help on but I still don’t like being bullshitted. Doesn’t work well with me at all. We will see.