Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Loading today

2/22/07 Wednesday
I can see that I didn’t get far on yesterdays postings. Had a busy day so need to catch up. By the time we got in last night I was pretty much done for and went straight to bed. Today is packing day so there is much to do. Of course there is all the other things we haven’t gotten to. Part of that is me visiting with the kids. Haven’t even called to let them know I was in town. Don’t know when to call them because they work and I don’t know what hours.

We’re heading out to the storage area first to spy out that situation and thus be better able to plan on how we will pack the trailer. Yesterday Cherie took her parents to a funeral. That was a chore that I won’t detail here but Cherie saw cousins she hasn’t seen since high school. We met up at the hotel room at three or so to prepare to have dinner with Eileen.

The visit with Eileen was great but too short in my mind. Her knew place is a drastic improvement over her house across the street. Of course that house is full of memories, a large part of which are unpleasant. Her mom lived, was cared for by Eileen, and died in the house. Her common law husband died there just last year resulting in an emotional mess as their relationship was not legitimized by law in spite of being together twenty five years. So there is a ton of emotion there.

I’ll tell more when things settle down. That may not be today so hang in there. I’ll fill these things in later.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Memorium

So many thoughts. So much to process and say. I think this will deserve a separate post. I had visited Fred and then went to see Jeff, who owns the temporary staffing company Cherie had worked through. I will write of that later but now I must record these thoughts. After visiting I stopped at the Distillery, a bar near where Cherie and I lived. I would go there for a bite to eat and to be around people while Cherie was at work. I figured I would say hi to the employees I had gotten to know and grab something to eat. On the television was live coverage of the funeral for the police officer who was killed just a few days ago.

As I sipped the Glenlevet single malt scotch I had indulged myself with and watched I had rushes of thoughts and pictures running through my mind. Sure it was across the street from the home I once owned but that was no longer relevant. There are thousands of people here, coming from several states and even from overseas. So many thoughts, and so many internal conflicts. Here is a man who died for what he believed. My son is a cop in this same city.

As I write they are removing the casket from the hearse. I hear the sounds of the bagpipes. There are several thousand people here, many still walking in from over a mile away as that is as close as they could park. The funeral procession was several miles long. Soon they will be playing “Taps” according to the news announcers. Later will come the 21 gun salute. I wonder if my son will be a part of that as he is member of the American Legion honor guard.

They occasionally show a picture of officer Dressel with his wife. He leaves behind two children, four and six years old. There is so much emotion here and that is translated through the television. One can’t help but have a great respect for anyone who sacrifices so much for a service to his community. What a service. His record tells of a time he ran into a burning building to save an elderly woman from certain death. Here is a life lived with pride, a life that has no shame.

Now one would think that I would not have these sentiments, after all I am what they call a three time loser having been convicted of a felony three times. I have been the victim of a criminal justice system that was more concerned with numbers than justice, of prosecutors who manipulated and abused in order to have as many conviction notches on their belt as they could. But that is not the case. Sure I have been on the other side of the fence, yes I have consorted with those who considered those who enforce the law as the enemy. But even in that world I was an outcast. I remember causing stirs in prison when I would make statements such as “We need the law, imagine what the world would be like if there were no rules, some people belong in prison”. Yes I have a strong sense of right and wrong. This was garnered by the hundreds of books I devoured in my youth. Books that portrayed heroes, that exemplified concepts of honor and integrity, of sacrifice for the good of others. I admit that these works of fiction I escaped into during my lonely early years were not always in touch with reality but perhaps neither was I. Even in the criminal world my drug use lured me into I maintained this naïve concept of honor, preferring to do prison time to being a snitch. I didn’t have to go to prison, in a way I chose to.

Just to clarify some of this let me explain my grievous convictions. In 1975 I was given a ten year sentence for selling ground up Alka-Seltzer and aspirin as cocaine. It the state of Texas if you represented something as such it was the same as if it was. In 1992 I was convicted of burglary because, after spending eight hours in a bar celebrating a $100,000.00 contract I just landed, I had kicked in the door of a fireworks stand a half block from my house. Piling up cases of fireworks I passed out on them before I could light them up. The third conviction was just prior to my wreck. I was admittedly a mess, going through a two year long divorce, severely depressed, and addicted to pain killers along with doing massive amounts of cocaine. During this period I had fallen fifteen feet breaking two ribs and knocking myself out. My secretary, Eileen, tells me I became a different person, another drastic personality change. The pain killers had been prescribed for the broken ribs. I caught an employee stealing and tied to file charges. Without adequate evidence I was unable to. In retaliation and to avoid prosecution that employee had his father and wife come forward with a computer they claimed to purchase from me. It was stolen from a business in my building. In these last throes of my dying business and life I could not afford an attorney and was appointed one. Without bogging you down on the details I was convicted of a crime I did not commit. Yet I believe in the system and have a tremendous respect for those who put their lives on the line to enforce it, thus protecting us. Sure there are flaws but flaws exist in anything man touches. It is the way of things.

Good by detective Dressel. You have honored your profession.

Our day is starting

2/26/07 Monday
It’s another day in Toledo. We are up and had coffee from the coffee maker we just bought. I called Eileen (my former secretary for you new readers). She asked how the sun was down in Texas. I answered “I don’t know, but I know it’s cold up here”. “Where you at” was her puzzled reply as she processed my statement. “I’m up here in Toledo” I let her know. We talked for a while about things. Eileen knows more about me than just about anyone as she worked for me for eleven years. She was the other person I could remember when I came back to Toledo after waking up from the coma. It was her and Allen. I wandered around the area for four days trying to remember where she lived despite having rented the house next door for a girlfriend I had during the nasty divorce from the second wife. We will go over there for dinner tomorrow.

I then called Fred. Fred is the 89 year old guy who lives in the apartment complex Cherie lived in when she took me in. Fred is pretty much blind now and can no longer drive so I became his chauffer. Hec I was sitting around unable to do much of anything so I was happy to help him out. I would take him to the grocery store where I was his eyes and would tell him what he was looking at. “Those are green beans Fred, here let me get you the chili”. I took him everywhere he wanted to go and through him also began to help Barb. Barb is another victim of a brain injury. Hers happened when she was beat with a tire iron during a robbery. I’ll go see Fred this afternoon after dropping Cherie off at her sister’s where she will pick up the car to take her mother around.

So our day is starting.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Catching up

2/25/07 Sunday
I haven’t kept up with this journal like I should, mostly because we are both so tired when we get to this hotel room we just crash. We are still fighting off this nasty cold and woke up several times in the night to cough up the crap building in our lungs. Yesterday we went to the folks house twice. Visited for a while and then came back here to lay down and rest. Cathy had invited us over for dinner and she called at five or six to let us know they were going to buy Quizno’s subs.

As I write this I remember what we did the first visit. Couldn’t at first but it’s here now. Connie came up from her home near Columbus, Ohio, about a two and a half hour drive. She brought, Sammy, her young fireball of a son, with her. He’s going to be five soon. What a handful he can be but so can any four and a half year old. Smart inquisitive kid.

There was a seed exchange thing going on at the Toledo Botanical Gardens and Cathy, knowing we would be starting our first garden on the farm, was encouraging us to go so go we did. All of us, Cathy, Connie, Cherie, and one lone guy, me. It was great. They had tons of seeds. I took maybe ten packs of the seeds Melissa from the Homestead.org website had sent us to turn in for the exchange. For that they gave Cherie and I maybe forty tickets. Didn’t count them just know it was a bunch. We then perused the many tables with tons of different seeds, often for plants that I had never heard of. Some of them were familiar names but I didn’t have a clue what they were. Perhaps I once did but not now. So we got two grocery bags of seeds and some bulbs for a flower called a Dahlia. Many of them I will have to go online to learn about. How to plant them and care for them and then what to do with them. Eat them? Pick them? Dry them? Look at them? Or just leave them alone so they come back next year. Hey even this will be an adventure. Can’t wait to see what comes out of the ground.

After this we went back to the folks house where we visited more and that brings me back to where I started on this post. We had gone back to the hotel to get a little sleep. Then Cathy called and invited us to come over for the Quizno’s subs. We went over and talked with mom and dad for quite a while before Connie and Cathy got back with the food. I shared part of my vision for the farm, what we dream of doing and how we thought we could achieve it. I hope it gives them some encouragement for I know they worry about us and the hardships that came with this farm. I also understand their concern for their daughter who married this man of so many strange histories. That would be me. Of course the fact we had divorced twenty years before when I started acting strangely after a concussion didn’t help. Then when she remarried me after seeing me on TV, billed as Toledo’s John Doe, a homeless guy wandering lost with memory loss. Yeah, that’s what every mom and dad want for their daughter right? So I wish to provide some reassurance that I will care for my lovely wife and their darling daughter.

Cathy and I spent a fair amount of time talking in the kitchen about many things. Much of it was in response to questions I asked about the past, the time leading to the divorce. So much of this is still a mystery to me, a time who’s memories are just shattered fragments that I am piecing back together. I asked her to write about this time, to record her memories. Of course it is always good to see events through the eyes of others so one can get a better picture through the composite of many views. Some of what she revealed was totally new to me and really had me thinking and struggling to put it together. Part of it I was able to after I talked with Cherie about the event in question. That’ll be in the book folks.

We went home shortly after that. We were both tired and Cherie wiped out fairly quickly. I stayed up till about two in the morning flipping the hotel TV through the myriad of channels available, never staying on any of them for long before flipping again.

Somehow I woke up refreshed. Beats me why. Of course Cherie had been awake for a while when I started stirring. Cathy called and let us know she was making French toast and we were invited. No argument here. We got ourselves moving and, after I started the truck and left it running for fifteen minutes to melt the ice, headed over. There was a small ice storm last night, not a big deal out here. In fact the roads were pretty much cleared and the salt trucks were spreading salt on the back streets when we left.

Cathy fixed a ton of French toast for not only us but the rest of the household. Nate and Joshua weren’t up yet but their toast was bagged for later consumption. I stayed in the kitchen as Cathy cooked. We talked about the farm and my plans for it. She has a degree and love of agriculture so I value anything she has to say and encouraged her to speak her mind. Of course she put me to work buttering the French toast as she made it and I only dropped one. Not bad for me.


We ate and enjoyed each others company for a while but Cherie and I excused ourselves and headed back for this hotel room. Here we thought on how we would spend these few days we have in Toledo. I tried, as I am prone to do, to schedule this time but it is hard to do. There are too many variables. Cherie will go shopping with her mom tomorrow but that depends partly on what mom is able to do. She is fighting off a kidney infection which at her age, or for that matter any age, is tough. I’ll probably drop Cherie off at Cathy’s work (She teaches kids agriculture at a charter school) where she will pick up the PT Cruiser. This she will drive as they go shopping. I called Wayne to let him know we were in town then called Sharon. I encourage y’all to type in their name in the search engine at the top of this blog to learn more about these people I cared for and care about.

Cherie and I went to an antique store near this hotel where she found some doilies that she intends to incorporate in a quilt. I looked at antique planes and other woodworking tools but they were in poor condition and overpriced.

From there we went to a place called “Savers” which is a thrift store we had visited many times while we lived here. There we got a coffee maker for our hotel room. It only cost $5.00 but is better than the one we have at home. With this we can make coffee in our hotel room and that will help us start each day. Then we went to see if the Glendale Garden Café was open. It wasn’t and that was a disappointment for we have enjoyed many meals there. So we headed towards the hotel. Cherie noticed a restaurant we had visited in the past but has changed hands so we decided to give it a try. Good decision. Great Greek food at an equally great price.

I called Allen, my old friend who was one of the few I was able to remember and look up when I returned to Toledo after waking from the coma. He has had a bad run with pipes freezing in the building he is buying. He lives in the basement for the rest was occupied prior to his deciding to purchase. So everything froze last week when the cold snap with temperatures well below zero came. That means the pipes and toilets all burst. If I had still lived here I would have been able to help as I have before. I’ll go visit him tomorrow and will probably be there till midnight. Allen’s a night time person who’s day seldom starts before noon. He’s another person I ministered to. I guess I help or at least try to help everyone I know. Even when I was in pretty bad shape myself.

So what else? Just want to note that my nephew, Nate, was out riding his four wheeler yesterday. He had a spill on it that evidently knocked him out and he seems to have lost a chunk of time where he doesn’t remember what he did. The helmet he was wearing cracked. Not a good thing and always the sign of a potential brain injury so I advised the family to keep an eye on him. Cathy has been learning about brain injury through reading this blog and also the link I have over on the side to LA Publishing which is dedicated to helping and educating those involved with traumatic brain injuries. It appears Nate will be fine but the point is these things can always happen and it is good to understand. Brain injuries are often undiagnosed and not recognized because there is no outward wound. They come in varying levels of damage and effects on the mind. The old joke “He must of got hit on the head” referring to some abnormality in behavior comes from hundreds of years of observation and is not really funny in the light of our understanding of this injury.

As we watched the weather after arriving here it became evident that we just missed some nasty weather. If we had delayed our departure one day as originally planned we would have been in the midst of the tornados and snow storms. As always we are grateful for providence.

One of the events that greeted us on our arrival is the death of a police officer who was killed when shot point blank in the chest by a fifteen year old. The kid was out with others at two in the morning in an area known for crack cocaine trafficking. He ran when approached and shot the officer when he had caught up with him. The funeral will be held across the street from the house I bought with the second wife. My oldest son is a deputy sheriff so I think I’ll wait a day or two before I contact him as I am sure he will be busy with this funeral. We are so glad to be away from this. They just announced a car jacking where a one year old baby was still in the back seat when the car jacker drove off.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We're here

2/24/07 Saturday
We are in Toledo now. Checked into the Red Roof Inn that isn’t far from Cherie’s parents house. On the way up Cherie’s youngest sister, Connie, called. That was yesterday when we were in Indiana. She invited us to stop by her place near Columbus and spend the night, then we could drive up to Toledo the next day. It was a nice invite but I didn’t want to stop till we got here.

Cherie and Cathy called each other a few times on this last leg of the trip. Of course both Cathy and Connie were keeping up with things through the blog. What a powerful form of communication that is. Almost like a voice mail with pictures that the world can check into any time it wants. So they both knew we are sick. Fact is, from checking the mapstats program I can see that there are many of the regular readers who have been checking in several times a day to see how things are going. Here’s a big hello to you guys, it’s good to have friends, even the anonymous ones. Cathy went out and purchased the Sudafed and some throat lozenges for us. She had Cherie call her when we got into town and ran up to meet us at the hotel.

What a nice welcome to Toledo that was. Cathy was all happy and energetic while we were both dragging. She told us how the whole family has been preparing for our visit and had stocked up for it. What really hit home was when Cathy looked at us and said “Me, and mom and dad, are going to pay for your hotel stay for a few days”. That will be a big help. It cost $260 just in gas to get here. Add two days of hotel stays and food and it comes out to be a chunk of change. We will have to stay till Thursday to head back to Texas because we must wait for my disability check and Thursday is the first of the month. Otherwise we would be close to not having enough money to make it back.

Neither of us got good sleep last night despite being exhausted. There are train tracks near this hotel so the sounds of the trains blowing their horns kept waking us up. We can deal with that. Right now we are preparing to go to mom and dad’s for the breakfast that Cathy is fixing. I hope we don’t share this nasty cold we both have. Cherie is on the tail end of hers but mine is full blown right now. My voice has that gravely sound that I am sure actors portraying some kind of bad ass would love to imitate. It comes with a serious sore throat and I was coughing up some nasty tasting chunks all night and this morning. At least the ear ache has gone down. Point is we would hate to blow into town, make everyone sick, and then leave. That is a dilemma. Do I just try not to breath on anyone? From what I’ve seen on the news washing your hands is important for not spreading germs.

I don’t think we will get too much done today, probably will rest up a bit to recover from this journey. There is much to do but staying till the first of the month gives us more time. Hopefully my immune system will kick this cold quickly. Probably will as it has fought off some serious stuff in it’s time, which they sat makes it strong. That and the fact I almost never take antibiotics all help my bodies ability to fight off infection.

It’s time to get moving now. I’ll have Cherie read this before I publish it because I usually have her make sure I didn’t say anything wrong.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's all about sharing.

2/23/07 Friday
A good marriage is all about sharing. Now I am sick too with a sore throat, nasty sinuses and the sinus headache that goes with it. With us both sick we will have to rethink staying with Wayne. Not only does he have MS but he is diabetic on top of things. For him a cold can be much worse than it is for us. I think we will find a cheap hotel. It will really stretch the budget (that’s an understatement) but it’s the right way to do things. Like I always say, doing the right thing comes with a cost.

Looks like there’s some weather ahead. The weather channel shows storms and freezing temperatures. We will run into it on the way but Toledo is on the edge of the winter storm warnings so it may not be too bad. Let you know. We’re going to get moving now. After a shower and some breakfast we’re going to visit the Walgreens across the street to get vitamin C, mouthwash, and anything else that will help these colds. The mouthwash should help clear my throat so I can talk. Time to move

This is so much fun!!! No it isn’t, at least not much. Other than the fact Cherie and I are traveling together this has not been a good day. Of course being sick is a big factor in that. After grabbing muffins, coffee, and a glass of orange juice we went across the street to Walmart. There we planned on getting some Sudafed to help me clear my sinuses. We picked through the various card displaying what each product did and chose the one that would best fit our needs. The instructions were to take the card to the check out where they would get it. I knew that things have been tightened up a whole lot because of the Methamphetamine problems. When she asked for my ID I handed her my VA Identification card and the piece of paper that we had been given by Texas that was to suffice till the state mailed our regular driver’s licenses. That wasn’t good enough. The clerk took it back to the pharmacist and I heard her say that this was not on the list of acceptable ID’s. It didn’t matter that the VA card is a federal identity card with my picture on it. Of course I didn’t take this well and the emotional control issue became apparent when I said in a rather loud voice “It’s a shame that I can’t get a simple cold medicine because of the F---ing drug addicts”. It was a good time to leave before I really got upset.

So we went to the McDonalds that was at the end of Walfarts parking lot. They did not have it together at all. The girl taking the order seemed to have a problem understanding English so I had to explain what we wanted several times. “I’d like an Egg McMuffin with sausage” I said. “That would be a number 2, do you want coffee or orange juice” she replied. “No, just an Egg McMuffin with sausage”. I had to do that with everything Cherie and I ordered. When she brought the order it was wrong. It was a regular Egg McMuffin and had no sausage. She took it back and when she showed the manager she gave it to whomever in the back and I heard her say “Just take the ham off and put sausage in it”. That’s not how you’re supposed to do it but I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. Just wanted my food and out of there. I watched the guy snagging sausage and other stuff off the racks and putting it in his mouth, eating as fast as he could and at the same time putting his fingers on my food. I did good, resisted the strong desire to raise hell abut it and, mostly for Cherie, kept my mouth shut and we left. She’s a real motivation for me to behave.

So that was the start. Now we can hit the road. It wasn’t too bad, but gas prices are way up there in Illinois. We stopped at one place because they have this killer high caffeine coffee labeled “Kenya”. When I saw how high the gas was I just put in ten bucks figuring we’ll find it cheaper down the road. I pulled off at two other exits where there were an assortment of gas stations and, after driving up to the pumps to see the prices, got back on the highway. Finally I gave up and paid the price. I checked the oil and found that this trip has been hard on the engine as it used over a quart of oil. That’s not good as it used none for the months we have been in Texas. It’s allot of work for this V-6 to pull this trailer.

Cherie snapped some pictures on the way up. The first shows some of the swampy conditions there are out this way. We missed the Cypress woods with the trees standing in water.

The next picture is of some of the snow out here. It was great to see that and the flocks of ducks and geese that were standing on top of the ice covering the ponds. We very much enjoy this country. Love the trees and hills. Of course we love the farm and will enjoy making something of it but if offered a decent amount of land out here would have to think about it. Not a problem as I doubt it will ever come up. Time to post this. We are at a rest stop were we pulled in so I could take some meds for this migraine, another reason this isn’t a fun day. It’s 4:00 so we have to keep moving to get into town before it gets real late. I think we are about four or five hundred miles away.

We made it. It is late and I am tired so I’ll write tomorrow. Here’s a picture of the eyes on the trailer as they look at night with the lights on. Sure it drew some attention all the way here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day two? or morning one?

1:46 – We are in the Day’s Inn at Sulfur Springs. That’s as far as we got but that’s OK. Pretty tired so after we both do this internet thing we’ll call it a night. We are both looking forward to taking a shower in the morning. It will be the first real shower either of us has had since we came to Texas. Cherie said that Craig Graves from Graves plumbing stopped by the house. He had been trying to call us for a while but the number he was dialing was one off from ours so there was no answer. It wouldn’t surprise me if I gave the wrong number to Pastor Dave. Just to fill in some of this Dave had given our number to Mr. Graves when he heard we did not have a hot water heater to see if he could help us. He will.

So it’s two in the morning and we should get some sleep. I had to mess with Cherie’s computer cause it wouldn’t go online with the hotel Wi Fi set up. She went to bed while I played with it. Now I suppose I should also.

That was a great nights sleep. Five hours of refreshment but the sleep was nothing compared to a SHOWER. WHOOOHOO. OH YEAH, there’s some parts of my body that haven’t seen water since we moved here. Washed my hair three times and scrubbed hard on the rest of me. Didn’t want to get out. Cherie was of the same ecstatic mind as me. It has been a challenge living at the farm without hot water but that’s ok, there is allot of good that comes with any hardship. It makes you stronger, feeding that spirit that exemplifies what we admire in America. No, I’m not claiming to come close to those who have endured true hardships in the founding, settling, and protection of this country, just saying that living a pampered life weakens one but hardships are like good exercise, toning you up and making you more able to overcome future trials.

We went to get the “Free” breakfast at this Day’s Inn. Walked in the room and walked out. Just plain crappy. There was a burned waffle sitting in a waffle maker, some unknown drinks in Styrofoam cups with aluminum foil wrapped on the tops, obviously prepared hours before, and…we walked out. The manager in his business suit had proudly pointed to the dining room when he saw us looking for it. He was still out there sixty seconds later when we left and looked at us, perhaps surprised we didn’t stay. “That sucks” I bluntly told him, pointing back to where we had just come from, and kept walking back to our room. It is 8:00 in the morning and room service is busily working down the hall. She keyed a door and cracking it open yells “Room service”. I hear a frantic voice inside saying “Don’t come in, we’re not ready”. Well the shower was great but we will be glad to hit the road. Of course I’ll have a few choice words when I check out. You know me, I say what I think. I’m sure there’s a McDonalds or something nearby. Time to got moving folks. I’ll check back in when it’s convenient.

Migraines are not good for driving, not fun at all. We made it out of Texas and are maybe a hundred miles from Little Rock. Stopped at a Love’s truck stop for some coffee, candy, and pills for the headache and acid stomach. Also good to get out and stretch the legs. Cherie has been fighting a sinus infection thing for about four days now so she has been a little rough. She’s a trooper though and hanging tough. Only a thousand miles to go so it’s push time. Here’s some pictures Cherie snapped while we were still in West Texas. There’s trees where we are now. Always nice to see trees. See ya nest time.

We just stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs and enjoy this perfectly nice day. Come to find out we have been at this roadside stop before. I always enjoy it when my memory works. Of course significant things help bring the memories up. In this case it was this huge burl. I don’t know what kind of tree it is but I’m glad I don’t have the chainsaw with me because I would be real tempted to cut this sucker right off the side of the tree. That’s about a thousand dollars worth of burl depending on what you find under the surface.

We are so enjoying just spending the hours together in this truck. As we explore the radio stations we find so many of the “Oldies” we like. Hard to believe much of this is considered “Oldies”. I guess we aren’t young anymore. Anyway the point is, in our reminiscing the question comes up “What would the last twenty years have been like if we had stayed together?” It’s a question I hesitate to ask because I know that Cherie carries a load of guilt and blames herself for the divorce. She has come to terms with that, at least to a point. The song “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers came on. You know, I never thought much about these love songs, their meaning was lost on me. Now they have come to life and express the depths of feelings we share. It is good to be in love. As we talked of this I told Cherie “I know we missed a lot but the years we lost make the time we have with each other now more precious”. I say again, it is good to be in love.

Don’t know how far we will get. Toledo is about ten hours away and if I drive straight through it will be about two in the morning when we get there. Not sure I want to do that. Hate to spend another sixty or seventy bucks on a hotel room but waking up Wayne at two in the morning so we can come in and sleep would be pretty inconsiderate. I think we will stop someplace before we get to Toledo.

So we made it to Sikeston, Missouri. I decided to not push further because Cherie is tired and fighting off whatever is ailing her. Besides that I don’t have what it will take to push on to Toledo on top of not wanting to arrive there at two in the morning. So we are at the Days Inn here at 8:30. Watching Ben Hur on the TV. Never seen it before and neither has Cherie. She will probably fall asleep before it ends. It’s a fascinating movie so I’ll watch it now. Be back later.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On the road again

2/21/07 Wednesday
On the road again, well almost. Carman kitty has been taken to the kennel and Cherie is finishing up the packing. I went into town to let the sheriff know we would be gone so they could keep an eye out. There is a deputy that drives by every day. I stopped at the post office but there wasn’t any mail, might have been a bit early. While there I stopped at the bank to see if they had sent out the 1099 for Minnie Lee so the taxes can be done thus getting the estate settled. Come to find out they sent it out on January the sixteenth. I checked the address and it was for Virginia. How curious. Getting home I called Virginia at work, the one place I can get a hold of her. Asked her if she got the 1099’s and she said “No, I’ve been looking everyday but they haven’t come in yet” was her answer. I asked what her mailing address was in case the bank had it wrong but it was the right one. I let her know the bank had long since mailed the 1099’s out so suggested she call the bank and ask for another one. I have a copy here also and could mail it. Whatever works but I’m going to push some now. It’s time to get it done and I have to wonder, why the hold up.

I went to get a picture of the longhorn steer that we see out at Carrol Yater’s place but it wasn’t out. Being sharp I decided to stop in and pay him a visit. He owns the building across the highway that I think would make a great farm market spot. I also wanted to ask about the shelving that is sitting out on the side of the building. It turned out to be a great visit. He knew Lee since childhood and in fact they had worked together in that building when it was a store. Said he had seen us working on the place and had intended to stop by but just hadn’t got to it yet.

We talked for a while and then his wife came out so he introduced her. That was the start of another conversation. Carrol was getting tired so went back inside. I got to get some pictures of his place. Great stuff there, all kinds of antiques including life size carvings of cowboys and such. Just a picture of the wild west here. Lynn (Carrol’s wife) knew Lee well and visited often. She had met Larry, Virginia, and many others who were involved in Lee’s life. When I told her what we plan to do with the farm she got excited, particularly about the organic part. “There’s such a need for that out here” she exclaimed. I brought up that Cherie would like to start a sewing business and come to find out she needs some sewing done. Cherie will call her when we get back. I had to cut the conversation short as I had left the garage doors open and had stuff to get done for this journey.

We’ll be checking in. With this new PC card we can go online anywhere, even as we cruse down the highway. Should be interesting. Gotta go.

It was a start. The electric brakes didn’t work so I turned around and went back to the house. Hadn’t gone far, about a mile down the road. Messed with the wires and messed with anything else connected with no luck. Then when I went to lock the garage door part of the lock fell apart. I think I cussed just a little bit. Got all that straight and decided to hit the road brakes or no brakes. They are important when I’ve got a load in the trailer but it is empty now and the roads are dry and clear. Besides that I no longer have a floor jack as the one I had lost a seal so won’t work. Without a jack there is no way I can get under the trailer. So we left.

We are about an hour away from Fort Worth now. Go figure, the electric brakes work fine now. Stopped so I could get out and walk a little, get the blood moving in this right leg. A little blood flow in the right bun helps too. I’m taking a few moments to post this and then we’re getting moving again. I want to at least get out of Texas before we stop but we will play that by ear. Won’t take any risks.

Well we made it through Dallas. Glad it was eleven when we went through. Still the traffic was intense and the idiots were plentiful. We just stopped for some McNuggets and coffee for a snack. It is 12:18. Just thought I’d drop a quick note. Time to get driving

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Had to wake up twice

2/20/07 Tuesday
This is one of those mornings I had to wake up twice. Outside it is another clear day with only a wisp of some high cirrus clouds on the eastern horizon. The West Texas wind is again whistling through every crack and crevice it can find, announcing itself to insure I won’t forget it’s there. I won’t. Anyway, it is clear outside but cloudy inside. One of those days I must look at the calendar to see what day it is. I’m not doing bad. In the ever perplexing way this brain wanders around, deciding which portion to bless with cognizance, I am able to write with some creativity but don’t ask me a question. I won’t be able to search out an answer and if I do I can’t depend on it to be the right one. Trying to figure out what I need to get done today will take a while.

Cherie let me sleep in. It is rare when she wakes before I do and she quietly got out of bed so as to not disturb me. That worked till she saw Skittles outside the door. Happy to know he was still alive it was “Oohhh, Skittles, How’s my little Skitty doing, Yes, Your so cute…” in her loud talking to a baby voice. I woke up with that seemingly never ending one way conversation cutting through the fog of my brain, slowly clearing up the confusion of my dreams merging with it’s litany. “I’m awake” I groggily announced. Getting up for my morning bathroom duty it didn’t take long for Cherie to figure I wasn’t waking up well so she suggested I go back to sleep. That was an easy decision for me to make despite the groggy brain so I crawled back in bed and pulled the covers over my head. I was out like a light in seconds.

I woke up two hours later when Cherie’s cell phone did it’s musical announcement on the dresser next to me. In my waking confusion I didn’t recognize it was Cherie’s ring tone so started digging through the clothes on the floor searching for my pants in who’s pockets I kept my phone. I wasn’t even aware that Cherie’s phone was happily singing on the dresser till she came running in to answer it.

Good Morning World! Ok, I’m awake now, or at least a long way towards it. Like I said I had to wake up twice. It is a slow process but I am clearing up as I write. Cherie fixed me some French toast and I’ve downed three cups of coffee. Physically my muscles have that soreness you get when you work out in a gym. In a perverse way I like it because it tells me that these atrophied muscles will be getting stronger. They’ve come a long way from where they were when I woke from the coma six years ago but still don’t approach the physical excellence I once enjoyed. Sure, I’ve gained weight, moving from the hundred and sixty pounds I was when I woke up to 220 but it’s more fat than muscle. I weighed 230 in my prime before the drugs and alcohol, followed by the coma, ate it away but that was all muscle. Well mostly, there was a little paunch that came from living well. Anyway, it’s good to be sore and farm life will be great for me in that way. The pain is a different matter. The muscle soreness I can enjoy knowing it is a good thing but the deep pains in the tissues connected to my spinal column are much different. I know that as I gain strength my muscles will be better able to support my frame, thus reducing the pain. I also know that with age I can expect these old injuries to worsen. Losing fat is an important factor in my long term health strategy. Boy that sounds impressive doesn’t it, a long term health strategy. Yeah, like I really have something written down. Oh well, time will tell as it does on all things.

Bob Slusser, from the Department of Public Safety, just called me. I will be meeting him at the Stanton Sheriff’s office after lunch where I will hand over the documentation of Larry’s thefts. Not a pleasant thing to do but doing the right thing often comes with a price.

I’m going to post this and Cherie and I will do our walk up to the well. I don’t know but from the sound of the wind we might get part of the way and decide to come back. The sand will be whipping into our eyes and wearing a hat is going to be a task. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We walked up on the grassland instead of the dirt road. The sand was definitely being kicked up on the road as it ran the same direction of the wind making a quarter mile long alley to focus it. Walking against the thirty mile per hour wind to the well was very much like walking up hill. You could really feel it. Coming back was like flying, much easier.

Cherie is resting now and will go do laundry in preparation for our trip. She will probably start packing. Right now I am going online to look at maps as well as see about road construction and things like that to plan our route. We’re thinking about going through Dallas to avoid the Oklahoma turnpikes that will cost so much with our tandem axle trailer.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can't turn it off

2/19/07 Monday
It is 4:50 in the morning. I got up at midnight with my stomach still doing it’s acid upset thing. It was another night where I couldn’t turn my mind off. I was thinking about all the things we should do before we left for Ohio, or at least trying to figure out what we should do. Then of course there were a succession of other thoughts that rose up and clamored for attention. I wondered about my cousin Darryl and the other relatives I have but don’t know or see. I pondered farming, building techniques for the greenhouses, entertainment venues to attract and retain customers to the “Pick your own” farm that as yet only exists in my mind, food processing facilities to make, can, and package products from this imaginary place, and on and on. “Enough” I told myself and got out of bed.

I worked on getting the picture of the Celtic Heart modified for the business cards I want to print up with the blog address on them. This has been part of an ongoing fight as I struggled to find the program I knew existed in this laptop to modify photographs. I knew it existed because I had used it before. This is the same old story when it comes to stuff like this. If I don’t do something repetitively it will vanish from my short term memory and I pretty much have to start over fresh and learn again what I have learned before. I have been looking for days for this program. I found it not to long ago in Microsoft Works but couldn’t find it the day before yesterday. I located it again last night and learned again how to work it. Played with that picture till 3:30 this morning discovering better ways to accomplish my task as I explored and made mistakes. Making mistakes is a great way to learn for me as it helps things stay in my mind.

Cherie got up to use the bathroom at three or so and discovered me playing away on this laptop. I showed her what I was doing with the picture and promised her I’d come to bed. I did a half hour later so got an hours worth of nap time. Now I am up again. Made a pot of “bob” coffee because now I am tired and nodding off again. Go figure, I can’t sleep because of all that is on my mind but I’m having a hard time staying awake. I just went and got another cup of coffee, which probably isn’t too smart as my stomach is still “urpee”. That probably contributes to my inability to sleep. I took another Tums.

I think I will go online and post this, then I’ll go back to working on that card. I’ll may or may not have to familiarize myself again with this software.

Never did get back to working on the card. I can’t remember what I did. I might of gone back to bed for an hour or stayed up working on this laptop, can’t really say but I know that I turned the news on at 6:30. I’ll have to finish this later. Been splitting wood that Kevin dropped off since 8:00. It is 12:00 now and I’ve finally got done. Have a migraine heading up and all kinds of back pain from splitting the wood. Going to take a nap now.

That refreshed me, just an hour and a half long restless nap. Now to fill in the rest of the day. With me turning on the morning news Cherie woke up. She fixed me some scrambled eggs with sausage. We need to use up the sausage before we leave for Ohio. I decided to get a picture of the sunrise as I usually catch the sunsets. Then I came in the house and discussed with Cherie what each of us would do. Scheduling our day is something I am pushing to do every day. It helps Cherie get things done for without one she is as bad as I am.

During this I looked out the office door. There was a big black gooseneck trailer parked in the front alongside the driveway. “What” ?!? Then it dawned on me. I had just been telling Cherie that Kevin would come by today or the next two, to bring us the firewood he was going to be cutting at his father’s place. Some how he had drove in, unhooked the trailer, opened the back door and left without us hearing a thing. He may have knocked on the front door but we don’t use it and wouldn’t have heard unless he pounded. I figure he had to get to his job so didn’t have time to talk. Regardless I had a load of wood to split and stack. It’s green wood for the most part so splitting is vital as it will speed up the drying process. Amy just sent me an E mail warning of the danger of creosote buildup and the risk of a chimney fire that comes with that.

Well that blew the scheduled list of “To do’s” to pieces. Getting the wood unloaded was now top priority. The rest of the stuff I can get to later. (It’s later now so I better finish this and get moving) It only took me three minutes to figure out this was going to be painful so I came in and took one of the pain pills the doctor had just prescribed. I have been afraid of them and refused to accept prescriptions of narcotic pain medication. Now I am grateful for them as they reduce the pain I live with daily that is greatly increased with certain types of physical activity. My fear was based on the addiction to Oxycontin I suffered from after they were prescribed when I broke two of my ribs. This was during the nasty two year long divorce from the second wife and led to my heroin addiction. Now I think I have enough fear and common sense to not go down that path again.

I’ve been toughing out serious chronic pain ever since I woke from the coma but now that I am on this farm I have become much more active so the pain level is dramatically higher. I still hurt but only take these when it gets bad, like today. They don’t magically remove the pain just make it more bearable. It’s a shame that marijuana or the cannabanoids they now extract from it are illegal for one of the areas they have proven very effective is with pain that comes from neurological damage. That is one of the reasons twelve states have now bucked the federal government and made it legal. When I was researching Autism and Asberger’s syndrome a week or so ago I ran into repeated references to that. That is because Asberger’s is sometimes a result of childhood brain trauma. Kinda surprised me to see this in scientific medical reference material. One of them stated that cannabis was commonly prescribed by doctors up until the 1940’s when the government, influenced by the big drug companies, started pushing to make it illegal.

The wind is howling through the power lines outside causing a noise that sounds just like that you hear on the old movies. There is that constant moaning coupled with various whistles and bumps and bangs of what these twenty five to thirty mile per hour winds decide to pick up. I went out to check on things a few minutes ago and the sand is whipping into my eyes. Not comfortable at all. Makes me want to look into getting some goggles for the times I must work out in this, like in a few minutes after I post this. Time to get motivated. Cherie went into town to get a few essentials and I am just waking up.

I busted my ass getting the wood all split and stacked. Loved working hard but not the pain. I need to get one of those back support belts. Bending over to pick up the pieces of wood was much harder than hefting the splitting maul. I used the maul like a cane to help me with that. Makes me feel like an old man. After I took the nap I took Cherie’s metal cabinet to the garage where I painted the inside. I also touched up the paint on the trailer. Other than that I can’t think of anything else I did other than have a migraine and hurt. Skittles hasn’t shown himself all day. It has Cherie worried that something happened to him. We’ll see. I am tired so that’s it for today.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Up late last night

2/18/07 Sunday
Last night I lay in bed with thoughts and designs for the greenhouse running wild in this mind. After laying there thinking for an hour or so I decided to get up. The brain was running at a high level and I want to take advantage of these moments of lucidity. I drew up some preliminary blueprints which helped me sort out some ideas. Then I went online to research ambient ground temperatures. What I learned was exciting. A study done in Houston Texas showed ground temperatures at ten feet deep to be in the mid seventies. Don’t remember the exact temp but it’s written in my notes. At fifteen feet or so the temps were down to 66 degrees. The neat thing I learned was that the ground temperatures are colder in the summer and warmer during winter months. I don’t know what the exact ground temperatures are here in West Texas but they won’t be too far from these. Why there hasn’t been much done in the way of underground greenhouses I don’t know. There could well be a lot but I haven’t been able to find it. There was a university project I saw a mention of from Utah but in that they built an experimental greenhouse in Bulgaria or some other foreign country. I looked but there were no details available that I could find.

So perhaps this is a ground breaking concept I am putting together. There is some complexity in the design I am creating that will grow as I learn more about greenhouse agriculture. The potential benefits that come with being able to control the temperature and the greenhouse environment at an extremely low energy expenditure and cost, especially out here where 110 degree temperatures are not uncommon, are fantastic. It is exciting for me as I contemplate the possibilities.

Anyway, I was up till 4:00 this morning working on it. I woke up with my mind still strong and on the subject three hours later at 7:00. Cherie has been suffering a headache for three days now, probably from a sinus infection. She had a hard time at church because of it, really drained and just not feeling well. Kevin wasn’t there today so they put our class with Steve’s. I enjoyed being back over with the class we had first attended when we came here. Really miss those guys.

In the course of the lesson they talked about Jesus pointing out to the Pharisees that despite seeing His miracles they still didn’t believe. That led to how similar it is today regarding peoples ability to believe in miracles. I raised my hand and stated that I was guilty of that because despite the amazing events of my life that most would consider to be the miraculous hand of God I was still plagued with doubts. “I must be blind or something” I said. Part of me fears revealing these doubts because I want to fit in and to be well thought of but despite that I will be honest no matter the cost.

I had started taking the toilet seat apart in preparation to put the new hinge on it. Looking at this worn out used up decrepit piece of junk I had to kick myself. There is cheap and then there is stupid cheap. I was being anal (Pun intended) when I decided to try and cheap my way to reuse this toilet seat. Cherie is in Midland as I write, getting a new toilet seat. She’s also going to pick up some steel wool I can use to plug the hole where the plumbing goes through under the kitchen sink I just put in.

The patch I put in the kitchen wall disappeared overnight. Don’t know if it was the rats, just know it’s gone so I am working on that. This is an example of the cost of not doing a job right in the first place. When I made this hole while removing the baseboard back when we were painting and putting in the flooring I didn’t fill it in. Don’t remember why but I’m sure it was because I was in a hurry. Now it’s turning into a project. I did such a good job putting the baseboard back up, sealing it thoroughly with caulk, that it caused some damage pulling it loose again.

I am exhausted tired from being up all night and am fighting to not fall asleep as I write this. On top of that I had a bad slow down that came on fast. It was one of the physical ones that affects my balance and ability to walk. I remember having these back when I was living on the streets. As I walked, stumbling often because I wouldn’t know where my right foot went, I was fearful that a passing cop would see me and arrest me for public intoxication. I am so grateful those days are over. It was an incredibly hard time when I would be happy if I was able to get a dollar hamburger in a day. I wandered in fear, not knowing where I had just been and forgetting where I was going to as I was going to it. Then there was the fear of being jumped by other street people or the kids who did it for fun. All of this stress and fear tied my brain up to where it was a major task to formulate a sentence and for that matter to even be understood when I spoke. I am so blessed to be where I am and to be in as good of a shape as I am now. My life is a gift and one I have no intention of wasting.

I am tired but need to cut some firewood for tonight. Cherie just called looking to find the Ace Hardware store. As I tried to look up the address in the phone book she found it. I have cleared up a bunch so will get back to fixing the hole in the wall and will run out and cut another dead branch out of the mulberry tree. The Daytona 500 is just coming to an end. Looks like Mark Martin will win. I hope so. Nascar is one of the few sports I have an interest in.

The pendulum of this mind is swinging again, never predictable and always off beat. I noted in the previous entry that I had cleared up and would get back to fixing the hole in the wall. Never did get to that. In fact things swung to the other extreme. Got so bad I had to be careful walking so I wouldn’t trip and fall down. I’d say I went down to a three on the bob scale. Part of this equation is that I may be getting sick. Feeling real nauseous with a serious acid stomach. Cherie was quite cold but I felt warm so she took my temperature. It was way low, 94.6

Well we are moving on up. Oh yeah, we’re living in luxury now. We have a new toilet seat to pamper our fat asses. Don’t even need a seat belt in order to stay on it. Is that special or what. I know I should have recorded this for posterity but I didn't take a picture to share this precious moment in our lives. Forgive me ok?

I managed to cut some firewood despite being in bad shape. Have to be careful when using a chainsaw during a slow down as bad as this one. Cherie told me that there would be a great sunset when she got home from Midland. She was right. I took the camera out and snapped a bunch of pictures while I cut some wood. They are too great for me to just post one so here ya go.

I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open right now and have drifted off a couple of times here. We are going to have a busy day tomorrow and for that matter for the next few days. Part of that is because there is so much to do before we head to Ohio. It’s hard to believe that is only three or four days away. I’m struggling to keep going so give up. Y’all have a good night and I’ll see ya tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's the weekend. What to do?

2/17/07 Saturday
It is another bright cloudless morning so I hope to get lots done. Running just a little sluggish at a six on the bob scale. Cherie will go to Odessa for a free health screening they are doing at the mall there. Hopefully this will help alleviate the fears that seem to be increasing in her, to the point she is having anxiety attacks where she will take her blood pressure repeatedly as her fear grows. I hope this doctor the lady at Human Services recommended will work out because just having a doctor to see will alleviate much of this fear.

I am trying to work up a list of things to do. This is a normal and often times a necessary task for me, one they taught me at the Brain Injury Institute. Without it I can wander around starting whatever catches my eye and then start on something else with the previous project forgotten. So what do I need to do? I put a patch on the tire tube for the furniture dolly so I’ll go into town to put air in it. While there I’ll refill the two five gallons jugs of water we have emptied. With that done I want to work on the trailer, making it ready for the trip to Ohio. We leave in four or five days, either Wednesday of Thursday. No firm schedule, just whatever works well. Just thought of something else to do. That is to paint the inside of the metal cabinet I’ve prepared for Cherie to use for her sewing stuff.

I just helped Cherie wash her hair by pouring the heated water slowly over her head. I’ll wash mine as soon as the next pot of water gets hot. I think I will have Cherie cut my hair today. Been intending to do that for a week or two but keep forgetting. Want to look good when we go to Toledo. That’s not a very full day I have planned so far but there is plenty to do. I mostly need to stay focused on getting these things done first, then I’ll plan on other things.

It’s nine now and I am tired along with fighting a headache. Cherie went and got her health check up. She’s high on cholesterol, triglycerides, and her blood pressure, which we already knew. She was also a bit close to being diabetic. All of these things are weight related and I must admit I have corrupted her eating habits since I came into her life. I have already been pushing her to take walks to the well and back with me. That is a mile and a start. Told her to not buy what we shouldn’t eat. If it’s not here we can’t eat it. A big part of the problem is my love for sweets so that is up to me to control. I’m not exactly a picture of good health either so we will work on this together. Fact is we are so blessed with being together that it would almost be criminal for us to lose any of that because we didn’t take care of ourselves. I want to have as much quality time with this woman I love as I can.

On that subject I noticed that Valentine’s day has come and gone. “What did we do?” you ask? Nothing. That’s right, we didn’t do anything special for Valentine’s day. Now I know that might seem strange or certainly unexpected considering what a fantastic love story we have but Valentine’s is nothing special for us. We have both agreed not to make a big deal about it. Fact is every day is a Valentine’s day for us. We always find ways of doing things for each other. It’s not to “Show” how much we love each other but “because” we do. There is a subtle difference here. We have no need to prove our love because we both are comfortable and confident in our being one.

I did carve this Celtic heart for her on Valentine’s day in 2004. The inscription I put on the bottom reads “Just as the line on my Celtic heart has no end so is my love for you”. When Celtic knotwork is done correctly the lines always cross over and then under, never going over or under a line twice in a row. This particular design I created for the plaque you see featured on this blog so much. The one I carved in St. Louis as I was recovering from the accident. It is copywrited now and has become a signature of sorts for me.

So what did I get done today? I bought a different mounting hinge for the toilet seat. I got an inverter that we can use to power and charge up the laptops as we drive to Toledo. In fact we can plug anything into it that uses regular 110 volt household electricity. I need to E mail Amy because the one she had just bought when she came up here from San Antonio burned up in her car. Want to make sure I didn’t get the same kind.

I put the new license plate on the trailer. That was not a simple task as I had to dismantle part of the back door that I had built around the bolts that hold the plate in place. What else??? Think, think…I patched a hole I made in the kitchen wall a couple of months ago when I was painting and putting in the fake tile floor. Had forgotten about it till Cherie noticed Carman kitty stalking the hole. He had evidently noticed something moving in it as he was camping out and waiting to pounce. With rodents making themselves known through chewing noises I don’t want any easy access into the house. I did put rat poison in the crawl space a few days ago. Should look to see if it’s been disturbed. Back to trying to remember what I’ve done today. I filled up two of the five gallon and the two gallon water bottles at the drive up coin operated water station. I know you guys up north aren’t familiar with that but down here in the arid southwest you find them all over the place.

I just went and looked at the first part of today’s journal. Didn’t have a clue what I wrote but that is why I write, so I can go back and remember. I see that I was going to put air in the dolly tire and that helped me remember that I actually did get that done. I didn’t have much scheduled so didn’t get much done though I did manage to accomplish what I have written down. Whoopee. A big chunk of the day was spent in Midland where I stopped by Habitat for Humanity to get the toilet hinge and then went to Best Buy to get the power inverter.

There I did what I always say I don’t like to do. That is look at stuff I can’t afford to buy. Did lots of that, wandering through the stereo section dreaming about having a kick ass sound system in the garage. At Best Buy the sales clerks or… I don’t know what label you’re supposed to use but the guys and gals in blue shirts, all eagerly attack with a “What can I do for you? Are you finding what you need?” and the other questions they are programmed to ask. I’m not sure but I suspect that if they are caught not bouncing along someone’s feet like a puppy dog looking for a treat they will get in trouble. It gets old fast but on the other hand it’s real nice for me because I am clueless about so much stuff nowadays. Hell the boom boxes and car stereo’s all do things that are…out of my league. There’s the satellite radio, MGD, GSP, PHD, Bling Blang Bing, and other stuff that is all Greek to me. I know I’m only fifty but I feel like I’m grampa Jones from the backwoods of Hicksville when I look at this stuff. So it’s nice to have a kid patiently explain things.

I was explaining to a clerk how so much of this stuff was new to me and how amazed I was at how much has changed in the short time I was not in touch with this world. Of course I told him the story. You know folks, the one you’ve heard me tell on this blog a dozen or thirty times. “I was in a COMA, I lost my memory, I found my lost love”. I’m sure it gets old but it feels good to tell a great story, to impress someone, to get a message across, to have an audience. Is that wrong? I worry about sounding like a broken record. With a stranger it’s one thing because they’ve never heard it before but I’m sure it can get old fast. I am afraid I drive people away because of this but that might just be this massive insecurity I carry with me. We really haven’t connected with any one here yet as far as creating a real friendship goes but I not even sure how to do that. I know better than to think a friendship of any depth can happen overnight but the beginning stages of just spending time, of learning about each other and sharing thoughts and beliefs have yet to begin with anyone yet. I’m used to being alone as I have been most of my life and Cherie has had her share of that also, but I don’t really like it though there is a safety there.

I see that I am meandering around as I write whatever rises to the surface of this mind. It’s 11:00 now and I should call it a night. Cherie just brought me the PC card as she is done with it, so I can go online now. I reckon I’ll post this and try to get some sleep. I look forward to church now. That is a good thing I think. There is one person there that Cherie and I are observing carefully as we are unsure what lies below the surface when it comes to where we stand with him. Here I must be cryptic for while this journal serves as my memory, documenting our life and what’s going through my head, it also is public, available for the whole world (literally) to see. I will know what this refers to years later though you all won’t know today and frankly don’t need to know. I put this here specifically for me.

Time to post and call it a night. Here’s a picture of today’s sunset. They are so great out here on this farm. Good night folks. Do good, be good.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Trailers and toilet seats

2/16/07 Friday
Good morning Y’all. Let’s see, what momentous event should I record for posterity? You know, something important I’ll want to remember later. Ummm…OK, here it is, our toilet seat died. Oh Yes!…Oh NO! Not that! Now sitting down is a balancing act holding the seat with one hand hoping it doesn’t slide off to the side carrying your butt with it. From that moment on it is a precarious perch. That just became a priority item. Who knows how old it is but my guess is it is the one that has been there since my grandparents fixed this old house up. That would make it close to forty years old. It might be much newer than that but it really isn’t relevant. It could be a couple days old but regardless it’s broke, gave up the ghost. I suppose it could only take just so much. We killed it. So where to you buy toilet seats at? Lowes and Home Depot have become our main source for just about everything. I think we will stop by the Habitat for Humanity’s “Restore” to check on used ones first.

I seem to be doing well this morning. Couldn’t go to sleep last night so stayed up till 1:00 studying farm stuff. Didn’t take notes and can’t remember a thing I studied so in a way I just piddled away the time. Fact is the things I studied are somewhere in this brain and might rise to the surface at a later date when I need it. Cherie is going to call the DPS office to see what we need to get the trailer registered. We might need to hook it up and take it down there.

So far that’s all I can think of that needs to be done today. It’s to warm up to sixty degrees or so today so if there is nothing Cherie would like me to do inside I’ve got plenty to do out. If I have to hook up to the trailer I think I’ll take it to the landfill and pick up some of the telephone poles there. I’ll take the chain saw and cut them to whatever size I can handle. I’ll take Cherie to help. Between the both of us I’m sure we can do this but we both definitely need to be careful not to pull a muscle or something, being very much out of shape. That’s it for now. Time to get moving.

2:10 – We just got back from Midland. Getting the trailer done was much simpler and cheaper than we thought. That’s the advantage of having a farm. We went to Restore but they didn’t have the right kind of toilet seat. On the way back I started having a disturbance with my hearing. The sound of the radio would shift so it sounded like it was in a big hollow room and next to one ear. Then it would change to the other ear as would the tone of the song. I went straight to bed where I am writing this. The wind is howling outside. Pretty loud. Need to cover up and avoid stimulus. Slowing down so it is a petite seizure. Hope it clears up soon.

5:47 – This is so frustrating. It is 68 degrees out on a cloudless day. It is windy out with gusts up to thirty miles per hour, which I actually enjoy except the sand it whips up. The first decent day we’ve had in a while and I’m laying in bed with my head covered. This time it isn’t a migraine though I do have a headache.

These petite seizures, or slow downs as I prefer to call them, are seldom the same. Some are physical in their symptoms and others cover a wide spectrum of brain activity. My ability to process information is the most common of these but others are sometimes fascinating. I’ve had times when different senses are amplified in a big way. I’ve had my sense of smell so acute I can detect the difference between people and receive a myriad of inputs that are overwhelming. The exhaust of cars and the smell of the rubber on their tires, the smell of hot metal, flowers from some distant downwind site, different hairsprays, colognes, underarm deodorants, what detergent was used to wash with, and on and on. When my sense of taste is attenuated it can be a sublime wonder of indulging ecstasy, providing the food is good. If not it is an unpleasant experience. These types of attenuation are usually short lived, only lasting minutes to perhaps an hour.

There are times of great confidence and a feeling of…basking in the glow of life? It’s hard to describe or I can’t find the words for it. Kinda like you feel when you one a race or some great prize or honor. I’m sure we all have that at times so it may not be attributable to the brain injury. Actually it is because in my studies of brain injury there have been several reports of this type of thing. There is a guy in California who regularly experiences times where he feels religious or something like that. Where he has the sensation of being connected to everything and even grains of sand become significant parts of the universe type of feeling. The kind of sensation one gets with a religious experience with the singing, raising your hands, and all the emotions that can invoke. Great sorrow, repentance, relief, joy, and all of that. This is associated with a part of the brain called the amygdala. It is also where the strong emotions of being in love are traced to. The amygdala is a part of the hippocampus a memory center dealing with emotions including fear and anger.

So as you can probably tell I’m back from the slow down. Pisses me off to lose part of the day right when I can get the most done. Wish I could arrange for the slow downs to come during crappy weather when there is little to do or at night while I sleep. Enough whining. We got some good stuff done this morning while I was still sharp. Getting the trailer plates I already covered but there were other things of equal significance. We stopped my the Texas Department of Human Services to learn what they might offer for us, particularly for Cherie’s medical needs. Not really anything because you must be indigent and that means a monthly income of less than $250. The lady was real helpful and referred us to a new doctor in town she had heard good things about.

After that we went across the street to the County Extension Agent’s office. These guys are essential when it comes to agriculture and handle a great many areas that pertain to us. I asked the secretary, who’s name escapes me but she knows us by name now, about educational resources. She referred me to their website, which has a bookstore with tons of books related to agriculture. She said that they could often get the material at no charge so if I would make a list she would see what she could do. I was sharp and enthusiastic at the time so shared some of my vision for the farm. “That’s going to be big” she exclaimed. It will be if it all comes to fruition but we’ll have to see. I told her what I now tell so many “If you reach for the stars and you don’t get there, you at least have gone farther than you would if you never reached in the first place”.

We stopped by the drug store for a hamburger. The waitress was glad to see us. It’s nice to be recognized and greeted when you go in for a hamburger. After a life of fast food it’s a change. Darryl came in while we were there and as usual just gave a perfunctory greeting. “Hi, things going ok?” he said without waiting for an answer as he hurried on to accomplish whatever missions he was on. Then we ran to Midland to find something for the toilet seat. That’s where I started slowing down so that pretty much is the end of the day.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cold out this morning

2/15/07 Thursday
It is cold out this morning, about 20 degrees. We are at the end of the firewood I cut last week, probably don’t have enough to last the day. I’ll be getting the chainsaw out and cutting more of the mulberry tree down. There’s still lots of dead left on it. I do want to save the big branches to saw out some lumber I can use for making cabinets and other things. I can get some wood from Chuck and Lillian’s place also but probably won’t do that today.

The highest priority for today will be to get the handicap driving status document to the Midland courthouse so those charges will be dismissed. Then I’ll go to the Department of Pubic Safety to get my handicap license plates. It will be a relief to have those, especially for the days my control of the right leg are diminished. The strange thing about that is there are some days it is fine and I am as spry as a teenager. Well, not quite but still have no noticeable effects. In Toledo there were some at the Cedar Creek church that thought I was faking because I sometimes limped badly and some times didn’t. Just to make it worse I can be fine walking to my seat but when I sit for a while the numbness increases so that when I get up the limp is bad, then it clears up as I walk on it. I can see how it could make people question. Of course they were real busy gossiping and judging so were looking for things to point their self righteous fingers at. If you look hard enough you’ll find something, or at least interpret what you see to match what you desire to see.

While I fear being subjected to this again and more to see Cherie again hurt I must be careful not to do the same thing. Because of this fear I watch for it and may wrongly interpret others actions accordingly. It is always hard to achieve balance in these things. In general I will follow my creed of living a life I am proud of, thus if anyone wants to be judgmental I have nothing to be ashamed of and they can “Kiss my ass”. Umm…would that be an attitude problem? Yeah I suppose so but it protects a little from the pain and depression that generates.

While in Midland I need to get some rat poison. I had hoped Skittles would clear them from underneath the house but that didn’t happen. This morning I heard the nasty critters chewing under the bathroom. Cherie said she heard the same thing in the bedroom closet. I suppose that because I sealed up the outside opening to the crawl space they are trapped and looking for a way out. Of course odds are there are many ways they can get under there in this old house. I hate using poison but it seems to be the only option.

I guess that’s it for my list of things to do, at least for now. I seem to be doing well, running my average of seven on the bob scale. Time to post, get dressed for twenty degrees, and go out to sharpen the chain saw. Cherie is going with me to Midland so will let me know when she is ready. That gives me an hour or so.

OK, just checked yesterday’s entry and saw that I planned to go back to the VA hospital in Big Spring and straighten up the prescription snafu. Like I say this journal serves as a memory.

I so enjoy the “Mapstats” software. It lets me know where visitors are from and also what search phrase they used to find me. I see some hilarious Googles. This morning someone found this blog when they googled “just hemorrhoids, flat stools”. Hey, whatever increases my readership right?

It’s 8:00 now and I am beat. We got allot done today and probably put more than a hundred miles on the truck. The first thing on the agenda was taking care of the handicap placard issue. I decided that we would go to the courthouse first with the notarized document signed by the doctor figuring that would suffice. Cherie said we should go to DPS and get the handicap tags and placard first but I overruled her and we drove to Midland. Going into the courthouse I proudly presented the document only to be that wouldn’t work, I needed to bring in the placard. “I hate it when you’re right” I turned and teased Cherie. “I love it when I’m right” she retorted smugly as she primped in mock glee. I love that woman and we so enjoy life together. “OK, let’s go back to Stanton” I said and we headed off.

In Stanton we quickly got the plates and placard, having an enjoyable discussion with the clerks while doing so. With that done it was back to Midland. Again there was not a car in the parking lot. After the zoo we had been used to in Toledo this was like going on vacation. Cherie can’t get over how nice everyone is in the court system. In Toledo you have to pass through a gauntlet of metal detectors and police just to enter the building. Then they all act like you are some kind of criminal to be shown no respect. Oh they’re correct by the book for the most part just have a veiled attitude, sometimes not so veiled.

We were done lickity split and out of there. We were going to stop and a Mexican buffet we had noticed on the way into town. There were lots of cars and trucks in the parking lot so that usually is a good sign. After getting done we went there but the parking lot was packed with vehicles parked down the street. I know they must have been great but was not up to fighting a crowd so we went to another place we saw that looked small and not expensive.

Going in I could see they catered to the downtown business professional crowd so it wasn’t going to be a cheap quick meal. “What the hec, we’re here so lets eat” I told Cherie. It was a great meal and wasn’t bad on the price but there was no lunch menu so we basically had a full dinner. That was twenty five bucks so it was our night out only during the day. Actually we’ve already had our once a month eat out at someplace nice so this was splurging outside our budget. We’ll live.

Doctor King, the doc I saw at the VA yesterday, called while I had been driving to court. I handed my phone to Cherie when it rang as I don’t like talking on it while I drive. Learning it was the doc I pulled over to talk. She said that in order for me to see the neurologists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I needed to have an MRI and EEG done. She was kind of apologetic about it which I can’t figure. It was “If you don’t mind” and “I hope this is OK” stuff. Hell I’m grateful for any medical attention and would jump through hoops if they asked me too. I conveyed that to the doctor and then told her we were heading in to see her anyway about the prescription. I explained my perception of it too her and she did her side. Basically it was a failure to communicate well. She had no problem resolving it and even offered to give me larger doses of the medicine. I turned that down telling her the dosage was adequate but I just wanted less Tylenol. Man have I changed. There was a time I would have manipulated for as much narcotic as I could get and now I was turning it down. That’s a good thing.

We went into Big Spring to pick up the corrected prescription and also to talk with the Disabled Veterans rep about what services were available to help me get the farm going and thus off of the disability pension. I also asked about what I could do about getting Cherie medical service. I know the VA won’t provide that but hoped for some direction. When Cherie gave up her job to come here with me she also gave up her insurance. Now we can’t find a doctor who will see her without insurance unless she pays a HEFTY price up front for each office visit. That’s hard on the $900 a month I get on disability. This is a high priority for us. It is important for her to have a doctor especially with some of the problems she has like high blood pressure. She needs a doc just to prescribe the medicine for that.

We will work on that. After getting home I got the saw out and cut enough dead wood out of the mulberry tree to last two or three days. Cherie looked at the trailer license plate. We never got it registered after we had bought it in Indiana and had kept the same plates that were on it when purchased. They expire this month. Tomorrow we go into town and have the title transferred to our name as well as getting Texas plates for it. Then we will be totally legal. Glad she noticed that cause it had long since escaped my mind.

That’s it for now. I’m tired so will call it a night. Here is a picture of the clear sunset that is a perfect end to a day that was pretty clear headed for me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

hope it's a better day

2/14/07 Wednesday
Today the calendar says I’m to see the doctor at the VA. Originally this appointment was set because I don’t want to take the Hydrocodone because it has Tylenol in it. On the label it says Tylenol can cause liver damage. I used to drink whiskey by the bottle in the early 90’s, I was diagnosed with TB in the 80’s and the medication I took was so hard on the liver it came with a prescription for vitamin B, after the wreck it was discovered that I had hepatitis C and possibly B so injected myself with Interferon for a year. All told my liver has been beat up pretty hard and I only have one so I want to baby that sucker so it lasts as long as it can.

So that was why the appointment was set in the first place but now I need to get the doc to fill out the form approving me to get a handicap tag. Need this to satisfy the court regarding the ticket I got for my expired Ohio tag. Don’t want to pay the $250 fine and besides that it would be nice on the days my leg isn’t working well.

Cherie just came in to tell me “That sink works nice”. That makes all the confusion, hardship, or whatever you call it to put that sink in well worth it. I seem to be doing fairly well this morning. As always I hope it stays that way. Had two hard days in a row so I’m due.

It’s pretty cold out this morning and tomorrow is predicted to be cold as well. It is mornings and days like this we are especially grateful for the woodstove Amy donated to us. In my mind donated seems to fit better than gave for some reason. We are just about out of wood but I can always cut some more out of the Mulberry tree. Chuck and Lillian said they have tons of wood out at their place also. Kevin, the Sunday school teacher, said he could bring some mesquite firewood up this week. So it looks like we can stay warm the rest of this winter. Then I’ll have all summer to stock up for next winter.

Cherie’s fixing something for breakfast so after that I’m going to take my standup bath and shave in preparation for seeing the doc. See ya next time.

Alright, let me try to remember this day. I don’t know what happened before we left for the VA hospital. When we got there we checked in and learned I had to get some lab work done so we headed to the lab first. They needed to draw some blood. That is always a challenge of the skill of the nurse because I trashed most of the veins in my arms when I was shooting dope. I explained this to the nurse as I always do. There’s no sense trying to hide the stupidity of your past, just be honest and face up to it. It makes it easier for them to do their job anyway. She had to tap into the veins on the top of my hands. She couldn’t get enough out of the right hand so had to go into the left. Good thing I have an extremely high threshold of pain.

With that done we were directed to the doctors office. The doc I had last time wasn’t in so there was another doctor taking his place. She was new to the hospital having only been there two weeks. I had written down all the things I needed to bring up with the doctor. This I often do with important things because under stress I sometimes can’t remember. The doc was understanding about my concerns regarding Tylenol and came up with a solution. She said she could prescribe ten milligram pills instead of the five’s because they contained the same amount of Tylenol but I could cut in half thus halving the amount of Tylenol. That works. Unfortunately I’ll have to go back there tomorrow cause when they filled the prescription they gave me the exact same pills I had before.

The doc had asked many questions to help her understand my medical conditions and how they got there. Of course that goes all the way back to when I broke my neck and back in 1981 during my first marriage with Cherie. Then there was the tuberculosis and hepatitis and all the other ways I beat this body up. The culmination of all this was the wreck with it’s resulting brain damage, another broken neck, and the partial paralysis. The doc had no problem approving me for a handicap tag.

After that we went to Walmart to pick up a patch kit for the tube from the furniture dolly and some creamer. When we went to pay for it the dizzy ditz at the check out couldn’t help figure out the difference between credit and debit. By the time we got out I was fuming and I fume pretty badly. I settled down by the time we got home. We went to the church dinner they have on Wednesday nights. Chuck and Lillian were there with their little girl, Miracle. I talked with them about getting some wood from their place that they are fixing up to live in. I’ll call them before I go out. They warned me to watch out for the bees. Said they have had four swarms. That ought to be fun. They also warned about snakes but snakes don’t bother me. I’ll play with them but the bees are a different story. I can’t run fast anymore. Hell I can’t really run, just walk fast with a hop.

Kevin came in late so we got to talk after the dinner. I like him cause he is just an earthy real kind of guy with no pretense. He said he would come by sometime next week before we go to Ohio with some of the firewood he is planning to cut. The wood is great but I’d be happy to have him come by wood or not.

Tomorrow we’ll take the handicap thing to the courthouse to get the charges dropped and then get the special license plates for that. Then I need to go back to the hospital and straighten up the prescription thing.

I’m tired so that’s all for tonight.