Friday, August 31, 2007

Did I or didn't I?

8/31/07 Friday
Not sure how well I did with the bees but it looks hopeful. There is this pile of them out where they were going in and out of the house. I filled that hole with more of the Great Stuff foam. Later I checked and found two bees trying to get in. Didn’t want to see any survivors at all. If two made it how many more might there be? Time will tell.

I am sharp this morning. Jay called and came over to measure the window that needs replacement, or at least the worst one. That involved tearing off some of the trim and siding in order to see where the studs were. Some of the rotten wood just split as I tried to pry it loose but I was able to hammer it back in somewhat when we were done. The bottom board is just gone. We found a huge old wasp nest in the wall behind a piece of siding. Fortunately it was no longer occupied.

Jay called his friend, who founded “Christmas in Action”. He’s received numerous presidential awards and others such as one named for one of the Kennedy wives. Can’t remember the name that Jay just told me a half hour ago. He’s the guy who can get us the window and he also has a bunch of siding that is a type they no longer use or something, making it surplus, so we might be able to get that as well. The blessings just keep coming and it boggles my mind for I am as undeserving as they come. Maybe the God I look for is behind this. Would love to know for sure and am sure seeking that answer. I don’t know, it gets confusing sometimes.

My check came in. Cherie got out her pad and paper and we went through all our obligations to insure they are paid up. Don’t want our phones shut off again or any other surprises. We are going to run into Midland in a bit and get some supplies. I’m gonna get some of the Citrus strip that I like and will use to strip down the headboard. Then I think we will treat our self to a fantastic meal like hamburgs or tacos seeing as we are rich for a day. Rich being a rather relative concept for us.

Janie just called as I was writing so I told her I would mention that in this blog so she can be famous. Yeah, I’m so funny. Ha Ha. She’s gonna try to get a hold of the electrician and a crew to finish installing and hooking up the stove and oven. Cool stuff Maynard. (That’s some old thing we used to say back in the day. Don’t ask me. I don’t have a clue who Maynard is or why that was a “Cool” thing to say.)

I seem to be in a positive frame of mind but running at an eight on the bob scale is a big help. It’s easier to be positive when things are working well. Gotta get going. Will drop off a load of spaghetti squash at the Midland Reporter newspaper for Jimmy Patterson while we are in town. It’ll be good to get a full tank of gas also. Love the first of the month.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bes

8/30/07 Thursday
The bees found or made a way under the house. I don’t know if they are in the crawl space where the other hives were or in the wall but they are somewhere. I’m going to open the hatch to the crawl space and stick my head in there with a flashlight to see what I can see. Hope they won’t be to close but I’ll be ready to scramble up and close the hatch. If they aren’t swarming I’ll throw the indoor fogger I have left from when we killed off the other hive down there.

Well I opened the hatch. There were some bees who were apparently dying buzzing on the ground three feet away. That made me jump back pretty quick but I saw they weren’t in good shape. I barely stuck my head down the hole, shining the flashlight around. Didn’t see anything but the thousands of dead bees from the past bee wars and a few empty fogger containers. I popped the cap of the fogger I had, threw it in the general direction of where the bees were getting in, and hurried up to put the hatch back on. Tomorrow will tell the tale. Hope this does it. There have been bees coming inside all day and Cherie has killed so many with the fly swatter she needed to get the vacuum out and sweep them up. We can’t tell how they get in but this old house has so many cracks and holes it doesn’t matter.

I went to the landfill yesterday and found this headboard out there. It’s perfect. I’ll refinish it and it’ll need to be raised eight inches but the light pine color better matches what we are doing with the rest of the house. Besides that one of the things I haven’t liked is there is no room for a nightstand on my side of the bed so there is no place for me to put stuff like my wallet and cell phone when I’m calling it a night. This will solve that problem. Another need met, this time through the landfill. Works for me.

Been busy so haven’t written much. Will be busy tomorrow and Saturday too, catching up on Cherie’s job mostly. Night all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What did I do?

8/29/07 Wednesday
I see that I never made an entry for yesterday. Right now I can remember helping Cherie in the cotton fields with her survey job. I have pictures of that so thus was reminded. What else happened yesterday?

Janie called and asked for some help. She’s go to jump on airplanes and fly all over the place, leaving at times like 4:30 in the morning so just doesn’t have time to keep up with stuff around the house. Hell, she doesn’t have time to get enough sleep. So Cherie went up there and did some wash and house cleaning. I was going to go with her but Cherie won’t let me do our own laundry much less someone else’s. I tend to just dump everything in a washer, pour in an estimated amount of soap plus a little more for good measure, and turn the machine on without worrying about hot or cold, white or not, or any other of the fine nuances of washing clothes. I did some laundry for her in Toledo and her shirts fit a bit tight after. That was fine with me but not her. So I don’t touch laundry.

I could take out the garbage and do some cleaning but other than that I would be sitting around twiddling my thumbs so I opted to stay home. There is plenty for me to do here. In fact I will never run out of things. What I did I’m not exactly sure of. I know I’ve been working on putting connectors on the various garden hoses I’ve scavenged from the landfill and hooking them up to lay the foundation for the irrigation system. Whether I did that yesterday of the last three days I can’t say. Putting a time stamp on memories is one of the issues that comes with traumatic brain injuries. I remember doing them but can’t tell when.

I also tried to get the high pressure sodium light wired right. Had ordered the ballast and it came in but the wiring schematic was a little beyond me. I had no problem fabricating brackets and installing it but wasn’t clear on where and how to hook up the grounds. I puzzled over it for a while and finally went online to find the answer. What a zoo that was. Looked at what seems like a hundred sites with no clear answers for my uneducated mind. Finally I went to a site I had bypassed with a title that said something about growing marijuana indoors. There it was, a clear simple diagram and picture of what wire to hook where. Figures. Stoners (A euphuism for people who smoke pot all the time) need simple instructions like that. That brings back the parallel I wrote of earlier regarding how brain injuries can be like being on drugs. So anyway, I think I worked on the light yesterday. (See! And to think I used to pay money to be this way. Geese!!!) But I’m not sure. That’s why I keep this journal, or at least one of the reasons.

What else I did I don’t know. I do know that I had a fitful night and woke up in pain. This morning Cherie and I went and surveyed another field. This one is in much worse shape. It looks like he planted it later but the areas we were to sample were pretty sparse with areas where nothing was growing. That made counting plants, boles, and flowers pretty easy compared to the field I helped Cherie with on the first day. Those were chest high and a lot of work to go through each plant measuring and counting everything.

Right now Cherie has left to meet her boss and he will go check on her work. I have lots to do but need to make a plan or will wander from task to task with little getting done. I watered the pumpkins after we got back.

That’s it for now. It’s 1:00 so time for me to get back on the clock (so to speak) and get to work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The start of another week

8/27/07 Monday
Monday, the first day of another week. My how the weeks fly by. So do the months for that matter. It’s four days till I get my disability check. We will have to be real careful with that because of the trip to Albuquerque for my VA neurologist appointment. That will entail two or three days, depending on if we can get the hotel room for two nights. It would be nice but we haven’t gotten through to the lady in charge of that despite calling every day. She was at her wits end swamped when we went to her office at the VA hospital there last time.

We went out to survey the first cotton field today. It’s a good thing I told Cherie I’d go and do the work cause I really don’t think Cherie could have handled it. In fact both she and I know that now. She was so grateful I was there for her. Cherie was real negative this morning, putting herself down for every little thing, beating herself up. I told her to put the hammer down and give herself a break. This cotton field was way out in the boonies, down several winding dirt roads and Cherie couldn’t remember well which way to go. She was surprised when she found it. “See, you didn’t do bad” I told her to lift her up a bit. This cotton is one of the few irrigated fields and some of it was chest high. I had to sit on my butt and scoot it along the row as I counted every cotton bole of a certain size plant by plant for ten feet. Then I counted the smaller ones, the flowers, and “squares” which are where a flower was but no bole has formed yet. I like it and it’s the kind of work I can do as long as I am cognizant. I tend to be orderly and methodical as it is. We had to survey several specific spots in the field that Cherie and her boss had staked out before.

After three and a half hours we were done and headed home. Cherie fixed lunch, heated up burritos that were included with the Angel Food’s package. Her mom called yesterday to tell how happy they are with that program. It was their first experience with it and Cherie had let them know about it. Amy just got her first package from them as well.

I rested a bit and then went into town to pick up mail, get some badly needed gas, and stop at the bank to see about setting up an account for Westbrook Farms. To do it right we should go to the courthouse and have a DBA set up. We’ll see about doing that later.

That’s it so far today. It’s 3:18.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good day

This mornings sunrise

8/26/07 Sunday
It’s been a good two days but I am awfully tired so will have to work to record this. Yesterday I worked till I couldn’t work anymore. I love to work but work doesn’t love me. Can’t remember everything I did but I know that I finally got to using the weedeater Eric let me borrow. Once I got it started I didn’t stop till it ran out of gas. It valiantly kept up to the punishment I put it through but it was all work a lawnmower should be doing. One of these days I’ll have one. Till then I will do the best I can with what I’ve got as always.

Before

Oh yeah, just remembered something else I did. Actually, downloading the pictures from the calendar reminded me. I chopped down the last of the seven foot tall weeds. Now that was a physical job but actually, running the weedeater was much tougher as it really hiked up the pain in my back. Wasn’t the weight cause it doesn’t weigh much, just the slight stoop required to use it. Don’t matter, I push on regardless. The pain medication helps me do that but I pay for it later. I know I did other things but can’t remember right now. Those were the two big ones. Of course I continued the fight with the bees. They don’t like me and are very aggressive, sometimes following me or at least finding me forty feet away. Got a couple of more stings. At least that killed the ones that stung me. See, there is always a good side to something.

After

So this morning the pain level was high and it had me shuffling as I walked. Started out with a pain pill and working as I needed to harvest the spaghetti squash to take to church. I got eighty one of those suckers. That’s a lot more than I thought. Estimated it at fifty yesterday. But I put out a notice on the Simon Department email network so had to have some. Of course that aggravated the pain. We got to church a little late so the service was already started but not too far along. The pastor spoke about the need Christians have to study the bible. They did something new, at least to me. They had a time where anyone who had a need for prayer could just step out and a staff member, who were strategically spread out over the entire sanctuary (or whatever you call it) would pray with them. I thought it was a nice touch.

After that we went to the class. I went out and parked the truck closer in case someone wanted some of the squash or watermelons I had loaded in the back. Put thirty squash in a plastic bin. When I came in I had Cherie give me one of the pain pills she carries just for these occasions.

Can’t remember who taught this time, or at least I can’t remember his name, but he finished up the last of the minor prophets, Malachi. There is so much there that they really don’t have time to get into. They passed out the books that give the lessons till November. I looked at it a little while ago. It starts with Mathew but it skips rapidly through the book and misses some big chunks. That’s a shame but how it is I suppose.

Eric asked me before class started if we would let him buy lunch. I really didn’t follow so told him to ask Cherie. Come to find out there was a big barbeque shindig that they’ve been talking about for weeks but of course I didn’t remember and was clueless. We figured it out as it was discussed among those in the class.

They had it in the building were we met Wally and Jen for lunch a month or three ago. Place has a gym and skating rink in it. The barbeque was great. I had a hard time at first because of the unfamiliar circumstances and all the noise and activity. Too much for my mind to process but that cleared up after I sat down and got accustomed to things.

I brought up my thoughts about teaching with Eric. He suggested I talk to Paul, the guy in charge of the education department. Eric introduced me to him when things were settling down. We talked a moment and I explained my doubts and desires. He agreed to sit down and talk with me so I’ll tell about it as things proceed.

I’m not real clear on things after church. Eventually we went back to Midland where I wanted to get something for the bugs on the tomato and Amaranth plants. There was a spray bottle of stuff that was organic for about five bucks and some non organic stuff that mixes up forty eight gallons for twelve. Being budget conscious I bought the five dollar bottle thinking it will last a week till I get the disability check. Got home and used the whole bottle up quick and didn’t even get to the black eye peas. Should have got the other stuff.

So I’m tired (as in struggling to keep my eyes open tired) and that’s all I’m gonna write. There was a great sunset so I’ll close with that.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

8/25/07 Saturday
There was a beautiful sunrise this morning and it matches, in my mind, the beauty of waking up with a brain that is clearheaded and cognizant. My body feels like I’ve been beat up and I didn’t sleep well at all but I would gladly endure that to have a functional brain. I’ve said before, in previous early entries, that I would gladly live in a wheelchair to have a brain that stayed sharp and resembled what I had before the accident. This morning is what I call “Prime time” and I am running at an eight or nine on the bob scale. My fingers are dancing on this keyboard, a good gauge of my mental acuity and the speed at which I am processing information. Hope it stays this way all day. Hell I hope it stays this way the rest of my life but know better.

You know, I have to mention something about how our needs are taken care of when things get tough. Our bank account was low, something like eight dollars by our reckoning, and the cash I found in my wallet wasn’t lasting long as I had to buy bug spray to combat these bees that are plaguing us. Then we discover we had made a mistake in our accounting, forgetting to record one check written to pay a monthly bill, and were overdrawn, incurring a twenty five dollar penalty. Now it’s past tight. Cherie and I have to drive approximately two hundred and fifty miles this last week of the month for her job. I’ll be driving the pickup and helping her with the physical part of taking samples from the cotton fields. Now there is not enough to even get the gas needed for her to work. I emailed one of the friends who had reached out to us through the blog. As much as it went against the grain and bothered me I asked for a loan we could pay back on the first, when my disability check arrives. She hadn’t read the email yet but Cherie called her at my urging. Coming by this angel gave us more than we asked for as a gift. We’ve helped them a little with simple things like cleaning and will do more in the future so, understanding my pride, she said this was a payment for that help. Now we enjoyed helping them before and did so as friends expecting no pay for it, valuing the friendship much more than money. So we are blessed and pray, knowing already it will be so, that they be blessed for the Christian love they have shown and practice in many arena’s, much more than with us. I choose not to reveal their names as they do not do these things for the accolades of man as many of the modern Pharisees do.

It will be a busy morning. I must rush to take my bath, enjoying the hot water that also is a gift from others. I desire to purchase some garden hose repair ends to fix the garden hoses I recovered from the landfill and am using to set up the drip feed watering system for the garden. Next year the garden will be much better, employing the lessons I have learned from this first year, and should be a source of additional income. This year we are giving everything away as gifts to those we know and some we have never met. I’ve dropped a fair amount off to the first church of Stanton.

Then I need to get a better quality bug spray for the bees, something I’ve used before that leaves a foam that keeps killing after being sprayed. Walfart doesn’t carry such an item. By 11:00 we must pick up the food we paid for from the Angel Food’s Ministry. This is another example of true Christianity, the kind the bible talks about, helping the poor.

So I must close so we can get all this done in time.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Slow start

8/24/07 Friday
I’m moving a little slow this morning. Running at a five on the bob scale. There were only a couple of bees trying to get in this morning. A big pile of them on the ground from the wasp spray. Cherie and I went for our walk this morning. Of course the puppies went along, running into our legs as they chased each other around. That’s always a fun time. I picked up the fencing and began to organize it out back where the sections of fence are stacked. I am worrying that I have offended more people. I always worry about that cause I do it so often. Will finish pulling staples out of the fence boards this morning. But that’s what I said I’d do yesterday and probably the day before. Actually I think that Jay and his son brought this over a month or more ago and I intended to do it then. There is only a few pieces left. If I get it done I can chop the weeds that had surrounded them cause they blocked my access. These are the last of the seven foot tall weeds. Then I can burn the pile of branches and stuff we had cleaned out of the yard for the brush hogging.

At some point I really need to start cutting firewood for winter. Otherwise we will be pretty cold like we were at the start of last winter. That was before Amy bought us the woodstove to heat the house with. I wonder how she is doing. Today is when they have the showing of her father at the funeral home. I can’t remember if they will have the service thing before he is cremated today. I think so. Wish we could be there.

I hope I speed up today. Woke up slow and am getting slower. Maybe it’s because there is so much on my mind. Don’t know. Will have to focus on one task at a time. I need to take a pain pill damn-it. Hate that
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1:00 – I’m still slow. Down to a three on the bob scale. It is unusual for this to last as long as it has. Used to be this way a lot back in the early days after I woke from the coma. Pretty much twenty four hours a day with a rare sharp spell. That gradually got better as my brain rewired and the stress level was reduced. Got a headache now as well. I finished the fence boards and burned the brush pile. Now I am going to have to lay down. Took some aspirin and a pain pill.
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It’s been a push through day. Was slow up until after four. Janie stopped by after 2:00 when she got finished from the United Way skeet shoot she’s involved with and I was still not doing too good. I was glad to see her and showed her what I did with the oven cabinet her husband made. But it’s hard when I’m operating at the stupid level. Just want to hide at these times. The brain finally started to clear up after that but these things take a toll physically. Lost a whole day.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hit the bees hard, I think

8/23/07 Thursday
This is the first time I’ve had to take a pain pill in two days. In a way that’s good though there is nothing good about the pain. I just like not taking them too much. I hit the bees pretty hard yesterday. As it began to get dark they were congregating together in several spots, getting ready for the night I suppose. That made it easier to kill larger numbers of them. We ran out of the hornet spray I bought two days ago so I didn’t really have anything to spray them with. I looked through everything I have and even tried some of Cherie’s hair spray, which she uses effectively against spiders in the house, but the wind was too strong and I had to get right up next to them. Not the best place to be when you stir them up. Finally I found a can of brake clean that had a little left in it. It shoots a stream and would drop the bee’s on contact. They would often get back up after a few seconds but a third of them would die. Emptied the can in short order, spraying and running around the corner when they figured out where it came from. So I let them settle and congregate again, then would take the broom that had a broken handle about a foot and a half long and swat a group of them. This would take out a bunch and as they flew angrily around I kept on swatting them, killing a bunch more. This would disturb the other groups so I would have to retreat. Only got a few stings but that’s no big deal. I’m not allergic and it really doesn’t hurt much, at least not to me.

There were only a few there this morning so I killed as many as I could with the broom. As it warms up more start to show up. I suspect there is a hive they started under the house. Will have to crawl under there and see at some point. Right now things seem to be sealed up so they are trapped but eventually I am sure they will find a hole in this old house to escape from. If they are under the house I have one bug fogger left so will throw that down there to hopefully kill them off. It’s all part of the continuing fight. The spray foam deteriorates in just a few months so holes once sealed open up again.

Will go to the landfill this morning. Already started to finish up pulling the staples out of the fencing so should get that done. Watered the apple trees yesterday. I have forgotten to water pretty much everything so got the pumpkins and some of the squash this morning. Watered the tomatoes last night. The Amaranth is doing well but is being eaten up pretty badly by caterpillars. I’m out of the Dipple dust I guess. Looked all over and can’t find it. Just don’t remember using it up but that is normal for me. I’ll try some of the hot pepper oil on them, other than that there isn’t much I can do. No money for any of that stuff now. Down to the wire again. Ten bucks to last eight days.

Next month will be rough for we have to go to Albuquerque for my neurologist appointment. Eighteen hours worth of driving there and back again, that’s a lot of gas plus we have to eat. Fortunately the VA pays for a hotel room. In order to make the appointment we will have to leave at four in the morning. Been trying to call the lady in charge of that to see if they will get us a room the night before but can’t seem to get through, never an answer, just busy or rings without getting picked up. Cherie is trying once again with no luck.

So that’s our start. The puppies are out and running as always. One of the benefits of getting the weeds cut is they seem to be not venturing out on the highway. Hopefully we’ll get the land tilled and plant the buffalo grass or something to establish a good ground cover that will keep the weeds down. Besides it will look better.
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So I think I hit the bees hard do I? Spoke to soon. There weren’t many at all out there this morning but that sure changed. I went to the landfill, dropped off the garbage, found some barbed wire, garden hose, and a piece of steel roofing, and then picked up the mail. I harvested some more of the spaghetti squash to drop off at first church of Stanton. The youth pastor, Rick, was the only one there. We talked for quite a while about brain injury and God. I always run my head and worry about what I said later. Worrying about what I said is hard when I’m not real clear what I said. I know lots of it roughly.

So when I got back I checked on the bees. There were a bunch more now. They were buzzing around so much I couldn’t work on pulling the staples out of the wood as that was just twenty feet away. Instead I put ends on the garden hoses and began hooking them up for the drip feed irrigation. I watered the apple trees again and ate the peanut butter and honey on toast Cherie fixed for lunch. Going out I was shocked to see that the numbers of bees had quadrupled at least. They were even at the office door trying to find a way in. Damn. Now there are so many and they are so aggressive that the puppies don’t like being outside. As tight as our money is I have to get some spray to do something. Looking in my wallet I see I’ve got fifteen bucks, more than is in the bank. Cool. I’m off to Walfart as soon as dinner is done. Got a can of wasp and hornet spray for about $2.50. That took out a couple hundred bees as they were all close together. At least for a few seconds. Hit em a few times more and by nightfall there were again only a few visible. Who knows what tomorrow brings.

So I didn’t get much else done. Had a slowdown at around three. It only lasted about three or four hours. I think I went a couple of days without one but I have to go back and read this journal to see. I do remember there was a bad spell of them though I don’t remember how many days or anything, just that it was pretty rough.

I can’t remember if I turned off the hose I had soaking the squash so will have to put some clothes on, grab a flashlight and go check. Be back in a sec.

Didn’t go back in the squash patch to check cause it’s so dark and that’s when I understand the snakes come out. So I turned off the main faucet that feeds that whole section. I’m tired and there’s nothing on but football. I don’t follow football and it doesn’t really interest me that much. Will catch the ten o’clock news and call it a night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Snakes in the grass

8/22/07 Wednesday
And we are off to a start. The puppies pushed open their door this morning and came running in, full of their morning excitement. OK, I’ll get up. Let the little buggers out and got the coffee started. I walked around to the back of the house to check on the bees, to see if the Great Stuff foam I sprayed sealed up their access in and out of the house. No, they had a way around it so I sprayed some more to cover that. While kneeling down to watch for any other egresses I saw a foot long snake a hands reach away. It was too young to have rattles but the markings told me it is a diamond back rattler. Easing up I went to the garage to get something to kill it with. Returning with the hoe it was gone. I ran the hoe through the grass hoping to find it but had no luck. Not happy.

After looking around some more I gave up and headed in to grab the cup of coffee sitting on the table outside in the veranda. There was another snake. This one was about ten inches long and also a rattle snake. I had just set the hoe against the garage wall ten feet away so rushed to get it after noting what direction the snake was going. Getting back I moved the Q-grill it had gone behind just in time to see it disappearing through a small hole where the siding meets the concrete foundation. I was able to get maybe an inch of it’s tail with the edge of the hoe, hoping to pull it out of our wall. No such luck, just cut it off.

That’s two snakes just this morning. Snakes, bees, what’s next. We will have to keep an eye out for the puppies. Cherie is going to fix breakfast when the eggs thaw out. The fridge is getting worse. It’s been set on it’s warmest setting for a while now and stopped freezing as bad when I took the thermostat apart but that didn’t last long. It could be worse. I’d much rather it be too cold than not cold enough.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing today. There is lots to do but I just have to make a plan. I’ll have to work to be positive today. Hope that snake can’t get into the house through the wall.

Couldn’t get this posted. At first it said there was an error and now I can’t access any of the blogger blogs. Evidently blogger is down all over.

Been out chopping weeds. It seems that I have slowed down the bees as there are not as many flying around. I must start pulling the staples out of the fencing Jay gave us as that pile is a perfect haven for snakes. That’s gonna take a while, perhaps all day, perhaps not. I never know and seem to be a poor judge of such things.

Blogger seems to be back online. Amy sent an E mail telling us her fathers memorial will be Friday. The accident was on the news in a couple of places. I wish we could go but this time of the month and the phone bill issue means we can’t even afford the gas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The bees are back

It’s been a crappy day. The bees are back and this bunch is more aggressive. I got stung twice yesterday and once again today. Again they seek entrance underneath the house where the honey bee hive had been. I think they may have found a way in. Yesterday there was a few hundred swarming in the garage, looking for a home no doubt. I got the broom out and swatted at them for a good fifteen minutes, suffering a few bites, and then hurried up and closed the door. That seemed to work but they are still on the house, going into every crevase they can find in the rotting siding. They are getting in the house now but we can’t tell how. Killed twenty or thirty of them inside so far. This really isn’t fun and is a battle we’ve been having off and on ever since we moved here. If they found a way under the house I will have to throw another bug bomb into the crawl space to kill of the hive. I was planning on going underneath there to run the water line to the air conditioner. That would be downright dangerous if they are nesting down there now.

So on top of that this computer screwed up. I don’t know what happened. I had gone online and posted the entry about Amy and then went out to work on chopping weeds. Was going to get the weedwacker I borrowed from Eric going. Coming back in the screen was black and the lights indicate the computer was running, not in hibernation mode. I couldn’t get it to come up no matter what I did. Finally I pulled the battery, thus shutting it down. Starting it back up I could no longer open up this journal. Message said the file was corrupted. It took an hour or two before I could recover it and when I did I found there was nine thousand seven hundred pages added. They were mostly gibberish, letters and symbols with no discernable pattern but towards the end there was stuff from the internet and blog mixed in. It took three hours to get that all deleted and then I went to the blog to recover what was lost. I ran the spyware but it didn’t find anything. Hope this laptop isn’t going to choke on me. Can’t afford a new one. Hell can’t afford a used one.

So the frustration level is pretty high. I don’t know what to do about the bees. I just checked the task manager and Microsoft word is cranking, using sometimes one hundred percent of the CPU. Then it falls to maybe thirty. Now it slowed to fifteen or so. I hope this thing doesn’t crash.

We went over to Janie’s to help her clean up for a guest. After we all went out to dinner with Stewart, the guest, and Tyrone, the youngest son. Stewart is a minister or something on top of being a lawyer. We talked a little before Janie came back. He said something about me being a prophet. That’s strange stuff and not the first time I heard it. I even said that once but I say all kinds of things. There is so much I wonder about yet so much I see. Don’t know what to think. I told him about how, when I woke from the coma not only did I lose big chunks of memory but the belief that God exists was no longer there either. I can’t help it, it was just gone. Been looking for God ever since, in between getting crapped on by some wearing the Christian label but not living it. But we’ve found some who are real as far as we can see. That gives me hope.

So it’s been rather discouraging. At least we got our phones turned back on. Don’t remember if I mentioned it. I think I wrote about it before the computer dumped and it was lost because I couldn’t post it. You see our cell phone service is how we go online. They were disconnected because Cherie forgot to pay the bill or something. Janie had called at eleven to see if we could help but we didn’t get the message till the phones were turned on at four. I think that was yesterday. Get confused because of the short term memory thing. Things get jumbled pretty easily. I’m done for the night. Will run the spyware again just in case and call it a night.

A dear friend

8/21/07 Tuesday
I just read on Amy’s blog that her father died Sunday. He had stopped to assist someone who had an accident when a passing car had a blowout, hit the guard rail, which hit him. He had unexpectedly stopped by her house and they spent some time together, celebrated his birthday that had been Thursday, and talked about his will. It was after he left her house that this all happened. For those of you who pray, please remember her.

I might not write much today as this weighs heavy on my mind. She is a sweetheart and is the one who bought us a woodburning stove when she learned we had no heat in the house this last winter. A dear sweet friend who is one of the Christians who practices their faith we have found.

Monday, August 20, 2007

not so fun

8/20/07 Monday
Been a little not to fun this morning. We went to FSA and sat down and talked with Nester for a couple of hours about the farm and FSA rules. Seems that we need to talk to another government agency about equipment and stuff. I think that is where my cousin works so that should be interesting. I’ll write the details when it comes about. Will we see the “Love of Jesus” or not?

Then we came home and I tried to go online. Wouldn’t go so I figured the system was down again. Then I went to use the phone only to hear a recording that our phone service had been interrupted due to the bill not being paid. I know Cherie told me she had forgotten it last month but thought she had caught up. Nope, not quite. She sent a hundred dollars but that evidently didn’t do it. Now we can’t go online (cause that’s through Alltel as well) or anything else, but we can call the billing department. So they tell us that the minimum to get our service reinstated is fifty eight bucks. That leaves us real thin for the next eleven days till my check comes. The fourteen bucks for those rib eye steaks would be nice now. But they were so good it’s worth a little fasting.

So that turmoil is settled now. I got a little upset but am over it. It’s pretty damn hot out and the humidity is so high the evaporative air doesn’t do much. I picked up Eric’s weedeater this morning so will crank it up a bit later. Will use it to mow down the weeds that have already grown eight inches since they mowed last week. The tomato plants have sprung up so fast the wire cages I put around them were swamped and they spilled over the ground with a few branches breaking. I cut some of the wire fencing recovered from the landfill to put around them. Next year I’ll know better how to do that. All part of the education.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Morning

This morning's sunrise

8/19/07 Sunday
I am tired this morning, as one would expect after a day and night such as I had. But at least I am cognizant, running my average of seven on the bob scale. Hope I’m done with this bout of slowdowns. Kinda gun shy about it now. Gonna do a quick study of the Sunday school lesson using the online resources I’ve become accustomed to. That way I may be able to contribute to the class, or may not. Half the time I hold my tongue so I don’t take over or forget my place. I am hesitant to express my views, afraid I will offend.

Gonna take my weekly bath. I know it sounds bad but I usually only take a bath once a week. Don’t get me wrong, I usually clean up daily but save the bath for Sunday. I only shave once a week as well. For one thing it saves the razors, reducing the expense of replacing them. I’m not concerned about what others think of me regarding the unshaven look. From television and movies I suppose a few days beard growth is considered sexy or some crap like that. That’s the last thing I want. One of the concerns I expressed to Cherie is if I have a body odor problem from not taking a daily bath. My ability to smell is one of the senses effected by the brain injury. In Toledo I showered every morning but after nine months with out hot water and no shower, only a bathtub, I got out of the habit. Now that we have hot water I need to start taking baths more instead of the “Stand uppy” (what my grandmother called them way back when I lived here as a teen) where I wash with a wash cloth out of the pan of water heated for that purpose.

Time to get ready for church.
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Necessity is the mother of invention. When I went fire up the Q-grill the propane bottle was empty. Nuts. I had my heart set on grilling these rib eyes and they were sitting here all seasoned and rubbed. Jumping in the truck I run to the grocery store in Stanton with the desperate hope they carried the little bottles of propane. Nope. Stopped at the Town and Country truck stop just in case. I wasn’t surprised to find none there. Driving to Midland just didn’t make sense. Twenty minutes each way plus the time in the store was longer than I wanted to wait. Cherie had suggested cooking them in the toaster oven but that’s no way to treat a good steak. Nope.

I’m gonna build a grill I announced to Cherie and went out to see what I could scavenge up. Got some cinderblocks, concrete blocks, stainless shelves out of one of the old refrigerators, something that looked like a broiler plate from a small oven, and an aluminum griddle that came off of who knows what. So I got a piece of tin roofing for the floor of this thing and stacked up the blocks and bricks to make this makeshift thing. Chopped some mulberry, pecan, and mesquite wood and started a fire.

Man was that good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Slowdaowns are back

8/18/07 Saturday
Had a hard night as the back pain made it hard to find a comfortable position to sleep. This morning I once again washed the concrete floor of the puppy room with bleach because Rascal peed on it again. This just soaks into the concrete. We didn’t let them out when they woke at daybreak this time. Trixie seems to hold on till she gets let out better.

The slowdowns are back. Having another one this morning. It’s another bad one that is affecting the physical control of my right side in addition to dropping me down to a four or worse on the bob scale. That’s the way it seems to go. These times come in waves where I have days of relative lucidity with only a few minor slowdowns. Then there are the waves where I have lots of bad slowdowns and they last longer. Yesterday was rough and I’ll have to read this journal to see how the days before that went. You know, can’t remember.

It’s sunny out. I’m going to try and make the end panel for the kitchen cabinets. It will be a task when I’m like this. Measured for it. Putting the laminate on the end of the counter top is going to be tough cause it wasn’t installed right.

These slowdowns drain me of energy. I suppose most seizures do that. Can’t believe it’s already 2:00. Seems like I just woke up an hour ago but have been up since seven. I need to take a nap. Still real slow. This sucks. I called Wayne this morning. He agreed to accept my proposal on how to take care of the issue with the state welfare regarding their wanting to confiscate his money. I need to talk with Steve about setting up Westbrook Farms as a business. Used to know lots about that having founded several companies before. One was a corporation and the other’s sole proprietorships. Too much of my memory is damaged for me to trust what I think in that area. Besides that this is Texas and the laws are probably different.

How I hate these slowdowns. I downloaded the Spysweeper program I uninstalled a day or so ago. I also bought the AVG program and installed that. Did it twice by accident. It’s a struggle to work through the confusion that comes at these times.
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It has been an extraordinarily bad day. Have had multiple seizures, some of them back to back. Glad this doesn’t happen often but will be even gladder if it never happened again. It is 2:00 in the morning now. I have been drifting in between barely awake and dream state all night without really falling to sleep. I got up to use the bathroom and looking out the window saw that both garage doors were wide open. That’s a big no no. I don’t think I have ever failed to close things up before. That would expose every tool I’ve managed to get to being carried away. So I put on my sweats and went out to close it. I enjoyed going into the cool night air. There is not a cloud in the sky and with a new moon every star is visible. Wish I could bend my neck more to look up.

I hope I got these slowdowns out of my system and have a better day tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The pendulum swings

8/17/07 Friday
Rough morning. Didn’t sleep well. Back pain is high so took a pain pill. The right leg is still not operating well and the brain is running at a four or five on the bob scale. You’ll find my sentences short and simple during these periods. Stuttering a little and have to work to find words and put together sentences. It’s raining now, remnants of the tropical storm that hit the coast yesterday. Supposed to rain for a couple of days. Got a headache. The weather change probably contributes to the pain.

I took the laptops from Steve and Janie to Chuck and Lillian along with a load of melons and squash. They appreciated it. Lillian was cooking for a client so Chuck and I talked for a while. He hasn’t talked to the guy who has the windmill yet. And he hasn’t gotten one of the tillers running either. It would be nice to have one. They are getting lots of work lately so that’s good. Miracle, their little girl, has allergies and was in the hospital because of that.

I scooped the cat litter. Do that for Cherie now because of her back. Plan on scrubbing the puppy room with bleach. Put some of the hot pepper oil on the mattress they’ve been tearing up. Worked real well. If the rain holds off I would like to cut some firewood. Need to start stocking for winter. Wood is our source of heat except electric space heaters.

I called Wayne and Allen yesterday. They are my friends in Toledo. Allen is pretty much the same, depressed, chronic pain, and still slightly suicidal. Not too bad though, not like before. I’m glad I was able to help that. He let the food stamps I got him on lapse. Encouraged him to renew that. He was glad for the call. Helps lift his spirits.

The effects of M.S. on Wayne’s mind were evident when I talked to him. He is confused, or at least not thinking clear, regarding the state’s welfare department telling him they will confiscate funds equal to six months of foodstamps if he doesn’t get his bank account below $5,000. What a crock of shit that is. He finally gets his social security after three years, so it came as a lump sum, the state held, or “lost” it for nearly a year till I had Wayne start writing letters, and now they want to take it. So Wayne was just going to let them have it and at the same time was going to pay a lawyer about it. All he has to do is get the account below five grand, a simple solution that seemed to escape him. He’s been buying furniture and all kinds of stuff but there is several thousand dollars he needs to make disappear. I reminded him again how I told him to take care of this. Will probably have to keep on him about it as the steady mental degradation from the Multiple Sclerosis is having a telling effect.

I also called Sonny yesterday. He’s one of my old friends who responded to the news story about my memory loss and the one who let me stay with him, thus getting me off the streets. Yesterday just happened to be his one year anniversary of his kidney transplant.

By the way, I’ve been mentally clearing up as I write though the leg is still not cooperative. That’s the way it goes, the pendulum of mental acuity swings back and forth as it wills, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. I’m up to my average of a seven on the bob scale. Who knows, I might even get up to genius level today. (where I was before the accident)

So Sunny is doing great. Life with a new kidney is remarkable after seven years of clinging on to life. He told me how he finally was able to get the transplant. He got tired of living and gave up. Sonny’s brother, Gary, had volunteered to donate one of his kidneys way back when Sonny’s failed. The state of Michigan just dicked around. Sonny was on dialysis, going three times a week, and was living on his social security. It was years before they even started tests to see if Gary was a compatible donor. When you are on dialysis there is a steady downhill slide of your health. Sonny ended up having a pace maker implanted in his heart, was unable to eat much of anything because of the medicines, and was incredibly weak. Fed up he went to the doctor and told him he quit. “I’m just going to stop taking dialysis and die” he announced. The doctor said he couldn’t and made the statement “But your living”. “You call this living?” Sonny replied and listed off this quality of life. A few weeks later they got off their ass and performed the transplant. Sonny sounded so much better, he sounded alive again. He’s been able to spend time on his Harley and just get out, to enjoy being alive. It was good to talk and hear all this. When I stayed with him Sonny’s bed was set up in the living room where I slept on the couch. That way he didn’t have to walk as far and could watch the large screen tv. I got to see how hard it was for him close up. It feels good to see an old friend who lent a helping hand be so blessed. Life is a gift.

So that’s the morning start. I’ve cleared up and the rain seems to have also but the clouds are rolling by in waves so there will be some short showers coming through. I don’t care about getting wet. Lived outdoors with only a blanket both when I hitchhiked around the country in the 70’s and when I was homeless so a little rain is insignificant. Hard life toughens one up. I actually enjoy a little weather beating on my face. Wind in the face brings back the years on motorcycles. That I miss. Would love to have another Harley one of these days. Cherie isn’t too keen on it but I’m a lot more careful these days than I was in the rebellious past.

I think I’ll check E mail and some of my favorite blogs, then get to work and take advantage of this time of lucidity. Never know how long they last though I’ve had a few days now without any bad slowdowns.
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Well I got the puppy room sanitized. Put the blankets that had been on the floor out in the rain for a little nature washing. They are in bad shape as it is so might end up in the rag bin. It’s raining out pretty good now. I buried some of our food scraps in one of the compost piles. There were lots of pumpkin hulls and some watermelon as well. I started to turn the row of shredded weed and dirt I had scraped up with the front end loader after we brush hogged, into a composting pile by working in some of the goat crap we got from Kevin. The rain came at just the right moment for that as it was dry as a bone and moisture is integral for composting to start. Sprinkled on some of the compost starter I had purchased at Aldredge.

Pulled weeds as well. It was raining most of the time and Trixie stayed with me. She likes the rain. Took a chew toy and laid out in it to chew. Rascal isn’t as keen on getting wet. When it’s hot Trixie will dive into the pool but Rascal just walks around in it. I put my T shirt up where it can dry out a little. At the rate of one or more T shirts a day getting trashed cause I sweat so much this is the last one cause Cherie hasn’t done the laundry yet. I think we will go out to eat tonight. It will be someplace cheap but it is so nice to be able to do that nowadays. Cherie got her check today. We will do some grocery shopping while in town.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

fear

This mornings sunrise

8/16/07 Thursday
Fear is not good. Well sometimes it is. There are things we should be afraid of and that fear keeps us healthy and well. I’m not really afraid of rattlesnakes, used to catch them as a kid, but have a healthy fear of their bite. Unfortunately there is a fear in me that stems from my experiences since waking from the coma. For one, it seemed like every time things were looking up I’d get stomped on hard. The hospital was going to escort me out with only my hospital clothes but my brother showed up to take me. He put me in a dilapidated house but didn’t pay the sixty bucks a month so I got evicted. A Christian couple took me in and I was enrolled at the Brain Injury Institute where I was finally getting the medical and rehabilitation needed when I was extradited to Toledo. The court ended up kicking me out on the street where I wandered homeless. Through all this there were relationships that started out great but soured badly. Many of these happened after Cherie and I had gotten back together. They were with Christians at the Cedar Creek church. Things at the first church of Stanton started out with great promise but never materialized. Now I am paranoid about our new friends. It’s probably my imagination but I wonder if the level of trust has dropped a little. I wonder if someone has contacted them and said things that would cause this. I also wonder if there is something in the way I talk or act that triggers such things. Being totally honest about my history probably doesn’t help. I don’t know. I understand that these fears have no foundation but despite that the thoughts are still there. I’m just really insecure.

Last night I wasn’t doing too well so didn’t put finish on the cabinet. I put the first coat on this morning and will sand that down and put the second one on as soon as I get this posted. It looks real good and matches the other cabinets well. Cherie is real excited about it.

This morning I messed up. In thinking about purchasing the AVG anti virus spyware program we have on a thirty day trial my thoughts somehow decided I needed to uninstall the Spy Sweeper program I’d been using. I remembered it was a paid for program after I had already uninstalled it and there was a year left on the subscription. Felt real stupid. It wasn’t in the trash bin so there is probably no way to recover it. Just another hiccup of this brain. A term I’ve heard used is “Brain farts”. It’s frustrating to get this easily confused. A person at first church stated “All confusion is of the devil”. Whether that was aimed at me I don’t know but confusion is a common part of brain injury and for that matter it is often common with old age. Can't blame that on the devil.


Time to get moving.
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The cabinet is finished. Now we can have the electrician hook up the stove and oven. It took me long enough. Cherie fixed chicken fajitas for dinner. She scraped out the meat of the New England pie pumpkins we grew. That will be froze I guess. There are two other types of pie pumpkins we have. One is simply called “Small sugar pie” and the other is “Cotton candy”. We will fix them separately to see what the difference is and which we like better. The cotton candy pumpkins are white.

I am having the first major slowdown I’ve had in days. My ability to operate the right leg is severely affected. Balance is off so will lay down. Gotta headache coming on. Trying to write is a challenge as well as typing. Be back when this clears up

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

8/15/07 Wednesday
Went to the VA hospital for my appointment. It’s official, I’m still here. We checked to see if they have our address right and told them how we aren’t getting the letters they send. We will keep an eye on that. Might have them send a letter just to see if it arrives. Something’s not right somewhere. They say the letters are going out.

With that done we came home and I jumped right on staining the cabinet after filling the nail holes and sanding it. That went well. No glitches though I did find things I missed doing yesterday despite trying to be slow, careful, and thorough. It just wasn’t a good day. After this stain dries for a minimum of six hours I’ll be able to put the finish on. That will be around seven tonight. Then this project will finally be finished.

I looked at the garden this morning. It’s sad. Been focusing on the cabinet and worked on the apple trees so this is the first time I’ve looked at it. The puppies have trashed a full seventy percent of the melon patch. There are watermelons and honeydews all over that are probably rotting. The vines feeding them are dead. Even if they weren’t I can’t seem to find enough people to give them away to. Next year it will be important to have good fences built. I hope to have a much bigger garden and perhaps will be able to sell stuff at the farmer’s market in Midland. For that matter I could do well building a fruit and vegetable stand right out in front. There’s lots of traffic.

Steve and Janie are both running hard so we haven’t seen them in a while. Would love to be able to help them out somehow.

My ears are ringing pretty bad right now. Never a good sign.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Comedy of errors

A comedy of errors isn’t funny when it’s on you. In my dreams I was going to finish the oven cabinet today. Didn’t happen. I had problems at first with forty five degree angles. This is one of the hard to explain results of the brain injury. There is so much that needs to be rewired. For example I have problems judging volumes. I can look at a container and tell you it’s about six inches across and four inches deep, no problem with that. But if there is a pot of food I have a hard time figuring out which container it will fit in. It’s just that that part of the equation my brain couldn’t do, it was a damaged part. Now I’ve gotten better at it because I relearned this.

Now this is the first time I’ve had to work with forty five degree angles since the accident and it was hard for my mind to grasp. I cut them in the wrong direction and stuff till I learned how to do it. Kinda like being in jr high shop class for the first time. Now here’s the kicker. When I was homeless and going to the public library, researching who I was, one of the first things that I found was an article in the newspaper with a big picture of me. I was carving out mahogany legs for a desk that the article said was valued at ten thousand dollars. This was when I was opening my third company, Absolute Office Furniture. I have a copy of the article that I made in the library. It’s not the best quality cause it’s from the library copy machine. When I get some spare cash I’ll pay the fee to have the paper send me a better copy. So here I am having problems with forty five degree angles when I used to make ten thousand dollar desks. That might give you a hint of my frustration level and how much I lost.

So it ends up that the wood I bought didn’t match as far as size goes. Between that and the fact that I trashed several pieces I had to run to Lowe’s and buy some more wood. Went through all twenty one pieces of the size of oak I needed they had and there was not one good piece there. It all had paint or black crap on it. I picked the best two and, at the advice of a clerk, asked for the manager to see about a price reduction. The cashier called him on the phone and was told that because the store gets full credit he wouldn’t discount it. I already wasn’t in a good mood so this set me off. “Fine, Keep it” I said along with a suggestion where she could put it. I hate it when the temper flares up. Going out to the truck I sat and stewed, then went back in. This time I asked for a face to face with the manager. “I’ve got a thousand dollars worth of kitchen cabinets from here and just need two pieces of wood to finish the job. You don’t have a decent piece and you want me to wait till you restock?” I said angrily. He cut the price in half. So I saved eight bucks. Not a big deal as far as the amount of money but the principle was the matter. I got the wood.

Coming home I went back to making the pieces I need to finish up. Why it was a challenge I don’t know. Actually I do know but don’t like it. I fitted the pieces carefully and tried to be meticulous in numbering where each one went. Then I went back out to the shop to make the round edges I needed by sanding them on this grinder with a sanding disk on it.


Then I lined them up with the correct numbered joints to hand sand them to match when installed. But I found that I had misnumbered them. More frustration. Finally getting that sorted out I went to install them. Another problem I have is driving nails. That’s from the right side being partly paralyzed. There was lots of cussing and I bent five nails before I got one hammered in a particular hole. Come to find out the nails are made in China and weren’t real good. If I had the money I’d open a store named “Not Made In China”. Just don’t like Chinese products at all.

I finally got this done at 9:45. Tomorrow I go to the VA hospital and after that hope to put the finish on the cabinet. It’ll be nice to be done. Night all.

Oh Yeah. Here's a three inch long beetle that wandered into the garage while I was working

Up and goin early

8/14/07 Tuesday
It’s 9:00 and I’ve already worked up quite a sweat. The puppies got us up a bit earlier than usual when Rascal climbed over the baby gate we use to keep them in the puppy room. It was just barely beginning to lighten up. We got dressed and went thru the procedure of getting leashes on them. Rascal was particularly uncooperative. He knew something was up and wouldn’t get closer than ten feet when I gave the command “Come”. This is a trait he has been exhibiting lately and something I need to remedy. There will come a time when his obeying that command unquestionably will be vital, perhaps for his life. So we took them for the walk up the dirt road to the back of the farm.

Coming back I…Damn, just remembered I have the hose watering one of the apple trees. Forgot all about it. Got to go fix that as I am sure there is a flood now.

Well it didn’t flood. Loosening the soil and building those containment basins around them worked well. It’ll be a well watered tree for sure. I moved the hose to the next tree. History shows a great likelihood I’ll forget that too. I’ll ask Cherie to remind me. So what I was saying, coming back I went to work on the apple trees (That’s why I remembered). Many of the leaves are spotted brown and drying out. Some show signs of insects eating them. I took most of the damaged leaves off. I think that will encourage new leaf growth but don’t know for sure. There is much new growth and a few flowers have bloomed. That’s nice but I will not allow fruit to grow this first year. Want all the trees energy to go to getting established and healthy. I do need to tie back the branches to begin training the shape of the trees. Have to get to that later.

With that done I grabbed the hoe and began attacking the weeds that couldn’t be reached with the brush hog. Lots of those. It’s already getting warm out and with the sun it didn’t take long to get soaking wet. I was glad when Cherie called to let me know the oatmeal and nectarines she had fixed were ready. I just don’t have the stamina I once did. After a few minutes rest I’ll get back out there. I need to finish up the cabinet too. There’s the debate. I need to do lots of outside work and want to take advantage of the cooler hours. So I’ll do some of that first. There’s lots of stuff that needs to be picked. Any of you readers want watermelons come on out and pick them. I’d hate for any more to go bad. Been eating watermelon every day and gave a bunch to the first church of Stanton but there’s lots more. Got beans, honeydew, and squash too so come on out. E-mail me at bobcarver2@yahoo and I’ll give you my number and directions.
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11:20 – I’m done with outside work till things cool down. Note to self – Black T shirts don’t work well in direct sunlight. Whew, that sucker would get hot on the skin. I already knew this but like other things I know had to be reminded. I’m in for a bit, till I cool off and stop sweating. Stood in front of the air conditioner drinking the tea mixed with juice Cherie got me. Thank God for that gift (the air conditioner) It would be absolutely unbearable without it. We would probably drive to Midland and walk around in the mall all day without it. That’s another gift the Midland Christian community gave us. Good people doing good things bears good fruit.

I’m gonna hafta lay down for a bit, rest up from slinging the hoe out in that hot sun. Then it’s time to finish up the oven cabinet.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's hot out

I always appreciate when others let me know when I say things I shouldn't. Part of this is because one of the effects of my brain injury is the tendency to spout off without thinking things through. The concept of tact is one I have a hard time grasping now a days. This is why it is important for folks to simply talk with me and help me understand. So thanks to my friend who just did so. I removed what I said here because of his advice. I don't have a problem being corrected, at least not after I think about it. Can get defensive at first but figure things out.

At Sunday school I realized the need for teachers. Despite all my doubts and questions I know the Bible and am an able and experienced teacher. But there is the reliability factor. I never know when I am going to be sharp or have a slowdown so can’t be depended on. That makes things hard and is one of the reasons I can’t hold down a regular job. But I’d still like to try.

This morning I decided to get some outside work done before it got to hot. I haven’t done much in the garden lately as I’ve been focusing on getting the cabinet done. So I began rebuilding the catch basins around the apple trees. They had been leveled when we cut down the weeds and besides that weren’t in good shape anyway and needed to be made larger. I got six of them done before the heat got to me. Raked up a lot of the cut grass to pile around the trees as mulch. This will help keep the soil cool and moisture in. I drank three big cups of Gatorade and juice but when I started getting dizzy and fatigued figured it was time to stop. Those are signs of heat exhaustion. It’s close to a hundred degrees out here in the sun. Maybe more. The thermometer has it at 98 in the shade. So I’m resting in front of the fan. Cherie whipped up some mac and cheese and I drank three more glasses of fluid. I still have three more trees to do but should wait till seven or eight when it begins to cool off. In the meantime I can finish up on the cabinet. Only have a few pieces of wood to cut and then it’s time to put the finish on it. It will be good to get that done.

I’m relearning another old lesson. For years I would do my own surgery on my hangnails until I saw an episode of Mash that mentioned how allowing the nail to grow long prevents hangnails. This I remembered again when I got another infected toenail so had let them grow on out. Last night I noticed how long my toenail was so cut it. As I worked on digging around the trees I noticed the pain in my big toe. Pulling my boot off to look I see that the nail once again dug in, broke the skin, and became infected. So I learn again. Hope I don’t forget again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The dumbest smart person

8/11/07 Saturday
I am either the smartest dumb person or the dumbest smart person you will ever meet. Which one depends on the moment you meet me. This is the joke I used to tell in an attempt to describe and put a humorous face on the reality of what I must deal with daily. Some days it’s hard to be humorous about it. There are times that leave me feeling incredibly stupid. Makes it hard to be positive and show any enthusiasm for life. That’s why depression is always knocking at the door and forces it’s way in despite my efforts to prevent it. I am sure this blog is not at all fun to read during these times.

I pushed on till after 10:00, working on this one piece of wood. I was determined to get it done. In the process I pulled that muscle or whatever it is that causes intense pain about where the right kidney is. Later, when things settle a bit, I want to raise all the work surfaces three or so inches as this will make a big difference with my back. Just three inches. It’s not much but will do wonders.

I took a whole pain pill this morning instead of the half of one I usually do. It was a restless night as rolling over hurt like hell. Cherie and I went for a walk this morning and that helped work it loose a little.

I almost finished making the cabinet side last night. There should only be one cut to make. I plan on taking the piece of plywood that is defective back this morning to exchange it. Hope the lumber yard is open. Cherie is heading to Midland right now to meet with her quilting group. Then she will get some groceries. She has to run into Stanton to do some laundry as well. I’m going to work on the cabinet. It’s a must as this is the hold up for us to get the oven and stove top hooked up. I should have had it done a week ago. Frustrating to move so slow.

The pain pill is taking affect now. That should help me keep moving. I had the dizzy light headed feeling that precedes a seizure earlier but it was a short mild one and I think I’ve cleared up now. Need to get moving. Got the puppies in the crate now. They have been scraping through the drywall in the puppy room lately. Dug a four inch hole in one area and when I moved the crate to cover it they have started on another area. I need to call Jay and see about getting some of the melamine siding he said he could get me. Need to measure the window as well. There is so much I need to do and so much I don’t get to. Best get moving and try to get something done.
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I got the oak plywood exchanged no problem. Then I stopped by Walmart to see about a multiple outlet water spigot I had seen. They were out. I went to Lowe’s and picked up two oak corner moldings for the cabinet and a ten foot two by four. They have multiple outlets but I figured I’d check at Ace Hardware first to see if I could get a better deal. They too were out so it’s back to Lowe’s where I bought the thing. Now I am home but have a serious headache on top of running slow, about a five on the bob scale. Will lay down for a bit. It’s 3:00 and I am usually tired by now anyway.

Got most the pieces cut for the cabinet. Ill know how good I did when I put them on. It’s 10:30 now and the pain medication is wearing off. It helps me do stuff but I probably do more than I should when I take it. Went to get a drink and it had frozen so there was no fizz left. There goes a whole six pack. The fridge had stopped freezing so bad when I took the thermostat apart but it’s back.

Pretty tired so that’s it for now. Night folks.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The week flies by

Puppies watching the tractor get picked up this morning
8/10/07 Friday
I’m glad I got the prescription refilled for my body made sure to remind me I worked a bit yesterday. Now I know I talk about pain and all that but in retrospect I am in much better shape than a few years ago. After my release from the hospital I was so weak that raising my hand high enough to comb my hair was a challenge that I often couldn’t meet. So I had all my hair cut off. You can correctly assume that the pain level was much higher but I wasn’t getting any medical help so had no pain medication, not even aspirin. My brother bought me a bottle of whiskey for the pain and to help me sleep. It really didn’t work. Learning later that excessive alcohol triggers seizures, and waking up to find cuts and bruises with furniture knocked over, the whiskey did more harm than good. One day I walked to a hospital and they gave me some Ambien for sleep and Ibuprophen for pain. Being technically homeless (I was living in the upstairs of a dilapidated house but had no listed address) and with no money they won’t prescribe anything stronger. So I learned to endure pain. I think that makes me a stronger person now but after enjoying the lessoning of pain real medication provides I might be getting soft again. Regardless, my body has done much healing so some of the pain is less anyway. But I am working now so that aggravates where the back and neck were broken. The fatigue thing will always be there and I understand will get worse with age. It’s not a physical tiredness, it’s a brain thing similar to how older folks need to take a nap.

There is so much I need to do. Finishing the kitchen cabinet is top on the list. Now that the rain has stopped I need to get back in the habit of watering the plants. Also I need to hoe down the weeds that are where the tractor couldn’t get to. I sprayed the Great Stuff foam where the honey bees apparently found a way under the house. The little suckers are still swarming around to fine a way to the hidden honey treasure they smell. Then I cut up the Habanera peppers and boiled them in oil to make a hot oil I can spray on the plants. This is something else I need to learn so will experiment with how much and how to apply it.

The puppies are staying close to the house. They are a bit unnerved by how their jungle playground has been turned into a barren desert so to speak. We started leash training today. It’s the first time they’ve had a leash on and I was impressed how well they took to it. Cherie and I started back on our walking regimen so took them with us when we walked halfway to the well and back. Now that it’s stopped raining we can get back to that.

I’m gonna take a short nap and get back to work.
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The last time I worked on the cabinet I cried about how I miss my old woodshop but I don’t think it would make much of a difference. Been working for hours to get one piece of wood cut to fit on the cabinet and still don’t have it right. The problem is that the switches in this brain don’t always work right. There are times when I am talking that the wrong word comes out, something totally unrelated to the conversation. When I unplugged a tool to plug another in I threw the power cord end down and was left with the two plugs from both tools in my hand. Then there is the short term memory problem. I measured 3/8 of an inch for a part but when I got to the garage cut that much off instead of leaving that much more. I remembered the measurement but forgot what I was to do with it. So I ended up scrapping another piece of wood. Maybe I’ll do better tomorrow. Sometimes I am fine with this stuff but when I am not it is real frustrating. I’m gonna call it a night. Don’t feel like writing much.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Busy blessed day

You can see the handle of my hoe to give you an idea how tall these weeds were

8/9/07 Thursday
It’s been a busy blessing of a day. Eric showed up first, bringing his weedeater, hoe, and the mosquito repellent I had strongly advised him to bring. We visited a few minutes and went straight to work. First we cleared out wood and other obstacles from the areas to be mowed. There was a lot there and it was hard to see and get to with the weeds growing around and through everything. The wood we threw into where my burn pit was though you can’t tell because of the weeds. I’ll have to move the fencing before I burn this stuff.

I am so tired that this is hard to write. Plus I seem to have lost a picture I just took of the wood just written about. Will restart the computer to see if it shows up.

Found it. It was there all the time, I was just looking in the wrong place. I’m tired enough it’s affecting things like that. I was pretty sharp today, it was a good day in that regard.



After a while Wally showed up with the crew delivering the tractor and brush hog. He got right to work after checking to see what I had in mind. He mowed and mowed, stopping to study what he must venture through. I got a chain out and he dragged the propane tank out. I’ll try to sell it, maybe. Part of me hates to let go of things that I might possibly need in some distant future. If I ever set up a greenhouse operation we might need one. I think I’ll keep it for now. Hell, I’ve got seventy six acres so I’ll just find someplace out of sight to store it.

Wally tried to move the bus with the tractor but it wouldn’t budge. It’ll take a lot to move that sucker. We dragged the two telephone poles into the melon area where I hope to use them to make raised garden beds, possibly to grow strawberries. Eric worked hard till he had to go. Quite a guy. Both Eric and Wally have impressed me with the character they display and integrity they practice.

Wally could see I was wearing down around one or two o’clock so suggested I rest while he continued mowing. When I get tired my control of the right leg is reduced so the limp and unsteadiness make it hard to hide. I never feel right resting while someone else works but I needed to so laid down for about an hour.

We broke for lunch and ate the sandwiches Cherie made. They were good. Of course we had lots to drink. Cherie made sure we always had something. With this heat and humidity that is important.

Wally let me drive the tractor at the end of the day. I used the front end loader to scrape up much of what had been cut and piled it in back where I will compost it. This will be a good start for next year. I greatly enjoyed doing this and became adept at operating the bucket. Kind of dug out a drive from the highway so there is another way in and possibly a turn around. Later we’ll caliche it or something.


Mowing the weeds down makes an incredible difference. The place just feels different, more open and free. Cherie noticed several pickups that pulled over to check out what we were doing and then take off. I’m sure the farmers are just as glad to see the weeds get cut down as we are.

I must express our gratitude for this. Wally and Eric are exemplary examples of what Christianity is about. And so are all the others who have helped us out. I believe that later we will be in much better shape and able to take care of ourselves but right now, at this start of a new life, the helping hands are greatly appreciated. This is a glimpse of times gone by, of a culture that has vanished in much of America, of a time when neighbors knew each other, talked to each other, and helped unselfishly when they could. Now these acts are like a beacon on a hill, a light for all to see that honors Jesus and true Christianity. This is how it should be and if more who call themselves Christians did this it would have an impact on the world around.

I am pretty wiped and having a hard time staying awake so I’ll post this and the pictures. Night all.
Before and after

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Reminders

8/8/07 Wednesday
Yesterday was not a good day. It wasn’t slowdowns, didn’t have any bad ones. It wasn’t physical, my pain level was fine. It was the reminders. Things have been going so good. Through the generosity and compassion of others we have air conditioning, a new kitchen, the weeds will get cut down, and mostly friends. Things are looking up and hopes are renewed. Then I have a day like yesterday where the fact that I do have brain damage is thrown in my face. It is something that I try to forget, something I hate to recognize, and when things are going well I do forget it or at least dream of things as if I don’t have this disability. Yesterday was a fight to do what used to be simple and then there was the letter from Mt Sinai Hospital. That just brought up the fact that I finish little I start out to do. It makes me feel stupid. The analogy of being a drunk or on drugs holds true. I can talk a good game, sound intelligent and all that, but that seems to be it. Yesterday wasn’t just depressing, it was demoralizing. I don’t keep up with much of anything. There is a garden full of melons that are probably rotting away for I don’t know when they are ripe, don’t pick them, and don’t know what to do with them if I do. The squash is easier for it turns yellow and doesn’t go bad quickly. I am thinking of taking a load to the first church of Stanton but in my mind fear they will reject any gift I bring. One of the things I looked forward to with this garden is blessing people there with these fruits of my labor. You can read that in the earlier entries of this journal. I thought that maybe that will open some doors. But this inability for me to get along, this lack of social skills, is just another reminder of the brain injury. Thank God though for those in Midland who have opened their hearts and accepted me. There is a fear in me, based on my past experiences since waking from the coma and moving to Stanton, that I will say or do something to cause these doors to slam closed.

So this morning I bear the disillusionment. I am sure I will work through it as I must and have done so often. I never went to Big Spring and never fixed the garage door yesterday. What I did was grab a hoe and chopped down some of the seven foot tall weeds outside our bedroom window. This is something basic and simple that I won’t screw up and the physical labor helps vent frustration, at least in theory. The hoe I bought at Home Depot because it had a longer handle more suited to my 6’2” frame and seemed heavier duty is a made in China piece of crap with the blade repeatedly bending backward.

We will go to Big Spring this morning. It is better that I do this with Cherie along. I’m not real confident of handling navigating the urgent care clinic and answering doctors questions alone. Then maybe I’ll fix the garage door and finish cutting wood for the cabinet. It’s what I am thinking of doing but can’t count on it. This won’t be an easy day for Cherie as I am not in a good mood. The puppies already heard from me when they pushed the gate to their room open this morning. Hope I can lighten up.
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I’m doing much better. We got to the VA hospital at around ten thirty or so. Because the pain pills are a narcotic the doctor needed to approve renewing the prescription so that meant waiting till one o’clock or later. Now we have two hours to kill so it’s time to explore this town I grew up in. I had driven around it when we were coming down to visit with my grandmother and stayed in a Big Spring hotel. The entries you can find in the early part of this blog talk of how I got lost as I sought the memories brought up by seeing something familiar. As Cherie and I drove today I would tell her stories of those days. Showed her where the foosball, pool, and video parlor was and how I would pack my mustang with people and we would smoke dope till we couldn’t see. How I would flip off the police while on my motorcycle just to get them to chase me. Of doing donuts on a mesa flinging up so much dust we couldn’t see and then stopping to see how close to the edge of the cliff we were. I found the high school but it didn’t look familiar at all as far as the exterior goes. Couldn’t figure out which Baptist church I went to, the one I was baptized in. There were a few on the road but nothing looked familiar at all.

So much is lost from the brain injury but there are still fragments left that I can grasp. I chose a road to drive out of town on. There was the mobile home factory I worked at. Just for a few weeks for in those days I never held a job long. Keeping on the road I saw where my grandfather, Rudy, would take me shooting. Cool, that brought back some good stuff. I stayed on this road but now there was nothing remotely familiar. But we had two hours to waste so I kept on. We came to an intersection of a road named “Moss Lake Road”. Moss Lake? That’s where Lee and Rudy took me many times. We camped out there, we fished there, I remember now. The old tin boat, another item stolen from this house, Rudy and I had taken on this lake many times. So I turned onto this road figuring it will take me to the lake. Didn’t know so just guessed which direction to go. I don’t remember the road but I remember one of the times we were going to the lake in the old light blue pickup. I kept changing the station on the radio despite Rudy telling me not to. Finally he got fed up and smacked me upside the head. I cried like a baby but it straightened my snotty ass up. Needed that. At that time I needed a lot more than that. This was after I had run away from my dad’s home because I was tired of being beat and they sent me to live with my grandparents. I was a mess psychologically and the undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome didn’t make things any easier.

So Cherie and I drove, wondering if this road would lead to the lake. It did. Coming to a valley we suddenly saw the lake. Now it was time to recover many more memories. I drove around the rustic roads that followed the lakes edge and we both enjoyed how beautiful it was as I said things like “I think this is one of the areas we liked to fish at”. Wasn’t really sure but it felt right. So we drove till we couldn’t drive anymore. Turning back it was time to head to the hospital.

The prescriptions were ready so we grabbed them and headed home. Stopped to pick up the mail on the way. I didn’t get to talk to the VA about the mysterious lack of their letters being delivered to our mailbox. I’ll bring that up on the fifteenth when my next appointment is. They tell us the letters are sent but we haven’t seen them.

I decided to stop at the first church of Stanton on the way home to see about bringing melons and squash to them. The youth pastor, who’s name escapes me despite having heard it many times, was the only one there. He said to bring all I wanted and it would disappear. That’s what I wanted to hear.

When we got home I had to lay down for an hour or so. It has been a busy day and the mental fatigue thing sets in around two or so, especially if there is a lot going on. After the siesta I hit the garden to harvest stuff to take to church. The Ein Dor melon I have been waiting to harvest has disappeared. Just vanished. We’ve been told that coyote’s know when melons are ripe and have been known to steal them. Between that and our puppies much of the melon patch has been destroyed. I clipped several honeydews who’s vines were dead. I don’t think they were ripe yet but regardless are done growing. Hopefully some are good.

I loaded the truck and headed into Stanton. The youth pastor’s wife was there along with the church secretary. I asked where they wanted this stuff and after finding out how much she cleared off a table in the big room across the hall. The youth pastor and his wife (They both told me their names but I can’t remember. Sorry) helped unload the truck. We talked a little afterwards. I shared our story and also brought up how disappointed and bothered we were that after nine months no one had visited or really opened up to us. How we had looked forward to being part of the community and getting involved. So we went to the church in Midland and it is a night and day difference. I told them that one of the things I had looked forward to with the garden is sharing it’s fruit with the friends we would make in Stanton. We may not have found any real “Friendships” but I am sharing anyway. I invited both of them up to the farm. She said that might include their three kids. “That would be great. They are more than welcome and our puppies need to be around kids” I said. I look forward to them coming and truly hope they will.

With that all done I came home and went to work in the garden, hoeing down the voraciously growing weeds. Unfortunately in my exuberance I once again chopped one of the drip feed hoses in half. It’s hard to see where they are under a jungle of three foot tall weeds.

I ran to Walmart to get repair parts for that and then to HEB to pick up some stuff for when Wally and Eric come tomorrow to brush hog weeds and help me do some things around here that I can’t do by myself. Things like dragging the two telephone poles into the melon patch garden.

It’s after midnight so I need to call it a day. Night all. I’m doing much better as far as the depression goes so don’t worry.