Friday, January 30, 2009

Lots to do

1/30/09 Friday
Took Cherie to work. Went to air up her now flat tire but the new air tank we just bought didn’t hold air so couldn’t. There is so much to do but trying to fix Cherie’s car is taking up a lot of time. I spent hours online yesterday trying to find out how to fix it with little luck. Auto Zone, a big auto parts company, doesn’t even stock any lock cylinders for a 1998 Prism. I went to site after site and after going through the slow process of plugging in all the answers to the questions about the make and model of the car would find they didn’t have the part.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours drilling and chiseling the old lock cylinder out. I did some damage to the housing so that’s not comfortable. If I can’t find a replacement cylinder, or if I do and it won’t work, I’ll try to rig up a switch on the dash to start the car with. Cherie asked me what we could get for the car as is and I told her I felt we would be lucky to get $400.00 for it right now.

My check came in so we can afford to buy some of the stuff desperately needed for this growing season. I’d better make a list now, before I get distracted and do something else. Then we must order seeds. God I hope I keep up with this.
I found a place that sells ignition locks but looking at the picture makes me think I broke something when drilling the old one out. The church Cherie works at said she could use their maintenance truck to go to and from work until we get this fixed.

Finally got the tiller out and have tilled along all the water system trenches on both sides. Came in and took a pain pill. While out tilling I started to experience the strange changes in my hearing that heralded a seizure a few years ago. This worried me because it was like this when I had the grand mal that put me in the hospital for three days. But it may be because I forgot to eat lunch so I came in and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I seem to be doing ok now. Worked on figuring out what I’ll need for the drip irrigation but it gets confusing for me. I’ve never dealt with this stuff before so am not sure what goes where or what I’ll need to do the job. I’ll go back out and till, that I can do without getting confused.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Freezing rain

1/28/09 Wednesday
I was thinking about all kinds of things to write but now I can’t think of them so I’ll just start with this morning. When I went out this morning to warm up the truck in preparation to take Cherie to work, everything was iced up. Now, being from up north I’m acquainted with this so proceeded to carefully pull the door open so as not to rip the weatherstripping. As I increased the pressure to open the stubborn door the handle broke off. West Texas just turns plastic brittle and add the cold to that it just didn’t make it. There’s another hundred or so dollars we don’t have. I crawled in from the passenger side and got Cherie to work on time.

Well, we finally got some moisture. It’s good timing as I have just gotten to the point I will be able to start tilling the two acres I want to plant. If I’m lucky it will get warm and the weed seeds will all germinate. This way I’ll till them under and thus eliminate a ton of problem.

I can’t remember much of what I did yesterday but much of it will come as I think hard about it. I remember having to rush to get the trenches filled in to protect all the pipe I put in for the water system. There’s probably a quarter mile of PVC pipe in there. (That’s probably a slight exaggeration) I don’t know which day it was but remember doing it. That’s one of the weird little issues with this TBI, I can remember doing something but can’t put a time stamp on it so I don’t know if it was yesterday or last week.

So, by the way, I pressure tested the water system a day or three ago and everything held good. Looking back I see I haven’t written about working on it much. I got all the faucets glued on and lots of stuff to get it functional. It involved lots of digging as the wind and dogs filled portions of the trenches back in. I wasn’t able to locate the pipe from the well so hooked it up through a garden hose. With that I had filled the system with water so now a good freeze would crack and break everything I had done. I bought one of those lights fishermen wear on their heads and when it got dark put it on to be able to keep working. There was a frozen fog surrounding me and it kept watering up my glasses so I couldn’t see. I kept going till I got done but the last part of it I just put in enough dirt to hopefully keep the pipes from freezing. By this time my pain level was extreme but I had to finish.

What else did I do? I fixed guacamole but that didn’t turn out to good. I’ve fixed it many times but can’t remember how each time so I’m always starting from scratch. We bought what I thought I needed for the guacamole when we picked up the avocadoes. I know you use lemon to keep it green so I put a whole lemon in it. Way to much. I tasted it but the problem is my sense of taste doesn’t work to good (another TBI issue) so I wasn’t able to detect the lemon. That makes cooking an adventure and I like to cook.

Puppies are always in the news here. I looked at the camera and found it had ninety seven pictures on it. Most of them are of the puppies. They are getting out more and wandering farther so that will become a problem.

It’s 2:00. I know I need to write but I can’t stand laying in this bed typing when I know there’s lots of work to do. I’m going to take the drill with me when I pick up Cherie from work and try to drill out the lock.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sure got cold

The dynamic duo, Rascal and Trixie, on top of the doghouse. You can see the mesh tarp I put on top of the kennel to prevent hawks from stealing a puppy.

1/24/09 Saturday
It sure got cold. The wind was howling when I went to feed the puppies last night and I could feel a bite in it. This morning the whole house was chilly, quite a change from the last couple of days. I woke up at 4:30 and turned the space heater on so the bedroom was tolerable when we got up. Cherie got going early to beat the rush at the laundry mat in Midland. I can’t think of anything to do in Midland so she has the truck. There’s plenty to do here.

It’s bath day so I set up the space heater in the bathroom to warm it up and filled the tub. The cold water doesn’t work in the tub because it plugged up with mineral deposits long ago so we fill it with hot water and let it cool off some before getting in. You know, thinking about it there are places all around the world that have mineral baths that people flock to for some health benefit or other. Gee, I get to do that with the water from our well. Doesn’t seem to make my hair grow so that’s out as far as “health” benefits go.

I did my weekly shave (saves on razors) and am dressed warm so it’s time to get out to work. Hope I actually do something.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Still trying to figure it out

1/23/09 Friday
Still don’t know how to get the lock cylinder out. I waded through ten pages of Google results without success. There are lots of people who have the same problem. One of them described the same issue I’ll have, that is that you must be able to turn the key in order to remove the lock cylinder. I’m thinking about drilling the whole thing out. We can’t really tow it because the steering wheel will lock into place at it’s whim so I guess it will stay in the church parking lot till we figure it out. If I can’t figure it out we’ll have to find a shop that can fix it and have the car towed over there.

Getting a new, no, a different car is something we’ve already acknowledged is at the top of the list for major expenditures and we are starting to set some money to the side for that. We’re going to nurse the car till then. It saw a lot of use over the years Cherie owned it so she got her money’s worth out of it. A few months ago Cherie surprised when she said she wouldn’t mind having a pickup truck. She’s always been a little car person and wasn’t comfortable driving my truck, at least at first. I suppose she’s getting a little “Texanified” after a couple of years here. There’s certainly a lot of pickups around so I suppose there would be a good chance of finding a deal.

We found out yesterday that my glasses can’t be fixed because the metal the frames are made of won’t solder. That won’t help things but I have glasses to wear, they just are an old prescription and the women’s glasses I accidentally got from the VA. I wear those when I drive and keep them in the truck so no one will see them.

After getting Cherie to work I came home and got to work on the water system. The puppies are fat little suckers that are starting to wander around a little, venturing out of the kennel. Now that we are fixing them puppy gruel they poop like crazy. But they are cute. Cute. CUTE!!! Now I’ll have to go take a picture of them to put here. Be back in a bit.

No time but I’ll try and post before I get Cherie from work.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This morning's sunrise.1/22/09 Thursday
It’s going to be eighty so I need to get out and accomplish something. I spent some time working on the water system yesterday, after finishing up a project for the old man. I will try to stay focused on that and not get distracted into doing something else. It’s time to start farming, which is going to be preparing the dirt and getting the water system set up. The list after that will be long and I need to write down a plan, a list of things needed to be done (Like ordering seeds) because otherwise nothing will get done. Time to start using the stuff they taught me at the Brain Injury Institute to compensate for this TBI. That was one of the first things they emphasized on doing, perhaps the most important but I don’t quite remember.
If I don’t do this it could be a bad year for farming. There’s a lot I didn’t “get to” last year and it sure cost us. We had vegetables rotting on the plants sometimes. I got to go. Thinking about all this is depressing and demoralizing. I want to achieve but keep getting kicked by my failures. It sure doesn’t help your confidence to doubt you are able to succeed.
I guess we are up to a galloping start. Cherie called to let me know her key won’t turn in the ignition again. You regulars will remember how this has happened many times before. The last time I had to remove the entire steering wheel shroud to get at it and decided to not put it back because it has happened so much. This time I can’t get it to work at all. It’s the final bell on this one. I glued her door latch together but the plastic is so brittle she still rolls the window down to open the door. I went online to see if I could figure out how to remove the lock cylinder. So far it’s been a bunch of sites trying to sell you something so I’ve had no luck. I couldn’t figure out how to take the damn thing apart, looks like you need special tools and stuff. I did find a price on a new lock cylinder, $119.00. That’s not cheap. Cherie’s car will have to sit in the church parking lot where she works till we can figure this out. I have to leave to pick her up from work so by.
1/20/09 Tuesday
I just watched the inauguration of Barrack Obama. It is a tall pedestal many have put him on. The expectations are as high as is the sky. It is the miraculous they deem him able to do. I hope, along with millions of others i' sure, that President Obama can accomplish these goals set before him. His speech mirrored many of my thoughts, some of which are expressed in my What about bob blog. His vision is one I desire to see come about. But this is how most presidents start their terms, with dreams and visions of accomplishing wondrous things. It’s congress that will be the greatest obstacle to his goals because many, if not most, politicians are in the pockets of various major corporations or other entities, perhaps other countries. Everyone who can shovel money into their coffers or influence votes to keep them in office. The changes will effect big oil, big medication, big agriculture based firms such as Monsato, and on and on. So it could be a mess but hopefully won’t.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hope to get lots done

1/19/09 Monday
It’s going to be warm for several days and I hope to get lots done. Yesterday I had a slow down that mostly affected my physical abilities though it did degrade my cognizance a bit. Walking became difficult and my balance was way off. It’s hard to step around pets when you have a hard time putting your foot where you want it to go.

I guess it’s the week for flat tires as a tire in Cherie’s car went flat over night. We will take it into Franklin this morning to get fixed and Cherie and I agreed it would be a good idea to buy the two used tires they showed me for thirty bucks each. While I’m there I’ll fill up the propane tank so I can continue burning off the weeds as an initial step to preparing the soil for this growing season.

When I researched the value of Genell’s Harley I was surprised to see it’s only worth about $3700.00 in poor condition (it doesn't run right now) and there were some good running 1976 superglides that could be bought for $5000. There were very few Harleys from the years AMF owned the company listed at all. Those were poor years for Harley Davidson as their quality was pretty crappy under AMF’s leadership. Still I would love to own this bike but odds are slim that will happen.

The old man just called and would like me to do some work this afternoon. I’m feeling good so will be happy to. Sometime today we want to see if I can get my glasses fixed, it would be nice to be able to read road signs. Gotta go get the tires fixed and stuff so see ya later.
I’m pretty rough now. It’s 1:10. Walking and thinking are hard to do. Cherie’s tire was not fixable so I bought another used one for $25.00. All in all we spent $115.00 on three tires and a refill of the propane tank. I’ll be going to the old mans to work in about fifteen minutes. It will be hard to do but I’ll try. I mentioned getting the farmer’s market going to the Mexican who was fixing the tires. He was very positive about it and suggested I go to the “Valley” to buy fruits and vegetables cheap for sale in the market. I didn’t have a clue where or what the “valley” was so had to ask. Come to find out it’s the Rio Grand river valley that borders Mexico. He said it’s about a ten hour drive. It’s a good idea but right now just paying for the gas would be a challenge must less purchasing product. Maybe next year.

This slow down has me drained and I’m fighting off sleep as I type. There is so much I need to do around here. I drove over to Decker’s tree nursery after getting the tires fixed. He’s going to or already is in prison for transporting Mexicans across the border illegally. When we first got to Texas I talked to him and he offered to sell his nursery/tree farm for fifty thousand dollars. It’s sad to see how neglected things are over there. There is probably fifty grand worth of trees sitting dead or dying but what I’m interested in is the greenhouse. All the plastic is shredded and blown off and some of the metal frame has broken too. It would sure be nice to be able to get it and set it up here. That would be a money maker and allow me to grow a lot more stuff. Got to go.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Puppy pictures

1/17/09 Saturday
I worked for the old man yesterday. Other than that I can’t remember doing much. Oh yeah, I had a flat tire on the truck and now that I think about it I didn’t work for the old man yesterday. That’s how it goes with this memory, things sometimes get mixed up, I worked for him the day before. Cherie took off early from work to take me and the tire to get fixed. It had a roofing nail in it. I asked about used tires there and they had a couple that looked real good for thirty dollars each. They are taller than what’s on the truck now but will work. The two tires on the back of the truck are bald so must be replaced.

A few days or so ago I cut out this hole in one of the old dead lawnmowers we have to put a propane tank in so I can haul it as I burn off the weeds and sticker grass. Carrying that tank when it’s full would kill me. I hope that burning this grass with the blowtorch bought for the purpose will kill some of the sticker seeds. This is just part of the many things I must do to prepare for our next growing season. I no longer have much confidence in myself to do it all. My track record isn’t good. But I’ll try.

Hey, I'm cool!!!

You talking to ME????

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Able to work again

1/13/09 Tuesday (Sorry it's so late, waited to have Cherie proof read it)
I worked for the old man yesterday. He had me doing simple things that shouldn’t be physically demanding but I worked up a sweat and had to take my shirt off just raking leaves. This cold took a lot out of me. I’m trying to write a letter to a friend to fix a problem my big mouth caused but it’s hard to do. So many things I say seem to come out wrong or have unintended consequences that I’m tip toeing around for fear of making things worse. Speaking of letters, I still haven’t finished the one to my dad and it’s for the same reason, my fear of saying something the wrong way and making things worse. In both cases I’ll have Cherie proof read them to advise me about it. I think I’ll quit and go outside to work on things.

I need to fix the damage to the kennel caused by the intense wind we had when a cold front blew in. Poor Ben ended up having no protection from that wind and bitter cold as his lean-to blew down. I was given the name of a lady who heads an organization that helps people who can’t afford it get their pets neutered. We take Ben in the 26th and then two weeks later he will get his rabies shot. Then we can work through Pet Smart to get him adopted.

Last night Cherie went to get something out of her car and came in upset because there was a truck across the street sitting on the side of the road with it’s lights out. She said it started up and drove off but when I looked out there was another vehicle sitting there that also had it’s lights out. I suspect they were tapping into our wireless internet connection because when I unplugged it the car left. There is a security thing on the system that would require a password for someone to use it but when I tried to set it up I got confused and finally gave up. I need to try again. The idea of people sitting across the street to tap in doesn’t sit well with me, for that matter cars sitting across the street with their lights out is uncomfortable regardless of why they are doing it. It’s just plain dangerous and stupid on this busy highway. We heard the dogs bark early this morning, before daylight, and then heard a vehicle start up and drive off. I sure wish we could get a gun so Cherie would have it for protection out here in the country.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It will be a warm day

1/9/09 Friday
Good morning all. It’s a cold morning as we didn’t set a fire or have the space heater on during the night. We’ve been running it a lot lately and the electric bill will probably be pretty high. But it’s going to be a near record high temperature today. Then there's a gang of cold fronts coming through, starting tomorrow. I’m running a little slow, about a six on the bob scale.

Cherie changed the dressing on the hole in my arm. She had to really steel herself up for it as blood and stuff aren’t something she’s good at, but she did great. The cut is about an inch and a half and perhaps three quarters of an inch deep. It’s stuffed with an iodine gauze strip that is maybe a quarter of an inch wide. They managed to get about six inches of this stuff in my armpit. Cherie pulled out what was there and put about four inches of gauze in the wound. It doesn’t hurt as bad as I thought.

Yesterday I washed the sheets and blankets we have for the doghouse so today I will change that out with the dirty stuff that’s in there. I know the doc said not to lift much with the right arm but I have to do something. This crap is still in my lungs but at least my energy level is better. Unfortunately I noticed the first sign of yellow in my snot this morning so that’s an indication of infection in the sinuses. Hope that doesn’t go anywhere but away. What else can I do today? I think I’ll clean around the house to help Cherie out.

Yesterday I cremated Tiger’s body. How sad it is to see him go. Every day he would run up to me for pets when I would go into the garage. I’ll miss that. That makes four cats we’ve lost now. When, or if, we find a home for Ben I want to get some more for rodent control. In my mind I’m saying I won’t get attached but I know better. Cherie doesn’t want any more cause it breaks her heart when they are killed or just disappear. I can’t blame her.

Well, I fixed breakfast and took my medication. Time to get myself moving. I’m not sure why but my stat-counter shows me that the readership of this blog has doubled starting Monday. They don’t post comments (Hey folks, talk to me) but some have spent up to five hours reading it. Some have downloaded several of my pictures. The one I have with the old leg braces hanging on the barn wall is a favorite. These are pictures that I lost when my computer was trashed by a virus but they remain on the blog. For that I am grateful. I tried to download it yesterday but couldn’t figure out how so gave up. Maybe I’ll try again. Maybe I’ll remember to try again.
Come on, give me a break. I know I was a little slow this morning but when I went outside to do something it got real hard. Just trying to decide what to do turned into a confusing thing. Writing this is difficult. And one of those bad headaches is ramping up. I guess I’m down to a four on the bob scale. This really bites. I’m so tired of laying around being worthless. Screw it, I’m pushing through as best I can. Took some aspirin for the headache. I hear the puppies crying outside, they are getting more vocal. Suppose that’s a good sign.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

That wasn't bad

1/8/09 Thursday
Well that’s over. We got to the hospital at a quarter to nine like they asked but it wasn’t till eleven that I was seen. That was a long wait and both Cherie and I fought nodding off to sleep in the waiting room. Finally my name was called. Lately the VA is real stringent on making sure they have the right person, asking my full name, birthday, and why I was there. I suppose someone, somewhere, had the wrong surgery so they put in this safeguard. Works for me.

They took me to the surgery room and hooked me up to all kinds of monitors and shaved the area to be cut. After the local anesthesia the doc started cutting. “PUS” I heard him say and he told the attendants to get this and that. Come to find out the first doctor I saw was right, it was an abscess. So he squeezed out the pus and cleaned it out. I’m glad I didn’t have a coughing fit or sneeze while he was cutting. That would have been bad. After packing it with a special gauze he bandaged everything up. The whole time Doc was telling me about it and giving instructions on how to care for it. I told him I would like it written down because otherwise I would forget. After the “surgery”? he had the nurse explain everything again as she gave me the gauze and stuff I’d need. She looked at me and said “Perhaps I should get your wife and tell her”. Smart lady. I said that would be a good idea so she brought Cherie in and instructed her.

So that’s it. All done now. “It should take a week to heal” he said and I’m not supposed to lift anything heavy with the right arm. I haven’t lifted much of anything at all for a week since I’ve been sick. The biggest problem will be the location. My right arm doesn't swing much because of the paralysis but I suspect this area will chaff a lot. I wanted to borrow Chuck’s trailer and pick up another couple loads of manure from the old man’s place but that will have to wait. At least I’m on the back side of this cold and am getting better so my energy level is coming back. Today I plan on washing the sheets and blankets from the dog house so I can replace the soiled ones that are in there now. With the puppies getting older they are pooping more so I need to keep up with that.

Just so you know, Ben came back and was sleeping on his usual spot this morning. I worried all night about him so didn’t get much sleep at all. I gave him lots of hugs and pets to reassure him he was still loved. But we still need to find a home for him. Outside cats are important on this farm for otherwise we would be overrun with rats and mice. Plus we love our animals and Cherie’s had a cat pretty much all her life so gets quite attached. Remember the little Terrier type dog we had? The one that disappeared? Ben didn’t like him at all, especially when Gretchen was in heat, so I’ve always wondered if he did something with him. We just can’t have that. So if anyone out there wants, or knows someone who might want a gentle golden lab send me an email at Just make sure you don’t have any cats.

I got the letter to my dad started. It’s been a hard thing to write. I’ve gone back and forth, writing and then deleting as I search for what might work. This will take a while.

It’s 2:00 now. I’m going to lay down for a bit and then head out to wash sheets and do some other chores like check the mail and deposit the two checks we have. I wanted to order the six thousand foot roll of drip tape but that will have to wait. There was some money we were expecting that didn’t come through. Hell we need to order seeds and fertilizer too. It will work out as things seem to do around us, but it’s always on an edge.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gonna be fairly warm

1/7/09 Wednesday
It’s going to be a fairly warm day. I seem to have more energy so hope to get some things done. Still hacking up stuff from my lungs but at this point I think my body is getting rid of what’s left from the cold. The diarrhea seems to be gone so that’s a good sign. Trying to get more positive but it isn’t always easy. Still haven’t written the letter to my dad so must focus on that or it will never get done. Hope I don’t have one of those headaches because I can’t take aspirin till after the surgery.
It’s 11:15. I can’t believe how weak I’ve become. I’ve been outside for just over an hour and it’s worn me out. This can’t just be from having a cold, can it? I’ve never regained the strength I had before the accident and don’t expect I ever will but this is way worse than before I got sick. I haven’t really lifted anything heavy yet my back pain is noticeable now. Haven’t taken a pain pill for over a week now and am not anxious to start so will hold off. So I’m back inside laying down now. I suppose I should start the letter to my dad.
Cherie came home from work. She was fixing dinner and I heard her go outside. The next thing I heard was Cherie’s high pitched scream so I rushed out. She had watched Ben come out of the garage swinging Tiger’s body vigorously around like he had a prize. At first she thought it was a piece of blanket but as he pranced by she could see it was Tiger. I ran out the second I heard her scream and ran to Tiger’s body, kicking Ben out of the way. Tiger was gone. I don’t beat dogs but I beat Ben, rubbing Tiger’s body into his nose so he knew why I was so mad. I don’t know where Ben is now, he took off. This is the second cat he killed. If he comes back we will try to find a home for him. If he doesn’t that makes things easier. It’s a shame for he is a beautiful and very gentle dog, which is why we named him Ben. I feel bad now. Of course so does Cherie. Gracie just became an inside cat. What a crappy way to end the day.

Tomorrow I get the lump cut out at nine in the morning. Hope the day goes better than today did.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gonna have minor surgery

We went to see the surgeon. He said that he thought it was a lump of fat and could cut it out. “What do you want me to do?” he asked. I said “You’re the doctor and know more about this stuff than I ever will so I’ll accept your advice”. He sent me upstairs to have an ultrasound done to see if it was fat or what. The ultrasound guy looked and then called the head radiologist doctor. That guy said it wasn’t fat but something more solid with fat around it. When I told him what the doc just told me downstairs about it being fat and cutting it out he said “No” and thought it should be biopsied.

Great, four doctors and four opinions. The original doctor at the start of all this said he thought it was a cyst that should be drained but called in another doctor who thought it to be a swollen lymph node. Then it’s a lump of fat, then it’s not, so I was sent back to the surgeon. He said that they weren’t sure what it was but it should be removed so I’ll be having surgery Thursday. Whoopeee!!!! I’m glad Cherie’s not getting all upset and worrying about it. I told her that if God wanted me dead He would have left me dead when I had the accident and not brought me back. That’s how I feel about things anyway.

How long will this cold last?

1/6/09 Tuesday
Geese! How long is this cold going to last? Cherie’s still coughing and I’m as bad as I was when this started. It’s sure taking a lot out of me and I can’t believe how weak I’ve gotten, and I’m tired all the time. The one good thing about it is that I haven’t needed any pain pills at all this whole time, that I like. There is no doubt that much of the pain is directly connected to how much work I do. The headaches are back but the pain pills never touched that anyway.

Today I go to the VA to let a surgeon look at that lump in my armpit. Cherie will take some time off to go with me. We’ve both learned that that is a smart thing as when I come by myself I sometimes get things confused. We learned that lesson when I had my eyes examined and ordered new glasses. One of the strange little problems with the brain injury is my perception of things. The frames I picked out turned out to be women’s frames. I wasn’t able to tell the difference and picked out frames based on the size of lenses because these were going to be the first bi-focal glasses I’d ever had. The first thing Cherie said was “Those are women’s glasses”. In the drawer they went and they haven’t been worn since. Besides that I think the lens size was too small as I can’t see straight ahead without the bi-focal line being right in the way.

My old glasses broke the other day so now I wear the reading glasses I have. It makes driving difficult as I can’t read signs. Going into stores is hard too because it’s hard to recognize things till I’m up close. We took the glasses to Sam’s, where I bought them in Toledo, to see if they could replace the broken frame. Nope, the frame is discontinued. A new pair would cost something like $140.00. We don’t have that at all right now. In fact this is an unusually tight time for us this early in the month. He suggested I go to a jeweler where he said it would cost about forty bucks to have them soldered. If any of you know a good “cheap” jeweler in Midland send me his/her name. Yeah, I know, there is no such things as a cheap jeweler.

It’s still chilly out and on top of that there is a strong wind but I’m going to bundle up and try to get out and do something. At least I took our garbage to the landfill yesterday. There was some good tin roofing there but I just didn’t feel up to loading it so for once I came home from the landfill with nothing. Maybe it will still be there next week. One of the things I need to do is split some more firewood. Now that Cherie is home I keep a fire going. When she was house sitting I didn’t, partly because I spent much of the time in bed under the covers and thus stayed warm. I partly blame the TBI for not having more wood around. When I looked at the pile of wood I had it seemed like more than enough. There is a journal entry your can find where I bragged about successfully gathering enough wood for the winter. To my eyes it looked like a lot more than I had last winter but the problem is I can’t really remember how much I had last winter. What the mind sometimes does is mentally confabulate what is not clear, you know, just fills in the blanks.

I guess I should try to get moving. I remembered to fix breakfast so that’s done. I may not feel hunger but lately I’ve noticed I get real light headed when I miss a meal and that reminds me to eat. That kind of bothers me, it can be a sign of a blood sugar issue. If I remember I’ll bring that up with the doctor and have them run a test. Time to go now.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Nice to have Cherie home

1/5/09 Monday
I wonder how long this is going to last. Cherie is still coughing but other than that doesn’t seem to be in too bad of shape, though she certainly isn’t up to speed. I’m just not improving at all. I hope to get up and get something done but fixing breakfast this morning I’m real weak and my balance is off bad enough that I must be careful. I called the old man to let him know that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to work right now, especially because he doesn’t want to catch this. He didn’t have much going on anyway so that made me feel better.

It was nice to have Cherie sleeping next to me last night. Steve and Janie should be home today so she didn’t have to spend the night over there. She sure was happy to be home too. The girl worked around the house till nine or so despite not being up to speed. What a trooper.

After feeding the animals, including eating my breakfast, I decided to lay back down before I fell over. Because it was going to be so cold last night we decided to let Ben come in but that didn’t last long. He got into the garbage and peed on the chair we just got from Genelle. I’m sure I spelled her name wrong but that’s ok. Anyway, Ben got dragged out and I put him in the kennel with Gretchen and the puppies. I’d kept him out of there but there wasn’t a problem and there is a shelter I made to protect him from the cold and wind.
Ben is a beautiful dog and very smart, I just wish I had the time to train him. I suppose I have the time, just need to schedule it in. Using a schedule is something I’ve neglected for a while now and that is a big reason for me not getting things done. Right now I’m real, real tired so may try to nap. It’s just a little after nine this morning so that sucks. Geese, I just woke up a few hours ago, at five or so.

I couldn’t stand not doing anything so went outside to see what I could do. I picked some stuff up in the garage and looked at what needs to be done to fix up the puppy run. Then the cold got to me and I started coughing so decided to go in. I fired up the computer we got from my secretary’s family after she died to watch one of the forty or so movies that’s on it. Got ten minutes into the old James Bond movie, Thunderball, when it suddenly shut down. Now the computer won’t boot up. Crap. Another computer messed up while I was using it. When we got it, it wouldn’t boot up so we took it to our PC guy in Toledo and he got it going just fine so I’m confident that it won’t take much to get it going again.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cold as the dickens

1/4/09 Sunday
Yesterday I was unusually clear headed and wasn’t the “grumpy bob” (Cherie’s term for it) I sometimes am. In fact I enjoyed having a sense of humor, joking and laughing with Cherie. Of course it’s when I’m with Cherie that I am relaxed the most and we laugh a lot. Making Cherie laugh is a highlight for my day anyway.

Last night there was a show on PBS that made me realize a lot. It was about how the Jews who were in the movie industry in Germany when Hitler took control of that country. As I watched how these people struggled to survive and how many of them went on to be not only successful but a powerful influence in Hollywood, with many becoming stars and acclaimed directors, I thought how my issues paled in comparison. Here they are overcoming odds and losses that far exceed anything I’ve been through. Recently my depression has escalated to the point of despair, where I thought that my dreams and ambitions were pipe dreams that I would never be able to achieve. So I’ve been thinking there was no sense in chasing that dream and should just resign myself to just existing, to planting a garden that I couldn’t keep up with anyway. What a poor attitude, one that is self fulfilling in achieving the failure I feared. Like the bible says, “What a man fears shall happen to him”. (Or something like that, a bob paraphrase) It can be hard to stay positive when surrounded with your failures. This inability to stay focused, this inability to follow through or finish a project is listed as a common problem in pretty much all the literature I’ve read on Traumatic Brain Injuries. But that doesn’t make feel better though it is a little comforting to know I have a lot of company. Anyway, I need to renew my attitude, to get back to a positive place where I can dream again.

Anyway, I woke up clear headed and actually felt the sensation of hunger. That’s something that pretty much disappeared with the brain injury though it does show up every now and then. It’s just like other senses that were diminished from the TBI, suddenly they are accentuated, sometimes almost overwhelmingly. I’m glad that doesn’t happen as much as it used to. The one that bothers me most is when my ears start hearing every sound. We all have a filter of sorts that helps us screen out sounds like an air conditioner. Our minds can tune it out. I was at Lowes one time and that filter stopped working. Every conversation within hearing distance was registering at once along with every other sound in the place, the forklifts, carts rolling along, the click of a man’s boots, cash register’s beeping, receipts being printed up, and…well, you get the picture. So I figure being hungry is a good sign. I got hungry yesterday afternoon as well and that was a good day.

Unfortunately both Cherie and I are still pretty sick so we decided not to go to church. I can’t see having both of us with our hacking coughs steadily interrupting the service or Sunday school. Plus sharing this cold isn’t a good thing to do either. Cherie’s been sick for two weeks now and me for a week. Jen said it might be bronchitis but I don’t think that comes with diarrhea or a fever.

Ever since Christmas I’ve been worrying about what to write my dad, and if he would even look at it if I did. He said “Send me your number” but I wonder if that was just to get rid of me. There is so much I want to say but what will work, what will help open the door? Will he even open the letter? Then I worry about what might offend or upset him, what will close the door. What makes this hard is I really have no idea what he has been told or what he thinks happened and why. I know he mentioned my being a heroin addict during our one heated conversation a few years ago. Do I explain how that happened? Will he just think I’m making excuses or justifying myself? I want to explain everything, to send him everything I’ve learned or recovered in my memory about my fall. Hell, I want to tell him all about my first divorce from Cherie, about the seventeen years I spent with the second wife, Barbara, about everything because he wasn’t there. That’s my fault as much as his as I wasn’t writing or talking to him except on rare occasions and it’s been that way since I ran away from home at fourteen. So I want to tell my dad who I am for he really doesn’t know. And I really don’t know who he is. That is something I dearly want to know. I want to know what he’s done and where he has been. I want to know about that whole side of the family, about my heritage.

It’s a shame all that I had written disappeared when my hard drive crashed. So I need to start writing the book all over again and should start writing about the specific events I can clearly remember, or at least partly see through the clouds of my memory. Some I don’t want my dad to know because I know it would upset him and he would despise me. He already does that.

All these things have been rolling in my head since Christmas. I need to do something because it’s going on two weeks now. It’s cold as the dickens out and the north wind is blowing the curtains inside our bedroom window. I’m not going to start a fire as we have already burned half our firewood and there are still two cold months to go, actually January and February are the coldest months I think. I’ll fire up the wood stove when Cherie comes home but till then I’m staying under the covers to be warm. I’ll let Ben come in tonight because it’s going down into the low twenties.

Well, it’s time to feed Gretchen and check on the others so I need to put this laptop up and get out from under these covers.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Got some sleep

1/3/09 Saturday
I woke up at 7:30 so got some sleep. Still hacking up lots of the garbage in my lungs. I sure miss having Cherie in bed next to me but did have a dog on each side and Carman kitty lying on the top of my head. That made getting out of bed a challenge. I seem to have more energy than yesterday so may get some things done. Got coffee going and called Cherie to see how she’s doing. The house sitting job will be finished tomorrow, providing Steve and Janie make it back by then. Both Cherie and I will be real glad to be able to spend more time together. In a way it’s good she’s been at Janie’s because we are both still sick and I am sure I’d keep her up all night with my hacking cough. She has the same cough too so that’s not good. I’ll be running up there today where we will get some things done together and I will also enjoy the luxury of a good hot shower at Janie’s. Eventually we will remodel our bathroom and install a shower but till then it’s the good old fashioned bathtub. Cherie asked if I had eaten breakfast yet so I suppose I should fix something. She’s a wonderful wife, no question about it, and unbelievably understanding of the issues that come with a brain injury.

Speaking of that I had a visitor to the blog who left a comment that he had learned of me through the PBS program NOVA. I dimly remember a request from them to write of my experience but really don’t remember what I wrote so I just googled it to see. I wrote a whole lot and was surprised to see how much. Geeze, it’s almost a short book with two chapters. It’s the last of the many stories submitted by many other survivors. Here’s the link

I got Gretchen fed and the dogs are out so suppose I should fix breakfast and try to get moving.

I decided to take some pictures of the puppies when I took the evaporated milk/egg yolk mix out to her. Of course they are cute, all puppies are cute, at least to me. They didn't hold still for the pictures, probably because they aren't used to the amount of light that came in when I lifted the roof.

I often find pictures that I don't remember taking, but that helps me remember. Don't know when I got this done but I finally got the planer mounted on the end of the work bench. Part of it broke but it will still work just fine. I still need to adjust things so it will fold under like the miter saw. I also wanted to figure out some way to support them but for now a two by four slid underneath will do.

This is Tiger (Pronounced like the Winnie the Pooh character) My sister, Robin, sent us a picture of her two new kittens and they look like ours so I figured I'd take this to send to her. I am so not good at communicating with others, keep intending to write and keep forgetting. She's the one member of my family that talks to me and I really want to strengthen that relationship. Sometimes she reads the blog.

Here is Gracie, our other "outside" cat, though we let her come in sometimes. All the other outside cats are gone now, falling victim to the highway. One of them may have been killed by coyotes. These two live in the rafters of the garage. I set up a warm box lined with a blanket with a heat pad underneath I turn on when the temperature gets real low. Put their food up there also because otherwise Ben will steal it. We love our animals. They are a lot of work and an expense but return it multifold. (Is that a word?) Eventually we hope to have chickens, goats (perhaps) and maybe a miniature dairy cow I just learned about. They can give several gallons of milk a day or week, can't remember just how much right now, and don't eat near as much as a full size cow. If we can get a mating pair there is good money to be made selling them. Real good, something like $1700.00 each for the pure bred ones.

Friday, January 02, 2009

another long night

1/2/09 Friday
It was another long coughing night. I feel better this morning than I did yesterday but probably should take it easy to make sure I keep getting better. Still thinking about my dad and wondering how or if things will work out. I will probably stay in bed a lot but must check on the dogs regularly to make sure they are behaving. The biggest problem with them is when they chase our neighbor’s truck to his barn. Ben is the worst offender and Rascal and Trixie follow along. What worries me is when the farmer leaves Ben will chase his truck down the highway. Rascal and Trixie have been well trained to not get on that road. We haven’t checked yet but Gretchen’s puppies should be opening their eyes soon. I must fix up the area we will have for them to run in. It was going to be where we planted herbs but that has changed now that we have puppies to care for. I am tired so will check on the dogs and perhaps take a nap.
I looked in on the puppies and one of them had it’s eyes open, just barely. The rest were sleeping. Being sick sucks. It’s strange to hear my lungs bubbling as I breath. I’m sure glad I quit smoking. I forced myself to eat something for lunch and am trying to get lots of fluids in this body. Food just doesn’t taste good right now. It’s such a nice day out. My being sick is particularly hard on Cherie because she is house sitting and can’t be here like she wants. She loves me dearly just as I do her. I guess love comes with a price.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I'm sick

1/1/09 Thursday
I’m sick today folks. Probably caught what Cherie had though I could have picked something up from Lillian when I took them Miracle’s Christmas present. I guess it doesn’t matter where this came from. Last night I coughed all night long, drifting to sleep in between bouts of hacking. Today the sinuses are running like a river in flood stage. This will probably last three of four days. I seldom get sick and feel I have a strong immune system so should fight it off. Cherie came home from house sitting at Janie’s to make sure I ate and to bring me some medication. Hopefully it will help me sleep. That’s it. This is the first time I’ve opened the computer today. I’ll just check email and call it a night. It’s a shame because the weather was so nice.