Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6/30/09 Tuesday
We got some rain. Not a whole lot but every little bit helps. Just saw a story on Nightline about Alzheimer’s that struck a chord. Many of the problems they have are the same kinds I deal with, like getting confused, forgetting what you’re doing, and hearing all the sounds around you without the filters most people have. I’m so glad that I’ve improved over the years but four years ago it was real hard to function. It’s still hard now but I have more times of clarity.

It was a lot cooler so I got some work done. Took Gretchen to the animal hospital to get fixed. Ben is doing ok but we worry about him. The place where the pin sticks out of his leg has become a hole big enough to put quarters in. He goes to the vet next Tuesday to get it removed. Poor guy wants to play in the worst way.

I’m tired and it’s late so that’s all for now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just about choked!!!

6/29/09 Monday
Ok, what has happened since I last posted? I helped the old man load and move stuff Friday morning. Then I came home and worked on the farm till…I can’t remember but it was until I had to go to Midland. I poop scooped and think I went to Mrs. G’s but can’t remember for sure. Yes I did, I remember now because her lawn mower wouldn’t start so I took it home to fix. Then I worked again on the farm. Don’t remember what I did but know I wore myself out doing it.

Saturday Cherie and I both went to Mrs. G’s. She visited with her while I mowed her lawn with the lawnmower I fixed and did some other work around the house. They immensely enjoyed each other and never ran out of things to talk about.

Sunday we went to church. After I asked for help loading an old refrigerator that Mrs. G was throwing out and met the guys at her place. It wasn’t easy to load but we managed. The fridge doesn’t work but I hope to fix it. If I can it will be nice to store the seeds and organic stuff we use. We had put our old one out there when J and S bought us a new one. Unfortunately it stopped working. It will end up in the back where I will convert it to another worm raising bin.

Getting the fridge unloaded was a challenge. I created this ramp to do the job with. Unfortunately the tires on my dolly were too wide so I had to walk it down by hand, rocking it slowly inch by inch. Then I went back to work. At some point I let Cherie know that I was experiencing the strange symptoms that often precede a slowdown/seizure. My ear rings and sounds become oddly clear with little ones, like a bug flying somewhere, stand out in front. Plus my balance and coordination are off. Sure enough one came after that. It was pretty bad so I wandered around lost, forgetting what I was doing as I did it. But I persevered, kept working, focusing on one task to help not get distracted. This lasted a few hours and after that I was drained, done for the day.

When I downloaded pictures, just now, I saw this one. Evidently the wind blew this big metal thing you see at many oil wells down. It’s the well just across the highway from us. What a mess this is. Quite an oil spill. I’m glad Gretchen and Ben don’t wander off like they used to cause it would be not good for them to get in this stuff. I thought of getting some of this crude oil in a jar and sending it to friends so they could see what their gasoline and oil came from. But I don’t want to mess with it so that’s that.

I just got back from the VA. We had dropped Cherie’s truck off at John’s Automotive in the morning to get the air conditioner fixed and I took her to work. Then I went to Big Spring to find out why they didn’t send my seizure medicine. They had ordered it but the computer showed they never printed a label so it wasn’t processed. Big mistake on their part. Having a major seizure, like I had back in Toledo four years ago, would be incredibly dangerous if I was driving. I made sure to tell them that. They apologized profusely. Problem fixed.

On the way home John’s Auto called. When he told me $760.00 to fix the air conditioning I just about choked. There’s a switch that doesn’t work and a hose that leaks. The switch is Three hundred thirty something dollars and the hose a similar amount. I told him to just replace the switch. If the hose doesn’t leak bad I will just keep recharging the air conditioner. A can of refrigerant only costs twenty something dollars and I can refill it by myself. If it leaks bad we can save up the money to replace the hose.

I’m tired again, falling asleep at the computer. It’s always so frustrating to get so tired. This time I filled the screen up with K’s as that finger was on the keyboard. Both the dogs come in to the office when I’m on the computer and lay at my feet. This always touches me. Such great dogs. It’s only 11:13 and there is much to do but I think I’ll need to take a short nap. Didn’t get much sleep last night. The night before I didn’t fall asleep till after three in the morning. Hopefully an hour nap will refresh me so I can get my butt to work. They usually do.
It’s so frustrating to be me. I woke up at 1:45, or maybe I should just say got up as it really wasn’t what you would call sleep. I could hear thunder outside. “Great” I thought, “We might get rain”. Putting my hat on I went out. As soon as I stepped out I really became aware of the headache. Oh I hurt while still laying in bed but walking into the light just stabbed it home. My pain level is up from moving the fridge but I can deal with that, took one of the pills that help so much. Even that frustrates me, not the pain but the pain pills, but they help. However they do absolutely nothing for these headaches. Aspirin seems to help a little so I’ll go take two right now before I forget. It’s so strange to have a headache and forget to take aspirin despite feeling it so acutely. And then after I take it I must make a note because five minutes later I can’t recall if I did or not.

It drives me nuts to not do the things I want and need to but this is a big reason why not. I lose hours and sometimes whole days where I just can’t do anything or if I can it’s not much. I keep telling myself that I’m lucky to be alive and often say to Cherie and others that “This is the cost of being alive” but that doesn’t always help.

I just realized I never ate. Don’t feel like it at all but know I should. I’ll look in the fridge. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I often have, one of my favorites, don’t even sound good. I’ll force something down.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweet little old lady

6/26/09 Friday
It’s so gratifying to finally finish something. It took five days but the herb garden is done and planted. All the herbs smell so great. The next thing is to see if everything grows and if not to figure out why. I’m truly building this farm with blood, sweat, and tears. That is if you count the frustration and whining as tears. Lots of sweat and I daily get cuts and stickers so there’s no arguing that.

This is what I had in mind two years ago. It took me this long to do it, partly because the resources (mostly railroad ties) just now became available. My vision for this farm is clear and has been in my mind ever since we learned we would inherit this place. Sure it has evolved as I learn and become smarter, more cognizant, but the basics are unchanged. Where this vision came from I’m not sure but would like to think there is a divine hand involved. Ever since I woke from the coma I’ve had a sense that there is a reason I’m alive, a reason I was raised from the dead. Add to that how things seem to come together in a miraculous way, especially the restoration of my marriage with Cherie, and you can see why I think that. Lord knows I’m blessed. Oh nothings easy but it’s still good.

Yesterday I went to pick up some firewood from a sweet little old lady. We need to start stocking up for the upcoming winter so that was a blessing. She is a sweetheart and we talked for almost two hours. She grew up on a farm and raised seven kids. All of them except one live far away, one in Maine. The one lives in Odessa and just got married so doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with her mom.

During the conversation I learned that “G” (That’s what I’ll call her. Can’t remember her name but know it starts with a G) had sold her twenty six room house and farm, that was not in the area at all, and gotten her townhouse in Midland. She’s been attending a church for two years and never had a visitor. What a crime that is and how I can relate. So I told her about our church and how we had found friends and fellowship and invited her to come.

She has a torn rotator cup that doctors haven’t done a thing about for seven months. They tried steroid shots and stuff but nothing worked. Looking at her unkempt lawn I offered to mow it. Will do that today if I can get her mower running, and do some other things around the house. I keep saying I’ll do things but don’t so I need to make sure this happens. Having it scheduled with a day and time helps insure that. That’s how it has to be. Otherwise things don’t happen. This seems hard for others to understand and I always get the “Come over when you want or can” type of thing. Then it never happens. This is a common problem for us TBI survivors and many of us must live a scheduled life and develop firm routines to accomplish much of anything.

I’ll need to buy a new chain for the chain saw as G has an old tree stump she needs cut down.

The old man just called and needs help so got to go.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gotta beat the heat

6/25/09 Thursday
The heat sure took a lot out of me yesterday. Cherie noticed it right away when she came home. It will be hotter today. There is so much to do and I’m sure I’ll push the envelope again. Part of my tasks will be picking up firewood from a seventy year old ladies house that she doesn’t want anymore. Any firewood is good as I need to stock up for winter. Waiting till the last minute is not wise. I will try to get Cherie’s truck to a shop today. Don said that a place called “John’s Automotive” does good work and is reliable. I need to call them this morning before I forget. This morning I hope to finish the raised garden beds. Got the pipe all laid and hooked up but need to put the drip irrigation stuff in place. Went back out to work on it at about seven last night, when I felt strong enough, but had to quit when it got dark. Got to go and beat the heat.
12:15 - Just found another Trojan on this computer. Seems like we’re being targeted lately. I have to wonder if that’s connected to the work I’m doing to expose that scam artist.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

caught a worm

6/24/09 Wednesday

Cherie’s computer caught another “Koobface” worm. I had caught one when investigating scams but we think Cherie got it from Facebook. When I went online to learn more I discovered that it has been a problem with the social network sites. Glad we caught it. I haven’t spent any time on the particular scam that my brother has been sucked into because there is just too much to do around here. But I won’t quit, just need to make time for it.

Finally got the raised beds set up and filled with dirt. Just put the last of the dirt in around 10:00. Next I must dig a trench to run a water line and set up the irrigation system. Also I need to build a gate to keep the dogs out. There are already dog tracks in the dirt so there is no doubt they will be a problem. I’ve been meaning to build this gate for several months, ever since the church folks helped build the fence that is there. Of course there is a long list of “meaning to do” stuff that hasn’t gotten done. Always drives me nuts. We got a donation for Suzie at church Sunday. I called to tell her and learned they scraped up enough money to get their electricity turned on. A lot of it they borrowed from friends and have to pay back. I’ll get a money order and send it. Cherie was going to do that from work but wasn’t able to so the task goes to me. It’s on my written schedule so will happen. I’m fixing to go into Stanton as soon as I post this so will do it then. Got to go.
It’s 4:30. I had to come in. Was getting unsteady on my feet and a little dizzy. Plus I’ve developed quite a headache. My difficulty typing tells me I’m slow. Guess I’ve pushed as far as I can so best take a break.

Got the truck inspected today. Didn’t know it had expired till I got a ticket. That happened yesterday. Cherie and I were coming home from the laundrymat, where we both met and did laundry. I do my own nowadays to help Cherie out because she works full time. I’m having a hard time writing but damn-it will get this done. So we were both going home, Cherie in her truck and I was in mine about five miles ahead because I left a few minutes earlier. I could see the police car a mile away because it had it’s lights flashing so checked my speed. I was going 65 so slowed down to 60. I know the speed limit is 55 but figured it would be a safe speed. I watched the police car turn off it’s lights and come across the median to the service road I was on. No big deal I thought because I wasn’t speeding, not much. Checking again I see I’m still at 60. Then she spins the car around and turns on her lights. At first I figured she had gotten a call and had to fly but it was me she was after. The trooper said I was going 71 miles an hour. I told her I was going 60 and asked if she could have picked up someone else on the radar. “No” was the answer so I got a ticket. No sense arguing, it’s a dumb thing to do. But I will go to court. Doubt it will do any good but it’s the principle of the thing. If I was speeding there would be no protest but this time I wasn’t. Lord knows I break the speed limit all the time but not this time.

So I’ve been digging the trenches for the herb garden. It’s been three days I’ve worked on this project so far. Hope to finish it today but that now depends on how fast I recover. We’ll see. I have to lay down. Don’t want to but have to.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Relearning lessons learned

One of the regular sand storms that blow through. I think this was Saturday and preceded the rain we got.

6/22/09 Monday
Yesterday afternoon I had one of those major slowdowns that are petite seizures. Not all slowdowns are seizures, at least I don’t think. Some are just times of confusion or reduced ability to process information (A fancy way of saying “think”) that come with stress or lots on my mind. There is always lots on my mind. Anyway, it was a bad one. You can hear it clearly in my speech and Cherie noticed a long time ago a difference in how I hold my hands when this happens, especially on my right side. It’s really strange. I can use my hand and arm just fine when I’m thinking about it but when I don’t it sort of freezes in the position I last had it until I use it again. So you will see me walking with my right arm perhaps bent up towards my chest and the hand kind of curled up. This slowdown lasted almost eight hours. That’s longer than usual. I’m grateful these don’t happen as often as they used to. In fact slowdowns at this level rarely happen anymore, maybe two or three a month now versus eight or nine a week. It came with a severe headache this time. The headaches have been happening a lot more lately, almost every day.

Regardless, or despite that, I worked hard. Moved lots of railroad ties in order to set up the herb garden. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for two years now. Actually I dug beds and planted herbs our first year but everything died. I can’t remember if I tried again last year and really don’t have time to go back in this journal to see. It’s not that important.

We bought lots of herbs at Aldredge yesterday, or Saturday, I’m not sure right now, can’t remember. So that’s spurring me to action. I’m tired of buying plants and having them die because I can’t seem to get them in the ground. Again, that’s the constant conflict between what I want to do and am able to. It’s killing me to do but damn it, I’m determined to actually accomplish something I started. I jokingly asked Mike, one of our friends at Sunday school, “Do you want to help me move railroad ties?”. I think I put him on the spot without intending to. He said “That’s something I would do when I was thirty”. We talked about how heavy they are and had a general discussion about making raised garden beds.

I also prepared this area around our Mulberry tree. It is where we plan to plant the mint we have. When we were at Aldredge we saw some mint plants and I bought one labeled “English” mint. There was spearmint also on the display but I knew we had mail ordered some so we didn’t get it. What I forgot was that the entire order of three different kinds of mint arrived dead. Totally dead. It had been on sale from Henry Fields, where we have ordered several live plants from. The reason it was on sale was it was the last they had and clearly not in good shape. They have a guarantee but when we called we learned there is no more left so the order will be sent out late fall or next year, can’t remember which. But at least I have an area prepared though the drip irrigation isn’t installed. Drip irrigation is vital for anything to survive out here.

I will fire up the tractor to move the equivalent of about thirty of forty wheelbarrow loads of dirt to where the raised herb beds will be. First I have to put in fence posts to keep the railroad ties in place when the dirt is put in. I relearned a lesson I had learned two years ago. That is you can’t cut railroad ties with a chainsaw. Well you can but it destroys the chain quickly. So I destroyed a chain yesterday. This means that I’m unable to cut railroad ties to make ends for the raised beds. I guess that for now I’ll just cut some plywood to fit. It won’t take long to rot but for now this will at least allow me to put dirt in so I can plant these herbs. Relearning lessons is unfortunately a constant thing when you can't remember what you did. Thus I make the same mistakes again.

Here's where I started replanting the two hundred plus cantaloupe and honeydew melons I killed with the bad insecticide soap.

It’s going to be a hot day. 92 degrees isn’t bad but with the rain we had the humidity will be up there so it will feel like a hundred. I hurt like hell from moving all those railroad ties but that doesn’t stop me. I’m used to it. Took a pain pill at 7:00 so can’t take another one till 11:00. The prescription says to wait six hours but I only wait four when I hurt like this. Time to get back out there so see ya later.

Here's another one of our "Archeological" digs. The ashes of my grandfather's sister were buried at the mulberry tree where I want to plant the mint. The marker weighed a ton but wasn't as heavy as the railroad ties. Underneath it was the can with her ashes and a rosary on top. We don't know what to do with them and will try to contact his family to see if they want the ashes. I know the family is in New York somewhere. Any ideas? What's right to do about stuff like this? I'm pretty clueless.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's our anniversary

6/20/09 Saturday
I want to leave my mark. Watching a PBS show about the New Mexico high desert I saw the remains of many cultures and ancient civilizations. It made me think. All these ruins are the evidences of people long dead and they are the mark they left. My father has squandered the heritage of his side of the family, it is all gone now. The small mansion my grandmother had, the land she had acquired or had been passed on to her, it’s all gone, sold so my father could spend the cash. When he’s gone so is the histories of that family. Thus it is with most people, they work, they live, and they die. When their lives end their possessions, if any, are spread on the table of those related to them and are absorbed. But I want to leave a mark. Something that lasts long after I have left this world, something that has the power to help, that has a positive spirit that can live on through the lives it touches.

I have thoughts like this often but by the time I get to this computer they are long forgotten. So I rushed straight to Cherie’s laptop to write this before it disappeared.

Today is our fifth anniversary. Wish I could post a picture of us but they are all on my laptop, which has a fried motherboard. The first marriage lasted five years before the torment of my fall and brain injury tore us apart. We are passing that point now, breaking the old record so to speak, surpassing what was done before. There will be no tearing apart this time, we are one and will stay one. When Cherie told me on June the second that it would have been our thirtieth anniversary if we had not divorced it really spun me around. Thirty years!!! What would those years have been like if we had stayed together? Where would we be now? It does no good to ponder these things too much, in fact it probably is not good to do so. What’s done is done, what will be is up to us.

We are both tired. Have been working hard. Cloie got adopted today so she’s gone. We miss her but it’s better that she’s in a safe home where there aren’t trucks screaming by at 80 MPH right out in front. Maybe I’ll write tomorrow. Right now I’m calling it a night and going to bed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

No time to waste

6/19/09 Friday
Hurray!!! We got rain. I hope it came in time for the many cotton farmers who’s seed was put in the ground a while back. I know the farmer next to us had stuff just sprouting that didn’t go anywhere. The guy across the road is out every day digging in his field to see what’s going on with his seed. Because I irrigate and haven’t gotten much planted the drought hasn’t hurt so bad. But there is a definite difference between my well water and the rain water so it does make a difference.

One of the things this rain will do is make pulling weeds much easier. And there are always lots of weeds, especially where I irrigate. The weeds elsewhere were suffering from the lack of water so this will spur them on. Much of the work I do here is focused on keeping the weeds, particularly the sticker grass, in check.

There is always lots of work to do. Fact is that hard work is vitally important in any enterprise. Except the scams. They promise money for doing little or nothing and that is one of the draws. Despite having so much to do I must continue working to expose the get rich quick by not doing much of anything scheme. Working on it will cost me but that’s how things go. Nothing good comes without a price of some kind.

So with that short note I will go. Things to do and no time to waste.
I went out and picked some weeds. This helps me clear my head and think of better ways to write what I want to say regarding this scam. I am still suffering from moving those railroad ties two days ago and one hour of pulling weeds sure brought that out. It will ease up, it always does but sometimes takes a while. Good thing I’m not getting any older…ha ha ha.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it and don’t feel like going back in this journal to see so if I’m repeating myself bear with me. We took both puppies to get adopted at Pet Smart last Saturday. Goldie, the small one, found a home but Cloie (Cherie’s name for it) didn’t. We will try to find her a home again tomorrow but if that doesn’t work out I guess she will join our fold. It doesn’t take long for a puppy to worm its way into your heart. She’s a cutie and pretty smart too. Plus she gets along well with Rascal and Trixie. I love watching them play.

That’s it for this brief interlude. I warmed up some pizza for lunch (Yep, I’m eating Cherie) Cherie reads this blog from work so it’s a good way to assure her.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Want, need, vs ability

Just took this a few minutes ago. You can see the sand blowing, as it has for days now. It's always in my eyes, nose, and teeth. Not comfortable but that's life in West Texas desert country.

6/18/09 Thursday
It seems that Cherie’s computer is alright. One of the Trojans was particularly bad. Spysweeper said it was a “self replicating” one that not only fed your passwords and information to the sender but also was malicious and damaged the computer. After I ran Spysweeper and got rid of it I restarted Cherie’s laptop and ran it again. Sure enough, the damn thing showed up again. So hopefully we got rid of it for good.

There is always a conflict between what I want to do, need to do, and am able to do. I hurt myself yesterday doing something I needed to do. That was moving some railroad ties to where our herb garden is to be, to create raised beds. This was part of what I had paid to have help with when I traded Cherie’s car for labor. Without help I am a one man show. Cherie had reordered the mint plants after the other ones died. They died because I never got to building the raised beds. I didn’t get to it because I know that moving those railroad ties by myself is playing with fire. It’s hard for me to watch plants die because I can’t get to it so this time I “Bit the bullet” and moved some ties. I was able to move six of them before I was in too much pain to continue. There are two more to go just to complete half the job. That might not happen. This morning I’m paying the price. But there are things that need to be done so it’s grit my teeth and push on time. Thank God for pain pills.

If I could accomplish what I want to do, this place would be rocking. We would have a lawn. There would be wind break trees surrounding the place. All the farm plots would be fenced in. We would have chickens and miniature cows. The house would be beautiful, painted, and landscaped. All the rotten wood and bad windows would be replaced. The old store I have access to would be open for business and stocked with produce raised here. And on and on.
I had planned on getting this leveled out so these railroad ties would be nicely placed here where our strawberries are. But I wasn't able to so just dragged these into place yesterday while I was moving others to the herb garden.

If I could do what I need to do, everything would be planted. And…it’s depressing to think about so I’ll leave it there. So I do what I’m able when I’m able. Even that comes with a price. “I do the best I can with what I’ve got” is something I say a lot. I just came in to rest and take my pain pill, now that the correct time has passed to do so. As always I’m careful with them. So I can’t waste anymore time and must go back out to work. I haven’t finished working on the scam thing. Stopped that when the virus hit. But it plagues me that my brother has been duped so I won’t let it languish. Got to go.

Oh, I just remembered something I wanted to mention. You know how things often seem to work out, how when we have a need something happens to meet it? Well it happened again. The air conditioner on Cherie’s truck died. Yesterday the friend I poop scoop for showed up at her work. Because she is traveling so much and is seldom in town she decided to go ahead and pay me for the rest of the year of poop scooping. That should give us enough money to get her truck fixed. She didn’t have a clue Cherie’s truck needed work.
The sky yesterday

On that note, do any of you have someone you can recommend to work on her truck’s air conditioner? If so leave a comment or email me at bobcarver2@yahoo.com.
4:30 – I’m beat. Been running the tractor ever since lunch. It just ran out of gas, so did I, at least for now. I never know how tired I am till I come inside, then it hits me. I moved all the compost as best I could. It’s a challenge with that front end loader, mostly because you can’t tilt the bucket up to get a full load. I scraped lots of the compost running the tractor backwards. Reverse didn’t work all the time. So I pushed, pulled, and sometimes lifted partial bucket loads. My jeans are soaked with the hydraulic fluid that leaks out from the gear shifts and steering column. It won’t take long for that to get old. Time to lay down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exposing the truth

6/17/09 Wednesday
I got out and to work by 7:00 this morning. There’s a fifteen or twenty MPH wind so the sand is blowing. At that speed it’s interesting to see that the blowing sand stays about five or six feet high. That’s just enough to make sure it gets in your eyes and teeth. I don’t mind the sand. Work out in it all the time. It does look kind of cool. I’d take a picture of it but there are more important things to do. Despite having tons of vital things to do around the farm there is something plaguing my mind that I must address. In the realm of things friends are high on the list, at least to me. For that matter people in general are high on my list. Like it says on the plaque I carved “Money and things can disappear in a flash. What has lasting value is the lives you touch”. We have a friend who has been sucked into a scam that has taken $800.00 of his money so far. I’ve spent several hours on researching this con and intended to do some more but didn’t get to it. It’s just like working on my business plan and many other things I need to do on the computer. I always figure I can do it when I finish working outside but I’m always wiped or hurt so much I must lay down so it doesn’t happen. When my laptop was working I kept it by the bed so I could work on it as I lay down. Not having it there has been detrimental. But for this I will put all other needs aside. You will definitely hear more as I work to expose this charlatan who is scamming so many others.
I should have known, actually I’m not surprised, while researching scams I ran into a site that quickly infected this laptop with a Trojan horse. The Spysweeper caught it, or at least parts of it. The thing froze up this laptop and I had to shut the whole thing down by turning off the power. When I turned it back on I immediately ran Spysweeper and it didn’t find anything. Part of the reason is that one of the first things I do when things go nuts online is pull the plug to the internet by switching off the wireless. As soon as I turned on the wireless the Trojan horse came alive and tried to contact whoever sent it. Spysweeper let me know this was happening so I’m offline again and doing a sweep for spyware again. Hope everything gets cleaned up. Not only was there the spyware but also some malware as well. Cherie’s laptop is the last computer working in this house so it would hurt to lose it.

So far Spysweeper has found two Trojan horses. I guess it would be a good time to go work on the farm while the Spysweeper is doing it’s search.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Feeling better

I’m doing much better. I guess someone somewhere prayed for me. Sometimes these periods of depression last for days and weeks but today it was just a few hours. I still look at everything I need to do and everything I haven’t done and shake my head. But I don’t feel like giving up anymore.

I met Cherie for dinner at Rosa’s after poop scooping. She mentioned that the air conditioner on her truck wasn’t working very well. She had laundry to do at the laundrymat across the street from Rosa’s and I wanted to use her truck to pick up some pallet’s from Ronnie’s so I followed her over. Her air conditioner doesn’t just not “Work very well”, it doesn’t work at all, not even a little bit. NUTS. Usually you can here when the compressor switches on but that’s not happening at all. If it just needed some refrigerant I can do that but it seems to be more than that. I left her my truck to drive home after she finishes the laundry because it has air, and drove her’s home. Now I’m fixin to go online and learn about air conditioners. I handled the fuel pump well. It took seven days but it got done and works. Air conditioners often require special tools so I may not be able to work on it. I’ll find out.
After reading online that recharging the air conditioning system might solve the problem I rushed to Midland to get some refrigerant before the auto parts stores closed. Didn’t have an idea when they close but it was 9:30 when I got there. I had the system charged by 10:00 and took it for a spin down the road with high hopes it was fixed for the $19.00 price of the refrigerant. No. Not going to happen. It blows air that is hotter than what came in the open window as I drove. Now we are looking at maybe three hundred or more dollars to get it fixed. Not good timing with the hundred degree temperatures. At least it’s cool for Cherie’s drive to work in the morning but coming home will be hell. I told her she can use my truck but she said she preferred to tough it out with hers. Just one more thing in the Westbrook saga. That’s life. I’m tired and need to get some rest so I can get up with the sun and get to work. It doesn't seem to do much good but I'll keep trying.

Depression sets in

This is where my sugar snap peas are supposed to be growing

6/16/09 Tuesday
The depression’s setting in. I got up and out early to beat the heat of another 100 degree day but when I looked around to decide what to do it all just got to me. Where last year I had rows of thriving plants there is only barren windswept soil. Much of what I did manage to plant this year I destroyed with the insecticide soap I mixed up. I came back inside and Cherie asked “How are you doing?” as she always does. When I told her I was depressed she said she knew why. I said something about how much better it was last year and my puzzlement about why nothing seems to be done. “I think I work hard” I said. “You work hard every day” she assured me. It doesn’t help. Nothing is done. I feel so alone. There is no one to talk to. Sure we know some fantastic people and when I go to church it is a bright spot but those conversations are always short and end when I leave. The encouragement I get helps greatly.

Last year this had row after row of vegetables growing, and we were harvesting and selling them at the farmer's market

Cherie is my biggest encourager. Without her I would be lost. Without her I would have no motivation to try. I know there are some in Stanton who smugly say to each other “See, I told you he wouldn’t amount to anything”. They probably have me pegged as a lazy bum. I know they have judged us because they told me so with their words and attitudes. It shouldn’t bother me but it does. Especially because they wear the pretense of being good church going Christians, but there is no love there. Depression brings out my feelings and amplifies the pain they caused. Depression is such a debilitating thing. It robs me of my desire to succeed, to be somebody. I know this and recognize it but still can’t stop it. For those who say “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” I have words I can’t print. Walk in my shoes jerkwad. Go from being someone to being no one, from being able to conquer the world to having a hard time accomplishing simple goals, from having an actives social life, being popular, to spending your days alone. Again Cherie is my bright spot. With her I am not alone. I know I’m not but it sure feels that way.
The same for this area. Perhaps I be able to till in all these weeds. At least barren means no sticker grass is growing.

I know people who are much worse off than I. I think of Suzie and her family living in a house with no electricity. The food in the fridge has spoiled and there's no sense buying more because she can't keep it. There are no lights so by 8:00 or so they are in darkness. They can’t cook because the stove is electric. It’s hard but that doesn’t make me feel better. I am grateful for life, for being able to wake up every morning, but the depression is still looming over me like a black cloud. I fight it all the time and I know it will fade. This is a common issue for those of us with TBI. I refuse to take medication that plays with the chemistry of my brain. It’s in a delicate balance as it is and I don’t want to play with that.

I’m going to force myself to go out and do something.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A push through day

A storm blew through yesterday evening. Didn't get a drop of rain.

6/15/09 Monday
It’s a particularly rough morning. Woke up with a headache and the paralysis in my right leg is very evident. Right now I walk in slow motion. The pain level started up high. That’s not good. Plus, now that I’m typing I detect that I am slow. Probably a three or four on the bob scale. I am going to try and stay focused on one task at a time. Right now I’m working on the clothesline poles I will turn into trellises. I need to run into town and buy some cable clamps to do this but really don’t want to drive or have to interact with the public when I’m like this. I think I’ll try to fabricate some here with scrap metal instead. At least that way I’m staying on task. Hope things clear up. It is hard just to find words to say what I want. On top of it all is this will be another hundred plus degree day. I woke up at five sweating so turned on the air conditioner. That’s a warm start for the day, about 78 degrees. It’s a push through day.
10:49 – Well, I cleared up. Praise the Lord. Still have a headache but it’s not at the crawl into bed and turn off the lights level. My cognizance is up, around the seven on the bob scale I usually average, maybe even better than that. My leg is working much better as well. It’s still hot and getting hotter but I can’t change that so… I just got a call from Suzie in Toledo. To fill you new readers in, she’s the daughter of my former secretary, who was murdered last year. Things have been tough for them. Jobs simply aren’t available in Toledo, an automotive industry city sixty miles from Detroit and the home of Jeep. She just had her electricity turned off, tough when you have three teenage children. She asked if we had any spare money. After losing my disability check there isn’t much to spare. I told her I would ask some of the folks we know, who had helped greatly when her mother died. It’s the best I can do. She needs $400 to get the electric turned back on. If we can raise the money I’ll wire it directly to the electric company instead of sending it to her. Just think that would be a smarter way to do it. That way I’m sure the money goes for what it’s sent for.
Geeze it’s hot. It’s noon so a good time to come in and take a break. I find it strange that I feel the headache more when I come in and sit down. I got the T-frame trellis set up. Next would be to prepare the soil for planting and run the irrigation lines. I can do that but don’t have anything to plant yet as I planned on putting tomatoes there. Last year I had much more planted by this time but I’ve spent a ton of time and energy getting things like fence posts and irrigation tape installed. Plus I’ve been focused on beating the sticker grass back a bit. That has required extensive use of the tiller and gratefully the old man let me borrow his disc to take care of the five acres. I don’t know if it’s the heat or the fatigue thing I have but just nodded off as I wrote. Suppose it would be a good idea to take a nap. It’s a good idea I don’t like but it’s what the doctors tell me I need to do.

Just nodded off again and my finger was on the keys so when I became aware the page was filled with ddddddddddddd//////////// Sometimes it’s just strange to be me. I’ll lay down now.
I’m so frustrated. I used to be smart but now get lost so easily. For over an hour I have been trying to access the information I backed up from my computer to the Seagate external drive we got for that purpose. Now that my laptop is in pieces because the motherboard is dead I can’t get to all the business plan information I had been gathering since the first laptop got corrupted by a virus. I know it is in this external hard drive but I don’t know how to get to it. At least I hope it is there. If not or if I can’t access it then I must start over for the third time. There is two years worth of work all total that is trapped somewhere. The hard drive from the first laptop is in a box waiting for us to come up with the six or seven hundred dollars it will take to have a lab recover what’s on it, provided they can even recover anything. There is so much I want to do but can’t seem to do much at all. I need help but don’t know how to get it. Am I just doomed to piddle around and dream dreams that will never happen? Will I ever amount to anything? I used to be someone, I used to build businesses and was well known and respected in Toledo with articles about me in the paper and invitations to events. Now simple things can drive me crazy. Sure I lost about ten percent of my brain but what’s there works good, some of the time. It’s hard to be positive.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A hard blow

6/14/09 Sunday
We had one of those hard West Texas storms blow in yesterday. We were on our way to KD’s barbeque, where our church group was having a get together, when it came in. There had been warnings on TV about this thunderstorm, telling of dangerous high winds. When it hit we were on the interstate and the wind would push semi trucks into the other lane, making them wobble.

At KD’s we had a great time. Often at these kinds of events I can’t process all the activity and conversations surrounding me. When this happens Cherie knows to get me to a quiet corner to help isolate me from it but this time I was very cognizant and able to hold an intelligent conversation. I talked to Mike, who sat at our table, about my hopes for the farm and at one point about some of the things I’ve seen. I’ve seen much and would like to write about it but this blog would not be the appropriate forum for that. Perhaps I can do so with some form of anonymity through another site. These were worlds that circumstances placed me in, worlds I didn’t belong to or truly fit in though I had to for my survival. Having Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism, meant that I rarely fit in anywhere. I’ve seen and heard many things I would have preferred not to. Again I was encouraged to write a book when we shared the story of how Cherie and I were torn apart and reunited twenty years later.

When we got home we were shocked to see how much sand had blown in the house. It’s nothing new, and has happened before, but this was particularly bad. Imagine, if you could, someone with one of those motorized blowers used for yard work running it at full throttle with a bucket of fine sand that he fed into it as he went through out the house. I am not exaggerating. With this old house and old windows drafty is an understatement. The first thing we had to do was change the sheets on the bed. It had a solid layer of sand where you could barely tell what color the bed spread was. I took a picture of the beautiful curtains Cherie made that are hung in the office. She almost cried. This will take days to clean up. Sand is in and on everything. We hope it won’t damage our printer.

This morning I went out to survey what this storm did to the farm. It’s not good. I’ll have to clean out the evaporative air conditioner this morning before I go to church. The crops have been hit hard, real hard, nothing has been spared. But this may not all be due to the storm. Yesterday I mixed up some of the expensive organic stuff and sprayed it on everything. Insecticidal soap is a big tool used in organic farming so I put a tablespoon of the soap we got from the biodiesel guy in two gallons of the mix. It’s a by product of making biodiesel and we were told it is almost a pure product.

The beans have been savagely attacked by some kind of little bug and the leaves were all deformed from that. Probably some kind of virus or disease transmitted by the bugs. I think there is a strong possibility that this may have caused much of the damage. I’ll have to wait and see but I may have destroyed everything we had planted. Many of the leaves are brittle and just crumble when you touch them. The sand blasting didn’t help anything either and even the weeds out where I didn’t spray are in bad shape so I can’t be sure. It’s hard country out here. One of the vital musts I need to accomplish is getting a system of wind break trees planted in order to protect everything we plant. That will take years before the trees are big enough to be effective. Nothing will happen fast here. Much of the work I do is creating the infrastructure needed to make this a viable enterprise. Because I’ve been working so hard to build this little has been planted. I just get worn out and can’t seem to get to it. I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I wonder if there is any point. I told Vickie at yesterday’s get together that I need to be more positive about things and not be such a Sad Sack about everything. That can be hard to do sometimes. It is depressing to see so much work be trashed, either by the weather or by my own hand. I’m not entirely sure which but regardless stuff looks pretty poor out there now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shoveling crap

6/12/09 Friday

It’s already 90 degrees out and it is only 11:00. I got out early with the hope of finishing the compost bins and getting the manure out of Cherie’s truck so she could drive it to work. In my rush it is not as pretty as I planned and I’ll have to modify it later. I shoveled crap as fast as I could but didn’t make it in time for Cherie to use the truck. I need to spray the plants as some kind of bug has infested the beans and are causing all kinds of havoc. Unfortunately that will have to wait as it is inadvisable to spray when the leaves are warm from the sun. It’s just like everything, too much to do and doing one thing means something else gets neglected.

Here's a picture of our corn. It's amazing the difference some rain makes. There's no question about how much better rain water is from what comes out of our well. It is our hope and eventual plan to be able to harvest the rain water. Being able to filter and treat the well water would be nice too.

When we stopped by to visit Matt at his garden we talked to a lady who was also visiting. She was amazed to hear that I was doing everything by myself and asked if I was familiar with CSA’s. (Community Supported Agriculture) I told her I was but didn’t get out and didn’t know anyone who would be interested. CSA’s are where people get involved with your farm, kind of like partners. In some cases they pay a membership fee and in return share in the profits and/or take a percentage or preset amount of product grown. They also share in the risks of farming so if the entire crop is destroyed by hail or something they accept a loss. Also they can participate in the labor needed to operate the farm. I’ve driven by Matt’s place and seen half a dozen people there weeding or harvesting crops. It sure would be nice but I do the best I can with what I’ve got. Part of the problem is my lack of social skills. I’ve asked for help for needs we have before but am always uncomfortable about it. Part of my fear is that I’ll be branded as a bum, a leach always asking for things. Couple that with the paranoia I must always fight, the thought that people don’t really like me or talk bad about me, and it makes things rough.
Here's Cherie doing some weeding in the blackeyed pea patch

For the most part I understand that it is a groundless fear, though in some situations it has been confirmed. That would be at the first church of Stanton, in certain circles where a snake in the grass has effectively used gossip to alienate Cherie and I. I know who the snake is and have heard some of what he and his wife have said but there is little I can do about it. At least not without causing a big scene. Causing a scene has been a temptation I have so far resisted. It’s hard for I tend to be confrontational and have a belief in being forthright and bluntly honest. My creed there is to “Say what I mean and do what I say”. I’m good at saying what I mean but it bothers me greatly that I no longer seem to be able to do what I say despite trying. Every time I see a need I want to rush out and help and with full intentions of following through make promises I end up not being able to keep.

I was out working at 6:45 this morning and by 11:00 was worn out. It bothers me that I don’t have the physical strength to keep going. My body gets tired and I was having a hard time holding the hoe as I weeded the blackeyed peas. That coupled with the heat and back pain forced me to come in and give it a rest. So I’m here writing this. At least I’m still doing something but I’ll have to lay down for a bit. About an hour is all I need to refresh and go back out there. Today is a poop scoop day so I’ll go to Midland a little later. Usually I do that around four when the temperature is way up there. That’s just a smarter use of time. When I’m in town I’ll also do some shopping so will enjoy the air conditioning in the stores. We must get some more dog food as always. If we are lucky we will be able to adopt out the two puppies tomorrow. Hope it happens fast because it’s hard to not get attached to them. The black lab is the one that is the cutest, at least to me, and really gets excited every time she sees me.
A recent sunset. I think it was Tuesday.

I’ve got lots of pictures but it’s hard to organize them on Cherie’s laptop. I sure will be glad when we can afford to get a new motherboard for mine. There’s a ton of stuff on it I need to access. It should be on our back up external drive but I haven’t figured out how to get to it. Actually I just keep forgetting to look just like I forget everything else I plan on doing. Still haven’t made copies of the news story CBS did on us several months ago. I had Cherie put that in her calendar to remind me about it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

hundred degree wind

6/11/09 Thursday
There’s nothing like a hundred degree wind to dry you out. I know I’m sweating but my shirt remains dry. The sweat’s evaporating away as soon as it comes out. Now that I’m inside, out of that wind, I’m getting wet. We are so grateful for the gift of the air conditioner Steve and Janie gave us a year or two ago. It sure is a lifesaver. I usually don’t turn it on till later in the day to save on electricity but had it running right away this morning because I knew how hot it was going to be.

So it is 2:00 now. I’ve been working on making a compost bin with the pallets I collected from a few places. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. It will have three or four bins in it and I’m thinking of fixing it up so I can drop the front pallet to access the compost inside each one. I haven’t gotten very far but had to quit. The heat has drained me. I’m physically weak and have a monster headache. Did some weeding also.

Here’s a funny story. Yesterday I picked up manure from the old man’s for the first time in a while. Would have done it sooner but Chuck and Lillian won’t let me use their trailer anymore because I jumped down the gay guys throats about the car. For any new readers, I had traded them Cherie’s car, which has a book value of $1200.00, for $600.00 worth of labor, but in two months they only worked one hour. So I used Cherie’s pickup truck. I got a total of three loads of manure. The old man let me use his skid loader to load it. Unfortunately I had a moment of confusion and put a big dent in the truck. I forgot what control did what and when it went the wrong way things got bad.

Cherie went with me when I went to where the horses are. That way she could visit with the horses. After we were done I thought some ice cream at Sonic sounded awfully good so we went even though the truck was loaded to overflowing with horse poop. A nice mustang with a family load of kids pulled in next to us. He rolled down the window to put in his order but changed his mind. Next thing I knew they slowly backed out and went to another spot on the other side of the drive in. I felt bad about it but we laughed a little anyway.

Folks, I’m pretty wiped. Probably should eat but I think I’ll just have to lay down. Probably won’t be able to do much till it starts to cool off around 6:00 or so. I’ll be sure to drink lots of tea.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another day

6/9/09 Tuesday
Just a quick note. I’ve got to get out and beat the heat so don’t want to waste the cool of the morning. The routine now is to get out early and work till it is too hot. Then I come in and lay down, usually to reduce the back pain but also to recuperate from the heat. That is often around three or four o’clock but sometimes I go back out as soon as I am rested. Cherie comes home at 5:30 or so. I sometimes watch the news but lately haven’t even done that. After dinner, around 6:30, it’s starting to cool off so I get back to work. Lately this is when Cherie goes out to help with weeding. It’s not much easier on her back than it is on mine.

Yesterday morning Cherie said “Oh!!! By the way, Happy Birthday” I hadn’t thought about it at all, it is just another day for me. When she came home from work she asked “Do you want to go out and eat or stay home”. “Did you find some money somewhere?” I asked, a little puzzled. “I’ve got a little stashed away” she replied. I told her that I would rather stay home. This was when I was laying down to rest up before I went back out. Then Cherie reminded me that it was my birthday. I’d forgotten again. It’s not that I forgot I had a birthday, that just wasn’t important to me so was far from my thoughts.

I gave the tractor a good workout yesterday. I leveled out some areas where the sand had piled up high so I could use them for whatever I have planned. Part of what’s going on is I am literally carving out this farm and determining what goes where. There’s an area I will put all the composting and worm raising areas, along with other related garden stuff. Then I plan on moving and organizing all the lumber we have acquired. I’ve learned that out here everything must be raised off the ground, otherwise it gets buried in the wind blown sand. I’d noticed that the old man has done this. So I must build several stands where I can stack things at least two feet off the ground. This will allow sand to mostly blow through under them and not pile up like it does wherever there is something to impede it.

Sand is a big enemy here and the cause of many problems. It used to be that if something was sticking I would spray it with WD-40 or put some oil on it. That is the worst thing you can do here. All it does is make a place that the sand sticks on and it will build up into a thick crust. I even have to clean the car windows because sand builds up where the glass goes into the door. Just had to clean Cherie’s truck this morning because of that. It gets so bad that the electric window can’t roll up or down, it just sticks. On my truck I have a good old fashioned hand crank. It got so hard to roll the window up and down that the metal housing of the crank is cracked. Now I carefully roll it up and down, hoping that it doesn’t give up the ghost.

Got to go. It’s going to be in the 100’s all week. By the way, Cherie’s truck is running just fine. It’s nice to actually do something without messing it up.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Fuel pump's in

6/6/09 Saturday
Here’s the update for the continuing saga of the Westbrook family. I GOT THE NEW FUEL PUMP IN. And it works. The sucker cost $290 after tax. Hope it lasts. Putting the truck back together is the final issue. Cherie was ecstatic when I told her. I had just gotten it hooked up at 4:30, which is when I must leave to pick her up from work. By then I was done working on the truck. I can’t really remember but I probably hurt too much to try and lift the bed. Now I remember, we had stopped by Matt’s garden on the way home. I had seen him working there on the way to pick up Cherie and it dawned on me that he would be able to help me put the truck bed back in place. Before that I couldn’t think of anyone I could ask to do that. Well, there are a lot of people I could ask but I just was uncomfortable imposing on them. Unfortunately Matt was busy getting everything picked and cleaned for his farmer’s market the next day so it was a bad time to ask. We talked as he worked and then I excused us to get out of his hair. Cherie fixed dinner and then we went out and weeded a bit. I should have gotten my wheeled seat so I wouldn’t have to bend over but didn’t. Just enjoyed working alongside Cherie. It didn’t take long before I had to call it quits and come in, take a pain pill, and lay down. That was pretty much it for the day.

I had turned on the water to most of the garden plots and set the timer on my cell phone to go off when it was time to shut it off. Good thing I did because I had totally forgotten about it. I’d already stripped out of the dirty clothes and was in bed when the alarm went off. That was about 10:30 so I just put my boxers on and my slippers and, grabbing a flashlight to check for rattlesnakes, went out and turned it off. I like living in the country where you don’t have to worry about walking around in your underwear, at least not after dark. During the day is different as there is lots of traffic. A funny thing happened a few months ago when Cherie had called me to check out the curtains she had just put up in the living room. I didn’t have a stitch on and didn’t think about it but it was a night and the lights were on. As I examined the curtains in the window a van drove by and honked. There’s no question that they got a full shot of Bob. I instinctually waved at them, not thinking about my exposure until seconds later, after they had already gone by. Cherie laughed so hard she almost peed her pants. No telling what kind of gossip that generated.

This morning I went to pick up the puppies. We planned on giving them a bath and brushing their fur to make them as attractive as possible for the adoption thing at Pet Smart. Both of the puppies are sick and the nurse said they might have Parvo. That is usually deadly for puppies, very few survive. We will know more Monday. I sure wish people would stop dropping their dogs off here.

I worked on the garden much of the day and planned on trying to put the truck bed back on after it cooled off. That was about an hour ago. Cherie came out to see if she could help. I had her just try and lift a corner to see if she could do it with out straining something. She could so we worked on getting it back in place. Cherie gave out after a few minutes but by then we had gotten it over the biggest hurdle. Unfortunately a big thunderhead was getting close and had kicked up quite a sand storm so we all had to come in, even Rascal and Trixie. But the truck bed is in place. All I have to do is bolt it in and put the bumper back on. If the storm settles down I’ll do it this evening but otherwise it will have to wait. The blowing sand is much worse at ground level and even when it’s not blowing hard there’s a ton of it moving at six inches or so off the ground. When your laying underneath a truck that’s a lot of sand in the eyes, ears, mouth, and any other orifice it can find. Hell, I had my pockets filled with sand when working at ground level.

So that’s the update. I think I’ll skip church tomorrow to try and get as much done as I can before we hit the hundred degree mark again. It was a scorcher today and is forecasted to be one again tomorrow.

We went to Aldridge nursery at 2:00 today to attend a seminar being given by one of the owners of an organic enterprise in Austin. The seminar was canceled but the owner was there with a booth she had set up. We talked quite a lot about my plans for this place and she was a wealth of information. They have quite an operation and much of it is similar to what I have in mind. We’re talking a million dollar operation with an eight acre base. I’ll post their website later. I don’t know about the million dollar part for sure but had heard that from the person who told me about the seminar. Regardless, she is well connected in the organic community and is excited about what we want to do. She wants us to keep in touch and she will help as much as she can.

That’s it for now. If the wind has died down I’ll crawl under the truck. If not I will weed and perhaps finally plant some seeds in the seed starting set up that I have yet to use.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Got the fuel pump out

6/5/09 Friday
Well I got the fuel pump out. Haven’t figured out how to remove the fuel lines yet. They are a little different and don’t have hose clamps. I really don’t want to start yanking things off without knowing what I’m doing. When I took Cherie to work I bought a new relay (Found out where it was located) but that didn’t work so it narrows things down to the pump itself. So much for a cheap way out. Calling around I find that the pumps go for anywhere from $268 to $295. The $295 one is a Delphi brand from NAPA and at first they wanted $370 for it but dropped when I told him what everyone else charged. Everyone else has an off brand called Airtech or something like that. Online I learned that some people had replaced their fuel pumps lots of times, one guy twelve times in two years, so I am inclined to get the more expensive one. However there was a lot of complaints about the Delphi one as well. The best pump seems to be made by Carter, known for their carburetors. Unfortunately no one here carries that one. I could find it online but we really don’t want to have the truck sitting around till one can get shipped here. I think I’ll go cheap as the Airtechs come with a one year warranty. I sure could use help putting the bed back on but don't know anyone to ask. Everyone we know lives in Midland and some of them probably couldn't handle the weight. Others work full time jobs so that wouldn't be convenient. Besides I'm not good at asking for help. Nate suggested having Cherie operate the front end loader to lift the pickup bed but I don't think she would do good at that and don't want the bed dropped on me. The front end loader is real touchy and not easy to operate.

Will drop the puppies off at the vet to be checked prior to us putting them up for adoption tomorrow when I go to get the fuel pump. I suppose I might as well poop scoop while in town. It’s going to be a busy day and the farm must be again neglected while I take care of this. I sure need three of me. Cherie did some weeding yesterday. That was greatly needed and appreciated. We weeded together for a bit. I enjoy working with her. Of course I just enjoy being around my lovely wife. (Hi Honey, I know you’ll read this)

Got to go.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quick update

6/4/09 Thursday
Just a quick update. My top priority is to get Cherie’s truck running. Going online I learned that it is easier to replace the fuel pump by taking the bed off the truck. I saw several suggestions to do this so feel it’s accurate. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m working slow and careful on this. Last thing I need is to mess it up. I also am particularly careful about the danger of the truck falling on me while I’m under it.

What’s frustrating is that there is so much to do that anything I work on means something else is neglected and working on the truck is sure going to do that. The buffalo grass we planted isn’t doing well at all. It’s choked out by so many weeds that it is not possible to separate the weeds from the grass when I try to remove them. I think what we must do is lay out some plastic or something that will sterilize the dirt, kill all the weed seeds, and start over. Weeds are taking over everywhere because I just can’t get to them like I need to. I told Cherie that I need to dedicate at least two days to just pulling weeds. Again to do that means other things get neglected. I had pretty much paid for the gay guys to help with Cherie’s car and when that fell apart it really hurt. At least we got paid for the car but I would have preferred the help.

So that’s all I have time to say. One of the puppies, the one we call “Goldie” got into one of the cactuses we have this morning. I heard the screaming yelping and rushed to see what happened, fearing the worse. She had two whole sections stuck on her and a mouth full of spines from where she tried to remove them. I tried to get them off with my bare hands and that wasn’t going to happen so I ran and got some gloves. The spines went right through them. I ended up going through two pair of gloves. Hope that doesn’t happen again. When I described Goldie to the vet she said it sounded like it was part Pomeranian with some Chihuahua mixed in. I sure hope we can get them adopted out quickly.

Got to go. It’s going to be a ninety degree day but tomorrow will hit a hundred.

11:52 - Well, that wasn’t too bad. I managed to get the bed loose and moved back but I’m definitely going to need help putting it back. It is real heavy and hurt quite a bit. Getting help will probably be hard and knowing me I’ll end up doing it by myself. The biggest risk in that is damaging the wires on top. Causing a little pain isn’t a risk, it’s just a daily part of my life. I’m going to lay down a bit, take a pain pill, and probably find something to eat for lunch.
I was certain that the fuel pump died because of how noisy it was and that it no longer made a noise. It might be the fuel pump but I just learned online to check the electric relay first. I still think it’s the pump itself but won’t go any further in taking it out before I check the relay. I don’t have a clue where the relay is so will have to go online and see. But right now I must leave to pick up Cherie from work.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

five in the morning

6/2/09 Tuesday
It’s five in the morning now. Maybe I’ll be able to write something because I can’t seem to go to sleep. Had a rough spot Sunday. Went over to talk to the guys we sold the car to because we had yet to see anything from them despite it being over two months, except one hour of work. I took over a pot with morning glories dug out of our garden in it that they said they liked, because I intended to be nice. Sitting down I said “Talk to me Tommie” hoping to get some kind of response regarding what they owed on the car. It ended up bad as the emotional control issue I have from the TBI raised it’s ugly head. I got up and left because my anger was getting out of control. Come to find out they thought we should give them the car because someone gave Cherie a truck and probably never intended to pay for it. “What would the people at your church think of you” was thrown at Cherie later. Strange to hear that from someone how is actively gay. Come on, we sold the car for half it’s book value and said they could work off the price and only expected a hundred dollar initial payment. Plus we had given them a stove, air conditioner, kerosene heater, and several other items as gifts. I mostly wanted some help to get this farm going and wasn’t interested in the money. I guess I scared them because they called later that day and said they had the full amount owed. That confirms in my mind that they had intended to not pay. It’s not like they are poor as both work full time and don’t have bills to pay other than utilities and satellite TV. Unfortunately this affected our relationship with Chuck and Lillian, who are their good friends. Now none of them want to talk to us.

It bothers me that I have such a hard time being friendly. It’s part of the social skills I lost from the brain injury. I have to learn how to be friendly but it’s hard when I’m so uncomfortable around people. Plus I’ve lived in a different world than most, world where any sign of weakness made you a target, where you couldn’t let someone take advantage of you. In prison the axiom “Kill or be killed” was a reality. I was only nineteen when I went but it still is deep inside my psyche, kind of like the ptsd that combat veterans can have. I still sit where I can see everyone coming and going in a restaurant, where I can get up and flee or attack at any sign of danger. That is not nearly as bad as it used to be but there are still bad days. The brain injury and wandering homeless brought it back up I guess.

I’ve been working hard so haven’t written in this journal much. At least I took lots of pictures and that will help me remember what’s been going on. I’ve been running the tractor a lot with the disc set up the old man is letting me use. It’s the hardest workout it has seen since we got it. Boy, that sucker puts out some heat and it washes back over me, especially when there is no breeze. But regardless it’s still a whole lot better than doing it by hand with the tiller. I’ve done in two days what it took a month and a half to do by hand. I overfilled the transmission with the hydraulic tractor oil it takes and hope I didn’t blow any seals. I noticed it leaking pretty bad yesterday.

Saturday I noticed a white mini-van driving slowly past the house and then pull over to the side of the road. Then it turned around and sped off. I had just parked the tractor and was walking to the house when it happened. Then I saw why the van pulled over. There were two puppies running playfully towards the house. Damn. I guess word’s out that we love animals. We have had several dogs dumped off here. Anyone want a puppy? We will get them their shots and try to adopt them out.

As bad as I feel about blowing up at Tommie and Jamie it’s good that I did for we needed the money. Cherie’s truck stopped running yesterday. I’m pretty sure it’s the fuel pump. The pump has been noisy since we got it and you can’t hear any noise at all. If we are lucky some rats just chewed some wires like they did on Cherie’s car a couple of times. Otherwise I’ve got a chore ahead as the fuel pump is in the gas tank so that will have to be removed.

I’ve got maybe a hundred cantaloupe planted and also a hundred or so of the golden honeydew we bought at the farmer’s market. It’s a start. The corn I planted to replace what I killed never came up. They were seeds left over from last year so I guess aren’t any good anymore.

At the landfill I found some good heavy fence posts made out of old telephone poles. It killed me to load them on the truck but I sure could use them. Got a total of twenty six. Took two trips to do it and had to spread that over two days because of the pain lifting them caused. So I’ve been busy digging post holes. Only got about half of them in.

That’s it for now. I have to take Ben to the vet for x-rays in about ten minutes. He’s doing well but the leg has shriveled up and he doesn’t use it at all. I try to stretch it like the doc showed me but it hurts him a lot. Poor guy wants to play and can’t.