Saturday, December 31, 2005

Texas skyline
12/31/05 Saturday
It was good to sleep in our own bed with the usual competition for space with the cat. TV is all a buzz about new years but it is just another day for me with the exception of staying off the roads tonight. I’ll let the professional and amateur drunks have them all to themselves. The pension check arrived which was good to see. I still have to write the VA and prove I am not currently in prison and haven’t been since January 8 2003 like they think. Nothing like a paper work glitch in the service to make life hard.
I am doing well this morning, running about an 8. That is good and will help me catch up and filling in the weeks activity in Texas. I went to check E mail this morning but couldn’t get online so I ran the spyware programs again. When I ran them last night I found 65 infections including two of the Spyaxe ones that caused me to take this laptop into the shop a month or so ago. Even though I shut the computer down after cleaning it last night there were six more this morning. I suppose they were imbedded and came out when I restarted this morning. I caught the viruses while we were using the hotel wireless systems despite only checking E mail and the blog. We will have to buy a firewall program.
Cherie is out picking up her check from her mom and shopping for food or something. We will go to the YMCA after to get signed up. I need to call Allen and see how he is doing but will have to wait till after 1:00 or so. We have rain mixed with snow right now. Fortunately we missed all the bad weather on the way back from Texas and the six inches of snow that fell just before we left Toledo is gone. It will make it up to 35 degrees or so today.
We went to the YMCA to get signed up. I started to slow down before we left and by the time we got there was doing poorly. She took me to Bob Evans after we got the tour. Cherie knew not to ask me where I wanted to go cause I don’t make decisions well at these times.
Fred asked me to take him and Barb to the grocery store. I hate to drive when I am like this but it is what I do, help others no matter what. Will have to be careful.
That was a little rough but I did OK. Fred was glad to get out as he did not go anywhere while we were gone. We picked up Barb and took her to the carryout to cash a check she got from Dawn and then to a small place by the university that had meat as well as a few groceries. Fred just started buying things for Barb and she looked at me saying “He’s going nuts and buying everything”. All Barb wanted was some hamburger and when Fred would ask her what kind of roast she wanted she would say “Just get anything”. Finally I told her that Fred couldn’t see so she needed to pick out what she wanted. It took a while so I would go looking for things like the sauerkraut Fred wanted just to get away and chill because all this was hard while I was slow.
We got it all done and I drove back to Barb’s to drop her off with the groceries. The next door neighbor was selling some dope when I pulled up and gave me one of those “who the hell are you” looks. He saw Barb and went back to his business. I helped carry the food to Barb’s apartment and joked “You want to buy some dope? They got some right out there”. She gave me a I guess you know what’s going on look and laughed saying she only had five bucks. That told me more than I need to know and I left. When I got into the car and backed out the girl buying the dope started taking a hit off her crack pipe. I didn’t point it out to Fred figuring he had enough to worry about as it was.
He wanted to stop by the Dollar Tree to pick up some stuff. I thanked Fred again for letting us use his car and he said we could use it anytime but I won’t unless I have to. I am not as slow now, about a six or seven though my ears are ringing and the headache is still there. At least I don’t have that dizzy confused feeling I had at the store but that is probably because I am at home where everything is familiar and secure. Need to take the headache medicine now. Should have taken it a couple of hours ago.
Laid down and forgot to take the migraine pill. Finally figured it out when headache wouldn’t go anywhere.
This is a major migraine Even the screen on this laptop is bright and hurts the eyes. I took the Zolmitripan, Tramadol, and aspirin with little effect. At this moment it is new years. We bought a bottle of Andre Pink Champagne, which we like better than the expensive stuff, to celebrate the new year with. Cherie didn’t drink much which is just fine. Neither of us are real drinkers. Cherie never was and I have no interest in returning to being a drunk. Wish my brother would learn that. To those of you reading this have a happy new year and strive to do better than last year. That is as good as a resolution as you can have, to improve on your past performance. God bless and keep you.

Friday, December 30, 2005

12/30/05 Friday
I am doing well this morning. Woke up sharp and hope it stays that way. From what we saw on the weather station we will be driving into rain but it looks like the snow will be north of us.
We drove past the grass fires in Oklahoma yesterday. The smoke was visible a hundred miles before we got to where the burn was. At first I thought we were seeing the hazy image of mountains in the distance. At the time we were going through hill country we had never seen before because we went a different way coming to Texas. “Wow!” I told Cherie “I didn’t know Oklahoma had hills”. Eventually we could tell it was smoke we saw.
9:03-We are home now and very tired. So much to write but will have to wait till tomorrow. I stayed fairly sharp all day but did have a migraine. Not fun to drive with but I did good though Cherie was a nervous wreck a few times, particularly in the city traffic. Carman kitty is real happy we are home and is purring and flopping all over for his pets. You know he says we owe them because we left him alone for so long. We will rest now and get back to you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

12/29/05 Thursday
I haven’t gotten much writing done. We are getting ready to go home this morning. Not sure of the weather when we get closer to Ohio but it should be OK for the start of our journey.
We made it to Springfield Missouri. It is 8:37 Toledo time right now. I am pretty tired and Cherie is a little frazzled from my driving and the traffic. We are at the same Best Western we stopped at on the way to Texas. It was pretty nice then so we decided to stop there again.
I was slow this morning, about a four on the Bob scale. I cleared up pretty good on the drive but had one of the migraines about three hours ago. Cherie dug out one of the melt in the mouth migraine pills. It helped a little but I still have it and light and noise are more there to where it bothers me. I am down to about a five now. Slowing down. Hope I sleep well because I would like to hit the road early. I had planned on catching up writing about the funeral and stuff but am having difficulty writing this. Good night.

12/27/05 Tuesday
This is a rough morning. I am pretty slow, probably from the stress of this funeral. I worry about what people think of me, what they have heard. I wonder about my brother and what he tells others about me. I suppose it is a little paranoid. I hope I am a little sharper when we go to the funeral home. Always hate being in public when I am slow and it is worse when it’s family. Don’t want to look stupid.
Cherie is carrying my stress along with her own. This is hard for her and I feel bad putting her through this. She tried to cut my hair but I was not helpful at all. Worried with every uncertain cut she made and finally told her to quit. She is finishing hemming the pants now.
I am afraid, something I am not used to. I don’t do well in unfamiliar situations. I don’t know what this day will be like. We had problems going online at this hotel adding to the frustration.

It is 3:56 Texas time. We just got back from the funeral. It will take me a while to process everything so I can write about it. I was real real slow this morning. It got worse as we got ready to go out to the funeral home. I had to get out and drive doing what I can to distress. Didn’t work but I got the car washed.
Because I was so slow and some times testy this was hard on Cherie. She doesn’t handle pressure and time constraints much better than I do.

12/28/05 Wednesday
It is 8:00 in the morning here in Texas. I was going to do lots of writing last night but just decided to Zombie out with the television because there was so much bouncing around in this brain. Last night I told Cherie I was going to go drive around. In her protective mother hen way she asked “Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?” That would have required her to get back dressed. I told her no because I just wanted to look around this town I spent so many years in.
This turned out to be a real experience. I always thought my older memories were fairly intact but as I drove it was a kind of déjà vu. When Cherie and I got back together she would drive me around Toledo to help me recover memories. I would not recognize where we were until we would run across a building or location that would release a flood of memories. The memories are mostly there in my brain but my ability to access them is the problem. Now, as I drove around Big Spring I would get lost and not have a clue where I was just like in Toledo. I would keep on driving, randomly taking one street and another while I looked for anything familiar.
I ran across a school and thought it might be my old high school but it wasn’t. As I kept on wandering I found the high school. It didn’t look at all how I pictured it in my mind and the only way I knew it was Big Spring High was it said so on the building. I circled the building and then the memories came. Here was where I raised hell. I saw the ditch I would ride through on my motocross bike I would ride to school. One time I had some one hold a door open and rode the dirt bike down the hallway during class. Nothing like a loud dirt bike revving its motor as I slipped and slid on the waxed floor to get teachers and students running out of class. With my helmet on they couldn’t see who I was but the bike was distinctive with it’s racing numbers on the front and sides. They knew but couldn’t prove it was me. Of course I removed the numbers.
Then I looked for the park we would sneak out to so we could smoke pot. It took a while, I think because a road was changed or something but of course I don’t remember. I did find it and as I drove up a hill saw the place I had been pulled over and arrested with the ground up Alka Seltzer and aspirin I had been selling as cocaine. This put me in prison with a ten year sentence.
I kept driving and got lost again. Now I wandered into an industrial? section. Of course in Big Spring industrial is not at all like we have in Toledo with the exception of empty falling apart buildings. When Cherie and I were coming into town we saw lots of these and I was reminded of the words from a Simon and Garfunkel song “Nothing but the dead and dying in our little town”.
I thought I found the church Linda Hollingsworth said I had been baptized in. It looked familiar so I drove along, confident I had found it till I ran into another church that said Trinity Baptist. That’s the one. Linda had invited us to go there today for the evening service. We might do that because she said Ricky Adams went there and he was the friend I had been close to when I moved to Big Spring at 14. There is much he can tell me about that section of history in my life.
I got lost again so decided to go back to the hotel but didn’t have a clue which way to go. Again I just kept driving around waiting to see something familiar. As I drove down a three lane one way road I had what I suppose could be described as a revelation. Suddenly I recognized this road and was taken back to 1970. This was a path I took almost daily when I would go to the Wagon Wheel Drive In to meet with fellow partiers looking for something to do. The Wagon Wheel was where the “Long hairs” would hang out and the Sonic drive in was where the “Rednecks” (the cowboy type kids) would hang. On occasion one group or the other would pile into their vehicles and go to the other drive in to start a fight.
Knowing where I was I realized I was almost to the hotel so made it there. Walking in the room I was abuzz and talking non stop to Cherie about all this. I told her that I always thought the older memories were fairly intact but now realize how much is missing.
There is so much more I need to write but it will have to wait. Cherie and I make a good team because she helps me with these memory lapses. We had met Peggy Creech at the funeral. She was a long time friend of my mother and had kept up correspondence with her over the years. This morning I was going to call her because she had told us that she had many pictures Lee had given her and wanted to give them to us. I told Cherie we needed to see her and get the pictures so Cherie held up a bag saying “Honey, she already gave them to us. Here they are”. These are the little glitches that make things confusing for me. We tried to explain this to others before but it is hard to get across. Parts of my memory work and parts don’t and it always changes. There are always fragments that come up missing or show up.
Cherie is pacing and just standing patiently. I asked her what was wrong and she said she didn’t know what to do. I need to get out and do some things so maybe we will go take some pictures. I think we will go visit the Pinkerton’s in Stanton.

This is a shot of Stantons business district.

Monday, December 26, 2005

12/26/05 Monday
Hey! Hey! We’re in Springfield, Missouri this morning. I drove till 1:00 this morning and we stopped here as Cherie was worried about me pushing to hard. She is right and a bit wiser than I. Now it is 7:00 AM and we are refreshed and getting ready to hit the road. There were lots of hotels with billboards and signs advertising their low prices but we decided to keep with Best Western because of past experience. Good choice. Lots of little touches that make the few dollars more well worth it. Cherie had forgotten her hair dryer but there is one that comes with the room.
The drive here was not really fun. We started with going to Columbus to celebrate Christmas with Cherie’s family. That went well with none of the interpersonal stresses that often accompany this time. They knew we had a long drive ahead of us and served dinner early. Then we were off.
It had been incredibly foggy on the way to Columbus, with visibility at about a quarter mile, along with a constant drizzle. This turned into snow by the time we got to Indiana. When we entered the state there were salt trucks everywhere putting out salt in preparation of an upcoming freezing storm. That was a clue that things might not be fun up ahead so we kept going, hoping for things not to get too bad. They didn’t. This Caddy is a wonderful traveling machine that is far above what we are used to. We are blessed that Fred let us use his car.

I had Cherie take a couple of pictures, which can you see, that reflect how I act much of the time. Life is much better when you laugh allot and I am motivated to get laughs from my lovely wife. Seeing her smile just warms my heart in ways that are hard to put on paper. Today we will make it to Big Spring, God willing.
I love this computer stuff. Here we are at the hotel and able to go online. Cherie was able to transfer funds into our checking account to cover our expenses. We have spent $90.00 on gas so far and we are only two thirds of the way there. I’ll keep y’all updated. Got to hit the road now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

12/24/05 Saturday, Christmas Eve
It’s a bright sunny day and the temperature is expected to be up to 40 degrees. I am running at a 6 this morning but that will change soon enough. Cherie is going shopping. Her mom called and asked if we were going to Columbus. I said yes because I had changed my mind from earlier, when I said I didn’t want to. Then came the next part. Evidently Nate is real sick, running a fever and stuff so Cathy may not drive Mom and Dad to Columbus. Oh yeah. For those who are wondering what’s in Columbus it is where Cherie’s sister lives and the family goes there for the family Christmas get together thing where everyone veils what they really think. Smile!! It’s Christmas. I know that sounds bad but I am jaded about this holiday. It is actually a good thing because it sometimes help this family to understand and accept each other.
Cherie is starting to show signs of the stress she is under but is holding out fairly well. We have lots to prepare for. I tried on the only dark suit I have and learned what I already knew. I’m to fat to fit in any of the pants I owned a year ago. You know, being in a coma, living on $20 a week in St. Louis, and then being homeless as I tried to recover, tends to make you a bit thin. Now with the stress gone and having a kitchen to do the cooking I love I am porking up fast. Anyway, Cherie came out of the closet with a pair of pants she picked up on sale for $4.00. They fit and are nicer than the pants I have with the three piece suit.
We don’t know what to do about our cat, Carman. This caught us at a bad time as I don’t get my government check till the first and we are unsure if it will come because of the VA thinking I am in prison. Our money had been depleted because of Christmas and catching up on bills so it’s tighten things up time. So do we pay to board the cat, or leave eight tons of food out, turn on the water in the sink (which we do anyway) so he will always have fresh water, and put a whole box of baking soda in his litter box?

I have to do the laundry. Cherie was fretting about all the stuff she has to do, which included laundry. I asked twice if there was anything I could do to help, hoping she would ask me to do the laundry but as usual she doesn’t. “I know how to do laundry you know” I told her. She still was not going to share this load as she determines to do everything. I finally convinced her I could handle it so now I must stop writing and go do it.

Fred called and said Barb did not want to go to the store and then said she didn’t feel good so she didn’t want him to visit. This is Christmas. You know, the time of year that dredges up your bad memories and traumas. Who do you miss at this time? Those who have died, those who you no longer see, those you used to share Christmas with but can’t now. This must be tough on Barb. She hasn’t seen her kids in years and there is still a court order prohibiting her from doing so.
Fred wanted to get out anyway so I took him to see his friend Helen. She is one of those grandma’s who cook for days at Christmas. She had some cookies for Fred and surprised me with some also. Then I took him to the Pharm were he stocked up on food knowing we will be gone for about a week. He was not doing well and had trouble breathing. I could tell he was not in good shape when I went to his door and it’s worse now. He seems to get more confused at these times and we had a time getting out of the car. The locks won’t open till I have the motor shut off and Fred is always in a hurry to get out, pulling on the latch making it impossible for me to unlock the door. “Fred, you have to unlock the door” I told him so he started looking blindly for the lock button, jabbing at everything. I was able to unlock the door when he released the handle but the instant I did he found the button and locked it. This happened three times, click-unlock, click-lock, unlock-lock, “Fred, your locking the door. Let me do it” I said. We were able to get out.

I’m home now and called Cherie. She is frazzling out. Been all over and found nothing. She was so bad she stuttered like I do when I’m real slow. She still had stuff she wanted to get but I told her to come home and relax a little. “Make pear bread Cherie. That will help you focus on something other than all this.
Cherie made it home saying “You know what, next year I’m not doing Christmas. This is crazy and I’m so upset I can’t talk”. I calmed her the best I could and then headed out to get Wayne stocked up on food before we leave and to drop off a card and pear bread to Dave. On the way back I called Allen to let him know I won’t be going with him to the Zeph Center. He was not doing well and said he had not slept in three days because of his pain. He said he almost went to the emergency room so I told him to get ready cause I was going to come by and take him there.

Allen seemed to be in bad shape, having trouble walking to the car. I took him to St. Charles because they are closer. There was no one there which is not surprising on Christmas Eve. He had a hard time following what I said so I have to wonder if it was from taking pain meds or because of withdrawals. Probably withdrawals because that causes insomnia. He talked about suicide and broke down crying as he told me of a conversation with his mother and his helplessness to assist her. I need to get him into mental health but he thinks he knows all about depression meds and that they just wak you out.
First Allen had to talk to the intake guy who screens those coming in. He asked Allen what the problem was and Allen started back five years recounting the accidents and injuries he had sustained. By the time he had gotten halfway through this seemingly practiced spiel I interrupted “Basically Allen has beaten himself up and hasn’t slept for days because of pain”. The guy looked appreciative and was able to focus his inquiries better. Allen would repeatedly wander from the subject and go off on a discourse. The intern picked up the phone and said “We have a back and neck pain” reflecting the category he placed Allen in.
We were led to a room where Allen was told to put on a robe. A lady came in with a computer to get Allen’s information. Of course he is in the computer despite not having been in that particular hospital. Then a Nurse came in and started to get into more detail about Allen’s problem. Allen started on a discourse about his not being able to sleep and the guy looked at him with some confusion. “You’re here because you can’t sleep, not for pain?” he asked. Allen got back on his history of injuries, citing wrecks and getting blown up. He had brought the pictures I had taken of his injuries and asked if he should give them to the doctor. I took them from him and said “We’ll see if we need them”.

The doctor came in while Allen was getting animated as he talked of his hardships and then got onto the he has a malpractice suit coming for the way he was handled in North Dakota. No No Allen the wrong thing to tell a doctor. This doc had seen so many come in looking to get pain killers that he had Allen pegged from the get go. He listened to him for a while and said “I’ve got lots of people waiting for me so lets get to this”. At some point I saw a change in his demeanor as he realized Allen may really have a problem. The scars on his legs where chunks of flesh had been blown away helped with that. Then he began to examine him and there were a few times Allen’s muscles would just spasm. The doc told Allen he needed to get a family doctor after hearing with disbelief he hadn’t had one in five years. He gave Allen a recommendation to the back and neck department and said that from there he can be referred to pain management.
He did give Allen a few Vicodin after again expressing his reservations. When we left I told Allen he needed to get to Family Services so he could get food stamps and on Medicaid. This will open the doors to a few more doctors than is available to him now with no job or money. I dropped him off and headed home.

That’s it for now guys. We are getting ready to drive to Texas. Virginia called around noon to let us know the funeral will be Tuesday at 2:00. That means we leave on Christmas day (tomorrow) and are a bit rushed. Cherie is packing clothes and I will do the electronics. She is tired and I am wide awake. We will go to Connie’s and spend a short time with them before heading out. Stayed tuned for more. We might be driving right into Peyton Place. Who knows but it will be interesting. Stay tuned to the same “Bob” channel at the same “Bob” time for more of this nonstop excitement.

Friday, December 23, 2005

12/23/05 Friday
I am a bit slow this morning. Running a five. Showered, shaved, took my pill, and fixed breakfast. I need to write a letter to Norma and the VA. I was going to try and take Barb to Social Security but the lines to all the offices are busy except one where I was simply disconnected. I think they either have a huge end of the year rush or are having a day long Christmas party. Nah, probably many of them have or took the day off so they are short handed. I think I will take Barb down later. Besides I just want to go back to bed.
It is 10:45. As I was talking to Cherie on the cell phone it beeped to let me know some one else was calling. I looked at the number and saw it was long distance so I told Cherie that and said “got to go”. Switching over I find it is Aunt Virginia. She told me that my grandmother, Minnie Lee, had died at nine o’clock this morning. Bam! We knew this day was coming but thought she might make it to her 100th birthday in February. Now I am reeling as I try to process what this means. I asked when the funeral might be and Virginia said “Not Sunday, I can’t handle that”. That wasn’t a possibility. I don’t think you could find any one for a funeral on Christmas though I am sure someone would. I told her that there was no hurry, in fact give us time.
I called Cherie back as soon as I hung up with Virginia. Of course it is a shock to her. She asked if she should drop everything and come home and I said “No Cherie, I’m fine. I dealt with this mentally a long time ago. Yeah there are emotions coming up but I’m ok”. I told her we might have to leave as early as Monday or Tuesday but would be alright.
I just called Fred next and let him know that we would be going to Texas for the funeral. I asked if we could use his Cadillac but he wasn’t too keen about that. “That’s an awful lot of miles” he said. “That’s why we would like your car Fred. That little thing of ours will beat us up” was my reply. Then I told him I would make sure he was taken care of before we left and also Barb and Wayne. There is much to do.
OK, This put a kibash on everything. Don’t feel like doing anything much except getting out and visiting Eileen and maybe passing out pear bread.
I called Cherie. Asked her about the pear bread, what I can do to help before she comes home. She had wanted to bake all the bread so we agreed for me to make half and her the other. I did OK while I could concentrate on that but now that I stopped I feel bad. I washed the dishes and have the back pain it always causes.

Cherie came home as I was still baking the bread. We got that done and then went to see Eileen. It was a great long meeting with Eileen telling all kinds of stories of the years she worked for me. As always the stories helped me recover memories of those days. How much of it stays I won’t know till later and right now don’t feel like writing down the threads that still remain.
After the visit we headed home. We had discussed getting hamburgers but I had forgotten this and was heading for the house. Cherie reminded me and we decided on going to Big Boy. We got seated and ordered the Swiss Miss burgers we both like. Then we got the Hot Fudge cake and were eating that when I heard a voice say “Oh My God”. Looking up I saw a face that was vaguely familiar. Cherie goes “That’s Jeanie Blessing” and with the name I could put together who it was. This is another in a series of amazing coincidences regarding her. In this city of a half million people, roughly the size of New Orleans, Cherie and I have run into her many times. Cherie had just seen her in a store a week or three ago. We had talked about getting together for dinner but never got it worked out. Now she was being seated next to us and was with her sister, Kay. Evidently I had met her at the Cedar Creek home group but couldn’t place her for a while but it finally, partially, came back to me.
We talked of things and my cognizance, lucidity, or whatever you call it rose to a 9 on the Bob scale. It is a reminder how much stimulus wakes up this brain. I have to wonder how much the herbal medicine I had earlier contributed but regardless it was during the conversation that I brightened up the most. I wasn’t doing to bad at Eileen’s either. Jeanie said she reads my blog on occasion. I am always surprised and happy to know there are readers out there. Makes you feel a little less alone in the world.
Right now I want to start putting together stuff to honor my grandmother in this blog.

Not bad for 99 years old. This is my mother’s mother, the woman who took me in and raised me when I was fourteen. She has seen much and told of coming to Texas in a covered wagon. She was one of a bunch of kids. I’m not sure of the number but I think it was in the teens. She saw much of life as any one will at her age.

Here she is with me as a baby. It was her and her husband Rudy, who first rescued my brother and I from the 24 hour day care our mom had put us in. Then she handed us over to our other grandmother, who paid our mom for legal custody

She loved and helped me despite my obvious problems. I know I was handful (that is an understatement) but I had more of a life with her and Rudy than I had ever experienced. They saw me through the military and prison and I always had a home there. It has been hard for me to not be able to be with her for the last years of her life but we did get to record some of her tales of her early life. I understand that other relatives have also done that and look forward to compiling as much of this family history as I can.

This is Cherie at Minnie Lee’s farm which I helped build and repair with Rudy. She wanted to die there and was amazingly self sufficient but got to the point she could no longer take care of herself. Virginia got her into a real nice place that took pretty good care of her.

Here is Virginia with my grandmother at the home. (Hope she is not upset with me putting her picture on this blog) It was her goal to make it to 100 and she was only two months away. She was almost too good of a person and some took advantage of that. It is my hope that there is an after life and I can just imagine her meeting her husband, Rudy, in heaven. She loved him dearly and kept his ashes close, some times talking to him.

I love you Mee Maw. Hope to see you one day as we move on from this life. I will take care of the farm and honor you by living the way you taught me.

This is where the garden was. As you can see there is lots of sand blowing around in West Texas. Almost drifted up over the the fence. The farm is in great disrepair because of years of neglect and her inability to take care of things.
All of this puts our lives in an uncertain state. We don’t know how this will settle out regarding the inheritance and wonder what changes will come from this. We also wonder how my brother, Larry, will act in these times. He does not have a good track record regarding how he handles these things as indicated by his helping himself on my mothers death and not even letting me know she died till five months later. I despise how death brings out greed and fighting between relatives. I will be relieved and maybe even surprised if there are no conflicts. I’ll keep y’all up to date as these things unfold.

This is another carving I never finished. I was doing it for someone at Cedar Creek Church but lost all interest in carving or doing anything in the depression that followed our being rejected and asked to find another church. We looked for God so we went to church but didn't find Him there.

12/22/05 Thursday
This has been a rough morning. I started out bright and feeling good. Then I started having a slight headache. I told Cherie about it and said it would probably be nothing as I was pretty lucid. The headache kept growing so I took aspirin and then a migraine pill. Headaches are often precursors to the slow downs (partial seizures) but I figured it would just be a headache because I wasn’t slowing down. Not that lucky. Cherie said “I can here it in your voice” when I told her I was slowing down. The migraine grew to the point I went to bed, closed the drapes, and turned the TV off.
As Cherie bustled around doing things I noticed a change in her demeanor. I asked her what was wrong but she didn’t want to tell me. I would ask “Can I do anything? Is there something I can do to help?” but she would say no and keep moving frantically. Finally I got up and stopped her and putting my hands on her shoulders said “What’s going on?” “Nothing” she responded but that wasn’t going work. “Cherie, tell me”. “No, you’ll get mad” she told me as she fought not to cry. I promised her I wouldn’t but it took a while for me to convince her. Now we get to the problem. She had miscalculated and had three insufficient funds charges, that works out to about $90. For us that is allot of money. I understand why she was afraid I would get mad because I did kind of fly off when she had done that before. Now I just loved her and worked to calm her down.
She is worrying about money as she always does. I reiterated that she was to always keep one hundred dollars in the account as a cushion by transferring funds from my savings account. She had been putting that off because the savings account is getting low. Then Cherie reminded me that my pension is in jeopardy because they think I’m in prison. I have known I needed to write them because I can’t count on Lenice to take care of it. I never scheduled it on my calendar so it never happened. As always, if it’s not written down it doesn’t happen.
After that I went back to bed and covered up to wait for the headache to subside. Cherie called me from the kitchen “Honey, you’d better come listen to this”. That didn’t sound good so I got right up. She was holding the phone and said I needed to listen to the message on it. It was the guy from the EPA and he wanted me to call him right back about the fifty five gallon drums behind my old warehouse. This is another thing that I needed to schedule to do and didn’t. Thus it vanished form my mind and would wander in some ethereal emptiness till this rude reminder.
I think I went back to bed but it is not clear now. I know that Cherie cooked scrambled eggs for me but can’t say when exactly. I need to get writing these letters now.
It is 3:00 now. I got the letter to the EPA done and will have Cherie check it over before I send it out. Now I am trying to get the information together to prove to the VA I am not in prison. This is turning into a task as I am still slow. I dug through the mess disguised as a filing system to find paper work that establishes dates and stuff. As I do I see many things that bring sadness. There are things from Cedar Creek Church where we had such hopes, from the scam artist minister Jim Watson, the dreams I had of accomplishing something, and all the records I have since waking up from the coma.
Bill Self just called. He is a pastor at the church we were going to. Cherie asked me to call and let them know we were looking for another church but that’s another thing I didn’t do. We talked for a while and Bill was troubled by me saying I wasn’t comfortable there. I assured him that they were one of the few places we found where people practice what they preached. He is concerned and made sure we knew we were always welcome there.
Barb called while I was talking to Bill. She asked if I knew where she could take three of her cats because they gave an eviction notice to the girl next door because of her dog. Then we talked about her finding a new payee because of the problems she is having with St. Paul. I called the Ability Center to see if they do that but they don’t. I will take Barb to Social Security tomorrow if I am up to it and file a complaint against St. Paul’s and ask for an investigation and audit.
We cleared out our fridge of all the leftovers we always put away for that day known as “later” that never seems to come. I took it to Allen along with a Christmas card, knowing that Christmas season is hard on him. His family is in Maryland and he doesn’t have much contact or a good relationship with some. He appreciated it allot.
That’s all I have for today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is a Texas roadside stop

12/21/05 Wednesday
I am up and real clear headed. Showered and fixed some scrambled eggs and also cleaned the kitchen. Cherie was frustrated this morning and nothing seemed to go right as she rushed to make it to work on time. I offered to help but the best thing to do was to stay out of the way. Fred just called and asked me to take him to Reynolds rd. to get some mailing labels. I didn’t think of it till now but I could probably print some up for him on my computer. Oh well, got to get dressed and go.
Took Fred to Kinko’s. On the way I tried to explain how I could print his labels but got no reaction. When we got there they told him they could not print the labels but they could copy what he had onto a label sheet. It would be the same size as the label he had from Fifth Third which is to small for him to deal with. The guy told Fred it could be done on a computer and I told him again I could do it. I took him to Office Depot and got a box of blank labels. It took me about five minutes to whip them up and Fred was surprised and happy.
I just addressed the Christmas cards to Bruce and Adam, putting the Walfart gift cards in them. I can’t remember the Zip code and am uncertain of the street address for Adam despite it being the house I was buying and lived in for seventeen years so I called but got the machine. I E mailed Bruce and sent over some more of the stuff that he liked. It is good to laugh when your in a war zone. All of this brings up the great sadness I have regarding the two boys I raised but I will deal with it.
Allen called and did not sound good. I will take some food over to him after I take Wayne the calendar I got him and check on Barb. I E mailed the Tolle’s as we don’t have an address to send them a card and their phone is disconnected. Hope they are OK. They did have some difficulties with their marriage before so I pray it has not returned. Time to hit the road. It’s 1:50.
I stopped by Barb’s to check on her. She didn’t get her check yet. I told her to keep bugging her caseworker to get it fixed. Then I dropped the calendar I bought off at Wayne’s. He wanted to pay me the dollar it cost so I said catch it later.
With that done I went to visit Allen. I took the info I downloaded off the net regarding addiction to painkillers with me. I also took lots of the Mexican food I cooked last night to give him. At least this way he will eat. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the stuff on addiction but he read it and thanked me. That is a good sign. We discussed the upcoming appointment he has at Unison (Another mental health facility). I helped him with his gardening stuff and we watched the science channel on his satellite TV. Cherie called at four or so and asked me where I was. I told her Allen’s and she asked when I would be home. I found that curious and come to find out she had gotten off work early.
Allen tried to bribe me into staying longer but I told him what he already knew, that when I say I will do something I will. I told Cherie that I would be home by 5:30 so I had to go.
When I got home Cherie cooked steaks and we at on the bed as we do so often. She showed me a Christmas card from Norma in St. Louis. Norma is one of those who helped me while I was there and I had carved a plaque for her as a thank you. I am embarrassed because I have not been writing her and others who do not go online. I will put it on my schedule for tomorrow. I have a picture of the plaque but may not have scanned it into this laptop. It is getting late (9:00) that is late for me. We’re normally crashing at ten or so and I have not had a nap today so am tired.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

12/20/05 Tuesday
This aught to be an interesting day. I remembered that I need to work on getting documentation about my jail time to save my veterans pension. We just received a letter from them saying they just got information that I had been incarcerated since January 2003. Because it was over 61 days I will lose the pension because they don’t pay while you are in prison. They evidently think I am still in prison when I never was. I was put in the county jail for a month or so while they tried to figure out what to do with me. (Wait till you hear that story!)
This will be fun. I think I will start by calling my former probation officer, Lenice. Now that I have successfully completed my probation I need them. She will be surprised to hear from me but may not help because I am out of the system.
I got through to Lenice and she asked for a phone number to call about this. I told her “This is the Federal Government. They require documentation, I don’t think a phone call will do it”. I had to call her back because I couldn’t find it in the mess on what is supposed to be our dining table. I found it and called her. I told her it would be a push this button recorded voice hell. Then I asked her to call me afterwards and tell me how to get documentation on this.
It is 9:56 now. I have showered and started washing the dishes. I went blogging and caught two Trojans and two viruses. Now I automatically run the three anti virus and spyware programs. It is interesting to see how one finds what the other missed. Eileen suggested that I use the Norton one. That costs $40.00 or so and Cherie said we need to wait so the savings account can build up. This is important as we don’t know when we will have to go to Texas and need to be prepared.
I will wash dishes and then go to the YMCA. They have approved our request for a scholarship but we need to fill out more paperwork.

Never did the dishes but did make it to the Y. Fred asked me to pick up some milk so I went there after the YMCA. Picked up a gallon of milk and was surprised it cost $2.88. Fred had given me two dollars and I remembered getting milk for that before. When I went to the check out I saw that my credit-debit card was missing and had that dying feeling. This is one of those rude reminders I have a problem. As I tried to sort this out, where did I use it last, where have I been, I began to slow down. I called Cherie and was short with her. I called up the bank and was told to call an 800 number to cancel. I told the lady I had used it at their machine so could she check and see if it was turned in. She put me on hold and hold and hold and the phone beeped to let me know someone was calling in but I didn’t take it because I was on hold and hold. The phone beeped again and looking I could see it was Cherie calling back. I didn’t answer again and went back to holding and getting frustrated. Finally I hung up and called Cherie. She was as upset as me and said she would come home early from lunch. I called the bank again and expressed my frustration on being on hold. They had the card which is a relief so I called Cherie.
This slowed me down bad as stress always does. Now it is hard to write. Will take the migraine med and lay down.

It’s 4:00 now and I am doing a bit better. Allen had called in response to the message I had left on his machine. I had planned on going over and helping him out but he had pulled another of his all-nighter’s and didn’t get up. I wasn’t doing too well so he told me to “take a day off”. This bothers me because it sounds like he thinks I am working for him. I have corrected this attitude several times but it returns. He reminded me that the Zeph Center had never gotten a hold of him so I called down to see what was up. This got action and they called him right away. Allen called back and I coached him some more about what to say and what not to say.
Now I will start on dinner. Tonight I am making Mexican. Tacos and Guacamole with refried beans. I will go online to see what recipe’s for the Guacamole I can find instead of my basic way.
The Old El Paso white taco shells really sucked. Tough and would fall apart when you bit them. The guacamole was real good and so was the been cheese dip I made. We just filled up on the chips and stuff. I will take the rest to Allen tomorrow. Allen had called and suggested I come over tonight to get away from Cherie. He really has no clue about so many things. In most of the relationships he knows of, the guy often “needs” to escape. Actually that is true for many marriages in this country but does not apply to us at all.
Ours is a fairy tale love story and I value every moment I spend with Cherie. One of the unforeseen things that has come from the blog is that our love and devotion to each other has made others more aware of the holes in their relationships. A good friend who reads the blog daily is becoming depressed and a little disillusioned about her marriage. After the many years they have been together things have kind of settled into a routine that gives her little emotional support. She told me that she feels like her life has no meaning and she is worthless. I didn’t know what to say to her but my heart went out as I felt her pain. Just wanted to hug her and make everything ok but that’s not how it works. Out of respect I won’t use her name but send her mine and Cherie’s love.
Cherie went shopping and I am staying home. Have no desire to go over to Allen’s tonight.
It’s 9:00 now. Good night

12/18/05 Sunday
Got up and this journal was again corrupted. Don’t know what is going on. Perhaps it’s because I always have the journal open when I go online. Probably should close it. It is already 1:25 today and we both have barely gotten ready for the day. Cherie dyed her hair and is way ahead of me. Allen called and I will head over there. Tried to call Eileen but got no answer so I am sure they are busy with all the things that go with deaths in the family. Not real speedy this morning, in fact was only running at a five but have moved up to a six. Cooked a bunch of oatmeal cookies this morning.

12/19/05 Monday
Didn’t get much written yesterday. I know I went to Allen’s. We more or less got a long as he is learning how not to aggravate me. I got him to not play his TV and stereo real loud where we could hold a conversation. It’s not the fact that we have to yell as much as it is my ability to keep a train of thought with distractions around. Allen has been slowly baring his soul, talking about various past experiences and family. How he feels powerless to help when he is so far from Maryland, what has kept him from suicide. He did get upset when I said he was a “junky”. That brought it out and as he told me why he was not even close to being a junkie I told him he was in denial, which is common for every addiction. Then I asked him “Allen, this is sucking you dry. How much money do you spend?”. “That’s different, I need to get this for my pain. I don’t take it to get high” was his reply. I pointed out that he couldn’t go on like this and needed to find medical help with the hope of a permanent solution.

This will be a busy day. I am running a seven which is a good start. Wayne needs to get to the bank and I will take Barb to Trilby Church for a Christmas basket. I still would like to visit Eileen and hope that works out.
Christmas – the time of the year when all the pains in the ass pucker up to blow you a kiss. Brings out a new meaning of the term asshole. The yearly insanity is on us. I can’t even go into a grocery store without someone trying to run me over with their shopping cart.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

This is a picture of my dad on top of one of the jets he flew as he trained on Webb Air Force base in Big Spring Texas, where he met my mom and where I was born. The only pictures I have of him are scans of old photo's found in my mothers belongings and my grandmother had.

12/17/05 Saturday
It is already 3:00 and I am just now able to get to this journal. Had to reconstruct it first. Not sure when but when I turned on this laptop and brought up the journal I found the same corruption that had attacked it before. Sections of text were changed to a bunch of strange symbols. Come to find out they are listed as “wing dings” on my font menu. Another section looked like it was written in that mid eastern script. The back ups were also corrupted. Some how in all this I dumped the whole thing into the recycle bin and in the process of getting it out lost it entirely. Fortunately I had back up discs but when I put the first one in it was empty and I got that empty feeling you have when it looks like all is lost, everything’s gone, there’s no hope.
Now I began searching and identifying the corrupted segments and looked through the four backup CD’s I found to see the latest date I had. I went to the blog, which is my journal and learned how to copy them back to my laptop. I got a bit confused as I would lose track of the task I was doing but eventually restored this thing. I just made a fresh backup of this. I should make a backup of a lot of stuff.

It is 9:14 now and I am lying in bed watching “The Sound of Music” as Cherie works on sewing stuff for her new machine. There has been much I did today but will have to work on remembering. I took Fred to Honey Baked Ham so he could get a ham for Barb. I will tell of that later.
The movie “Sound of Music” is one that I am sure I saw several times but most of it is new to me. This is a repeat of previous experiences. When I saw the “Wizard of Oz” it was both familiar and strange but it released strong emotions that had been tied to it since I saw it in my youth. Now, as I watch the “Sound of Music” it brings up feelings that are as old as the movie.
Again the analogy I use to describe my memory loss is illustrated. I liken it to a large thousand piece picture puzzle with some of the pieces missing and some scattered haphazardly on the remnant that is still put together. As I watch some is familiar but much is new. The feelings connected to it are strong and I find my self wiping tears off my cheeks. I don’t know when I first saw this movie but it was made in 1965 when I would have been nine.
It must have had a tremendous impact on me as I could relate to the highly disciplined military authoritarian father who showed little if any love. I am sure I pined for a family and a mother and father as portrayed in the movie. As always it is music that releases these memories and emotions. As I watch this movie I am struck by the purity, the goodness of the characters portrayed, the sense of honor and integrity that is rare in this age.

Back on today’s activities. After Fred picked out his ham, making the girl put a couple on the counter for him to pretend to be able to see, he had me take him to Kroger. He bought all kinds of stuff for Barb and had a bounce in his step I haven’t seen in a long time. He would try to think of anything she might need and get it. As he did he asked if I would be willing to take some ham and things to Barb’s house today. He asked as if he was being a big inconvenience to me. I had no problem with that at all and took Fred home so he could sort out the groceries and get on his breathing machine to recover from the two hours he had been out.
I took Fred to Barb’s at about 2:00. I called Dawn to warn Barb I was bringing Fred over. She was happy to see him and seemed to be in good spirits in general. She surprised me with a small gift that she had dug up from somewhere for me. It touched me as she handed it to me like a child, pleased to express her appreciation and watching anxiously to see if I liked it. I was ashamed that I had not thought of Christmas gifts for her or the others I help. While I personally have a great dislike of Christmas I must look at this from a different view. It’s not that I don’t really like to get gifts but that some would be hurt if I didn’t give something to them. I don’t even know where to send my son Bruce his present as he is overseas.
I went to the grocery store to get butter to make oatmeal cookies. Cherie suggested I pick up something for the two days I finally got her to pick for me to cook dinner. By the time I got done I bought $63.00 of groceries. As I went through Meijer’s trying to choose what I would cook and then figure out what I would need. The more I looked and picked out things the more lost I got. I would forget what I was going to get and then forget what I had already put in the cart and would go through it to get back on track. After a bit I gave up and headed out. I passed a candy display and saw a huge box of chocolates for an unbelievable low price. Now the price is believable. The candy sucks.
I never baked the cookies and was a bit slowed down by the store trek. There is more that happened today but it is not available to this brain at the moment.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I did get to do some carving. A little bit at a time.

12/16/05 Friday
We’re off on another day. This morning I am sharp and loving it as always. With the seven inches of snow we got yesterday and more coming I wasn’t sure how the roads would be so I told Barb I wasn’t sure about taking them to the church for the food handout. There was some black ice this morning but the main roads were plowed and salted so I decided I would take them.
I was up with Cherie this morning and, knowing I was to meet Jeff, showered and shaved. I went out and started both Cherie’s car and the Caddy and scraped the snow and ice off them. Fred came out when I came back in to see if I was going to pick up Barb. I said I would so he gave me some sliced ham he bought. I know he had bought it for himself and am concerned he is not eating right.
Jeff was doing fine. I got to the Waffle House on time after putting gas in this car and called him to make sure he was going to come on this icy day. When he got here he asked what he always does, “What’s going on with Bob?” I told him things were pretty much the same, that I was taking Barb and them in for food and stuff. I asked if I had told him about the EPA sending me a letter about cleaning up the drums of oil and solvent that were at my former warehouse. I told him that Bruce was in Kuwait and probably would be going into Iraq. We discussed how I miss the boys and that much of that separation is my fault.
We went on to talk about religion and my doubts again. I told him my questions about the Bible, how I had a problem with this concept that it is the infallible word of God because stuff like a woman is not allowed to talk in church or hold an office. To me anything the hand of man touches is tainted with his personal views. Then there is the question of where the modern day Bible came from. It was put together some five hundred years after Christ died and made to fit the ideas of the day.
Right now I am writing this in the Pilgrim Churches parking lot waiting for Barb and the others come out. This time I brought four people here. Besides Barb there is Dawn, Dee, and another lady named Barb who had come the last time. I am not sure what I will do after this.

Well I am back home now. Took a Tums right away because drinking too much coffee gives me an acid stomach. I was doing well earlier but feel a slow down coming. There are all the precursors. A headache is starting, my limp showed back up, and I am starting to have difficulty formulating sentences. (There was something else I was going to list but it’s gone now.)
Fred called and asked me to pick up some two cent stamps if I go out. I hope to go out but it depends on how much I slow down. I took my pill this morning. Maybe I will try that herbal stuff. I keep that at a minimum because it costs so much but it has helped the stress slow downs but doesn’t do as much for the bad ones. I don’t think this one is triggered by stress so it will be interesting to see. I have tried to track the effect of this stuff but keep forgetting to write it down. It is 11:27 and I will take some. Hopefully I will record it’s affects. (What is the difference between affect and effect? I don’t know right now) Headache is climbing fast so will take aspirin and the melt in my mouth migraine pill. Hope it helps. Got to quit writing now. Too hard. Sucks.

It’s 1:07 and I am doing better but only a little. Moved from a three to about a five. It’s good enough I feel safe driving. Allen called so I think I will help him fix something and perhaps stop by to see Eileen. I know she reads the blog so “Hey Weenie, I been wanting to drop by but it never worked out. If I miss you today, sorry”.
I’m burning a CD for Allen. He liked Simon and Garfunkel and I have talked to him about how music can sooth the soul or agitate it so this will help. I think I’ll burn a few others for him later.
Now I have moved from a five to a seven in fifteen minutes so either the aspirin, vitamins, migraine pill, herbal stuff, or the combination of all of them seems to have worked. Time to head out.
Allen was the same as usual. Talking about everything and hard to get along with. No matter what I said he would keep on with his view. I would tell him that he was acting this way and he would argue about that. “I’m just having a discussion. We’re not arguing.” he said. I told him that a discussion requires two people who share and listen. “Allen when I speak you just don’t here me. You act like I am stupid and my opinion has no value”. He argued with that and wouldn’t let it go, refusing to change the subject. At the end he was upset that I had to leave despite the fact I have told him many times that I like to be home by five everyday to see Cherie when she gets off work and enjoy dinner with her.
It is uncomfortable for him to be clingy like that but I understand his loneliness. Unfortunately he will stay lonely unless I can teach him some social skills. Part of the problem I think is from the massive amounts of pain killers he takes. Another factor, I believe, is the brain injuries he sustained in his life. He repeats himself several times during a short period constantly returning to a subject. This is called perseveration and is common with brain injuries. The Zeph Center never called him so I will have to call and put a bug in their ear. Allen needs the mental health help.

I went to pick up the stamps for Fred. He had asked me to get $10 of two cent stamps. I really didn’t think of it till I got up to the counter at the Post Office. “I’d like $10 of two cent stamps” I said. The lady looked a little distressed and said she didn’t think they had that many. Now the math works in my head. Lets see, that would be five hundred stamps. I just got a hundred of them and it took a while to get Fred to understand. When I told him I got 100 stamps he said he would have to get more money for me later. “Fred I’ve got change for you. It only cost $2.00” I told him. Took a while for it to register with him but he got it.

I am tired now. It’s 10:16. I called Weenie after I left Allen’s. It sounded pretty busy over there and she has to go to a couple of funerals, one or both of them tomorrow. I will go see her when it is more convenient. Night all.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

12/15/05 Thursday
(reminder; Bruce’s E mail)
When Cherie checked my E mail there was a reply from Bruce in Kuwait. When she told me as she pulled it up I stopped everything and went to read it. His humor was apparent as he started with “Sand Sucks” and ended saying this was sent from the cat litter box of the mid east. I miss him greatly and always get emotional with the rare contact. Now that Bruce is overseas and E mail is his only means of communication I will be able to talk to him more than when he was home. That’s ironic but I’ll take what I can get from the kid I raised since he was four. Adam I have sent several E mails to with no replies. I will just keep sending them and hope he will not just delete them unread.
I am not to speedy this morning. Was up till 12:30 blogging cause I couldn’t sleep. In the process I ran into a few bad sites that would just pump porn pop ups onto the screen. I got out of them as fast as I could but when I got up this morning this laptop wouldn’t go online. I started running the spyware programs and found I had two Trojans and 175 infections total. Not good. I’m going to have to pay for a good protection program instead of going the cheap route with the free stuff. If any of you out there have some suggestions I would be happy to hear from you.
I am sure of having today off unless someone I serve has an emergency because it is snowstorm time. We are expecting six or eight inches and it is the thick heavy snow. There will be mix of snow and rain in some areas and it is a roll of the dice whether we get it here or not. Cherie E mailed me to say she slid into a curb on the way to work but she and the car were OK. I sent a reply that said “Poke around coming home. Don’t be in a hurry because the poor curbs have enough problems without you running into them.
It’s a shame I am not up to speed. I was going through the hundreds of pictures trying to organize them and that is a mess. Got duplicates all over and I am having a hard time figuring out how to move this stuff around and then forget what I just figured out, having to learn it all over again. Then I go to one of the other places and programs that have pictures and get lost again. That is why I took a break to write in this journal, to distress so this brain can process all this better. Took my pill and fixed scrambled eggs.
Allen just called to see if I wanted to come over. He lives in a basement with no windows and also doesn’t watch local or national news so he had no idea it was snowing out. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere today. He thanked me for the dinner and getting him out. Nuff said, I’m going to sort pictures and perhaps carve. Been saying I would carve for weeks now and haven’t touched a tool but every time I look at my project I see things to do on it.
It is 1:12. I have been sorting pictures, making folders, combining folders, and deleting pictures but have to quit as I am getting confused and worry I may delete or screw something up where I can’t fix it. I have a mild headache, you know a normal one not one of the turn off the lights and crawl under the covers one. I’ll take aspirin and go carve where I can just focus on something instead of trying to keep up with the hundreds of pictures I have. It’s tough when you see two or three of the same picture and lose track of which one you were going to delete and where you were sending the other one. Nothing like moving the same picture three or more times to fill you with confidence. (Sarcasm intended) Time for a break.
I washed dishes, which is painful as always. Now I realize I am tired and need to take a nap. So frustrating when I used to work hard for 12 to 16 hours a day and now six hours of being awake and just sorting pictures tires me out.

Now it is 2:37 and I have to wonder about the herbal stuff. Why does it have such a profound effect on me? It kind of wakes my brain up when I am slow. That usually comes with stress so maybe the stress relieving qualities are the catalyst. It is still snowing and will all night.
I just unpacked the sewing machine I bought for Cherie and am amazed at the feelings washing over me. Just knowing how happy she will be, what a smile it will put on her face fills me with excitement. I set the stage, placing the machine on top of a small table and put the big red bow I bought on it. Looking at it I think “Nah…that’s not right” and then started trying different things and settle on one which I took pictures of. Then I changed it. This is not like me to fret over appearances but with Cherie it is different. Of all the things in this world there is nothing that can make me happier and feel good than making Cherie happy.

There was a time when I would have found the previous statement to be sickeningly sweet but now that is all changed. Look at me, a former tough guy and criminal who’s been to prison, all in love and mushy. Works for me. I’ve never been happier or felt as secure in my life. I’m sure we will have tough times because that is a part of life but we will face them together and do it well. When two become one there is a strength that far exceeds what can be attained when two are alone.

4:38 Well I did it again. Cherie had called or told me this morning to cook either the chicken or beef that was defrosting in the fridge. I was just looking at the clock to see how close it was till Cherie came home when I remembered. Rush time.

4:57 OK. Now I changed the stage for Cherie’s sewing machine, putting it at a slight angle with her dandy flexible light (Works real good for my carving).

Fred just called as I knew he would because Barb had called minutes earlier. She asked what time I would be there tomorrow to take them to the church for food. I told her that if the roads are icy I wasn’t going any where. She left me Dawn’s number to call in the morning and let them know.
I don’t remember if I wrote of this before so will now anyway. Barb’s phone was shut off because her payee didn’t pay the bill. This has been a consistent problem for her and I am beginning to suspect that there has been some hanky panky going on. St. Paul’s has had problems before where employees were charged with embezzlement. They handle thousands of dollars every month for people who are in such a shape that they can’t be trusted with their government check. This is a big temptation, especially when your clients aren’t all there. Besides they are poor and the poor have no ability to get the help they need with the exception of the few lawyers who do pro bono work. With Barb first there was $700 missing then $600 then it was found and now she has nothing spare. This has the familiar ring of someone juggling multiple accounts, moving money around to hide what is missing.
I fixed chicken and mashed potatoes and it came out good despite being a last minute rush. I never did nap so am tired now. Will call it a day on the journal.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

12/14/05 Wednesday
8:31 This may be a rough day. Stress has a powerful effect on me and this VA thing about losing my pension is taking its toll. I was going to call the number on the letter but don’t think it would be a good idea. I write well cause I have time to think but can’t talk well when stressed cause I can’t think fast enough and lose my train of thought. Writing helps me cause I can go back and read, thus regaining that train of thought. Right now I am running about a five but that can drop down fast. Just to give you an idea it is now 8:56 and it has taken nearly a half hour to write this much. I keep having to correct my sentences so they make sense. They seem fine when I first write them but when I go back and read I find them not good.
I took my pill and showered. Cherie is worrying bad about finances because of this and her hospital bill. This is bad because for her worry turns into fear and grows on her. I think I will quit writing till I can do better. Headache coming.

I tried to call the VA number anyway but I was right, it didn’t work out to well. First there’s the automated maze where you bounce around pushing whatever button the robot on the other end tells you, with a vain hope it will get you not just a human but the right one….Nah! I just push zero to find a real person. The guy would keep giving me the same response every time I started to explain what was going on. “There’s a form with your letter. Just fill that out and send it in” he would say.
Finally he figured he needed to pull me up on the computer to see what was going on. That’s when he found I should be talking with the Detroit office. I told him I dialed the number on the letter and he said that it was directed to Cincinnati (or Cleveland. Can’t remember) because I was calling from Toledo. Great, I can’t call the Detroit office from here, I have to drive to Michigan and the cell phone still won’t do it because it’s registered in Ohio.
Fine then. I looked for whatever paperwork I have about my court case and can’t find anything. I grabbed the letter and headed to the Glendale VA clinic. By the time I got there I was pretty shaky. I had called Cherie to ask if she knew where the legal stuff was and she could tell immediately that I was not doing well from my voice. I went to the mental health section where I had been going and asked if someone could help me. I was told to go to the section that had worked to get my pension.
The two guys in the office recognized me and even knew my name. Of course they weren’t familiar to me at all but that’s one of the reasons I have the pension, can’t remember a face. Anyway they were real helpful in directing me how to work on this. I have to get documents from the court proving I was not in prison and hadn’t been. More fun but I think probation can get me the documentation.
I came home and limped to the apartment. When I am stressed and slow the paralysis on my right side becomes pronounced. I was running about a two or three on the Bob scale so I took some of the herbal medicine. It is astounding how quickly it turned me around. My mind has cleared and I have energy. It’s almost like I am a different person.
I called Allen and invited him for dinner tonight. Figured it would be best cause I am cooking this killer roast and black eyed peas. Besides, tomorrow is going to be nasty with snow so I would rather not be on the road. He said he would after some deliberation. I called Cherie to let her know and then set about cleaning and cooking. She reminded me about the sewing machine so I had her call to see if it was still there. It was so I went to get it. When I got there the ladies were nice and remembered how excited Cherie was about the machine. I told them about our love story and they said what every one does when they hear it. “Are you writing a book? That would make a great movie”.
Allen called and said he had to go somewhere and wouldn’t get back till 5:00 so that gives me a little more time. I am rushing now and ran to Kroger to pick up one of those frozen apple pies you can just throw in the oven and bake and some rolls. I left a note for Cherie and ran to get Allen. He was late and motioned for me to come in the house when I wanted to go. Joshua’s (Cherie’s nephew) thirteenth birthday is today so I wanted to get Allen fed and out of there quickly so we could make it over. Not going to happen.
Allen was animated and talking a my a minute. “Allen your geeking” I told him. He knew I was talking about him being high on his pain pills he had just gone out and gotten. “No I’m not. What are you talking about? I’m fine, I’m always like this” he said in denial. There was no point in belaboring the issue so I motivated him to leave.
Getting to the house Allen visited while I got moving on finishing getting the meal ready. He talked and talked and I had to tell him to leave me out of the conversation because I need to concentrate on the food. “If you want to eat don’t talk to me” I said. Of course that didn’t work. Allen was regaling Cherie with stories of how federal agents came rappelling down from a helicopter to bust his marijuana patch. He laughed as he told how they got the small patch he had to teach a friend how to grow but missed the two acres of plants that were just over a hill. Then he would talk of machine guns and all kinds of stuff like that. He was getting animated and loud about it so I had to check him. “Allen, Cherie doesn’t know about any of that stuff, it’s a world she is not familiar with. Our neighbor is a deputy sheriff so I would appreciate it if you would hold it down. Why don’t you find something else to talk about”.
It was hard to talk with him as it always is. I would try to teach him simple things like how to reduce stress and learn to relax as well as dealing with pain. There was nothing I could say that he would not argue with. After I took him back home I asked Cherie her take on this because I don’t trust my perception and she is an outside party. Her response was that it is a wonder we are friends because we always argue. I tried to get Allen looking to his future instead of dwelling on all the pain of his past with little success. I told him his dependence on pain pill was destroying him and sucking him dry. In the classic denial all alcoholics and drug addicts have he said he didn’t have a problem. “I have a high tolerance Bob. I have to take more than the average person because of that” he told me. “Allen your tolerance you built up through using more and more of the stuff. I know Allen, I’ve been there so I know better. You can tell me whatever you want but you know I’m right”. It went on till I told him it was time to head out. We stocked him up with lots of leftovers and I got him home.
Getting back home Cherie and talked about this and agreed it would be too much to have Allen over too often. Helping people comes with a price and I know this going in. Part of that price is we carry some of the emotional load which can get worse when some one goes bad, such as a suicide. We don’t help because of a reward of some kind, we help cause they need help.

It’s 9:20 right now and I will see if I can fill in this day. I did as you can see but there is some missing. That’s ok. I’m tired and Cherie is snoring besides me as I type this. Night y’all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Here's a picture of the car I had my wreck in. I was flung out the back window as it rolled end over end.

12/13/05 Tuesday
Good morning. I had a restless night and so did Cherie. We both would wake up in the middle of the night. I had more of the strange highly detailed dreams that I used to have. I woke up at 4:30 and then at 6:00 or so as Cherie got ready for work. She will take half a day off with pay as she has unused time off from work. I may not be here but that is OK as she has lots of things planned for this time off. I definitely want to do some visiting today. Running about a seven this morning. I tried to call Dave Miller only to find his number is no longer his when someone else answered. Now I will go check on him for sure.
Yesterday I forgot to take my pill till after 1:00. I had some recurrences of old problems that both let me know how much I have improved and perhaps show that this medication does more than I thought. One of the things that used to frustrate me was that if I was cooking or putting away groceries and had things in both hands I would get real confused about what to put down first and where to put it. This would freeze me up and I would have to ask Cherie for help to decide what to do. It happened again yesterday and made me think. I seem to not have had this problem for a while but can’t remember so I asked Cherie if she could. She agreed that I have not had this occur, at least so she noticed, in a while. We discussed other things that have improved but I don’t remember them now.
As I am writing this the ears ringing and lightheaded sensation have showed up. I am slowing down. My typing is slower as I struggle to find the words and put them together for this sentence. Will go take my pill now and fix breakfast. Yesterday I didn’t eat till I took Cherie to dinner and then I barely touched it. That was another old problem that has not been as apparent. My sense of taste was always off from the accident and much of the time I could only detect strong flavors such as saltiness but even that was dim. This would come and go to a degree and has not been apparent like the confusion till last night when the Mediterranean salmon was about tasteless to me. Got to take that pill now before I forget.
I am running at a five now. The limp is pronounced and there is a hint of a headache.
It is 9:00 PM. I had a busy day, I think. I remember going to Check on my friend Dave in Michigan because his phone number no longer worked. Dave is a young guy who lives next to the house I was buying with the second wife and has his share of problems. I helped him when he was a teenager, letting him live in my garage when he was having problems with his alcoholic dad. He returned the favor, letting me live in his house when I was homeless. I help him with problems all the time so wanted to check on him.
I woke up Dave. He works till six in the morning and was barely cognizant when he finally made it to the door. We talked for a short time and I got his new number then, seeing him yawn and kind of fade out, I excused myself. Leaving I looked at the driveway of my old house to see if Adam’s car was there but it wasn’t. I called Allen and he was up so I went to see him.
Allen is not doing to well. We talked about the Zeph Center and then his problems with medication. He has not been getting his pain pills and is suffering because of that. Not only is his pain untreated but he is withdrawing from suddenly not having the medication. He called a doctor he had seen months ago and learned he had been dropped for “non compliance” and his file said he was “PCP”. Allen asked what that meant and the receptionist didn’t seem to know. The last time I visited him his T-shirt had about five burn holes where he had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette in his hands. He told of not sleeping for four days and then collapsing on the floor panting as he struggled to breath. These are not good things and he also said he hadn’t eaten the day before and when I asked if he ate today he said no. I called Cherie to see when it would be a good time to have Allen over for dinner.
That might be all I did today, at least it is all I can remember. Tomorrow I will probably recall more. There was some mail at Dave’s and Cherie opened it when she got home. It was from the VA, dated November the sixteenth. It said they learned I had been convicted of a felony and incarcerated January 2003. Because of that I would lose the pension for the time I was incarcerated. The problem is I wasn’t incarcerated or even convicted of a felony at that time so this is a snafu I need to deal with quickly. Fun Fun. I just love dealing with the government, it fills me with confidence as the paper shufflers look to their regulations which do not allow common sense and can’t operate unless the correct form is filled out in the correct way so they can correct the problem. I’m probably not correct in my sarcasm but that’s how I see it.
This morning I had been thinking about getting Cherie a sewing machine because that is one of her loves. After a little deliberation I decided not to because I don’t know anything about them and didn’t want to get something that wasn’t right. I would need Cherie to help me pick one out. So what happens when I get home? Cherie gets a business card out of her purse and with that sheepish look said “I, I, I just wanted to, now don’t get upset…”. Then she starts talking about dinner or something equally innocuous. “Cherie, quit beating around the bush. You know I love you so just say what’s on your mind.” I told her. She said she had found a sewing machine that she really liked and started telling me everything this machine would do. I watched her face as she described all the features like an excited child talking about the latest cool thing.
No question in my mind at all, especially seeing her excitement. “Cherie, merry Christmas. It’s yours”. Cherie looked at me with disbelief and said “But it costs $300”. “So” was my response. Just watching how much this meant to her I almost cried. Hey, I know I’m supposed to be a tough guy but really don’t care. I am who I am and don’t care what anyone thinks so I don’t put up this façade to hide what I feel. Not ashamed at all about getting teary eyed, especially when it is tears of joy. Making Cherie happy is what gives me the most. The most what I can’t put into words. We are one and when she is happy I am happy. When she is sad so am I. Yeah I got it bad but wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, December 12, 2005

12/12/05 Monday
Tired and my head is still thick. There is nothing on the calendar for this week except taking Wayne to the MS luncheon. That was on my computer calendar not the handwritten one I carry with me. Still need to get in the habit of checking both. I will go ahead and take some aspirin, hoping for relief from the headache. Perhaps I will get out and do some visiting. Haven’t done that in a while and yesterday just stayed in bed all day.
It is 1:00 and I just got back from taking Fred to get a haircut and then shopping. I ran and got some dish soap, batteries, and the light bulbs for his reader while Fred was getting the haircut. After that I took him to Kroger where he bought a turkey and some stuff for Barb as well as a few meager items for himself. I can tell his money is tight because every time I pointed out an item I knew he liked he would freak over the price. I take him to buy all his food and have to wonder how anyone can live on what he gets.
I am still tired and forgot to take my pill this morning which I just remedied. Of course I haven’t eaten but that’s ok cause I need to lose weight. I still get that strange lightheaded feeling when I am in the grocery store, probably always will. Don’t know for sure but I think it is because of all the information this brain must process in a store. I got to go deliver this stuff to Barb and then go shopping for us. Might go visiting after but will decide on the run.
It’s 7:21. I am exhausted. For a day with nothing scheduled I was amazingly busy. Fred called and asked if I could take him to get a haircut and then to do some shopping which I did. After that I took the food, soap, and other stuff to Barb. She was in a goofy good mood and very talkative. I pulled a staple out of her couch that had cut her foot badly and then tried to fix her Oreck vacuum cleaner. It was too far gone for me to fix. Pauly, a local she often has do things like this had tried to fix it but made it worse. I know she wanted to keep talking but I didn’t want to stay much longer so I said “I have to go Barb” and left.
As I drove down Monroe St. debating what to do I called Wayne because he was close and I try to be efficient with my time and gas. “Hi Wayne. How’s it going? You need anything?” He did so I told him to get ready cause I was ten minutes away. Wayne said he thought I was just going to pick stuff up for him and bring it. “Wayne I help you but I’m not your servant. If you need groceries I’ll take you to the store and you can get them” I told him.
When I pulled up Sharon was outside waiting for her ride so I talked with her for a bit to see how she was doing. She doesn’t call us anymore for help so we are a bit out of touch. Her ride came so I pulled up to Wayne’s door. He was ready so I loaded his walker in the Caddy and we were off to Kroger. I pushed the cart for him as I always do and helped him locate what was on his list. One of those items is a calendar to replace the one for 2005. I never thought finding a calendar in December would be that hard. Nothing at Kroger so I told him I would take him to another store to find one. I have been teaching Wayne how to schedule things and write down as much as he can to compensate for the memory problems that come with MS.
As we talked Wayne brought up the medical records we had requested from Dr. Rowan. I had forgotten, as I am prone to do, that his office had called last week about those records. I know she had asked if she should mail them to me, Wayne, or if I would come and pick them up. I don’t have a clue what I answered her so decided we better go there now and pick them up. That was a good idea as when we got there the office really didn’t know what records we needed or why. I explained we had been fighting Social Security for three years now and basically had to prove Wayne had MS and it had progressed to the point he can’t work. I had her dig through all the records they had, telling her what would be useful and what wouldn’t.
With that done we headed back out, now looking for a store that had calendars of the type Wayne needs. I drove him to the Pharm with no luck so went to a dollar store where I did find a dustpan he needed but no calendar. Traffic was getting busy and I was beginning to think some one had been handing out dummy pills cause they sure weren’t using their brains. This added to my growing frustration as we searched for a calendar.
If I was in a part of town I was familiar with I would of known where to go but no such luck here. I decided to go across town to where I knew Walmart was thinking they would be sure to have what Wayne needed. Getting a parking space was another exercise in futility. Every time I would see a handicap space and would head for it some one would dash into it. Finally I pulled up to the door and told Wayne to get out, hoping to at least make the woman who took the handicap spot feel bad when she saw him get the walker out of the trunk. Then I drove around looking for a space with no luck so I invented one right in front and went in. After finding Wayne we looked and looked asking employees where calendars might be. We found some but they weren’t what was needed.
By now my frustration had grown to anger which for me is not good as I have a problem with controlling my emotions because of the brain injury. Now I am getting rude, pushing peoples carts out of the way with a big “EXCUSE ME” as I cleared a path for Wayne to come through with his walker. Not good as with my background I can be a bit dangerous when like this. “Wayne, we’re getting the F out of here and I’m taking you home. I’ll get you a calendar later” I told him. When I sense this anger growing I leave and go someplace to settle down.
Dropping Wayne off I headed home, trying not to be aggressive as I drove. I called Cherie to see how she was doing and could tell instantly when she answered it was not to well. She had just gotten the bill from when I took her to the hospital for chest pains. It was in the thousands and she was depressed and had worked herself up, blaming herself for bringing disaster to us. I said “You know, we haven’t gone out to watch a sunset in a while. It looks like it will be beautiful so how about I pick you up and we go watch it. That sounded good to her, kinda. She was still working on not feeling good about herself and had no enthusiasm for anything. Time for doctor Bob.
Picking her up we drove and watched the sun set. I know she had been planning on cooking the ham steaks we had in the fridge but figured it would be a good time to take her out. Her answer was “That’s right, let’s spend more money. That will help. We can just throw money away, it grows on trees”. This was not going to be easy but some how I managed. She would respond to my questions about what restaurant she would like with “I guess that would be ok”. I decided where we would go and it helped her a lot to relax and chill out over a nice dinner. I was drained from all the emotion and rushing of the day and just wanted to crawl into bed but this wasn’t the right time.

This is Cherie at our first wedding over 25 years ago. I know I promised to tell you of this love story but hang in there. At least I started writing it.

Things worked out and it is 10:00 now. I am done with this journal entry and will publish this to the blog and head for bed. Cherie is as tired as me and fell asleep on my chest as she does. Strange as it may seem I really love it when she does this. Her place on my chest with my right arm around her is what she calls her spot. She will lean over and say “Spot” and I will open my arms for her. When she is as tired as she is tonight she will snore as she sleeps on my chest. I just hold her and try not to disturb her, feeling very protective and complete. It is good to be with the one you know you will spend the rest of your life with. At least it is for us but I know some who will find it to be a nightmare, wanting to escape from a bad relationship. I am blessed. Good night all. See ya tomorrow or whenever I next post.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


12/11/05 Sunday
I fixed two big omelets to use up the chicken we had yesterday and got so involved making them that I forgot to put in the chicken. That was good for a laugh. Cherie and I laugh lots and not only is it good but neither of us laughed much in our lives. This is better than drugs. (Duh! You just figuring this out Bob?)
I’m not doing to well this morning. The brain is working well but I go from hot and sweaty to freezing and have another headache. Took my pill and some aspirin. I will hold off on the dissolve in your mouth migraine pill till I really need it. Allen called as I knew he would and, in a strange sort of way, I am glad I don’t feel well cause it makes it easier to tell him I won’t come over. I won’t lie so it beats saying I just don’t want to see him today. That would not do his depression any good. I might wander over there later but don’t know. I will probably carve this morning.
Haven’t carved yet. I went blogging and found this cool site that has downloadable videos that aren’t X rated. I will explore this one. It is set up so I can put the videos on my blog and the website I still dream of but don’t work on. There was a music video that surprised me. As a general rule I don’t like rap because of the typical messages are of the women are ho’s variety along with feeding hate and violence. This one was down to earth and dealt with the realities of life in the ghetto. Drugs, gangs, trying to make it in a poor world. It took me back to St. Louis, to when I lived in what I call cracktown, to the people I met and who befriended me when I was still a mess from the coma. That time by itself will make a good book. Here I was, a lost white boy who wasn’t quite all there wandering around in the middle of gangbanger row. I would go out and walk just to regain some strength and by the time I had gone four blocks I would be asked if I wanted any crack five times and propositioned for sex once. I didn’t fit in at all but when folks in that area figured out I was a bit messed up they pitched in to help. It is the poor who help the poor.
It’s 3:53 now. Have no idea where the time went. Still feeling crappy. Still have the headache. I guess I should take that headache pill. Should have done that hours ago.
6:18 Still not doing well. The headache has moved into migraine territory. Cherie just came home and brought Burger King with her. She had been planning on cooking ham or something but when I talked to her on the phone she said that she to has a headache so I said “Buy burgers, you don’t need to cook”. I pretty much stayed in bed all day and have had the chills along with an occasional bout of sweat. Probably fighting something off.
Jeff called me by accident as he was going through the McD’s drive thru. We talked a bit. He asked me what’s been happening with me and that can be a hard question for me to answer. I just said not much as I struggled to remember. I told him about the virus this laptop caught and then told him Bruce went overseas to Kuwait or someplace near Iraq Monday. We agreed to meet for breakfast on Friday morning like we usually do.
Wish this migraine would go away. Been there all day long.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

121005 Saturday

12/10/05 Saturday
     I woke up fine. Cherie had been up a while. She fixed me a nice breakfast and came in to tell me about it with the joy one has when they give a gift. Like me she loves to show her love in as many ways as she can think of. I had her laughing as I always do and loved and kissed her lots. She has gone shopping. Allen just called so I will go over there in a bit. He asked if I could stop at Kroger and pick up some milk and $10 worth of pop. That stopped me a bit so I questioned him about the pop. He said get some tea and maybe only six or seven dollars worth.
     I have a headache and started slowing down. Going to Allen’s may not be fun.

     It wasn’t. Allen is so needy and insecure it is hard to deal with. He is desperate and afraid he will lose me as a friend. I am not sure how to handle this but will do my best to get him in the system so he can get medical help. I talked to him about how this will work and that it will not be a fast process at all. He is worried about having to take a drug test so I told him it would not happen right away, he will have plenty of time to prepare.
     I stuck with Allen for about four hours but couldn’t handle much more than that. He would just talk and talk about nothing important. This on top of my migraine. Allen said something about “when I come tomorrow” that came as a surprise. Some how he got the idea I would be coming Sunday and I really don’t want to. If I do go anywhere tomorrow it will be to visit Eileen or perhaps my friends in Michigan.
     I am tired and will call it a day. Night all.