Friday, March 31, 2006

Finally cleared up

I never did make it to the shower. Just had a piece of the apple pie we baked last night for breakfast. It is time to drive Fred around. I’ll be fine, just have to be careful. I know I won’t talk much.

I made it back. Still slow but not as bad. These things tire me out pretty badly. Fred wanted to give me a tour of the Zenobia Shrine building so I dutifully followed him around. He would look at a door and peer at the plaque identifying what room it was and say “That’s the (Whatever) room”. I would look and see the sign said something else all together but that’s OK. Fred is blind and no sense pointing it out. I had a hard time not laughing when he pointed to the one labeled “Men’s Room” and said it was another chapter’s room. I had to let him know it was the bathroom. Even walking is hard right now because this is one of the slow downs that effects the paralysis on my right side. That is why I was fumbling everything this morning. The brain is having a hard time telling my right side what to do.

Ahmed is back. He’s out changing the tire on his Firebird. I am not happy but don’t want to talk to him while slow. I need to take the migraine pill now. Then I think I will hobble to the bed and drop in it. I will take the laptop and try to sort pictures. If I get confused I will just go to sleep and hope to wake up sharp.

Ahmed just left with Jackie. She was dressed to expose. Got the tramp look down pat. It makes me wonder.

I urge you not to throw away time, for it's swift as an arrow, fast as a stream. Distraction is entirely due to lack of concentration; stupidity and blindness are caused by lack of true knowledge.

-Yung-Ming, "Five Houses of Zen" Buddhist teachings

Well I finally cleared up at around 3:30. I really hate losing this much of a day. I got motivated and went on line to look up an attorney in Midland. I think I found a good law firm cause the woman I talked to was very helpful. Her area of specialty is in estates and stuff. When I explained my take on what the lawyer for the estate told me she explained that I have more of a say in the matter. She said that half of the farm was mine period and that I don’t have to sign off on it so it cannot be sold without my say.

If Larry wants to sell half he can either negotiate with me or pay out of his pocket the somewhat significant cost of having everything surveyed out and the negotiation on what goes where. I have no problem working with him but it is kind of impossible when the ass won’t call.
I sent him another E mail and will wait on Larry as I have been doing for months now. The things I have to do to get my family to talk to me. But that’s the loving caring Westbrook family. I’m sure we’re all proud.

If you look real hard you can see three deer. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Cherie and I went to the park and enjoyed walking together. We saw our deer again and took some pictures. It was a nice end for the day. I am still frustrated at not getting much done because of the slow down. Cherie was cheered by the news from the law firm and that will help. I always feel better when Cherie feels better.

One of the things I always enjoy every spring is the first signs of new life.

The first buds of what will soon be many.

Even the moss has flowers. There is no life without death. Just as nature must "die" every winter to come to life again so did I. I died to the old life and problems and have come back to a new life.

Hard start. This is what I go through regularily

This mornings sunrise.

3/31/06 Friday
7:45 - This is a rough morning. I woke up slow and physically uncoordinated fumbling and dropping everything. I am pretty foggy this morning, running a 4 on the Bob scale. My voice is real hoarse so maybe I am fighting something off. I had fast slow down last night and it wiped me out. Cherie said I just went to bed and was asleep right away. Never did finish the journal for yesterday. I was in the middle of writing about Ahmed and Jackie but didn’t finish. Just stopped in mid sentence. Hopefully I will clear up today. I don’t have anything scheduled other than taking Fred to the post office.

It’s 8:40. I have been trying to fill in yesterday’s entry but am having a hard time. Still too slow. Typing is pretty difficult. The headache is coming. This may be a doozy. My ears are ringing and the noise from the highway seems deafening. Fred will want to go to the post office. That might be hard to do. There are times I won’t drive or go out. We will see how it goes. I took my seizure pill. I think I will fix some breakfast and see if that helps.

9:06 - This ones rough. I go to take a shower and end up in the kitchen. I go back to the bedroom to get my coffee cup and start getting dressed. Then I remember I was going to take a shower. That’s short term memory loss. Close to the immediate memory in how quick things disappear. The odd thing is I often remember a few minutes later as in this case.

Not good. Fred just called and wants to leave at ten to go to the post office. That’s fine because it is just down the road but then Fred reminds me that he wants to go downtown to pay his Shrine dues. I can do it but will be driving like an old man. Can’t react fast when like this.

Good start, slow end.

I just called Wayne. He found the appointment slip and saw that it was for 10:00 instead of 2:00. He suggested I still take him to the VA clinic “Maybe” they’ll see him. and I told him to call and see cause I didn’t want to drive back and forth for nothing. That frees up some time so I can rest.

Wayne called to say he would just reschedule for later so I called Allen to see how he’s doing. He was kinda panicky and said to call him back in five minutes. I waited ten and got no answer. Who knows what happened to him.

Just as I was writing this the phone rang. It was Allen and right when he was tired the other line beeped in. It was Cherie so I told Allen I would call him back. Cherie is not doing well. They changed her hours and she doesn’t like them. She goes to work at ten but doesn’t get home till seven. “I just want to go to Texas” she cried. I did my best to cheer her up and get looking at the bright side of things. It took a lot of work to get a laugh out of her but I finally did. All this misery because Larry never bothered to talk things out.

Allen seemed unexcited about things so I suggested he just get some sleep. He hasn’t slept since yesterday. That works well with me cause I am not real sharp. Running about a 5 or 6 on the Bob scale. The ears are ringing and the headache has been working its way out of the murky deep of my head. I think I will take the headache meds and lay down. Never really did though I talked about it. It’s 2:30 now.

5:00 – Now for the next chapter of “The Cokewhore and the Muslim”. As I was resting I heard a car with a flat tire coming in. I thought about jumping up to see what it was but decided not to. Too comfortable. Later on I got up to get something I looked out the window. At first it was hard to see but “What’s that. Is Ahmed’s tire flat? Has it been wrecked?”. I went to the other window and sure enough, it was wrecked. Now I know that Ahmed is a long haul trucker and is on the road so it wasn’t him driving. That leeeaaves…THE COKEWHORE.

Earlier today Jackie was cleaning out Ahmed’s Firebird. I had just come back from the shopping trip and was carrying my groceries in. When I got the last package up I came down to move the Caddy from where I had parked it to unload. I asked Jackie how she was doing. She complained about not having anything to do so she was cleaning the car just to be outside. Fine, I parked the car and went in.

It wasn’t maybe a half hour before the cell rang again. IT WAS AHMED!!! He says in his broken English “

(That’s as far as I got yesterday. Here’s the rest)

“Bob, did you talk to Jackie? She said you told her she could come over and have coffee anytime”. “No Ahmed, that’s nuts, I didn’t ask her to come over at all” I replied. He kept on asking questions and it was soon evident that he was suspicious, jealous, and being an ass. He wanted the details of my brief conversation with Jackie. OK! Enough is enough “Ahmed I don’t like her and would never let her so much as set her foot in my place” I told him. He kept rambling on so I said “Bye” and hung up on him”.

That was five hours ago. I went out to take a closer look at Ahmed’s car. OH YEAH ! It’s been smashed. Now I call Ahmed on his cell to tell him. He was too strange. I say “Ahmed, Your Firebird has been smashed”. Ahmed didn't seem to understand so I explained things to him. When I told him that Jackie had driven the car he asked "Did you see her yourself?" Then he got on about how he was helping Jackie and said he wasn't worried about it. "It doesn't matter" I told Ahmed he needs to get rid of the girl and said we would talk when he gets here.

About 8:00 we heard Jackie leave and watched her walk to the bar. There I am sure she will do what she does for her drugs.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I wonder

I just posted the previous entry and put a picture of Cherie on it. When I checked how it turned out I clicked on it to make it bigger. I am struck by her face and smile, it is almost ethereal, the level of emotion even her picture evokes. It is good to be in love. Hey, I got it bad and love it. Time to move.

I made it back. This is one of those days when I get lost. I looked all over Kroger trying to find Smart Balance Popcorn Cherie gave me a coupon for. I couldn’t find the popcorn section and then had to peer over a cart a vender had on the way as he stocked shelves. Come to find out Kroger don’t carry that item.

With that done I made it to Kazmier’s. By this time I was moving pretty slow as I was having another of those “Petit” seizures. (I finally found the medical name for them) It took me a long time to find things in this store I seldom go to. Last of all I looked all over for the pop Cherie’s list said was 99 cents. Come to find out they had it up front on the other side of the registers.

I’m glad to be back cause I don’t like being outside when I’m like this. I fixed a grilled ham, cheese, and jalapeño sandwich. I have to get Wayne to the VA clinic today but am slowing more and have a headache on the way. Probably should lay down a bit so I am up to speed for Wayne and then Allen. He’s the real drain for this day.

Cherie just came home for lunch. I could tell she wasn’t to happy and was preoccupied in her mind. I asked her how she’s doing. Cherie said “I’m still angry. What are we going to do if this all falls apart? Where are we going to go?”. Then she started to cry just a little. I told her that no matter what we had each other but that I was going to try hard to get the farm.

I have been wondering. How can we bid on the farm when we just filed bankruptcy and can’t get credit. The inheritance won’t be released till it’s all over so I can’t use it to buy the farm cause I don’t get it till then? I don’t know how this works and find it all confusing. That’s why I must get a lawyer. No one else is explaining anything. If my brother would have bothered to talk with me we could have negotiated everything to make it easier and better for us both. Of course negotiation is not in Larry’s vocabulary. It’s his way, that’s it. When his actions upset my wife that changes things. Then it becomes personal. I can be a real dick if I want to be.

I will lay down now and get about an hours rest before I go pick up Wayne. Hopefully I will clear up some.

Another day

3/30/06 Thursday
It’s another day in the continuing saga of Bob. Cherie could tell I was getting depressed so told me it wasn’t worth being depressed over. I’m not upset over how Larry decided to conduct business regarding his half of the estate. He gets half regardless and that was never an issue in my mind. It is painful and puzzling that in his mind it appears he has cataloged me as some one not to be trusted and he has done this without even bothering to talk. As I sit here isolated from my family I can only guess at what they think of me. Cherie and I look forward to facing the storms of life together and our love for each other gives us strength and direction. I know that sounds like an old tired cliché but there is truth there. It is good to look forward rather than to just stand still much less to keep looking back. That’s done and gone.

I am doing OK. Running a 7 on the Bob scale. That’s average. Allen called. He asked me “What would you like to have of mine if I died?”. Now he’s got my attention. Allen has had several close friends commit suicide and it is always on his mind. Now he is facing a big problem and it’s inevitable results. I talked to him about this. “Allen…That’s stinking thinking again. You need to not allow this. Find something else to think about. I tell you what! Plan something to do in a few days to give yourself something to do”. We talked for a while. After I get Wayne taken care of I think I will run over and get Allen out of his hole. That’s what friends do. You know, the ones that don’t disappear when you have problems.

Cherie left me a shopping list for groceries. She has store, price, and coupons all down. Too cool. She sets the budget and knows how to get the deals. It helps for me to have written instructions, otherwise I would buy everything in the store. I’m heading out now to buy groceries.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Still sorting through the tangles

I am running down. This thing with the estate is bothering me to no end. Still trying to understand what the lawyer was saying. As a general rule when I’m confused I say no. I need to know what’s going on and don’t feel good about being kept out of the loop on this. I E-mailed one of the people I met in Midland through the blog and after a brief description asked if he could refer me to a lawyer. He’s a well known person whose is connected with the community. It won’t hurt to just consult with a lawyer. I suppose it would be smart come to think of it. This sucks. All because we don’t talk or in some circumstances just talk. Oh well.

I called Allen. He’s going through withdrawals again. I don’t think it will be long before he hits bottom. I’m sure his credit card is maxed out. He’s close. I think I have him deep enough into the system to get some help.

I’m still rattled on this estate stuff. Just trying to understand what’s going on. You know, want it to make sense.

Jennifer Stockbureau (Still can’t stick the name) called and let me know she had copies of the letter for NPI. She asked if the original should be sent to NPI so I told her “definitely”. Oh Yeah!!! 1. 2. 3. punch. The pressure is on to move Wayne. First me, then LMHA, then the Ability Center, and now the Zeph Center. I think I got their attention. The only group I didn’t get involved was the MS Society. For those just visiting Wayne is a Vietnam era veteran who worked blue collar jobs all his life and then…got MS. I’m working on getting him out of crack town and into a safe place.

There she is. The most beautiful girl in the world, at least I think so but I am biased. We are blessed and no matter what comes we have each other.

It’s almost 4:00 now. I am tired. Larry looked at the blog a short time ago. He read quite a few pages, about seven or so. Hope he calls but I can never predict his behavior. I’m having a hard time staying awake right now. I put on the chicken I marinaded. Cherie said to run it at 300 for forty five minutes and it will be done. She suggested we hit the park as soon as she gets home and that will help wake me up. I know why I’m tired. I took Fred to Kroger. That is always a drain and today Fred was extra confused. Add to the equation is I am sorting other things out so didn’t pay good attention to him. Cherie asked if I had gotten back with Virginia. “No, not yet” I told her. Perhaps that will help me understand what’s going on.

Not much else for today. Cherie already fell asleep. The park was good as it always is. Cherie and I enjoyed each others company and walked arm in arm. As we went down the path I saw our herd of deer at the bottom of the ravine. We took lots of pictures but few of them came out. Cherie is worried about what is going on down in Texas also. She doesn’t think much of how Larry is acting. He hasn’t bothered to call and the few times in the past he did he was drunk. It seems he thinks I was going to rip him off or something. Somewhere he developed these ideas without even talking to me. Nothing like an overworked imagination. Add to that is a basic fundamental of human psychology. A liar suspects everyone else is lying to him. A thief fears others will steal from him. What people are worried about is a good window into their own faults. Larry still hasn’t kept his word concerning what he grabbed for himself upon our mothers death.

I just talked to Virginia. She said Larry hasn’t worked since the funeral. He told her he was getting advise from dad on the estate saying “He’s been through all this before”. I have to wonder what the conversations about me were like. Two people who don’t know me from Adam, especially my father who only saw me a couple of times in twenty years. All Larry knows is from his brief encounters when I was wandering around with brain damage despite his being told by the hospital I was to be in rehabilitation. Virginia hopes we will talk. I told her that I have called and sent E mails with no response. She even commented on the tone of the one E mail he sent “Telling me” what to do and to hurry up and do it. She said he treated her the same way, like she was his servant.

Virginia is getting worn out with all this. She said it took her forever to get a hold of Larry because she needs a death certificate on our mother in order to access what’s at the bank. She told me again that she didn’t understand my dad not even talking to me. She also was wondering how Larry was surviving without working. Perhaps he talked dad into giving him the $10,000 he had offered before. I wouldn’t sign off because I wanted to talk to dad first. It was worth ten thousand to talk to him. I also didn’t trust Larry to handle my ten grand well. Ultimately I never got anything but that was no surprise. I have the will of my grandmother on my father’s side and it does require Larry and I to be together on getting those and other funds. This is something else I think I will have the lawyer from Midland to look at later. To think, all I want is for my family to talk with me. I guess that makes me a bad guy huh?

Enough of this. I’m going to bed now.

The Tangle begins

A hundred thousand elephants,
A hundred thousand horses,
A hundred thousand mule-drawn chariots,
Are not worth a sixteenth part
Of a single step forward.

-Buddha, "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha"

I suppose I should fix something to eat considering it’s 10:50. Still running about a 7 so that’s good.

I guess we will have to get a lawyer down in Texas. Hate to do it cause they take all the money but what Jim McGilvray, the lawyer who’s handling the estate, tells me doesn’t make any sense. He says that I must match the highest offer for the land and other than that have no say in the matter. That seems so backassward it boggles my mind. I have to go into debt to get the land I inherited and pay a much higher price, actually compete with others to retain the farm I had promised my grandmother I would keep intact. Now that I will contest. If my brother would not be so tied up in lining his pockets we could get the land for a decent price. I’d be happy to pay him but now the price just got jacked way up. It’s lawyer time. I hate to tie things up but see no choice considering brother man hasn’t bothered to talk to me. This could go on for a while. I have about four hours of recordings from when we came down to visit Lee. In it there is the part where she said she didn’t want the farm broken up and wanted Cherie and I to live there. I promised her I would take good care of it. I will have to listen for an hour or three to find it. That will throw a loop into the mix. I can’t figure out why I can’t just pay Larry for his half.

Fred wants to go to Kroger so I must head out.

Being Careful

3/29/06 Wednesday
As you can tell from yesterday’s entries it was a rough day. Taking Fred and Barb to the laundry mat was as draining as expected.

Barb was in a good mood, I suppose because it was her birthday. The day before her Zeph Center caseworker had taken her and a couple of others to the Zoo. Barb said the other two didn’t stay long so it was just her and Shannon, the case worker. She was on a non stop monologue about it and as she talked the effects of her brain damage were evident. I watched her face as she would talk about the “Little fishies” and the other things she saw. As she did my heart went out to her because other than the visible marks of her age she was conversing pretty much as an eight year old would. When she would come to a perceived dilemma her face would get serious and knit up as she looked down, working out the problem out loud as she verbalized the thoughts going through her mind.

Barb had so much laundry she filled up the trunk and back seat and still had to leave some behind. Part of that was laundry from her next door neighbor. Who knows what other laundry was there. I had considered getting Wayne because he also has laundry to do but there was no room.

Fred had purchased two rolls of quarters for this expedition. He was comical in a frustrating way as he doled out the quarters. I had talked Barb into using two of the biggest washers because you got a better deal for the money. They were $4.00 each so when I told Fred he expressed his usual outrage at the price of things and then started counting the quarters out one by one into my hand. My arm began to get tired as I held it out to get quarters. Finally I told Fred he could trust me so he gave me a handful of quarters and waited for what was left after I fed the two machines. In all Barb used six washers. Two triple loaders, two doubles, and two single loads. I knew it would be a long day and regretted not bringing the laptop. I settled in front of the TV and let Barb do her thing. Fred was freezing because they didn’t have the heat on. With natural gas prices so high I can’t blame the owners for keeping it low.

I am doing much better this morning. I woke at 4:30 and laid there thinking about the farm and what to expect out of Larry. I’m running at a seven on the Bob scale. There is nothing scheduled today. I will probably go see Allen if he gets out of bed before 3:00. I need to make sure I call the lawyer in Texas about the inheritance. Then I should call Virginia to give her an idea of our position on this.

Be careful. You never know what may sneak up from behind and grab you but you also can be blind to what you are running headlong into.
Better look to see what may hidden in front of you.
(Click to enlarge)

I got cleaned up early in case Ahmed came to the door about Jackie. He came home yesterday, parking his red semi out behind the Laundromat we see framed by our window. Haven’t heard much from over there. Ahmed already told me he was buying her dope. You don’t feed a sickness to keep it strong. That’s destroying somebody in the name of doing good. I enjoy being free of every thing that tied up my soul like that. I want to pass that freedom on but fear getting to close to that world, afraid it will reach out and grab me. A shadowy serpentine hand sneaking up on me from a dark crevice, opening wide its saber fingers to GRAB me. Tying my arms to my side. Trapping me. Enslaving me. Costing me the miracle that my life has become. Not going there! Not going to let that happen. I will love life and live a life I can be proud of. But I will be careful.

I just went on a cleaning spree. I started with dishes but that soon evolved as I got into it. Usually I just do a quick wipe down of the counter but this time I began pulling everything out and cleaning areas that had not seen a wash cloth in a while. I hit all the burners on the stove and scrubbed the floor. It always hurts to do some of that but it will go down in a bit.

I suppose I should post this. I know my brother stops in and reads this blog on occasion so “Larry, give me a call or E mail”.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Close for the day with questions about tomorrow

I called Cherie but am too slow to talk right now. Forgetting what I am doing as I do it. It’ll pass. Always does.

It’s nearly 10:00 now. I slowed down quite a bit. Kind of worried about things, afraid my brothers greed will get in his own way. Afraid that our dreams will fade just as we reach out to grasp them. He hasn’t bothered to talk to me about the inheritance or for that matter much of anything else. He did promise to help us fix up the place but that remains to be seen. Larry makes lots of promises but his history doesn’t show him fulfilling many of them. I E mailed him and simply said “Let’s talk”.

In the mean time Wayne called to let me know that Becky at the Ability Center had called him. She wanted to let him know she was calling NPI to stress how important getting him moved was to them. Understand that the Ability Center carries allot of clout in this city. They are a well funded non profit organization that champions the causes of the disabled. They work with all the government agencies, the University of Toledo, and are the darling of the who’s who of Toledo’s philanthropic community. You don’t want to mess with them so I suspect Wayne will find his way to safer quarters. It’s a shame I have to come along and raise the kind of hell I seem to be good at to see right done. Oh well. I will feel good when Wayne gets out of crack town.

Allen called earlier today when I was in the middle of my slow down. He was depressed and just called to talk. He asked me if I could download a song for him. I told him you have to pay for those so he said he would ask another friend. I don’t have anything scheduled for tomorrow so I think I will give him a call. I had to tell him I wasn’t really up for a conversation and I am sure that Allen will take that as a rejection for that is the way of depression.

Cherie made Chili for dinner and we had ice cream for desert. I think we will call it a day.
I’m back. IT was fun. I am tired. Kind a slow. Long day. I think I will go back to thinking what we can do with the house. But I have got to stop a bit because I got an E mail from my brother and have to process things a bit. My brother hasn’t bothered to call, E mail, or talk to me for a while and had just decided how we were going to do things. That is nothing new with Larry. It is his way to try to bulldog something thru “Be cause, by God, it has to be this way because it’s the way I think it should be”. I need to just slow down and think.

Groggy start

If you look into the footprint you can see the wolf. If not click on it to make it larger. Beverly Doolittle is good at doing this.

(The remainder of yesterday)
4:17 – I’ve slowed down a bit. It was good while it lasted. At least I got something wrote and drew a schematic of the farm house. I’m getting bad fast now so I think I will go lay down. I know I fixed a big breakfast but don’t remember if I ate anything else. I running about a 4 on the Bob scale now. Headache is coming. I don’t think it will be fun.

Just got a call from the caseworker Wayne has with the Zeph Center. Earlier Wayne had called to let me know that Juanita from NPI had called. She told him that he needs to get something from a doctor showing medical need to be moved. When I heard this I told Wayne to call the Zeph Center right away, as soon as I hung up, and tell them “you need to set up an appointment” with the psych.
So the phone rang. Answering I hear a lady give her name, something oxborough, I don’t have a clue who she is. She talks and mentions Wayne and I begin putting pieces together. I play along as if I knew what the call was about till it connected. She will have Dr. Haley dictate a letter and Wayne did not even need to come down. Cool. I asked her to mail me a copy as Wayne did not always keep up with his mail. I figure if we both got it one of us would call the other and get something moving. I probably have that case workers name some where around here but who knows. She is good from the respect that she works to put together solutions to problems and feels for what she is doing.

I called Cherie to see about going to the park. I can tell that she is tired and probably more interested in just coming home. She has to pick up a prescription first so I told her we would see how she felt when she got home.

3/28/06 Tuesday
We both woke up groggy. “I wish you would stop beating me up at night” I joked to Cherie as I creaked up out of bed. She said she had a hard time waking up so felt the same. It’s always great to start the day out with another “Sudden” realization that we are getting old.

As you saw with the end of yesterday’s entry I slowed down last night. I am still a little rough this morning. Perhaps that will improve if I get up and get moving. Today is Barb’s birthday and Fred and I are taking her to do her laundry. I should call Wayne to see if he needs to do laundry but am unsure if there will be any room if the car for his laundry. Barb generally fills it up. I best get moving.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Coke Whore and the Muslim

This is the creed I live by. (click on the picture to make it bigger)
3/27/06 Monday
I’ve been gone for a couple of days. There is much to catch up on but first sets start with this morning. “The Coke Whore and the Muslim”. That’s what I ought to call it!! Be a great book, the saga of two people who live very much on the opposite ends of the moral spectrum. Ahmed, the Lebanese Sunni Moslem, devout in his outward show of his faith, using terms like “Sex is illegal…for me”, prays five times a day, eats only Muslim approved (Kosher) food but really a nice guy.
AAAnd in this corner we haaive – Jackie. Folks my one conversation with her was revealing to say the least. (You ought to go back a few days and see what I wrote about it. the date is 3/23). in just a few short minutes we covered getting Crack Cocaine to her having contracted a venereal disease as she did what she could to get dope. I read her in a minute and just didn’t waste time. As she started her “Pleeeze” I stopped her short. So she is street smart and understands how to rule a man with what’s between her legs, at least the right man. Despite her only being 22 she knows how to fish through hundreds of partners, looking for that one she can latch onto till she sucks him dry. Between that and drugs, the god she bows too, often more than the five times Ahmed prays, she is at the other end.

As I wrote this I said “the hell with it” and called Ahmed. I asked what he had wanted when he called yesterday or the day before. He wanted to buy a chess set so he could play chess with Jackie. Fine. I told him they need to settle down. “Your driving the old man crazy with all the yelling and dancing around” I told him. Ahmed asked if I could come over and tell her. In his broken English he said “I I tell her but she don’t listen. You tell her for me. OK? She don’t listen to me, I can’t tell her what to do”. OKKKK Bob. Get on it.

I walked over and knocked on the door. I heard Ahmed yell “Open the door Jackie” and Jackie’s loud nasal and filled with disdain reply. “What door. Why do you want me to open the door?. Kinda sounded like Fran of the TV show “The Nanny”. She wouldn’t open the door so Ahmed did. Jackie came around the corner and just leaned on the wall, giving me a defiant look. The pose she took was amazing like the depiction of prostitutes in movies and TV. I asked her to quiet it down and watched her fidgeting and looking around with her eyes darting from one spot to another. She’s high. “All you got to do is come over here and tell me” she says with indignation. “I just did” came out of my mouth as I looked through her eyes.

With that Jackie disappeared, scurrying to her hole back in the bedroom with a quit bothering me air. Now I look at Ahmed “Hold right there, I’ve got something for you” I said and came back home. Here I found the verse from the Quran that I had printed up the other day.

Avoid those who regard their religion as a hobby, as an idle pastime, and are seduced by the life of this world. Admonish them, lest their souls be damned by their own sins. They have no guardian or intercessor besides God; and even if they offer compensation to God, it will not be accepted from them. This is the condition of those who have been damned by their own sins. They will drink boiling water, and be sternly punished for their refusal to believe.
-Qur'an, Al-An'am, Suah 6:70

You know, if you want to talk to someone use a language he understands. Religion I understand. The guilt and fear of suffering God’s (Or in this case Allah’s) wrath and disfavor is a powerful motivator. It is to avoid this damnation fanatical Muslims strap explosives around their bodies and kill themselves along with as many others as they can. Coming back across the hall I hand it to Ahmed. He is puzzled and begins to slowly read this English version from the book he “Memorized” as a required part of his childhood education. “Where did you get this?” Ahmed asked. “It’s from the Quran” I told him.

Then I took the conversation straight to what bothers me. “That girl needs help. Are you buying her dope?” I bluntly asked. He said yes “But she needs it. She used to do five bags a day. Now she does two a week”. I don’t have time for that level of stupidity or bullshit so I laid it out. “Ahmed, she’s using you and your not helping her. Besides that I don’t like her living across the hall, especially if your buying dope. You need to either get her in rehab or out of here. If you can’t get her help her get rid of her”. I told Ahmed that he wasn’t doing her any good. Ahmed asked if I knew where she could get some methadone to help her kick. He told me she won’t go into a program. I explained again that she needs to do it this way and it would be a requirement for her to receive the methadone. He didn’t get it.

His next protestation was “But that will put her out on the street”. “That’s her choice Ahmed. She goes where she chooses and reaps what she sows. That is the way of life” I retorted. I can see the anguish in him, his culture perhaps is one that does not allow this type of personal degradation. I don’t know but I believe he is sincere in his compassion. That unfortunately gives Jackie a nerve to tickle that gets her, her way.

I feel bad for Jackie and would love to help her but she is dangerous to me. I will look for programs to get her into but will keep a distance. As in many areas of life the path can get muddy and one must take great care where he plants his feet for who knows what danger lies hidden beneath.

I just got back from taking Fred to the Dollar Tree, Aldi’s, and then Walmart. He got some things for Barb. Fred is doing what he can for her and I get a sense of urgency from him on that. I did ok till we were in Walmart. After a bit I was getting dizzy and feeling generally uncomfortable. Too much stuff for me to handle. Ahmed called me while I was out with Fred and left a message to call him back. He’s back on the road with his truck and probably left Jackie behind. I’m not in a hurry to call him. Kind of tired from running Fred. It’s 1:22 folks. I suppose I could publish this and perhaps draw up some ideas for the house.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My wife's view

I haven't been up to speed for the last two days so here is what my wife wrote about Saturday. Always good to get a second opinion.

Saturday, March 26, 2006 - entry by Cherie. Bob’s wife.
The day started off relaxing with Bob, talking about the farm, and having a light breakfast because Fred was treating us and Barb to lunch at Red Lobster. Bob had to fill up the car and ended up going over to the east side (across the river), where gas is almost always cheaper. When he returned we piled Fred into the car and put his packages for Barb in the trunk - they could’ve been in the back seat, but Fred at 87 years old has been pre-conditioned for years - I guess you could consider it doing things by habit. He’s practically blind, and doesn’t hear well, which makes for loud conversations.

He worked hard at making small talk on the way over, which wasn’t too bad - Fred does try in social situations to be just that - sociable. He had been adamant that this outing to Red Lobster be a surprise for Barb - her birthday is this week and Fred usually takes her out for her birthday. It was also a trip to the cell phone store or something like that because Barbs phone had stopped working despite a new charger, new battery and who knows what else. She had a slight heart attack a few days ago and had spent the previous day at St. Ann’s Hospital getting tests and x-rays. The phone is her lifeline to Fred and he panics when he can’t get in contact with her.

We got to Barbs, and honked the horn to get her out and moving. She came out the door all the while talking to Basil, who is back living with her (I met him once-blouucghk). She hides him from Fred who doesn’t believe Bob who told him that he came back. Barb has a lifestyle that does not dictate that she always look acceptable when parading around in the general public. Today was one of those days. She came out to the car, jacket open in the wind, which revealed a clean pair of jeans and a snug thermal shirt and I could immediately tell she did not have on a necessary undergarment - namely, a bra. I couldn't warn her about what would transpire because the lunch was to be a surprise. I felt already embarrassed for her.

We started out and the conversation became both lively and confusing. Barb wanted to go a certain phone place and Fred wanted to go to the Pager place. Bob didn’t remember where either place was although he’d been to both places with the two of them. I started to zombie out - it was the safest thing to do because I had no idea where we were going. When we finally got there, I discovered a Goodwill store next to the Pager place (Fred won), so I opted to go over there while the rest of the team went to teach the employees at the Pager place what customer service is all about. I looked around for a few minutes and not seeing anything that grabbed my attention, I decided to join the others and attempt being a team player.

Turns out Barb’s phone was dead and Fred was sure it was because she dropped it. They were wrapping up the sale for a new one and Fred was paying for it and complaining about the fees, charges and taxes that automatically come with a new phone and calling contract. Fred is a bit of a tight-wad and complains about everything costing money - if they ever taxed people for farting in public, Fred would be in serious trouble. And broke. There is continuous discussion about the cost of the phone as we leave the store and pile back in the car.

Now we are headed down Monroe St. in search of the Red Lobster. Bob didn’t know where it was and to try and throw Barb off track, which is pretty easy, Bob said something about going to Rally's for burgers. She picked up on that quick and pulled some Rally’s coupons out of her purse and gave them to Fred, who was confused about the Rally’s thing, but didn’t want to let on about the Red Lobster. Fred kept telling Bob it was on the left side (across 5 lanes of traffic), and I actually saw the sign and kept saying “Honey, it’s on the right - do you see the sign we’re almost there.” Barb was watching all her favorite cheap places pass by - “There goes Rally’s, there goes Coney Island Hotdogs, there goes.....”. Bob finally saw the sign just in time to turn in and Barb was pleasantly surprised and a little dismayed. She looked at me and said" If I had known I would have dressed better.” So much for surprises. I again felt bad for her - as if I had let someone down in the great sisterhood of life.

We went in and were given a small booth, but opted for a larger table to make it easier for Fred. It was also better, because Fred couldn’t see the menu and had both Bob and Barb telling him what was on it, which was loud because Fred can’t hear. We finally decided on our orders and I have to give our waitress a lot of credit - she was very patient and tried hard to make sure we were taken care of correctly, getting extra rolls, salad dressing, etc. Barb was very happy with it, which made an awkward situation enjoyable. She insists on referring to Fred as “Freddie”, which for some reason drives me nuts.

We are all very careful about what we order because we know that although Fred really does want to treat us to a nice lunch, he is also a very real tight-wad. This is especially evident when the check comes and it’s for almost $40.00, which for 4 adult people is not too bad. Fred gets out exact change for the meal and Bob mentions adding a tip and Fred starts digging around with his change. Bob tells him it should be about $5.00 and Fred gets all big-eyed like it was the worst news he’d heard that day. Bob quickly assures him that he’ll take care of the tip but Fred is already complaining about it until Barb gets through to him and he relaxes, knowing he’s not out an extra five bucks.

We take Barb home and the discussion resumes about the charger for the old phone that Fred had bought for her. She had given it back to him and wanted to go to the Phone store at Spring Meadows Plaza, which is on the way home. Fred didn’t remember which part of the Plaza it was in, Bob couldn’t remember, and once again, I was clueless. After driving through the whole place, we found it. Fred got the receipt out of his pocket and Bob offered to try and return it for him. Fred and I stayed in the car and he told me that it was “hell getting old”. We talked about it for a couple minutes - don’t remember what I said. I tried to cheer him up by reminding him about the great lunch we had and how happy it made Barb. When we finally get home and after thanking Fred for about the 5th or 6th time, I realize that I’m tired. It took a whole three hours out of my day, but I feel wiped out, and Bob just smiled and said ”Welcome to my world.” I honestly don’t know how he does it sometimes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

It's a hairball morning

3/24/06 Friday
Good morning. Been up since 4:30 when I was awakened by Carman kitty hacking on the end of the bed. I woke cognizant and was instantly aware he was working up a hairball so sent him flying off the bed. Cherie heard this so got up to use the restroom and stepped right on it. She mumbled and went back to bed but I just lay there awake. At 5:15 I got up and fixed a pot of coffee. This is one of those “I’m really sharp” mornings and I would put it at a 9 on the Bob scale. It’s prime time folks so I will use this period of above average cognizance as effectively as I can.

Part of that entails writing to get things done. First on that list will be getting Wayne better housing. As I lay in bed wide awake this morning I contemplated that issue. NPI Properties is typical of most institutions of the government tit. They are ponderous and slow to move, generally doing only the bare minimum they can get away with to still get their check. LMHA (Lucas Housing Metropolitan Authority) issues that check and is no model of excellence either. So how do I light a fire under their ass? By writing and getting other organizations involved. The Ability Center will be a key player in that as they are a well funded non profit organization that champions the needs of those with disabilities. The other major influence will be Congress woman Marcy Kaptur. This woman is the politician I am the most impressed with. She gets involved and gets things done, really caring for the needs of her constituents. I will use the pen to bring attention, to shine a light on if you will, to the deplorable conditions Wayne is subjected to.

I had been scheduled to take Fred and Barb back to the cell phone company because she claimed that her battery he just bought didn’t work. I may be way off base on this but here is what I surmise may be going on. Barb had asked for the old bad battery back because we had been told there was a recall on it. I know that Barb gets upset with Fred’s constant calling and I can’t blame her on that but I think there may be more to the story. She may just not be answering the phone, which she has done in the past and then claiming the new battery is faulty. Barb has done things like ordering a newspaper to get her payee to issue a check and then canceling to get cash back.

As a consequence of her pattern of deception in addition to Basil’s using ass being back in the picture I accept nothing at face value with her. She had today scheduled to take her phone back in for the battery but then canceled. It’s Friday. She gets a check and Basil gets paid so this would be party time. She told Fred she would be at the hospital “All day long” getting X-rays and tests. That seems a bit suspicious to have it just come up out of the blue suddenly with no warning and all day long? I don’t think so but I may be wrong. She rescheduled Fred for Monday on the phone battery so I will make sure she brings both batteries in case she is pulling a switch. I hope I’m wrong but time will tell. Fact is Fred is easily manipulated by Barb and she does that on a regular basis.

Allen called back yesterday, a day after he said he was going to. He said he didn’t call back before because he wasn’t feeling good. “I’ve been sick for two days” was his excuse. “I know Allen. You’ll keep getting sick until you get the medical help you need” I told him in a veiled reference to his abuse of pain killers. I said that I would drop by and fill out his Social Security paperwork with him today. First I will pick up Wayne and take him to the Ability Center with the letter I am fixin to write. I have a day planned and hope to stay sharp to get it all done. Now that I’m thinking about it I will go take my seizure pill right now before I forget. Don’t want any slow downs. Of course I never do. It’s 7:00 and I am doing well so I will publish this and keep the momentum going.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Danced with the devil

I put all the MS people I have E mail addresses for in the Yahoo address book. In the middle of doing that I had a slow down, running about a 5 now. Typing slowed way down and I had to double check everything. I am fixing to go over to Wayne’s now. Perhaps I should wait a little. Yeah I’ll wait. Haven’t showered or eaten yet and it’s 11:30. Headache is rising up to. This sucks as always.

Cherie came home for lunch. I shared some of the pancakes I had made for my morning/afternoon meal. I called Wayne and told him I probably won’t make it out to visit him as I am going to lay down and take a nap. He was just laying down also. The headache is increasing. Hope it doesn’t make it to migraine level.

It didn’t go migraine, just been sitting here. Virginia called me from Texas and would like an inventory of what is at the farm. There really isn’t much. Larry said that Lee’s TV is in the garage. I’ll go through the pictures and see what I can find underneath the piles of crap.

Lets see. There are three refrigerators one of which works for sure. If the one in the kitchen works that’s to bad cause it’s full of mold and whatever else grew in it. I made a list.

Then as I worked on it I hear some one lightly tapping on the door, knock knock. I was sitting here in my sweats with out the top, writing they list and looking out the window because I know Cherie will be home any second. I knew who would be at the door and had been expecting this. Sure enough it was Jackie from next door. She said hi and extended her hand “I’m Jackie”. I told her my name and she said she wanted to talk to me. “Can I come in?” she asked. No way am I letting her in so she said I could come across the hall. That was better than her coming in, especially with the cigarette she was waving around.

Going into Ahmed’s apartment I kept my hand on the door knob, not closing it all the way. Jackie looked at me as she shuffled back and forth agitatedly and bluntly asked “Do you know where I can get some crack?”. I said “Yeah”. Jackie looked ecstatically happy for about a second but that soon changed as I continued my sentence. “I know where you can get anything but I’m not going to help you”. Now she went into pleading mode but I laid it out, not mincing my words at all. I told her who she was to her surprise “Jackie, your fiending. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve known hundreds of Jackie’s in my life. You’d sell yourself for a hit. In fact you already have. I’m not going to help you put a gun to your head and pull the trigger”. Jackie was bouncing off the walls and I am sure had just smoked the last of her crack maybe an hour ago. She was paranoid, putting her finger to her lips in the “Shh” motion to get me to quiet down.

I wasn’t worried about being quiet because I had something to say. Jackie made her disdain for Ahmed known right away saying the apartment smelled “so Muslim”. I looked at her and said “Ahmed is so easy, you got him wrapped, all you have to do is cry and he’ll come running”. Jackie just beamed like I had paid her a compliment, not at all realizing I was just ferreting out her true nature. Now I’m back to blunt. “Jackie, you know this stuff is killing you. Look at you. Your smart, you can do anything you want. This crap is keeping you in the dirt. Do you want to be a whore? Do you want to stay down here?”. She agreed and told me she had already caught an STD.

Now she was uncomfortable but was still playing to get drugs. We heard the door into the building open and she again did her paranoid “be quiet” finger to the mouth thing. I knew it was Cherie so just opened the door wide telling Jackie “It’s my wife”. Nothing like a little panic. Jackie was really bouncing now. Cherie saw me at Ahmed’s door she got a real concerned look on her face. I told her to come over and meet Jackie. She came up and I said “Jackie, this is my wife Cherie. Cherie, this is Jackie”. Jackie was doing a real nervous laugh and I continued talking to her about getting free from the drugs. It didn’t do any good because as soon as Cherie and I went across the hall to our place we saw Jackie heading out, probably to the bar next door where I am sure she will look for a gullible guy to get her crack. I’m not real happy.

When Ahmed comes back we’re going to have a little talk. I already know how I will start the conversation “Ahmed, are you naïve or just stupid”. I had already told him last week that she needed to go to drug rehab. Then I’m going to ask his devout Muslim pray to Allah five times a day sex is illegal self who does he think he’s fooling bringing a twenty two year old junky crack head up to his apartment. And then say he’s not messing around with her? Come on!!

Well that’s the fun I had today. How’d Y’all do? I can’t wait to go to Texas.

Not a bad start

3/23/06 Thursday
We’re both tired this morning. I have a slight headache but not to bad. There is nothing on my schedule to do except E mail Bill, the guy from the MS Lunch bunch. Right now I’m running a six on the Bob Scale. I will try to call Eileen though she seldom answers her phone and never returns a message. If Allen can wake up and hold a conversation I will go over to get his paperwork for Social Security filled out.

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning which I was able to take a picture of through the window. We both wondered if it would work through the glass. Looks fine, don’t it? I think I will call the lawyer in Texas to see what’s going on with the inheritance. Both of us are anxious to get the process for moving to Texas started. That’s something I need to do! I need to write the Texas Congressman about state and federal programs for energy and water conservation. I set up the online account with Direct Buy so we can start shopping for what we will need. I was disappointed with the window selection but will explore that further.

I called Dave Miller, my friend who let me live in his house when I was homeless. He seems to be doing well. Dave told me that he would be going full time with the Temp agency he works through. I know that sounds like a contradiction, you know, full time with temporary, but that’s Cherie’s job. She works at Owens Illinois through Advance Temp agency and it’s a full time job. She just doesn’t get the benefits she would if she was a regular OI employee. Anyway, Dave has a reliable car finally. That is good because I had worked hard on his previous two vehicles, which were ragged to say the least and the last one caught on fire. Dave was surprised to hear we will be moving to Texas. I thought I had let him know but it’s no surprise I didn’t.

I also called my youngest son Adam when I saw he was online through the instant messenger symbol on Yahoo. Barb answered the phone so I asked for Adam. I really didn’t have an interest in talking to Barb (That’s my second wife, not the Barb with brain damage I help) because the few times I tried her bitterness came up and we couldn’t be civil. When I first got back I had wanted to talk with her to try and restore lost memories. I suppose some of those memories are better off staying lost. Besides many have returned. I just can’t trust their accuracy because they’re just bits and pieces and filling in the blanks can always be a hit or miss thing. I’m sure some of what will be in the book will vary a little from what really happened. But I think that is true with everyone even though they don’t have brain damage and memory loss. We all see things a bit slanted in our favor. I know I had been telling folks things about my relationship with Barb that was pretty one sided. Yeah she fooled around but so did I. I was probably a bigger whore than she was. I want to be honest and that means facing up to your own faults.

Nuff said on that. I called Adam. Barb went and got him. He was not too happy to talk with me. I think, or hope, that part of that is because he was up all night and was real tired. He said he had got some E mails from me but none of the phone messages. I said I would like to meet him and take him out to dinner and asked him to just say when and I’ll be there. He wouldn’t. After a few minutes of very strained conversation I told him I would let him go to bed. When I said “I love you” there was a hesitation and he mumbled I love you back so quiet I could barely hear. I don’t know if that is because he didn’t want his mom to hear or what. I had asked him earlier if I had done something to piss him off but got little response. I love the kid and raised him since he was four so it hurts. This is part of the price I pay for how I acted at the end of my marriage to Barb. That was a bad year and a half with lots of bitterness in addition to my slide into madness.

There is nothing scheduled on my calendar so I must plan out a day in order to accomplish anything. Otherwise I will just wander from one thing to another changing tasks with every distraction. I will go see Wayne and get his mail for him because he is afraid to after what happened to Sharon. I should call her up to and see how things are going.

I got a hold of Sharon. She moved back into her apartment at S. Cove and had a friend of her son stay with her for protection. She told me the name of the apartments she looked at were called Terrence Downs or something like that. The call was ten minutes ago and I already have a hard time remembering the name. She sounded allot better than yesterday.

Part of that is because she is back in her apartment and like me it helps to be in familiar surroundings. This is common among those of us with brain injuries. It takes me two weeks or so to adjust. Even when I moved in with Cherie it was hard for a bit. Even though Sharon has allot of fear about being in that apartment it is familiar and that gives a sense of security. You can see the quality job NPI did installing her air conditioner. It might not be nice but it's "home"

After talking to her I placed a call to the leasing agent with NPI properties to see about getting Wayne out of where he is at. I also called Juanita, who is Barb’s case worker. Got to get these things moving.

So it is only 9:40 and I am getting stuff done. That is a good start for me. The headache is just a dull throb at the temples so is nothing. I’ll hit the shower and fix breakfast. Better get as much done as I can while lucid because I never know how long it will last. I have moved up to an 8 on the Bob scale so that is excellent.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Another end, another day

I am running down. Not good timing. Headache coming on and typing speed slowing down. Damn, I want to be sharp for this MS dinner. Maybe I will be OK.

I sharpened up. It is 9:33 and we just got home from the MS dinner at the Old Navy Bistro. I had forgotten how good of a restaurant Tom Cousino runs. I chose the New York Strip steak and it was tender enough to cut with the regular table knife. But that’s not why we were there. We got a full multimedia education on what MS is, what kinds there are, and what research is going on and coming. There were two main speakers, both doctors and experts on MS. There were books and literature available for no charge. We picked up plenty of stuff and the two books will take some reading. Of course reading books is a chore for me cause I forget what I read the day before.

We sat at a table with Jay and Sherie (Forgive me guys if I got the names wrong) who are with the Lunch Brunch MS group I take Wayne to. Jay said “I heard you were going to move away” to me. I am astounded at how this gets around. I’m just not used to people caring. It’s touching. When we went up to raid the orderve (Can’t figure out how to spell it) table I saw a redhead woman approaching with a “I know you look” on her face. That sent my mind racing to figure out if I knew her and it latched on to the fact that Bob Thomas has MS. With that I realized it was his wife Kiki. Cool. Cherie was with me and also recognized her so we gave her a hug and talked while others pushed by us to get to the snacks. Bob was there also so we all greeted each other.

I also, by some miracle, recognized Bill, the biker. The fact that he was wearing a Harley T shirt helped. He told me that he never got the E mail I said I was going to send him. Oops. I forgot and still don’t remember that I was going to send him an E mail. In fact I still can’t remember why I was going to or what I was supposed to tell or ask him. Regardless I went and got my planner right away to mark it down to do tomorrow, explaining that if it’s not written down it doesn’t happen.

That reminds me. I told Kiki that I would send her Bruce’s E mail address and some pictures so I better do that now before the thought vacates this brain, never to be seen again.

That’s done. As we sat at the table listening to folks tell of their MS I am again struck at the similarities with my TBI. Mine doesn’t get worse, at least not now, but the sudden unpredictable weakness and confusion along with the short term memory are the same. Bob and Kiki are getting out of Toledo as soon as the can. We are all jumping this sinking ship. They are going to LA where Bob will be involved in comedy or some kind of entertainment industry. I’m a bit fuzzy on that. I know he has done stand up comedy at a local comedy club. He told me all about some of it but it’s evaporated from this brain now. Kiki evidently read the blog or something cause she knows we are planning on making the farm a self sustaining endeavor. Who knows. I told them they would be welcome to visit anytime they want. Then I got to thinking so leaned over to Cherie and said “Lets make sure we have a guest bedroom at the farm”.

Anyway folks, its been a long day so we’ll call it quits now. See ya tomorrow on this blog.

Not doing bad, just a little tired

This is a puppy that Bruces unit in Iraq has adopted.

I posted Bruce’s picture. Hadn’t looked at the last two batches because I downloaded them and then went off and forgot. At least I rediscovered them. Short term memory loss means I sometimes lose good experiences like his pictures.

As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, no matter what external facilities or conditions you have, they will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality of calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I took Fred to the Dollar General and the Pharm. Much of what he got was for Barb. Conversation got interesting when Fred told me that Basil was still in jail. When I told him “No Fred. He’s not in jail. I saw him at Barb’s when his boss came to pick him up” Fred’s comment was that he didn’t know because he didn’t see him. Barb had convinced him that I didn’t see Basil cause he was still in jail. Fred always falls for her crap and in the past claimed she wouldn’t lie to him. When he started questioning my statement I got blunt “Don’t you dare call me a liar Fred. I know what I saw. Barb’s played you before and she’s doing it again”. That set him back a little but he needs a wake up call.

Allen called me back and wasn’t with it at all. I asked him how he was doing and he said not very good. Conversation with him was hard as I would ask a question and there would be a long silence. I would wait for an answer and finally speak up. After going through this a couple of times I told him “Allen, why don’t you call me back when you’re a little more with it”. He said OK and that was it. Allen complained that I had called at “7:00 or so” and said to never call him that early again. I called at 9:45. Nothing’s changed, he’s still taking the pills and suffering the consequences. I’m doing what I can.

While we’re on the subject of drug addicts, Ahmed brought Jackie back from Chicago. I knew he would but am not happy. I told him before she needs to be in a drug rehab and sticking her in his apartment alone while he is gone for a week is not going to work. I am not too keen on having a mainlining junky crackhead across the hall. I would love to get her help but that’s dancing a bit close to danger for me. Cherie feels the same. We now make sure the door is locked, even when we are just doing the laundry downstairs.

I just called Wayne to see how he is doing. He had just laid down, which seems to be the time I generally call him. He said he is afraid to go get his mail after what happened to Sharon and then hearing the guy upstairs say he would take care of Wayne like he took care of Sharon. My calendar said the lunch bunch meeting is tomorrow but Wayne wasn’t sure if that was right. I called Cindy to check and Wayne was right. They had moved it to the second Thursday of the month so I need to change my calendar. Cindy and I talked for a while about Wayne and also about our moving to Texas.

I think I will post this entry and maybe relax or something before the MS dinner. Want to be sharp for it. I’m feeling tired and usually need to take a nap in the middle of the day. Cindy said she does also as well as most who have MS. It is so strange, the parallels between MS and TBI.

Let's see how it goes

3/22/06 Wednesday
Well, lets see how it goes today. Right now I am doing well and running about a 7 on the Bob scale. That’s about average for me, what seems to be my normal level. I function well here and can usually finish most of the tasks I start. This morning I plan on washing the bathroom floor. Cherie had asked me to do it a day or three ago. Not sure when but that’s OK. I showered and shaved. From the looks of the beard I hadn’t shaved for a few days.

After I get the bathroom cleaned I think I will vacuum this place. I called Fred to see how he’s doing. His machine picked it up so I left a message. I think he is upset that I am cutting Barb off. I will take her to the grocery store but will no longer take her for the free food. Far as I’m concerned the Leach needs to be giving her money for food. He lives there and eats her food. I don’t think he contributes to the rent. Barb told me before she caught him smoking crack and she let it slip that she has also. I know from experience that the desire for crack never really goes away and they are surrounded with it. The Leach (Basil, I got no problem publishing his name cause I will only change names to protect the innocent. That ain’t him) makes good money as a brick layer but is always broke.

Best get to doing stuff before I go off on a tangent and forget what I have planned to do. I did leave a message on Allen’s phone because I got some paperwork I need to fill out for him with Social Security. This evening we go to the MS dinner with the speakers on the research in that area. I think I will fix breakfast first. I actually feel the sensation of hunger this morning, a rare thing but perhaps a good sign that I will be sharp today. Who knows. Ta Da, dant de da…We’re Off.

I am having chest pains, which is unusual, so will take some aspirin. Fred just called and would like to go to the Pharm and the dollar store to pick up some garbage bags which I am sure are for Barb. That’s fine, I’m glad to take Fred anywhere he wants to go.

Here's another picture of my son in Iraq. He sends some regularly and they are greatly appreciated. I don't know how he turned out so good considering he had me as a father. I suppose I did some good there.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lost most of a day

Carman kitty just jumped in my lap and comforted me with his need for affection. Purring and climbing on my chest to rub his head under my chin, then stroking my face with his cheek as he enjoyed my pets. It is when you give love that you feel best, at least for me. This is why animals are used in hospitals and even prisons to help bring that comfort and alleviate fears and pain. There is a connection we have with all life.

I need to lie down now. Getting dizzy. That coupled with the headache and being slow does not bode well.

I was right. Lost a day to the slow down. It’s 4:00 now and I just got out of bed. Called Cherie and could hear in my voice how slow I am. At least the migraine is better. Cherie said she thought it was because I had two early days in a row and yesterday was a hard one. That bothers me. I used to run two companies and work an eighty hour week. I don’t want to be this delicate. I want to get up and run damn it, get things done. I don’t like having the illusion that I am getting back to something resembling my former self broken.

I repoured the dishwater that had long since grown cold since I poured it this morning and washed the dishes. I ran a search on the bedroom computer and came up with over three hundred cookie recipe’s. I am determined to do something. Don’t care how slow I am. Will pare that down. Cherie said she will make crab cakes when she gets home. I hate this fog.

Cherie’s home. I am performing Bob cooking. It is always interesting when I am slow and try to cook. I found a cookie recipe that looked interesting so began on it. The Betty Crocker software puts the recipe up but sometimes it won’t all fit on the screen. I was running back and forth from the bedroom where the computer is to the kitchen. Most of the way through I noticed that the recipe required some kind of vanilla of peppermint candy. Too late now.

It’s 7:45 and I am still not doing well. The cognizance level has increased but I am unstable on my feet, kinda like I’ve been drinking or something. Running about a 6 on the Bob scale.

We went to the Direct Buy orientation at 6:30. Sharon called just as we went in. Sharon found a better place run by NPI properties that she said was up near us. Unfortunately LMHA hasn’t done the inspection required and may not get to it for a month. This would mean she will have to go back to her other place, where she got beat up, and stay for that time. She has tried to get things speeded up at LMHA with no luck so I offered to help. She is a bit unsure about everything, which is a good indication of her current emotional state. Her voice was slurred, probably from the damage done when she was beat. Her eye socket was broken and she requires plastic surgery. I told her I could light a fire under LMHA’s ass and that would require her signing a document giving me permission to represent her. Here I am, barely able to take care of myself, much less Wayne and wanting to take on more. I can’t help it. I see those who are helpless and beat down in life and have to reach out a hand. I wish I had more strength and mental presence to do these things. As it is I only do a half ass job for the ones I have taken on. I suppose something is better than nothing.

You can tell it was a hard day by how brief my entry is. It is frustrating for me to lose these days like this. I’ll call it a day now.

Early and slow start

The "Walking Tree" It wants to free itself of that which ties it down and move to better pastures.

3/21/06 Tuesday
This ought to be a fun morning. I will be taking Barb to pick up her cat at 7:30 this morning. Fred said he wants to ride along. This is in response to me telling him that Basil is back. I will let Barb know that I will no longer be her chauffer except for necessary things like food. Her case worker can do the job she’s supposed to. I’m not going to let her lie to me.

Cherie looked at the blog and saw that I had published the same entry three times on it. This shows just how this Barb thing upset me and with stress the brain does not work very well. I don’t like these reminders of my disability. I also lost the rest of the day. The last entry was “I am at the Zeph Center with Wayne”. I know we had a good talk with Jennifer regarding issues like safe housing and motivating Family Services to do their job. I know I was very impatient and would get angry easily. There’s not much else there.

I just got back from taking Fred to Barb’s and then picking up her cat. I told Fred I was not going to be doing anymore for Barb than I had to. Didn’t say a word to her cause I had nothing to say. She talked Fred’s ear off. He bought her McDonald’s after we got the cat. Now I am home and not doing too well. Running about a 4 on the Bob scale. Got a slight headache. There are things I need to do like fill out paperwork for Allen’s Social Security disability claim. I don’t think I am up to it at the moment. Got some gentle music going. I don’t want to lay down, I don’t want to stay up, all I know is I want to be in Texas working on the farm and away from the darkness of Toledo. There I hope to find the peace that helps me function better.

Fred asked me what I had planned for today. In my typical confusion I told him we were going to the MS dinner at the Old Navy Bistro. Looking at my calendar I see that is tomorrow. Tonight we go to the orientation for Direct Buy.

The headache is climbing higher. Time for meds.

The rest of the day

I just got back from taking Fred to get his haircut. After he wanted to go to the dollar store and get some SOS pads. Once there he wanted to look at Easter cards. He would start to pull one out and I would tell him “That’s for daughters, No that one is for your grandmother. Here are the general ones Fred”. Then I would read the captions out to him to help him figure out what the wanted. “Easter is a beautiful day for a beautiful person, Happy Easter” I would read in a voice loud enough for him to hear. Who knows what someone going by thought. It took a while but he finally picked out three though I had to put back envelopes as he would grab four and think he only had one.

With that done he asked me to take out to Angola Rd to see what a restaurant he saw advertised looked like. He had seen an ad in the Sunday paper telling of a breakfast for $2.99. He had me go in to see if they took credit cards. They did so I went back out and told him. “Do you want something to eat Bob?” Fred asked. I wasn’t really hungry so looked at him and said, “That’s up to you Fred, I won’t argue with you”. We went in.

The menu was four pages of information. Fred peered at it and then would turn the page and peer some more. I offered to read it out to him but he kept peering. Finally I started reading it out but he got tired and said he would have the meatloaf special that was on the board as we came in.

It took quite a while for the food to come. Fred was about ready to leave when it finally got to us. I had ordered a Reuben and was not impressed. The meat loaf Fred got was just great to him. He had two big pieces but couldn’t eat them both so gave me one. I wasn’t impressed. I was glad when we got done. Fred wasn’t doing to well, coughing and having a hard time breathing. It was time for him to go.

On the way home Fred said he wanted to transfer some stocks to his niece. Then he wanted to give her one of his grave sites but the grave yard said he couldn’t do that. “I’m going to go out there and give them a piece of my mind. I can do what I want with that. I own it by God. I have a deed” Fred went on. It is evident he is realizing he was at the end of his years, or at least close. I commended him on taking care of this stuff now because it can get nuts with probate and stuff. I was surprised to learn Ohio doesn’t have inheritance tax. I got Fred home and made sure he made it to his apartment. Now I have about a half hour before I go get Wayne and take him to the Zeph Center. Better call him now and make sure he is up.

I’m at the Zeph Center now with Wayne.

This is a comment I posted on John Scalzie’s Blog “Whatever”
Grown ups think ten, twenty years ahead. They consider the long term consequences of their actions. Children generally worry about right now. “I want that piece of candy now”. Politicians are the same way. What will make the voters happy now so I can get elected and I will sell them out in the future for what I can get now.
Regarding the Social Security jungle I have personal experience. I have been fighting them for 3 years on behalf of a veteran I met at a homeless shelter. He has Primary Progressive MS, the worst kind, and despite years as a pipe fitter, welder, and truck driver he was homeless because of the effects of his disease. Now he has to fight for the money he paid in the system and Social Security is resisting him all the way. It is a nightmare full of corruption as doctors paid by the government failed to even mail in their diagnosis of this man, resulting in another denial.
Now regarding who pays taxes. Read John’s Essay “Being Poor”. (I’m sure he will provide a link as I’m not literate enough to) Those who have much and will be hurt the least pay the smallest proportion while those who struggle to pay the rent, buy food, and just survive pay the largest. The poor don’t want to be poor but poverty breeds poverty. There are some long term answers but few have what it takes to implement them. This is the world I work with and have gained an understanding of.
Again it takes long term thinking to break the cycle that traps generations in poverty though there are the impressive few who struggle out of the mire and rise above their adversity.

Monday, March 20, 2006

An unsurprising disappointment

Damn, the leach is back. When I went to pick up Barb she hurried out to the car and said to just give her the cat carrier and she would go get her cat. I knew she was hiding something so carried the cat carrier to her door. She was telling me how the cat had been wanting to go out all night. I suggested we take the carrier inside to put the cat in thus reducing the possibility of him escaping. No, she cracked the door open and grabbed the cat as he tried to make a break for it. “Basil back?” I asked her. “No” she replied and then tried to make a joke of it. “Heh heh” she kinda laughed “You asked if Basil was back”. I already knew the answer.

We took the cat in for it’s surgery and I helped Barb fill out the paperwork. Planned Pethood is paying for this procedure and Barb had six dollars to get it a rabies shot. With it all done I took her back to get the cans she wanted to turn in. She had a hard time putting them all in the trunk so wanted to put a bag of them in the back seat. “Freddy said it was alright if the bag was clean” she said as she opened the back door. I told her no but she didn’t like it and repeated that Fred had OK’ed it. “I don’t care Barb. I had to clean it up before in the Lincoln and your not putting those nasty beer cans in the back seat” I let her know in no uncertain terms.

She went back to the trunk and worked to pack everything in. While she was doing that Basil’s boss drove up to pick him up for work. So much for “He’s not here”. She had been giving me a long story about how his boss was putting Basil up in a hotel and he had to go to AA for six months all the way to the vet and back. The one thing I told her to never do was lie to me. Now I’m pissed. It was no surprise to find Basil there. I had predicted it would happen. That’s her business but don’t lie to me about it. I didn’t have a word to say to her the rest of the trip to and from the scrap metal place. She kept rattling on about anything that didn’t matter but I don’t really care. That’s the way it always is when you help people, especially those with drug and alcohol backgrounds. There will always be those disappointments and let downs. If one out of ten do well in the long term that’s good.

I came back and told Fred. It took him a bit to understand. He said Barb had called him and said we had argued about a box that was in the trunk. Then he asked why I had gone to a different scrap metal place. “Fred, I didn’t want to get another flat tire” I said. Fred went “I don’t care about getting a flat” with a little indignation in his voice. “Fred, I take care of your property, besides that I don’t want to get a flat as I go down the road” I explained. That mollified him somewhat. I told Fred that I didn’t like being lied to and would only take care of Barb’s necessities from this point on. He didn’t like it but that’s the way it is. He asked if I had time to take him to get a haircut when I told him Wayne’s morning appointment had canceled. “Sure Fred, no problem. I have to get Wayne to the Zeph Center at 2:00 so we’ll have lots of time to go to some stores and stuff if your up to it” I replied.

That’s it so far. I have a headache coming so hopefully it won’t be a migraine. I think I will just relax. I called the MS Society and learned what the dinner on Wednesday is about. It will be at the Old Navy Bistro, a nice restaurant I used to frequent on the East Side. The program is called from Research to Reality. There will be three speakers who are professors and medical professionals who will discuss the latest findings regarding Multiple Sclerosis. This will help us help Wayne and perhaps there will be others in Texas.

Now I will take the migraine pill regimen and try to unwind from the Barb disappointment.