Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cloudy outside and inside

5/31/06 Wednesday
7:32 – I am pretty cloudy this morning. Running a 4 on the Bob scale. Cherie is going to work early because she has a doctors appointment and wants to make up the time. I am to take Fred to the barber shop this morning.

8:32 – I am not doing very well this morning. Some mornings I clear up early but not this one. We are waiting to hear from Larry or the lawyer on the estate. I think he read the blog yesterday and I am pretty sure my sister Robin did. I am working on the love story but had to E mail Cherie because I don’t remember how I asked her to marry me the first time. Was it the formal get on my knees thing or did it simply come out as we talked? I think I will go ahead and post this and then fix breakfast.

11:48 – That was not fun. I just returned from taking Fred to the barber for his hair cut. He was in a decent mood as evidenced by his putting a little tune to the whistle he always has as he tries to breath with his emphysema.

After his haircut I took Fred to the post office where he mailed all of his payments out as he does on the first of every month. Then we went to Kroger where he bought some TV dinners. Fred was getting confused easily but that’s OK. I am used to that. I wasn’t as helpful as usual because I was still pretty slow. When we were done I took Fred home and carried his groceries in.

There was a flier with the mail and he saw the one for Arby’s. “Five for five” Fred said. This is a promotion Arby’s has been using for years and Fred always gets it wrong. “It’s four for five Fred” I corrected him. “You hungry?” he asked me. “Sure, I’ll eat one” I let him know. We planned on taking his car to the dealership to have them look at the brakes or whatever is making noise. “Fred, do you want to get the Arby’s before or after taking the car in?” I asked and then made a suggestion “It will take some time for them to look at the car so how about we get Arby’s before so we can eat while we wait”.

That worked for him so I went to Arby’s. Pulling up to the speaker I gave our order “We want the four for five deal. Make that with one ham and cheese and the rest beef. I want one of the beef ones without cheese”. Then I pulled up to the window. When the order came I asked “Do you have the ham and the one without cheese marked?”. She said yes so I took the bag.

Handing the bag to Fred I headed over to the dealership. Fred started going through the bag looking for his ham sandwich. “Fred, why don’t you let me do that. I can see what is what” I said. No that wasn’t going to do so I watched as he took the first sandwich out, unwrapped it, took it apart, and as he poked his finger into the meat said “This is beef”. “Fred, don’t do that” I exclaimed, trying to get him to quit. He proceeded to open every sandwich saying “I can’t find the ham”. I am still driving so can’t keep my eye on him. “Here it is” I heard him say as we pulled into the dealership. I parked and looking over watched Fred eating a beef sandwich. The one I had ordered with no cheese was the first one Fred had mauled.

Fred wanted to sit in the car and eat and said I should too. “No Fred. I’m going to the service desk to get this going” I told him. It was just before lunch so the service rep suggested I come back at one. That was fine so we headed out. “how did you like the beef sandwich?” I asked to let him know I was aware he had picked the wrong one. Fred planned on giving two of the sandwiches to his friend Tom at the gas station across the street. “Fred, go ahead and give them my sandwich too” I told him as I watched him sniffling and wiping his nose and mouth with his hand. “Don’t you want it?” Fred said. I told him no so he started getting bothered. Understand I am not doing well as it is so finally I told him “Fred, I wish you wouldn’t be so proud and would have let me pick your sandwich out. I can see what is what. I don’t want to eat something you had your fingers all over”. “I didn’t touch your sandwich” he protested then told me he can see. “No You Can’t” I said, ending the conversation. He offered to buy me another sandwich but I said I didn’t want one. I just wanted to get home.

1:50 – Now I am at Ed Schmidt getting Fred’s car looked at. I dropped Wayne’s paperwork off at LMHA just before I got here. I managed to remember to put the medical records he wants returned into the knapsack I carry this laptop in. Don’t know how long I will be here waiting for them to figure the car out. If it’s not too long and I remember I will go see Wayne after this. I half expect Fred to call saying “Where are you” when he notices his car is gone.

4:39 – Just got back from the dealership. That was a long wait. They found that the two back tires were what the mechanic called “Cut”. He showed it to me and basically they have like bumps or ridges on them where they didn’t wear evenly. After talking with the used car manager the two tires will be replaced for free with new ones. That is good. This dealership has been great after I went and raised hell for Fred a couple of times. I am impressed and would now recommend them.

As I sat in the customer lounge I reviewed the E mails Cherie and I exchanged when we were first getting back in touch. Am doing this because these E mails convey the emotions of this period of time better than anything I can write. As I read them it brought back the feelings and memories of this precious and amazing time. I am and will remain amazed at how life has turned for us.

Now that I am home I checked my E mail. There was one from Connie, Cherie’s youngest sister. She had wanted to post it on the blog but had difficulties. There have been others who had a problem here so I need to check on this. At least they send me E mails.

Connie’s E mail was long and detailed. You don’t know how glad I was to see it. It is communication and communication is the most valuable thing one can have. I don’t have a problem at all with someone not agreeing with me or telling me I am wrong. In fact I like to hear this. Why would I want to hear from someone who doesn’t agree with me? First of all because I can be and often am wrong. If I am wrong I really appreciate someone telling me. I don’t like to be wrong and don’t know of anyone who does so when you correct me you are helping me understand what I am doing. Thanks.

When people don’t talk they sit in their separate camps and imagine what the other side is thinking or up to or they sit around working themselves up about something. This goes beyond the agendas of individuals and applies to nations as well. With communication comes understanding, and with understanding can come peace. Doesn’t always work, look at North Korea, but it is worth a try.

Connie referred to my Monday entry where I talked about bitterness and my father in law. In that paragraph I said it would be nice if I could just go over there and talk. I still feel this way and always will. I never desired to cause a big rift but it is there. I can blame my brain damage for some of this but not much really. I do say what I think without considering the consequences. This problem actually got me put in jail when I told the director of the Volunteers of America he was running a dope house and should be exposed. It was true. He wasn’t running a dope house but his staff was stealing medications from the inmates who were in the transitional program to get them back in society. They (the inmates) were cooking crack in the dorms and some were in cahoots with a few staff members to sell the drugs. When I announced I would call channel 24 about it I was handcuffed the next day and placed in jail without charges ever being filed. My point is brain damage doesn’t make you real smart. It doesn’t make you stupid, just not too wise where you don’t think things through.

So talking is good. Period. I won’t agree with everything someone says and I am sure they won’t agree with me but at least we understand each other. Thanks Connie for writing. That is the first real communication I have had from the family. It helped me understand and think about some things. Would love to hear more. That goes for the rest of you guys also. Hell, if my brother would bother to talk we could have been done with the estate months ago.

I got to cook dinner so need to go now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It will be hot again

5/30/06 Tuesday
7:16 – We are up and moving. It was a sweaty night as the air conditioning doesn’t get back to the bedroom well and the residual heat from the flat roof above us keeps things warm. I have a doctors appointment this morning so will get out of the house before Cherie. Later I will take Wayne to the Zeph Center. Last night Cherie and I watched a PBS special called “Out of the Shadows”. It is about a woman who is a paranoid schizophrenic. Her daughter was the one who produced the documentary. It is a telling look into the issues faced by those with mental illness. The documentary followed the daughter’s attempts to get help for her mom in a world that provides little help for the mentally ill. Mental illness is often unrecognized and untreated. The program gave me some insight into Dixie’s condition. It will allow me to help her somewhat but I am pretty much doing all I can with my limited resources.

Here we are, scrimping to pay the bills, so there is little left to help others. I put $150 of gas into Fred’s car every month and we take whatever extra food we have to Wayne and the others. There are occasions where I will buy something for Wayne that he needs but most of the things we do for others don’t really cost much, mostly time. Time is a most valuable thing and the gift few give. It is easy to donate money out of one’s excess but to spend time with someone is much harder and a true sacrifice.

Cherie ran into someone we had known at Cedar Creek church. They are another victim of this organization. It would seem that rumors and gossip motivated the church leadership to kick them out of the children’s ministry they were involved in. Their pain and hurt was extreme and as a result they no longer attend any church. I am sure there is more to this but at the end of all this it comes down to more pain and disillusion. The Bible says “You shall know them by their fruit”. You know the results of what they do. You may not be a follower of the Christian faith but many of the sayings in the Bible are basic truths that hold up as principles of life. Things like “you reap what you sow” are true in any culture.

The lady Cherie met said that Cedar Creek is all about the money now and they are mining their congregation for all it’s worth. That is to be expected when your model and goal is to be a “Mega” church. Cedar Creek is an offspring of the Willow Creek church and is structured to imitate their proven formula. When your main thrust is to get big, helping others in need takes a back seat. Not exactly what Jesus had in mind, at least I don’t think so.

Enough of that folks. Time to get moving and get things done. I am not doing bad this morning, running a 7 on the Bob scale. I did notice, as I looked through my blog statistics that someone ran a search on the name Nate in my blog. There were twenty six entries and they go back to September when I started this blog. I went through them again and see that it is usually a consistent pattern of issues. I still solicit comments from Y’all regarding the last entries to see if you can detect anything really bad in what I wrote.

Got to go. I think I will wear my "Geek" clothes today. It is the only pair of shorts I own and the silk Pierre Cardin shirt is great when it is 90 plus degrees out.

Yeah I know. I'm getting fat.

9:39 – Well the doctor confirmed that I am still alive. That was a relief. They did their yearly blood work and determined not much has changed. I still live with pain and still don’t take much for it. There is no way I want to risk a return to the addiction to pain killers that was a major contributor to my demise six years ago. This is reinforced by what I see Allen going through.

Fred caught me on the way out and asked if I could take him to the barber tomorrow. That is no problem as there is nothing scheduled. He looked a little rough. This heat is hard on him but at least the humidity helps him breath. This surprised me when I learned it a few weeks ago.

Right now I have the ringing in my ears that is sometimes a precursor of migraines or a slow down. Who knows, I sure don’t. Cherie wanted me to mail a shirt to Connie (her youngest sister) so I did that after the doctor visit. Now I need to run a check to the storage unit so I’ll do that now. It is already getting hot so I will need to turn on the air. Hate to do it because of the electric bill. I also need to mail this camera back to get it repaired right. It came back not quite right because it won’t focus for close up shots. Hate to do it because I love being able to take pictures and record things like dressing like a geek. Hey, these momentous events in our lives should be recorded. Who knows, a hundred years from now they might be sought after collectors items. It could happen, quit laughing. Come on, being delusional can be fun.

11:30 - Just talked to Patrick, my lawyer in Texas, about the estate. He said that we were pretty much in a position of power on the issue of Larry paying what he had promised regarding our mother’s estate. There was no question about that and if Larry chooses to not do this I can simply request and receive my half of the CD and then the farm would be assigned to both my brother and I. We would jointly own it. So instead of Larry getting $37,000 , as payment for his half of the farm out of the CD, minus the $3,000, we split the CD and then are both on the deed for the farm. Plus I can call the bank and get my half of the CD today or anytime I wish and they are required to send it. Of course if Larry refuses I can file a civil suit at which time it will come out that he forged our mother’s signature on the titles for both of the trucks. That folks is a felony under state law. So we will see. Stay tuned for more of the estate wars.

Just called and left a message with Linda at Gerdinich. Hope it can work out. Come to find out Denise is paying rent at her parents house. Denise and I talked for a short while. She was out front smoking a cigarette when I drove up. It is pretty warm out and heat is hard on MS so we didn’t talk long. She was ecstatic that I remembered to print the picture for her and gave me a big hug. Sue, another woman with MS who helps Denise, has a vision problem that has recently gotten to the point she can no longer drive. I think this is related to her MS. I asked how she is doing and Denise said she is doing fine. I am in awe at how these people hang in there despite this disease. That is a mark of the strength of the human spirit.

Barb called while I was talking with Denise. She said “Freddy told me you were going to be in the area so said you could lend me five dollars and he would pay you back”. Unfortunately I won’t be in the area because Wayne called the medical cab to get to his appointment. I had asked him to do that but of course forgot so was planning to take him. Fortunately I am in the habit of calling Wayne before I go out. Barb wasn’t happy about it and said she will call Fred. I suppose I will hear about it later. Besides that I am not real keen on giving Barb money. I would rather purchase what she needs because I suspect the cash goes somewhere it shouldn’t, like drugs or beer for Basil.

Cherie was leaving right when I pulled into the drive. We rolled down our windows and talked for a few then she had to get on to work. It is always nice to see her. Denise and I discussed the miracle of Cherie and I getting back together. I told her it was like a fairy tale only I get to live it in person. Anyway it is 2:00 now. I ate some yogurt and a peach so that is an attempt at being healthy. Right now I am running down. Don’t want to quit so I will work on the love story some. It is almost done and has been for a while now.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial day

5/28/06 Sunday
Busy day? Don’t remember at the moment but I know it has been hot. Suppose I will have to write tomorrow.
In reply to the question, 'What is the best that people can possess, what brings them truest happiness, what is the sweetest of the sweet, and what is the pleasantest life to live?' the Buddha answered:
'Trust is the best that people can possess; following the way brings happiness; truth is the sweetest of the sweet; and the practice of insight is the pleasantest way to live.'

-Sutta Nipata From "The Pocket Buddha Reader," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

5/29/06 Memorial day (Monday)
Good morning world. I will have a good day and accomplish as much as I am able. The brain is running at an 8 on the Bob scale. This will be a warm day, 93 degrees and high humidity, kind of like being in a swamp. There has been much on my mind and I have been debating what and how to write about it. At the moment I am examining the results of my search for “What is a man”. This will help me gather my thoughts for an essay with that title. Cherie has gone shopping for summer clothes at Saver’s, a thrift shop that is right down the road. They are having a sale and Cherie does sales well. This is her forte. I can carve and Cherie can shop. We all have our area of strength. Think I will hit the shower and turn on the air conditioner. I know it is only 9:20 in the morning but it is already getting muggy and hot. Being on the top floor of this apartment building, just under a flat roof makes it pretty warm. Great in the winter but hard at this time of the year.

I tried on the clothes that Cherie bought for me. They are great and fit well. It is nice to be able to look good for Cherie and fit the image she likes. I am a chameleon in that regard and can fit into any category. I have no problem with that. I have been a biker and a business owner. I am as comfortable in a suit and tie as I am in jeans and a ripped up Harley shirt with a bandana on. What some would call a “Geek” look doesn’t bother me and neither does looking like I lived on the street. Of course the fact that I have lived in both of those worlds has something to do with it but mostly this comes from not being ashamed of who I am or what I do. When you live such a life that you are comfortable letting the world see, it allows you to be confident in yourself and to not worry what anyone else thinks.

I just got back from taking Fred to Walmart where he bought a fan for Barb. Cherie’s sister Cathy was there looking for a fan also but evidently didn’t want to talk or even say hi. She stayed out of view till Fred and I wandered on. No surprise there. I never saw her, Cherie told me about it when I got home. Shopping with Fred is always an experience. As I described each fan to Fred in a voice loud enough for him to hear the clerk an isle over could hear me. As Fred questioned me about if there was a fan like the one he had bought for Barb before I heard a voice coming from the other isle “We’re sold out of box fans”. I helped Fred decide on a fan so we could move on.

That done Fred wanted to look at laundry detergent, sort of. First it was “I want to get some Oxy Clean” then it was “Do you think I should get some laundry soap for Barb?”. As this conversation proceeded I heard a woman’s voice floating over from other side of the displays saying “Oxy Clean is over here”. I am sure others always get a kick out of the show when I take Fred shopping. We got everything and I think Fred knew I was tired so we headed for the registers. I picked a short line and guided Fred into it. As soon as we were there he wanted to get in another line. I am not real patient today and told Fred “You pick what line you want in Fred and I’ll just follow”. He cannot even see how many people are in a line, for that matter he can’t tell if a parking space is clear or not. He figured it out and just stayed in the line I picked.

From there we went to Barb’s to deliver the fan and soap. Dixie is back from the hospital now. They kept her two weeks this time. When they came to get take her away it required two cops and handcuffs. The police had to carry her to the ambulance. For those of you who don’t know Dixie is the schizophrenic woman who lives in Barb’s complex. Barb asked if I would take Dixie to cash her check. That I will do. I assembled the fan for Barb and had her go get Dixie saying “If she’s not ready I’m out of here, so go get her moving”. She did so I got her loaded in the car and took her to the carryout she cashes her check at. Then Barb hints that Dixie needed to get some food so I took them to the grocery store. “Just go in and get what you need. It’s 90 degrees out and we don’t want to sit in this hot car any longer than we have to so make it quick. Barb you go with her to keep her moving”. Dixie is known to take an age or two to shop so I figured that would help. After a while I went in the store to make sure they were motivating. Dixie was moving along pretty well but got frustrated when I explained we needed to move.

With that done I took them home. Driving up I saw Basil walking between the buildings. Barb has been hiding Basil ever since he got out of jail and I went off for her letting him back in and lying to me about it. “Tell Basil I said hi” I told Barb. “Basil?” Barb feigned ignorance. “Yeah Barb, I just saw him” I said and she came up with a “He must just be visiting someone” to explain this away. I don’t really care so leave it alone.

Finished with all that I went and got gas. Fred bought me a Rally burger and we came home. Now I am tired. It is frustrating for me to fatigue so quickly but that is how it is and always will be. As I get older it will get worse but we will prepare for that as we build the farm.

Cherie just came home and I could tell instantly that she had been to her parents house by the drawn look on her face. It always makes her sad and frustrated to go over there because of what she sees. There is not much we can do and trying is not even allowed.

That brings me to what has been on my mind for a couple of days now. Folks, look at my last entry, the one for Saturday. Can anyone see anything offensive in there? Please write your opinion in the comment section or send me an E mail. Evidently there was a big uproar at the in-law’s house about it. I reread it and Cherie went through it a few times to see what the deal was. Cherie went over there Saturday and they were up in arms. The Beverly Hillbilly reference from Thursday was a part of that.

When you look for evil you will find it where it doesn’t exist. There is nothing I can say that won’t be construed as offensive but that’s OK. I live with as much integrity as I can muster. What I do with my life is to help others as much as I can. There is nothing I am ashamed of in how I live my life today. There is much in my past I am ashamed of but I have put all of that on open display. This is my way of dealing with that for as the light of scrutiny shines on these things they shrivel up and turn to dust. None of us has lived a perfect life but all of us can face our past and move on to a better future. My past is what gives me wisdom and gives me the ability to see clearly where other’s paths will take them. Been there, done that.

It's not what you see that can harm you. It is what you don't see. One must open their eyes to the world around them to truly know the path to take.

As Cherie and I discussed things I told her “Cherie, if you see some one drowning you have to throw them a life preserver. If you don’t you will carry that the rest of your life. If they refuse to grab the life preserver that is their choice and is on them but you are free, for you tried”. There is a verse in the Bible that spells things out simply. “If a man knows what is right to do and does not do it, to him it is a sin”. If you know what is right and don’t do it that reflects on your integrity. Many live a lie, doing what they know isn’t good but denying and justifying their actions, thus choosing not to see themselves as they truly are. Kinda like an anorexic looking in a mirror and seeing fat instead of the skin and bones that is really there.

Cherie’s dad asks every day “What did he write this time” looking for something else to feed his bitterness. The more you feed a monster the bigger and stronger it gets, until it devours you. It would appear that there is a feeding frenzy over there with Nate and daddy in law. It is sad but they seem to want it this way. I would love to go over and just talk but they aren’t open to that. They don’t seem to be able to see that I am not an evil person as should be evidenced by the way I live my life. I guess it is not that they are unable to see, it is that they choose not to.

Oh well, enough of this. I need to get back to studying for my essay on “What is a man”.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's a weekend

5/27/06 Saturday
This morning I am a little cloudy and tired. Feel like I worked all night. I did have lots of dreams. Don’t remember them but feel they were disturbing. Woke up at five this morning. It is a beautiful cloudless day this morning and the weather report says it will be this way the whole memorial day weekend. We will reach 90 degrees tomorrow. That on top of several days of rain means it will be muggy. 90 degrees in the Texas dryness isn’t bad but 90 when you have 90% humidity is a different story. We will probably use the air conditioner for the first time.

Not sure how the day will go. Allen wanted me to come over Thursday but I put that off so he expects me to come over today. Not really looking forward to that but he could use the moral support. Helping others is seldom convenient. I hope I clear up some. If not I will probably stay home.

Cherie asked what I wanted to do today. I need to get on researching the grants and government incentives that will be available to us in Texas. She said she wants to continue packing for our move there. I am only running a 6 on the Bob scale this morning. Got moving OK, showered and fixed breakfast. I seem to be going downhill as I write this with a possible migraine on the way so will take some aspirin to hopefully head this off.

10:00 – That worked. I am much clearer and running at an 8 on the Bob scale. Nothing like waking up and having to take a nap to start your day. I suppose I would call that a petite seizure. This unpredictable instability is frustrating but part of the package. Cherie and I had our morning time of laughter and love as we pretty much do every morning. She knows when I am not doing well and let me curl up on the bed undisturbed. It is amazing how quick I can swing from doing good to bad and back to good though this morning I woke up cloudy.

I looked at Nate’s blog this morning and reread about how he had to close up the company he had started. Kind of made me sad that we never really connected because I had offered to help him out. He did do the paperwork and made things legal like I had suggested though I would bet he will deny I had any influence at all. It is a shame because I have nearly twenty years experience starting, building, and running companies. He was doing things correctly but… Nuff said there. It is unfortunate that he interprets things as personal attacks or something like that. All I want to do is help him be a better person and change the mindsets that generate problems, not only for himself but for those around him. It’s not that I don’t like him I just don’t like some of the things he does. How dare I want to help him! How dare I point out any flaw! He initially started his blog as a response to what I said in mine, at least I think so but can’t really remember. Anyway he refers to me as his “asshole uncle” and on the title page of the blog lists as one of the reasons he started it was to comment on those who think their shit doesn’t stink.

I recognized clearly that I have lots of problems, some from the brain damage but not all of them. Social skills are one of the major problem areas listed for traumatic brain injury victims. You can find lots of information on this at the Brain Injury Association’s website. Despite that I know my motives for doing things are correct. Ever since I woke up from the coma I just want to help others. I may not be too good at it but I try. I really enjoy the television show “My Name Is Earl” because I am amazed at the parallels to my life. Not only is his past life similar to the one I lived but his drive to correct the wrongs he committed is one I can relate to. I have already contacted as many as I could remember to make things right. There was some success in that. The Karma thing featured in the show is a truth in life. What you do will come back to you. Live by the sword and die by the sword. You reap what you sow. Enough of being introspective. Hope this doesn’t cause a big stir at the in-law’s house but who knows. I have decided not to walk on eggshells anymore. I had signs posted at my businesses before the wreck that spelled out one of my core beliefs. They said “It only takes two things to earn my respect. Say what you mean and do what you say”. That creed hasn’t changed.

I am sure y’all can tell I am doing well brain wise because I am rambling on. Don’t have a clue if I make any sense or not but I’m not real concerned. Time to research stuff for the farm. Cherie’s sister, Cathy, gave me some websites regarding agriculture that will take me a while to wade through. I have a notebook here because if I don’t make notes everything I read will disappear from my mind. I can learn, just have to work extra hard at it. Time to go to work.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rainy morning

This print you should click on to enlarge. There is more than just the fox in the middle.

5/26/06 Friday
8:39 – Just got back from my breakfast with Jeff. He is one of two people from Cedar Creek church (The church that asked us to go somewhere else) who is still in touch with me and has in fact become a friend. I told him about what we would like to do with the farm, how we will make it self sufficient so we could retire with few worries. Then Jeff told me how things were going with his business. Running a business always comes with problems. I tried to share with him some of the things I had used to teach other companies as a consultant but much of what I used to know was not there. I remembered the names of some of the sales techniques but not the techniques themselves.

It is frustrating to have my memories so fragmented. That’s just the way it is. Part of me wants to start up another business but I understand that I can no longer handle the stresses that come with that. I do believe that I can do the woodworking I once did and could handle a small business there. With that I would only take on one job at a time, only accepting work that does not have time constraints or pressure. Who knows what I can do but I will stretch out to learn my limits. Pushing limits has always been a part of my personality.

Fred needed to go to his eye doctor because he broke his magnifying reader while changing his batteries. I drove him there and we went in. He didn’t have an appointment and the doctor he sees wasn’t in so the receptionist asked him to wait. I asked Fred to let me look at his magnifier because I know he can’t see his hand in front of his face. There was a strong possibility it was something easily remedied. He handed it to me and began explaining what was broke. I couldn’t find anything broke but saw that as he tried to unscrew the part where his batteries go he actually opened the wrong area. Trying to explain this to Fred proved to be not possible because he stubbornly stuck to “It’s broke” no matter what I said. “Fine” I thought and settled back, waiting for the receptionist to call Fred up.

The office was busy with lots of folks coming in. “This is what I hate” Fred said, “Waiting and waiting, I don’t like to wait”. “Fred, you didn’t have an appointment and they are busy. That’s just the way it is” I tried to explain. This settled him down for a little. It was a long wait so when Fred complained again I told him “Go up there and let them know Fred”. Eventually he did. “I’ve got to get home and get on my oxygen” he told the lady. She said the doctor wouldn’t be in till 10:00 but she would see if someone else could help.

She took the reader to have it looked at. Coming back a few minutes later she said they might have to order the part. “No!” Fred retorted. “I need that tonight. I’ve got to read and I can’t without this”. I watched the girls face as she resignedly took the magnifier back to the rear of the office. It wasn’t too long before she came back saying “Your in luck. We found your part in the back room”. I suspect they took apart another magnifier to do this. Regardless Fred has his magnifier back. I suggested he put tape around the portion that he had inadvertently opened before to prevent that from happening again, especially when I learned this had happened before.

Denise just called me. Her computer is still not working right so I will go over and look at it again now. Tell you how that goes when I get back.

2:40 - Denise’s computer is smarter than I am. That’s sad because it is an ancient computer (by computer standards). Still has a 28 Kb modem. Anyway I couldn’t figure it out. Of course a six year old knows more about computers than I do. I did get it where she could get to her E mail and showed her how to send messages. For some reason hitting “Reply” on an E mail doesn’t work but she can use the compose mode. I am thinking about putting out a message to those I know locally to solicit donations of old computers. Wayne could use one as well as Sharon. These can be powerful tools for them, allowing them to access information on the net but more importantly to communicate with others. Wayne and Sharon both do not have transportation and Denise can’t drive. Sharon and Denise have family that help them get around. Wayne has his nephew and a friend that could help. The nephew is an undercover cop and really isn’t able to give much time. The friend may be moving out of state so that’s not good. The real area of communication that will help them is with others who have similar problems. It is good to belong to a community of peers.

I went to the blog on Denise's computer to show it to her. She loves the Beverly Doolittle pictures and asked me to print one of them. She also asked me to print the plaque I carved while I was recovering in St Louis. She had asked for that before but of course I forgot. She saw her pictures on the blog where I had written of her.

Hey Denise, Here's a Doolittle print I am putting on just for you. Thought you would like it. When you look ahead, look for the positive things that can be. Sometimes you have to search for them or make them happen.

I am tired now. Denise and I talked for a while. I took her to the store so she could get some smokes and the chocolate she was craving. Her mom came home while I was visiting and reminded me to get a schedule for LMHA for her. That I was supposed to do last week but true to form forgot it. This time I E mailed myself from Denise’s to remind me. Kind of like when I call the house and leave a message on the machine as a reminder. There are ways to overcome this memory problem, I just have to remember to do them.

Denise wanted to do something for me as a thank you for the help. We got into a discussion about Karma when I explained that just helping others was a reward in itself. “I’m selfish when I do things for you” I said. “You see I feel good when I help folks so I am doing this for me”. It didn’t work but that’s OK. She asked if she could give me the change from the store and I let her do that. I don’t care about 70 cents but it made her feel good so I took it with gratitude.

I think I should take a nap now.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We are off, another day in the saga of Bob and Cherie

5/25/06 Thursday
We are off. As I watched the news I heard Cherie’s voice coming from the living room, “That *&%#, I can’t believe this”. That got my attention. She had just read the comment Nate had put on my last entry. It wasn’t a surprise to me at all. Pretty much the way he reacts to any kind of criticism. Now I am debating what or if I should say anything. Nate doesn’t get it at all. First of all the visual of someone doing laundry in the front yard is just plain old funny, the kind of scene you would expect to see on the “Beverly Hillbillys”. But beyond that I really just want him to open his eyes and see himself. Not to put him down but to get him to be a better person and show just a little respect for his grandparents, in who’s house he lives rent free, and for his neighbors. The internal debate continues. I’ll let you know.

This morning I will take Wayne’s paperwork down to LMHA and NPI properties to keep the process of getting him out of drug city moving. I am doing much better than last night. These partial seizures are always a pain in the ass but that is just the way it is. I don’t get all bothered about things I can’t change. That is just a waste of time and energy. If the price of still being alive is these slowdowns and constant pain I have no problem paying it.

12:51 – Now everything is a struggle. I just made copies of all of Wayne’s medical records to send to his lawyer. I couldn’t find her address but fortunately put it in my Yahoo address’s. The headache is there and it is hard to keep my thoughts clear and stay on task. Now I will take this to the post office and then run the records over to Wayne after I drop the forms off at LMHA and NPI.

3:34 – Just got back. Getting angry clears my head a little at times like this but it doesn’t last long. Still rough, running a 5 on the Bob scale. I got Wayne’s records mailed to the lawyer. Made 65 copies so it was a package. Didn’t write a letter with it as I had intended. With the copies made I went to LMHA where I learned I needed to take the form to NPI and have them fill it out, then return it. That’s OK so I headed to NPI. I forgot where I was going a few times but finally made it.

Going in the office I handed the form to the receptionist, telling her it needed to be filled out, and sat down to wait. A half hour later the girl comes back with the form and informs me that Wayne must be personally present for this. “I’m on his paperwork as his advocate” I protested. She didn’t care and when I protested further she pretty much sat down and pretended I wasn’t there. That doesn’t work well with me so I went out the door saying something about bureaucratic assholes. Calling Wayne I said “Get ready, I’m going to be there in three minutes” and explained what happened.

Like I said, getting angry clears my head. I made it to Wayne’s in record time. Pulling up I honked the horn. Wayne wanted to sit there and talk at the door but I said “Get in. We’ve got to go”. I drove straight back to NPI and they didn’t seem to be happy to see me but I really don’t care if they are happy or not. They’ve been a pain in the ass and I am glad to get Wayne out of there. Anyway we got the form filled out.

Getting out to the car I realized I had forgotten Wayne’s medical records despite putting the folder out where I could see it. Not unusual for me. I decided to take Wayne with me when I delivered the form to LMHA because it was most of the way to my place. That way I could run by the house and pick it up. After LMHA Wayne offered to buy me a sandwich at Subway. That works so we spied one on the way and pulled in. Picking up the sandwiches we went to my place. I ran in, grabbed something to drink, finished the chips that came with the sandwich and went back out to the car.

Wayne and I talked about things on the way back to his place. He could tell I was tired and not on top of my game. Pulling up to his door I popped the trunk and reached back to get his medical records off the back seat. Damn! I forgot it again. This drives me nuts and I suppose always will. You know it is really inconvenient to have brain damage. Just F’s everything up. Oh well. It took me three weeks to get his stuff copied and mailed. Maybe longer than that. Can’t really remember. I could look back in this journal to find out, after all that is one of the reasons I keep it. Nah, I don’t think so. Don’t like reminders of how bad I am. I got it done so that’s good enough.

I drove back home. Slowed down a little but was still a bit aggressive though not as bad as earlier. Now I am home and can unwind. I called Allen to make sure he got his paperwork in to welfare. He said he would get to it today. It’s 4:30 so the day is pretty much done. I need to push him because not only will he not get approved for medical without it but he may have to start the process over from the beginning. Nothing like being a babysitter for adults. I will be glad to get to Texas but knowing me I will adopt some other’s who need help.

I think I will just post this and lay back for a bit.

Allen had told me he bought a couple of steaks and wanted me to come over and cook them. I at first said I would but called him back and said we could do it some other time. Not really ready to deal with him and at this point my tolerance for crap is low so we can do it at some later time. Interestingly he did not know what day it is. Not good but I often have to look at the calendar to check what day it is myself. I have a good excuse, hell there were times when I first woke from the coma I didn’t know what year it was. Allen is a different case though he has incurred several brain injuries from what I can gather. For him it is a matter of isolation and the large amount of pain killers he imbibes coupled with depression.

7:44 – Still a little rough. Right now there is a tornado watch issued for this area. It got up to 75 today. Tomorrow it will hit 80, which is the warmest it has been this year. I don’t mind too much though one of the results of the brain injury is the ability of my body to adjust to temperatures. Cold is no problem, in fact I do well with it. Cherie would always get upset and make me wear a coat because I could wear a T shirt when it is freezing and not be bothered. Heat is a little harder for me. Strange but that’s the way it is. Heat is also bad for Wayne because of his MS. Last year a woman with MS died when she was left outside in the sun at the nursing home where she lived. One of the good things about the apartment we will move him to is there is an air conditioner. That will save me a fight with NPI. I had already gathered statements from his doctors testifying

We are calling it a night so I checked my E mail. My son Bruce will be coming home from Iraq soon. There is no specific date yet but it is good news none the less. I look forward to seeing him soon. Perhaps he will be back in time for my 50th birthday June 8. That would be sweet. So I close with good news. Night all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

High Tide

5/24/06 Wednesday
IT IS PRIME TIME. In the ebb and flow of my brains functionality I am at high tide. This is one of those mornings where I wake up with the brain operating at an 8 or 9 and I am full of energy. Doesn’t happen as much as I would like and I never know how long it will last but I am always grateful for these moments. I have showered, washed dishes, changed the sheets on the bed, and just got done talking to Lou from Gerdinich Realty regarding Wayne and his section 8 paperwork to get him moved. He is approved on Gerdinich’ side of things, just has to get some paperwork completed. That will require my help and I will need to take him to LMHA to get some forms.

I am scheduled to take Fred to the grocery store at 11:00 so after that I will run over to Wayne’s. In the mean time I will get as much stuff done as I can while I am sharp. It has happened that I stay sharp as this all day long but that is somewhat rare. I haven’t gotten much done the last few days and top of the list is to get Wayne’s medical records to the lawyer in Kentucky. As you regular readers know I was going to do that a month or two ago and then last week. That is the way it goes with me and is another example of the problems that come with a traumatic brain injury.

Speaking of regular readers I must say high to whoever is in San Ramon, California. You are one of the most faithful readers of this blog, visiting me every day and sometimes more than once in a day. Drop me an E mail at so we can meet. I always wonder that others take such an interest in our lives. That reminds me I need to work on the love story. It is almost finished but I am at the good part. That is where Cherie and I get back together and it is hard to keep this under a few pages.

Got to go now. Will dig into getting Wayne’s records together and sent out now before I either forget or possibly slow down.

12:22 – Just got back from taking Fred shopping. It wasn’t too bad because Fred was doing well and only got a little confused. He was picky as usual, being outraged that he couldn’t get a loaf of rye bread for a dollar like he could white bread. I helped him make up his mind on a few things. I got dizzy like I often do in a grocery store where there is so much to process but it wasn’t bad.

They are putting another layer of asphalt on the parking lot so we should be able to use it soon. Right now I am heading over to Wayne’s to help him do his paperwork in order to move. Cherie and I must figure out how we will get everything moved. I would have asked Nate because he has a trailer but don’t think I will cause I know I can’t keep my mouth closed. There is so much I haven’t put in this blog regarding that situation. It has been hard not to write about it. I can’t resist saying this. Cherie went over there a few days ago and there was a washing machine in the front lawn with a water hose hooked to it. Nate was out there doing his laundry. Of course the yard looks like a garbage dump so I am sure the law will come out again. It is sad.

Time to run again.

4:40 – Not doing good now. Going down hill fast. Was sharp most of the day but am now running a 4 or 5 on the Bob scale. It will be hard for me to remember what I have done since my last entry but I can recall some of it by trying real hard. I know I went to Wayne’s. Fred wanted me to drop some stuff off at Barb’s. I had gotten in the car to go and he came out, waving me down before I got away. He gave me a dollar and asked me to get some toilet paper for Barb at the Dollar Tree.

Just as I paid for it at the check out the cell phone rang. It was Fred. “Are you still at the Dollar Tree?” he asked. I said I was so he asked me to get some ranch dressing for Barb. No problem. I got it and headed out. Barb was at the perverts apartment when I drove up. I gave her the stuff and went to Wayne’s.

There I picked up the paperwork that needed to go to the realty company. I called the agent to make sure he was in and drove to his office. There I gave him what he needed and got the forms from him Wayne needs to fill out. With that I came home and picked up the bread and the pants that Cherie hemmed for Wayne. I have been forgetting to take these items to Wayne for over a week now so made a special trip to make sure it got done.

Arriving at Wayne’s I helped him fill out the forms which I will take to LMHA and NPI tomorrow. Part of it is a 30 day notice that he will be moving. I notice I am getting short tempered and not very tolerant so apologized to Wayne for it. Wayne said he was used to this and understood that it is a part of the brain injury. He has been seeing these swings for the three years we have known each other. Wayne said that I am much easier going than when he first met me. At that time I would fly off in a heartbeat. It is good to hear that settled down some.

There are probably other things I should write but they aren’t there at the moment. I know one! I took one of the new headache pills before I went back to Wayne’s. This is the third time I have used this medicine. The first time it seemed to trigger a slow down. I don’t recall how it effected me the second time but I know I am slowing down now, about an hour and a half since I took it. Need to watch this. I am going to lay down. Poured dishwater twice now and never washed the dishes. Hate when I get like this. Headache is coming back now. Not fun.

7:32 – I am down to a 3 on the Bob scale now. Maybe even a 2. Almost to the point where I stutter. Haven’t been this bad in a while. You can hear it in my voice. My equilibrium is way off and the ability to control my right leg is compromised. Think I will call it a night. This sucks. At least I got stuff done before this.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good things happening

5/23/06 Tuesday
Good morning world. This morning I will take Wayne to look at an apartment on Bancroft. This came about when I struck up a conversation with Linda, Gerdinich Realty’s property manager, last Friday when she was here to get the repaving project going. In that conversation I learned that they do accept section 8 housing on a limited basis. We will meet at 10:00.

Yesterday Fred called to tell me he had just scheduled to pick up a meat package from Kazmier’s at 11:00 today. When I told him that wouldn’t work because of the 10:00 appointment for Wayne he got pissy telling me “Oh, I see. I guess I rate at the bottom of the list”. That didn’t work well with me and I explained that the appointment with Wayne was scheduled last week. “Fred, you have to call me before you set something up” I said. This is nothing new so I went through it again to help Fred understand. I will call Wayne now to make sure he is up.

That went well. It looks like I will be getting Wayne out of cracktown soon. The apartment we looked at is smaller than the one he is in now but nicer in several ways. There is a courtyard area with plants, trees, and a small swimming pool. The apartment complex is small with only 24 units. There is a carryout next door and a nice looking residential area surrounds the place. I put the decision on Wayne, asking him if he wanted to shop around. I also encouraged him that this seemed ideal. The best part is the apartment comes with an air conditioner. He decided to get it which works for me. It’s not that I am lazy but I would prefer not to go driving all over the place looking at apartments.

We filled out the paperwork and I stopped by the Pharm to get some bread and milk for Wayne on the way back to his place. Their bread was outrageously high but I got it anyway because it was worth an extra buck to not go to another store.

I stopped and washed the car on the way home. As soon as I get this posted on the blog I will let Fred know I am back so I can take him to the store.

Oh yeah! Got to get this down. Virginia called me as I was driving to pick up Wayne. She said that the bank would wire me the money but they would take out Larry’s $40,000 first. That was fine until she said that if I didn’t want to do it that way it would cause a big paperwork hassle, requiring that the farm be divided and all kinds of other things that didn’t make sense. Why can’t I just write Larry a check? Now I have questions that need to be answered. It would seem that this lack of trust is being displayed. I kind of feel like I am being called a thief or something. Virginia was just relaying what the lawyer told her I think. This is a slap in the face, an insult. I wonder if Larry is the one who is pushing this. Right now I am of the mind to make them go through all the extra paperwork just to slap back, to make Larry wait a little longer. I am in no hurry. Of course it would help if he would bother to call me and talk. Time to call my lawyer.

Talked to Patrick about this estate thing. He didn’t think things needed to be so hard and suggested that the bank send Larry two checks. One for his half of the CD and the other for the $40,000 that identifies it as payment for his half of the farm. This way there is documentation. That is fine so I asked Patrick about the $3,000 that Larry had promised to pay for what he took from our mother’s estate. After discussing that he suggested that it come out of the checking account moneys. I asked Patrick to relay this to McGilvray and make Larry paying this debt a contingency to getting this all finalized. I am sure it will set Larry off but at this point I kinda like that. He needs his boat rocked a little. Besides that it is simply holding him to his word and making him do what is right. Time to get Fred out so Gotta go.

That went well also. Got Fred to K&J meat for his box of food. While there Cherie returned my call to let her know what was going on with the inheritance. As we talked I noticed Fred getting a sample of smoked sausage. He gummed it as he does but then I saw him spit the skin of the sausage into his hand. He moved along the display and then threw the skin on the floor. At this point I just kind of cracked up and moved away from Fred so I could explain to Cherie why I had started laughing. Then we took it to Barb who was pretty cheerful. Barb’s check had come so I took her to the bank to cash it. Now I am home. Haven’t eaten today and am feeling weak so I’ll fix a peanut butter and honey on toast. I am feeling tired as I often do by this time of the day. Actually having to work to not fall asleep at this computer. Time for a snack and a nap.

5:34 – Just woke up. Pretty cloudy right now and it looks like I am running at a five on the Bob scale. Checked the blog and E mail to see if Larry decided to communicate. Larry or someone else from Fort Worth looked at the blog at 12:23 this afternoon. Cherie cracked up when I told her I asked Patrick to request Larry pay the $3,000 he promised me. She understands I don’t care about the money but would rather be treated like an honest man with just a small amount of respect. You know, talk with me. If you don’t trust me be a man and tell me to my face, none of this insulting crap like insinuating I will run off with the money. Come on guys, where am I going to go?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Catch up

5/22/06 Monday
It is 4:00 already. This has been a rough day. Haven’t done a thing. Just took the new migraine pill that I have avoided because it seemed to trigger a slow down. I’ll watch closely to see if it does this time but I am already slow, running about a 5 on the Bob scale. Cherie called and asked for me to cook dinner. At first she told me there was fish and hamburger in the fridge but I got confused asking if she wanted me to cook both. She understands that when I am slow decisions are hard so she decided on hamburger for me. That helps a lot.

7:49 – Still rough. When I checked my E mail there was a note from Patrick, the lawyer I got in Midland for the estate. It said that there was a hang up because the bank will not release the CD to settle the estate because it is to be split evenly between my brother and I. That would mean that I would need to write Larry a check for $40,000 to pay for his half of the farm. I called Virginia to talk with her about it after I called Patrick. Virginia said that Larry didn’t like that idea and started on his practiced litany of how he was to get 50% of everything and on and on. Virginia said “Somebody is going to have to trust somebody”.

I don’t have a problem with that though I should, after all it was Larry who never bothered to let me know our mother had died for five months while he took what he wanted. Then of course he came up with all kinds of rationalizations to justify his actions. “You were living under a bridge” he said, referring to the period I was homeless. The fact of the matter was that at the time our mother died I was a ward of the court and was housed at the Volunteers of America or the county jail. Larry knew where I was and even wrote to me. The only way I found out Mother had died was during my monthly visit with my probation officer. She told me she had been talking to my brother and he told her I inherited a truck. This caused much turmoil. It was only a year after I had woken from the coma and my brain was still reeling as it sought to come back into balance. Now I am trying to process this statement. “I inherited a truck? Who died?” I asked Lenice, my probation officer. She didn’t know but said she would ask my brother.

A month later I went in for my scheduled report to Lenice. She took one look at me and picking up her phone dialed a number. Putting the phone to her ear I watched as she listened to it. When someone at the other end answered she simply said “Hold on”. Handing me the phone she said “It’s your brother”. Lenice had allowed me to call Larry from her office before but it was always at my request. I asked Larry “Lenice said I inherited a truck. Who died? Was it Minnie Lee?”. Larry was a little perturbed and his first statement was “I’m never going to talk to that woman again” referring to Lenice. Then he told me that Jessica, our mother, had died. The fact that she had been dead for over four months he avoided, just saying that she had been in bad shape and was found dead in her trailer. I am stunned. This is hard to process, especially in the condition I was in. I walked the four miles back to the VOA trying to absorb all of this. I wouldn’t learn the date she died for another eight months or so and presumed it had just happened.

So my brother is nervous? He is worried I might cheat him in some way? One of the things I have learned in the volatile life I have lived is a principle that has served me well and given me much discernment. A thief is always worried about others stealing from him and a liar suspects others of lying to him. People often expect others to have the same faults they do. I know that Larry reads this blog and is always welcome to put his side of things in the comment section.

I looked to see if I had another picture of Larry that looked better than the one above. This is Larry and I with our mother at my first wedding to Cherie twenty six years ago. We both had more hair and less gut then.
So let me state my case while I am venting. When my mother died Larry was the one who went to Houston to take care of things. Minnie Lee, our maternal grandmother had paid Larry $900 to cover his expenses. At first Larry denied ever getting that money but later was forced to concede that he did when Minnie Lee showed her documentation of it. This was all part of the dance he was making around all this.

Larry and his friends cleaned up the considerable mess at mothers trailer and evidently had to scrap the trailer. What he found there we will probably never know the truth on. He showed us the Peruvian artifacts and some prints. My grandfathers coin collection was there along with a silverware set and some costume jewelry. The only other thing of value was two pick up trucks, both of which were purchased by Minnie Lee for her daughter, Jessica.

Larry, in his generosity, said I could have one of the pickups. That was something I was grateful for and could really use. Cherie and I went to St. Louis to pick it up. “Oh! Gee Whiz” Larry said as he told me that the motor was blown in the truck he was going to allow me to have. “It’s not my fault” he tried to tell me when I confronted him. He drove it from Houston and it was fine so who’s fault is it? Regardless it was junk. All I wanted was half the value of the estate, what I am due but all Larry wanted to give me was the trash. The Peruvian artifacts are the fake items sold to unsuspecting tourists and besides that if any were authentic the were illegal to have due to a federal law enacted in 1968. That is worthless. The silverware set Larry had promised to sell but later told me he had given it to dad. The coin collection had been stolen from Minnie Lee by my mother (Her daughter. Looks like this runs in the family) Grandma specifically told me and Cherie that she wanted us to have it.

Below are some E mails between my brother and I. In them you can see him promising to give me $3000 for my share of our mothers estate. Then you can see him changing that to $1500. Fact is he never paid a dime. Now that he is getting nearly $100,000 I will watch with interest if he keeps his word. If he does I will be glad to announce it and apologize for vilifying him. If he doesn’t he shows us all that he is still a liar. I hope he keeps his word. Would love to see him be a man.

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 16:12:50 EDT
Subject: Hi
Hope everything is going ok with you guys, it is pretty hot down here.
I looked up the blue book and the medium price on the truck is $4100, deduct my expenses leaves $3000 divided in two would leave $1500 I would owe you. The silverware is worth about 425, you have the gold coin worth 350, the car jack is easily worth 50, plus the 50 from the truck. You also have the prints and the majority of the jewlery.
let me know what you think

From: Bob Westbrook
Your expenses? You tell me my grandmother is a liar and did not give you the $900 she said. You have the silverware. The Gold coin is part of Rudy’s collection and is not in this affair. You can have the prints and the "majority" of the jewelry. All the victory nickels are missing and so are most of the silver certificates that Rudy and I collected together. I can buy a brand new jack of that size from harbor freight for $50. You can have the Peru stuff also. The truck you trashed and did not deal with until so late you had to give it away. If nothing else you are consistent in taking care of you and not taking care of business. Typical for an alcoholic. Meanwhile I only get $8.50 a month disability and Cherie will lose her job cause Paramount insurance where she works is being bought out by Anthem, a division of Blue Cross. You want an easy out send me $3000. I will be checking with Texas on the truck title if I don't hear from you in 3 weeks.

From: Larry Westbrook
In respnse to your previous e mail, I never said Lee was a liar, I asked her and she said she did give me $900, this covered my plane flight , car rental and some more but this is money she gave to me personally and has nothing to do with this, I don't hear you mention the $1500 she gave you. I am talking about $850 I paid on the trailer, my expenses such as travel and hotel, there are numerous smaller expenses I did not keep track of such as have the oil changed in the trucks and having them cleaned, a new tire and battery on the white truck, inspection and tags, 4 days of cleaning up all Jessie's trash, Neil's expense for coming to Houston and helping me and taking the truck back , Jim's expenses for driving it up to St Louis for me, etc.

The gold coin was not part of Rudy's collection and never was, It ticks me off you accuse me of taking coins out of the collection, it is exactly the way I found it. I am sure you can buy a junkie jack for $50 but that was a good one, and like I said it was worth at least $50. I would like to know how I trashed the truck, I did not drive it more than 300 miles, I had the oil changed immediately and do not quite understand how I made the oil pump quit working. I spent $200 on the computer from Delmar and about that much fixing up Jessie's, I don't hear that mentioned.

I am tired of hearing all this drunk talk, I party with freinds and drink. I don't abuse it, most all my friends and myself are pretty wild but are responsible proffessionals. I don't call Lee when I am drinking, I call her every morning around 6 am. I am not the one with problems in this area. You try to make a big deal out of a few dollares here or there, what about the money I spent on you , I spent $350 on you when you came down here because I wanted you and Cherie to have an enjoyable trip, anything I do somehow gets turned around into something negative. You seem to forget what the situation was like when this happened, I took what was of value and saved it for when your situation improved. Yes the truck helped me out very much and the white truck was a real shame. It only had 64000 miles on it but it was 14 years old.

If you think that $3000 is a fair price then I have no problem with it. I will send you the money as soon as I can. The work conditions are not even close to St Louis, I have had ads out for a month and have had more calls from people looking for a job than needing work done. I have done one small repair job for $400 in for weeks and have been working for a friend as a framer outdoors in 100 degree weather the last few weeks . It is enough to pay my bills. It is the worst part of the season being as hot as it is and with school starting up. I know I will start drumming up some work as I make some contacts and get situated.

Sorry to hear Cherie might lose her job and hope the best for you.


And he doesn’t trust me? This is hard. Larry is the only one in my family that helped me in my time of great need. He did incur some personal expenses in doing that and I am grateful but that doesn’t justify deceiving and stealing from me. I just don’t have it in me to let him walk away with this. Where is a balance that can be applied here? I don’t know but hope to find one and resolve this. Don’t want bad blood here.

I see that I didn’t finish my entry for Sunday. It was a touching day as I spent much of it working with Denise. I helped her get her computer to work right and also started to teach her how to do things on it. This is strange because it was just three years ago I was being taught how to use a computer by the people at the main library. They had pitched in to help me use the library facilities to research who I was. Despite having a large (By my standards) computer network in my telemarketing company I no longer remembered how to perform basic tasks because of the memory loss from the brain injury.

Here is Denise with the actor who played "Squigy" in the Laverne and Shirley television show. He also has MS and was a featured speaker at this fund raiser.
Denise was so happy about the help I was giving her that she cried several times. I showed her how to download music on her computer after I downloaded Media Play from the internet. This blew her away when I showed her how to work it and that she could have the music playing in the background as she worked on her computer. As I watched how hard it was for her to use a keyboard because of the tremors from the MS I determined to look into getting a keyboard with big, easier to hit, keys. They are not cheap, running close to $200. Her computer is pretty old and as slow as I am on my bad days. That’s pretty slow.

We talked and talked. I don’t think Denise has had someone she felt comfortable unloading on around for a while. She might, I don’t know, I just know there was lots pent up inside her. I delved into her situation a little in order to know how to best help her get her own place. She desperately wants to be self sufficient and mostly to live on her own, not with her parents. I talked with her mom a little about that but am not sure what she thinks about that. All I know is my heart is touched deeply by Denise. She has so much to overcome. Denise’s physical condition is at the point where she sometimes stays on her hands and knees in order not to fall down. Her spirit is strong and an inspiration but the weight of her disease and little hope for improvement is a crushing thing that will wear out the staunchest of wills. The old saying comes again to my mind. I used to complain about having no shoes till I met a guy with no feet.

Good night folks. It is nearly 2:00 in the morning. I am wide awake, partly because I had a hard day and spent much of it laying down. Probably should try to sleep so my clock doesn’t get turned around.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good weather, nice day

5/20/06 Saturday

Before, this mind went wandering
however it pleased,
wherever it wanted,
by whatever way that it liked.
Today I will hold it aptly in check--
as one wielding a goad, an elephant in rut.

-Dhammapada, 23, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Buddhist teachings.

Beautiful day out. After ten days of rainy cold weather this is a bright relief. I woke up feeling good and running about an 8 on the Bob scale. Still sharp but a headache decided to make its presence known so I took some aspirin and a Tramadol. I didn’t use the medicine the VA had just prescribed for my migraines because it seemed to trigger a bad slow down. I will try it a few times to see if that holds true but not today because there is much I wish to get done and I like having my brain available for use.

Cherie is packing things in preparation for our move to Texas. She has been incredibly happy for a couple of days now and we would both drop into raucous laughter over the silliest things, sometimes laughing so hard we couldn’t talk or catch our breath. It is hard to kiss someone when you both are laughing, but we are getting good at it.

We have been back together for three years now and the novelty has not worn off at all. As I drove Cherie to the storage unit the other day I looked over to her and was again struck. “I can’t believe your sitting next to me. It just amazes me you are here, that we are back together” I told her with all the emotions I felt. This is a conversation we have several times a week, a realization of how blessed we are. Both of us still start to tear up as we look at each other and talk of our love. “Be quiet. Shut up before I start to cry” is a common statement we both make. Me, I’m the big macho guy who has been to hell and back and I get all mushy and weepy when it comes to Cherie. I don’t care, I love my life, which Cherie brings meaning to, and could give a shit what anyone else thinks. My years of impressing those around me are gone now. I suppose that happens when you become so confident in who you are and how you live that what others think becomes irrelevant.

As per my routine I sat to think of what needed to be done, to schedule the day. I need to get Wayne’s medical records together and send them to the lawyer in Kentucky. I was supposed to do that last week but it got forgotten as so much does in my life. The other thing that needs to be done is filling out the paperwork for Lee’s government annuity so it will be released to Larry and I. I will need to call Virginia to get some information from her.

As I started this the phone rang. It was Fred and he asked “Do you have anything planned today?”. “Where do you need to go Fred?” I answered his question with a question. Fred just wanted to go to Radio Shack. “No problem Fred, when do you want to go?” I said. “How about right now?” he answered so it is time to put on shoes and go.

I had presumed Fred wanted to get some more of the light bulbs for his magnified reader he goes through as quick as he gets them. No, what he wanted was a new tape for his answering machine. He’s bought a few over the last three years and I am sure they are not wearing out but who knows what happens as he blindly pushes buttons to make something happen.

Going into Radio Shack I see signs all over that the store would be closed soon. Everything was 20 to 40 percent off. “Fred you ought to buy out their light bulbs while you can” I suggested. He agreed and went with the sales clerk to find a tape for his answering machine. I heard the clerk say “We don’t carry that tape anymore” so went over to assist. “Fred, you ought to look at getting a new machine. The digital ones don’t even need a tape” I piped up. Considering that the machine he had was probably made thirty years ago I thought it a good idea. He groused about not being able to understand how to use a new one so I promised to show him. Then he asked the price and decided to wait.

Getting done there we went back to the car. Fred said “Do you think Wall Mart will have Papermate pens?”. Sure, we’ve been down this road before. Fred wants a particular type of pen and tells me it comes in a package with one black and one red pen. Haven’t found it in the last four stores we have been in. I took him to Wall Mart and we went to the office section. I found the Papermate flair pens but there was none packaged like he wanted and they were out of the black ones. Telling Fred this wasn’t enough, he had to look for himself so I settled back for the upcoming adventure in shopping.

Fred proceeded to put his face inches from each peg full of products to try and make out what it was. “Fred, that’s white out” I explained as he picked up a package with a square container. “Those are large magic markers” I went on. Finally I decided to try and talk Fred into trying another brand. “You know Fred, there are lots of other companies that make the same kind of pen. I just need a pen to make a mark when I use it” I started. Fred said “No. I use Papermate when I make out my list of bills. That’s the pen I use”. Some how I convinced him to give another brand a chance so we got out of there.

That’s the start for our day. Cherie is shopping and I will be driving to the East Side where the cheapest gas is right now to fill up.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hard start

5/19/06 Friday
This is a hard start morning. I have a headache and am walking like I am 80 because the right leg isn’t working well. They switched Cherie’s hours again. Changes from day to day as some sort of disturbance between executives rages in the corporation. Cherie was running late as she has to come in an hour earlier than yesterday and was accordingly stressed. Of course I have to get in the way do take care of morning bathroom duties that can’t wait. We are rushing. Cherie to get to work and me to get out of the way when the doorbell rings. “Who could that be? Nobody comes to see us. What’s all that noise outside?” runs the conversation.

The doorbell rings again and I look out the window to see front end loaders coming into the parking lot. I’m not anxious to have a visitor as I am naked, bad timing. I see the notice I had taken off my door last night and read it again. “OH yeah. New parking lot. Move cars. Shit, got to move. Cherie’s pissed at the timing and inconvenience of this and say’s “I’m not moving till I leave for work. They can wait” she says as she takes curlers out of her hair. Grabbing some sweats to be marginally presentable I open the door to see who was ringing. There is a conversation with Fred as I hear someone offering to move Fred’s car. “I got it. I’ll get Fred’s car moved” I yelled down the stairs and rushed back in the apartment. I got clothes and shoes on in record time and went out to move it. Fred is standing at the door and handing me fifty cents said “Would you get me a paper?”.

Now that I write this I wonder if I ever got him his paper. That’s a problem with this not remembering thing. I suppose I need to call Fred and ask him if I got his paper, if indeed he asked me to. I can’t tell if the my memory of his asking for a paper was this morning or yesterday.

I called Fred. Yeah I got his paper, walked in and laid it on the table like Fred asked. I explained that I was just checking up on myself. Fred understands as he spends a fair amount of time with me. He knows I forget where I am going as I drive down the road and learned to watch where I am going as I drive him. He laughed about it and we hung up.

Now what do I do. Running just a little slow with a window of clarity that lasted about an hour. I know I need to work on the love story but have a hard time because of all the noise of heavy equipment and not being up to speed. Maybe I will carve some more. That is relaxing and peaceful, something I have used to distressed going back to 1976 when I learned to carve in prison.

I called Cherie a second ago. A statement she made yesterday surfaced in my mind with the answer seemingly attached. Perhaps I had thought it through since then or my brain worked it out while I slept. Don’t know, I just figured I should call her about it while it was still in this mind. “Cherie, about what you said yesterday, that you didn’t want to start off working full time in Texas maybe only part time. That got me to thinking. You Will be working full time. But you will be working with me. We’re going to build this farm together. We got some cash so lets rent a place while we get this done. It’ll take some time. Maybe six months”.

That is so true. There is a ton of things to be done starting with paperwork. That covers getting government grants and incentives that are available all the way to blueprints and permits. The first step is to assay the total situation. Water, plumbing, electrical, structural, grounds clean up, whatever else needs to be done. Then we prioritize everything to determine the order it will be done in. How much we do and when is dependant on finances.

I have an overall plan worked out in my head that I simply call “the dream”. It is what I would do with the place if I had a million dollars or so. The thing about dreams is you might as well dream big because even if you don’t quite achieve that dream you will stretch yourself and thus accomplish more than if you had not dared dream in the first place. I have always been a dreamer.

There is a reality that I wait to face. A reality that is a question for now and can only be answered in time. That question is “what am I able to do?”. What are my limits? I always try to do more than I can. Would that be a guarantee of failure then, to always take on more than you can do? Maybe to you, or someone else (I don’t know who’s reading this) but to me it is a guarantee that I will learn something.

Enough writing. It is already 1:00 and I haven’t eaten yet. Besides the racket outside is driving me nuts. What I do need to write and do immediately before I forget is this. I talked to Linda, the property manager for Girdenich realty when I was moving the car. After a quick dig about overnight notice of the parking lot I got to talking with her. I made a comment about it being a shame that they don’t take section 8 because I knew a guy who really needed a safe place. She said they will so I got her card. I need to call Wayne.

6:53 – I hadn’t written much about yesterday and had a hard time remembering what I did till I went to get something to eat. I found the fresh guacamole I made yesterday and what was left of the pineapple upside down cake I also made. What I did yesterday was cook dinner and went all out with it. Fred took me to breakfast where we could get eggs, potatoes, and coffee for a buck. We didn’t say much but the eggs were eggs and the coffee was hot so we got our moneys worth. After breakfast I took Fred to the dollar store where he bought stuff Barb needed. I took him to Barb’s with the goodies and then we took Barb to Kroger for food. After all that I came home and other than cooking dinner don’t have a clue what else I did.

We just went out to eat. Went to the Oaken Bucket and I am not impressed. The ribs were tough and the barbeque sauce sucked. Tasted like something Chef Boyardee would make. I’m going to run over to Allen’s tonight. He called and is feeling depressed or sorry for himself so I will go cheer him up.

Boy Howdy…That was fun!! I just watched Allen play a video game for two and a half hours. We didn’t talk other than “Did you see that, Whoa?”. Allen wasn’t feeling pain and his glassy eyes told me he was flying. He tried to get me to play but I no longer do that with him. He has hundreds of hours playing and always wants to correct me and show me better ways to do something. Everything he says is gibberish to my ears as I am having a hard time making a guy move forward much less understanding any of the intricacies of the game. This coupled with my brains inability to process information quickly takes all the fun out of playing. So I watched. Finally I said it was time to go and was glad to get moving. Allen chain smokes and invariably I am downwind from him so my clothes stink by the time I escape. I'm glad I don't smoke anymore.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good morning world

5/18/06 Thursday
It is a bright cloudless morning and 42 degrees out this morning. Rain is supposed to arrive around noon. This morning Fred wants to take me out to breakfast. He has coupons for a place called Watson’s or something like that where eggs, bacon, and toast are only a buck. That’s Fred, saving a dollar wherever he can. I think the main reason he wants to take me out to breakfast is to take advantage of the coupons. He will gladly pay to save.

There is nothing else on my calendar. I am running a 7 on the Bob scale this morning. That is about average for me. Don’t know what else will happen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Who knows what this day brings

5/17/06 Wednesday
It is an uneventful overcast morning. The subject of Wayne’s pants, that Cherie was going to hem, came up. Cherie had been not getting to this for quite some time now. Wayne had asked for them last week. I think he only owns two or three pairs of pants, maybe more. Cherie got upset about it and said she was going to quit doing sewing for others. I think that is good but made a quick comment about keeping your word that wasn’t too bright, didn’t help anything.

This picture of Wayne is taken in front of the Library downtown. This was when we both lived in St. Paul's homeless shelter where I met Wayne. I would walk Wayne to the library to get out of the heat and away from the dangers around the shelter.

I am to take Wayne to the bank and then to get groceries. It is the middle of the month so he is due for his second stock up for the month. I had told him 10:00 but might make it later because it is 9:40 and I haven’t gotten prepared for the day. Putting clothes on would be a good start. No, first a shower and shave. Should call Wayne to let him know.

Wayne’s fine but a little hoarse. I let him know I’d like to make it later. That was fine with Wayne and he let me know he would go lie down till I get there. I will call when I head his direction to wake him up. There is lots of fatigue with the MS so Wayne naps allot.

I am running a six on the Bob scale, not bad, not good, just the way it is. Think I better get started with the morning routine now.

Showered, not going to shave as I usually skip every other day to make my razors last twice as long. Hey…It wasn’t too long ago I was lucky to even have a razor and would use them till they would shred my face. Nuff of that. I should whip up something to eat, you know, some gas in the tank. Not sure how this day will go. I got some carving done yesterday, which is good. I think I will call Fred and let him know where I will be going in his car. Then I will head over to Wayne’s. See ya.

1:52 - Now I am back. Carman kitty is in my lap insisting he will die if I do not pet him. Makes it hard to manipulate this laptop. I am tired. The steroid treatments are helping Wayne out. He tells me his pain is lessened and that he had all kinds of energy right after the infusions. He has more energy and doesn’t tire as easily.

I took him to Kroger and he kept up with me fairly well, at least till Cherie called. “Rob? Did you go shopping? Are you still at the store? What store is it?”. I answered her questions almost as quick as she asked them so she meekly asked “Would you mind getting a few things??”. Of course I will. She gave me a short list and I actually remembered we need milk. I’m always proud of myself when I remember something.

Wayne and I had been heading to the register when Cherie called so, looking at him I said, “That was Cherie. There’s some things I need to hurry and get. Why don’t you stay here cause I’m going to be moving fast”. That was fine with him so I headed quickly out. Of course what we needed was milk and lettuce, which are in opposite corners of this huge Kroger store. As I walk I am desperately trying to recall what Cherie wanted and then working to make sure I would not forget before I got it in my cart. I think it worked but I won’t know till Cherie comes home. She’ll tell me if I missed something.

3:00 - Not doing well. Ears ringing and a bit lightheaded. Think I’ll lay down.

9:15 – I couldn’t remember what I did since the 3:00 entry. Now I do. I did some serious carving. It won’t look like much because I am at the point where much of the carving is more like shaving the wood. I take much smaller cuts and work with the grain so it leaves a smooth finish. Takes time. I carved for three hours straight. Had a hard time getting up and walking after that. When Cherie came home is when I stopped. We had Salisbury steak hamburgers and salad for dinner.

It’s after nine which is getting late for me. Just a little tired. Allen had returned my call at 5:00. I left a message at 12:00 that I would be free till 4:30. He is a little thick here. “Well why don’t you come by after you eat dinner” he said. I finally decided to explain things again “Allen I don’t like to be out late and don’t like driving at night. You know the hours I keep. That’s the way it is so get used to it”.
Ended that conversation right now.

I think I’ll take some pictures of the carving. Cherie is watching American Idol which doesn’t really interest me. Here's a good before and after so you can see the progress I'm making

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A spot of sun

I look out the window as I go to post this. There is a bright beam of sunlight illuminating this building. All I can see is a solid expanse of dark heavy clouds moving south but I am bathed in sunlight. I look outside and see the clouds seem to split overhead to let this light in. Keeps splitting. Most peculiar but cool.

5/16/06 Tuesday
11:05 – I am up, showered, shaved, fixed breakfast, and watched Dr. Phil. I don’t think I would do things the way he does but I like how he can check someone in a hurry. Anyway, I watch Dr. Phil to learn how to understand others as well as learning how to help. It would just be nice to be able to remember what I learn, especially when I need it. I figure I get some of it by osmosis, that despite being unable to remember a show some of it still resonates down in my core. This then colors decisions and responses thus has a positive effect. You are what you feed yourself, especially me considering how much is new, replacing what was lost in the wreck.

As you can tell I am feeling introspective or something like that. Today I have nothing on my calendar but I know Fred wanted me to take him somewhere after Cathy was done doing some work for him. Don’t remember where. I also think Barb needed to go to get groceries because her check is supposed to come today. I need to finish up the love story. OK.. as I wrote I remember I had poured dishwater. Excuse me for a minute.

Got that done. Now where was I? Oh yeah! “What am I going to do today?”. That was the question I was answering. So ultimately I am going to hang by the phone till someone calls. “RINGG” There’s the kitchen phone. Hang on>

That was Sharon. She called to let us know that the guy who beat her got twenty one months in prison with twenty one more on tap if he violates parole. She is breathing a big sigh of relief and tells me she has “Committed it to the Lord”. I think of the power of religion to bring safety and comfort to one who believes as she told me of how she would be praying for this guy every day. It ultimately is the power of faith regardless of what that faith is in. It is an “I can do” attitude on steroids as it is fueled by religious conviction. The concept of an eternity of peace and joy just ahead makes all the misery of this life pale in its’ impact. Just a moment of hardship in the scheme of things. This brings strength to deal with the problems of life, courage to forge ahead.

Good morning! I now wait for the phone to ring again. I think I will look at the Love Story and see what comes out as I continue it. If there is no inspiration I will carve a little.

This will take a while. I went back to research this last part of the Love Story by reading the E mails Cherie and I wrote to each other. This is something else, the memory and record of Cherie and I coming together. I could see the shape I was in through the E mails and the conditions of my life. E mail was the only way we talked for a month. This was because we were both afraid of causing pain

Fred just called. He wants to go to Ed Schmidt Chevy. Time to get my shoes on.

That wasn’t bad. Fred wanted an explanation of his bill and to bitch in general. He headed for the general managers office when I explained he needed to talk to Mark in finance. “Yeah, lets talk to Mark” Fred said changing his course. I walked along and when we came up to Marks office I can see he is with a customer through the plate glass window. “Fred, he’s with someone, lets sit over here and wait” I was saying when I turned around to see Fred blindly waving through the glass to who he thought was Mark. I heard Mark’s voice saying “I’ll be with you in a couple of minutes” so suggested “Fred, let’s sit over here. It won’t be long”. It would be long.

We sit, I look at the pickup in front of us, Fred says “Get some coffee for yourself”, I go and there is no coffee, so I sit back down. Now Fred is getting impatient. I see him trying to peer over the hood of the pickup into Mark’s office so tell him “He’s still busy Fred. Just relax, Mark knows you’re here”. We did this routine twice more ending with Mark walking out with his customer and going down the hall. Fred starts to get up and say something as he saw Mark abandoning him. “Fred, that guy just bought a car. Mark’s just walking him up front. He’ll be back” I quickly said to comfort him.

Mark came back and walked right out to us, calling Fred by name. “Mr. Reitz, What can I do for you”. He then invited us into his office. Fred sat first and I pulled the second chair away to separate myself from Fred. It’s his problem and I don’t want Mark to be asking me the questions.

Fred started with a “I’m going to tell you just what I think” as I was easing my butt into the chair. “This is going to be fun” I thought as I tried to not allow a smile to run across my face. Mark glanced at me and put his attention back on Fred “What is bothering you?” he asked. Fred started with the price on his title was not the same as the one for his loan. Mark explained the cost of the service agreement and taxes were on the loan. It was going to take more than that.

Mark pulls Fred’s account up on the computer and turning the screen to Fred started “If you look right here…”. “I can’t see a thing. I can’t see” Fred protested so Mark looked at me. “Why don’t you scoot your chair up here and explain what you see?” he said. I looked at the screen full of numbers and turned to Mark. I pointed in Fred’s direction with both of my hands as they rested on Mark’s desk top and said “No…You explain it to him. I already tried”. From there I held on, only cracking up once as I listened to Fred march Mark through his list of dissatisfactions with how things are. Mark was having a hard time also because you know how contagious repressed laughter can be. Fred’s last complaint was about not getting a payment book, “just this damn piece of paper”. “Now I’m going to end up with a room full of paper. What am I going to do with that? I don’t have a last page. They could bill me long after I got the car paid off and I will never know it” Fred went on. Mark patiently answered everyone of Fred’s questions, explaining things till Fred was satisfied. He’s pretty good.

I was glad Fred just wanted to go home after this. I returned a call from Allen. He had called while I was driving with Fred and I told him I didn’t like talking while driving. He just wanted to let me know that I could come over if I wanted. Not really. I explained that it was too close to when Cherie comes home so I wasn’t going to drive twenty miles for a half hour visit, not at the price of gas.

Now I am home. I think I will go back in this journal to the time I met Cherie again. It is hard to believe even now as I read the E letters we sent back and forth. I think that I will print many of them in the love story. They convey the poignancy of those moments well.

It is good to be in love folks, especially when it is a deep abiding love. When Cherie and I come together it’s as if it were a chemical reaction that creates joy. We laugh, we hug, we dream. It is good to be in love. Now back to the history this journal contains of our love.

Cherie and I went to the park this evening. The sun doesn't go down till after 8:00now. We couldn't believe how much it has grown up. I took a bunch of pictures and am glad to have the camera back. However it doesn’t seem to be focusing for the close up shots. We did see one deer. I think it was a young buck but he was off by himself.

I wish I could convey what it is like out in the forest. The smells are wonderful, a blend of fresh washed air with the scent of green life making fresh oxygen. Then there would be the scent of some far off flowers wafting with the breeze. We listened to all kinds of birds, crying out for attention or to announce they were in charge of something.

There is a spirit in the air, it is a sense of peace and we cling to it. I will drive from Texas just to smell this air again.