Friday, June 30, 2006


7/1/06 Saturday (barely, It’s 12:44 AM)
We made it to Oklahoma City. After fifteen hours of driving we are both exhausted. Here are some pictures. Dickey Bub we just thought was funny. The sunset is neat and the traffic wasn’t too bad except around major cities. We heard from Cathy that she and her boys, Joshua and Nate, got Wayne moved in. Cathy will do the final clean out about 9:00 this morning.

I guess there was more fallout with the city over the mess in the lawn. Cathy mentioned the city inspector they have problems with came by and wanted to tow the truck Nate had bought the day before. “This is a surprise, why?” was my response. Enough of that tonight. We need some sleep.


7:44 – We are up and getting ready to head out. My left ankle is so sore walking is a chore. Last night I had a hard time getting the bags into the hotel room. A long difficult walk as I dodged the crowds of children and teens that were running all over the place willy-nilly. Some kind of church group or sports thing. I think the ankle problem is an injury from the car wreck five years ago that is aggravated by how the pick-up’s seat has that ankle angled. After fifteen hours I was having a hard time walking to a bathroom. The ankle is a little better this morning. Not sure how it will be when we reach Midland. This has happened a few times recently so I may have to have it looked at.

Cherie did some driving also but it tensed her up so much she was not doing so hot. Part of her problem is the fear that comes up when she is next to a semi. That and the fact that she is not used to driving a pick up or anything large added to her anxiety. Despite that her taking the wheel was a big help.

Cherie loves the Wi Fi at this hotel. It is the first time she has had an opportunity to use this feature of her new laptop. Now she is spoiled. Once we get settled high speed internet access will be a priority. Of course I am spoiled also.

Well folks we are heading out soon. I am not sure how far it is to Midland but I am guessing we will get there by 2:00 or so. That is a pure guess so we will see. Texas is close.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pressing on

6/29/06 Thursday
Good morning. This is the day we would like to hit the road for Texas. We start with a 7:00 am phone call from Wayne. He says “Sorry to bother you but I fell in the tub and hurt my eye so I need to go to the emergency room”. OK, I am sitting here in my morning nakedness, drinking my first cup of coffee, and decide to find out just how bad this injury is. No blood and Wayne tells me he thinks he might of scratched his eye, then he starts on the depression pity party line. “Why do these things always happen to me?” he whined. This talk I always cut short in a firm manner. “Wayne, you can’t talk like that. That’s feeding your depression so quit this”. Then I gave him something to make him think. “Wayne, if this is a real emergency why don’t you dial 911 and get an ambulance to the emergency”. “Oh, I didn’t think of it that way” he told me as it became obvious he was making more of it than he should. Or at least I think so but will know more when I get there. Got to get flying.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Not keeping up

6/27/06 Tuesday
2:53 – Let me catch up here. I started out the morning calling John’s Trailer Sales to see if he rented trailers. He didn’t so there goes that idea. I called Wayne to make sure he is ready to go. I figured I could use Fred’s car so I called and asked. He said he had to use the car to go somewhere this afternoon. Ritchie has been taking Fred lots of places. I am grateful that Fred didn’t call me to drive him around and that he is already taking steps to be ready for us to leave.

I took off about 10:30 to get Wayne to welfare. We got to Family Services with fifteen minutes to spare. After

That is as far as I got yesterday.

6/28/06 Wednesday
I am not doing good at all. I got real slow last night and woke up the same way. There is so much that needs to be done I can’t keep up. Cherie thinks that the stress is why I am slow. That could well be as when I wandered homeless the stress made me barely functional where conversation was sometimes hard or even not possible. Anger however seems to waken this brain up for a while. I am running a 2 on the Bob scale. Almost to stuttering level. You can hear it in my voice. I almost sound like Forest Gump.

There is much to do. I had Cherie sit down with me and write out our money situation, listing how much was in each of our bank accounts and then the potential expenses. Seeing how close everything was we decided not to buy a trailer, at least not a new one. Nate’s offer to let us use his trailer will be a big help and make things much easier.

Finding out that Larry signed the settlement yesterday eases things greatly. I know this is a surprise to you as I did not post anything yesterday. You can see how far I got. Anyway I got an E mail from Patrick telling me he signed and requesting a call from me. Patrick E mailed a copy of the agreement which I signed. Then I went across the street to the bank and had a $37,000 bank check made. I wasn’t going to waste time on this so took care of it as soon as I hung up the phone with Patrick. I went to the post office and paid the four or so dollars to send the signed settlement and check priority mail.

This gives us access now to the $8,000 or so that is in Minnie Lee’s old checking account. We really need that just to be able to move and live until we get settled and some income. My veterans pension will help a whole lot because it gives us some cash to live on. I would like for Cherie to not have to work so we could build this farm together. It will become our job as farming is a lot of work. I still don’t know what I can handle but think I will be fine once things settle down. The orchard will take about five years before it will produce any significant fruit.

This is going to be a tough day. Wayne just called to worry, telling me he called the phone company and his phone will be cut off at the end of the month and he ordered the new phone for where he is moving to. “Are those guys going to move me?” he asked adding “I just went on what you told me. I just thought I’d let you know my phone will be turned off”. I told Wayne I hadn’t heard back from Nate so didn’t know. Then I told him “Wayne, I have a ton of things to do before we can leave for Texas so do me a favor, don’t call me unless it’s an emergency”.
There is a migraine coming up now also. This is a one two punch on what is a most important busy day. I worry that when I go into a muffler shop they will think I am dumb when they hear me talk like I do when I am this slow. Many unscrupulous shops would try to take advantage of that. I sometimes clear up a little when I have to interact with the public. We will see how this day goes. Normally I stay home when I am this bad but can’t afford to do that now. Got to push my way through.

Cherie and I are back from our runs. I don’t know where she went but I went to find someone to replace the catalytic converters for a decent price. I was not doing good so needed to focus on just one thing to do.

I looked in the phone book under muffler and saw a couple of shops nearby that I thought I could find. There was a map for one of them so I took the phone book with me in case I got lost. I did. This is one of those times I forget where I am going as I go there. I knew the “Big Truck Shop” is near Angola off McCord so I got on McCord knowing I would have to drive by the place. I went past Angola peering around to find signs of this place. I drove and drove forgetting I had gone past Angola. Finally I thought of the phone book nest to me and pulled off the road to look in it. Yes! I did remember there was a map. I like anytime I remember. Looking at the map I see that I have gone way beyond the place so head back.

I had already stopped by Mytee Muffler and gotten a quote of $480 so wanted to get a number here for comparison. At first he came up with $740 but when I let him know I already had a quote he redid his figure’s. Miraculously he beat it by seven dollars. WoW. I asked when he could do it and it wasn’t until tomorrow so that settled it. Mytee said they had a rack open now so they get the business.

It took a while to get the job done so I had Cherie come by and pick me up. We went to the storage unit to see what we might want to take to Texas. There are lots of boxes of who knows what so it looks like there will be no problem filling the truck. After that we went to Reynolds Garden CafĂ© to grab lunch. As we sat there waiting for our order I looked up and saw Patsy, Cherie’s mom, coming in the restaurant. “Cherie, Look, it’s your mom” I said. Cherie looked back in surprise and we invited her to sit at our table.

She had come to pick up some lunch to take home and share with Ted. We had a nice visit talking about a variety of things. I told her about needing to get Wayne moved and that I was trying to get a hold of Nate about it. She said she would let him know. Pat’s order came so we said goodbye.

Dinner was good. After we dropped by Cherie’s parent’s house to see if we could catch Nate. Nope, he’s in Detroit. We went into the living room and visited with her mom and dad and Cathy came out a little later. I teased Cathy and at first she didn’t know whether to get mad or laugh. She laughed but just barely. Oh well. Sometimes things don’t come out right. I got better.

After a while it was time to go so we excused ourselves. We went to the apartment and grabbed some boxes to take to Wayne. I did get a hold of Nate and he said they can get Wayne moved late tomorrow or early Friday. I had been trying to call Wayne for hours with no response so we had decided to go over there.

I knocked on the window and Wayne came to the window, peering through the slot where his finger held down a rung on his Venetian blinds. He was surprised and left the window to get presentable. That seemed to take a while but finally he came to the door. We explained that we had found someone to get him moved and that we would be helping him get packed. It registered but Wayne still seemed slightly confused. He was complaining about feeling weak and dizzy like he had yesterday. That is something new that bears watching but we will be gone.

Cherie and I were going to do some packing of our own tonight but are both tired. It looks like we will be leaving later than we planned. Have to get Wayne taken care of first. I’m going to post this and go to bed. Night all.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A little better?

6/26/06 Monday
Doing a little better than yesterday.

7:22 PM. There is allot to keep up with as we draw closer to our targeted departure date. Wayne called me several times to worry about things and I wasn’t very nice. “Wayne, you’ve got to learn to take care of your problems yourself” I bluntly told him. I was pissed when Wayne told me that the medical cab would not take him to his doctors appointment at the Veteran’s clinic. According to Wayne this is because the VA won’t pay for it but that doesn’t make sense. I think they won’t because the VA has a program to transport disabled vets to the clinic and back home.

I took the truck to American Auto (That’s a guess as I don’t remember what came after American) to see if the door handle came in. It didn’t but the lock thingy that was missing did. Steve wasn’t there so I talked to the same guy I saw when I picked up the door panel. I told him about the catalytic converters and he suggested I go to a place in Swanton that has the same name as the place Nate or Jeremy sent me too in Toledo.

The guy put the truck on a lift and pounded on the converters with his gloved hand. Each time he his it you could hear something rattling inside. “Yep, they’re bad” he told me. Then he went into the office to try and figure out what it would cost to fix. I watched him scoot out of the office to check something out on the truck a couple of times. Then he had the other guy in the shop come into the office where I could watch them study various books and the computer as they did their detective work to see what the hell GM did. He got on the phone and they discussed some more.

Finally he came out to talk to me. On THIS particular truck you have to purchase a whole exhaust pipe assembly that contains dual catalytic converters. $640.00 give or take a few bucks. BAM!!! This is getting expensive. I just spent $660 at Firestone for them to not notice this problem. I told the guy I had to check my finances and left.

I dropped by Firestone on the way back into town. Just kinda curious what their quote would be. He was in the middle of a customer so said he would call me with the quote. I got it a few hours later. “It will be somewhere between $400 and 1,000” what’s his name said. Now that is a rather broad range. Tells me what I need to know. Not going there again.

Sometime during my day I went to find a trailer for sale. First I went to John’s on Tremainsville Road…No, I saw a place in Swanton, near the airport, that had about a hundred new trailers out in a big lot. I did a U turn and checked it out. Nice stuff so I went inside. The first person I saw was the person I needed to see. I let him know what I was looking for and he told me it would be $975.00. That’s another BAM!!

I got his card and a one page catalog of all the trailers they offer. Lots of them but all expensive. The one I want is at the bottom of the pricing range. I got out of there and hit the road. This is when I went to Firestone. Right now I can’t remember what I did after that. At some point I ended up on Woodville Rd. Let me think…OK, I went to John’s on Tremainsville after Firestone at this time. His trailers were comparable to the ones I looked at near the airport. For that matter they could have been identical but I wouldn’t remember.

In case you can’t tell from the writing I am a little slow, mostly the memory. I can remember doing something but not when.

It was after John’s that I went out to Woodville Rd. I went to a place called “Truck Cap City” or something. They were the same folks who sell the A.R.E. caps I had called to get an idea of what mine was worth. He sold the caps used as well as new so I thought maybe he might have picked up a trailer he wanted to get rid of. No he didn’t. I went on down Woodville road, getting out into farm country heading to Genoa. I thought “Hey, maybe there’s one set out for sale” I thought to myself. I saw lots of trailers but none for sale.

Time to head back into town. I called Allen as I would be going past his house. He was in and awake. “Come on by” he invited me. I needed to check up on him anyway. We talked about nothing for a bit and then he decided to open the big stack of mail he had. In it were the letters from Social Security denying his disability. “Well, that was a waste of time” Allen said with his defeatism resurrecting it’s head again. “Allen, everyone gets denied the first time. You need to file an appeal”. I went over this with him and tried to get some fight back into his spirit. Hard to do with his level of depression.

At this time Allen talked about things that are deep with him. This is a rare moment of his letting his guard down and being honest. I stayed over there a couple of hours. I picked up a five gallon bucket full of water and that was a mistake. The pain at mid back is pretty bad. I have to sit at this computer with my back arching as I sit at attention. Stooping at all won’t work.

As I was leaving Allen stopped me at the door. “I might turn myself in at a methadone clinic so I can get off these oxy’s” he said seriously. “Allen, that’s the best thing I’ve heard you say in a while. Getting it out will help you with this disability and could get you the type of medical attention you need” I encouraged him. It is good to hear and being honest about his problem is the most important step in his recovery. I’m not a praying man but I’ll say a prayer for him.

I came home after that and was pretty much wiped out. Cherie came home shortly after. “Did you eat anything all day?” she asked. “Noo” I sheepishly said. I watched the news as Cherie fixed some Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes with real potatoes, not the mix. I tried to stay awake but would wander in and out, seeing portions of the stories they ran. The one thing that stood out was how pissed Bush was at the press for daring to be honest and revealing that the government was tracing bank information for terrorist. Hell, the terrorist already know that so what’s the big deal. They are quite adept at moving money around. Oh I know. It makes Bush look bad and lowers his approval rating. Personally I’m all for this (The tracing terrorist finances part) and think it should be done to locate upper level drug dealers.

I sat Cherie down long enough to review our “Farm Fund” account and to explain the expenditures we were looking at with the truck and trailer. I paid $4100 for the truck. I immediately got soaked for $660.00 at Firestone. Now I’m looking at another $650 or so. That adds up to $5,410.00. Now there’s the cost of a trailer. $890.00 at John’s so now we are looking at $6300.00 out of that fund. It’s getting slim. I’m figuring the trip to Texas and back will cost $600.00 in gas alone. We may not get a trailer for this trip. The guy at John’s said something about renting trailers. “DOH!!” I need to put on my calendar to call him and see how much it would cost. Better do it now before I forget.

Wow. It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. I’ve got to get Wayne to Family Services on time so he will actually be seen. The stress is making me a bit short nowadays. Stress is a big, big enemy of brain injuries. Makes the computer that’s our brain get lost on occasion.

Let’s see, call John’s Trailers, Wayne to welfare, talk to the bank about how to handle getting $37,000 to Larry, then the most important thing on my list. That is to meet my youngest son, Adam, and take him to dinner someplace. We haven’t really talked in over two years. A quick “How are you” on the phone on occasion. I’ve been sending him E mails, always asking for a him to contact me, even just send a blank Repy to let me know he received it. Never got one, but that’s understandable. The divorce wasn’t pleasant in any way and left deep scars on him that will be hard to heal. Here, let me tell you about Bruce’s welcome home house warming party.

I think I told you of Cherie’s emotions regarding meeting Barb or even seeing her so I went by myself. I carefully write down Bruce’s address and intently studied the map on the computer that showed his street. I got lost. I knew it was near Wernert’s Corner, which is where Tremainsville, Douglas, and I think Laskey cross. It is a big intersection that has six roads feeding into the middle. I know where that’s at. I came to an intersection that had three streets crossing like Wernert’s Corners. “I found it” I thought and began looking for the street Bruce lives on. No, it’s not on this road so I go to another, and then another, and, and I began to wonder. I remembered Wernert’s Corners but not where it was or what buildings are there. Now I am confused. I drive on down Tremainsville because I knew it was at the cross section I am looking for. I soon was at Wernert’s corners. I had forgotten there were two intersections like this. Nothing like getting lost in the town you spent 25 years in.

I found Bruce’s house. Bruce was grilling hamburgers and had roasted the corn in the husk just the way I used to do it with them. Bruce greeted me warmly though he was busy cooking. I showed him the casserole dish and hot pads Cherie had bought as a housewarming gift. Bruce directed me into the house telling me to place the dish on the dining room table with the rest of what had been brought. “Go ahead and fix a plate. There’s beer and pop in the fridge” Bruce instructed me.

Going in I saw Bob and Kiki Thomas. They were glad to see me as I was to see them. I really don’t know what to expect at this party so familiar faces are always a relief. I looked around and didn’t recognize anybody. Neither Barb or Adam were there. I relaxed and enjoyed being there, making sure I spent some time with Bruce.

After everyone ate their fill we all settled in the living room where we carried on some lively conversation. From the back door I heard a familiar voice. Barb was here. Adam came with her. Barb saw me sitting at the far side of the living room and did a good job of not noticing. I didn’t want to stare either despite the fact I wanted to discern how she’s doing. She’s gained weight but don’t we all as we get older.

Adam sat at the kitchen table across from his mom. I had to say “Hi Adam” to get him to acknowledge I was there. He said Hi quietly and sat down to eat. Barb jumped right in the conversation and would bring up things from our past. When the conversation touched on poison ivy Barb pipes up “Ask Bob about poison ivy. Remember how bad you had it?” and then tells of a three day ordeal that almost put me in the hospital. I don’t remember that though I do remember spraying roundup on some to kill it. When I told Barb I didn’t remember she looked surprised. I still don’t. Some memories return when triggered by a recollection but some never return.

Barb disappeared into Bruce’s bedroom for quite a while. I kind of wondered if she had gone there to cry. As much as she tried to hide it she was impacted by my presence. This is the first time we have sat in the same room since the last day of the divorce. We have talked on the phone maybe eight times since I woke up from the coma five years ago. I tried talking to her before but it always turned venomous quickly. Part of what I hoped for was some help recovering memories. Barb spent seventeen years with me so holds the keys to many memories. Many I don’t care to have back but I view all memories as lessons for the future.

Towards the end of my visit I said something about how I should have brought the camera so I could have pictures of the boys. Barb said “Yeah, you probably have old pictures of the boys”. When I told her “Barb, I don’t have any old pictures. I lost everything except what I scavenged out of the car at the junk yard. This seemed to catch her by surprise. She seems to be unaware of much of this. I wish I had a picture of Adam now. I'd like to post it so you can see what a good looking kid he is.

Adam was still sitting at the table. I was heading slowly for the door to call it an evening and stopped right next to him where he couldn’t escape. “How are you doing Adam” was my original conversation starter. “Fine” Adam said looking down. I engaged him more, trying to draw him out. He said he was getting all my E mails and when pressed about not responding told me “It’s the past. There’s lots of bad stuff there”. I tried to let him know that I understood I had been an ass back then but was truly sorry. I also tried to help him know that I was sorry for that but had been sick. I pinned Adam down on meeting me for dinner tomorrow. I will pick him up at 5:00. It will be a little strained. He is a stranger to me now for in the six years since I was around he has graduated from high school and become a man.

Folks, it’s 11:40. I’m going to call it a night.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Poor brain day

(The last entry for yesterday)
11:23 PM – I am back from Bruce’s now. I am exhausted and the two beers I had didn’t help that. Cherie was a nervous wreck. I told her that Barb did show up and Cherie, looking at me with quivering lips asks “Your not sorry are you?” referring to my marrying her. “Of course not. Not even a little. There’s no emotion there. Barb was a chapter in my life and that chapter is past now. We’re writing the next chapter now as we prepare to go to Texas” I reassured as I gently kissed her nose. It took a while for me to restore Cherie’s sense of security.

For Cherie, Barb is the woman who stole me away from her. While that is not totally true for Barb was not in the picture till after Cherie and I had been separated for almost a year it still carries pain. Hell, Barb had used the thank you cards that had been printed when Cherie and I got married and sent out as ours. Tacky would be the appropriate term and maybe a little spiteful also.


6/25/06 Sunday
It has been a rough day. I have been slow and fighting a headache all day long. Right now I am particularly slow. Running about a 3 on the Bob scale.

Cherie and I went to the Crosby Gardens Festival of the Arts. It is one of her favorite yearly events. She has a favorite potter that she will usually buy at least one item from. This time she got a hanging planter that looks slick. “I know right where I am going to put this” she said with glee. The place she has in mind is at the kitchen entrance on the farmhouse. Cherie is excited about finally having a home of her own, a place she can put her stamp on, a place with permanence and security. We are blessed.

I started to have difficulty while we went through the displays of the artist’s work. I was unsteady on my feet and the right leg was becoming harder for me to control. With people crowding around while we were in a tent with delicate art pottery I was having a hard time moving and had to make my way out. Just had to be in the open. The leg got worse as the day wore on and between that and how tired I was getting I was getting bitchy.

That’s about it for today. We had dinner and went out for ice cream. I took a two or three hour nap because I was tired out from the fair. Actually I usually get tired and need a nap once or twice a day.

I hope I am clear tomorrow. There is much to do. I made a list. I am still fighting this headache that has been there all day. Calling it quits for the day.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Could be a good or bad day. Stay tuned

6/24/06 Saturday
I am not doing well this morning. Getting confused easily. Just tried to Look up Bruce’s address and had to ask Cherie for help. This slowed me down further. Today is Bruce’s “Back from Iraq” barbeque. Cherie does not want to go because of the deep deep hurt from our divorce 21 years ago. She doesn’t want to see Barb and I can’t blame her. Me, I want to rub it in to my ex, Barb (Not the same Barb I help) that Cherie and I are back together despite Barb’s seduction and marriage with me. I know it is kind of gloating and that’s not good but I still want to make that point. I told Cherie she did not have to go. She was getting pretty worked up as memories of those days returned with the thought of her meeting Barb.

Actually the thought of me seeing Barb is somewhat bothersome. We have talked only sporadically since I woke up from the coma and pretty much every conversation was filled with her venom. She is a bitter woman and I am partly at blame for that. She always had a bitterness at her core. With me she literally made her bed and has to sleep in it. I am going for Bruce and will avoid any confrontation. We will see how that works. I hope I speed up and will be able to handle all this. I don’t do well in active situations where things are unfamiliar. Can’t process the info fast enough. Add to that stress and it has the potential of a freeze up. No problem, I can excuse myself and go if I need to. I’ll be fine cause I will be prepared for this. Bruce said he would supply the beer so that I must stay away from. It’s pop for me. Don’t drink anymore, except maybe a glass of wine with a nice dinner, so it won’t take much to give me a buzz. That and the fact that alcohol can trigger seizures means I won’t touch it. With everyone else drinking and my ex along with her ex, the man she was married to when she was messing around with me, will be there leaves the potential for problems out there. Of course Bruce is a cop and lots of the people who will be there are cops also. Wonder if any will recognize me. It will be interesting.

Got to prepare myself but also need to look for a trailer. Should call Nate to see if he has a name or address for the guy he knows in Monroe who sells trailers. Be back later.

I went and got a paper to see if there are any trailers for sale. There was only one and it was way too nice and too pricey. That won’t work. Then I dug up the number of Eileen’s daughter’s boyfriend who is a scrapper and gets around the East Side allot. He said he could find one but it might take a few days. “I could probably get one for $200” he told me with confidence. That’s got a grand beat all to hell.

Next I called Nate to see if he had the name of the guy who sells trailers in Monroe, Michigan. He not only had the name but found the guys website. I haven’t looked at it yet but will soon. When he heard that I was having a friend on the East Side looking for a trailer he warned me to be careful. I’m an East Sider so I know there’s lots of hot stuff to be found there but I have no interest in buying a stolen trailer. Got enough problems and the last felony I had was for “Receiving stolen goods”. That was a frame up which I may have written about earlier in this blog but can’t be certain.

Nate had read in the blog about the service engine light and let me know that his neighbors across the street had a Snap-on electronic diagnostic tool and they could pinpoint what is wrong. Fact is I can’t really trust Firestone, especially after seeing how they cranked me on the truck inspection, during which they failed to notice this issue. He will call me back after he figures out a good time for me to come over. Nate thinks that it may just be my oxygen sensor. “That would cause some bad gas mileage” he told me. I just filled up yesterday and the truck is only getting sixteen miles to the gallon. Not good at all. Nate said the O2 sensor only costs around $40 and is easy to put in. I used to know this kind of stuff but it’s part of what I lost from this brain of mine.

12:05 – My ears are ringing and I’m kind of dizzy. Not a good sign. The barbeque at Bruce’s starts at 2:00. Cherie is making her bean dish and came up with the idea of baking it in a nice baking dish which Bruce can keep as a housewarming gift. She is out buying that as well as some groceries.

I hope I clear up before the barbeque. If not I may show up later. Probably won’t stay too long. I doubt I will be comfortable there.

Nate just called so I’m running now to have the truck hooked up to the scope.

That worked well. Nate and Jeremy were both there. Nate’s friend put the scope on the truck and went through things much more thoroughly that the Firestone tech had. There were several small things he found and came to the conclusion that there is a good chance it is the catalytic converter. Both Jeremy and Nate crawled under the truck and checked out everything from oil to spying an ABS sensor that is an aftermarket improvement. Hey, these guys know tons more than I do about today’s cars. Give me a 66 Dodge and I can do some stuff but I’m lost on today’s vehicles.

Jeremy got right on the phone looking for the best deal on catalytic converters and the installation. He worked hard on that phone, calling several numbers. Nate gave me some good advise on something but I can’t remember it now. It’ll come back later, maybe. Anyway Jeremy got a hold of a shop owner who could do these for maybe $186 each. Nate wrote the address down and made a map for me. I asked him to do this because I know I can forget verbal directions by the time I pull out of the drive.

Hey guys, Thanks, big help.

I took the truck to the shop and talked with Billy. He said he couldn’t get to it today but next week would be better. However he won’t be there because he’s going on vacation or something. He said it could just be the O2 sensors which are much cheaper. I think I will try putting those on first and then will know if I must replace the catalytic’s.

Cherie got the bean casserole done and bought a nice casserole dish she made it in. I’m going over to Bruce’s as soon as I post this.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Be careful of what you laugh about

6/22/06 Thursday
Well, I enjoyed watching the storm last night but now get the other side of the story. Nate (Good to hear from him) E-mailed me to let me know that the storage unit was flooded, as much as two feet of water. Nate said call him if I needed a hand. I just might so any help would be appreciated. Not looking forward to this, mostly for Cherie’s sake.

With the trip to Texas coming next week and the impending move to Texas for good she is stressed to say the least. I don’t think I’m much help with my slow downs and forgetting what I was going to do. Add to that the increased activity regarding those I help has tied up my days and left me worn and tired. I’ve asked her to make a list for me but things have been moving too fast. With lists things happen with me. “If it’s not written down it won’t happen” is a motto here that we haven’t gotten good at.

Got to run. Get showered and all that and go to the storage unit to see what’s up. Fred wants me to take him and by stuff for Barb’s hospital stay so I have to figure out how to juggle that with the storage unit. As soon as I get there I can assess the situation and then make a decision. See ya.

I like being lucky, of course who doesn’t. Our storage unit was at a higher elevation so we didn’t get any water damage at all. In fact the floor was bone dry and didn’t even get wet. There was allot of water just a few yards away and you can see the truck lot behind us here. This after it had all night to drain away. I’ll call up Nate to ask about the trailers for sale he knows about.

Just talked with Nate. This is the first time we said much over “Hi” in months so it was good to talk with him. He is going to check on the trailers. They are new not used so that’s something to think about. Kinda was thinking about a used trailer because our money will be tight, especially after we write that $37,000 check to Larry. Have to be careful with the funds at this point.

Fred called and now wants to make it a whole day taking him to the store and then taking him and Barb to get her glasses looked at cause she says they don’t work. I told Fred in no uncertain terms that in the future anything like that HAD to be scheduled, especially now when we have so much on our plate. Got to go now.

Fun Fun. I took Fred to the Dollar General store where he had a long list of things Barb needed for when she goes into the hospital for her hysterectomy. We got them all bought and took it to Barb’s. Pulling up I saw the back of someone in a white T shirt running to the back of the building. I think Basil is back or at least someone has moved himself in. When I brought her back from the store yesterday she didn’t have her key but the door was locked. If she didn’t have a key she couldn’t have locked it. She went around to the back door and I could see her through the window talking to someone. It’s a shame.

1:22 - The guy who we bought the truck from called. He said the door panel and parts to fix the truck had been sitting in his place for a week. “I’m sorry. I just never called” he apologized to me. Gee, I thought I was supposed to go up there and had screwed up by not getting around to it. I’m going to head over there now.

I get there at 2:00. He said he would be around from 1:00 to 3:00 so I figured I’d hit it in the middle. He wasn’t there. A young guy came out of the garage area to help me. I told him that I came for the door panel and lock parts. “Yeah, They’re here but Steve’s not” (I think that’s his name but really don’t remember) He showed me the parts and I said something about washing the door panel while waiting for Steve. He got out a water hose, bucket, brush, and a spray bottle with something mysterious in it. OK. I washed the panel and parts thinking I did a great job. Not quite. I put the panel in it’s place and waited. Because Steve has to install the lock mechanism I didn’t want to put all the stuff on as it would have to be removed again for the lock stuff.

After a while the guy came back out and called Steve. “He said he’s going to be a while” was conveyed to me from three cars away. “How long is that? An hour? Two?” I tried to pin things down with no luck. “Is he at auction?” I asked and was given a positive nod as the guy talked to Steve on his cell. “Tell him to call me” I yelled as I climbed into the truck. Cherie asked me if I was going to name the truck the other day. Maybe, but I have to see how it acts.

Speaking of trucks I stopped by Firestone on the way back because the “Service Engine” light was still on. “Hey, for the $660 you charged I would have at least thought you’d get the service engine light to turn off” I joked to the manager when I went into the showroom/office/whatever you call it. He laughed and got the guy who did the electronic gizmo stuff. Plugging in his hand held diagnostic computer thing into a receptacle under the dash he pushed buttons, read the screen and pushed buttons again. Finally with a grin he gets out and says “There, it’s fixed”. Cool…I hit the road.

There’s big doings at the strip mall near Firestone. The one that has a Dairy Queen I was thinking of buying a shake for my nutritious lunch. Not going to happen. I see flashing red lights all over and going down the road. There are four fire engines, four or five ambulances, and five or six police vehicles there with a cop directing traffic. I don’t see a fire or smoke anywhere but their getting the hoses out. Now I’m curious. I don’t normally chase these events but I found the number of ambulances so intriguing that I have to see what’s up. I make a right and come into the area from the back way. Not going to work. I’m directed away and never did learn what was up. I did see a dry cleaners there and think that could be the source of this great concern. I know dry cleaners use dangerous chemicals that could be a problem. Curious to see if it’s on the news.

I went and got a milk shake at Shivers, the ice cream place near our apartment where we some times go enjoy a sunset as we eat our ice cream. Never had a shake from there but figured it would be good. It was great. They have about twenty flavors available.

On the way to Shivers the “Service Engine” light came back on. I enjoyed the shake and headed back to Firestone. Now there is less joking. I want to know what sensor is triggering this. After some conversation they said “It might be the catalytic converter”. That’s $300, putting things in a higher bracket. Almost a $1000. That’s OK. I was concerned about the lack of balls this truck had, how it seemed to be choking just a little. That would explain things. We will see. I’ll have Jeff tackle that tomorrow.

Think I’ll check E mail and post this now. I am pretty worn out. Hate how I don’t last long and get so tired. Just want to keep going. I was getting lost today, forgetting where I was going as I drove or looking around to figure out where I was. Too much going on.

“But Wait Folks,,,Theeere’s MORE. Fred calls and tells me Barb is stuck at Kroger. Barb calls and I learn that her brother, Bill, had taken her to the store but was drunk. When he parked way out on the parking lot, requiring Barb to walk farther with her broken toe (Did I tell you about that?) He did this so he could drink in the parking lot. Barb said she didn’t want to get in his car when he’s this bad.

All right. I can understand that so tell Barb “Barb, Cherie and I are having desert after a nice dinner. I’m going to take my time and finish this up, then I’ll come to get you”. It was a nice dinner. Cherie fixed up bacon wrapped pork medallions with wild rice. MMM Good.

I get to the Kroger and Barb was waiting. “Where’s Bill” I asked her and she said he went to her place because he probably forgot he had brought her. He was sitting out in his van when we pulled up. Yeah, he’s drunk. Pretty bad. Barb goes and starts talking. I say goodbye and head for home. I am tired. Halfway home the cell rings. It’s Fred telling me that I still had Barb’s groceries in the car. Oops, I better go back. Bill was still in his van and was trying with some difficulty to light a cigarette when I pulled up. Barb laughed and they got the car unloaded. I’m out of there.

Long day. I’ll call it a night.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The phone rang. 4:30 AM

6/21/06 Wednesday
And we are off. The phone rang at 4:30 this morning but I didn’t feel like running for it so let it go. Figured that if it was important they would leave a message. They did. We checked the messages at 6:00 this morning and it was Wayne. His bowels have gotten so stuffed up he feels like he requires emergency room action so I will be leaving now to take him to the hospital. I’ll take this laptop with me.

8:30 - I’m at Toledo Hospital now. Love this Wi Fi stuff. Wayne is mostly stopped up. I have to wonder if he is experiencing anxiety attacks. He says he didn’t sleep all night long and was contemplating calling 911. I understand he had a “pressing” problem but don’t think it is as bad as he worked it up to be. Of course this is one of the problems that comes with MS and he had been given medication for it.

Wayne is seeing the doctor now. Don’t know how long it will be but when the doctor asked if I wanted to go to the examination room I said “No, I’ll stay out here in the waiting room”. On the drive to the hospital, Wayne started describing in detail his constipation and how he tried to fix his problem with his fingers. “That’s TOO MUCH INFORMATION, Wayne” I said to stop this conversation. It barely worked as Wayne was dying to share his misery. I checked him when he would start back up on this a couple of more times. No! I don’t want to go to the examination room, especially knowing he could well have to get an enema or two. I am not that close of a friend.

Cherie and I are not very organized regarding this trip to Texas. There is much to do and we need to make a list. After looking at the prices of renting a trailer much less a truck Cherie suggested buying a trailer. That is a great idea but we have to find one to buy. I have had more slow downs lately. This may be due to the added stress of this time. I am worried about how well I will do there. I have big visions and dreams for the farm but wonder what will actually get done.

Time to post this on the blog. Like I said, I love this Wi Fi stuff.

11:38 – Just came back to the hospital after running out to grab breakfast. Before I left I went to Wayne’s room to let him know that I was going. They did give him an enema and he said it may be a half hour before he was out of there.

2:05 – OK, now I got something to write. My phone rang right when I was putting the period on the last sentence. It was Fred and he was semi frantic “Barb got left by the medical cab. They dropped her off but now won’t pick her up”. “Where’s she at Fred?” I asked and heard a convoluted explanation regarding MUO. OK, I know where MUO is at. I knew Fred wanted me to go right now when he asked if I was still with Wayne at the hospital. “Fred, I can’t go right now. I’ve got to wait till they’re done with Wayne” I explained but Fred let me know he understood that. He said he would try to get Cathy, upstairs, to pick her up. I told Fred I would call Barb’s phone when I got Wayne home. He said Barb’s phone wasn’t working so Barb would call him in fifteen minutes.

As soon as I hung up I see Wayne coming out. He seemed unable to tell me if he was free to go or not. I asked him four times before I got an answer that related to the subject. “Wayne, are they done with you? Do you have to get any paperwork?” I would ask. “Well they got things moving” Wayne would say as if that answered my question. Then it was “I can’t believe my ribs hurt” as a response which I countered with “Now your full of shit when it makes your ribs hurt”. There are just too many opportunities to make a joke for me to resist in this situation. We finally figured out that he was free to leave so leave we did.

I called Fred when I dropped Wayne off. He told me Barb had called and was still stuck at MUO. He began the list of those he tried to enlist to pick up Barb with despair so I cut him off. “I just dropped Wayne off Fred. I’m heading to pick up Barb now” I let him know. I asked again where Barb was and then after he gave an address had to cut him off as he began to go into something else.

I called Barb’s cell after that and talked with her and let her know I was coming. She said she would be waiting in the back of the building. I hurried to MUO and then drove around looking for the address I had been given. As I began to wonder if it existed my phone rang again. It was Barb telling me she had walked across the street to Arby’s. I tried to get her to tell me where this Arby’s was at but she didn’t quite get it. “It’s right across the street Bob. I walked over here it’s so close” Barb bubbled on. “Barb, I don’t know where your appointment was that you walked from so I have no idea what Arby’s you’re talking about” I tried to explain.

By now my frustration level is rising. I get to Arby’s and park where I can see Barb through the window. I watch patiently as she got her order and dipped around getting condiments. I called her and let her know I was outside. She never answered the phone or even looked at it. I let it ring till it cut off four times and was just getting ready to go in when I saw her going out the door on the opposite side of the building. I called her again and this time she answered. By this time the frustration level is getting worse and it wasn’t hard for Barb to figure out. I got her in the car and headed to her apartment. I was going to take her to the grocery store today but she said she didn’t need to go because she knew I was frustrated.

Cherie calls as I drive to let me know that the new neighbor, you know, the one that I think is selling dope downstairs, was in Fred’s face about something. She felt bad that she had to go to work because she wanted to protect Fred. She wanted to make sure I checked in on him when I got home.

Fred called me right when Barb went in and closed her door. “Did you get Barb?” he asked. When hearing that I had gotten her home he said “There’s a couple of police cars here. They’re here because of that guy down the hall”. Now I have something to come home to so hurry it up.

Pulling into the parking lot I see no police but I do see Kathy and her parents out in the parking lot. I park and getting out can see the angst on Kathy’s face and at first thought there were bruises on her face. “Oh no” I said on that observation but as I got closer could tell they were more like old burns or something like that.

I have to go through the last days to see if I made note of the police being called regarding his kids.
Didn’t find any after a quick glance so figure I’ll tell it now. First of all this guy came in bringing attention to himself. He is very gang banger in his dress and mannerisms. There was a constant flow of telephone calls and visitors that started with his arrival. Friends would be in and out at three in the morning and I started to find the tell tell signs of crack cocaine. There would be the torn pieces of baggies that crack is often packaged in showing up in the hallway and the lawn outside. Kathy comes home from work at midnight. There was a crowd in the hallway and she saw the dad (The guy in question) usher his children inside and leave. An hour later he was still gone and Kathy knocked on the door when she heard the kids running around.

When Kathy discovered they were indeed unattended at 1:00 in the morning she called TPD (Toledo Police Dept). That caused a fracas, especially when the dad got home. He got belligerent and called Kathy a racist when nothing else worked. It’s like a wild card in the deck that he could pull out anytime he needed. Didn’t work here, especially with two uniformed officers there.

So that was a day or five ago. Kathy started telling me what happened as soon as I got within range. The noise the bad guy (I don’t know his name) while he was yelling at Fred got Kathy’s attention. She had just gotten out of the shower and hurried out to see what was going on. The bad guy found an eviction notice on his door when he came home and had knocked on Fred’s door, accusing him of causing the eviction. When Kathy came down the stairs he went off, putting his face inches from hers as he screamed at her “Bitch, You Did This” along with a stream other profanities.

Fred started to come out, telling the guy “That’s not right. You can’t talk to her like that”. Kathy told him to get inside, close the door, and dial 911. She had been on the phone with Linda, the manager from Gerdinich Realty who had put the eviction notice on the door. Linda called 911 also and it wasn’t long till the police showed up. They found a felony warrant on him so handcuffed him and took him away. Kathy had run his sheet at the sheriffs department after the children incident and had not found the warrant, but she was able to see he was someone the police are familiar with.

This had all been a shock for Kathy. She said she was scared to death while the guy was screaming at her. She was still shaking. Kathy had just told Cherie and I yesterday that she had found another apartment to live in. She told me now that she was going right over to sign up for it. We talked about Fred and his need to get out of here into a place where his needs could be met.

There were two guys in the apartment cleaning up from the furniture they had just moved in this morning. Kathy said that the police gave them five minutes to vacate the property but they were still here. “I’m not going in till they leave” she said and asked if I could check on them. That’s not a problem for me. I went up to the open door and asked the guy I saw “You about out of here?”. “We’re almost done” he said quietly with an undecipherable look on his face. “Good. You need to get out of here” I brusquely informed him and went back outside. “They’ll be gone soon” I let Kathy know.

While we were talking a disheveled woman, who looked much older and worn than her years, came up. “Where’s Mark? I want to get something from him” she asked Kathy. Kathy was blunt (I loved it) and said “He’s not here anymore. Why don’t you leave with those guys”, referring to the two who were cleaning out his stuff. “Hee’s not here?” she said as her addled brain tried to grasp such a simple concept. “No, and he’s not coming back so just leave” was Kathy’s way of ending this conversation.

The two guys kept dipping around, obviously waiting for something. I went in again and that spurred them to leave the apartment but they stayed out in the parking lot pretending to clean out their truck. I don’t have much patience for crap so I said “You waiting for something?” to get their attention. They are running around in a strange manner, with one person going around the building so he was out of sight, possibly entering the building from the other side. Up to something though I can’t tell what. Now he pulls his truck out and we think he is leaving but he runs around the corner and stops, parking on the street. This is too weird so I walk in to make sure they had not returned to the apartment. They hadn’t so I walk out the front door and around the building where the guy was parked. “You need to go” I said and he did.

So that’s the day so far. Fred asked if I could take him to the store now so might as well. Not going to get much else done.

Texas is looking real good to me now. It looked great before but escaping this stuff enhances that. While I was at the hospital with Wayne I looked at the Google satellite image of our farm. You can see this bus on it.

Never did get Fred to the store. Got caught up into writing this journal and forgot. Looking up I saw the time so called up Fred. “Hey Fred, you ready to go to the store?” I asked. He said “Oh well, I guess I can just plug this old answering machine back in so I won’t miss Barb’s call”. Oh Yeah!! Damn, the answering machine. When did he buy that? Don’t have a clue, that’s why I have a journal. Just know I said I would install it.

Just got Fred’s new answering machine hooked up. We talked as I figured things out. I read the instructions twice yesterday but don’t remember a thing so I work through it now step by step. It has features I told Fred I wouldn’t bother him with because he didn’t need things like three mailboxes. Cherie and I were concerned as we looked at this machine yesterday because the buttons are small and hard to read. Fred can barely see the four inch square machine as it is so being able to identify black buttons on a black background would be next to impossible for him. Fortunately there is a green light that is right in the middle, on the button you press to hear the message. He can see that fine. The other buttons I tried to show him how to find by touch. That will have to be done several times so he can remember it. Just like me but I’m only fifty. It’s better for him and he’s happy. I got the volume turned up as far as it will go so he can hear it.

I brought up again my greatest concern. “Fred, this neighborhood is changing. When those apartments open it’s going to get bad. There’s three or four hundred section 8 apartments that are opening up. This is the stuff gang wars are made of. Those people are money to the dope man, hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’re moving in already (referring to the guy they just arrested here). Fred you need to see about someplace better” I told him. Fred protested “I want to stay here as long as I can”. “Fred, your nearly ninety. Enjoy your last years and make it easier for yourself. Find a place where things are taken care of” I preached. It’s sinking in. Fred said he was having his niece look into the Masonic home. That was good to hear and will make me feel easier about leaving.

It’s tornado warning time. We’re getting a street by street blow of the storm. I flip from station to station, enjoying the technologies each have acquired in their rush to be dominant in the weather departments. These guys can show where the wind is rotating and where the “Shears” are, whatever those are. I don’t know but I sure as hell know where it is. Right now it is at Holland Sylvania Rd. I got my clothes on and had Cherie grab her shoes just in case. We have discussed what to do with Carman Kitty in case of evacuation. The reality is Carman would be hard to catch and put in a carrier, especially if the walls were flying apart.

The reporters are all running towards each hot spot and calling their reports in by cell phone because a mast in the air is a lightning rod in a lightning storm. We’ve got all the shades open, watching the show. Got the computers unhooked. Took a couple of pictures out the window.

It is kind of surreal to watch lightning flash on the live camera feed as we watch the news and have the same lightning flash outside our window at the same instant. Cool. Got to watch the storm. Be back

That was great. Ton’s of lightning. It’s 10:25 right now. I am tired but Cherie is still going. I will go online for a moment now but will then disconnect the phone line again for fear of lightning.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's our anniversary.

6/20/06 Tuesday
Today is our wedding anniversary. We have been married three years, I think. Can’t remember the year right now but I think it was 2003. I am slow this morning, running about a five on the Bob scale. I asked Cherie to start making lists of things I need to do. First thing is to call the department of agriculture regarding renewal of the Conservation Renewal Program. They need a payment on that so this will be the first bill from the farm.

Just called them. The lady who answered the phone was informative and when she found out that the farm in question was Minnie Lee’s she said with relief “I’m so glad you called. We’ve been trying to figure out who owned it”. She will send me the proper forms to fill out and how much to pay. I asked her if they would spend the time to teach me about what they have to offer. She said they would be delighted.

Cherie just came home for lunch and let me know we have only been married two years, not three. It seems like we’ve been together all our lives. Oh well. Got to take Fred to the store.

Monday, June 19, 2006

TIme to catch up

6/17/06 Saturday

6/19/06 Monday
As you can see I haven’t gotten to this journal for a couple of days. There has been so much that happened. I will have to work to remember the events and the sequence they occurred. I ended Friday with a migraine.

So now to Saturday. The one thing that stands out in my memory the most is going to “Muster on the Maumee” at Fort Miegs. At this moment I am finally downloading the pictures I took while there. I may have memory loss issues but this is one memory that I will not forget.

That took a while. I took 68 pictures there and I had to go through them all. When I have time I will tell you about this day. Here’s one picture of my son Bruce. Got to go take Fred shopping and then Wayne.

So, let me tell you why this was so special. It is the first time I have seen my son since, I don’t know, a year maybe. In a strange way, his going to Iraq has brought us closer than when he was here in Toledo. We didn’t talk in depth just sent stuff back and forth but it was good, it was more than before. But the place and timing made it poignant. This is Saturday and tomorrow is Father’s day. FATHER’s Day, that sounds good as I remember raising Bruce and his younger brother Adam. I was proud when they called me dad. I was happy and I loved them and tried to be a father to them in my limited way.

They were I think three and five years old when I started getting together with their mother. It is a great sadness I carry regarding these two. The turmoil of my relationship with their mother on top of her divorcing their father to be with me was hard on them. I did my best but the slide into madness I went through the two years prior to my accident caused serious rifts in the bitter fight of our divorce. I stopped being involved with them during this and then had the wreck. It was over a year before I made it back to Toledo but wasn’t really able to connect with them because I was pretty dazed and confused at this time from the brain injury.

More coming. I got to go get Wayne right now.

Got to Wayne ok. He did his mid month stock up. “What am I going to do when you’re gone. Who’s going to take me to the store” he worried. I don’t have a good answer for that but I know there is some help somewhere. I just haven’t located it for him yet. Fact is there are many things I have not done. This is a constant frustration, my inability to follow through on things.

I never got the letter to Larry done but Patrick Duffy called me about an hour ago. He said that Larry called him and after they talked Larry agreed to accept $37,000 as a final settlement on the farm. Good news indeed. Finally things will be settled.

I am exhausted and it’s only 5:00. I need to get things done and run out of steam. I think I’ll lay down for a bit.

10:31 – I’m back. Now I’ll return to Fort Miegs. When I had noticed Bruce’s interest in military things I got us involved with reenacting at Fort Miegs. There we joined the “War of 1812” group that was based in Fort Miegs. The Fort had been built for the war so we faithfully worked to be historically accurate. During the events we would often camp out over the weekends and sometimes travel to other commemorations of 1812 battles with our cannon. Loved to fire the cannon.

For Bruce this hobby grew to where he now has uniforms, guns, and equipment that match wars from the revolution to Vietnam. The truck is his. A project he has been restoring for years.

So it was Father’s day (OK the day before), it was at Fort Miegs, Bruce just got back from war, it was a good moment. I sat and listened to Bruce as he would talk nonstop to the many that came to his display. I was waiting for a time to just talk with him but I could see it might take a while. I told Cherie to be patient. It was hot out and there were no clouds to dampen the sunlight.

I learned more about Bruce just listening to him talk with others. He gets animated as he discourses on weapons and many other areas he is knowledgeable about. Bruce is an impressive young man. We finally got a peaceful moment and just covered some general things like his house, mortgage, and we only touched on Iraq.

At Muster there are many weapons discharged as part of the demonstrations constantly being given. These demonstrations include cannons and full auto machine guns. I watched Bruce’s face knot up with each explosion and he told me how it bothered him. He said that it makes him want to reach for a weapon that is not there. I can tell that Bruce saw more action than he ever let on about.

Cherie and I started to walk around and take in some of the many displays of military history that went all the way back to Rome. Unfortunately the heat was too much for Cherie so she went to the entrance building that was air conditioned.

I went back through the fort seeking any I may know from the days I was a reenactor here. I did find two or three. John Maier was someone I had remembered from the fort but I was later surprised to learn he had worked for me a couple of years.

Ray I recognized easily and remembered all kinds of details about him. It is strange what I remember and what I don’t. It’s like when I first woke from the coma. I could remember my home phone number but not my address.

This is all for tonight. I have been getting tired and had a few slow downs. We are excited to hear my brother will sign off on this farm so it can be nailed down.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What will get done?

6/16/06 Friday
It is always a rush on Friday mornings because this is the day Cherie goes into work at 8:00 and I meet Jeff for breakfast at the same time. I didn’t get home till 1:00 this morning because of being at Allen’s to celebrate his 38th or 39th birthday. I let Allen drive because it was his birthday. Allen waits for the last minute to head to the movie. This is always how he is. I regretted letting him drive about five seconds after we left. Allen just plain scares the shit out of me with his driving, cutting in and out of traffic with inches to spare and accelerating to within feet of the car in front of him. Then he rides their ass as he cusses about them being so slow and in the way. I kept my hand braced on the dash most of the time.

The X-men movie was great the second time around. I was surprised that I remembered most of it. There is no predicting what I will remember when. After the movie we went to the Chinese restaurant Allen likes so much. As he did the last time we were here Allen ignored the “Please wait to be seated” sign and went straight back to the separate dining room he took me to last time. I tried to explain that he should allow them to seat him but he said “No, this is the smoking area. I like the solitude”. There would be no arguing the point. I saw the look on the managers face as we swept by him on the way to the back room. We sat down and after a while Allen went back up front to request a waiter. This is how it went before and I really don’t like upsetting the people that serve my food, especially before it’s served. Allen ordered his shrimp dish with all kinds of details like “I want gobs of (Nuts or something), no green pepper…” He also ordered the shrimp dish for me, presuming that was what I would want. The waiter, giving a look that conveyed his expectance of the same detail asked me how I want my meal cooked. “Just make it like you always do, that would be fine” I told him and watched his relief.

The food came and for some reason Allen’s didn’t taste right, like it was filled with monosodium glutamate or something. Mine was fine though a little salty. Allen wanted me to take a taste of his to see if I could detect the difference. I didn’t want to taste it for fear of what had been done to it. Allen talked and talked but when the food came shoveled it in barely taking a breath between bites. I took my time and enjoyed the meal as much as I could while Allen spoke of his loneliness.

We got done and I held on as Allen drove back to his house. There we watched some movie on his satellite and just talked about everything. Allen seems to not grasp that we will be going to Texas and tells me of things we should do next year. I was glad to get home.

Jeff did not make our breakfast meeting, he had forgotten and I woke him up when I called. Instead I went to Firestone and set up a time for Jeff the mechanic to go through the truck Monday. When asked what I needed I told him “I want you to find everything that needs to be fixed and fix it. Check out the whole truck”. Then I went to Murray’s to get some paint and filler to start fixing up the scratches and dings.

Coming home Fred came to his door. I could tell he was worrying and listened as he told me Barb’s cell phone wasn’t working again. He wants me to go take care of it. I told him I would call Barb and figure it out.

Barb called me and said “Fred’s freaking out again. He’s driving me crazy”. She did ask if I could take her to stock up on groceries. Her surgery is scheduled for Monday so she will be laid up. That’s the start for my day. I never ate so need to put something in my system. Then I got to get on the Larry letter.

I am not sure how I am doing. Have some equilibrium problems and the ringing in the ears is prevalent. The brain is running at a 7 on the Bob scale, about average.

I had a slow down. When Cherie came home for lunch she got the mail. In it was a letter regarding Lee’s civil service death benefit. I am real frustrated. This is something I was to take care of months ago. It never happened and vanished from my mind till now. I can’t seem to finish anything I start.

I am tired now, real tired. Fred pushed to have me leave to help Barb and said “I’m going with you Bob”. Great. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Barb was happy from the medication they have her on prior to the operation. The feel good pills were working. Fred elected to stay in the car while we were in Kroger. That helped. I followed Barb to keep things moving. It wasn’t long before we got checked out and I pushed the cart out, anxious to see how Fred did with the heat. He was fine but bitching about the heat. “Turn the damn air on” he said. That worked well with me. Barb’s check came so we took her to the bank and then home.

3:36 - I got it done and made it home. Not doing real hot. Finally ate something. Cherie had forced a yogurt on me when she came home for lunch because I don’t think to eat or if I do I get distracted and it’s gone. I heated up some of the Mexican stuff from some restaurant at some time in the past that is unknown to me. I don’t know if this stuff is good or not but it tastes great. I may have to lay down now. Running about a 4 now.

9:11 – Never did speed up and have been tired on top of that. I hope tomorrow is better. Fred asked if I would take him to get the air conditioner on his car charged up tomorrow. I told him no, “It’s Saturday and I like to have my weekends. I’ve got to get ready to go to Texas.

Cherie went shopping and I’m fighting a headache. Turned off the TV and got it quiet except for the sound of the fans blowing. Had the air on earlier but turned it off with the TV. Too noisy.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Not a cloud in the sky

6/15/06 Thursday
Yesterday was like the day before it. Got real busy and worn out. This morning I have some free time. If Fred or anyone calls I am not going to be available. Got to finish the Larry response. Cherie and I worked on it last night but she wasn’t doing well. With the menopause her emotions have wide swings and she was real down, crying at the drop of a hat and the “I’m sorry’s” were coming out like rain. She is doing much better this morning though a tinge of her apprehension still remains.

Later today I will visit with Allen to celebrate his birthday. He practically begged me as there is apparently no one else to celebrate with him. He does have some friends but I don’t think there is much depth there. We will go see X-Men and then go to the Chinese restaurant that has a shrimp dish that is the “Best in the world”. For me seeing X-Men the second time will still be close to the first time. Some of it I will remember but much will be like I am seeing it for the first time. This is the fun part of my Traumatic Brain Injury. I get to experience a movie with all its surprises and twists still surprising over again. Then I wait a year and do it all over again. Now after I’ve seen the movie a few times it stays.

Cherie and I talked about what we will take on our first trip to Texas to secure the farm house. We will be leaving on Thursday the 27th, two weeks from now. I have already warned those I help so they can stock up. I hope to have Wayne moved by then. I should call LMHA to insure this is moving forward.

11:19 – So much for having a day off. I was fixing some French toast when the phone rang. It was Fred “You need to call Barb. It’s an emergency” I heard his quavering voice say. “What’s the emergency Fred” I asked with skepticism. Fred has been known to work himself up to where he would call the police and say Barb had a heart attack. “I don’t know. She’s got to go to the hospital. Just call her” Fred replied.

I called her. They messed up her medical cab so she can’t get to the hospital for the operation, a hysterectomy I think. That I must do so be back in a bit.

1:00 - That was not fun. I finished eating the breakfast I made and went out to the car to get Barb. Fred was in the car waiting. “I thought I’d go with you” he told me. That’s fine but just let me know. I could have been another half hour.

Now I had presumed Barb was at home needing a ride to the hospital In my conversations with both Fred and Barb there was no mention of where she was at. I get in the car and Fred said “It’s on Holland Sylvania. Do you know where that is?”. I know where the street is I just didn’t know Barb was at her doctors office. “No Fred, I don’t” I said so Fred began giving directions. He gives them finger style “Go all the way down here. No! here!” he would say as his finger mysteriously bobbed around pointing down as he couldn’t straighten it.

Barb called as we meandered along to ask if she had time to go to the bathroom. I said no because we were almost there. Now we are on Holland Sylvania so I ask Fred which side of the road it was on. He said left and began to ramble about the complex it was in and couldn’t remember the number. I drove on as he would peer at the buildings with his hand out pointing saying “No. Not that one”.

“Fred, we are almost into Sylvania” I warned but he said “Keep going”. “Fred, we are in Sylvania now” I said. “Oh turn around we went to far” he said. I pulled into a parking lot and called Barb’s cell. She answered and I asked her what the office building number was. She laughed when I told her Fred was giving instructions so we got lost. Then I told her I would find her as long as Fred didn’t give me directions. Fred didn’t like that.

I got Barb to the hospital. On the way back Fred asked how much gas was in the car. “Half a tank” I replied and asked if he would fill it up. He didn’t and said “You’re going to fill it up aren’t you?”. “No Fred” was my quick reply. Now he pouted “Just let it sit then”. Works for me. As we drove he decided he would get gas. I told him I was spending $150 a month on gas but don’t think that will sink in. I have my truck now and will be doing less and less as going to Texas gets closer. I won’t feel as obligated now that I won’t be driving Fred’s car for personal business.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Out of the hospital, into my brothers care.

This is from the early parts of my journal that I was reading to refresh my memory as I prepare a response to Larry.

January 8, 2002- I am released from the hospital to my brother. The hospital records indicate that I was to be released to a rehabilitation facility but because I had no insurance and no arrangements could be made for a scholarship bed, my brother was the only one found who would accept me. It says that my brother agreed to pick me up and take me to St. Louis where he would continue to observe me and to arrange for me to be entered into a rehabilitation program. We had talked of this possibility and I told him “Larry, you can’t afford to take me on”. He reassured me that he was making good money and it would be no problem. I told him I had contacted Salvation Army and others to get a place to stay while I went to rehab.

1/8/02- Larry picks me up from Oklahoma medical center. I don’t understand him. He buys a 12 pack of beer for the drive to St Louis which makes me nervous. I ask him to take me to the junk yard where my car is at and he tells me he doesn’t have time or room. I try to explain that everything I valued was in the car, ranging from clothes, tools, but mostly personal things that cannot be replaced such as pictures and my records like birth certificates. It is to no avail as he drives on expressing his frustration in many little ways. He brings up the ivory chess set that my dad had given me, which was also in the car. He tells me it was supposed to go to him and that dad had no right to give it to me. He asks me to look for signs along the highway and gets mad when I explain that my glasses were apparently lost or broken in the wreck and without them I cannot read the highway signs or even the biggest billboards. I am confused yet grateful to be out of the hospital. I have much fear not knowing what will become of me and still trying to understand what had happened to my life. There were enough bits and pieces of memory to leave me with a bleak view of that recent past. I ruminated on these thoughts as I looked out the window at the blurry unfocused images sweeping past me on this journey into the an uncertain, equally unfocused future.

When we arrive in St. Louis he places me in the cheapest hotel he could find. It smelled of vomit and was constantly used by prostitutes and drug dealers. The police would make 3 to 5 arrests a week out of there. Larry would give me $20.00 a week to eat on and then would get livid when I would run out in 4 days. I wanted to find work because I like to carry my own weight and wasn’t comfortable being a burden to my brother. He also encouraged me to find work and then discovered that he had to pay extra for me to use the hotel phone to call for jobs. This also upset him.

The fact that at this time my voice was so blurred that few people could even understand me on the phone did not faze him. He just told me I would have to learn to talk better. His attitude seemed to be that I would just get better in a short period of time. He was insistent that I needed a haircut because he did not like long hair. That was fine with me because I did not have the strength to lift my arm high enough to comb my hair. I just had the barber cut it all down to about 1/8 of an inch so I would not have to comb it.

On occasion Larry would take me out to eat which I greatly appreciated. Then he brought over his Hibachi grill and went to the grocery store to get food so I could eat within his budget. I found it to be a great pleasure to cook my food. This had always been one of my pastimes and I used to enjoy cooking for my family and friends. He would sometimes pick me up and have me work at his job sites to “help pay my way”. I enjoyed just going anywhere but my lack of strength and confusion were a constant source of irritation for him, which he never hesitated to express. Because the cost of the hotel was around $200.00 a week I convinced him we should find cheaper accommodations for me. He promised me, in response to my worries, that he would take care of me for at least 6 months and I would have nothing to worry about.

Ahh, Home sweet home. I know the sheets and blanket are nasty but that's all I could find in this junk filled apartment.

The accommodations found were in a rough part of the city. Anxious to get out of the hotel I told Larry the neighborhood wouldn’t be a problem. Of course I have brain damage. I had a bed and electricity, and heat (Nice to have in February. That was turned off because the landlord had a gambling problem and had failed to pay the gas bill. I lived on the second floor, above the guy Larry paid rent to. It turns out that he did not even have authority to rent out the place, but was a caretaker for the owner, who was in a nursing home.

Some of the windows on the third floor were broken out and there was a flock of pigeons that lived up there. Sometimes they would crawl through holes in the floor and come to visit me. One morning I woke up with a sparrow sitting on my arm. It took me 2 days to get it to fly out of a window. Eventually it got so weak or tame because I would feed it that I coaxed it onto my hand and placed my hand out of the window, shaking it to encourage the bird to fly. Then I had to hastily close the window because it kept trying to fly back inside. Often times I had to clean the bird droppings that leaked through the floor upstairs, out of the bathtub to take a bath in cold water.

Here's my kitchen

To cook Larry got me a hot plate and an old toaster oven because the only thing in the kitchen were a sink and some old dishes and items left by previous tenants, some of whom were indigent street people.

Still being trying to find a job, especially with Larry’s increasing “Encouragement”, I took whatever I could. The two I found were another part of the education that I suspect will take a long time. I was fired from both. The first one was a telemarketing scam that promised to help people to repair their credit by having them purchase a credit card for $250.00 with the catch that they could only purchase items from a catalog supplied by the scammers. After 4 or 5 weeks I was fired and only received pay that was equivalent to minimum wage. The company, Credit Plus, kept all the commissions that I earned.

The second job was for a modeling agency that encouraged youths to come in with their parents and after hyping them up with the dream of riches and fame would talk them into signing up for classes that would each them how to be models. The manager was seldom there and seemed to be more interested in partying than running his operation. I asked him after 4 weeks when I was going to be paid. This was just before the company changed names and locations to avoid legal trouble. I was fired. Of course I never received a single paycheck.

The security lock on the back door. Yes, it's the 2x4 because the door had been kicked in so otherwise it swings open with the breeze.

I would sometimes walk because I knew it was good for my health but the neighborhood was full of gang bangers who would yell at passing cars to sell crack, and sometimes fight with others for business. I was jumped and robbed twice when I said that I didn’t do drugs.

Larry had purchased a car from one of his friends to help me get work. The first night it was parked in front of the place I was staying on Chippewa St. the window was smashed and the stereo was stolen. Of course Larry had never properly registered the car, gotten insurance, or even gotten plates so when I reported the theft to the police they had some questions about that. I kept driving it anyway because I cherished the ability to travel, desired to keep Larry satisfied by continuing to look for work, and desperately craved social contact which I got one day a week at church.

After awhile people got to know me because I would wood carve in front of the house and talk to passersby about my coma and new outlook on life. There came a point where I was no longer harassed and felt safer on the street. I would help some of the people in the neighborhood by giving them rides to the grocery store or fixing their cars. Then I walked to a nearby hospital because I was feeling ill, had fallen down the stairs, and seemed to be more lost and paranoid than usual.

When the hospital learned of my condition and the severity of my injuries from the accident, I was sent to a medical clinic that was in walking distance from my house. There the doctor got the social worker involved when they learned of my living conditions and medical and mental state. I was signed up for food stamps, Medicaid, and sent to a variety of specialist, which fortunately included the Brain Injury Center, who did more for me than anyone.

My brother is still a mystery to me. He had only paid the first months rent and given Gary, the “landlord” $60.00 twice since then. Gary became more insistent for money probably due to his gambling addiction. With nothing forth coming he started eviction proceedings. Larry became upset when he discovered that I had applied for food stamps and government assistance telling me, as he often did, that I was stupid. I continued going to church at Southside Assembly. It would be interesting to talk to those who knew me then and get their perspective of me. I suspect that I did not open up to many and, due to my shame and embarrassment, I am sure that I hid my condition and living situation from most. I did start seeing a registered therapist named Kathy Mager who learned more about me than anyone. She did tell me that, by my refusing to ask for help, I was robbing others of blessings they would receive by helping me.
By this time I was going to the Brain Injury Center on a regular basis. They did wonders for me by just teaching me basics like writing things down so I could remember and identifying areas of need and making sure the appropriate professionals or procedures were in place and making sure I made it to my other appointments. After kind of wandering around lost I greatly enjoyed knowing there were those who understood what I was experiencing and gave me the hope that I could once again have a life. Recognizing that I was very depressed they started to get me hooked up with a mental health clinic.