Monday, July 31, 2006

I choose to have a good day

There are three ways of seeing life. In one people stick fast. In another they go to excess. In the third they see correctly.

In the first way, people take pleasure in all the things of life--in possessions and happenings, in families and continuation. When a teaching is proclaimed that advises nonattachment and going beyond the dictates of the self, their heart does not leap up and they are not drawn to it. In the second way, people are afflicted by hatred of life. Just as attached to life, they nonetheless revile it and make a bad thing of it to excess.

In the third way, people see life as it is--forever being and ceasing to be. They accept it willingly but are not attached and do not despair. It is they who begin to know the unconditioned.

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

7/31/06 Monday
It is a good morning cause I choose for it to be. I am up, washed, coffee buzzed, ate breakfast, got dishwater run, took my medicine, and happy this laptop again works well. We already have the air conditioning on.

How lucky and pampered we are to have luxuries like this. Most in this country consider it a necessity of life but there many who cannot afford this. The death toll from the heat wave is growing. This strengthens my resolve to make the farm house one that is designed to provide comfort and protection from the intense heat that is standard in West Texas. Passive solar is one of the designs out there but I am thinking up one that employs many of those concepts but is not totally passive.

Cherie made a short list of things for me to do, for which I am grateful. First on that list is to call the credit bureau to get their hours so Cherie and I can both go down there. I called and got a machine so will call again in an hour. Also on the list is to call Jim McGilvray, the attorney handling the estate. I would like to get funds released so I can buy the trailer we found for sale in Indiana on the Homesteading Today website. It is too good a deal to pass up. Think I will do that right now.

I called Jim. He said that Virginia came in Friday and worked through things with him. He said she needed to decide what her fee would be. I suppose I should call her cause she is the one who ultimately controls the purse strings. Hate to be a nudge but would also hate to miss this opportunity for the trailer.

Talked to Virginia. I explained the chance to buy a trailer for a great price. She said she would talk to the bank and also Vickie. I’m not sure who Vickie is, perhaps Jim’s secretary. I encouraged Virginia to treat herself well regarding her fee for being the executor of the will. She earned it. She said Larry had left a message last week but that she hadn’t talked to him. I said that I hoped he wasn’t needing money already but who knows. He has been living on his credit cards so probably had big bills to pay. I am sure he spent some chunks on toys or perhaps investments in housing. Hope he spends it wisely.

It’s 9:49 now. Best wash the dishes before I forget. Then I will run the check to our storage unit. Another thing Cherie put on the list. I also need to wash the towels. That’s easy cause I don’t have to be careful of water temperature, drying temp, or what to hang up and dry. Need to get some quarters though. If the credit agency doesn’t answer the phone I’ll drop by cause their not far. Need to put calling our bankruptcy attorney on the list. Time to post this and get moving.
So much for choosing to have a good day.
Now the emotional control issues are raising their ugly head. Tried to call the only credit bureau listed in the phone book only to be shunted to a recording. That recording went on about “If you want a copy of your Transunion credit report call 1-800-….” I called another number listed for the credit bureau because we really wanted to talk to a human. Cherie had tried for a month or more to get a credit report with no luck. She sent copies of drivers licenses and everything else they requested and still they would not release the report. That was with three agencies. At the second number a lady answered. She told me they stopped doing credit reports in 2002 but said “Hold on. I’ll switch you to a number that can help you”. It was the same recording. I called the 800 number given but got a message that said “It is ninety five cents a minute to chat…”. That was it. Some jackass chat thing that was probably a sex site. I hung up before she finished talking and hope that we won’t get billed.

Now I am set off. Heaven help the next person that runs into me now. I was going to pay the storage bill and run to the junk yard and get the car jack and crank we need for the truck. The crank is to mount the spare tire under the truck. I don’t think I will go out into public till I cool down. Called Cherie and dumped on her. Then I left a message for the lawyer who handled our bankruptcy. The bank was able to get one credit report and that showed some problems including a wireless phone bill for AT&T. We never had an account with them.
2:12 - I talked to the lady in Indiana who has the trailer for sale. Will send her a check for $100 to secure it till we get some money from the estate in Texas. Fredrick Boyk returned my call concerning getting the credit reports. He suggested putting his name on letters to the credit agencies. He also said that all debts prior to the bankruptcy were covered. If they still show up we need to write them a letter that included his name. That is a relief. I am settled down now so will venture out to get some things done.

Had to fight this computer again. Need to understand why so many programs are running cause that slows it down.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A clear morning

7/30/06 Sunday
It is 5:00 AM. It’s Prime Time! I woke up sharp and clear with this brain running at an 8 on the Bob scale. Not quite to the prime time level of 9 but it is a good start. There is a good chance that the early morning cobwebs will clear out as I wake up more. Got up and just made a pot of coffee. That will help clear cobwebs. Carman kitty just got the pets he expects every morning. I am anxious to finish setting up the new blog for the farm. As I think about it I feel it can be a valuable tool in helping me organize my thoughts and even having others give the advice we will definitely need.

Life has become so exciting for us. It is hard to believe that it was just four years ago that I was wandering homeless with severe memory loss. Now I am remarried to my first love after 25 years of not even knowing where Cherie was and we are preparing to head to Texas and build a life from scratch. I am still and hope I will always be amazed at how blessed I am. When we went to the El Tipico restaurant yesterday we talked with the owner and his wife for quite some time. In fact she had served up our meals while we talked and I had to excuse us because the food was getting cold.

He is a minister and was about as nice and open as you can get. They are the kind of people you are glad to spend your money with. He thought I looked familiar so I shared our story telling him that I had been featured on the ABC news as “Toledo’s John Doe”. When he found out that Cherie and I had met in bible college and that I had been ordained he asked how I was doing now.

I really didn’t want to get into my doubts regarding church because I know the reaction that would bring out. I did share that I had fallen away from that faith after Cherie and I had gone through the painful divorce 25 years ago. Now that I think about it the divorce was 23 years ago but that’s ok. He asked if it was drugs and alcohol or if I was mad at God. It wasn’t drugs but mad was a factor. Drugs and drinking came shortly after. Why I am writing all this I do not know but it is what comes out this morning. We talked about the brain injuries. First the one that was the cause of our divorce and then the one that brought us back together. When I told him that if I met him tomorrow I would not recognize him he looked at his wife and said “That sounds like that Hawaii movie. What was that called?”. “Fifty first dates” I said as she also searched her mind for the title. They are good people and we will make it a point to visit again before we leave.

I found a trailer for sale in the “Homestead Today” web site I had just found a few days ago. It is much like the other homestead site but seems to get into more detail about raising livestock and stuff. It is a seventeen foot livestock trailer for $600. Needs a new floor but for that price I could put in three new floors and come out ahead. I called to see if it was still available and it is. We don’t have the cash right now but the wife I talked to said they were going to the Indiana State fair this week so there is a good chance it will be available next weekend. Don’t know if we will have any money then but we will see. It’s a hell of a good deal and is just what we need for the move to Texas. Actually a lot better than a landscapers open trailer I was considering because of price.

Cherie is up now. I heard her alarm go off at 5:30 and presumed she had set it accidentally. No. I had forgotten she is to go to work this morning despite us talking about it yesterday. I plan on visiting Allen today. Wish he would keep better hours because when he gets up a 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon I’ve already had a day and am tired. Besides that I like to spend my evenings with my lovely wife.

Time to work on the farm blog. I think I named it
Our Dream, Our Oasis but will have to check to make sure.
12:16 – Cherie just called. She’s off work and at Miejer picking up a prescription. She got paid for a whole day of work. At time and a half that will help out a bunch. I just made some rice pudding. Got a ton of pictures put on theFarm blog and put some links to it and the two homesteader sites on Walked With Angels. I am so glad Byron showed me how to do this link thing. Thanks dude! I took a nap at 11:00 or so. When I get fatigued an hour nap goes a long way. I suppose it will always be this way. That’s what I read at the brain injury site. I have improved in so many other areas. The headaches and slow downs don’t come as often as they used to and I usually know what day it is when I wake up. The reduction of stress probably has a lot to do with that. When we get the farm set up things will be much better. It will be far more peaceful than here and I will be able to have an active routine. Pretty much the exact prescription found for TBI in all the literature. Having familiar surroundings is part of that also. I don’t get lost here as much either.

I’m not as sharp as I was this morning but that’s ok. Not doing bad at all, running a 7 on the Bob scale, which is average. I took the garbage out and it is miserable hot out there. Was going to work on the truck door but I may put that off. The next few days won’t be any better
It is 10:00 now. I called Allen and when I asked if he wanted me to come over he said he had a guest and they were talking about eating out. I told him that was a good idea because I know he doesn’t eat right and needs to get out of his hole. He seemed to not take that well for some strange reason. It ended with him saying he would call me. Whatever.

I just got done downloading more pictures to the Our dream blog and got mapstats set up on it. Getting real tired now. Checked Walked with Angels and had eighteen or so visitors. The Big Spring reader is there every day now and sometimes checks in twice in a day. Real curious who it is. Hey, drop me a comment to say hi ok? Getting pretty tired now so will call it a night.

Just went in to ask Cherie if she wanted me to shut her computer off. She had fallen asleep sitting up with the remote in her hand and was so out of it that she did not respond when I gently called her name or stroked her cheek. Had to get a picture of it but I don’t dare publish it cause it’ll get me in deep water quick. She’s up now and probably will have a hard time getting back to sleep

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another dream, what could it mean?

Probably that I had a restless night

7/29/06 Saturday
I woke at 4:48 this morning. Had another very different dream though not as vivid as before. In this one I am running a crew dismantling and removing the business furniture in a large office building. There are many personal effects that have been left behind by the previous tenants. Everything is old and dark in a traditional walnut way. My boss is an inscrutable oriental whom I give the respect a sensei receives. I am keeping everyone honest as we work and make sure everyone is staying at work and not being lazy.

We get towards the end of things and the pace steps up as the excitement of finishing approaches. I am dismantling the final walls from the inside as the crew on the other side of the walls take the pieces I hand them. It is going well and finally I remove enough of the wall that the others can come in where I have been working alone.

Just as we are carrying the last pieces onto the truck all hell breaks loose. A band of rough looking characters, dressed in leather armor reminiscent of the Chinese warriors of ancient times, are coming through the crowds of people on this busy city street. They are swinging whips that resemble a cat of nine tails made of thin steel cables and fling them into the air where they all fall across the power lines. The leader of this group comes to me. I see his knarred face with it’s Fu Manchu as he tells me “You’ve got till then (Pointing at his watch) to turn the electricity off or 23,000 will die.

Me and a trusted associate spring into action. “How do I get to the top of this building” I say as I look at the towering office building we had just emptied. I knew the elevators and inside would be booby trapped and there are no windows in it. With a flash of desperate genius I leap on the side of this skyscraper and begin scaling it using the bricks that were decoratively sticking out of the walls like a rock climber. “This is impossible to do” I think as I grasp one brick at a time and slowly hoist myself up, careful yet in a hurry.
I make it to the top. Coming over the edge to the roof I see the crown of this skyscraper. It is a wooden dome, weathered and dark. As I look the front rolls open and I see an old friend who had been in seclusion there for ages. He looks at me with his face now covered with the bushy beard that has grown in his years at this place and says “Welcome my old friend, are you ready for that game of chess”. He opens his arms which are covered by the long baggy sleeves of his monks robe. I see the chess set already set up, waiting for this moment as it has been since he arrived to this place decades ago.

My associate just now makes it over the top and comes to me questioningly. I tell him to play this man a game of chess and “Be careful, he’s good”. With the game starting I rush to find the breaker box and turn off the electricity. Running down the dark stairs I find the switch and pull it in time with great relief.

Then I woke up. It is now 6:09 and I have made a pot of coffee and finished the first cup. Actually it is sitting next to me half full and half cold. Good morning world! I have started. Still tired. Went to sleep just after midnight so I got four hours of sleep. I suppose I should take my medicine. Cherie is stirring on occasion but still asleep. She woke up around the time I did with one of her hot flashes so sat on the edge of the bed in front of the fan till it passed. I gently rubbed her back and still asleep she mumbled something and laid back down.

The night has turned into day as I recorded this dream though the sun is not yet visible. I think I will check my E mail now. Perhaps post this on the blog.
8:49 – Cherie is hurrying to get ready to visit Eileen. It always takes her a while but that is the way it is. She has to make sure everything is right before she goes out in public. Living on the farm may be rough on her in that regard but maybe not. I fixed French toast this morning so we had some good protein before we leave.

I looked on the Toledo map after hearing what streets the sewage system had backed up on, filling basements up to four feet high with raw sewage. I wanted to see how close Allen’s house was to that cause he lives in a basement and has flooded during hard rains before. Yeah it’s close. I have not called him since I offered him a free computer and he was worried if it was good enough or not. He doesn’t own one at all and it grated on me that he would do this. Now however I must give him a call because he probably needs help cleaning. Also because he isolates himself so much he will probably be unaware that there are faith based groups reaching out to help flood victims as well as FEMA.

Looking forward to visiting with Eileen. Will take this laptop because it has all the pictures in it.
Just called her and she said she needed to run over to her sister’s house so wouldn’t get back till 10:30 or 11:00.

We got to visit with Eileen. I will perhaps write about it later. It is 7:19 now and I am not doing well. Real foggy and got a headache again. We stopped at a restaurant called El Tipico on the way back. Probably spelled that wrong. We were going to find a Taco Bell but saw the restaurant on the way there. We had heard about it or something so figured it had to beat Taco Bell. It not only beat Taco Hell (My nickname for it) but beat most of the Mexican restaurants in town. Nice small place run by a husband and wife. His father had passed the restaurant down to him. Real Mexican food, not the commercial stuff made to satisfy Americans found in most places. I had ordered tamales cause that is a telling proof regarding Mexican food. Good stuff with shredded beef, clearly made by hand. We will go back. What’s funny is it beat everything we found in Midland Texas which has more Mexican restaurants than anything else.

Allen returned my call. I called while at Eileen’s. Come to find out he did not flood which is good but he didn’t call till 6:00. That indicates he is still not keeping anything that resembles regular hours. In fact he wasn’t even aware of the floods blocks from him and asked me when it rained. “Was it last night, was it the day before?” he questioned me. He wasn’t aware it has been roasting hot for days now. His satellite feed got roasted he told me so even that conduit to the outside world has been cut off. I probably ought to visit him and will. It is often uncomfortable but that’s the way it is. I am beginning to understand he is mentally ill. Thought it was the addiction to pain killers but realize it is much more than that. Not much I can do other than be a friend and fight his isolation by visiting. I think I will get him the computer despite his attitude cause it may help him get in better touch with the world.

The visit with Eileen went OK. She has been loosing weight cause she can’t keep food down. Things were nice at first but then the phone started ringing. Boo came to visit with her grandson whom she calls “Half breed”. Watching how they interacted was a shock for Cherie. It was F this and F that. “You better F-ing shut up” Boo would tell the ten or so year old kid when he bugged her to go back to Maumee and got the bathing suit he forgot. I took a picture of them though Boo wasn’t keen on that.

Eileen’s son, Bobby, came over from next door. His kids came by to swim in the pool. Eileen said Bobby was getting more respectful after Mick, Eileen’s boyfriend, told him he better straighten up. Mick is a biker and a Vietnam vet who doesn’t mess around. Bobby knows Mick will kick his ass in a heartbeat. He wouldn’t like me writing this but that’s tough. I would like to meet him cause we are very much alike. Bobby still has a drinking problem but that's not news. Eileen and I talked about how many times I fired him when he worked for me. I think I hired about everyone in her family except her daughter over the years.

Each visit to the East side is culture shock for Cherie. It’s home for me and I am very comfortable there but is like nothing Cherie has experienced before. We passed the house that had been firebombed a few days ago. It is at the end of Eileen’s block. They tore it down already. This is a hard place to grow up in.

Cherie went shopping to get a present for Pat going on three hours ago. For her shopping is a way to unwind. I am sure she needs that after being on the East side. We were both glad to escape the cigarette smoke. I am so glad I kicked that nasty habit. While there Eileen got a call from her niece. Her father was dying of lung cancer. Boo talked about how the lumps in her throat weren’t cancerous so she would smoke till they were. My mother was the same way and told me once years ago that she would never quit despite having cancer several times and beating it. It finally beat her and she died before Lee, her mother, did.

I got a credit report in. There are a few things that I need to check on. It is really kind of cryptic and doesn’t give a clear picture of what debt is what, just gives an account number. I need to take it to the lawyer who handled our bankruptcy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Good morning world

Wow! I've already gotten a load of visitors to this blog and am just looking at it myself. Some of these Homesteaders get up early. Course when we get to Texas we'll learn to do the same. If nothing else to get as much outside work done as we can before it hits 100 degrees.

I am sharp this morning. Always love it when this damaged brain decides to work. Hope it stays that way as I pretty much lost the last few days due to the partial seizures. This morning I get to pick up my laptop. Kind of got attached to it cause it is a valuable tool to help me compensate for the brain injury. It also contains most of the information I have gathered for the farm and for that matter my life since I woke from the coma. I've scanned in every document and letter I've written. That reminds me, I best make another back up disc to secure that info.

I am also going to stop by the VA clinic to inquire about veteran benifits for the farm. One of the homesteaders gave me some sage advise on that. He said focus on the house with the VA.

Got to get moving and take advantage of this period of mental clarity. It is what I call prime time and I never know how long it will last. Be back later.
12:20 – Cherie just came home for lunch. I could instantly tell something was wrong. When I asked her what was wrong she said “Nothing” and started crying. I held her and explained that she can’t tell me nothing’s wrong and cry, “I kinda know better so what’s going on”. “I hate being rejected” she told me between sobs. Come to find out Pat and Debbie had been giving her the cold shoulder and snuck out to lunch without inviting Cherie as they used to always do. Pat is the girl who had been feeding Carman kitty while we were in Texas. Debbie is a manipulator who was getting Pat worked up about not being able to find Carman once. I told Cherie to just come out and ask what was wrong instead of letting it continue. “It’s always better to communicate. This might be over some little thing that can be solved by getting it out into the open” I advised her.
I told her that I loved her and would love her forever. She said she was glad and that if I hadn’t come back in her life she would just be an empty shell. I fixed her a sandwich with the leftover pork and a little love thrown in for good measure. She just left to get back to work and is in much better spirits. Hope she is brave enough to confront these two. I did suggest she get a gift for Pat for caring for Carman while we were gone. Cherie had been contemplating paying Pat $150.00 for it. I asked if they had talked about getting paid before we left and Cherie said “No”. I told her to just get a nice gift and a card because it would mean more. Besides that we are broke.

I got my laptop back. Using it right now. Feels good to have it here, kinda a security thing as I depend on it so much. Now I can post pictures on the blog cause I didn’t have any in Cherie’s computer. I think I will post this and get back to doing things.
Wayne asked “Would you do me a favor?”. Of course I will and he knows it but was nice enough to ask. He needs more laxative because the bowel problem is acting up again. This is a common problem with Multiple Sclerosis and will only get worse not better. He also needed some stamps. Wayne gave me a twenty hoping it would be enough. Doesn’t matter cause I would cover it anyway but won’t tell him because he gets dingy about it.

At Kroger I looked at the Metamucil he had asked for. The big bottle he wants is fifteen bucks and some change. The book of stamps was $7.80 so that’s what I expected. Then I noticed the Kroger brand of laxative and it was on sale. $6.89 or something close to that but there was a sign on it that said “Buy one get one free”. I picked up the jar and compared ingredients. They are identical. Sometimes it is hard for me to make a decision but not this time. I got two containers for 1/3 of the price of Metamucil. Wayne got change back from his twenty though he was surprised when I walked in with two bottles. I also picked up a roll of tape for him.

We talked for a bit and I ran to his mailbox to pick up his mail. He told me all about how the physical therapist would be coming and that someone would help him wash his clothes. They are also getting him a special toilet seat that sits higher so standing up won’t be so hard. He mentioned some other handicap items but I don’t remember them now. I was getting tired so came home. I think this is the first time I saw him since we got back from Texas but can’t be sure.

Cherie should be home soon. I am real tired but will go work on the door handle on the truck. It is not working well and I noticed is working it’s way loose. Then I will probably have to lie down.

It’s nearly 11:00 now. Cherie came home from work just when I started to look at the truck door. “How about we go to the Glendale Garden Café” she suggested. Hey it’s Friday and this is the first paycheck since we got back from Texas and I can tell Cherie would like to not fix dinner so it’s a good idea. She'd already had a rough morning though she was doing much better. We got to the Café and found it is being remodeled thus was closed. Bummer, but we are in Toledo, tons of restaurants here, even for tight budgets.

Dinner was great. The GG Café has a sister restaurant that is not far so that worked. Love the Mediterranean food. Cherie had a kabob thing with a mix of lamb and whatnot that I will have to get next time. We came home. I never did get to fix the truck door and fell asleep for a couple of hours while Cherie shopped for a gift for Pat. Now it is time to get to bed.
Tomorrow we go see Eileen in the morning. She will fix cinnamon rolls and coffee and we will talk and talk. For those of you who do not follow closely or are part of the new influx of readers from the Homestead site, Eileen was my secretary for twelve years or so and knows more about me than many. It was Eileen that I spent four days to find when I was wandering homeless with the amnesia. I had once lived next door but that doesn’t matter when you lost your memory. She has filled in many of the blanks in this brain. I would say she is my best friend. Anyway we look forward to visiting. Good night all.

I carved this shortly after waking from the coma.
Click on it to make it bigger.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Woke up tired

I woke up tired after having another strange dream. This time I was new at a facility that was somewhat institutional. When a clique decided they didn't like me things began to disapear from my locker. I had a physical confrontation with one of the members of this gang. He had come to attack me but I put him down hard. The superiors of this institution said they could not do anything so I was on my own. Leaving the person whom I had just put down I saw a three members of this gang eying me from a distance as they positioned themselves to attack when I walked by. I went down a different path to circumvent this and catch them unawares. I wasn't scared or avoiding the confrontation but had every intention of attacking them before they got me. Then I woke up. Too wierd.

Anyway I feel exhausted. There is nothing on my calendar for today. I will clean up the kitchen. Most of the mess is from my cooking. The ribs I cooked in the crock pot were great. I had a bad slowdown about the time Cherie came home from work. This one came with one of those migraines that just stop me. I kept pushing to get the dinner done but was bitchy and frustrated at the partial seizure and migraine. Not easy to get along with.

Eileen called during this period and Cherie took the call. She explained I was not doing well and it was not a good time to talk to me. I greatly appreciated this. Barb had also called and asked "Are you busy tomorrow?". I asked her what she needed and she launched into a long explanation that basically said she wanted a ride to buy a micrwave. I told her that unless it was an emergency or vitally important I would not give her a ride. I have to make sure she, and for that matter everyone I help, does not again become dependent on me. We will be moving to Texas in October so this is neccessary.

Besides that there is much I need to do to prepare for becoming a farmer. I think I will start using the term "Homesteader" because, after visiting the Homsteader website and others, I find it more accurately defines where we are heading. It is a fascinating culture which at it's roots is the spirit of this country's earliest settlers. There is a bravery demonstrated in these modern day homesteaders who stretch to carve out their future through hard work and perserverance. Many of these folks are those who reject a world and lifestyle that has caused much pain and seek a simpler more harmonious existence. There is a peace that can be found in this that is hard to get in the city. This is true for Cherie and I also. For me with my brain injury it is a big factor. Stress and having to move quick freeze up this brain. I don't handle unfamiliar well. Going to a grocery store can be hard, especially if it is one I have not visited before. A familiar setting and well defined routines are whats best. This I was taught at the brain injury place I attended in St Louis. For Cherie escaping the things that cause much consternation and pain is a good thing. Going out to create a new life together is an exciting thing that we very much look forward to. It is a joy, depth,?? can't find a word to describe it but we are one and this deepens that bond.

I am not real speedy brain wise but not bad. Running a 6 on the Bob scale. I think the tiredness is from the slowdown yesterday. They can drain me. It is time for me to get the kitchen done and then I must focus on my studies for the farm. Have to get a plan put together for the banks.
12:40 - This is frustrating. Second day in a row for a migraine. Cherie called and said I should eat something. She's a good woman for sure. I need reminders cause seldom feel the sensation of hunger and forget if I ate or not. Went to the Homestead site and perused it a while. Put a topic in about government programs for farms and stuff. These folks probably know lots of stuff though I suspect many stay away from government involvement. I don't blame them but figure if big corporations like Microsoft are tapping into goverment programs designed for small business I should try to get some of my tax money back. Isn't that what I pay the goverment for? I think I need to eat and take something stronger than aspirin for the headache
Virtual PC called to let me know the laptop was finished. He said they only found one little virus but there were a bunch of programs running in the background that were causing problems. I Won't be able to pick it up till tomorrow when some money gets into the bank.

I am still not doing well. Couldn't chase the migraine away and when I sat down to write a plan for the farm could not think. Got confused just trying to figure out what to put down. Even typing this is slow, one thought at a time, trying to choose a word to use is hard. I think I am down to a 4 on the Bob scale. Will know better when Cherie gets home cause my ability to respond shows it. I think I will quit for now and go back to read the Homesteader. I won't remember what I read but it fills the time well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This will be a good day.

7/26/06 Wednesday
This is a good start for today. The brain is running at an 8 on the Bob scale. Cherie left me a list of things that need to be done for which I am grateful. I told her that while I may be labeled disabled I can do lots, just need some direction. I have showered, won’t shave, washed the dishes, made a rub for the pork ribs, and then went to the homesteader website. There is so much there and it is a large active community of homesteaders that I think it is vital I become a part of it. These folks are living the life we are heading into. I am not at all familiar with the forums, which are kinda like chat rooms. Never did chat rooms though I did try the brain injury one. That left me confused and frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to do it. This format is simpler so I can handle it though I don’t know how to post a picture.
I suppose I should fix something to eat. It is almost 11:00. Need to get the laundry started and change the sheets. (That’s on my to do list)
Well you probably won't hear much from me for a day or two. Finally had to take the laptop in. It got so bad it would not even shut off. At least I have Cherie's computer to go online with. Tired now. GOt the laundry done and awill go put sheets on the bed so I can lay down.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Memories, Histories

This was going to be at the end of the previous post but when I got going I could see this deserved it's own section. Read the end of the other post cause I was waxing eloquent.

I suppose I should post some of the pictures. The ones here are of my brother and I. Strangely enough I remember this sweater. I suppose I am eight or something. It is strange that memories from this early in my life are still there and clear but they become more fragmented as time moves on. I have clear memories of the twenty four hour day care our mother put us in when we were three or four years old. Not good ones at all. I remember taking the now empty bowl back up to see if I could have more cause I was hungry. That got me a “Go back and sit down” coupled with a smack upside the head. My grandmother told me years later that when they rescued us out of their they took us to a place that served hot dogs and ice cream. When our food came I put my arm around it to guard it from anyone who might try and steal it. She said it shocked her and Rudy to see that and how quickly Larry and I ate our food. They knew things were bad but this let them know how bad it was.

Among the pictures were this one showing my brother and I with mother. I don’t remember this at all. I suppose I should but it’s not there.

This picture is from when Lee and Rudy took us to Carlsbad Caverns. That I do remember. Cool place that I think Cherie and I will go to when we get settled in Texas. It is in New Mexico, which is not at all far from where we will be in Texas. At least I don’t think it is but can’t say I know for sure.

Another place Lee and Rudy took us was on the border with Mexico. It was an old Indian gathering point for it had a spring of water gushing out of the hillside. I mean lots of water, a column the diameter of a fire hydrant that was five feet long shooting sideways out of the cliff side. They had constructed several dams to create large ponds that were stocked with catfish. These fish were fed at the same time each day. It was a sight to see as the water came alive with the hundreds of fish that gathered on cue.

We would catch fish anytime we put a hook in the water. In fact we had to not fish so as to be able to eat what we caught. I still remember how good these grain and malt fed fish were. Lee would just peel the bones out in one motion and fry them up.

I climbed on top of one of the mesas just to do it. When I finally reached the top, which was ten times farther and harder than it looked from the bottom, I was astounded at what I saw. For the whole journey to that place we were weaving through canyons with the flat topped mesas always towering over us. Now I looked out and saw only a flat plain with the curve of the earth clearly visible. There is no doubt that this had one time been the bottom of a sea. This portion of the ocean was drained by some cataclysm eons ago that violently emptied thousands of square miles of land that extended at least to the Permian Basin where our farm is. The exiting waters carved out the canyons leaving behind the mesas who’s tops were all uniformly at the same level.

There was much of my history revealed in the boxes and pictures we found at the farm. This is my drivers license that expired while I was in the Texas prison system.

I look at this and find it hard to imagine that this is the kid who was going to be pushed into the service by a judge and…well there’s no room here for this part of the tale. Military service, streets, prison, all this in just three or four years.

A picture of me with my grandmother. I am wearing my Texas prison uniform. I’m a skinny little kid and prison is hard when your not big and strong. Lee was a source of strength for me and integral to my survival. I had been selling ground up aspirin as cocaine and a small amount wrapped in tin foil was found when we were pulled over. Secure in the knowledge it was aspirin I took the blame despite the packet being in another’s possession. The detective said it tested positive as cocaine and I was given a ten year sentence. This would follow me the rest of my life, giving me the stigma of “Ex-Con”. The legal system would interpret that as me being a hardened criminal. It made it harder to find a good job and getting a fair shake in court was near to impossible.

This Mustang was mine but my grandmother gave it to Larry here while I was in the joint. It was fine with me. Larry later told me how he broke out the window when he went to throw a beer bottle he had just emptied out. Unfortunately the window was rolled up. The car would later mysteriously catch on fire as he drove it. At least that’s how the story is told. Good for some insurance money.

In prison I got religious. There are lots of pictures of me with a bible. I went to bible college upon my release where I met and would later marry Cherie the first time. That is detailed in the love story that has yet to make it out to the blog.

This picture is a puzzle. It is my brother smoking a joint in the farm house. Who took the picture and how it got into grandmother’s collection I will probably never know. I do know she would have never allowed such a thing.

There are many pictures of my grandfather Rudy. He was a decorated veteran of the pacific theatre during world war two. I remember him telling me that he earned his purple heart when he got shot in the ass on some tropical island. The war was hard on him as it is hard on everyone who must be in the thick of it. He would wake up from a dream screaming and once put his fist through the window.

One time, when I had come to live with them after leaving my fathers when I was fourteen or so, he got irritated at my continually changing the radio station in his truck as we were going fishing at Moss Creek Lake. I blubbered like a baby but needed it. Unlike the regular beatings my father gave me Rudy’s one little smack did much good. Kind of woke me up a little and taught me to show some respect. It didn’t take me long to forget that lesson with others but he always had my respect.

Here is a picture of Rudy shortly before he died of lung cancer. I remember sitting with him at the farm and taking a break from the work we did building the garage. We would smoke together and he would sometimes let me have a beer.

Lee and Rudy are a love story in their own right. Sure they had their problems as we all do but they stuck by and supported each other. The farm is a dream they built just as we will. The cast iron cookware collection you see on the wall is one of the many things that has disappeared over the years.

In my mind we are carrying on the legacy they left. There are pictures that show the many trees they planted and cared for. Here is a picture of Lee harvesting apricots. Most of the trees are gone now but we will remedy that.

You can see how the front porch used to be. I could tell it had been enclosed later on so was glad to find this picture.

This picture may show part of the farm house. I am really sure but the doors and window appear to be in the right place. If it is it reveals some interesting details as to the construction. It looks like the place had been gutted from what you can see through the window. Just like we are going to have to gut it ourselves.

One of the chickens on the farm hatched and raised eleven quail. I have a picture of the mother quail with the hen both sitting on the eggs. There are still many quail around the farm house. They would run or fly off many times when we went around the corner.

This is a West Texas Jackrabbit. Rudy had brought it home after a farmer had plowed over the hole it was in. They named it Baby. Baby’s hind legs had been a bit mangled by the plow. It was still a baby at the time and became Lee’s house pet. Kind of messy cause you couldn’t potty train it. The back of one of the pictures says Baby lived six years. I remember him hobbling all over the house. Lee was the only person Baby would allow to touch him though on rare occasions I could.

So many memories are released with these pictures. It adds to the sense of us continuing what they originally founded here at the farm. Like they passed the baton to us. If Lee and Rudy are watching us I want to make them proud and imagine them together, shaking their heads in approval. I know that’s allot of huey but don’t care. It feels right and good.

In a bad mood this morning

7/25/06 Tuesday
Not in a good mood this morning. Cherie is still taking everything on her shoulders and is exhausted. I have asked her for the three years we’ve been together to tell me things to do to help. She will do it one or two times and then go back to doing everything herself. I may have a disability but I am not helpless by any means. There is a pile of laundry that she has fretted about for days. She took some of it to her parents but there is still tons sitting on the floor. When I asked her if I could do it she told me that I shrunk some of her stuff and was kind of pissy. That was back a year ago and I told her all she has to do is separate things out and give me clear directions on what to hang up and what to put in the dryer. When she did that there were no problems.

Fought with this computer again this morning. Waiting for some money to get in the bank so I can take it in and have it cleaned up. Fixed some eggs and will go do some shopping. At least Cherie made me a list of what to buy. I tried to go online and check the bank account to see if the $100 credit from Firestone showed up. Couldn’t get in our main account because Cherie hid the passwords instead of putting them in the notebook we keep all those things in. Called her up and she said she hid it in case we got broke into. That didn’t set well at all. I told her that if we got burglarized we were screwed anyway. No one’s going to steal an innocuous notebook when there are multiple computers, TV, stereo, and other things a thief would want cause they could turn it into cash for drugs. I’m going to run to the store now. That won’t settle me down but it will be good to get out.

I was up late using the HP scanner to scan in the film negatives we found in the stuff from the farm. There are pictures of my brother and I when we were kids. Some were when we went to a place near the Mexican border they took us too. I remember that well. There was a spring of water gushing out of the hillside and they made some small lakes by damming it off. In them were catfish they fed daily. We would catch a batch every day and cook them right up. These were some of the rare good memories I have. I am sure there were many other good times but their memory is gone. There were some pictures of us with our mother. That I absolutely have no recollection of. I’ll post some of these when I get back from the store.
Searching for memories. I spent the last two hours scanning in pictures from the farm. So much there, so much lost, some of it came back but there are mysteries here. Cherie came home for lunch and was nearly in tears because of our morning. She said she didn’t know what was wrong with her and was sorry. I hugged her and tried to get her more positive, telling her it would get better as she learned to ask me to do things. That seemed to help.

I went back to scanning pictures when she went back to work. Then the phone rang. It was Barb. She needs a ride to the courthouse to get the police report of when Basil broke into her place. This is important because she must have it for her meeting with section 8 to insure she will still have a place to live. That I will do for her. Called Fred to use his car. I’ll tell you more when I get back.
Well the word’s out – Bob’s back in town… Taking Barb downtown was a reminder of what I do. You know, the short term memory needs reminders. Barb was kinda lost about things but that’s the way it is with a brain injury. I didn’t help because I, cock sure I knew where she needed to go, took her to the wrong building. Barb kept saying she thought it was wrong and even said “Let’s stop and look at the board that has all the departments”. I told her no, we needed to go down to the basement. Nope, Wrong Place!!!

Barb stopped a lady who worked there and learned we needed to be at the safety building next door. She called it the police station at first which lost me. I’ve been there several times in my life, often to purchase or deliver furniture for my business but also for legal problems.

We walked over there and found the place she needed to get the police report. I went with her to the window and when she got lost trying to explain to the lady behind the bullet proof glass jumped in to help. Come to find out the only police report they had was from the first time Basil broke in. That was the time he got arrested. The second time Barb had to go to the hospital because of the injuries Basil caused and never followed up on filing charges. Part of the reason is she has no way of getting downtown but most of it is again from the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This is the same thing I fight, to follow through on anything. Never did finish the Love Story. Talked about that for a couple of years and even wrote most of it. It is somewhere in this computer.

There was no police report then. So back to her place I took her. She filled me in all the things going on. They are checking for two types of cancer. One in her breast and the other is what they already found in her uterus or someplace in that area. That’s the one she’s having a hysterectomy for. She has a new lady leading her “group” at the Zeph Center. Maybe she’s in a different group session, don’t remember exactly. This woman has been showing Barb “new ways to cook” as Barb puts it. She showed me some of the spices the lady had given her and told me what they do. This is basic homeopathic herbal medicine and will probably be very good for Barb. She is learning how to cook and eat healthily and has lost quite a bit of weight. I told her she looked great. Barb is caring about her appearance more and wore a bra in addition to some nice clean clothes. It is good to see.

She told me about who was smoking crack, the pervert who has stolen some of her Meals on Wheels food, who was with who, and the lesbians at the end of the row, one of whom switched her addiction from heroin to crack. Then she took me down there because the other one, who is also named Barb, is one of those I was taking to get food. “They want to see you” Barb told me. “OK, I’ll go over” I told Barb. They were happy to see me. I told them about Texas and they told me how much they appreciated the help I had given. It was enough. I’m not big on lots of praise so I said I needed to get home and excused myself.

I have been in one of those aggressive modes, which is not always good. Got home a bit faster than I should have. I had decided to make flan, the Mexican desert I made before that we love. Checking the ingredients I saw we didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk so hopped in the truck to get some. Saw some Western ribs on sale so picked them up. I guess I want to remind Cherie that I can and like to cook so she will schedule some days for me to do so. The ribs I will do in the crock pot tomorrow. I made the flan. The recipe recommends it sit for at least four to six hours and overnight would be better. When I made it before it never made it four hours before we attacked it. It is hard but we will stay out of it till then. Maybe. Hmmm, it’s sitting right over there in the fridge. “Did you hear that?!” it’s calling out my name. OOOH this is gonna be hard but I can do it. I kicked dope and cigarettes so I should be able to not eat a little innocent dessert.

Monday, July 24, 2006

AAAnd We're off

7/24/06 Monday
I am doing much better this morning, running an 8 on the Bob scale. The first thing I did was run spyware on the computer. It found only cookies again. Because the Trojans are labeled as Java class with the description saying they sneak in through Java I uninstalled Java from the computer. I don’t have a clue what I am doing but figure that if they are hidden in Java I might get rid of them with the program. Then I went to Java and downloaded a fresh copy. We’ll see if that does anything.

I got moving good and early, fixing breakfast and hitting the shower as soon as Cherie left for work. Then I vacuumed the house. Just got back from taking Fred to the store. Forgot how much fun that is. Fred told me that Cathy took him to the store once as did Ritchie. When I put Fred’s groceries in the trunk I saw that someone had either driven like a madman or gone through everything cause the stuff I had long since stored neatly and tied down was all over the place. There was a deodorizer tied in the back and you could tell someone was smoking in the car. Kinda pissed me off. Don’t like anyone taking advantage of an old person anytime. Saw enough of that with my grandmother. She was cleaned out.

The bank on the corner of Byrne and Glendale, across the street from the barber, was robbed while Fred got his haircut. Gee it’s good to be back in the city. (Said with dripping sarcasm) It didn’t take long for three television trucks to get there and set up their towers.

It is after twelve now so I suppose I should fix something to eat. Already gaining back some of the fifteen pounds I lost in Texas. I didn’t have many slow downs there and it has been rough since we got back. Makes me wonder why. I had feared going would make things worse but the fact is it made things better. Coming back made things worse. Perhaps it is the pressure of having to get so much stuff together for our move down. Don’t know. I am going over to the bank and see Mary, the lady we have worked with the most. The bank had turned us down for a credit card, which we had expected. This will allow her to look at our credit check and run a copy off for us. We had tried repeatedly to get a credit check online with all three credit agencies with no luck at all. She had suggested doing it this way. Need to get it done because of the bankruptcy that was approved in January. That and the fact we will have lots of financial hurdles to leap for the farm.

2:54 – Just got back into the house. I had tried to copy today’s entry and Word froze up. Not a good sign. Ran Spysweeper and left to go see Mary at the bank. She had a line waiting so I decided to run over to Firestone and let them know what I thought. On the way I got stuck behind a street sweeper who would not pull over at any of the intersections it crossed to let me and the growing line of cars behind me pass. By the time I got to Firestone it was not good.

Just to get those of you who haven’t followed up to date, I had taken the truck we just bought to Firestone to get it checked up before we took it on the 4,000 mile trip to Texas. (There and back) I gave them a blank check so to speak when I said “Look for everything wrong you can find”. $660 dollars later I picked it up. Here’s the thing, the check engine light was on when I brought it in and when I picked it up it came back on just blocks away. I took it back and they had a guy plug their electronic computer whatchamacallit. I heard him say he would just turn the light off and they sent me on my way. A half mile down the road it came back on. OOKKK, I spun around and went back. They plugged the same device in and after some discussion between those who had been called over decided it “Might” be a catalytic converter. Their lack of confidence inspired my lack of confidence in them so I left to get a second opinion.

Nate has a friend (Nah, several friends) who plugged his diagnostic thing in to the truck. He had confidence that it was indeed my catalytic converter. I called Firestone and asked how much it would cost and got a price that ranged from $400 to $1000. Kind of sounded like a guess to me. I got several prices and finally got an aftermarket job done for $300.

Long story short, They had also overfilled the oil by a bunch and when I looked at the invoice I saw they charged $149.00 for the spark plug wires. But it said “Lifetime warranty”. Wow!! Charge me what three sets of wires cost and give me a warranty. I am impressed!!!... NOT.

I am steamed by the time I get there, amplified by the street sweeper (Who got a one finger wave as I drove by). After exchanging “How’d it go in Texas” pleasantries I unloaded. “How is it that after spending $660 dollars on a truck that had a check engine light on when I brought it and still had it after coming back twice you didn’t figure out what was wrong?”. He ran off a litany of excuses such as “The codes didn’t show up till later” that I didn’t accept. He tried again and it got to the point where I just looked at him and said “Bullshit”. (I’ve been known not to talk nice when I’m mad)

Then I let him know about the oil registering at twice the height on the dipstick and asked “Where’s the lifetime warranty?” “It’s on the receipt” was his reply. “Are the wires warranted by the manufacturer or by you?” I asked him. “Oh, Firestone guarantees them” he let me know with confidence. Now I am off “I wouldn’t have minded paying $660 if you’d have done the job right. What I got was half ass service”. One potential customer walked in and hearing me turned around and walked back out.

As he continued to tell me why they did a great job I decided it would be better to head out. “You know what? I’m tired of crap. I’m just going to write Firestone” I let him know as I headed out the door. That changed his tune right now. He called me back and asked what he could do to make it right. I probably could have gotten away with more but I am not a greedy person so I said “Knock a hundred off and that will help”. He agreed and had them pull the truck in to remedy the excess oil they had put in. They gave me another oil change for no charge and he credited my card with the $100 he said he would. Mollified I apologized for blowing up though I’m really not sorry and expressed my gratitude at their great sacrifice. I won’t go back. They screwed up Fred’s car resulting in a blown motor and another Firestone location had cheated Cherie on her brakes when we were just getting back together. Not real impressed.

As I typed this Microsoft Word froze up twice so I don’t thing my reloading Java had the desired affect. I suppose I will use the $100 credit to get this laptop cleaned when it shows up in our account.

Make that three times. Damn.

I went back to the bank and waited for Mary. She called the credit agency and ordered our credit report. While in the office I got a call from the rep for Aeromotor, the windmill people. He will be sending me a quote in the mail.

I am tired now so will post this if it doesn’t freeze up again and relax a bit, probably study farm stuff again. Cathy said there are some courses I can take via the internet. Probably a good idea.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rough day.

7/23/06 Sunday
4:05 – Not doing good at all right now. I was up till two this morning going through the boxes of stuff we brought back from the farm. There were pictures going back to the fifties including some of my brother and I as kids. There were also notebooks where Lee recorded all of her financial doings. They also went back a ways. The oldest is dated 1959. These records are quite revealing and it will take a while for me to process this. I found a check for a hundred dollars made out to me that my brother had forged my signature and cashed in Kansas City, Missouri. Not good.

There was much that raised both memories and emotions. I finally went to bed at 2:00 but had a hard time sleeping despite being exhausted. Had a dream about Larry that was probably related to what I found. Finally woke up about 7:00 and Cherie, hearing me stir, brought me a strong cup of coffee. Needed that.

She had been going through much of the stuff I had found including what I threw in the garbage because it is so interesting. Many of the pictures were a window into both my past but Lee’s as well. I will scan some to put on the blog later. I had a physical slow down earlier. Some of my slow downs affect how well I can think but some effect my body. I suppose that is because the portion of the brain that controls my muscles is acting up. I laid down and turned on the TV but kept drifting in and out of sleep.

Cherie went to her parents to do some laundry and I had a resurgence of energy. I just spent allot of time organizing and filing the things I found. There were titles to the bus and pick up Lee had bought for my mom as well as oil leases and documents relating to the farm. I also found mother’s death certificate as well as my grandfather Rudy’s.

I just tried to go online and this laptop froze up. Windows Defender said it had to shut it down to protect it. This is not good so I will be forced to take it into the shop. Will have to wait till I get some money in. My pension check arrives on the first, which is Monday a week from now. Hope this thing doesn’t take a crap before I can get it in. It’s something I picked up while using the wireless at the hotel in Midland. Was there two weeks so who knows what happened.

I am in the middle of a second slow down. It is physical like the first because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to write all of this. It had started just when I started today’s entry. I am afraid to go back online because this seems to trigger whatever this laptop has. Will give it a shot to attempt to post this.
Ran every thing I could for the virus or whatever it is. Only found cookies. Even the Microsoft site found nothing. Had a headache for a while but it isn’t a migraine so that’s good. Cherie fell asleep twice. She doesn’t understand why she is so tired. It is muggy out and this apartment, being on the top floor with the sun beating down on the roof is fairly warm. There is yelling outside so we look out to see if it is a fight. Just some guy calling a girl “Bitch” and stuff. I am sure that one of the cars with the monster bass will be driving by before long. Sometimes it is the drug man and the bass that literally vibrates through our brick walls, rattling things on the nightstand, serves as his door knock so his clients know he is there and come out for their dope. Can’t wait to move to Texas. The noise of the oil trucks rolling down the highway in front of the house is quiet in comparison and don’t usually come by late at night. I didn’t get much research done for the farm today. Perhaps tomorrow after I take Fred to the barber. I am sure he will want to go to the dollar store after.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Turning a corner. New chapter in our life.

7/22/06 Saturday
It is 5:00 in the morning. I just woke up after having one of those strange detailed dreams that sometimes show up. It is a dream that does not fade away when I wake up but remains in my memory. Understanding that this is a way my mind processes often unresolved thoughts that are bouncing around in my subconscious I like to record it. Then I can look at it in the future just to see how it compares to my life at the time.

The dream seems to cover hours of time minute by minute. I am with people I know and am comfortable with and we are going to meet at someone’s house for a dinner. It is honor of someone but I don’t know who. We all part ways to get to this house. Someone is concerned that I may not know how to get to this place. He is with me in the car at first though I never looked over and saw him. As I drive I think I talk to him over a cell phone on walkie-talkie mode. I know to look for a highway marker that identifies the road as state highway 12. Sure enough it is hard to find but sure of myself I make turns on the back country roads I am on. I find it and make the turn. The house is a half mile down the road that ends there. I pull over to change my pants into something more appropriate and do so nervously for fear that if someone from the house saw me they would think ill of it.

Coming into the home I am welcomed and shown to my seat. It is in the middle of a long row of tables along the wall and is on the wall side. Instead of going around and making everyone I must pass scoot up or move to let me pass I leap over the table to my seat. There is no chair but I good naturedly sit on the floor. My eyes are at the level of the table and I have fun with this and everyone likes the humor of seeing me peering over the table top. The leader of this group laughingly instructs someone to fetch me a chair. This done I am welcomed to the group. They are celebrating the life of someone who had recently passed.

Volunteers are requested to clean out this person’s belongings from the warehouse he worked in. I go with them because it is the same place I had my two companies at so was very familiar with it. The management of the building kept an eye on me because of their mistrust. I understand this because it is a result of my actions years ago.

As we start this job we see that we need to dismantle and remove a large boiler type unit. I see many of the desks and woodworking projects that I had left behind years ago when things went bad. There is a desk there that had been stripped in preparation for refinishing. It is a wonderful ornate desk that is as good as they come. It has a matching chair with it as well. I ask the guys if they would be willing to help me move it onto my trailer so I can finish the job.

I go to fetch my car. It is a Cadillac much like the one Fred had. Getting to the front of the building requires that I scale down the side of the building from the third floor we were on. I recognize the building as my old high school when I finally reach the street in front of it. Getting to the car I see a tow truck driver just lifting it up with his truck. He tells me I am lucky and sets it back down. I see that the rear tire has been stolen. The front tire is worn and bald, obviously not safe. As I grouse about the boldness of thieves in the city to steal the tire right in front of the school the tow truck driver tells me he will go and get me a new tire. I look in my wallet and see there is not enough money to pay so I realize I will have to borrow it.

Now I am making my way back to where the desks and the dead guys property are. I must travel a convoluted route that is known to me from the years I had spent in the building. Finding a hidden door I go through but must prevent students from entering it after me. I get to the desk, which my friends have now carried outside. The manager of the building is there and on his phone. He tells me that I now can’t have the desk because one of the tenants decided they would take it. I am not as upset as you would think, understanding that this is a price I pay for my past behavior. I ask nicely if there was anyway I could get this desk so he gets back on the phone. He is strangely cordial to my surprise. I expected a different attitude because of how I had acted years ago. After talking to the fellow who wants the desk he tells me that he still wants it so I was out of luck. I understand and that’s the end.

I woke up at this moment alert so got up, put on a pot of coffee, then turned on this laptop. I was amazed when I went online to find fourteen responses to the post I made on the Homesteader Forum. Just blew me away. I suppose that after all I have been through the last six years I am not used to acceptance. Not only because of my slide into madness where I isolated from the world prior to the accident, wandering homeless after I woke from the coma, but the rejection of the church last year that hurt us both so deeply. It is good not to be alone.

As I was writing this I heard Cherie’s voice crying out in consternation. At first I thought she was having a bad bad dream so rushed to wake her and assure her. She wasn’t having a dream but a Charlie horse cramp in her leg that was excruciatingly painful. I massaged her leg to help it relax. She is up now and got some coffee. Just stubbed her toe on the Victrola records we had recovered from the farm so she decided to go back to bed. This is her day off from work so it is good for her to relax. I don’t know what we will do today. Perhaps I can get the computer over to Denise and install it. That is the third and probably last computer I have the privilege of giving away. Perhaps I will get one for Allen but am unsure if he would want it. Jeff has two more he is willing to donate but I will be responsible and only give them to those who have a use and will appreciate them. Allen’s paranoia may be such that he will fear going online because it will open his life for examination, perhaps by the government. I tried to call him again yesterday but got no reply from the message I left. I also need to call Eileen and see how she is doing.

The back is in pain again. I am sitting with it ramrod straight to lessen it but still migrate into the slouch that exacerbates the pain. Think I will give it a break, post this, and go lay down next to my lovely wife. In thinking about the response from the Homesteader I am wondering if it would be good to direct them to the “What happened” entry that explains things. It reveals some of the unpleasant parts of that time and part of me fears it will alienate me. Nah, I will live by my philosophy of complete honesty. If it bothers someone that is their problem. I was how I was, and I am now who I am, I think a much better person.

If any of Y’all (I can say that cause I’m moving to Texas) wish to read about that just type in “What happened” to the search engine at the top of the blog. Time to give the back a rest.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Turning desert into Oasis

This is a skeleton of what I envision for the farm. It is an initial plan that will be revised, probably extensively, as I research and learn. If I can pull this off with my brain damage it will be too cool. Hey, reach for the stars. If you don't get there at least you go farther than if you didn't reach at all.

Business plan – Farm

While most of the land is tied up in the CRP program there is still a portion that we can use immediately. However there is much to do in preparation for the time the rest of the land becomes available. In 2008 we will pull five acres out of the CRP program. The remaining seventy acres will be available in 2011. Here are the preliminary steps needed to get started.

1. Get a well drilled and install a wind powered pump with a good sized cistern or holding tank. This will be used for gravity feed and powered irrigation systems. The use of wind power is a long term investment that will allow us to reduce the cost of obtaining the water that is vital to the success of the farm. We will also incorporate rainwater harvesting to gather as much of this precious substance as possible.
2. Run the pipe needed for the drip feed irrigation to the small portion of land that is immediately available.
3. Determine and purchase the equipment needed to operate the farm such as a tractor, canning, nut cracker.
4. Install wind electric generator to provide low cost power for the farm thus reducing overhead.
5. Build an outbuilding to house and repair equipment as well as providing facilities for canning and processing of produce.
6. Build composting bins to provide a continual source of soil enrichment and to recycle waste.
7. Renovate the farm house. This will provide office space for the administration of the farm. It will include the digging of a cellar for storage of root crops and to contain the battery banks required for the power generation. The house will also be used for the initial canning operations so the kitchen area will be designed with that in mind. The house requires plumbing, wiring, insulation, roof repair, siding, and a septic system.
8. Build chicken coop to house the poultry.
9. Map out and fence areas that will be used to grow fruits and vegetables. This will inhibit access to these areas to rabbits and other critters that like to eat my stuff.
10. Plant rows of evergreens that will provide wind breaks and protect the orchards and crops. These will require irrigation.
11. Plant trees that will be the first part of the orchard. What these trees will be is yet to be determined.
12. Go to school to learn about farming.
13. Plant the vegetable garden. This will contain a wide range of products that will include root crops, tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else strikes our fancy.
14. Build a greenhouse to provide a year round source of fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables.
15. Build a smokehouse to process poultry as well as other products such as ham and beef to be packaged for sale.
16. Investigate opening a facility to sell products directly to the public.
17. Get certified as an Organic farm.
18. Locate and purchase equipment for shelling pecans. This will not only process what we grow but provide a needed service for the area farms that currently produce pecans.
19. Take a long nap. This will take up the two years prior to the release of five acres so I will be dog tired by then.
20. Start farming after buying Bib Overalls.

I went online to explore farm stuff. I Googled “Homesteader” and came up with a site that seems to have an active group of like minded folks. Registered myself and succeeded in getting on their forum thing. This was difficult for me and has been with other sites where I never successfully got on board. It’s some kind of glitch with the brain damage. Anyway I ventured out with an introductory “This is who I am” thing. I am surprised at getting a response. Called Cherie in and it tickled her too. There were two visitors to the blog and four “welcomes” on the forum thing. It will be nice to develop relationships related to this new life we are heading for. It will also be nice to leave behind the crap in the city. Kinda leaving one world and entering another.

I have a migraine working it’s way up. It’s 10:30 and I am wide awake but getting mentally fatigued.

Another muggy day

7/21/06 Friday
12:36 – It’s another muggy day. I resisted turning on the air till about 11:00. Just made a batch of guacamole after washing the dishes. Went through the fridge searching out anything that had mold on it or was in any way suspect age wise. Having been gone to Texas for a couple of weeks that was advisable. I suppose I better take the trash out now cause it will not take long to stink.

Called Wayne up to check on him. He apologized for getting all goofy the other day about the Social Security letter. I didn’t tell him what the lawyer said because that’s the last thing he needs. Trying to keep him positive and hopeful. He said he was enjoying the computer. All he does is play games but at least that keeps him from setting around worrying. Later on, when we get some money, I will get him hooked up to the internet.

Money is pretty tight right now. Our trip to Texas cost somewhere around $3000. That includes the things we bought to clean the place up such as a rinse and vac and things like turning on the electric and renting the dumpster. Gas by itself was $600 or so and two weeks of hotel room doesn’t come cheap. We’ve got lots of careful planning to do for our final move.

Fred just called. This is the first time since we got back he has asked for me to drive him somewhere. I’ll take him to the barber on Monday but will encourage him to use Ritchie and others as he did while we were gone. I called him yesterday as I was heading out to get some groceries and asked if he needed anything. He said he could use a loaf of bread.

Right now I am going to start on a business plan for the farm. This will help Cathy in her research for us. That’s all for now.
Just got done with the skeleton of the business plan. Posted it on the blog to see what kind of response I get. Sent it to Cathy for her feedback. My back is killing me from sitting at this computer. Got to lay down. It is strange how sitting hurts much more than all the work I did at the farm.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rough day for us both

7/20/06 Thursday
This seems to be a rough day. Don’t know if I am fighting something off but I am tired and physically weak. Everything is an effort. Cherie is struggling too. This computer is again giving me fits. The last time this happened I had downloaded the new version of Spysweeper that had come up on the screen. When I did the system restore thing it worked but today I got another notification of a new update for spysweeper. It took an hour to download and now the computer is running slow and again my Ad Aware spyware won’t run. When I brought up the task manager it showed CPU usage at 100%. When we were in Texas there were 4 trojans and 8 viruses that Spysweeper did not detect. As I typed this a screen notified me that Windows Defender detected an error. I have spent three hours trying to figure this out.

Just sent a report to Spysweeper

I went to Microsoft’s website and found a spyware program they recommended called Search and Destroy so downloaded it. That makes four programs I have. Spy Sweeper is the only one I paid for as the others are all free. They responded to my report with some suggestions like run their sweep three times back to back. One of the things that showed up with Microsoft was a nasty Trojan that had embedded itself. It somehow told Windows Defender (Oh! I have five anti spyware programs) to ignore it. I think it was the original problem that showed back up. Hope I got it.

I called Wayne’s attorney in Kentucky, Sally Edwards, and she didn’t have much positive to say. She told me that Toledo and Cleveland are the worst places in Ohio, which is one of the worst states, for getting Social Security disability. She knows people who are losing their houses while waiting to get approved. It seems that congress cut so much money from this part of the budget that there are not enough judges to keep up. It takes over three years now. That is sad. She suggested I call our congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur, about it. It won’t help Wayne now but may help others in the future if she can get congress to provide the funds needed. It is a shame that those who are in the worst shape get the least help from our government while billions are squandered as corruption sucks all the money it can get. Welcome to America.

Not much else to say now. I E mailed my two boys and sent some pictures of the farm. Didn’t get much done. The measurements we took of the farm house are wrong and I can’t quite travel 2000 miles to redo them so I will try to hobble it together from the pictures I took of the house.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Good morning world

7/19/06 Wednesday
Good morning world. Cherie had a hard time waking up this morning. Our body clocks are still on Texas time so it’s harder to go to sleep as early as we need and to also get moving in the morning. There is much to tell so I will see if I can recall most of it. I am running an 8 or 9 on the Bob scale this morning. Hope it stays that way.

In my opinion one of the most significant events of yesterday was Cherie’s youngest sister, Cathy, coming over to our apartment. I don’t recall ever talking with her as much as we did, not even when Cherie and I were married the first time 25 years ago. I had asked her to come over so we could work on the legal issues with the city in an atmosphere that was less hectic than at her parents house. We didn’t get allot done other than her helping me understand things a little better. Mom had called Connie’s (Cherie’s oldest sister) husband, Jim, about this because he is a lawyer. While I have a small amount of experience with the law it is mostly in the criminal field so I am not up on misdemeanor court procedures. He told her that if they plead not guilty it would then go to a trial. That is good because it will give us time to get things prepared. One of the ideas I have is to get the city council involved and to also gain a media presence, which shouldn’t be too hard considering the event in question was aired on all four of the local television stations. That scrutiny will help insure things are done right and not just swept under a rug.

Mom wasn’t keen on me going to court with them this morning as it appears it will just be a short “Not guilty” plea with a date set for trial. That’s fine with me. Cathy, Cherie, and I talked for quite a while until she had to leave because it was getting close to midnight and she must get up at 5:30 or so. Getting dad and mom to court will be a journey as dad can hardly walk. The wheel chair had broke some time ago and was never replaced. Dad doesn’t like it and because of his stubborn pride he probably wouldn’t use it anyway. It is a long walk up to the courthouse steps. Hope it goes ok.

We talked about the farm. Cathy is excited about helping us figure things out and will be probably the most valuable asset we will have. I’m a city boy who doesn’t know didley about farming and she has an extensive background. Come to find out she is a grant writer among her other skills. It’s too bad we will be 2000 miles away when we move but the computer will help us work together. I intend to compensate her well (“Well” is rather relative) because I know this will take up a significant portion of her life, which is fraught with enough problems as it is. I suspect that there are many things we would not be able to do without her help.

Her excitement is contagious and is encouraging me to think more on the farming possibilities. I was online studying composting just a few minutes ago. Learning about invertebrates found in the compost pile and other cool stuff. OK, now I got the bug (Pun intended) as I read about worms, nematodes, and a host of other creatures that help turn trash into plant food. Next I will learn about microbes, physics, and chemistry when it comes to a pile of organic garbage.

We only have a couple of months to get prepared for this new life and I don’t think it will be enough time. When it comes to farming I will be learning the rest of our life. The land will be tied up till 2008 when the five acres I requested will be released from the government conservation program. The remaining seventy acres will remain in the program till 2011.

Among the things that Cathy brought to our attention is that there are grants available specifically for women in agriculture. She mentioned that there are forms of cotton that are not white but colored. This can be grown organically, which is something we feel strongly about. Cherie’s passion is sewing and material so it opens up some exciting possibilities.

Cathy just called to let me know how court went. It was as expected, just a not guilty plea and a date set for pretrial. Dad’s need for a wheel chair is such that mom will call Medicare to see if they can cover it. I am going to make some calls because as a liquidator I helped some hospitals get rid of their excess wheel chairs. It’s been years and I can’t remember any of the names of who I dealt with so we will see.

I got Wayne to the doc yesterday and after that gave him a haircut. I also put the computer that Jeff donated set up for him but will need to get an extension cord. I’ll look around here to see if we have one hanging around before I go buy one. Money’s tight.

That’s it for now. Got to get moving.

4:00 – It feels like it has been a long day. I took the computer we had in our bedroom to Sharon. Calling her before I went over I heard about everything going on in her life. She talked a mile a minute as she usually does. Finding a space to say something I told her I would be coming over with the computer.

She was outside pulling weeds along her drive when I pulled up. Sharon didn’t look good. She had told me she lost about twenty or thirty pounds but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. The skin on her face was drawn tight around her skull and the eyes showed the stress she was in. The guy who beat her up was going before the parole board so that was eating her up with fear. Sharon has been on a campaign to keep him in prison. The stress is why she lost all the weight.

I talked to her about her fear. The guy that had beat her is an ex-con who had violated his parole several times. His criminal record is extensive and he was on parole when this happened. I explained to Sharon that the odds of his making parole were slim. She had the idea he was seeing the parole board because he had asked to. “It doesn’t work that way Sharon” I told her. “He sees the parole board based on a calendar, not because he asked to”. This came as a surprise to her for some reason the officials she was dealing with didn’t explain this. I tried to assure her and think I may have allayed some of her fear but it will come back. She is on tranquilizers and other anti psychotic medicine because of the anxiety resulting from her brain injury. Of course having gotten the injury from her ex beating her with a pipe didn’t help. She will have her son set the computer up.

After that I went to the house to see if we had an extension cord for Wayne. No such luck so I drove to Walmart and got one. I called Wayne on the way out the door to let him know I was coming over. When I got there he was up and ready. I got the computer all plugged in and turned it on. Wayne was constantly talking about how he didn’t know about computers and wasn’t sure if he wanted to get on the internet. This was because of the things he heard on the news about predators. That didn’t make any sense and I told him so. “Wayne, are you worried about someone picking you up?” I quizzed him to make the point. “You aren’t going to those chat rooms. I got you this computer for two reasons. So you can keep in touch with me and also because you can learn anything you want on the internet. It will keep you occupied” I explained.

I showed Wayne how to do some basic things and put the four games that came with it on his screen so they are easy to find. We talked for a while and I made him play a game of solitaire to get him familiar with the computer. I was wearing out so told him I needed to go.

For some reason I am incredibly tired. Just typing this I have to fight to keep my eyes open. I bought some coffee at Kroger as Cherie asked me to. I will post this and take a nap.

Just as I was getting to sleep my phone rang. “Who could this be” I thought as I struggled to find it in the pile of clothes next to the bed. It was Wayne. It hasn’t been an hour since I left his place. Instead of telling me what he wanted he started with “I probably called you right when you were eating dinner”. I told him no so he said “I’m probably interrupting something”. After going around this circle for a few I finally said “Wayne, what do you want?”. “I don’t know. I got a letter from Social Security. Could you come out here in a day or two?” Wayne said. “What did the letter say Wayne?” I asked with my frustration growing. “I don’t know, something about a hearing, I don’t understand it” was his reply. That set me off. Wayne may have M.S. and it does effect his memory and mind but he can read just fine.

Now he is being needy and wanting me to take care of every little thing. That is something I have cut him off from before. I have told him many times he needs to take care of himself and not depend on others to do everything. I got specific about this when we knew we would be moving to Texas. If he does this he will stop fighting and just vegetate. Not a good thing. This is something I learned while studying brain injury as it is a common problem for those bedridden. I will see him tomorrow and read him the riot act again. I know he is afraid because we are leaving. That’s one of the main reasons I got him the computer. I think I need to make sure he is taking his depression medication and perhaps call his case worker at the Zeph Center.

It was a rude way to wake up. Cherie could tell I was perturbed so walked up to me with her arms wide saying “You need a hug”. What a good woman. I am blessed. She said that we have been running hard ever since we got back from Texas and needed to rest. “Let’s just stay here the rest of the day and not do anything” was her prescription for this. She fixed a great dinner and we cleaned out the ice cream. I haven’t touched the farm stuff I want to do yet because I have been running.

I think I will work on the blueprints of the farm house I am drawing up. Cathy called and asked if I could give her something on our plans to help her with the research she is doing. That I need to get on also. I am glad I don’t have to run Fred around or at least that he hasn’t asked me to. Other than seeing Wayne tomorrow I think I will concentrate on farm stuff. We also brought back boxes of stuff from my grandmother that needs to be gone through. Part of that is the notes she kept of every dime she gave out and who she gave it to. I’ve got several notebooks and scraps of paper. It is all dated so I will sort it by date. Should be interesting. There are pictures including an envelope labeled Robbie pictures. (That’s me)

I called several hospitals to see if I could find a wheel chair for dad but had no luck. St V’s said they use the old ones for parts and the rest seem to get stolen. It is a shame I no longer have the connections I once did. I think this will be the last post for the day unless something momentous happens so night all.