Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Walking in circles

Here's the rest of yesterday, which I evidently forgot to post. Then we get to today.

Just called Wayne. He finally got his social security money. Writing the letter like I told him to worked. Now he tells me that welfare told him that if he didn’t spend the thirteen thousand in six months they will take it away. I remember Barb, the lady with a traumatic brain injury I was helping, had also been told she wasn’t allowed to keep much money in her savings and had to spend it or lose it. In her case I think they said she would lose her social security check. The only thing Wayne and Barb are getting from Ohio welfare is Medicare. What a crock of shit this is, what a greedy bureaucratic government Ohio is. They don’t give Wayne his money for a year after it took me three years to get his social security approved. Then they want to take it cause there is too much there. I told Wayne how he can get around this. Glad I can still help despite being fifteen hundred miles away.
7/31/07 Tuesday
This is one of those hard mornings. I am running a five on the bob scale. Literally walking around in circles as I seek a tool or something. I’ve had a good run of sharp days so shouldn’t complain. Hopefully I’ll clear up.

I went to put the old cast iron sink, that had been in the old kitchen, into the countertop where it used to be. That’s the one I am putting in the garage. The sink weighs a ton. Seems like a hundred pounds, seriously. It’s more than the lateral file cabinet Steve and I lifted when I helped him in his office. So I set up a low saw horse and lifted the sink to it. Then I was able to catch the edge of the counter with it and inch by inch worked the sink onto the top of the counter. It was tough and I almost dropped it. That would have broken my foot badly. I started to lower it into the opening it rests in when I discovered that when I had installed the sink Amy gave to us I removed whatever supported this one. It would have just fallen through. Nuts. At least I got it on top of the counter.

Now I have to devise and install something to support this hundred pound monster. This is going to be a challenge when I am this slow. Been studying how for maybe an hour, looking at pieces of wood and measuring, and measuring, and remeasuring as I figure what I had in mind won’t work. Then I cut some wood and recut it because I marked the wrong place. This might take a while. At least I got the stool I’m making to hold the water finished.

Cherie’s family has a history of really rough menopauses that take a long time to settle down. Cherie is having a hard time with the emotional upheaval that goes with this time of life. She will see the doctor Monday. I am as supportive as I can be, taking on as many chores as I can and going with her on her job. I plan on doing much of the work when it comes to taking samples in the field. Any medication the doctor prescribes will be a strain on the budget. Janie suggested applying for aid with the county. I don’t know anything about county services but I know that the nine hundred a month I get is way over the state of Texas’s limits. At least I think so. It’ll work out, everything seems to one way or another. Cherie is going to visit Janie today. I am so happy she has found a friend. It just makes life better.

Took a pain pill this morning and will have to take another soon. Hate to take pills but it enables me to keep moving. At this rate I will run out long before the appointment on the eighth. Hell, I stretched a three month prescription five months so I’m sure not abusing them. That is a fear I have because I got addicted to the Oxycontin I had for my broken ribs back before the accident. I’ve got it under control but will always stay on guard.

Nuff said. Got my half hour of resting on the bed so the pain is down. Time to get back to work. After I get this sink in I’ve got to finish the new cabinet doors and drawers so they can be put in. That way Cherie will finally be able to get all the dishes, pots, pans, and everything else scattered around the living room put away in the kitchen. We’re getting there. I have to finish the cabinets so the oven can be put in and hooked up. Got to stay focused on that.

I took a picture of the stool. All I made on it by the way was the seat. The legs I had found when we cleaned out the bus. So when I go to download the picture I discover three days worth of pictures I had forgotten about.

Here is one I took of where I put my name in the concrete floor of the garage back in 1972 when I helped my grandfather build it. It is covered up now with the old cabinets I just put in.

This is a sunrise from a day or three ago. Thought it was cool with the oil well and all. Then there is the picture Cherie took this morning of the puppies getting their morning lap time where they fight for attention. Always a good time.
It’s 4:30 and I’ve just now gotten the sink in. Hurt myself doing it. Pulled a muscle or something on the right side about where the kidney is. Hope the supports hold it up cause I’d hate to have to deal with it again.

It stormed pretty good while I was working. Put the puppies up when it started. After the storm blew over I went and checked on them. The little shits had torn into the mattress of the fold up bed we had out there and scattered the stuffing all over the place. I blew up. Hate when I do that and so did the puppies. They knew they were in trouble. After I got done yelling they came up to me for some loving like they always do after getting in trouble. I petted and assured them but they got put in the crate so I didn’t have to worry about what they got into while I worked.

I think I’ll head into Midland to see about some oak faced plywood or veneer to finish the cabinets with. Cherie is there now visiting Janie.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dead rabbits gone.

7/30/07 Monday
It’s another painful morning. Need to be careful with the back today. Yesterday I called Steve to talk about cabinet doors and brush hogging the weeds out here. Asked if there was anything I could help him with and he called a few minutes later to let me know he could use some help moving stuff in the bedroom we cleaned and also clearing up his office. I was glad he asked cause it feels good to be able and contribute. Cherie and I went up there after stopping at Lowe’s and Home Depot. She visited with Janie while Steve and I worked on stuff. Poor Janie is exhausted from working on a big project and the umpteen other things she puts on her plate. I could see the strain.

After that we went to Outback for dinner. Evidently a delivery truck didn’t show so they were out of most of their steaks. I got the last ribeye they had. It was raw when they brought it so I sent it back. The manager brought it back and then talked with Steve and Janie for quite a while. Janie has this ability to develop a rapport with pretty much anyone in seconds. It is cool to watch. I don’t know if I was ever able to do that. I must have cause I was highly successful in all the sales jobs I had. Now I am uncomfortable in any new interactions with others and it takes a while before I can loosen up. Even then I always worry I’ll say something or rub someone wrong. That’s because it seems I often do.

I never did go scrape up that rabbit. I heard someone yell as they drove by so went out to see where the puppies were. They had brought the remains into the yard. The little suckers were crashed out when I came in a few minutes ago. It only takes seconds for them to get moving. I just put them in the crate. They are not at all happy but I can’t watch them twenty four hours. Eventually we will have a fenced in area to keep them safe. Till then it’s going to be difficult. Right now I’m angry and resisting the urge to beat them for again going out on the road. That won’t do any good. They are big time not happy with being locked in the crate, whining and trying to get out.

I made some ice tea. Must take another pain pill. Cherie is working right now and plans on visiting with Janie around lunch time. There was a home invasion just a street over one or three days ago where they tied up an eighty year old lady and stole her car. I think this has Janie worried for workers are coming to pick up a couch today and she is happy to not be alone in the house when they come.

I have to change my socks for I rushed out without shoes on when I saw the puppies with the dead rabbit. I picked our first beans from the garden. They are the black eyed peas. Most of them were too young so were real hard to shell. I know now when they are ready. All part of the education. The problem is I will probably have to make that mistake a couple more times before it stays in the memory. Regardless I look forward to eating them. Not sure how to cook them as they aren’t the dried beans we are used to. Something else to learn.

I’m going to run into town to see if I can locate some kind of oak to finish the cabinets with. I forgot to let Steve know they did have the kickboards we need for the cabinets at Lowe’s, just not the end panels. He’s been having lots of problems with the oil wells and stuff he’s responsible for in Pecos so is pretty tied up and out of town a lot.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

dead rabbit

7/29/07 Sunday
I guess I overdid it yesterday as the pain level is way up there this morning. Didn’t take a pain pill in our rush to get to church so that didn’t help. Despite the pain I sharpened up remarkably in Sunday school. Didn’t move around more than I had too but it was the usual thing, couldn’t sit to long or stand to long so I was always changing position. They had what they called “Fifth Sunday” today where there was no lesson. Instead they sung old hymns and had a brunch. Then everyone divided up into what they call Care Groups, which are small groups of three plus couples and individuals. This helps us get to know others on a closer basis and also the groups are what Wally called a first line of ministry where we would assist each other in times of need.

I need to help coordinate those who wish to help us. I was going to just give everyone everyone else’s phone number and have them all figure it out. Probably not a good idea. They all are busy so I can probably help with that.

I keep dozing off as I write so Cherie told me to take a nap so she doesn’t have to worry about the computer falling or something. I suppose I better do what she says.

The puppies kept going to the road despite getting in trouble so Cherie went out to see why. There’s a dead rabbit smashed flat. I’ll have to scrape it up later to remove this temptation.

Nap time

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The simple things

7/28/07 Saturday
It’s a clear hazy morning with the sounds of the drilling rig drifting clearly in from a mile away. It’s one of those atmospheres where sounds travel well and we can sometimes hear the voices of the rig operators. The hazy part is my mind as I work to clear the cobwebs and remnants of a night long of dreams. They were the clear detailed dreams that are like reading a book. Strange conglomerations of bits and pieces of my life along with weird glues like interdimensional travel holding the fragments together. So I woke up tired. We are fixin to take our morning walk so be back in a bit.

As we walked Cherie told me I was talking in my sleep all night long, usually short phrases like “Thank you” and stuff. It was a restless night for sure. This morning I had to take one of the pain pills that I have been so carefully rationing, for they are running out. I only take them when the pain is real bad. When I called the VA about getting an appointment to get the prescription refilled they told me that I had missed an appointment in May. “Didn’t you receive the letter” I was asked when I told the lady I didn’t even know I had an appointment. She confirmed my address and said she sent the letter. Not only did we not get a letter but we also didn’t get the automated phone call that usually comes. What I did get was a letter informing me that I had missed a May appointment with the VA doctor I had in Toledo. I laughed about it then but now suspect that there is a computer glitch that routed the appointment to Toledo, perhaps still listing that as my primary care facility.

This morning we will head into Midland to pick up our food from the Angel Food ministry where we get about seventy five bucks worth of food for twenty five dollars. We’ll stop at I-Hop for breakfast first. Cherie isn’t feeling real good so this will give her a break. It is so nice to be able to afford something simple like buying breakfast or a hamburger. Someone once noted how our lives made him aware of how blessed he was for the things that he had taken for granted. Things like being able to taste and smell, things like hot water and air conditioning. Being poor does bring out an appreciation for these simple things and has taught us to be grateful and content with what we have. For me just waking up is a blessing. Being alive is a gift given me when I least deserved it. How much I wish to share that, to transfer this outlook for I know understanding or learning to view life this way will enrich others lives. Will open eyes to see how what they regard as important pales to the true blessings of the simple things of life.
Just got back in. Picked up the food and then headed over to Walfart where I traded in the printer cartridges Janie dropped off for the correct ones we need for the new printer they gave us. Then we hit I-Hop but they were packed. After waiting for coffee we waited for silverware and creamer which we still hadn’t got by the time the waiter came to take our order. “What’ll you have?” he asked. “I think we’ll go to McDonalds” I replied. He said “I don’t blame you” acknowledging things were backed up badly. So we left. McAlister’s was close so I opted for that and it was a good choice. We enjoyed the meal and it was a lot healthier than what we would have gotten at I-Hop.

My back pain is way up there. Just took another of the pain pills. I’m not sure what, if anything, I did to it though I did lift the old kitchen countertop yesterday. Plus the right leg is hard to operate so it’s a physically tough day so far. I’ve been trying hard to cheer Cherie up but with only a little luck. She’s having a tough time lately.

There is a lot to do so I need to get going.
It’s 3:30 now. Cherie has gone to Janie’s where they will spend some time doing laundry and girl stuff. I called Janie yesterday and asked if she could do something like this with her because I recognized that Cherie needed to be around someone other than me all the time. I hoped she would find a friend at the first church of Stanton but that never happened though Karla (I hope I got the name right) did reach out. Cherie was so worried about the things I wrote about first church and figured she would be judged for it to pursue that potential friendship. I must accept the blame for that but if you read this Karla, drop Cherie an E mail, would you? She’s not responsible for what I do.

It’s being a hard day on me physically. I just took my third pain pill. The control of my right side is seriously affected so my limp is pretty bad and I have to be careful so I won’t fall. Been working on getting the old kitchen cabinets set up in the garage but a rain storm just rolled in forcing me to stop because it was blowing into the garage and I had to close the doors. Once I get lights hooked up, and perhaps a fan for ventilation, I’ll be able to work in there with the doors closed. This will give me time to get the Sony laptop prepared to give to Chuck and Lillian. Have to replace two of the keys that had fallen out. Not sure how to do that but I’m pretty good at figuring that kind of stuff out as evidenced by my repairing the Cannon printer.
The day is done for me. I got the cabinets set up and made the stool to set our water bottle on. Still have to stain and finish it and hope to get to that tomorrow. I never did get to staining and finishing the cabinets in the kitchen as I wanted. Nor did I finish sanding and putting a second coat of finish on the drawers and doors to the new kitchen cabinets. . Actually never even got to it. Stayed busy all day, just didn’t get to it.

Here is something Wally read at Sunday school last week, or maybe two weeks ago, that describes a typical day for me.

Diagnosed with AAADD
Recently, I was Diagnosed with AAADD - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

1) The car isn't washed
2) The bills aren't paid
3) There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
4) The flowers don't have enough water,
5) There is still only 1 check in my check book,
6) I can't find the remote,
7) I can't find my glasses,
8) And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent. Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!

Cherie called to let me know she will be going to dinner with Janie. “It’s a girl thing” she said, kinda in explanation because she feels she must justify everything. I am glad to hear it and it is what I had hoped for. Thanks Janie. You’re a sweetheart.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A good start

7/27/07 Friday
It’s a great start this morning. We got up and took our walk as planned. Puppies loved it as well, enjoying being able to run on the open dirt road that Bud had disked a few days ago, providing a layer of soft turned earth. It’s nice and cool although the humidity is high, which will make itself known as the day warms. All in all this is a good way to start the day.

Last night we read Amy’s blog and it breaks our hearts to hear how her marriage is dissolving. She is working desperately to save it but reading that he once again took the weedeater to her herb garden, mowing much of it down, tells of where he is on it. At least I think so but not being there I can’t honestly make that assumption. Hopefully I am wrong. Both Cherie and I know the deep pain that comes with this tearing apart of the soul. What upsets me the most is my knowledge of how this will effect her two little, absolutely adorable, girls. I think they are around three and ten years old. Those of you who pray, please lift her up and support her with your prayers and thoughts. Amy, I know you read this. Just know we are here for you. Anything we can do just ask. Both of us love and care for you and the girls.

I hope to have a busy day. Yesterday was great with no slowdowns at all. There are times I have several days in a row that are good. Then I can accomplish much and there is much to do. First on the list is to get the old kitchen cabinets installed in the garage along with the old countertop. The shop is coming along well, slowly taking shape as things become available. Having the cabinets and counter will be a big plus, helping me organize on top of giving me more workspace.

Actually I will run to the landfill first as the garbage can is full. Who knows what I will find and bring home. There is always something. Looking for fencing material and if I’m lucky I’ll find some chain link (I think that’s what you call it) fence for a dog run. We’ve got five metal fence posts Jay gave us along with the brackets or holder things needed. I can just imagine a clean house with a yard, nice fence, flowers, trees…you know. Dreams come true when you work at them.

Then I need to focus on getting the cabinets finished so Cherie can get the kitchen in order. Will take a moment to get the printer Steve and Janie gave us (They were getting rid of it anyway) up and running.

Time’s a wastin so gotta get movin.
Made it to the landfill. Dropped squash and a melon off at the bank where a lady we know from the first church of Stanton works. Can’t remember her name even though Cherie told me several times today. She was happy to get the squash and melon. She asked if she would see us at church so I let her know we went to Midland now.

Heading to get fifteen gallons of water I saw that the Oasis was open so I called Cherie to let her know. She met me there and we enjoyed some of this great Mexican cooking. Then Cherie went on to work. This morning she went into town to set up a doctors appointment. I came home and worked on getting a printer operational. Downloaded the software for the HP we got from Steve and Janie. The ink cartridges are dried up or something as the test print didn’t show a spot. I’ll run into Midland and get some new ones later. So I took the Cannon printer that died in Cherie’s hands apart to see what I could do. A paper guide sprocket had broke so I took it out and put the whole thing back together hoping it would work anyway. It does. That meant that Cherie could get some things done. She’s off doing something now. Don’t remember what or where but she’s been gone three or so hours. Maybe she’ll call.

Don’t remember what else I’ve done. There are thunderstorms wandering all around us but we haven’t gotten any rain except a few drops that didn’t get anything wet. I came in two hours ago and have been fighting the fatigue thing that plagues me around two or so. Slipped off a couple of times for a few minutes but thunder or the dogs woke me up. It sucks getting this tired in the middle of the day. Not at all convenient. But an hour or two nap does refresh so I should go ahead but it grates to waste time sleeping in the middle of the day when there is stuff to do. I don’t care if the doctors said I should. I’ll keep moving if I can keep from dozing off.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lots to do

7/26/07 Thursday
Woke up sluggish and with a headache. Cherie will be heading out to the cotton fields soon for her job. She isn’t real keen about it because of the large number of spiders and bugs in the cotton. Spiders have always been a fear for her. I have to go shopping to get things to finish the kitchen job. That will entail several stores so I hope I handle it ok. If not I’ll have to come home or maybe just find a peaceful place to relax and regather. I’ve made a list as I must. Need to get moving as there is much to do.

It’s 7:00 now. Been a long day. Cherie had a rough one. She’s been on the down side of an emotional swing so has a hard time being positive about anything. She told me that the chicken she cooked would be horrible. It was great. She didn’t get out to the field till around one and it was getting pretty warm by then. It was pretty hard on her physically and she probably won’t do this next year. This may spur her to get in better shape. I am strongly encouraging her to walk with me every morning down our property line. We will do it with the puppies so it should be a fun time as the puppies always bring a smile. Well most of the time. They can try the patience.

I headed into Midland. Stopped at Ronnie’s to get some literature on the tractor he had showed me. I am not sure where I got sixteen thousand as the price for it for he told me $9800.00. That’s a big difference. I do get confused easy so who knows where it came from. He’s selling a lot of them. Ronnie gave me a business card of a guy who bought one of his tractors and does brush hogging as a profession. I will get that to Steve and Wally as they wish to help get this done.

Stopping by Steve and Janie’s to pick up some pipe they were throwing away and I could use, I talked with Jay, their neighbor. He’s the one who brought the old fencing he was taking down out to us. He goes to First Baptist of Midland also and wants me to get him in touch with Jen and Wally so they can coordinate on helping us out. Jay knows a guy who runs a ministry rebuilding homes for senior citizens and he has a window we can have to replace one of the rotted out ones. There are also some building materials we can have. Things just keep rolling around us and I almost feel like a spectator watching them come together.

I went in search of the greenhouses Janie told me about. They were being torn down and she suggested I approach the owner to see if I can salvage material to use for the ones we wish to build. That turned into an adventure. I stopped at Texas Landscape and didn’t see any so I left a message with Janie asking where she saw them. Steve returned the call and I learned it was on Todd road so ran there. Come to find out the place is no longer owned by Texas Landscape so I left my name and number for the owner. The greenhouses were damaged by wind and being repaired.

I grabbed lunch at Jason’s and headed to Odessa where there is a Harbor Freight Tools. This is the only place I know to get the seven inch sanding disks my sander uses. It’s also a great source for all kinds of tools dirt cheap. Picked up a drip feed irrigation starter kit as well.

Then I headed back into Midland and stopped at Sam’s to look at their bottled water stands. $150.00 is way out of reach so forget that idea. Our twenty dollar ceramic holder works fine. I just need to make or find a stand for it now that we have new counters and a stove top. No room for it now.

Went to Home Depot where I spent more than I thought. Found some Romex wire that had been taken out of a box so got a manager to discount it for me. Fifteen bucks for what was priced thirty six. I’ll use it to wire the garage with, maybe.

Then I stopped at Walfart to get a clipboard for Cherie and headed home. It was a long trip but I sta

Cherie just called out letting me know the puppies were across the highway so I had to hurry out there and didn’t finish the sentence. They were just coming back when I got out the door. I grabbed a small flat piece of wood we used to mark what plants were where and smacked them both on the butt as they ran past, knowing they were in trouble. They are growing up so fast and exploring farther that it is getting hard. I saw some pet border things while at Home Depot so will go back and look at them closer. They appeared to be some kind of radio activated devices. There was also a solar powered electric fence thing at Harbor Freight I should look at to perhaps keep them out of the garden. Frankly I’d rather have them dig up the whole garden than get run over. One of the things the church people may help with is building a fence so that would solve a lot of problems.

So back to what I was saying. I stayed sharp despite all the stores and things going on. It’s been a good day in that regard. I have lots to do and the sun is going down so must break off and make use of the daylight I have. When I get lights in the garage I’ll be able to work out there after dark. I’ve got one light bulb going but it limits what I can do. Gotta go.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It just boggles my mind

7/25/07 Wednesday
I put Monday’s post on Tuesday. Now I can’t remember what happened yesterday but if I can get Cherie to hum a few bars it might come back. So I suppose I best write about today.

I was out in the back garden when I saw a white pickup pulling in so went to see who it was. It was a Mexican man who, when he saw me coming around the corner, said “I guess today’s the day”. I didn’t recognize him and was clueless as I so often am so played along hoping to get an idea of what he was talking about. It was Saul, who had come by with Steve and Janie (I think he did but am not sure) and is who Steve got to put the cabinets in.

Now Cherie had already left to meet her boss Joe and survey her first fields of cotton so it was just me and Saul. I showed him the cabinets and tops. Now that I think about it he may not have been here before. Saul asked if I could give him a hand, which I was more than happy to. You know, Saul was here before cause I remember him saying he had seen me finishing the drawers and doors of the cabinets. I may get confused but give me time and I can often figure it out. Writing helps me do this.

So we got to work. First job is to get the old counter top, sink, and cabinets out. Taking things apart is always easier than putting them together so that didn’t take long. Then it was time to start installing the cabinets. Cherie wasn’t there so I didn’t have her input on which cabinet (as in the ones with drawers or a big door) she wanted where.

I know this is a convoluted way to write but as I wrote the previous paragraph I remembered part of what I did yesterday so will fill that in. First of all I sorted the change out of the change jar Steve and Janie gave us. It’s a big jar so I figured it might even have a hundred bucks in it. After calling the bank and learning they have a machine that sorts and counts coins I went down there. I already had everything divided up by denomination but this way I didn’t have to count it or roll it up like we planned. I greatly underestimated how much was in the jar. Not by a little bit but by a whole lot. Cherie cried when I told her. We are constantly blown away by the way others are blessing us. It boggles my mind. Why me? I am not at all deserving of any of this. I wrote about that in an earlier post and if I remember I’ll do the link thing to that.

Now here’s the kicker. Cherie had checked out bank account Monday and said we only had $36.00 left so we had to stretch till the end of the month. When she got the mail I joked “Is there a check?”. Puzzled she said “No” so I explained my thought process on that statement. It seems that every time things get tight something appears out of the blue to meet our needs. Not wants or any excess, just our needs. I’m beginning to wonder about this “Hand of God” concept I carved while recovering from the accident in St. Louis. It’s starting to have an affect on how I think as if I am accepting this concept. You know, if God’s hand is on us there are no accidents. Every time we meet someone or experience something there would be a purpose for it. Not just for us but for the others. Some would be to test, try, or open eyes. Some to give honor and glory to God by their heart and actions. I really don’t know but wonder about it.

So we got a jar of change. An extraordinary jar of change.

After the bank I headed to Walmart where I had the list Cherie made of things to get. I found the cheap cereal so went to look for the next thing on the list. I looked and looked, wandering from department to department wondering where they would keep the paper rolls for coins. Then it dawned on me. I just went to the bank, had the coins counted, and deposited them into our account. I DON’T NEED TO ROLL THE COINS!!!!. Dummy. Glad I figured that out.

With that done I went to Restore (Habitat for Humanity’s store) to look at their vent hoods. They have a bunch of them but they are all avocado green like from the sixties. Plus they didn’t have filters on them or a decent light cover so what we have is already better. I looked at the 400 watt HPS light fixture that is marked $95 bucks and has been there as long as I can remember and saw it doesn’t have a ballast. I’ve had my eye on it for quite a while as it is perfect for a grow lamp to start seeds with. I told Jesse about the ballast and he let me have it for twenty bucks. The light bulb is worth forty. I called a number on the bulb and ordered the ballast kit for $48.00. This year I tried to start maybe a hundred and fifty plants with only a dozen or so making it. This will give me a big start on next year, at least that’s the theory. We’ll see.

OK, back to today. Saul (I’m not sure if I spell that right) didn’t waste any time. I helped on occasion but he hooked things up efficiently. Great guy. I talked him into lunch and took him to Carrols here in Stanton. We got our order and took it back to the house to eat. Saul told me about his family and we talked about life, kids, people he knows, and God. A great time.

We got back to work and it wasn’t too long before Cherie came home. She was worn out from going into the cotton fields but perked right up when she saw the counters and cabinets in place in addition to the stove top. “I’m gonna have a kitchen. I can cook!” she said beaming from ear to ear. That works for me real good. Love to see her smile.

Now I have to bust my butt and get the rest of the cabinets finished as well as stain and finish the cabinet Steve built to hold the oven. I’ll be busy tomorrow that’s for sure. When we put the stove top in place Saul asked if I was going to hook up the wires. I looked at what the electrician ran and what was coming from the stove top and wasn’t comfortable at all. I don’t know much about electricity but the difference in the size of the wires was dramatic. I think I’ll check with Steve first just to be safe. I didn’t notice it till this morning but they punched a hole through the ceiling when they ran the wires for the hot water heater.

Jen and Wally from the Sunday school class came over to visit this afternoon and brought us some dinner from McAlisters Deli. It was a nice time of fellowship. I walked around the property with Wally when he asked so he could see what it will take to get it mowed. He also wanted to see what else needed to be done. They’ve been pretty swamped with things like a friend’s death and other problems. He was sick with something that has tuckered him out and is just now getting over it. Despite that they came out. Shows a lot of character. He will look for someone with a brush hog. I let him know that Steve said he would cover the expense. Just talked to Janie several minutes ago and she said that several from the Windwalker shooting range were chipping in to help us out.

That’s it for tonight folks. Am tired and it’s late, at least by my standards. Night all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Those who are true

I would have posted this yesterday but Alltel's system was down.

7/23/07 Monday
I just woke up. It is 3:25 in the afternoon. I’ve got lots of catching up to do. There has been so much going on I will probably forget some of it but here’s the best I can do. First of all, WE HAVE HOT WATER!!! It’s still lukewarm but warming up. The electrician came out and ran the wires for the water heater and stove/oven.

Steve called me early, maybe 7:30 this morning. I remember telling him, in response to his “How ya doin?” question, that I was sharp and energetic, that it was one of those mornings I enjoy having. Steve let me know that the guy he had brought out to look at our electric needs was sending one of his employees to do the job. He showed up an hour or so later, a nice young man with a small skinny kid who was his helper. I was putting finish on the kitchen cabinets Steve and Janie bought for us when they got here. He told me his name but of course I don’t remember. They went straight to work, not wasting any time. The little skinny kid’s main job was crawling through the hot attic doing the most unpleasant part of this job.

I continued working on putting finish on the cabinets. That went well enough. After putting some on yesterday, and looking at how it turned out I decided to thin it a little with mineral spirits. As I think about this it wasn’t yesterday, it was Saturday or maybe the day before, whenever I put the stain on. Yesterday was quite a day and I will cover that in a bit. Today I had a new brush to use that helped things a lot. Seems that when I bought the finish and stain I had left this brush at the register. I do this kind of thing quite a lot being a little scatter brained. When we went back to Home Depot I asked the girl at the register what they do with stuff like that and she let me know that it gets put back on the shelf at the end of the day. She said that if I brought the receipt she could replace it cause she remembered me coming in. So I got it yesterday.

Thinning the finish helped a lot. I used the brush for the crevices and corners but used a cloth to apply the rest. This is something that I remember from the days I had a shop and did a lot of this kind of work. A cloth works better for me and puts on a thinner coat which I like better than a real thick one cause it dries better and fills the pores. I worked in the sun so I could see what I was doing better but it also meant it was a lot hotter. Cherie ran into town to take care of things around 11:00. It wasn’t too long before I was soaking wet with sweat and had to put a t-shirt on my head to keep it from dripping on the work. I pushed through to get everything done, except the cabinet in the kitchen where the electricians were working. By then I was done for. Went into the house, grabbed two glasses of tea, which I slammed down, and laid down.

I got this laptop out and ran the AVG spyware again. When I checked my E mail on Go.com I found that there was still a lot of spam being sent out from this computer or maybe from someplace else using my E mail address from the forty or so “undeliverable” messages that showed up. It found some of the same stuff it found before so I’ll restart and run the AVG again to see what comes up.

I was having a hard time staying awake and drifted off three or four times till Cherie came home. I didn’t want to fall asleep while the guys were working on the electric. When Cherie came home I got up and selected a melon along with three spaghetti squashes to give the guys and checked how the finish was drying. It looks good but I’ll have to carefully sand it before the second coat as I don’t exactly have a dust free situation out here. No problem, just a little more work. At least it is a still day with almost no wind. That is rare enough out here.

When the guys got done I curled up and was gone in a wink. Now I am back. So let’s see what I can recall of yesterday. Getting to church was an angry experience. I don’t know if I was slow at first or not but had difficulty when Cherie asked which vehicle we were taking. Come to find out she would have to clean her car out if we took it so we took the truck. Going down the road I quickly felt the low front tire I had noticed Saturday. It’s the one I had patched and was not holding air well. I had intended to air it up so it would last till this morning when I planned on taking it back in but forgot as I am so good at doing.

That was the first “Damn”. I turned around and headed into Stanton to put some air in it for the trip to church. Now we are getting late for church and I think we were anyway but don’t remember. After getting air I head for the highway but the old hot water tank, which Steve had helped me load into the truck, broke loose from the strap holding it and started rolling around in the back. Not good so I pulled over and tied it down again. That was the second “damn” or maybe third or forth. I don’t remember clearly but it seems there were several frustrating things that morning.

So we were late for church. That’s ok cause we missed the walk around and say hi part we both aren’t comfortable with. I had a hard time keeping my thoughts where they should be during the service. Worked hard to keep them in check and control. As we walked to Sunday school I had that dizzy sensation that heralds a seizure so let Cherie know. Sure enough it was a rough one. Dropped me down to a three or four on the bob scale. They always have coffee and lots of snacks before the class starts and it is a time of visiting with one another. Folks would come up to me and say “Hi Bob, glad to see you’re here. How are you doing?”. So what do you say “I’m in the middle of a partial seizure”? I would just say that I was fine, feeling guilty I told a lie but not wanting to have to explain all that. I wasn’t steady on my feet so standing with a cup of coffee in my hand wasn’t the safest thing to do so I got my seat. Besides that I wasn’t in shape to have intelligent conversation as it was. Most of these folks recognized me from before but to me they were a dizzying array of unfamiliar or vaguely familiar faces with the exception of Jen and Wally. They are more ingrained in my memory because of the several contacts we have had including when they came out to visit us at the farm.

It was a bad slowdown that got worse as the class progressed. We were to meet with Steve and Janie after church for lunch and go to Home Depot to pick out counters afterwards. Cherie asked if I was up to it or just wanted to go home. I said I could manage lunch but there was no way I could handle going into a busy place like Home Depot. Right then Janie called. After answering I just handed the phone to Cherie. I wasn’t at all up to a conversation that required any thought. Come to find out they had gotten pizza so were planning on a nice quiet lunch at their home. Just what the doctor ordered.

Being in a relaxed atmosphere with friends helped me come back from the seizure very well. By the time we got done eating the Papa Murphy’s pizza I was in good enough shape to go to Home Depot. This was the first time Steve and Janie had had Papa Murphy pizza. Frankly it was a lot better than what we used to get in Toledo, due to better staff doing a better job I’m sure.

We headed over to Home Depot after eating. The reason we needed to was they had discontinued the countertops we had chosen earlier so we needed to pick out some different ones. Getting them picked out we loaded them on my truck to take home. It was getting late…maybe. Here the memory gets a little blurred. We took the countertops home, found one was damaged, took it back and exchanged it, stopped at Steve and Janie’s to pick up the cabinet he had made for the stove/oven, and took it all home. Somewhere in all that we stopped at a place that serves chicken wings. I just can’t place when. I’ve never had wings before, at least that I can remember. They were good but a pain in the ass to eat. Too hard to get the meat out and there wasn’t a whole lot of it. Steve talked about the flavor but my sense of taste has been reduced from the brain damage so it’s not something I can really detect. But the sauce was hot and that I can taste. My sense of taste has slowly improved over the last six years as the brain rewires itself but is still not real keen. When I cooked at Cherie’s back in Toledo I would put so much spice in you could barely stand it. I would just put it in till I could taste it. Glad it’s better. You know, all this makes you really appreciate simple things we all take for granted like being able to taste or smell. That was also damaged. I have to rely on Cherie to let me know if my clothes are getting odiferous. Perhaps that’s why no one from first church of Stanton ever visited.

During all this Steve and I rode in my truck while Cherie and Janie rode in her Yukon. We got to talk quite a bit, which is nice and frankly something a little new for me, at least since I woke from the coma. Steve told me that we were a blessing for him and Janie and that they greatly enjoyed our company and were glad we were a part of their life. I let him know that they were the first real friends we have had since we came to West Texas. It was good to hear and in all honest quite encouraging. After being or at least feeling rejected by so many from Toledo to here you kind of loose your self confidence and get a little gun shy. The analogy of wondering if you smell or something is a good one to describe the inner feelings that are generated by this kind of history. Now, with the new people, and their refreshing acceptance, we are beginning to feel a lot better. It’s just good to not be alone.

I know I keep bringing this aspect up but it’s because I am so self conscious and suspicious of how others may construe thing. How I feel about all this has nothing to do with the gifts and assistance others are now helping us with. We would be just as pleased and blessed if they had done nothing but be our friends. That is priceless. Now how they honor us with helping supply our needs is a glorious testimony to their God and an example all should look to. For that I can’t say enough. Referring to an earlier comment, it’s not my “witness” but the witness of others that I am pleased to be able to write about. None of them have done things to be seen or impress anyone, they have done things out of true love and compassion. This honors and follows the teachings of Jesus and is just plain the way it should be. If all who wear the label of Christian acted and lived this way the impact on the entire world would be absolutely incredible. It would turn it upside down. But it is sad to know most are consumed by their personal needs, wants, emotions, and choose not to open their hearts as Jesus not just desires but expects. So as I seek God I am beginning to see a glimmer of hope.

This is all I’ll write for now. It’s 7:30 and I haven’t watered the plants in a couple of days. Now that things have cooled off and my headache has come down to manageable levels I’ll go take care of the garden. I fixed the hose that had broken earlier so will be able to do so.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Damn virus

7/21/07 Saturday
Woke up with a splitting headache, the kind that can keep me in bed if it gets worse. It’s not at the level where my eyes are so sensitive to light I must darken the room and every little sound grates, at least not yet. Sounds like I am describing a hangover doesn’t it. So many parallels with TBI and my days of drinking and drugs that it’s uncanny. Almost like a punishment for those times of rebellion.

Anyway, I was up till after three this morning working on this laptop because it caught some kind of downloader virus. My expired Norton antivirus still comes on and scans this computer after it asks me to renew the subscription and it detected this virus but was unable or unwilling to remove it. So I went online to see what was available for free to fix this. The virus was using my Go.com E mail address to send out lots of E mails as evidenced by about fifty notices of undeliverable E mails to addresses I wasn’t familiar with, many of them in German or some other language. I figure I picked this thing up through an E mail I opened in Go.com because of that.

So going online I first checked my E mail and saw one of the regular notices from Microsoft regarding updates. Opening that up the first item was their new anti spyware virus program that’s supposed to do other stuff as well to make the computer run better. It was free so I decided to download it. That was at 10:30 or so. What a pain in the ass. It took forever as the PC card was working at just a little above dial up speed and disconnected several times. Plus there was a constant series of windows coming up asking for me to make decisions to continue. Finally I got it done so ran it and the program failed to find the downloader Norton had detected. I may have gotten rid of it when I used the restore function to return the computer to an earlier. I don’t know so to be sure I am now downloading the AVG program that is a thirty day free trial to see how that works. I used their product before with success plus they won an award for 2007 for computer security. We purchased Webroot’s Spysweeper program last year but only the cheaper spy version without the anti-virus feature. That works well and is also highly rated in the reviews so perhaps I’ll upgrade it. Won’t cost much to just add the anti-virus feature.

So I didn’t get much sleep and also didn’t get to post what I wrote yesterday to explain the “I’m not a Christian” comment I made on Thursday’s post. AVG is downloading as I write this so I will go back and review what I wrote, finding and changing the inevitable mistakes I make and making it clearer. I always seem to see better the next day. Sometimes I just don’t agree with what I thought the day before, another evidence of how I can get off track about things when this brain gnaws at what is bothering me.

I really need to finish the essay I started on the results of TBI that includes lots of the research and quotes from doctors and scientists to help others understand how things can be. I’ll throw up an example of these sometimes subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) aberrances in how this brain sees things. These are cover letters for resume’s I was sending out while in St. Louis after my release from the hospital. Not only did I want to find work and get out from my brother’s grasp when he was only giving me twenty bucks a week to eat on, but I honestly thought I could walk into a corporation and get a high executive position. When my brother tried to explain these cover letters, and the resume’s they were attached to, were not good I argued with him. “I’ve read hundreds of resumes from people applying to work for my companies so I know what a good resume is” I would say, probably angrily. The point is that this complex brain has a delicate series of balances that are easily disturbed. Just think about the changes we see when a child hits puberty or a woman menopause and those are normal parts of human life so imagine the problems that come when the entire brain has been shook up. This is why it is vital that folks talk with me or anyone else with TBI. It helps us understand when our thinking goes off base, at least sometimes it does. I now can see how bad these cover letters are but at the time I wrote them was convinced they were the best things written and argued that. The fact that my brother didn’t try to reason but just said it was stupid and I was stupid didn’t help me receive what he was saying. So here are the cover letters

Cover letter 1
I know you will find this to be one of the most unusual resumes you will see. The reason you will have the opportunity to obtain a man of my talent and drive is this, in October of 2001 I was in a car accident that put me in a coma. While in that state my divorce was finalized, my companies foundered, and they were sold along with all my personal assets at auction. The proceeds were used to settle the terms of the divorce and to settle debts incurred while I was hospitalized.
I am now fully recovered. You will find that I have a powerful positive attitude that is contagious and that I am an above average communicator who loves life and cares about people.
Bob Westbrook
Cover letter 2
While it is obvious that I have been successful I am hesitant to reveal my salary history. I have been told so many times” We can’t afford you” that I have become gun shy. I will say this, my income has at times been in the six figure range. The reason that should not scare you in considering this application is also the circumstances that will give some fortunate company the opportunity to obtain a man with my talent and background. While driving to Texas to visit relatives I was in a car accident. I was in a coma for two months and was hospitalized for a total of five months. During that time my companies foundered, my divorce was finalized, and my assets were sold at auction to pay debts incurred during my hospitalization and to settle the terms of my divorce. I still have the powerful positive attitude that helped me achieve the goals I had set before. I have spent the last few months regaining my strength and am now ready to rebuild a life. I desire a long term career that offers future growth based on performance.
Are you that fortunate company??
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Bob Westbrook
Part of what is notable in this is how I got some facts wrong. Confabulation is a common issue with TBI as we often fill in the gaps of damaged memory as best we can, unwittingly inventing things we believe are true. I was in the coma only one month and hospitalized for two. I did have an auction but it happened immediately after 9/11 so was poorly attended and pretty much a disaster. I didn’t sign the divorce till the day before my car accident on November 15. This illustrates the confusion I had. Hell, when ABC aired their Toledo’s John Doe story on me I even had my age wrong.

Steve and Janie brought the guy over who will install our kitchen cabinets this afternoon. I wasn’t in real good shape as I had put in the new screen for our kitchen door. There was nothing physically hard about that from the standpoint of lifting and stuff. It’s just that I had to bend over the door as it set on saw horses. That’s what kills me. Just bending over a little kills my back and really hikes up the pain level. I can lift something heavy with much less repercussions.

So I was hurting pretty bad when they got here and was not real speedy as far as brain function goes. Having conversation at these times is not easy. When Steve asked me a question I had a hard time processing it and coming up with an answer. I ended up grabbing my hoe and going out to chop weeds as they looked over the kitchen and discussed things. Janie came out and asked if I was mad at her. Not even in the least. I explained that among other things TBI has an affect on the facial expressions so I might look angry when I wasn’t at all. That and the fact that I am more comfortable alone when in pain and slow.

We will probably meet them for lunch tomorrow after church. The AVG program found seventy three “Threats” on this laptop and the Trojan that caused all this. Microsoft’s program didn’t find diddly squat. I’ll probably uninstall that because it will probably just congest things up.

I’m pretty tired. Laying down to help the back pain so will nap a bit.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who am I ???

7/19/07 Thursday
That’s the way it goes with me. Tuesday was actually a really good day but when it came time to write about it I wasn’t in good shape, thus the incomplete entry. This morning is a good morning and I’ve been getting lots of things done. Cherie was out the door early too and it was good to see her exercising the discipline needed for her job. I can’t remember if I wrote about that so I’ll mention it now. She is “Enumerating”, which is a fancy way of saying she samples cotton crops for the USDA. This will require her to spend about a week out of each month but right now she has to contact farmers and get permission to go out into their fields. That’s the hard part.

Let me try to fill in things since Tuesday. I made it out to Kevin’s to collect goat crap. Saw him at the corner as I was heading in. I waved as we passed but was disappointed that I missed him. I have longed to talk with him or anyone else from the first church of Stanton just to perhaps clear the air or at least understand this distance they display. They are aware of what I write, or at least hear about it through someone who reads. I just wonder how that is presented. The Sunday school teacher there, Steve, mentioned something about “Trashing” the church. I just write what I see and experience. Yet still they do not reach out. Oh, I’m sure they have a great excuse considering how I express myself. “I’m not talking to him because of how he is” could be the attitude but that doesn’t hold to what the scriptures say. If you’re going to wear the label “Christian” you need to live it. I don’t say this in bitterness but from a sincere desire to see others improve.

This is one of the benchmark scriptures in the Christian faith, one that most have heard and can identify as the Love chapter.
1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love keeps no record of wrongs? So if I have wronged others who are Christian how should they react?
Mathew 5:23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

All we have desired is to be accepted into this family of God and if someone would come speak with us it would help in that. Sure we now go to a different church that is remarkable in how we are accepted but is it wrong for me to hope that those at first church of Stanton can do likewise?

Let’s imagine that I am just a nasty evil person who is out to use and abuse, to take advantage of the goodness of others for my personal gain. How then should you who bear the name of Christ act?
Mathew 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
But I am not a nasty evil person, at least I don’t think so. I hunger for righteousness and look for God, seeking Him with all of my heart. Can I be offensive? You bet I can. No question about that, but what offends you? Is it the mirror I hold up? Is it how I, a sinner who knows not God, calls you to obey your Lord, to live what you profess? If that is wrong forgive me. You know, forgiving is not easy. It requires swallowing a little pride and practicing a little humility. But here is another benchmark of the Christian faith, the Lord’s prayer.
Mathew 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
So, do you love me? Can you love me? That is a choice one makes that should be totally separate from your emotion, how you feel. In fact it often requires one to do the opposite of what their emotions desire, to subjugate those desires to the will of the Father. To choose to do right when you don’t want to.
Mathew 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What will I be able to write in the future concerning this? What is it I seek of others? It is that they shine and leave no cause for others to doubt.

Mathew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Geeze, where did that come from? Anyway I gathered up four garbage cans worth of goat crap. Would like to get as much as I can but it took me three hours to get that and despite only filling half a can, lifting it on the truck, and then filling it all the way with light loads I brought over with the hand truck, it hurt. So I went home, took a pain pill, and laid down.

Later that day we made it to Midland where Cherie did laundry as I took the Sony laptop apart to see if the screen worked on my Toshiba. It didn’t fit, too small. Oh well, that’s the way it goes. No big deal. I can see enough of the screen to use this laptop so will endure till something comes along. Something always does in this miracle I call life. I suppose that while throwing up scriptures I’ll throw this one up too.

Mathew 6:25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Steve and Janie took us out for dinner after we enjoyed each others company for quite a while. It is so good to have friends, to have fellowship. At dinner Steve, and Janie too, talked about forgiveness and a revelation they had gotten regarding a specific scripture on that. It was a neat glimpse into an often unseen nuance regarding how you take on the burden of someone else’s sin by not forgiving and also of the power of giving in such situations.

Tuesday was a good day. We didn’t get home till something like eleven that night and were so pooped we went straight to bed. Yesterday isn’t very clear in my memory. I will be returning the stain I bought as it is too dark so will head into town after posting this. Time to go now.
Got the new stain and some screws I needed to put the wood storage shelf together. I was going to get sandpaper as well but it wasn’t written down so didn’t happen. I did remember to get some puppy treats as I was heading home so turned around and picked that up.

Got the shelf put up. Suppose I should go take a picture of it. Only had a couple of the seizures, at least that I remember. Dizzy right now and only running a five on the bob scale. Remembered to take my meds.

Took a picture of the shelves and found some pictures I took yesterday and forgot about. One is the sunset and then there is the melon patch that the puppies are tearing up. There was also a picture of one of the braces I made for the shelf. I might have already posted it but can’t say until I look.

Just remembered something I did in town today. Janie had spotted some grass that had been dug up where a guy was going to pour some concrete and had Steve leave a message on his door to see if I could have it. I could so I stopped by the place and the workers had put about three feet of dirt on top of it so I decided it would be too big a chore to dig the grass out.

I’m pretty wiped and dealing with one of the headaches that are part of the TBI package. Sure I’ve done a lot more than this but it’s all I can bring up now. Think I’ll call it a day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

got lost

7/18/07 Wednesday
Just got back from Sam’s Club. Had to stop by Steve and Janie’s because we left my keys there last night. After that I had a list from Cherie of three things to get at Sam’s plus a vacuum filter. I also wanted to get some stain and polyurethane for the kitchen cabinets so I stopped at Lowe’s to price it. Then I forgot Sam’s was right down the road and went to Home Depot instead. After getting the stain and finish I remembered I needed to go to Sam’s so turned around and went. I haven’t been to Sam’s very often at all and I don’t think I ever went there by myself, always had Cherie with me. There were only three things on the list but it’s a huge place. I got what was on the list and then headed for a register. The one I got in had a problem with the people in front so I had to wait till a manager came by. I was slowing down by now, one of the slowdowns triggered by too much information. Getting things paid for I left. Nothing looked familiar. It was all strange like I had never been there before. I had a hard time making my way out of the parking lot and then figuring out which way was home. I saw a sign for loop 250 but it said north and that further confused me. Cherie returned my call just then so I told her I was lost. This has happened before so she understood. I saw Lowe’s and was able to get my bearings. Cherie suggested I stop and get something for lunch and that helped me settle out some. Now I am home and will take a nap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Clear morning

7/17/07 Tuesday
It’s a clear sky and I hope for a clear day as far as this brain goes. Keeping an eye on the puppies for any sign of sickness from the rat. One of them barfed in the puppy room but we don’t know which one. They both seem to be fine and as usual are so full of pep and vinegar it makes me tired to watch.

We will go into Midland to do laundry at Steve and Janie’s today. Don’t know what time yet as I am leaving that up to Cherie. If I have time I want to run over to Kevin’s and gather a few trash cans of goat crap. He’s selling his house so I hope it’s ok. That’s it for this morning. I’m running a little below average, a six on the bob scale. Of course that always changes as the pendulum of cognizance swings back and forth.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good morning

Today's puppy pictures

7/16/07 Monday
It’s a good morning. My body suggested I did a lot of physical work yesterday but I really can’t remember doing much physically. Oh wait! That’s right, the weather said there was high pressure in the area now so that explains the stiffness and increased joint pain. It always comes with a change in the weather. So I took a pain pill this morning. I am extremely careful taking this stuff. Having once gotten addicted to pain killers (Oxycontin) after breaking my ribs I have a great respect or probably fear of the potential problems they can bring. However, on the other hand they allow me to get stuff done versus laying in bed with pain. So there is a careful line I walk. It would be a good idea for me to start stretching and perhaps practicing some of the martial art kata’s I had once known. I just don’t remember them anymore but have enough residual memory left to make some up that would be good for this body.

The puppies are a great source of joy for us. What powerful medicine it is to laugh and love them as the scamper and play, then come up to us for hugs and kisses. When I ran into the Steve we knew from first church of Stanton (Boy, there are lots of Steve’s in our life here) I mentioned we have puppies now. His comment was that they must help us feel less lonely. So they are aware of the loneliness yet still do not reach out. We are no longer lonely because of the good people from Midland who are becoming good friends.

Amy had commented on this blog two days how good it was that we had found good people, not for the things they have and are doing for us but for the friendship and fellowship. That is a good point and one I feel a need to emphasize. There will be some who think we are just preying on others beliefs and good nature for personal gain. I know this for I know human nature. To the pure all things are pure (Titus 1:15) but the rest suspect the motives of all and presume they are evil and self serving. Fearing this I had made the point that I would gladly go hungry for fellowship. Now I realize this fear makes me just as guilty of suspecting motives as others and by no means am I pure. Confused might be a better description.

So it’s a good morning. Steve (jib, Janie’s husband) said Janie’s back was in real bad shape with a lot of pain. I hope she didn’t do to much when they were here helping us with the water heater and new cabinets. But pray for her if you would. Speaking of that, Cherie has left for the chiropractor this morning. I am doing as much housework as I can get her to ask me to do in order to help her back get better. She is finally starting to write things for me to do on the dry erase board we bought for that purpose. One of those tasks is to fix the bed frame which is made for a different size mattress. I’ll have to be careful when I move the mattress and bed springs in order to do that.

Looks like there are lots of indoor tasks for today but I would like to finish the shelf system I am making to store wood on the back wall of the workshop. Here is a picture of a brace I made for that. I really enjoy being able to hand cut the joinery. Takes me back to the days I sought to learn and practice the old ways of woodworking. It’s a lot rougher than the work I used to do but not too awful bad for a hand saw and chisel. You can see I use old wood I have scavenged here at the farm. The good piece of two by four came from some wood Jib Steve had laying around in his garage and gave me. We do pretty good with other peoples leftovers and what they would have thrown away.

It’s the middle of the month so the budget is on full swing. With the price of gas I won’t drive the truck unless absolutely needed and we won’t be going anywhere we don’t have to. When we drive into Midland we will plan to get as much done in town as we need so as to be efficient with the gas. I should have gone with Cherie this morning and perhaps done laundry but she was running late.

I will attempt to remove the screen from the Sony Vio laptop Steve gave me because it evidently will fit on this one thus saving me a couple hundred dollars to replace the one I broke. I also will see if I can do something with our printer as a paper guide gear broke in it, rendering it unusable.

So lots of inside work. I told Cherie I would fix my own breakfast this morning so should do that before it slips this mind. It’s time to get moving.

3:00 – Having a bad slow down. The kind of partial seizure that makes walking and talking hard. Been going on for an hour. Put the baseboard back on in the kitchen anyway. Took a while. Got nails instead of screws. Got the wrong tool for spreading the patch stuff on the wall. Lots of back and forth. Go outside and get lost. Forget what I came for. Now that it’s done I must lay down. This seizure brings a headache. They also drain me and leave me tired and weak. Will probably fall asleep. Fighting to stay awake to finish this.

It was a rough day. I was just clearing up when I had another seizure. It’s not fun when this happens. There have been times where I have five or six of these in a day. Then there are the ones that last a whole day. Fortunately that doesn’t happen much anymore, probably due to the medication. I got angry and that cleared my head up some but still didn’t help me walk better. Getting angry is never good and part of the emotional control problem that comes with the TBI. I got over it after I fixed the bed frame that was the source of anger. That was not easy to do while my brain was working in slow motion.

I went outside to do something that I can’t remember now but I found Trixie chewing on a dead rat. Instantly I said “NO” and knelt down to push her away. Trixie growled at me and came back after the rat. I said no again and Trixie ignored me. I smacked her and she growled at me again so I smacked her with a loud “NO” again. She growled at me and went back after the rat, who’s foot had been chewed off. This time she got a serious smack and she got the message. The rat was soaking wet so I figure they got it out of the pool. Wherever they got it I think it was diseased and probably already dead. Not good at all. We will be keeping a close eye on them both. With Skittles, our former outdoor cat, gone the rat population will be coming back. All the weeds don’t help as they provide cover and food for the rodent’s. I need to remember to call Leroy and see if he has a shredder for his tractor and would be willing to bring it out. Steve and Janie already said they would pay to get it done. I just need to remember to follow up on that. Damn short term memory doesn’t help. I just had Cherie make a note on our to do board so I can get it done.

It’s late and time to get some sleep. Tomorrow we will run into town to use Steve and Janie’s washer and dryer. That will save us at least ten dollars over going to the laundrymat. Every penny counts. I’ll try to find something to do over there like weed the front area. Cherie will be able to make calls to set up appointments with farmers for her to collect cotton samples. I don’t think I got much done today. Cindy had asked Cherie if all I did was piddle around in the garden back when they had brought over the hot water heater and cabinets. Cherie didn’t know what to say. Some days I get a lot done and some nothing is accomplished but it is always more than “piddling” around. I do the best I can with what I have.

Night all.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Busy day

7/15/07 Sunday
It’s been a long day. Started out with getting the puppies outside, breakfast, and watering the plants. Then it was off to church. Actually the first church we went to was the church of God that handles the angel food ministry where we signed up to purchase a box of food worth $75 for $25 dollars. The food will be ready next week or sometime. I don’t remember. Then we made it to First Baptist before the pastor started his sermon. It was a good one as they always seem to be. He taught on forgiveness. I really enjoy how he makes sure to apply these principles to our everyday lives in a challenging way instead of giving a history lesson from a two thousand year old book.

Jay is going to bring over the rest of that fencing he has been taking down and asked if I could find someone to help. At Sunday school I asked Eric if he knew anyone and he said he could help after 3:00. I called Jay and found that he would prefer coming that late anyway. So everything was set.

Eric showed up first so I started giving him a tour of the place when Jay, his wife, and his son Mike drove up hauling a trailer he rented packed full of stuff. I directed him to an area in the back that is near the nearly defunct corn patch. Eric and Mike did most of the work as Jay and I watched and talked. I insisted on picking something up and carrying if off the trailer on principle. Just not good at watching others work without helping. So it’s quite a pile of good wood. I just have to figure out where it’s going to go. There was also this wrought iron gate that came from Jay’s neighbors. They asked him to either give it away or haul it to the landfill. It’s too nice to throw away and I know we will find a great place for it.

After that we all visited for a while. It is so good to have friends out, to share tea, stories, and life with. I showed Jay some of my wood carvings and he would like some lessons but I don’t think he needs many as he is already an accomplished whittler and woodworker. He expressed how he would like to help us get things fixed up around the place. It is good to see folks who want to do things not just because it’s a good Christian thing to do but because they care and really want to. Doing it from a pure heart. Jay’s wife, Janine, grew up on a farm and was able to advise me on when a watermelon is ripe among other things. Mike has or is getting a degree in growing grass or something for golf courses. I’m not clear on that but he knows about grass. I asked is advice on what to plant after we get everything tilled up. He said Buffalo grass is the best as it is tough and doesn’t need much water. Sounds good to me.

After everyone left Sharon, our friend from Toledo, called. She let me know that Wayne had written the letters I instructed him to and lo and behold welfare found his Social Security money and will direct deposit it tomorrow or sometime soon. This is his lump sum payment from the three years we have been fighting to get his disability approved. Here he is with Multiple Sclerosis, needing to use a walker to get around, and Social Security denied his claim all this time. When he finally wins welfare gets the check to deduct what they had paid him in foodstamps and housing and then loses the rest. Wayne had called and called and his case manager called as well with absolutely no luck. I explained you have to do all this in writing and made him write the letter right away. It is good to know I can still help despite being fifteen hundred miles away.

I’m sure there are other things but I am tired. Oh yeah, Here is our contribution to the Hibiscus wars that have been going on between Janie, Eric, and others. It was a little scrawny plant we picked up at Ace Hardware or someplace dirt cheap cause it was about dead. Now this flower is no way as near big as the others but I think it’s better looking. So there, Nah Nah. (Sticking my tongue out)

On that note I’ll call it a night.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Well done, good and faithful servant

7/13/07 Friday
Friday the thirteenth, another day people put a superstitious significance to. It’s just another day. If you believe you will have bad luck your belief will make it happen. Conversely, if you choose to believe your day will be good you most likely will.

That said, it is a rough morning. The analogy that brain damage is like being on drugs unfortunately holds true. In fact when you introduce drugs and/or alcohol (a drug) into your brain it disrupts it’s function and basically creates a period where your brain is damaged in it’s ability to function. Different drugs effect different areas of the brain in different ways. Many of these effects, the “high’s” if you will, emulate the results of a traumatic brain injury. In fact it is not uncommon for someone with a TBI to be accused or suspected of using drugs. Actually one of the issues with TBI is the survivors sometimes do use drugs, which makes things worse.

In my quest to help others understand TBI I will explore this analogy further. One of the difficulties in understanding TBI is that no two brain injuries are the same. In the severe shaking of the brain millions of brain cells and their neuronal connections are damaged or destroyed. Some can repair themselves and many parts of the brain literally rewire with undamaged areas taking on the duties of the damaged part. In all this there are changes in personality and the ability to process what is experienced, some subtle and some not.

7/14/07 Saturday
Yesterday was one of those days. I never did finish that little essay. Maybe I will later but I seldom seem to finish things so don’t count on it. Let me recount the fragments I can remember of yesterday. I went into Stanton to get the mail and decided to stop at the drug store for one of their great hamburgers. The place was packed as I imagine it always is at lunch time. Don’t really know cause I don’t think I’ve been there at noon before. Course I could have been there several times and wouldn’t remember. Anyway it was full of people and I was lucky enough to get a seat at the last booth open. The counter was full. Ordered the hamburger and a large coke. As I waited I saw a couple come in and also order but they had no place to sit and were holding their drinks as they waited. “You can sit here. I don’t bite” I said motioning to the other side of the table. They were grateful and joined me for lunch.

Both of them had some kind of Christian thing on their matching T shirts so I figured it was a safe bet they were of that genre. Yep, they was. Turns out he’s the pastor of the Methodist church here in town. We talked and when he asked what I did I explained I was on disability. I always hate saying that but what else do you say when someone asks what you do. So he asked about that and heard the story of the car wreck, coma, and bits and pieces of the rest. That always has an impact.

Being a pastor I suppose he had to ask about where I was in that arena. I told him that despite having been a pastor when I woke from the coma I really didn’t know there is a God and still seek to answer that question. I explained how after nine months no one had visited or even called us even after I asked so, feeling shunned or just plain left out we went to the First Baptist church in Midland. “It’s a night and day difference” I said. “Even though it’s twenty miles away we have had several visitors and have been invited to dinner and other things” I told him. He seemed to be aware of some of this and mentioned that there were several who had left the Stanton church and now attend services in Midland, mostly at Stonegate, a branch off church from First Baptist in Midland. I hope first church of Stanton figures it out.

So they finished their meal and excused themselves. “We really enjoyed talking with you and hope to see you again” he told me. I can’t remember his name but that’s par for my course. As I finished my hamburger I could see the cash register where they were paying for the meal. Pastor Dave was standing there also. I kept my eye on him hoping he would notice me so I could wave. I thought he did but he slid over where the cabinets hid him from sight. He talked to the Methodist minister for a bit. I finished my burger so went up to pay. The Methodist minister (I wish I could remember his name) saw me coming and said that they had paid for my meal. I thanked them and they again said how much they had enjoyed visiting. Pastor Dave was still at the counter waiting for his order so I went up to say hello. He was studiously watching them cook and work behind the counter so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. “Hi pastor” I greeted him and asked how things were going and if he had gotten my E mail offering spaghetti squash. He explained that he had been gone two weeks and hadn’t looked at his computer. We had a short conversation as he got his order and said he needed to leave.

When I got home Cherie had just arrived from Lubbock. I gave her a big hug and helped bring her things into the house. She greeted the puppies who had definitely missed her. They had searched all over for her that morning and all during the day for that matter. Oh, they were glad to see mommy. I’m sure there was a lot more that happened Friday but I can’t remember right now. Just know I never posted on the blog.

So that brings us to today. No wait. I just remembered something about yesterday. I had decided to back up my pictures because this laptop has been hiccupping and I didn’t want to lose them. The last time I had downloaded pictures on CD was June 2006. That means I’ve got a ton of pictures to download. I have done this many times over the last few years but because I can never remember how I did it I have to figure it out each time. While I can’t remember the details of what buttons to push to get the task done I can sure remember the frustration I felt each time. This is typical because strong emotions are remembered in a different part of the brain than the detail stuff.

For some reason it is hard for me to figure out how to download pictures onto CD. Part of the reason is I repeat the same mistakes over again because I don’t remember what I had just done. It didn’t take long for my frustration level to get up there and I was cussing the computer out. I feel so stupid when I can’t figure out what I know I had figured out before. Eventually I did but it still hits my self esteem.

Today Steve, Steve, (Jib and Jab) Janie, and a fella I think is called Kurt came over. They brought the new hot water heater and kitchen cabinets. Cindy, Jab’s wife, and Janie’s little brother 1 were also along. They blew in and went to work right away, moving, barking, harassing, and generally having a good old time as they quickly got things done. LB1 was a great kid and inquisitive as all young boys are. He wanted to go hunting rattlesnakes as soon as he heard we had killed a couple out here. I took him to the gardens and, hearing his mom liked squash, helped him pick some out that was ripe and cut it so he could take it home.

I was pretty slow during all this. Was going through a partial seizure before they got there and all the commotion just made it worse. I tried to pitch in as best I could but wasn’t really allowed to do much. What I did do I did wrong, not listening to the advise of one of the guys on how to use the dolly to take a cabinet off the trailer.

So here are pictures of the new hot water heater and cabinets. Steve is having an electrician run the wiring for both the hot water heater and stove oven that will be put in. He is also paying a professional he knows to install the cabinets. We are incredibly blessed to know them and the other Christians we have met recently.

The Bible says “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all for the glory of God”. Here are people who understand and practice this. They will indeed be blessed and honor their God with their lives. They are very much lights set on a hill for all to see. The Bible also says to lay up treasures in heaven, where rust and moths do not corrupt, instead of down here on earth. Those who choose not to bless others in need will indeed be ashamed when they stand before their God. So here we see a witness, an example of the love and compassion of Christ. When they stand before God I think they will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

So I’ll call it an end. My thanks to those of you who were concerned when I didn’t post yesterday. It is good to know you care. One last note. I was able to talk to my youngest son today via the internet telephone thing. Never used it before but when I saw that Adam was online through Window’s Messenger I grabbed a microphone and sent him a message. He answered and we talked for a while. It was good to do so and the first time since long before we left Toledo.

Night all.