Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've been busy, picked up Wally and we went to see the sweet little old lady where he looked at her financial quandery. He talked to the Wells Fargo lady and we hope something happens. So just for fun I checked the satellite internet connection and it works! Ok, they turned it off after calling me and telling me they would, now it works? We're shopping hard to find the best deal on internet access for our farm. That's it. Got to get things done while online. No idea how long it will last.

Monday, December 28, 2009

THINGS are moving FAST

12/28/09 Monday
Crap, I didn’t realize I haven’t posted since Thursday. Could have sworn I did. Got another bad headache right now. There’s big news coming folks. Things are getting pushed into motion by hands other than mine.

Just got a call from Hughes, or satellite internet company. They informed me that Agristar, whom I’d enrolled with Hughes through, was going out of business and that my satellite connection was being turned off today. Bam. Like I said, there’s a whole lot of stuff happening quick right now. Don’t know if the internet will work so will give it a try right now.

IN the meantime there's folks who want to put power lines across the property and Department of Rehabilitation just contacted me about getting everything together to make the pick your own orchard happen.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


12/24/09 Thursday
Brrrr!!! It’s cold now, a storm blew in yesterday evening. It came with wind and then some always welcome rain. The rye I sowed before I left for Toledo is coming up well. I’ll do a better job of evenly sowing it the next time because of the equipment I bought and made. It’s great to see something you planted coming up and I look forward to seeing a field of green out there. As I walk the property I envision what can be and contemplate how to achieve that. I’m thinking of planting Bermuda grass on all the pathways but wonder if it would be a good idea because of running the tractor and stuff on it. I think I’ll give it a try because the grass will hold the soil together and keep it from blowing away. I’ve decided where to build the henhouse so now need to research designs and how to do it.

After Christmas I’m going to look for some help to do a whole lot of work around here. I don’t have a whole lot but there’s some money left in the inheritance to pay for this. I hope to put of fences, build a henhouse and pen, build an extension to the garage for use as storage and processing, build a greenhouse down the length of the garage connected to the extension, install pump boost and water filtration, and a lot of other things like building trellises and installing irrigation systems. Calvin wanted to come down to Texas and find work, or at least talked about it. I could sure use the help but would have to get him here and house him. We wouldn’t mind having him here but I’m sure it would be awkward in this little house. Regardless I need help to accomplish our goals. I see this as a leap, a big leap ahead and look forward to this upcoming year. I hope to open the market store on the interstate among other things. There is so much that can be here with Westbrook Farms but I question my ability to handle it all by myself. Speaking of that, I need to work on my yearly plan mapping out what I will plant and when. This will be vital in order for me to insure I have harvestable crops all year long. Some varieties should be planted every two weeks or so to extend harvest times. I need to order seeds and fertilizers also, along with other supplies like drip irrigation parts. So with today being cold and miserable I think I’ll stay inside and work on that stuff.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Search for God

This is mile marker 92 on interstate 40 in Oklahoma. I believe it's the spot I had my accident November 2001 though I'd have to check my paperwork to verify that. This would be where I died and miraculously came back to life after being declared officially done for. What a wonder life has become since then and the wonder continues every day. What a change in how I see things, in what is really important and what is really not.

12/23/09 Wednesday
Another day. The days are too short, or perhaps I just run out of energy too soon. I went to bed at 8:00 last night because I was so tired. The first thing I plan on doing is making a list of what I need to do. There are short term things like cleaning and organizing the garage and long term plans to put together. It’s time to get back to work on the business plan so I need to look up what I’ve done and contact the University of Texas Permian Basin to get that process moving again.

I called my friend in Toledo yesterday to make sure he was ok. He said he spent two weeks in the hospital with kidney failure starting the day after I visited. He called me the day after I visited and wanted to go to a movie. This illustrates the mental confusion he has. There’s a real possibility that he is or is becoming diabetic. I suggested that he get tested for that when I was there but odds are that didn’t register. The kidney failure is hopefully a powerful enough nudge for him to start cleaning his life and body up. I invited him to come here anytime he wanted for as long as he needed but odds are slim that will happen. He got a computer for Christmas so can access the internet whenever he sets that up. That can be good or bad depending on what he does with it. His thought is to return to college and study computer programming or something in that field. It will be a shock to him to learn he no longer has the mental ability he once had. Like me he’s is or was highly intelligent and like me he has suffered multiple brain injuries along with the damage that comes with long term substance abuse so college level education will be hard.

This morning, and the last few days for that matter, I’ve been thinking a lot about God. There is only one thing I fear and that is standing before Him and having the books open that catalog my life, what I did and didn’t do, how I followed what I knew was the right path or chose to ignore what I knew I should do. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom it says in the bible. Wide is the path and broad is the way that leads to destruction, it says, and many there are on it. It also says that narrow and hard is the way to eternal life with few choosing that direction. So my search for God continues as do my questions. In the meantime I’ll do the best I can and live as good as I can, continuing to help others where I can. And in the process I’ll deny myself those things I know aren’t good for me knowing that those little pleasures don’t amount to a hill of beans when compared to the long term goals of life.
10:30 – It’s a hard morning. I had a headache starting early and it’s making sure I know it’s there now. Plus I’m slow, down to a five on the bob scale. I’m not used to this because I don’t get many slowdowns these days. I suppose that makes the frustration greater. Going out and doing my walk about, where I survey the farm and study what I need and want to do, is overwhelming, especially when slow. So I came in too take aspirin for the headache and to lay down and think with the hope the headache fades.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Busy, Busy

12/22/09 Tuesday
There’s plenty to do so writing will be as I find the time. Today I’ll spend more time finding and dealing with things that had blown away during a wind storm we had while I was gone. I lost all the 55 gallon plastic containers we had. They just blew away and so far there is no sign of them. We had a fifty pound roll of fencing that ended up in the farmers field across the highway. So stuff is moved and stuff is gone and I’m still taking stock of it. I’ll run the sprinklers for the rest of the day and should be able to water most of the five acres by the end of it. It’s a poop scoop day. I think I’ll change that to being a go to Midland day as I do much more than clean a friends’ yard. I’ll be visiting with the little old lady and helping her out with stuff around the house and yard. I hope that Wally was able to help her understand her finances while I was gone. Forgot to ask him about that in church.

That’s it. I don’t have time to write more now. Need to get out and get working.
Checked my email and there was one from myself, only I didn’t send it. When I opened it up it was a come on from a female name saying she’d read my profile and would like to get to know me with a link. Not good. This means that someone has accessed my Yahoo account and is using it to send out emails. Odds are they accessed the addresses on it so there’s a chance that everyone I know is receiving messages under my name. I changed the password so hope that solves the problem. Running the Webroot spysweeper found nothing. Doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, just means Spysweeper couldn’t find it. Our internet connection is not working either so we are exploring other means of access.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Skeletons from a closet

It was sometime in 1981, I think, that I fell from a tree and broke my back, neck, and sustained another undiagnosed brain injury. This brace is the one I had to wear as I recovered. What a hard time this was for Cherie as well. It was the event that precipitated our divorce. How marvelous it is that we are now restored after 20 years. What a wonder it still is to me.

12/21/09 Monday
It’s still so good to be home, and I suspect always will be. Despite having arrived nearly a week ago it feels like I just got here yesterday. Yesterday I finally got the tractor started up and drove it off the trailer. I had to call Nate a couple of times to figure out simple things like how to start it and where reverse gear was. High on my list will be to get a manual for it. It was sweet to drive and will be a powerful asset in building this farm. In fact this year I have acquired many of the tools I need to do this and have a few dollars left to invest in this farm so next year will be my first serious farming year. I plan to build a henhouse and bought a cement mixer for that. Actually the cement mixer has many uses beyond making concrete. I can use it to “Inoculate” seed and mix compost and fertilizers as well. It’s exciting to see these little pieces of the farming puzzle come together. Step by step, little by little, my vision will come to being.

But it means there is a whole lot of work to do. Part of that requires help, help that I can now afford to pay for. I would like to pay Calvin, Suzie’s other half, to come here from Toledo and work for a month. They could sure use the money and I know he could find a good paying job in the area. This would enable them to escape Toledo and all of the evils that reside there and open up a new world and life for them here. I may just be dreaming but can sure hope for this.

Going to Toledo is a heart wrenching emotional roller coaster for me. I reached out to both my sons but they never responded regarding finding a time to meet. It hurts but that’s the way it is and there is little I can do about it. You can’t force someone to love you and I suspect that my actions in that last year before the car wreck put a wedge in our relationship. Unfortunately I can’t remember what those actions were though I’ve been able to learn of some of it through asking questions and playing detective. It’s uncomfortable to search for the truth and uncover so many unpleasant things about yourself in the process. But the truth is the truth, good or bad. And it is the truth I love and strive for despite the unpleasantness of it. All of this is part of the life I choose now, of the creed I live by, of desiring to be the kind of person I can be proud of. So acknowledging past mistakes are steps forward and will help me not repeat them.

Barb, the second wife, was gracious enough to return some of my property that was left at the house when we divorced. She left four boxes of stuff on the front porch for me to pick up. I went there and thinking I saw my youngest son looking out the window called hoping he would answer, but he didn’t so I just left a message. The boxes I just unloaded from the truck yesterday. I haven’t had the time to go through them all but most of it is stuff I had when Cherie and I got divorced. There are lots of books from bible college days and I found a baptism certificate from when I was baptized in prison back in the 70’s. There is also the yearbook, or whatever it’s called, from when I went through basic training in the Air Force. Then there’s the Suma brace I had from when I fell out of the tree, broke my back and neck, and sustained the brain injury that caused the drastic personality change that led to Cherie and I getting divorced. I’ll have to work up to tackling the rest of those boxes and the memories the invoke.

Part of what wrenches my heart is the people I know in Toledo. My friend is killing himself with the drugs that possess his soul. The same drug, Oxycontin, that I had become addicted to during my fall into madness. How I want to help him, to save his life again. (I did it before, you can read about it in the early entries of this blog) But I’m 1700 miles away and don’t have the financial ability to do so. If I was there and had the time I could lead him out of the pit he dug for himself, but it would require a lot of work. He’s open to help but isn’t mentally able to comprehend how much he needs. How I wish I could bring him here as well, to help him escape the trap Toledo becomes for so many. Here he could find life and escape death.

I got water sprinklers running outside now to get some moisture to the five acres of rye that sprouted but hasn’t been able to go anywhere. Ran them yesterday all day long and will do so today too. With just two sprinklers it will take a lot to water all five acres. Eventually I’ll install a pump and pressure tank that will enable me to run more water. That’s part of the long list of improvements we plan to make as we put this farm together.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Here are some pictures I figure I'd better post while there is a decent internet connection, I hope. The first is a picture showing the new tractor still on the trailer with the Massey Ferguson in front. It's the last thing I need to unload but I want to get a new battery in it first. I need to figure out what size battery I should get. I'll stack wood first today, then I'll figure out what to do next. Probably will go register the truck. That may require that I have it inspected. It will be a busy day.

Got work to do.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


12/17/09 Thursday
Home!!! I’m Home!!! I pulled into the drive just as the sun disappeared below the horizon. The dogs went crazy, barking at this unfamiliar truck and trailer, determined to attack if they felt there was any threat to the household. And Cherie was quickly out as well. She later told me that she spent a lot of time at the window with the binoculars watching for me to appear. When I got the rig set and climbed out Cherie ran up to me, grabbed me in a big hug around the neck, and cried. It let me know how rough this trip had been on her in addition to reminding me how much she loves me. The dogs were also ecstatic to see me and crowded in for their hugs and pets.

So we talked and hugged and talked as I managed to get my bags in the house. Cherie had dinner ready in a heartbeat so we enjoyed that on the bed. She caught me up on what’s happened during my absence. There are of course many things I must take care of. It will be an extra busy day. Hell, it’s just plain gonna be busy for the rest of the year and well into next. I was in bed by eight or nine and conked out pretty quick. This morning Cherie showed me some mail and issues we need to deal with. There’s a proposal to place power lines across our property that is worrisome. This will not work well at all with our business plans. I’m not sure what they propose to pay, other than it being “Fair and equitable” but don’t want this at all. This is part of the infrastructure for more wind power electric generation fields being planned.

Meantime I’ve got lots to do. It will be important for me to make lists now in order to insure things get done. Part of that will involve getting the trailer unloaded. Nate told me I need to buy a new battery for the tractor and there was a message about the brakes not working on it. It appears I should buy a battery charger and need to figure out something about diesel fuel for the tractor. The farmers around here have diesel tanks on trailers in addition to the ones I’ve seen high up on stands that they use to fuel up their equipment. Until I can get something like that I’ll have to drive the tractor to Stanton and fill up, that and a five gallon can. So I’ll have to go shopping. Meantime I must make a run to the landfill and get rid of the garbage that’s built up.

Having been on the road and using hotel wireless internet for two weeks really brings it home how poor our internet connection is. So that’s something else on the list to take care of. I started to check my emails and gave up after reading four of them because it took so long and eventually wouldn’t even recognize a command to delete. Posting this will be a chore.

Time to go. Lots to do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Made it to Oklahoma

I think this is in Arkansas. The truck sure had to struggle up the hills with my speed sometimes dropping to fifty MPH despite it being floored and dropping down a gear.

I made it to Oklahoma. Was going to get a hotel room in Oklahoma City but as I drove down the six lane wide highway I realized that early morning rush hour traffic would be a bear so decided to get a room on the other side of the city. There's no way I want to run this rig through a ton of traffic. I went through the city at around 9:00 in the evening so traffic wasn't too bad. I'll be home today, God willing. Called Cherie this morning, as I do every morning. She is probably looking forward to my being home more than I am but you know it's a close call on that one. It's 19 degrees out so definitely cold but will warm up to the fifties this afternoon. I woke up at 5:30 this morning, about the same time I wake up every morning. Will grab a nutritious breakfast and hit the road by 9:00 or so. I'm guessing that I'm about six or eight hours away from home. Can't wait to get there. There is a ton of work to do when I get there. Look forward to getting back to building this farm, especially now that I have some tools and a few dollars to spend that will enable me to accomplish a few goals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Made it to St Louis

12/15/09 Tuesday
I made it to St. Louis. Despite having lived here for a year I got turned around and lost. It was about 8:00 when I hit town but took me an hour to get to the right highway and then find a hotel. I was tired but wide awake from the adrenaline and nerves of driving my rig through this busy city full of people in a hurry to get some where. Cherie called right in the midst of that. “I’m in the middle of St Louis. I’ll call you back” was my quick response. With the truck and trailer I need both hands to drive along with having to concentrate real hard on the traffic and figuring out where I was.

I had thought to look up some of the people who helped me when Larry brought me here and I ended up homeless. But I probably won’t. I want to get home.

So that’s it. Coffee’s made on the hotel room coffee maker. It’s 6:43 in the morning. I’ll call Cherie at 7:00 and will probably hit the road soon after that.
Someplace in Indiana, or maybe Illinois

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Still in Toledo

12/13/09 Sunday
Well, I’m still in Toledo. We’ve gotten the trailer lights working and fixed a running light on the truck among many other things. Nate’s been busting his butt helping get this all together, I couldn’t have done it without him. I’m checking out of the hotel room today so am thus committing to get out of town. I’m torn about leaving for a couple of reasons. I never helped Suzie get everything done to receive the life insurance from her mom’s death a year ago. I know they desperately could use the money.

What bothers me more is my friend, who’s name I won’t use for obvious reasons. His addiction to and abuse of pain medication is real bad. I’ve helped him in so many ways and during the one time I was able to sit with him and have a conversation he told me repeatedly that I saved his life. But now I’m watching him die, watching him kill himself. I can help him and there is a hope I can save him but it requires a lot of time that I don’t have. So what do I do? His mental state is greatly deteriorated. Have you ever seen the Lord of the Rings movies? In it there is a character named Gollum who had one time possessed the ring, or perhaps the ring possessed him. He called the ring his “precious”. As I watched the movie I saw the parallels to drug addiction, how it drives one to depths where the overwhelming focus is on obtaining the drug with survival falling to second place. I tried to call my friend the other day but he didn’t answer. So I’ll worry and pray. He wasn’t too receptive to any hint he has a problem. I simply advised him to “Pace yourself” and he got upset, telling me that was an insult.

It’s almost 11:00 and I’m still trying to get out of this hotel room. The holdup is this laptop. Every time I try to download the pictures from my camera it freezes up. This is the third time I’ve shut it down. Nate called and is waiting for me so I’ll try and post this so y’all know how things are going.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

things have been busy

Things have been busy as I rush to visit friends and Nate rushes to get everything ready for me. Looks like I might get out of here tomorrow morning. Haven't met with my two boys. I left that up to them, letting them know I was in town and making sure they had my number. You can't push someone to see you, well you can but I choose not to. It hurts some to be sure but that's how it is. I'll presume that the last days of my marriage to their mom and the nasty divorce had an impact on what they think of me. And I doubt their mom has anything positive to say. So I reap what I sowed. Here's a picture of the tractor with Nate working on it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm torn

12/11/09 Friday
It looks like I’ll spend another day here in Toledo. I don’t want to but at the same time I do. Nate’s working on getting everything together for me. He’s been bustin his butt helping out. Actually he’s been doing everything when it comes to the truck, trailer, tractor, and whatever else there is. I’ve been spending time trying to visit friends and family with limited success. My oldest hasn’t gotten back with me regarding a time to see him, his wife, and nine month old baby boy. I contacted him several times so it’s at the point that any more contact becomes pushing. It’s up to him. The youngest I haven’t gotten a hold of yet. I asked his mom about his schedule and when a good time would be and she only said he had a crazy schedule, which didn’t help. I’ll drive up there this morning to pick up some of my belongings that the ex dug out of the attic for me. It’s probably books and stuff I had from bible college days and my first marriage with Cherie. Perhaps I’ll see Adam then.

Visiting friends requires a lot of time. It’s not like I can stop by for an hour and say “Hi” and then move on. So I stay four or so hours and then feel like I must cut the visit short when I leave. Part of the reason why is there are other people I want to see but mostly I run out of energy and get real tired.

My one friend, who has the pain killer medication problem, is on my mind hard. He’s killing himself steadily and I have an acute understanding of that but there is little I can do, not during a short visit to the area. He needs so much more than that, a strong hand to guide him out of the abyss, and that would require time I don’t have. Something like a year is what it will take to really make a difference because he needs to dry out and change his whole way of thinking. He’s an undiagnosed brain injury victim among other things. There is so much I can and want to do but none of it is easy. What I fear is learning he has killed himself, either by accident or on purpose. Imagine what it would be like to watch someone drowning as you stand on the deck of a boat on a stormy night. You have a life ring in your hand but can’t throw it out to him because you don’t have time or are too far away. Then if you can throw it out you watch him refuse to acknowledge he even needs it and not reach out and grab it.

So I’m torn. I so want to hit the road and get home. I so want to hug Cherie and smother her with kisses. I so want to see my dogs and enjoy the jubilant greeting I know they will shower me with. I so want to work the dirt around the farm and work on getting ready for next year. But there are people here I care for and they are people that I can help with their lives, that I can make a difference with. My fears about the dangers of Toledo for me are fortunately not an issue. Being here reinforces the reality that the life I have now is a miracle, that I am truly free of the demons that used to plague me. Watching my friend and understanding that this was me at one time really brings that home and there is no desire to go there again.

I want to take my friend back to Texas with me. For there he would be removed from the things that enslave him and he could start a new life. But that won’t happen, at least not now because we just don’t have the resources. Calvin would come to Texas in a heartbeat. He knows that Toledo is a cancerous pit of trouble and misery and there’s nothing more he’d like than to escape with Suzie and the kids. To bring them out and take them to a new world with half the problems. He can find work there for sure but mostly the whole family could find a new life in Texas and can get out of the poverty they suffer through now. If I can get this farm together and the business plan in operation I can do these things for them and others. The primary goal of creating the business is to help others.

I got to drive the new old truck yesterday. Took a bit getting used to but it runs great. There’s a switch on the clutch that needs to be replaced. I made it out of the drive of the garage Nate had it worked on and too the corner before it stalled out. Nate had showed me how to fix it but I couldn’t figure it out so had to call him to come and rescue me as traffic backed up. He’s been a big big help. I doubt I could have done this without him.

So I’m fixing to head out and pick up that stuff the ex got out for me. She called to say she’s leaving it on the porch of the house. When she did I could hear a lot of emotion and heartbreak in her voice. It’s sad but… I’m where God wants me and that’s a good place to be.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

five below zero

12/10/09 Thursday
It’s twelve degrees out and the wind chill is said to be five degrees below zero. So that qualifies as it’s officially cold. The high for the day will only be 19 degrees. Right now I’m listening to the empty words of Obama as he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh they are grand sounding words to be sure but empty just the same. I simply don’t trust him and feel he puts on a big show to hide his true thoughts and agenda.

I got some more visiting done yesterday. Went and saw Sonny’s brother and while over there another friend came by. She is related to my second wife so I wasn’t sure of what she thought of me but she didn’t seem to have any problems about it. That’s always good. I spent several hours there and when done just returned to my hotel room to clean up for dinner with the in laws. That went well too. We laughed and talked with out any tensions. When all was said and done it was a good day. I was tired and worn out by the end so called it a day at around 8:00. I had hoped to run to the East Side and visit with Suzie and her family but ran out of energy. I do that a lot, running out of energy. For one thing I’m used to getting up at around six in the morning and as a general rule we are in bed and done for the day by 10:30 though sometimes that happens by 9:00 in the evening.

I got the temporary tags for the truck so can start driving it. Sometime today I need to take the rental car back to Detroit.

I tried to call Cherie several times and she never answered her phone. It went straight to her voice mail. As a result I began to worry that something happened too her. I’m prone to do that, worry and imagine what could have gone wrong. So I went online and looked up the number for where she works. I was happy when she answered the phone. At first she didn’t recognize my voice so as I asked if she was ok and explained I was worried she said “Who is this”. She was relieved to hear it was me but explained that it didn’t sound like my voice. So we had a nice talk and I got my Cherie “Fix” for the morning. I’m bad, but my days go a lot better after I talk with the love of my life. It’s good to be in love, especially when this far from home. Our love is an anchor for us that keeps things on an even keel.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

bad weather coming

12/8/09 Tuesday
I bought a tractor at the farm auction today. So I’ve achieved my goal. I’m tired after spending the day outside walking the fifteen acre size auction yard. I also bought a yard roller and seed spreader along with a contraption called a grain seed cleaner. I had in mind building something to do this job so it was nice to find one already built. Besides that I didn’t have a clue how to build one. I bid on a shredder so Nate let me know he had one that needed a motor and bought something for the motor to use on it. He also bought back the seed broadcaster he had put in the sale because I let him know I could use it for sure.

So it appears I will come home with the major items I hoped to get. That’s great. Unfortunately there is a major storm blowing in here tonight, bringing snow and then freezing rain so that will delay my leaving. I’ll be driving back in an unfamiliar truck pulling a trailer loaded with a pretty heavy tractor and lots of other stuff so there’s no way I’m gonna do it in a storm. When the weather clears I’ll clear out, providing I can get all the details taken care of. I need to see about temp tags for the truck and trailer to insure it’s all legal to hit the road. Need to put that on a list. Which means I need to start making a list right now or I’ll forget I even thought of it.

Got that started. I’ll meet with Barb, the second wife, tomorrow morning at a McDonalds. It will be the first time we have met to talk since the divorce I signed the day before the wreck. I have no idea how it will go but I hope it won’t be bitter and we can work some things out. Not sure what to work out but think it’s good to try and reduce hard feelings and for me it will help me get a better idea of what happened during those last days before the wreck. For that matter the last year or so of that time are pretty foggy.

I got to talk a bit with the lady I used to know from the auction days. It was good to hear that she didn’t see any of the madness of those last days. She just said that I disappeared and she didn’t see me at auctions anymore. That was good to hear, not that she didn’t see me anymore but that she didn’t see the madness. There was so much that is embarrassing from that end of a life that I find myself ashamed and am glad to know some missed it. The rest of the people I’m anxious to tell what I’ve learned about those days to try and explain what happened and why I was so out there. Let’s see, there was a stroke, a car wreck, a twenty foot fall that knocked me out for a few minutes, in one of those I broke at least two ribs and one or both of them I sustained further brain injury, deep depression, alcohol and drug use, and the stress of my life falling apart, all happening at around the same time. It was a rough time to say the least.

Tomorrow at 5:30 I visit with the folks, Cherie’s parents and family. There’s lots to do before I can head back to Texas but it looks like I’ll have an extra day or two to do so because of the weather.

I didn’t get a picture of the tractor but Nate took one and posted it on his Facebook site. I’ll try to figure out how to get it.

I’m tired. Didn’t go visit or anything. Got home about four and laid down. I’d forgotten to take a pain pill in the morning and forgot to take them with me so I hurt pretty bad by the time I got to this hotel room. So I went out and picked up some Arby’s for dinner.

I love having all these pictures on my computer. So here's a picture. Something to look at while I'm far from home.

12/7/09 Monday
I finally was able to reach my friend, you know, to talk to him while he is there. He was energetic in his conversation but had wasn’t too cognizant about our previous phone conversations was surprised to learn I was in Toledo. I’ll see him at five today. Will try to talk with him about the medications he’s taking.

I need to learn to turn the television off in order to get things done. It’s a problem. I watched all three of the Lord of the Rings movies played back to back in order yesterday. Actually I was late seeing Wayne because I was watching the middle one. When I got there he had it on his cable TV and was watching it. I spent five hours with Wayne yesterday.

So this morning I got all cleaned up and again enjoyed the privilege of taking a shower. All we have is a bathtub at the farm. I ran out and paid for breakfast at the Big Boy in Maumee instead of cooking eggs at the hotel room. It’s one of those rooms with a kitchen in it. I cooked eggs for the first time Friday but was not pleased to discover I had no salt and pepper so ate them plain. Didn’t feel like cooking so I went out.

Then I came back to the room, trying to figure out what I needed to do. It was about noon that I remembered I wanted to go to the auction at HJ’s Prime Cut restaurant. The auctioneer is Wilson Auctions, a company I had done lots of business with in my other life, the pre coma one. Talking with Nate about them Saturday helped me remember more. I spend lots of time remembering when up here. So I hopped in the car and headed out there. It’s a restaurant I had eaten at many times but I still got lost getting there. The auction was over when I got there but I got out anyway. I didn’t want to buy anything there, mostly wanted to meet Wayne, Brent, and the others who I used to know. I saw them at the food wagon talking so went over. Wayne looked up as I approached and it didn’t take long for recognition to register on his face. “How ya doing Bob?” he asked as he extended his hand. The next twenty minutes was dedicated to that subject as we talked and I told what happened.

I couldn’t recognize her face despite studying it, and still can’t recall her name, but the lady who ran the food wagon was indeed the person I remembered. Here’s the thing with memory loss again. I can remember moments, flashes, so knew we had become friends, but can’t recall much more than that at the moment. I wasn’t sure it was her till she recognized me and broke into a big smile. I’m glad it was a smile as I couldn’t remember if there were problems or if I had done something stupid. We talked a few moments as she worked to close the food truck up. I recalled a precocious young daughter as we talked so asked “How’s your little girl doing?”. “She’s gonna be sixteen” was the reply. That stunned me as my memory was a little ball of fire girl that stood about waist high to me. But it’s been almost nine years now since I woke up so I guess it would be about right. It’s like being Rumplestilsken waking up to find kids are almost adults now.

So I’ve got time to write as it’s only 2:40. I have over two hours till I go see my friend. This gives me time to catch up a little. I drove around a lot snapping pictures and remembering things this morning.
12/6/09 Sunday
Today will be a day of visitation. I must create a list of things I wish to do in order to get as much done as possible. Will go visit Wayne today at noon. . I didn’t bother to call my one friend yesterday. I called him Wednesday when I got to town, then Thursday and Friday, but each time he was so messed up on pills he didn’t make sense.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bought a truck

Click to enlarge

went to auction. Bought a truck, a big one with a diesel engine. Ford F450 Super Duty service truck. I'm beat. It was freezing cold. There weren't too many deals but that's how auctions go. I'll write about it later but wanted to post a picture for the wife. So goodnight.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Toledo holds great sadness

A tanker goes through the Cherry street bridge here in Toledo yesterday.

12/4/09 Friday
In Toledo there is great sadness. It affects me to see how people I know and love are impacted by so many of the forces that operate here. There are things I won’t write here out of respect. I called one friend several times but he was too messed up to talk coherently. Hopefully he will lay off the pills long enough for us to visit and my prayers are I can convince him to get it under control. If I still lived here I could, perhaps, make a difference. But I’ve seen this type of problem and experienced it so that reduces my hope. Suzie and family are in the same daily struggle to survive they’ve always been in. The girls have brought their grades up to A’s and are doing much better. Suzie got the youngest into a catholic school so that got her out of the gang banging fighting hatefulness of the public school. So these are two big bright spots for me.

I drove around a little and took pictures. One is the back of my old warehouse. You can only imagine the feelings connected with that, no probably you can’t. There are so many lives and stories connected to this. Hundreds of people worked for me so hundreds of people were under my care at one point of another in the two companies I built, lost, and built again. Now the building stands empty and all the businesses that once were housed there forced to move out. I’m sure that there are still truckloads of my stuff in there but I’ll never be able to recover it. What’s left is the trash that others didn’t want to steal. But some of it is good trash, things like bowling alley floors that I could make workbenches out of.

Today I hope to ride with Nate to the Charlotte auction site and examine the trucks and stuff for sale. I looked at craigslist online to get an ideal of what trucks sell for.

Called Cherie this morning and it’s always good to hear her voice. It’s cold there and they have snow on the ground. It’s only an inch but the whole area has shut down and schools along with multiple businesses are closed. It’s real cold, about twenty degrees. Cherie may get the electric blanket I have set up for my seed starting operation out and on the couch outside that Ben and Gretchen sleep on. I wanted to do that before I left but it’s one of the many things I forgot despite trying so hard not to.

I’m waiting for a call from Nate about heading north. Put two pair of socks on because we’ll be out in it for a while. Guess I’ll run out and grab breakfast while I wait. This hotel room has a kitchenette and fridge in it so I plan on buying eggs and a few other things I can cook.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Toledo, city of memories

A picture of my old office, where two of my companies were.

12/3/09 Thursday
Toledo, a city of memories for me, memories both good and bad. What books can be written with the stories I’ve lived and known here. On the plan I met a “Federal Officer” who’s exact department or job I unfortunately can’t remember despite the fact he told me. His wife had incurred a traumatic brain injury in a car accident about a year ago. I am always amazed at how many people I meet who have or know someone who has survived a TBI. She was, or is, a member of Mensa and had a successful business or two. Sorry the details are fuzzy but that’s the way it is with me. He told me of her frustrations and many familiar issues she is working through. I told him the blog address and encouraged him to get in touch with me through that as well as having his wife do so. It’s been eight years since I woke from my coma and that in itself has been an amazing journey during which I’ve learned much about TBI and come a long way in my recovery. So I would like to use that experience to help and encourage others who are in the midst of their journey. The ones who are most affected are those of us who’s IQ was above 130, that’s according to a study I read and downloaded years ago. The reason for this is that we are more aware of what we have lost. The gentleman, who’s name I believe is Steve, told me that depression is an issue his wife is fighting and I certainly understand that. There have been times that depression has frozen me to the point I didn’t even care to get out of bed.

Of course I told Steve our story, of how brain injury tore the marriage between Cherie and I apart and how in an incredibly ironic twist brain injury reunited us. He asked what almost everyone asks at this point “Are you writing a book?”. Actually I think he asked if I was having someone write the book for me. Considering how fast I’m not working on it that’s a concept I should explore.

So that was the highlight of my flight to Detroit. The car I got is a little bitty Hyundai (However you spell it) I guess I picked that considering I reserved the car. I had a bigger car in mind but I guess got confused regarding full size versus intermediate size car. The car I got last time was a Hyundai and I thought it was small but not as small as this one is. But it’s cheaper and we need to save money so that’s fine. I’m just used to my truck.

I called Cherie at every stop on the way up, Dallas, St Louis, and Detroit, to keep her assured everything was going well. Called her this morning too. It’s a great way to start the day, listening to her voice. She of course misses me and told me that Rascal and Trixie miss me too, that they keep searching all over for me. It will be good to get home and I’ve only been away one day.

I talked to Nate so we can figure out a schedule. Just called Suzie and Calvin and will go visit them in an hour or two after I grab some breakfast. Left a message on Allen’s phone but he never returned the call. Went to the store and bought toothpaste and a notebook to take notes with. That was Nate’s suggestion and a good one. You know writing helps me think. This is the start of day one and there are probably six more to come after this.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

First snow. I leave tomorrow.

12/1/09 Tuesday
The first day of December and we have our first snow/sleet/rain of the year. The high today will only be in the mid thirties. Tomorrow morning I’ll be flying out, God and weather willing, to Detroit. The plane ticket is purchased, car is rented, and hotel room reserved so that’s done. We got the funds transferred to our bank account so this morning I’ll pick up a wad of cash to take for the auctions. They require cash or certified funds with a letter from the bank and cash is easier. I called the airline to find out what the rules are for carrying cash and they said there are none unless I’m leaving the country. Works for me. I like to keep things simple. We decided to wait on getting the laptop till all this is done and settled. There are two reasons for that. One is that the cheap Mac book costs over a thousand dollars and the one I’m looking at is nearly $1700. I don’t want to run short on funds if I find a killer deal on some piece of farm equipment that will ultimately help me make money. The other reason is a possibility I can get it cheaper by waiting and shopping.

Hay equipment is an area I want to look at as there is definitely money to be made making hay here in Texas. I may not have enough money to buy a truck, trailer, and decent tractor as it is. It all depends on how the auctions go and with them it’s a roll of the dice. I used to hold two or three auctions a year at my warehouse so remember that well. Some of them I’d clean up on as people fought to buy stuff and some were duds.

The last auction I had, the one just before the wreck that put me in a coma, was the worst one I’d ever had when I needed a good one the most. It was a week after the 9-ll terrorist attack in New York and the whole country was in shock. Hardly anyone showed up and despite it being an absolute auction where a dollar bid got you the item two thirds of the stuff didn’t sell and what did sold for pennies. I was in bad shape by then, quite a mess to say the least, delusional and hearing voices among other things. What a ride to the bottom I was on, affected by an unidentified stroke and unrecognized brain injury on top of serious depression, drugs, and alcohol, in the midst of my divorce from the second wife. The car accident was the final blow yet strangely enough it was the start of a sequence of events that ultimately saved my life and restored it, with the culmination being reunited with Cherie, my first love. And now we work to build that life and create our dreams. So with that goal I fly to Detroit and hope to find deals.

I’ve got wood cut and stacked inside for Cherie to use while I’m gone. There’s a good chance I’ll bring back some firewood from up north. Depends on how much room there is on the trailer, you know, the trailer I hope to get. Firewood up there is dirt cheap and something I could definitely sell at a profit here in West Texas. Fact is there is so much I can purchase up there that I can double or triple my money on here in Texas that it’s a tempting business opportunity and would help finance our dreams for the farm.

That’s it for now. I’ve got lots to do to prepare for my trip. Can’t work outside for now because of the rain/snow but that’s ok. I need to figure out how to secure the Linksys router so others can’t tap in and go online. I suspect that someone accessed this laptop through our wireless. I used to put it in hibernate mode but would come back hours later to find it turned on and running. After finding the “blue screen of death” on it the other day I discovered porn and all kinds of advertisements for legitimate stores and even NBC on it. This was all found in my Picasa program that I use to store and organize my pictures. Weird and unsettling. There was all kinds of stuff that showed up like company and TV show logos. I turn my laptop off all the way now. Plus we can document satellite airtime being used when no one is at home. I called the satellite people up to check on improving our signal but didn’t hear anything good. If I wanted to cough up three hundred dollars to purchase their latest modem and pay more each month I could get a “little” better service but not much unless we spent hundreds each month. It looks like the cell phone companies offer better speed and more information usage, 3 or 5 gigabytes, not sure which but both are better than Hughes offers, for about the same price we are currently paying.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Need wisdom with money

11/30/09 Monday
There is lots to do before I leave for Toledo. The flight leaves Midland Wednesday morning. We are still waiting for the funds to transfer from the USAA account to our bank. Unfortunately we can’t reserve a rental car or even the hotel room until it shows up because the companies instantly put a hold on your account when you make a reservation. We expect the funds to arrive today so making the reservations is on my to do list as soon as it shows up.

I’ve been mulling over what to do with the money and debating what is wise and what’s not every day. One of those debates has been whether or not to spend the extra money to get a Mac computer or PC for half the price. Last night this laptop showed the “Blue Screen of Death” when I opened it up. The same screen that’s appeared when it’s crashed irretrievably before. Fortunately I was able to recover it, partially because of what I’ve learned from the past crashes. This helped me make up my mind. Our computers are valuable tools that will become even more essential as the farm begins to take shape and become an operating business so it will be a wise long term investment in our future, just as my going to Toledo to buy equipment is. So we’ll get a Mac book pro laptop and maybe a Mac desktop computer too. Now the question is “Do I get one used or new?” because there are used ones at half the price online. I think probably new.

Today I want to finish up sowing the rye. I quit when the tractor ran out of gas yesterday. What’s left is the small plots I have to sow by hand but I can use the tire drag to cover them with for part of it. We didn’t get the rain or snow that was predicted but there is a possibility of some tomorrow. Getting this rye in is important for next spring as I will till it under to enhance the soil. Actually I didn’t finish yesterday because I had one of those real bad headaches that shut me down. So when the tractor ran out of gas I did to. There’s plenty to do so no time left to spend writing. Gotta go.

preparing for Ohio

11/29/09 Sunday
Preparations for my trip to Ohio are high on the list. Reassuring Cherie is a big part of that. She caught some sales and bought clothes for me to wear up there and made the strawberry shortcake she knows I love last night. Sure wish I could take her with me but she can’t get off work. So I want to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible while I’m gone and that everything’s taken care of. At least everything I can do. To that end I’ll cut and split a log from our mulberry tree that I cut down two years ago. Much of the firewood we have for this winter was given to us but is old and partly rotted. It burns good but still has some bugs in it and some of the pieces are pretty big and hard to handle. I got a lot of wood from Midland that is still not fully dried and seasoned so am saving it for the end of the year. The mulberry wood is seasoned and I’ll cut it into pieces that are easier for Cherie to handle. Tomorrow I’ll make a run to the landfill where I’ll dump the garbage and get rid of lots of other stuff that’s been accumulating.

Last night I was out on the tractor with a flashlight trying to see where I was going as rushed to finish covering the rye seed. That didn’t work out. The flashlight wasn’t strong enough for me to see where I’d already passed and needed to go so I guessed a lot and just zig zagged to cover as much as I could. Went out this morning after the sun came up to see how I did. Not too bad but missed some spots. Running this tractor beats me up and then frustrates me. It will run well until it gets hot and then quit so I must let it cool off to start up again. Add to that things like the power steering doesn’t work, reverse quits working once it warms up, the gas tank leaks so I only put a gallon or two in at a time, thus it runs out of gas regularly so I must carry the gas out to were it stopped, and that I must press so hard on the accelerator that my leg wears out you can see how physically demanding it can be. But despite that the tractor is a blessing and makes work much easier. I was reminded of that when I pulled the seed broadcaster by hand to sow rye in plots too small for the tractor to go. Didn’t take long for me to get out of breath. Hard to believe I did the whole five acres by hand before.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This, that, and the other

11/27/09 Friday
It’s almost 11:00 now. I’m frustrated, as I often am. It’s not just the headache and the fact that I’m slow that frustrates me. There is so much to do and I’m having difficulty doing it because the tractor again refuses to go into reverse. It used to be I could coax it to do so but now it gets to the point where it won’t back up at all. I did manage to plow some furrows before it warmed up to the level reverse stops working. I can’t hook on to the disc if I can’t back up to it and that’s a tool I need to use. There’s no way I can drag it to the tractor. Maybe later I can drag the device I made by bolting tires together and chaining them to a three point hitch up to the tractor so I can use it but that is doubtful. Perhaps after the tractor cools off reverse will work again. I don’t know but will find out. We may get rain or snow this weekend so I really want to plant the six hundred pounds of rye seed that are sitting in the garage, but that will require using the tire drag to cover the seeds over. I was considering hooking the broadcast spreader to the tractor behind the disc and spreading seed but now I think I must pull it by hand like I did last year. That took days to do and then weeks to rake it all under by hand.

I so hope to buy a better tractor when I go to Ohio. The flight is scheduled to leave Wednesday morning. There is lots I need to do before I go. I must bring in firewood so Cherie will be able to keep warm while I’m gone. I’m pretty nervous about being away that long. And I’m uncertain if I can find the deals I hope for. When I looked at the vehicle list for the auction there was only one 2003 truck and a few 2002’s but the rest were older and all of them are fleet trucks that are being gotten rid of by companies. That means that most have been used pretty hard but we’ll see. There are probably some good buys there but I don’t want to buy a problem. I have higher hopes when it comes to getting a tractor and farm equipment. This is where I have to trust in God. It’s hard to be all positive when it’s all a big unknown to me. We don’t have much money and need to be careful. As I worked outside this morning I thought on all the things we need to do and could use, then added things up in my head. It didn’t take long to see that the inheritance won’t last long and needs to be spent wisely. So while I’d like a 2006 truck it might not be reasonable. Ultimately we want to create a working farm that will produce an income so the money will be spent to achieve that goal.

I wish this headache would go away. Cherie was up and out at 5:30 this morning to go shopping. I’m happy not to go, not a real shopper. I want to tell of what happened Wednesday. I met Cherie in Odessa as we both had to be there for different reasons. We met at the GLC bookstore and then decided to find someplace to eat out. After getting directions from someone at the store we headed out with Cherie following me. I got lost not being able to read the signs due to the sun setting in my eyes so just pulled into the first place I found. Walking in there was no one to seat you and I could see everyone was in the lounge, which was a smoking area. I walked through the dining room but saw no one so we were about to leave when a patron came out of the bar and said he’d find someone to help us. Ok, so we’d stay then.

The waitress encouraged us to sit in the lounge saying there was full service for meals as well as drinks so I explained that both nicotine and alcohol can trigger seizures because of my brain injury. When she learned of that she told us about her niece, who had sustained a traumatic brain injury last year. I remember hearing about it on the news, she had hit a tree while riding a four wheel ATV. She wasn’t expected to live and is in a facility that helps TBI and stroke survivors learn how to function. We told the waitress about the multiple brain injuries I survived and how they had tore us apart and then brought us back together twenty years later. It brought tears to her eyes, as telling our story so often does. I gave her the blog address and encouraged her to have the niece and her family read it and get in touch with me. It always amazes me how many people we run into who know someone who is a TBI survivor. She told of the hardships her niece is overcoming and about how well she is doing. I think seeing and talking to us encouraged her, at least I hope so.

Yesterday we were invited to John and Cindy’s for thanksgiving. They are good friends from our Sunday school class. We were happy to be invited and Cherie cooked a green bean casserole to contribute. There were others there as well, John and Cindy’s daughter, husband, and three granddaughters in addition to Ed and his wife and another woman who’s name I can’t remember. The food was wonderful of course and lots of it. But we enjoyed the conversation and fellowship the most. It’s nice to be around people and also interesting to experience a different culture from what I’m familiar with. The granddaughters were adorable little girls and one played some hymns on the piano, another recited some poems, and the third one, the youngest, was encouraged to sing a song. She was pretty shy and had to be coaxed. Then we all sang some songs and Ed read a psalm that required group participation. It was all very different from what we have experienced and refreshing too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a cold morning

11/25/09 Wednesday
I visited with Geneva for about four hours yesterday. There were some tasks around the house she needed help and advice about but mostly she needed someone to talk to. I looked at her financial stuff and it didn’t take long for me to understand that I don’t know enough about it to give good advice so I’ll ask around to find someone who can help her with it. Part of the problem is that she is a victim of the chaos that came with the financial crisis. The first company was AG Edwards, then Wachovia, and it appears that Wells Fargo bought them out because the statements suddenly bore their name. And somehow Met life is part of it. Seems that she had been talked into buying a variable interest annuity despite telling the salesman she didn’t want that kind. He told her that his whole family had purchased them from his grandparents down to his children to convince her to buy it. A month later he was no longer employed there. What gets me is that she gave them $80,000 for this investment and now it is valued at only $44,000. This boggles my mind and I fail to understand why or how that happened. So I will seek help from those who know more than I.

I’ll be helping the old man again this morning. Did some digging and stuff for him yesterday. Paid for that later. Geneva could tell I was hurting and feared it was because of things I did for her so I reassured her it wasn’t a big deal and just a daily part of my life. I forgot to poop scoop yesterday so will run to Midland and do that. It just slipped my mind despite the fact I went to Midland to do it. Guess I had a “bob” moment. It’s definitely cold this morning, about 24 degrees out. Time to go.
It’s noon now. I finished laying the tile for the old man’s septic system on the new building he’s putting up. I was going to do more, perhaps work on the chairs I’m restoring for him, but the pain level is up there so I called it a day. Went and picked up mail and bought some tacos for lunch. The transmission on the truck has been rough for a while but on the way home it wouldn’t shift out of first without a lot of coaxing. It’s been shifting from first to third lately and begins to slip in drive so it needs help for sure. I hope to get another truck while in Toledo but still want to keep this one running and have it around as a spare. I think I’ll replace the filter and see if that helps. I had questioned whether I should get another truck so this helped answer that question. I need to go to Midland and do the poop scooping I forgot yesterday plus we need to buy some bottled water. The water we got from the Stanton water station is salty. That’s not comfortable. They had a sign up regarding having been shut down for repairs and thanking you for patronizing the place but getting twenty gallons of salty water is unsettling. Especially when the city has been cited for the level of nitrates in their water recently. Nuts. So I’ll be buying water in Midland. But for now I must lay here till the pain pill starts working and my back relaxes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I've been negligent.

11/24/09 Tuesday
There is much on my mind. So many things to consider and make decisions on. This morning I’ll help the old man do some things and this afternoon I plan on visiting that sweet little old lady God brought us to. I had neglected to keep up with her, got busy and never made the time to drop by and see how she was doing. She had lost our phone number and in desperation went online to look up the blog and left a message for me. She had had car troubles and taken it to a mechanic, who took her to the cleaners in no uncertain terms. Not once but several times for thousands of dollars yet he never fixed the problem. Then he directed her to another mechanic who also took advantage of her but didn’t fix the problem. It was a popping sound and the smell of burning wires, among other symptoms. Finally it happened on the loop and she pulled over and had to bail out of the car because of the smoke. Now she was forced to buy another vehicle and the dealership only gave her five hundred dollars for her car as a trade in. Odds are she paid too much for the Mazda they sold her and she can’t afford to make the payments. I feel bad, and guilty, that I wasn’t there for her to help and prevent others from taking advantage of her. There are issues with an investment account she was sold that I will try to address for her. The guy who sold it to her got fired a month later and definitely misled her. Now she has lost thousands of dollars in that and they (Wachovia) are telling her she needs to pay them $7500 for money they moved into an account that wasn’t supposed to be moved. She had called about it and the person reassured her it was ok to use the money to pay bills. It wasn’t so now she must pay it back plus a penalty. I’m sick about it but uncertain if there is anything I can do. It’s not an area I’m familiar with, money and investments. So pray for wisdom that I can advise or help in this. Today I plan on looking at the paperwork and taking notes to insure I understand things. Then I hope to get advice from those who know more than I do. That’s a whole lot of people you know, those who know more than I do.

That’s it for this morning. Gotta go.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Plenty to do

11/21/09 Monday
I’m slowly getting my laptop up to speed. Everything they recovered from the hard drive is jumbled up. There were hundreds of temporary files just for the journal that I had to go through, one for each entry it looks like. Then I’ve had to download the software again, such as my windows office programs. That process will continue as I find things I need. The computer wouldn’t recognize or work with documents until I verified and registered works, or publisher, or whatever program originally made the document. So we had to find the original software packages and get the numbers off of them. But I have my laptop back. Now I need to try once again to activate the security on our Linksys wireless router in order to prevent others from tapping into the system and running up our time.

I’ll work for the old man this morning and then there is lots to do here. Now that I have my laptop back I must find the documents related to the business plan and gather them into a folder. That’s part of the problem with the backed up info, none of the original organization exists anymore. But at least the information has been recovered. So there’s plenty of work to do. I've got about ten thousand pictures to organize too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Find beauty under the ugly

11/21/09 Saturday
I got my computer back. They said that the data was successfully backed up. I’ll find out for sure later. But with that done I was able to successfully install a new operating system so the laptop works fine now, with the exception of the fact that the new battery still won’t work. I’m sure that this is due to my not doing something write when I put the new motherboard in. Either that or the new motherboard is defective or perhaps the new battery. I need a new computer but we’ll have to wait and see exactly what the inheritance from my dad will be. With the new operating system installed I basically have a blank computer just like it was when we bought it six years ago. So now begins the process of finding and installing all the software programs that were added over the course of that time. Right now I’m putting the spyware program on. Yesterday the first thing that happened when I went online was that it checked for updates with Microsoft. You can bet there were a lot of them, six years worth. That took hours to download and install. Eventually I’ll start the process of manually downloading all the files and information that the computer place was able to recover. In the meantime I’ll continue keeping this journal on Cherie’s laptop.

I dug up some of the old wood that I was able to recover from my old warehouse in Toledo, stuff that people didn’t recognize as valuable so didn’t steal. The reason I dug it out was that the old man wanted to look at it to see if he would like to use it as a mantle on his fireplace. So I got the big sander/grinder out and removed the rough surface off of some of it so that you can see the beauty hidden underneath. The fact that you couldn’t and that it looked so rough is the reason it wasn’t stolen. Few people would have any idea that this is black walnut. Not just regular walnut, which is valuable in its’ own right, but black walnut, a much rarer variety. I so much love finding beauty in ugliness and in bringing it out through hard work. This helps inspire me to get back into the woodworking I love. I need to clean up the garage in order to access the woodworking equipment I’ve been blessed with.

I’ve been working on bolting these tires together and then will attach them to the three point hitch with some chains. It’s been killing by back but I’m used to that. As I worked on it this morning I had a slowdown so took a break (thus I’m writing this) Cherie took Carman kitty to the vet this morning. She is stressing badly about my going to Toledo. I love her and don’t want to be the cause of that. Her fears are legitimate and not totally unreasonable. I understand and actually share some of them. I would prefer taking her with me as she provides a security for me just as much as I do for her and I know that with her at my side trouble is less likely to find me. We must trust in God.

I fired up the tractor and worked some on making a drive. I found a source of caliche, which is a white rock that is used on roads and stuff like that around here, so I want to prepare some places to put it. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long before the tractor doesn’t like to go into reverse and this time it’s worse than usual. I managed to back it up to the plow I put together so I hooked that up, anxious to see how it works. It works great. Only took a few minutes to do what used to take days. But the tractor is giving me fits so I finally gave up and parked it. On the way I knocked over a fence post. The bar that holds the plow blades sticks out from the side of the tractor so I’ll have to get used to that. On Facebook there’s a farm game that people play where they go through different kinds of scenarios in the process of building a farm. I get to play it for real. Little by little I’ll have a working farm. It’s a shame we got taken on the tractor so we’ll have to find a different one. But even this one is a big improvement on doing it all by hand.

I’m exhausted. Had a slowdown in the middle of the day. Can’t believe it’s only 5:00, feels like it should be 9:00. The back pain is high from working on the tire drag thing. Don’t want to lay down as it’s so nice out and will be dark in an hour.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We need to wake up

11/20/09 Friday
Just a quick note before I head out to take advantage of another beautiful day. It’s chilly but that works well with hard work. I watched with sadness the infomercial disguised as the news this morning and it reveals so much about our country. It was on ABC’s Good Morning America, the only national network we can pick up. They spend a large percentage of their time “reporting” on this new cruise ship that is the biggest ever built. It’s so obvious that this is a paid for promotion, at least to me. This is normal for the show and probably for the other networks as well. Are they just reporting on what they think America wants to hear? Or are they purposely designing to just feed us fluff and keep American’s uninformed, misinformed, and filled with a false sense of security in this ever increasingly volatile world we live in? Do most Americans desire to bury their heads in the sand and choose to hide from and ignore ugly truths? I don’t know the answers to these questions for sure but have a good idea of what the truth is. “We” want to be entertained and distracted. And I believe that there are forces in the world that are increasing in their control and influence and use that to blindfold us and lead us like sheep where they wish. We need to wake up and take back our country.

That’s it. I’ve got a farm to build.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Toledo danger on my mind

11/19/09 Thursday
I lost a chunk of yesterday but cleared up and got a second wind towards sundown. So I put the fisherman’s headlight on and worked after it got dark. This morning the pain in my bones was high so I suspect a front moved through. It’s gorgeous out there so I want to get moving and take advantage of both the weather and a clear mind. There is a slim possibility of rain tonight so I will work on sowing the rye seed. Part of that project requires that I bolt together the old tires and chain them to the three point hitch I took the plow blade off of. This I will use to cover the seed after it’s sowed and will be a lot quicker than raking five acres under by hand.

Cherie will fax the paperwork over that will transfer my inheritance to us. Not sure how long that will take but it should be available when I go to Toledo in the first week of December. Cherie is stressing real bad about that. I wish she could go with me just for her assurance. I’ll call her every day. She’s not good about being alone and I am a great source of security and comfort for her. Last night she asked “Do you want to know what I fear?”. I already knew but also know that she needs to express it and needed my reassurance. The nearly twenty years she lived alone after our divorce were hell on her so I understand that fear of being alone and losing me again. The fact is though, that Cherie is also my assurance and having her in my life is a primary factor preventing me from even wanting to return to my old life. So I will take Cherie with me in my heart when I go to Toledo. Cherie and God will be my shield against all the temptations Toledo offers.

When I go it will be a whirlwind of activity. There’s the auto auction and farm equipment sales, which are my primary reasons for making the trip. Then I hope to help Suzie obtain the life insurance from her mom’s death. There are lots of emotions to deal with there and Suzie’s emotions are the reason she hasn’t done this. I want to spend some time with my two sons, another source of great emotion. I’ll visit with my ex and see if she still wants to give me the wood burner that sits unused in what used to be my house. I hope to work through lots of the garbage that’s connected to that divorce. Not so much for me as for her but she can help me fill in some of the blanks in my memories of that time. We were able to talk on the phone a week ago without too much bitterness coming out.

Plus I have so many friends to visit, people I lose touch with over the miles. My friend, Sonny, died a few weeks ago so I will drop by and see his brother. There’s a long list of old friends and people to check on. Odds are I won’t see them all in the week I’ll be there, but I’ll try. Then it’s hopefully going to be a long drive back to Texas with a new truck pulling a trailer full of farm equipment. I’ll stop in St Louis on the way back and visit the people there who helped me so much as I recovered from the accident. People who loved me despite being in bad shape, or maybe because of it. People who gave me clothes, food, and a place to stay. Along with that a visit to the Brain Injury Institute that helped me so much before I was yanked up and extradited to Toledo.

So there is a lot on my mind. Time to go, got work to do.
I kept busy and suppose I got a lot done, but nowhere near what I wanted to do. I’m worn out now. Didn’t realize how tired I was till I came in and laid down for a minute while Cherie got dinner ready. When she brought it in and I went to sit up it hit me. Sitting up hurt and was a chore. I’ll go to bed early tonight. Got some good sunset pictures so here’s one of them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another beautiful day

11/18/09 Wednesday
It’s another beautiful day, weather wise. Sure it froze again last night but it’s already T shirt temperature and it’s almost 10:00. But I’m comfortable in a T shirt when it’s fifty degrees out. There is always so much to do. I got a lot done yesterday regarding what was on my to do list. I need to make another list this morning to help me keep focused and get the important stuff done. Cherie and I start our days out with prayer now and often end them that way too. This is all a sign of how my faith is being restored step by step and little by little. I am becoming more aware every day as my eyes are opened to what surrounds us, aware of spiritual things and of the directions the world is heading. And it renews an urgency to get this farm going, to put together the business plan so we can establish the self sufficient, self sustaining center of agriculture that I’ve had a vision for since before we even inherited the farm. At the prayer luncheon I spoke at a man told me that he had the strong impression that this would become a place of refuge in the future. It verifies what I’ve known in my heart. Things are happening and change will come rapidly folks. Our securities will disappear and we will learn to lean on God.

Don’t know where that came from. Well, actually I do. Anyway, there’s much to do so I must order my day to get as much done as possible. Cherie’s computer is a mess. I went to restore it and there are no longer any restore points, they have all disappeared. Whatever is causing the trouble is connected to the Mozilla Firefox browser because when I use Explorer I don’t get the interrupting program trying to contact the internet. Spysweeper can’t find a problem but one of the sites I looked at said that program misses lots of stuff and only detected 10% of spyware and viruses. Of course they were trying to sell their spyware so I read that with a grain of salt. I took mine to a computer place next to the old Mervyn’s store to see if they can recover the information on it. They said it might take a week to do because they are so busy. I’m so tired of this constant fight with viruses and the other stuff that messes up our computers. The guy at the computer store said lots of the problems come from “drivers” for different hardware and software programs, they often have a hard time working with Windows. He didn’t encourage me to get a Mac computer but he doesn’t work on them so that’s to be expected.
I got the two plows put together yesterday. Or maybe the day before, can’t remember accurately. I had to go buy bigger tools to do it. Previously I’ve been able to get by with a 3/8 drive socket set and a couple of wrenches but this farm stuff requires bigger ammunition. So we ran to Harbor Freight where I picked up some ¾ inch stuff and a bigger crescent wrench. Got a ½ inch socket set too. The two plow blades aren’t the same depth but it’s the best I can do and better than nothing. Don't know how close or far you're supposed to put them. Like most things I'm just guessing. I wonder if the tractor is even able to pull them both.

Looks like I’ll be going to Ohio in early December. There’s a car auction and then a big farm sale then that Nate told me about. We’ll see. Cherie can’t get off work and I know she’ll worry herself sick about me being gone that long and in Toledo as well. She knows, as I do, how much trouble Toledo can offer and that there are dangers there for me. I’ll have to be real careful when I go. If it works right I’ll fly up and drive back with a new truck, tractor, and trailer to haul it and whatever else I get with.

I seem to have fixed what was wrong with Cherie’s computer. It appears to have been the software for the external hard drive we use to back up with. That’s one less headache.
I was having a problem figuring out what to do. It’s frustrating when this happens. Went outside and just got kind of confused as I struggled to choose something to do. So I went inside and laid down, turned on the TV and there were only judge shows, judge Judy and Alex. I sometimes like to watch them but there were stupid people on with selfish problems that were a result of their life styles and decisions. I’ve seen plenty of that in my life and for that matter did plenty of stupid selfish life choices myself. So it was generally disgusting to watch and sad as well. But it makes me glad I’ve left those lives behind and helps me appreciate where I am now. Plus it helps me see the benefits of morality, of practicing the principles of honor and integrity, of choosing to do what’s right even though I know I can get away with doing other things that would provide some personal gain. It’s long term thinking versus short term.

So I turned the TV off and went back outside. Just hate to waste time when there’s so much to do. But it was still confusing and frustrating. Makes me feel stupid, like some kind of idiot that people laugh at. So I came in and called Cherie. That’s when I figured out I was having a slow down. I could hear it in my voice as I struggled to come up with words and to interpret what she said. And I have a headache too. These things often come together. So I’ll dig up fence posts and focus on simple tasks. Cherie is going to do the water exercise at the Midland pool so won’t be home till late. She was going to skip it and come home when she heard how bad I was doing but I told her not to. She really likes the water exercise program and it’s something she can do without causing a lot of pain. Plus it’s healthy for her and helps her lose weight. So I encouraged her to go. It would be nice if some of her friends could join her, then there would be a group and that’s always good because they would all encourage each other. I’ll pray for that to happen. When I pray things happen, I think. I’m pretty slow right now. Will probably read this later and wonder what I was thinking. It’s hard to think. Like being on drugs without the drugs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Had to break the ice

11/17/09 Tuesday
Geese, the month is flying by. There is so much going on and so much to consider that I must make lists to sort out what needs to be done when. Yesterday I carefully drained the farm water system and turned off the valves in preparation for the freeze we had last night. I always figure out how I should have done something after I did it the wrong way. Unfortunately I had installed the valves in the wrong place. As a result there are five water spigots that I’m unable to turn the water off. This is bad because if anything should happen, like a pipe freezing and bursting, or me running it over with the tractor (did that earlier this year) then I must turn the well off and that means there is no water anywhere, including the house. So I carefully wrapped each one with insulation and covered them all over with plastic drums. Today I might install a cut off valve in a better place. I say “might” because there is so much to do that I can’t guarantee getting to it.

I had to break the ice on the dogs water this morning and can tell by how thick it was (one inch) how hard of a freeze we had. Then I had a thought. I never checked the water in the tractor to see if it had anti freeze in it or not. Nuts. If it doesn’t and froze the odds are I have a cracked block on it. So checking that is now first on my agenda. It’s an old beat up tractor but it runs and is all I have so I need to take care of it.

Here are some of the things we are thinking carefully about. I have a few thousand dollars coming as a result of my dad’s death. It’s not money he left me, it’s the inheritance my grandmother on his side left me in 1971 that dad had control of but never released to me. I don’t know if dad had a will or not. No one has mentioned it to me if he did. He did tell me on the phone, during the one conversation we had before his death, that he “Hasn’t forgotten me” and that he would “Take care of me”. I don’t know what he meant by that. He had a hard time talking at all and the conversation was short due to his health. I so much wish and regret that we weren’t able to talk further, that we weren’t able to complete the reconciliation that had started.

But we’ll be getting the money and some stocks I inherited nearly forty years ago. The stocks are with a Canadian oil company and had unfortunately taken a nose dive when Obama became the president. It’s not a lot of cash but it is significant in what it can do for us. But we have to be wise and careful with it for I know how fast money can dissipate into nothingness. So here’s a list of things we are thinking on.

I need a new truck (Not “New” mind you, just one that isn’t as beat up)
We need a new water well.
We are thinking about upgrading my laptop.
A better tractor is a definite need.
Implements and tools for farming.
Would like to build a henhouse and start raising chickens.
Need to build more storage space by adding on to the garage.
Possibly build a greenhouse onto the side of the garage.
Need to put up fencing around various garden plots.
Create a vegetable stand with the old school bus.
Our bathroom needs some serious work. The plumbing is stopped up from mineral deposits, among other things.
I would like to pay for some labor and help around here. There is so much I can’t do by myself and having a little help will make a huge difference.
Buy seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation parts for next year.
Buy and plant windbreak trees, complete with drip irrigation.
Find better internet access.
There are of course many other things but that’s a quick off the top of my head list.

Working on the business plan is something I must refocus on. Today I will take my laptop in and pay to have the information recovered from it. I had hoped to do so myself using the knoppix CD Eric downloaded for me but come to find out it doesn’t work well with Windows XP. Besides that I get lost and confused to easy with that stuff. I called around yesterday and found a place that will back it up for $40, way cheaper than the $100 that Best Buy wanted. That will help me get back going on the business plan.

So we’re off again. Time to quit dilly dallying and get to work. Need to run spysweeper because something called maxbackserviceint keeps trying to connect with the internet and is disrupting things. So it looks like Cherie picked up a virus or something. I've got pictures to post but can't with this thing interrupting every few seconds.
There weren’t any viruses, at least not that Spysweeper could detect. Seems that the program that was incessant to go online is connected to our Seagate external hard drive. This stuff drives me nuts and will probably be the motivator when it comes to deciding whether or not I get a Mac when we get a new laptop. I can but two pc’s for the price of a Mac but the headaches we’ve been getting from Microsoft products have cost us dear so… I’m frugal but there’s the total cost to consider and what price do you put on frustrations and lost data? I’m leaning towards Mac right now.