Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I just cannot win…..

I am not feeling well tonight. I want to write. I have nothing else to do. Rachel called me to tell me she was coming over to bring those papers. I didn’t pick up the phone. I let the answering machine answer it.

I am having a hard time tonight. The ordeal with George didn’t help. I heard Rachel’s car drive up. I can pick our Volkswagen out of a line up. I heard a knock and then another knock. I hid behind the chest of drawers in this room. I heard the car crank up and leave.

Dear god, why? Why do I have to suffer? I am not a bad person. I do not do bad things. I am a good person. I wanted so much to open the door and welcome her in. I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and hug her. I wanted to give her a big kiss and tell her I love her. I do love her. I want to go home. I want to go back to our house. I want to drive our car. I want my beloved cat to sit in my lap. I want to hear the dog go in and out of the dog door I installed.

Why can’t I go home? I just want to sleep in our bed. It is the bed that I paid for. I want to wake up in the morning and wake up to her beside me. I want Otis, our dog, to lick me on the face. I want chairman meow to sit on my lap and love me like she used to do. I want so much but it is a lost dream.

I am not feeling well tonight. My illness is acting up I believe. I want to go home. I want to get in my old bed and go to sleep. I want to sit in my den and watch tv. I gave her everything. She got the house. She got the car. She got our dog and cat. I sat in a tent in the coldest months of winter and still paid her money. She always had her bills paid. It is not fair.

The Fourth of July Party…..

I walked down to the Piggly Wiggly this afternoon. I wanted some fried cubed steak for supper. There are watermelons growing in a small flower bed just down below. Someone had smashed all the ones of size on the pavement. I stepped around them. I felt disgusted after seeing them grow for months. It probably was some kids I thought to myself.

As I walked up the sidewalk there sat George in his old beat up Dodge Diplomat. I tried to walk by slowly so as not to be noticed.

“Hey brotha! I need to talk to you!” George hollered as I tried to walk by. “Come here and sit in the car.”

I opened the door and sat down. I was tired and glad to have a seat. I know the game and George no longer bothers me that much. He handed me a cigar and I lit it up. It was a white owl.

“I want you at my party! You are one of my best friends!” George said as he slurred his words. George was completely shit faced. He was drunker than a skunk. I have never seen George drunk.

“I will buy a case if you buy a case.” He said. “We are going to cook hamburgers out at the lake on the fourth.”

I sat for a minute pondering this situation as I smoked my cigar.

“George you are drunker than shit man.” I said.

“I have only six beers!” He said while showing five fingers. I laughed really hard at this and he took offense.

“Listen George, you are drunk and you need to head home before you get a DUI.” I replied.

“I am not drunk. Fuck the police. I can drink you under the table.” George replied in a sentence that was almost unintelligible. He looked at me sternly with red shot eyes.

“I am throwing a party and I want you there. I want you to get a case of beer and I will bring one as well. You are my friend.” George said.

I felt bad for George. I know how it is to be fucked up. You really need someone to take care of you. Most people would stand around and gawk at a man’s poor situation.

“George, step out of the car.” I said as I got out.

“Why? Motherfucker, don’t fuck with me!” George shouted

“I thought me and you are friends.” I replied.

“You are my best friend you son of a bitch.” George said as he slurred his words. What a way to show friendship I thought to myself.

“I am driving you home. You are going to get busted.” I said firmly.

“Fuck the police. They can suck my dick!!!” George shouted.

“George, get your ass in the other seat. I am taking you home.” I shouted back.

George crawled over the front seat to the passenger side. He had popped open another beer.

“Where do you live George?” I asked as I got in on the driver’s side.

“I live with my moms over by central elementary. Just behind the school.” George replied.

Cool, I thought, that was only a thirty minute walk home.

I cranked up the car and drove George home. His car is a piece of crap I might add. I felt as if it were about to fly apart if I went over thirty miles an hour.

“It this your house?” I asked.

“Yes.” George said. He was half passed out.

I pulled up in the driveway and knocked on the door. An elderly lady came to the door.

“Are you George’s mom?” I asked.

“Yes sir, sho is.” She replied. “Whats a white boy like you doin in his car?”

“George is drunk and needs to sleep it off. I drove him home miss.” I replied.

I handed her the keys and told her to hide them and then started my long walk home.

You know, I don’t like George. He really is not my friend but I knew if I left him there then bad things would happen. He could have killed someone driving as drunk as he was. George is a shady character that I try to avoid but I had to act tonight.

A visit with family…..

I walked over to my parent’s house this morning. I was lonely and I wanted to see my father and spend some time with him. He is off from work on Wednesday. I walked up the steps and my father’s cat was there to greet me. Her name is Macy. She wanted me to pet her but petting her is Russian roulette. She will bite you for no reason. I opened the door and stepped in. My father was in the kitchen cooking.

“Your cat is evil Dad.” I told him.

He just laughed.

“My girl is not evil. She is the best pussy in the world. She is the duchess.” He replied.

As a child all our pets had royal names. Some were in parliament and others were in the royal family. He would tell us grand stories of their exploits. We would always squeal with glee as dad told us outrageous stories about our pets. Our dog, Mick, was an archduke. Bless his soul. Mom shut the garage door on him and he had to be put to sleep. I miss Mick. He was always overjoyed to see me when I came over.

Dad was cooking a roast and it smelled wonderful. My stomach grumbled as I sat at the kitchen table reading the Atlanta Constitution. I like to call it the Atlanta Constipation. It was full of depressing news as always.

“Does the news ever depress you?” I asked.

“I get tired of it. It is always about what is wrong and rarely about what is right.” He replied.

“Do you need any help with anything?” I asked.

“Set the table and put some ice in our glasses. Then go wake up Martha.” He replied.

He pulled out the roast and was carving it with an electric knife. He spooned the potatoes and carrots into a serving dish. I set the table and filled three glasses with ice. He then started to make a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, and mayonnaise. He seasoned it with salt and pepper. I then walked back to the back bedroom to wake up mom.

“Hey mom, time to eat!” I said.

“Did Johnny cook?” She asked.

“Yeah, dad cooked a roast.” I replied.

My mom hopped out of the bed faster than you could say, “Jiminy Cricket!” She will not miss a meal. It is one the few things that will tug her out of bed.
We all fixed our plates and started to eat. It tasted wonderful. Mom was so lazy she didn’t even pour her glass with tea. She hurriedly ate and then went back to bad.

“Jesus!” My father said.

“What?” I asked.

“You mother is something else. She didn’t even pour her glass with tea. She ate without drinking.” He replied.

“She is lazy. It would be too much trouble.” He replied.

“Yeah, you are right. I don’t see how she can stay in the bed all day.” Dad said.

“Nether do I. I couldn’t stand it. Just laying there and doing nothing for days on end.” I replied back.

I hate us talking about my mother behind her back. She really is pitiful and I hate to see her waste her life like she does. I changed the subject quickly and then headed home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The bitch says, “Hello!”

I am not feeling well tonight. I am tired and ornery. My ex-wife called with bad news as always. I am trying my hardest to distance myself from her.

“Social Security wrote today. You owe them $1000 dollars.” She said on the phone.

“Oh great! What for?” I replied.

“They paid you too much on your big check. They are going to take $1000 dollars out of your check over the year.” She replied.

Oh thank you great harbinger of good news I thought to myself. Rachel always has a way of not brightening my day. She always has a way of pissing on my parade.

“Well shit!” I said.

“I will bring you the letter by tomorrow.” Rachel replied.

“Just mail it to me. That would be better.” I replied.

“Why? Do you not want to see me? Why can’t I run it by?” She asked.

I would rather get teeth pulled than see her but I was too kind to say so. She is a bitch and I have come to realize this. Everything has to be dramatic and has to suit her.

“Just mail it to me okay? Is that too hard to do? Just lick a stamp, put it on the envelope, pull the flag up on the mailbox and stick it in!” I exclaimed.

“What have I done to you?” She replied while starting to cry.

Oh god, my heart melted. I cannot stand to hear a woman cry. I was an asshole and I knew it.

“Listen Rach, I am just tired and do not feel good. Bring the letter by tomorrow. I would appreciate it. You have done nothing wrong.” I replied.

Man, I am such a pussy. I just wish she could be as nice to me as I am to her.

“I love you doll.” She said.

“I love you too sweetheart.” I replied. I felt so hypocritical for saying that. It was almost automatic.

Do you want to know the sad thing? I still do love her despite all her flaws. I miss waking up in the morning with her next to me. I miss our home with our cat and dog always around. I miss the smell of her hair and the touch of her skin. I miss so many things but I know she is like poison to my soul. I will try my best to stay away.

I need your help….

I have been receiving $837 dollars a month from social security for disability. Recently, I contacted my congressman and got my big check. It was a back payment of $5600 dollars. I gave two thousand dollars to my ex-wife to pay for a trip to London. I had no choice. She is my representative payee. She gets the checks and deposits the money and gives me the rest. I have tried many times to change this but SSI just gives me the run around. She acted as if it was my choice and I agreed to go. I gave her the two thousand dollars to pay for the trip. I didn’t want to go. It was her idea and she put it on her credit card.

Social Security wrote a letter today saying they paid me $1000 dollars too much and now I have to foot the bill. It will come out of my check monthly. This will drastically reduce my monthly income.

Should I confront my ex-wife? I still give her money every month. I still love her so much but I cannot afford to give her more. I am often penniless at the end of the month. I want to see about her. I want to be a man and stand up to my responsibilities. Should I ask for that money back? It really was not hers. I struggle so much with this issue.

I get so angry about this. I pay her cable and electrical bill but she never comes to see me. I do more for her than she does for me. I look after her but she never has the time to stop by and see how I am doing. I could have been an asshole and never gave her anything. When I was homeless I gave her lots of money to make sure she was seen about. I was sleeping in a tent in the harshest weather and she was at home sleeping in our warm bed. I saw about her though and no one can ever say I was a person who didn’t meet his responsibilities.

I guess I am bitter. I am bitter at her in the way she divorced me. She would not face me. She had her father come pick me up and take me to the lawyer’s office. I signed the papers and gave her everything. She got the house, our Volkswagen, our dog and cat. She got all our wedding presents and they were numerous.

I just want to cry. I want to lie in my bed and sleep until kingdom come. I am not a bad person. I try so hard but life has a way of making everything a struggle.

I will always see about her. Homeless or not; she will have a home. I would sell everything I had to make sure she had what she needs. I just do not know what to do. I do not want to be an asshole and ask for that money. I need it though. I guess I just need to go to bed for awhile. I need time to think about things.

A Big Surprise……

My father let a friend borrow my late grandmother’s car for a few days so I am in the realm of non-driving status again. It is just a few days though. I had an appointment at Valley Orthopedics with my bone specialist this morning so dear old Mom had to drive me.

We drove down there without incident and I was grateful. As we were sitting in the room mom just says, “I think I will go home and lay down. Call me when you are done.” An argument ensued as this pissed me off. I know I should be thankful for a ride and all but it was ridiculous to drive all the way (5 miles) down there and just drive home. I knew what mom was doing. She wanted to go lie back down. She literally can lie in the bed day and night for weeks on end.

“Dr. Martin always only takes a few minutes. We never have to wait long.” I replied.

“I am so sleepy though and need to lie down.” Mom said.

“By the time you get home, you will have to come back and pick me up. You will not have time to lie down.” I replied in exasperation.

“Why can’t I just go lie down for a bit?” Mom asked.

I let out a big sigh and tried once again to explain to her the ridiculousness of such an endeavor. I had to use subterfuge in the end to resolve the matter. Even though my mother is almost 60 years old she acts like a child and you have to treat her as such.

“I need someone to talk to. I need you with me.” I replied coyly.

As predicted they called me back shortly and the doctor spoke to me. I am discharged from physical therapy and I almost jumped for joy at him saying this. It has been a long road to travel but I made it. My arm is almost back to normal.

After leaving, Mom pulled into a local bank.

“Why are you stopping here?” I asked

“We need to cash your savings bond from mother.” Mom replied.

When she had initially told me about this I thinking it was just a $20 dollar savings bond. My mom’s mother is notoriously cheap and frugal. I opened the envelope and I almost shit in my pants. It was eight $50 dollar savings bonds that were issued in 1972. The total return was $495 dollars after the interest was accounted for.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Talking about mental illness……

I have been thinking a lot this morning on this subject. I know I don’t talk about it much. I am afraid of being stigmatized because of it. The hardest thing about mental illness is watching a loved one suffer. I know when my mother’s schizophrenia first escalated itself my father was at a loss at what to do. They tried countless doctors and numerous medications but nothing helped. It’s a helpless feeling as you watch someone you love spiral out of control. It is also hard to argue with someone who has no control over reality. It is truly insanity in its most aggravating form for a loved one.

I will now try to describe how schizophrenia affected me. When I was married I would get on causes and would be delusional. I thought the television was sending me messages and controlling my thoughts. This completely baffled my ex-wife. She just couldn’t understand that I was sick. She would get really defensive about me not watching television as if it were a carnal sin not to do so.

“Everyone watches TV. Watching TV is normal!!!!” She would scream at me.

She just couldn’t understand I was sick. Schizophrenia is no different than any other disease of the body like cancer. The hard part is you cannot do an x-ray or blood test and find it.

I was also completely non-compliant with my medications. I thought they were trying to control my mind and would not take them. It is a vicious cycle but when you are sick you believe such crazy things. My ex-wife or father would hand me my medications to take. I would either put them off to my cheek or would throw them up. My ex-wife says she still finds pills around the house that I hid to keep from taking them.

When I become homeless I was under the delusion that everyone was watching and talking about me. The only place I felt normal and comfortable was alone in the woods with no one else around. I still struggle with this to a degree. My medications help immensely but I still have flashbacks to my old form of thinking. I have to carefully watch myself for this.

From time to time my illness would flare up more than normal. This was where I would have some of the more classical symptoms of schizophrenia. I would have long, drawn out imaginary conversation with myself. I would genuinely believe I had a conversation with another person. I can still recall these conversations vividly as if they really happened. It’s almost haunting when I sit here and think about it. I would also think that famous people were my friends and were going to do things to help me.

Right before I started to take my risperdal injections, I got it into my head that Tom Hanks was going to fly me to Boston to get medical care from his doctor. I would walk over to my parent’s house in dress clothes ready to go at 5 AM in the morning. I would say that his limo is coming to pick me up to take me to the airport. This frightened my parents. I can remember lying in the bed as my mother tried to talk sense into me and calm me down. She would try to get me to go to sleep.

At this time I also thought that Emeril Legasse of TV’s food network fame was coming to fix me breakfast. It seems so laughable now but then I firmly believed it. I really thought he was coming and would clean up the kitchen to prepare and make room in the refrigerator for the food he would bring. These things went away when I started to take my risperdal. I had to get a shot though because of my non-compliance.

Well, I could go on and on but this gives you an idea of what schizophrenia is like and how it effected me. It’s a vicious disease because it is so hard to treat and diagnose. Some people go for years on the streets homeless and delusional because no one can help them or they do not know how. The new medications today are a breakthrough for those of us that suffer and can change lives. I am truly luck that 30 years ago I would have been in real trouble. I will close now. Take care and take your medicine.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mexican Train Dominoes….

I was out for most of the morning cutting the grass. I finally got my late grandmother’s old lawnmower running. I drained the gas and the oil and replenished them. I also changed the oil soaked spark plug. With just a couple of pulls it fired into life. As I was just finishing the back yard up drove Alaine. I turned off the mower and walked up to the driveway.

“Hey you!” She said as she stepped from the car. I could see Paige already sitting in the back seat.

“Do you want to come and play dominoes? We are going to get a game started.” She asked.

“Sure, I would love too. I really enjoy playing with you all.” I replied.

“Do you want to ride with me?” Alaine asked.

I hesitated. Alaine’s driving makes me nervous. I don’t want to make any woman readers angry but she drives like a typical woman. Worse than my mother to be frank.

“I need to take a shower and change clothes and then I will drive over in just a few minutes.” I replied.

Whew, I got out of this one today. I was lucky. Paige crawled out of the back seat to get in the front. We said our goodbyes and I went in to get cleaned up. I was a sweaty mess and had green grass stains on my t-shirt from emptying the bag on the lawn mower. I then jumped in the car and drove over to her house.

After arriving we moved around some chairs and got ready to play. Mexican train dominoes is a really fun game. It is one part luck and one part strategy. You have to plan carefully the order in which you lay down your bones(dominoes). I ended up coming in second out of four. Alain came in as the winner after thirteen rounds. At the end of each round you have to tally up the score of your remaining dominoes when someone wins. We all can get quite heated during this process. It is all in good fun though. We popped kettle popcorn and all drank some diet sodas during a break.

After the game, I was put on the spot by Alaine’s mother.

“Play me something on the piano.” She asked. “I do love to hear that old player piano getting played.”

My face turned bright red. I am very timid about performing in front of others but I relented just this one time. The only songs I knew by memory were a Duke Ellington Jazz ensemble, Amazing Grace, and the Peanuts theme song. An eclectic and odd mix I might add. I played them all back to back and made it through it without embarrassing myself. They all clapped and Alaine’s mom cried, “Bravo!” My face blushed an even brighter shade of red.

After that, I got on Alaine’s computer and fixed her monitor. It was very blurry and I calibrated the screen. I then got online and signed them up for the National Do Not Call Registry. They have been getting tons of telemarketing calls and it was driving both of them crazy. I assured them the calls would stop within a few days. After that I left and drove home. All in all it was a good day and I feel fulfilled. I like easy going days like today spent with friends. I am slowly regaining my social skills. Good night and I hope your Saturday was good as well.

Of freight trains and thundershowers…..

I made the drive up to Waverly. Being able to drive again is such a godsend. It feels as if I have been oppressed forever and now I am free at last. I rolled down all the windows and felt the wind on my face and in my hair.

I pulled out onto the dirt road leading to the pond passing by the former home of my late great uncle. The house looks in terrible shape and is falling in on itself. I stopped on the old wooden bridge over the train tracks. I heard a freight train coming and wanted to watch it. This old wooden bridge was built in the early part of this century out of creosote soaked railroad ties. I am always amazed that it is still standing and in good shape. I stood there on the bridge as the freight train roared underneath me. I could feel the bridge shake under my feet. My heart pounded from the adrenaline. The squeal of the flanges on the wheels filled the air as the train rounded the curb. I stood there for a long time until it had passed and I saw the end of train device blinking further and further off in the distance until it disappeared around the curve. I got back into the car to the sound of rumbles of thunder off in the distance.

I drove out the dirt road and decided to forego fishing that evening and head on to my camping spot. It was going to come up a gully washer in a few moments. I parked the car in a clearing off from the dirt road and hiked up an old fire line “road” to my camping spot. This was the place I used to camp at when I was homeless sometimes. There is a nice level clearing covered with pine straw looking out on a field of broom sedge at the edge of piney woods. I hurriedly set up my tent and put all my gear inside. I got into my tent and started to unroll my sleeping bag and organize my gear. The thunder was growing ever louder in intensity as I sat there. I had the door open and looked out across the field and saw a line of heavy rain marching towards me. I could see streaks of lightening hitting the ground off on the horizon. Oh boy, here we go, I thought to myself.

The storm turned out to be one hell of a light and sound show. One strike of lightening was so close I could feel my bones rattle from the thunder. I winced and cringed several times with my fingers crossed. Heavy winds buffeted my tent and I was glad I took the time to push my stakes into the ground. The storm didn’t last long though and was over and gone almost as soon as it arrived. This is typical for the south on a hot and hazy summer’s day.

The sky soon cleared to a beautiful blue filled with puffy cumulus clouds. Steam was wafting up off of the land in the hot afternoon sun after all that rain. I set out to find some firewood and get supper started. After building a teepee of wood, no amount of trying would get the damp wood to start. It just would not catch fire. No hoboes for me last night. I ended up pulling out my little Coleman camp stove and screwing on a butane cylinder I had in my backpack. I made a poor man’s stew out of the ground beef, potatoes, and onions. It was almost like a hash but tasted surprisingly good.

I closed the evening by lying on my sleeping bag and reading a book as the sun set. The sky turned a beautiful orange and pink as the sun slid down beyond the horizon. Before long I was sound asleep with the book lying on my chest. I awoke early in the morning to the dark of the pre-dawn and just laid there for a long time. The night had turned really cool and I crawled into my sleeping bag pulling my camp pillow under my head. I laid there for what seemed like hours until the sky had grow light enough for me to see and I packed all my gear up and headed for the car. It was a great night and I am almost tempted to drive back out there again today.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Cruise…..

I spoke to Alaine for a long time on the phone tonight. She told me that she is taking a cruise on the 4th of July. I want to go so bad but cannot afford it. It would be almost $2000 dollars. I do not have that kind of money. I told her thanks but I declined. She is going with her mother.

After we got off the phone, I had a knock on the door. It was Alaine. She drove straight over to see me. I gave her a big hug and welcomed her in.

“Hey you!” she exclaimed.

“Hey you back?” I asked.

We sat for a long time just talking. I felt kind of weird as if something was wrong. I felt a chasm between us.

“Why won’t you go with me?” Alaine asked.

“Doll, I cannot afford that expense. That is too expensive. I will just have to stay home.” I replied in a sincere voice.

She wrapped her arms around me and whispered in my ear. It tickled and I laughed out loud. I giggled like a little school girl.

“I want you with me!” she replied in a sultry whisper.

“I want to go but you will just have to enjoy me here.” I replied in a whisper as well.

“You are no fun.” She replied with a pout on her face.

Ah, women. They are the salt of the earth and so hard to say no to. I have the money but the last thing I need to do is purchase a cruise for $2000 dollars. It would be too frivolous. I have to save that money in case things take a hard turn.

“Well, I will miss you. You know that?” she replied.

“I will miss you too doll. You have a good time and know that I am with you in heart and soul.” I responded.

We kissed good night and she left to head home. It was hard for me to say no. I would love to just get away and spend some time on the ocean. Eating all that good food and being with someone I care about very much. I will just have to live the experience by her description of the trip.

Please calm down Jonathon……

I realize my post yesterday may have offended some of you. For that I am sorry. I try to lessen my cursing in my posts but sometimes I feel the need to do so. I wanted to make a point and I needed strong words to do it.

I used to enjoy reading the homeless guy’s website but some things happened to make me change my mind. I just don’t like seeing good people getting duped or taken advantage of. The turning point for me was when he posted about the homeless kid in New York who was living in the library. He said he wasn’t really homeless and was using homelessness to gain fame and fortune. That guy in New York never asked for your money by the way. He told people who wanted to help to give to charity organizations. It reeked of hypocrisy on the homeless guy’s behalf and forever changed my opinion of his blog. Well enough on that. I will let the issue rest and not speak about it further.

I’ve had a so so day. It has rained for much of the day and has been depressingly overcast and murky. I walked down to Piggly wiggly to buy some whole milk. I was dying for a frosty cold glass of milk. As I approached the store, there sat good old George in his car.

“Hey, hey man! Come here for a second.” George asked.

I hesitantly walked over and bent down to the window of the car. At least he no longer tries to sell me drugs. Tonight was still interesting though.

“What ya want George?” I asked.

“Hows dat ex doin?” George asked. “Are yall getting thangs straightened out?”

“Nope, we are still separated.” I replied.

“Do ya ever have needs?” George asked with a big goofy grin on his face.

“Needs? What do you mean?” I asked back with a puzzled expression on my face.

“Ya know, needs, like a woman. I can hook you up.” George whispered as he leaned forward to me. “I know some girls that will treat you right for a price.”

Dear god, here we go again. First he wanted money. Next he wanted to be my pusher and now he is a pimp and wants me to get girls from him.

“No thanks George. My needs aren’t that great. I’ve got a girl.” I said as I stood up and walked through the automatic doors into the store.

“Ya let me know brotha! You let me know!” George hollered back from the car. I just kept walking and didn’t look back.

I kinda chuckled to myself after that. You have to hand it to George. At least he is persistent and not a quitter. If he applied so much zeal to a real job the man would be rich.

Homeward bound……

I had a wonderful night last night. I fixed a strong pot of coffee and poured me a steaming hot mug with some milk and sat out on the porch. I filled the bowl of my pipe with Sir Walter Raleigh and lit it. I inhaled the rich and hearty smoke as I took in my surroundings. The tree frogs were peeping and the relaxing call of katydids filled the air. Other than an overcast sky, it was a perfect evening. My eyelids grew heavy and my yawning increased. I walked back into the house. I turned on the air conditioner and curled up amid the covers on my bed. After not too long, I was sound asleep.

I awoke this morning feeling refreshed and rested. I sleep the whole night through without ever waking up. I really appreciate being able to sleep so well. For a long time after I first moved in my apartment, I couldn’t sleep. I would lie on the floor on top of my sleeping bag for hours in the dark. I finally got used to a bed. My accident forced this on me as it was too uncomfortable and painful to lie on the floor with a broken arm. I would have to lie flat on my back on the mattress to ease the pain and get some sleep.

I have a big day planned today. I have physical therapy at 11 pm and then I am going to eat at the hospital cafeteria. They have wonderful food there and it only costs $5 a plate.

Today will also be the first day that I return to driving status. My parent’s feel my arm is healed enough to be able to drive and are letting me borrow my late grandmother’s old car for awhile. I am headed to Waverly this afternoon if the rain holds off. There is a 70 percent chance for rain but it looks like it may be erroneous. The sun is currently shining and heating up the air.

I am going to gather all my camping and fishing gear and head to the millpond for tonight. I have the strong urge to just get away and get in the woods. I have to run by the grocery store and gather some provisions. I am going to make my favorite camp food, hoboes. Hoboes are ground beef patties covered with onions, potatoes, and carrots and smothered in a tomato/mustard sauce. You wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil and cook it in the coals of your fire after it has burned down some.

Well, off I go. I will write tomorrow of my experiences. I am going now to seam seal my tent to prepare for any rain and then I am heading to PT. Good day and be well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tired, Tired, Tired…….

I am so sick of appointments. I have so many every week. Today I am protesting by not going. I have to get my Risperdal shot this morning and that is it. That will be the only appointment that shall be graced with my presence.

I have two other appointments this afternoon. One is physical therapy and the other to see Dr. Kamath for a checkup. I am canceling those two. I refuse to go and I am tired of sitting for hours in waiting rooms.

Going to see Dr. Kamath is an especially horrible ordeal. You usually end up waiting for hours just for a 15 minute visit. That son of a bitch needs to learn time management and stop wasting other people’s time. I refuse to sit for three hours just so he can take 5 minutes to tell me I am not diabetic while reading my blood test report. I think if I was diabetic I would have known by now for Christ’s sake. Yes, I am not in a good mood this morning. I am ornery and irritable. I didn’t sleep well at all last night.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Maid from Hell……..

I’ve had a good day. I walked over to my parent’s house this afternoon to check on my mother. She was watching her soap operas. How she can watch that tripe I do not know. I sat on the lazy boy and kicked my feet up. Both of their cats were wandering around aimlessly in the room. Occasionally they would get close to each other and hiss. They have lived together for years and still do not get along. They have a pecking order. I just sat for a moment and made sure mom was okay.

“Linda is driving me crazy!” mom said.

“Why? What is Linda doing?” I asked.

Linda is my parent’s maid and cook. Linda was out on the side porch sweeping it clean. I could hear her sweeping from the den.

“She will not let me sleep. She keeps telling me to get out of the bed.” Mom replied with a whisper, “She acts like a baby sitter.”

My mother can stay in bed for 24 hours straight if you let her since she retired from teaching. She has been trying to stay up in the afternoons and watch soap operas to pass the time until Linda leaves. I blame this on her Zyprexa. It is so sedating. I know in that I have tried it many times. I kind of chuckled to myself. Jeez, mom has real BIG problems I thought to myself. She lives a sheltered life. I do sympathize with her though.

The smell of baked chicken and onions filled the room. The den is next to the kitchen.

“What are you all cooking?” I asked.

“Linda is cooking me some baked chicken. She put onions in the dish. That is the smell.” Mom replied.

It smelled wonderful and made my stomach grumble.

“So do you want to go back to bed?” I asked.

“Yes, but I know I should stay up. I know you all worry about me sleeping so much.” She replied. “That and Linda will drive me crazy about getting up and doing something”

Linda is a spitfire and vocal. She lets you know what is on her mind. My father calls her the “maid from hell”. She does a good job though and they put up with her interesting character traits. She is an excellent cook and I look forward to walking over some days and eating her fare. It is a real treat not to cook and have supper warm and waiting on me. All I have to do is walk over and fix a plate.

I left after awhile and headed back to the house. I walked down to the Piggly Wiggly to grab some more Gatorades. I had an interesting conversation with “Cap with Tag” guy. That conversation will follow when I get some more time to write.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Meetings “R” Us………

I went to my AA meeting last night. It was interesting. We had a speaker meeting and a professor from a local college talked. You can find and meet people from all walks of life at AA. She was very articulate and dramatic. It made the hour fly by. She had an interesting story to tell and had lived most of her life as an immigrant in Canada. I cannot say too much as we are not supposed to talk about what goes on in the meetings. We do this to protect everyone’s anonymity.

I sometimes think of AA as a very successful cult. It has all the makings of one. You have really rigid set routines. Everyone speaks in an AA language. It takes awhile to get used to it and sometimes it can put you off. If I hear “one day at a time” or “it works if you work it” or “keep coming back” one more time my brain will explode.

As the meeting was almost over, I heard large rumbles of thunder outside. Oh crap I thought to myself. I had a very long walk home. It would take me almost 30 to 45 minutes. As soon as the meeting wrapped up I hit the sidewalk and started hoofing it. I could hear the strong crash of thunder all around me and see the flashes above the horizon. I finally made it home just as the heavens open up. Whew I thought as I wiped the sweat off my brow. I had made in home in a record 25 minutes. I was doing some serious speed walking.

I have physical therapy soon and I dread it. My arm is much better now. I can put on a belt without assistance and can actually wear button up shorts again. For a long time I did not have the strength in my left arm to button my pants. I can also wear button up shirts now as well instead of just t-shirts. I can get my arm far back enough to get it in the shirt sleeve. Well, have a great day and I will talk again later. I need to go grab a shower and a shave to get cleaned up for my appointment.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

A moment of peace…..

I went camping last night. I just had to get away and get into the woods. It was almost dark when I found my camping spot after hiking a long while. I wanted to be alone and isolated. I can find peace and solitude in going out for awhile.

I stumbled around for a bit finding a good level spot and took off my backpack. I then set about looking for some firewood before it got too dark. Before long, I had an armful of dead wood and carried it back to camp. I cleared a spot of leaves until it was bare ground and looked around for some rocks to make a ring. I then got a fire started for supper.

I set up my tent and looked upwards. The sky was pink with an orange glow on the horizon. It was a beautiful and serene sight. The woods smelled of pine and leaves. I took in a deep breath and soaked it all in. I could hear the nearby trickle of a stream in the distance. Now this is living I thought to myself.

I sat for a long time smoking my pipe and just thinking. The fire was crackling, roaring and popping. I had to sit a distance away because it was too hot. The updraft from the fire made the leaves shimmer and shake above me in the glow of the fire.

I heard my first katydid last night. For those of you not familiar with the south, a katydid is a very large insect that looks like a locust. It makes a sound that is its namesake. It sounds just like “Katy did”. They only call after dark. It was calling for a mate. In a few more weeks the woods will be filled with this call as more mature to adults.

That sound brought on a wave of nostalgia. When I was a child, I would stay over with my grandmother. She would love to fix us both a cold glass of sweet tea wrapped in a paper towel and we would sit out on the front porch in rocking chairs and listen to the katydids at night after the sun set. We would talk and wind down our days before heading to bed.

After sitting for a long time and watching the fire, I headed to bed. It was oppressively hot and humid. I pulled out my camp throw blanket and lay on top of my sleeping bag with it on top of me. I laid there and thought for a long time. I thought about all that has happened to me. I started to cry and sob quietly. I want so much and the thought of all I have lost makes me sad. I thought about my failed marriage. I thought about not having a job. I ended up crying myself to sleep.

This morning I woke up about seven and trudged back home. I wanted to stay but I needed to get home in case Alaine called and wanted to do something. She is off on the weekends. I still haven’t heard from her but the day is young still. I will just wait and be patient.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Drive from Hell……

Well, I made it to the doctor and back this afternoon. My psychiatrist is in Opelika Alabama which is about 30 miles away. My mother drives like a homicidal maniac. 
We came so close to hitting a car getting on the interstate freeway. We were driving down the on ramp gaining speed and mom just merged without looking. I cried out, “Shit mom! Watch out!” The car swerved and honked his horn. I bet that driver had three feet of seat cushion up his butt. My mom’s hands were shaking and so were mine. I will be so glad when I get my car back soon.

My doctor upped my meds and I am to start talking to a therapist there once a week. I really shouldn’t pay for this but I am going to give it a go. I need someone to help me with certain issues; especially those surrounding my ex-wife. I need to learn how to cope with certain situations that push my buttons. I also need to talk in a therapeutic environment and with someone who can guide me. I am deeply skeptical of the benefits of therapists but will go and try. Who knows, it may help me.

Well, I must close for the evening. I have a crock pot of homemade chili that has been cooking on low for hours and it smells wonderful. I am ready to pour me a bowl and grab a few saltines and enjoy a hearty supper. Good night and be well.

Living in Chaos…….

I have not been feeling well the past two days. I caught how delusional I was yesterday by looking back at some websites I was reading. I realize now that what I was reading was not the same as it was this morning. I was also in a mode of mania yesterday and went full throttle all day and was exhausted by night. I got it into my head that someone was also changing my posts on my blog and come real close to closing it down. What looked different yesterday seems normal today. I did sleep well but had very strange and realistic dreams. I feel tired and worn out this morning.

I have an appointment to see my psychiatrist this afternoon. I am going to see if we can up the dosage of my Risperdal and maybe try some medications for OCD or bipolar. I think I might be developing a resistance to my medications and they are not working as well any more. I just have noticed some things this week and they seem to be progressing. I haven’t had any real bad spells with seeing things yet. It’s just that my reality and what really exists are clashing and sometimes I catch it like this morning after getting some rest. I did not see it yesterday and was delusional.

I hate that feeling of losing control so much. I felt so out of control yesterday. Like I was out of my mind or had no control of reality. I am just going to rest today and try to stay calm. I do not want to get sick again. Have a good day and take care.

Everyone has problems…..

Alaine finally called me. She wanted me to go walk with her out at the dam. West Point Dam was built in the late sixties and formed West Point Lake. They have a park and walking trail out there by the dam.

We drove out and started walking. I could tell something was wrong. She was being really quiet. It had that awkward kind of feeling when you do not know what to say.

“What’s wrong with you?” I asked. “You don’t seem normal.”

“I have had a tough week. I don’t know what to do.” She said.

“About what?” I replied.

“About work. I am working full time and it is too much for me.” She replied. “I feel overwhelmed.”

I grabbed her hand and pulled her close. I gave her a big hug.

“Hey, it will be okay. Just talk to your boss. Things always work out.” I replied in my most sincere voice.

At this point we stopped walking and just stood there.

“I can’t do it. I can’t keep all those kids inline.” She said and she started to cry.

My heart melted and I fumbled for words. I didn’t know what to say. I had never really seen her cry. She always seemed so tough and on top of things.

“You talk to your boss on Monday and let it be known that you need less hours. You have a stressful job and you have a disability. They will understand.” I said trying to sound convincing as I wiped the tears from her eyes.

We started to walk again and she felt better. She just needed someone to talk to and she was afraid to tell this to her mother. She was afraid of being weak. We all are and I am as well.

We ended up finishing our walk and we drove back to my apartment. I fixed a quick and easy supper of some chili dogs and French fries. We sat at the table and ate and she began to loosen up and laugh. We ended up playing around on the internet. I showed her some sites I really like and she showed me some of hers. She is amazed at my computer set up. I built it all myself. She was amazed that I can capture and watch television on my computer. I showed her around.

After too long, she had to go home. I wanted her to stay but she was worried about her mom. She is frail and has a bad case of diabetes and Alaine feels she must see about her. I don’t blame her. She has a lot of responsibility that she must take care of. We said our goodbyes and hugged goodnight.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Helping the homeless ONE person at a time…..

I know I am writing a lot today. I have lots of free time today to think about things. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Should I become a homeless people’s advocate? There are no homeless people here. I have no one to help. I have only myself. There are no shelters or food kitchens in a small town like Lanett, Alabama. You would have to drive to Atlanta or Birmingham to find such things.

I have a firm view on the homeless problem. You can throw all the money in the world at it but it does no good. Even the famous “the homeless guy” said this in one of his posts. You have to help a homeless person on a case by case basis. Money will just get you a well fed and temporarily housed homeless person. You have to help a homeless person help themselves.

Not too long ago, I had the idea that I would start a mental health support group. It was based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. I even made out a flyer in preparation. I had it all set up and ready to proceed. I was at my sister’s wedding and talked to all my family about it. I was very excited. My father pulled me to the side.

“You need to help yourself first.” He said quietly.

I stood dumb founded and embarrassed. That sounded so selfish.

“What do you mean by that?” I said feeling kind of offended.

“You can help by helping yourself. That will go a long way to helping the problem of homelessness and the mentally ill.” He replied. “You have to get on your feet first to be able to help others. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

He was right in the end. I could help the most by helping myself. I took one more statistic off the streets and put him in a home. I started to take my medicine via shot and I stopped drinking myself into oblivion.

I sometimes fall into the delusion that my father is a son of a bitch and doesn’t know how to help but he helped me a lot by saying that. He is wiser than I let on. I had to take care of business at home before I started to help others abroad. That’s what I will continue to do. Someday I will be able to help others but for now I will concentrate on helping me get well.

Confessions of a (formerly) homeless man…..

I met an interesting fellow today while sitting at the dentist office. He looked really young and clean cut. He was dressed very trendy and had salon styled hair. I would have never thought he could have ever been homeless. He was from Atlanta and had just moved down here for a job at the hospital. His name was Dave. He was getting his teeth cleaned.

I was reading an issue of PC gamer. I love that my dentist carries this in his waiting room. He must have a subscription as the latest copy is always in there. I have been debating on asking him if he games. It is probably his son though.

The guy sitting next to me asked me…..

“Do you play computer games?”

“Yeah, when I can afford to buy them I do. I play Battlefield: Vietnam most days and am currently tied up in The Temple of Elemental Evil.”

“Which game is that?” he asked.

“Dungeons and Dragons. I played the pen and paper version years ago and this is a translation of a classic D&D campaign module. It is neat to play such a faithfully transcribed version of that module.” I replied.

“Ah, I see, I think I have heard of it. I play lots of unreal tournament 2004 online. I like the assault mode games.” He told me.

I have been waiting to pick this up but the $50 price tag is too steep for me. I will wait a few more months and hope the price comes down as it usually does.

“I think I was the only homeless guy in America that could game online with high speed internet.” I said as I chuckled.

“You were homeless?” He asked.

“Yeah, for a several months and my folks got me an apartment after we did some reconciliation.” I replied.

I went on to talk for a bit about what happened to me. I didn’t mention my mental illness. I just told him I had lived in a tent during this past winter. I didn’t go into any real detail.

It turned out that he had been homeless for a short time as well. He said he couch surfed with different friends. He was gay and his parents were fundamentalist baptists and they threw him out of the house when he came out of the closet. They couldn’t come to terms that their son was gay. I was shocked. This sounded exactly like Crystal’s story minus any head injuries.

I told him about Crystal’s being_homeless blog and wrote down the internet address. I couldn’t remember it exactly but told him to search google for livejournal and being_homeless. I thought he would enjoy reading about someone who had similar circumstances and who went through hell because of it.

It can be a small world sometimes. By this time, they had called my name and I had to go back to the torture room as I affectionately call it. Luckily today was not so bad.

Golden Teeth…..

Well that’s what it feels like after how much this has cost. I will say again, take care of your teeth folks. Yes, I had a dentist visit. They made upper and lower impressions for a bridge that goes in next week. Total cost = $845 bucks. I think and I am going to lie on the bed and sob. :P I will be paying for these teeth for years. I will have dentures by the time I get my current teeth paid for. Oh well, they sure as hell look better and it’s nice to live without pain for a change. I can drink cold water and not wince. Thanks, Dr. Etherton.

At first, I didn’t want to go to the dentist because I was embarrassed about the condition of my teeth. I realize now that he didn’t worry about that at all. I was a virtual goldmine in repairs for a dentist. He was glad to see me. I think I just paid for part of one of his kid’s private school tuition. LOL

Well, let me get some lunch started. I am starving. I’m going to cook some cubed steak and gravy and fix some home made biscuits. I will just have some steamed broccoli as a side. Good bye for just a bit.

Living in a vacuum…….

I got an email this morning from a friend. He was talking about the 9/11 commissions findings on Iraq’s involvement in the terrorist attacks. I just heard about it.

I do not watch the news and have distanced myself from the media. I get tired of the constant fear mongering and lax reporting. I rarely even read a newspaper most days now. I feel that if something is truly important I will hear about via word of mouth. Today was a case in point. I carefully control what enters my head and mainly use the internet so I can chose what I read.

I wrote back that I was not surprised at all. I said only a simpleton could believe that Iraq had anything to do with that. They were no more of a threat than North Korea or Cuba in my opinion. I was a carefully planned ploy to fulfill our current administrations ambitions. War = good for the economy. Good economy = re-election. Flawed logic but I felt this was our goal. I still feel this to be true.

Politics tend to bore me. I feel it is an exercise in frustration. I wrote a long paragraph back to Joe about my frustrations. I get frustrated with our current form of democracy and how our current system works. I talked about how politicians promise big things and then renege on them after election. I said that due to our current choices in politicians the majority tend to just walk in, put an X down on a popular choice and walk away for four more years. Our apathy with the truth and with politics keeps giving us the same lack luster administrations over and over, republican and democrat alike. There is very little accountability in our current system or it is terribly slow to be applied.

I have broken one of my cardinal rules with this blog by talking about politics. I try to stay away from it but this topic just hit home with me. I look forward to Joe’s reply as he is currently in Iraq and his stories are interesting. He says what is being reported and what is actually going on over there are vastly different. I trust him to tell me what is really going on. A captain in the Army actually on the front lines is a far more reliable source of information than cnn.com. I will trust in him for my news about the war.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Rolling over…..

I know I shouldn’t write about this but I am up and tired and I want to share this. I gave Alaine a key to my apartment yesterday so she could get in and use my computer when I am gone. I want her to feel that this is her home as well. She is free to come and go.

I was sound asleep and lying in the bed. I felt a warm hand slide up under my head and heard a voice.

“Hey you!” was the voice. It was very soft and comforting.

I felt someone wrap me in their arms and lay on the bed with me. I rolled over and it was Alaine.

“Hey doll.” I said softly.

I wrapped her up in my arms and felt her warmth. My apartment was freezing. I had the air conditioner on high. I was wrapped up under a lot of quilts. I love to feel the weight of all that cover on me.

“What are you doing here?” I whispered.

I don’t know why I whispered. I guess it was because I was just asleep. She just smiled and kissed me on the forehead.

“I wanted to be with you. I am lonely and mom is asleep.” She said.

I wrapped her up in my arms and held her for what seemed like an eternity. It seemed like decades. I held her close and went back to sleep with her in my arms.

I woke up a moment ago so as to use the bathroom. She is sound asleep in my bed. I write in spurts and felt I should put this moment on paper. I didn’t want to forget it. I want to savor it.

I am heading back to bed in a few moments. I hope I can get back to sleep. Good night and fare well.

Lazy summer day……

I spent a long time down at the river fishing. I caught some bream and then some catfish and put them back. I didn’t feel like cleaning any fish tonight and freezing them. I also worry about the pollution in the river from Atlanta and that can sometimes dissuade me from eating fish there.

Two older black men were down there as well near me. We struck up a conversation as one of them walked over to see what I had just caught. He offered me a bottle of Wild Irish Rose to have a drink. I declined. Cheap wine is not my thing. That stuff is downright nasty.

He had grey, curly, nappy hair and a grey beard and was wearing over-alls with a white t-shirt tucked in. His eyes looked yellow from age. He also had on big boots with the over-alls stuffed inside them. He looked like someone’s grandfather.

“What yo fishin with?” He asked.

“Red wigglers,” I replied. “I bought them down at Spectrum. The one going out towards the lake.”

“We be fishin with crickets.” He replied in a heavy southern black drawl.

His friend held up a stringer of bream to show to me. It was an impressive catch. They had both had a good day.

“Wow, you fellas have been busy. That is an impressive catch.” I sounded back.

He laughed and patted me on the back.

“What’s a white boy doin fishin here on the riva?” He asked.

I don’t fish down there often; only maybe once a week.

“Oh, I just love to fish and this is the nearest spot.” I replied.

“You walks down here or you has a car?” he asked.

“I walked. I live just up the road.” I replied.

He laughed heartily and sat down beside me and threw his line in. He turned out to be a really nice fellow and we talked for a long while. I gave him a few red wigglers when his bait had run out. He thanked me.

He had lived an interesting life and his wisdom was great. You can’t tell a man’s intelligence in the south by the way he talks. He may sound ignorant but has many a great story to tell you if you listen.

The mosquitoes were growing nasty so I had to leave and walk back home. They were driving me crazy. I bid my new friends farewell and set out to the house. It has been a good day and I am glad to be home. I think I will close the windows and turn on the air conditioner and wrap myself up in a good book while lying in my bed. Good night and be well.

Atkins, Carbs, enough already!

I am sitting here drinking an ice cold lemon/lime Gatorade. It tastes awesome and so refreshing. I love Gatorade and would drink it all the time if it wasn’t so expensive to buy. My thermometer is showing 86 degrees here in my apartment so today is a good day to drink it.

I have had a good day. I went to physical therapy this morning and made it through it. I am showing lots of progress. I soon hope to be back to normal. I will always have some limits in my shoulder’s motion but I am lucky to be alive after that accident. The police officer was amazed I could stand up and walk fine and that I didn’t have terrible road rash.

I had a conversation with my brother, the physician, this morning. We got on the subject of the Atkins diet. You see it everywhere now. Every time I go to the grocery store I see it all over the labels and all kinds of new products touting low carbs. You see all the fast food establishments advertising some new, crappy low carb item they are pushing. It aggravates me for some reason.

“So what do you think about the low carb phenomenon?” I asked him.

“It’s a fad and can be dangerous for some people.” He replied. “It will fade in a few months.”

“How can it be dangerous?” I followed up.

“People that have health problems may be missing out on important nutrition by cutting all those things out. People usually don’t know it but things such as carbohydrates and fats are important parts of our diets.” He relied.

“What is the best diet? I am trying to lose twenty pounds.” I questioned him.

“Moderation is the best diet. Eat a nutritious meal three times a day and eat in moderation. Also, exercise at least once a day until your breathing increases and your heart rate goes up. Diet and exercise are key to losing weight and there is no quick fix or fad to replace hard work and diligence.” He said.

“Thanks Doc! I will talk to you later bro!” I closed and hung up the phone.

That’s exactly what I have been trying to do. Eat three healthy meals and walk many miles everyday. I think I will stick to that plan.

Off to the fishing hole I go. I am ready to get on the water and enjoy my favorite pastime. I will cast an extra line out for ya! G’day mates!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Sweet bliss…..

Not all things on the Andrew’s blog are morose. I have good moments as well. I have had a tough go of things lately and it’s nice to have a respite.

Alaine came over tonight. For those of you just reading, Alaine has a disability as well and is on SSDI. She understands me and I understand her. We have connected and feel we can trust each other with our most intimate details. I met her online of all places and she has become a fast friend and my lover.

We sat on my couch for awhile and just talked. I brushed her hair out of her eyes and told her about my day. It is so nice to have someone to talk to that is real and understands.

“How was your day?” She asked.

“Not so good doll. I have had a tough time.” I replied.

“Well, it is better now that I am here right?” She said while laughing and giggling.

We were being silly.

“Oh, you are a stinker I cried out!!!!” while I laughed as well and did my best impression of my father tickling me as a child.

She screamed with glee.

“You are a silly billy!!!” I cried out and tickled her some more.

By this time she was crying with laughter and I was as well.

Oh such sweet laughter. It was a joy and needed thing. I miss you so much and when I find you I cherish you. May you all find laughter in your life every day.

Grumpy is signing out. I’ve got business to take care of. :^)

Relapse...

I think I am having a relapse with my schizophrenia. I am having a hard time focusing or spending any time with something. I have seen things all day and heard things. I am fighting it. I try so hard.

I have had several non-existent conversations today. I talked to my wife for hours. I thought she was in a porno film and I tried to dissuade her. I know this is not right. I know this is wrong. I love her so much and don’t want her to hate me. I didn’t ask for this. I want to be normal. I always tried so very hard to see about her. I gave her money. I cut the grass. I cooked all the meals. It is not fair.

I called her this evening asking if she was pregnant. I had in my mind that she was pregnant by another guy. She cannot have children. It is crazy. I got it in my mind though and she was dumb struck by my call. She told me she was calling my father and my doctor.

I don’t want them over here. I want to be alone. Only alone am I safe. I do not want to go to the hospital. They can’t help me. They only sedate me. I am crying. I do not want to fuck up all that I have worked for, for months.

I have been obsessed with body language. I have searched for hours on the web to find information. Nothing satisfies me. I think I read body language wrong and that is part of my problem. I do not see it. It miffs me. Maybe if I read the signals right then I can read any situation. I want to be prepared. I am scared.

Relapse...

I think I am having a relapse with my schizophrenia. I am having a hard time focusing or spending any time with something. I have seen things all day and heard things. I am fighting it. I try so hard.

I have had several non-existent conversations today. I talked to my wife for hours. I thought she was in a porno film and I tried to dissuade her. I know this is not right. I know this is wrong. I love her so much and don’t want her to hate me. I didn’t ask for this. I want to be normal. I always tried so very hard to see about her. I gave her money. I cut the grass. I cooked all the meals. It is not fair.

I called her this evening asking if she was pregnant. I had in my mind that she was pregnant by another guy. She cannot have children. It is crazy. I got it in my mind though and she was dumb struck by my call. She told me she was calling my father and my doctor.

I don’t want them over here. I want to be alone. Only alone am I safe. I do not want to go to the hospital. They can’t help me. They only sedate me. I am crying. I do not want to fuck up all that I have worked for, for months.

I have been obsessed with body language. I have searched for hours on the web to find information. Nothing satisfies me. I think I read body language wrong and that is part of my problem. I do not see it. It miffs me. Maybe if I read the signals right then I can read any situation. I want to be prepared. I am scared.

Comments are fubar this morning……

The comments on my last post are goofed up for some reason so I decided to write my reply here.

Plark, Stu, Pipe, thanks for your comments. I appreciate it. Sorry for my sob story last night. I was just having a hell of a day and my illness was acting up as well. I sometimes do not handle stress very well and I have a tough week ahead with tons of physical therapy and appointments.

I feel better this morning. I had one more beer and went to bed. I did not have a hangover this morning.

One reason I have to be so careful with my drinking is simple. It really doesn’t have to be about me being an alcoholic or not. My parents are very strict about this. One of the reasons I became homeless was that my father worried if he let me rent out this apartment, I would get horribly drunk and catch it on fire or he would get caught in some kind of litigation over me. It’s an irrational fear of his but I can see his side of the story. I never, ever got pissed drunk when I drank. It was mainly usually a six pack or a few more and then bed time. You wouldn’t find me selling all my possessions at the pawn shop for more money either and he worried for some strange reason that things would start to disappear around the house.

I have worked really hard to rebuild a relationship with my parents. They trust me now and even come over to see me many days. I fear I would ruin that trust if they came over here and I had a beer in my hand. They didn’t speak or have anything to do with me for a very long time and I am afraid to ruin all the trust I have won back. I have to be very careful about this.

I think from now on if I must have a drink. I will do it while camping. That way no harm is done and they would never know. (My folks aren’t coming back into the woods at night I assure you. They are not the outdoorsy types) I can put a six pack in my backpack and lug it with me. We will see how this solution works.

Again thanks for your comments and I hope you all have a great day.

Monday, June 14, 2004

I come to you tonight a fallen man……

I broke down and started drinking tonight. I walked down to the Piggly wiggly and bought a twelve pack. I am on number seven as we speak and feeling comfortably numb. I have no cares or worries at the moment except when I am going to crack open that next beer. I feel a failure.

One thing I wanted when I started this blog was to be honest and sometimes too forth giving with my writings. I didn’t want to be like some of the other homeless bloggers I read every day that spoke in vague terms. They speak of things in sparing language and you don’t know what caused them to be homeless. You only see the picture they paint for you. I wanted something different than that. I wanted my readers to see what life was really like for a homeless man and how he got a home. I also wanted all of you to follow along with me as I try to build a new life. I wanted a success story. I am sorry I have messed that up tonight.

I have read the homeless guy’s website everyday since I became homeless when I could. I do not want to become another bullshit con-artist asking for your money. I am deeply opposed to that and that was one thing I had on my mind when I set out to start this blog. I have struggled with my opinion on his blog many times but it always comes down to it being a blog that panders to a certain set of people who are willing to fork over their money to a cause. That cause was putting a burger king biscuit in the man’s morning mouth.

I do not want your money. I just want to be okay. I want to live a normal life and love someone. I want to wake up in the morning in my own house and cook a simple breakfast. I want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday. I want a model railroad empire in my basement. I want a loving wife who cares about me and loves me back. I want her to understand that I have limitations and can’t be like a normal man. I want so much and it tears me apart inside.

I ask you now gentle readers. Appreciate what you have. Live your lives with gusto. Go out and try something different. Live your lives to the fullest and enjoy it. There are those of us that would gladly trade places with you and have your genes. We want it as well. If you have a wife that loves you and your limitations then revel in it. You have much more than gold can buy. If you have a home and a roof over your head then you are blessed beyond means.

I will close now and drink myself into a drunken bliss. At least then I can find happiness. It is fleeting but happiness is something we all seek and I want mine tonight.

Rainy Day Monday……

It has rained for much of the afternoon. I am not complaining because we needed it. It’s as if I could see the grass and the trees turn greener before my eyes as they soaked up this much needed moisture. I stood outside in a soft rain and smoked my pipe shielding it from the rain with the brow of my baseball cap and my head turned downwards. The drops felt good but cold on my skin. I felt renewed and came in and changed my t-shirt.

I have had a personal musical revolution today. I have often wondered why I haven’t bought a music CD in years. (I have a huge collection from the early nineties) I do not listen to popular radio either. The music bores me and doesn’t interest me. I did something today that I said I would never do. I downloaded a peer to peer application called kazaa lite++ resurrection and started to look for music that interested me. I also looked around the web for bands that had a following and were not on my local radio stations. Within minutes, I had megabytes and megabytes of music to try out. From the Pixies, to Sloan, to the Mathew Good Band and many others, I had tons of neat music to peruse. I now know why the RIAA is so scared of these applications. I could find almost anything my heart desired and had it on my hard drive within a matter of minutes.

My ex-wife called earlier and we talked for a few short moments. She just called to check up on me. Our conversations are less than fulfilling. It amounts to me sitting there and listening to her talk about her day and what ails her. I want to cut myself off so bad but she still has A LOT of my personal possessions that I have no way to move here so I am SOL. I have to play nice until I am able to drive again. It is pure and simple politics. I have to play the nice guy until I get some transportation and start moving much of my stuff from my former home. She has my audiophile quality stereo system worth thousands of dollars and my large aperture Sony Trinitron TV. She also has much of my model railroading supplies like my expensive air brush system and all my rolling stock. I have to tread carefully and play nice or I fear she would damage them. She is a live wire when it comes to such things. I sometimes wonder who is more mentally ill; me or her and that is a good question.

I wrote a long letter today to the diocese in Birmingham about the pending annulment. I do not feel they have a say in such a matter in that neither I nor her were catholic when we were married. I do not feel they can have a say in such a matter in that it in no way involved them. I guess I am arguing semantics. We will just have to wait and see about the reply. I most definantly will not release my medical records for the diocese though. They can just go on my and her words and descriptions. That is none of their business.

Well, I must close for the evening. Sorry for my bad writing tonight. I don’t feel well and I did not proofread myself. If it sucks then just laugh and read on. I have a lot of stress on me right now and it is showing in all areas of my life. I want to just crawl under a rock and disappear. I want calm and peace among many things. Good night and may you be blessed.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The annulment……

My ex-wife has petitioned the Catholic Church for an annulment. I have not been forth giving. They sent a form yesterday from the diocese in Birmingham Alabama to release my medical records. I will not release something like that to a third party. We were not married in the Catholic Church but in a Methodist church so I think they have no jurisdiction.

She called tonight complaining that I was being uncooperative. I laughed out loud heartily at that.

I had a few questions to ask…..

“Did you sleep with me almost every night for two years?” I asked her on the phone.

She hesitated.

“Well did you? Or am I imagining things.” I replied. “Or was it some delusion of sex brought on by my schizophrenia.”

Sex never enters into my problems with schizophrenia. I wish it did. It would certainly make things much more livable. I would much more like delusions of sex than listless, lazy cats lying around my apartment who are apparitions. That problem or the one of me staring at a wall for hours on end trying to decipher almost unintelligible hieroglyphics.

“I want to get remarried in the Catholic Church and I need you to cooperate.” She pleaded.

“I will not let you dismiss all we had together just so it fits into your new theological life.” I decreed. “I loved you and lived with you for years and now you are trying to sweep all that under the rug and start anew.”

“You can be such a stubborn asshole!!!!” she screamed back into the phone.

“And you can be such an uncaring bitch!!!!” I screamed back.

The line grew quiet and we sat there hearing each other breath.

“Listen.” I said. “You can have an annulment but they cannot pry into my private life and dissect me for your fun.”

“I want you to be happy but do not publicly embarrass me with such shit.” I replied.

She was crying really hard on the other side. It sounded pitiful. I thought the phone would short out any second from the tears.

“Listen, Rach, if they ask, I will be willing and sign some papers. I will. But don’t expect me to give out my whole life history just so you can say a marriage that lasted for years didn’t happen. I won’t go in with that.” I responded.

She snuffled and sniffed much and then said okay.

“Have you met anyone that should bring on this whole soap opera tonight?” I asked.

“No, I just want to be ready in case it does happen.” She replied.

“Jesus Christ!” I thought to myself. All of this bull shit tonight was over some phantom, future relationship. Christ, I am calling relationships anonymous if they have such a thing and going on the 12 step program for that.

“Good night, Rach and may you sleep well but I am tired and have had enough.” I responded and clutched my wallet in my hand. Good thing it is Sunday in the south as you cannot buy beer here on that so called special day.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

In from the road……

I had a good camping trip last night. I got a ride over with Charles to the mill pond in Waverly and fished most of yesterday afternoon and camped way up in the woods to distance myself from the water. (I had a night of camping hell one time that I wrote about and learned never to pitch your tent just a few feet from the pond. Animals kept me up all night long including one very large snake that slithered a few feet from my head as I lay in my sleeping bag.) There is a small stream nearby and I filtered some water and caught some crawfish just for fun.

The fishing was great yesterday. I had a can of night crawlers and every one was gone by dusk. Every time I would throw my line in I would get a hit and the cork would sink under the surface. I ended up catching over ten bream and releasing all but two good hand-sized ones.

I cleaned and cooked the fish for supper. Cleaning is such a messy job and I walked over to the stream to do it. I coated the fish in some oil and cornmeal and then fried them till they were golden brown. I took the leftover corn meal and added some dehydrated onions and a pint of buttermilk and made some hushpuppies also. I just spooned the batter into hot oil in my frying pan till they were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I had planned ahead and brought two whole lemons and used them to season my fish. It was delicious.

I love that feeling of being totally self sustaining. Be able to catch my own supper and clean and cook it. Most people never realize that the products they eat from the grocery store were once living things. They would be appalled at seeing a cow slaughtered or any other animal as well. We are so removed from that step due to modern technology and conveniences.

I laid on top of my sleeping bag last night and read by candle light. It was so peaceful and comforting. It was damn hot and humid though. It wasn’t till after midnight did the temperatures get comfortable enough to sleep. It was too hot to sleep in my sleeping bag so I just slept on the outside of it. I took off my tent’s rain fly and could see the stars through the leaves on the trees as I laid there in my tent. The sound of tree frogs and bullfrogs echoed across from the lake as I lay there.

Around 3am EST, I got up to take a leak and shake the dew off the old lily and scared a group of deer. The snorted and screeched off into the woods making one hell of a racket. This always scares the shit out of me and I stood there with my heart racing unable to use the bathroom until I calmed down. I wish they would do that cause out in the dark in the middle of nowhere they sound so insidious and not the gentle creatures they are. You mind can play tricks on you out in the woods like that.

Well, I am home now and will have to sleep indoors tonight. I am going to crank up my air conditioner after it gets dark and crawl into my soft, comfy bed. I am spoiled by a bed now as sleeping on the hard ground makes my back ache in the morning. I did it for months on end and got used to it one time. When I first moved into this apartment I would sleep on a comforter or on my sleeping bag on the floor. My, have times changed. Good afternoon and be well.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The moment after choir practice…….

Alaine brought me home. Her driving scares the shit out of me. She has no peripheral vision in her right eye due to her surgery. She hugs the line and I think we are going to hit oncoming traffic. I grabbed the “Oh, Shit!” handle and held on tight. My knuckles were white.

After she brought me home, we sat in the car for a bit. She left the car running with the air conditioning on high. It felt so good but I was growing cold.

“Did you have a good time?” she asked.

“Yes, I did, doll. I had a good time.” I replied.

I was now shivering due to the air conditioning. I am not used to it. She turned it down.

“You have a beautiful voice and talent. I want you to know that.” She replied.

“Thank you.” I said modestly, “I know my voice is not what it used to be.”

“Well, you do. You should use it more often.” She responded.

I blushed and played the shy guy. I am not used to positive comments like that. I haven’t sung in years.

“Well, let me run and head to bed Alaine. I am tired and feeling so sleepy. Thanks for letting me go with you tonight. It was a lot of fun.” I replied.

She gave me a big hug and kiss and I stepped out of the car and shut the door. I walked to the house with a certain cocky step in my stride. I felt I could take on the whole world. She pulled out of the driveway and headed home.

“Good night gentle woman and know that a man cares about you very much.” I thought to myself as I opened the door and she pulled out of the driveway. I was soon asleep and slept until this morning.

A plug for Plark.....

I just wanted to tell you about an interesting blog that I enjoy reading. He updates frequently and always has interesting posts. I found his blog while browsing the links of The Frumpy Professor. (An excellent blog in its own right as well that you should check out.)

Plark is about to embark upon a grand adventure. He is going to move to the northern latitudes of China and teach English. I think you will all find this excellent reading in the days to come as he prepares and leaves to go to work. If you get some spare time then drop him a line of support and read about his adventures.

One of the great things about blogging is that we can form communities and support each other around the globe. We have a voice and are able to speak with this voice to those who choose to read us. I just wanted to voice my support for Plark and Pipe Tobacco's blogs. They have both been good friends even though we have never met or talked in real life. Man, this blogging phenomenon is something else.

You can read Plark here. (link opens in a new window)

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Ordinary day...

Today has been an ordinary day. I went physical therapy and made it through another torture session. My arm is doing much better though. They hooked me up to a machine that had electrodes connected to muscles. It was the weirdest sensation but felt good. I then went by my father’s store and fixed his cash register. It was not computing tax so I re-programmed it to take out an 8 percent tax. He and Judy were happy to have both registers up and running.

Alaine called and I am going to choir practice with her tonight at her church. I look forward to this and us spending some time together.

Well, I will close. Sorry I don’t have much to say today and what I did was not interesting. I am glad it has been an uninteresting day. Good bye till later and be well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

The copier guy……

My ex-wife called tonight. She just wanted to talk. We talked about her work as always and how stressful it is. I tried my best to let her know that she is lucky to have a job.

She then started in on the copier guy. I got jealous.

“He is so cute and everyone at the library is rooting for me.” She replied.

“Great!” I said apprehensively.

“I was hoping he would come back today but he didn’t.” she replied.

By this time I was ready to get off the phone. I have never flaunted my encounters with Alaine with her. It hurt my feelings. She was trying to hurt me. I didn’t take the bait though.

“Well, let me run Rach.” I said.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you about the copier guy.” She replied.

I thought to myself, “Yeah, right!” but I kept it to myself.

“I will talk to you later doll. I am tired and need to rest.” I replied.

“Okay doll, I didn’t mean to upset you. I promise. I will talk to you later.” She replied.

“Yeah, right!” I thought to myself again. That’s a bunch of bullshit. She wanted to flaunt it in front of me.

“Good night and good bye Rach. I need to run.” I replied.

She can sleep with the President as long as I don’t hear about it. I do not want to know and I would appreciate her not telling me. What is said is best left alone and not told. I do not flaunt me and Alaine’s adventures in front of her. I am very private about it.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Decisions, decisions………

To drink or not to drink, that is the question. *laughs*, sorry for my bad Shakespearean pun but that is how I am feeling tonight. I struggle so much with it lately. I get so damn bored and have to fill my time during the day.

I feel as if I am caught in some sort of weird limbo; a different plane of existence where no other mortal man exists. I feel all alone and yet I am surrounded by many.

My father came over tonight. He wanted to talk. I had just cooked some supper and was about to eat. He sat at the kitchen table while I ate so as my food would not grow cold.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

I had my Risperdal consta shot today and he was checking up on me.

“I struggle everyday, dad,” I replied. “You make it look so easy.”

I opened my baked potato and poured in some A-1 sauce and a dab of butter. I fiddled for what seemed like 30 minutes adding salt and pepper to my taste.

“Well, I could tell you have struggled lately. We have not seen you for two days.” He responded.

“I know, I know.” I said with my mouth full of food. I apologized for talking with food in my mouth. I chewed my food for a minute and followed up.

“I struggle with the little things. The things you all take for granted. I want to be normal and have a normal life and you all go about it so effortlessly.” I replied.

“Don’t give me any feeling sorry for your self bullshit!” He exclaimed.

My dad can be blunt and a hard ass. I expect this. His days in the Army made him this way.

“I have paid over $2000 dollars to get your teeth fixed and you are living in my home. I expect you to get off your ass and help me in the yard. Get off your ass and do something with your life!” He decreed.

Wow, that’s a pep talk that didn’t sit well. I could feel my face flush red with anger. I bit my tongue and was a pussy. I am dependent on him and it sucks. I know how to play the game; the same game my brother and sister play with him as well.

I love that son of a bitch but he sure can piss me off. He acts as if he alone has known hard times. I have to bite my tongue. I wanted to say, “Take away your BMW and that nice house and put you in a tent and let’s see how well you fare!!!!”

He would be up shit creek for sure. I know the land and how to live on it. I have read countless hours on edible plants and frugal living. He lives a lavish lifestyle and it would most defiantly cramp his style. He would not know how to cook on an open fire or how to keep warm on a freezing winter morning. I kept my mouth shut though.

He got up to leave and head home.

“I will try harder dad.” I replied.

He gave me a hug and left.

I sat for a long time feeling despondent and a failure. I blame my genes and they are partly his. I got the worst of my mother and father as far as the genes go. I am fucked. Oh well, that is not the way to think. I will keep trudging forever forward with this life that has been granted me.

BTW, did I mention I want a beer? Yes, a nice six pack of a good German beer would sit nice around this time. Maybe some other time…..

Annie Mae and Brother Ed……

Annie Mae was my favorite great aunt. She was cool and would let you get away with anything. She was the liberal one of the bunch. She could also pinch a penny till it screamed but she always seemed rich to me even though she lived on a modest income. Her income would be considered dirt poor by today standards. She was rich in life, love, and kindness though. I value those things more than money any day.

Annie Mae would always stay home on Sunday morning and cook lunch while we went to church. I always wanted to stay home with her. I hated going to church.

My grandmother’s church was a small southern Baptist church founded in the late 1800s. It was within walking distance of both my grandmothers and great aunts house. The preacher was known to us as Brother Ed. Brother Ed scared me. He would preach fire, brimstone, and damnation. He would strut up behind the pulpit up and down the stage like a cocky rooster while waving his bible in the air. He always seemed angry and mad at the congregation. His idea of preaching was screaming at the congregation and telling us we all better shape up or we would be going to hell.

Now that I am older I realize that it was all just a show and drama for the congregation. It was the most exciting thing to do on a Sunday in Waverly for the old folks. Brother Ed had a captive audience and put on a show that would make TV evangelists blush. The congregation would urge him on by saying, “Amen!!!” aloud at the proper moments as he took a breath.

Now and again, I would get lucky and my grandmother would let me stay at home with Annie Mae. I could forego putting on those scratchy and hot Sunday clothes and get to stay in my comfortable t-shirts and shorts. She would cook lunch while I would run around her huge back yard exploring and catching insects. I would pick strawberries out of the garden and eat them or work on my pitiful looking tree house.

I miss you Annie Mae. I hope the good lord in heaven lets you stay home and cook on Sundays. I bet he would enjoy one of your fried chicken and mashed potatoes with homemade biscuits dinners too. Go cook him a good one and know that we all miss you and love you as much as the day you left us.

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Struggling with privacy…..

I sometimes worry that what I write is too personal. I took down last night’s entry out of respect for someone I care about. I do not want to hurt her feelings and blather about our personal lives for the whole world to read. Some things are best kept behind closed doors. I wrote last nights entry to share with some friends but realized she may not like me posting such personal things on the web.

I found out some good news today. My grandmother bought a $50 dollar savings bond for me when I was born. It is now worth over $500 bucks. This money is much needed and I hope to use it to fix my car. I will be so great to be able to drive again.

I got off a release form to my congressman. He wrote a letter telling me he is going to work on getting me that back check. I should hear some news soon and what is going one. The consumer in me wants to buy computer stuff but that will just be a dream. I am going to save the majority of that money and start a savings account for future hard times. I must plan ahead and be frugal. I will use some of it to pay off some medical bills and for a few immediate needs but the rest will be socked away for the future.

BTW, how do you go about cashing a savings bond. I have never owned one. Can I just take it to the bank? If you know and drop by leave me a comment. I would appreciate it.

The visitor……

I got a phone call awhile ago. It was Alaine.

“Can I come and stay with you tonight?” she asked.

“Doll, my home is your home. Come on over.” I replied.

Alaine drove over and brought a change of clothes. She had a shower in my bathroom and stood beside me at my desk in one of my fruit of the loom t-shirts and a pair of panties on. She was lonely and just wanted to be with me. I felt blessed and grateful. I wanted her here with me.

“I am tired and am going to bed.” She said.

“Go to bed sweetheart and I will be there in a while.” I replied.

She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a big hug and kiss.

“I love you Jonathon.” She said.

That’s the big word that we have never shared. I felt uncomfortable. Love? It’s a word that reeks of commitment. I gave in. I do care about her and I realized I loved her very much. I was scared to say it though.

“I love you too doll.” I replied, “You are very special to me.”

I held her there for a long time. I loved the smell of the Irish spring soap after she had the shower. I felt her soft, warm body against mine. I ran my hand up and down her back and she held me close. I kissed her on the cheek several times.

“You head to bed and I will be there in a moment.” I replied.

“Come and be with me.” She replied.

Saturday, June 5, 2004

A good day comes to an end…….

Alaine has been over for hours and just left. We cooked supper together. We made scramble burgers (sloppy joes) and I made a salad with a homemade dressing. You mix ketchup and mayonnaise and add some pepper. It tastes a lot like thousand island but better.

I also cooked some homemade French fries with the skins still on. I love fries this way.

I made the scramble burgers from an old recipe of my grandmothers. You brown some onions. You then add a can of pureed tomatoes and one teaspoon of sugar. You brown some ground beef and then add worcheshire sauce, mustard, and ketchup. You salt and pepper to taste and let it cook down until it gets good, thick, and bubbly

You butter and toast some hamburger buns and serve them hot with the meat sauce.

We lay on the floor watching TV on a quilt after dinner. We laughed and cajoled and had a good time.

“I think I like you.” She said.

“Well, I think I like you too.” I replied.

“Would you have ever thought you would meet someone on the internet like this?” she asked.

I laughed and said no. I met a woman once on the internet years ago and got burned from the experience. She sent me a beautiful picture and I fell in love with her. We talked for many months via the computer on dailpad with headphones to avoid long distance charges. One day, I told her I was going to fly out to San Francisco (Concorde, CA) and see her. She then panicked and revealed the truth. She weighed over 400 pounds and was house ridden and was married. I was devastated and it took me a long time to forgive her and just be friends. She died last year from medical complications due to her extreme weight. I always knew her as Patti but her real name was Teresa.

Alaine left a moment ago. She had to go to curves for women for her nightly workout. She is a fitness buff. She joked with me that we could put on a wig and makeup and sneak me in.

“Hell no!” I replied and laughed, “You are not dressing me up like a woman!”

I kissed her good night and gave her a big bear hug.

“Night Doll, you be safe driving home and call me tonight when you get back.” I asked.

“Will do and you have a good night as well.” She replied.

I sat out on the porch for a long time smoking my pipe and enjoying the warm breeze. I watched as the yard was lit up with thousands of fireflies looking like little green jewels sparkling in the dusk.

Good night and take care my friends and thanks for stopping by and sharing my life in words. I do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and give me encouragement and advice. You words never go unheeded or unappreciated.

My Great Aunt Visits...

I got up early and helped Myrtis cook some breakfast. We had sausage and toast. She ate her toast with some homemade muscadine jelly. I also perked a big pot of coffee and she poured in some PET evaporated milk to sweeten it.

We sat for a long time and talked. She is like a treasure trove of family history. She was telling me the story of when my great uncle Walt got drunk one Easter and sent my father three Easter baskets. She also told me the story of when he was three sheets to the wind and got into the tub with all his clothes on. Walt was an interesting fellow. He went to Europe in his forties after being drafted and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was never the same after he got home my great aunt said. Something was just not right about him. The war and losing so many friends changed him.

One time, my grandfather and grandmother drove him three hours to Birmingham Alabama to the VA hospital to dry him out and get him some treatment. Later that day, after driving all the way back, they were sitting on the front porch talking. Up drove a taxi and out stepped Walt. They all had to scramble to get up enough money for his fare. He said he was not going to stay in some damn hospital and get poked and prodded for a week. I laughed as my great aunt told me this story. Walt sure was a character. I only remember him vaguely. He died when I was very young in the seventies.

Sleepless in Lanett……

I cannot sleep tonight. I am bored and listless. I walked outside and smoked a cigarette. I could not find the moon. Maybe it is on the horizon and out of view. I saw several fireflies blinking in the night. I also heard the far off horn of a train. It made me long to hit the rails and travel.

I thought about the fireflies for a long moment. We called them lightening bugs when I was a kid. I would spent long moments trying to catch as many as I could and put them in a mason jar. As it grew dark, the whole jar would light up with a pale green glow. I laughed aloud thinking about my recollection.

My neighbors are up as always. They never sleep. Cars come and go at all hours of the day and night. I suspect drugs but keep my suspicions to myself. I can get up at four in morning and they are still going strong. They look like college kids and very young and are renting the house next door. I see the police often and suspect that there is more than meets the eye as far as they are concerned.

My great aunt is staying over here tonight. We are soon going to divide my grandmother’s furniture and things and she wants to make sure she gets her share. It is the first time she has been here since Christmas. She was the hard to deal with sister I have spoken about way earlier in my blog. I love her but she is a pain in the ass. She had several bowls already picked out and to take home. She works fast. She also washed all my clothes and for that I am thankful.

She wanted me to call a certain black lady to come and clean the house tomorrow. I lied when I said I would. I felt uncomfortable doing such a thing. She has not worked for us since my grandmother died. I will just tell her I didn’t get an answer in the morning. The house is clean anyways and doesn’t need that expense.

I have set my alarm clock for early in the morning. I know I will have to get her coffee going and help with breakfast. I have some eggs left and some loaf bread so we will have eggs and toast with some slices of cheddar cheese. She is well up into her eighties and I feel responsible for her. She is the last of the Mayberries and that is a notable pedigree. My grandmother would want me to do as much. Her and her sister always saw about her. She has always lived a sheltered life.

I think I will now step outside and smoke a bowl from my pipe. A little Sir Walter Raleigh will do me well and maybe make me sleepy. I look forward to the robust aroma and hearty smoke. Good night and take care.