Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Crazy Kooks of AA...

George gave me a long lecture today about how people who go to AA are crazy, religious kooks.  I just smiled and shook my head in disagreement.  George is the poster child for needing AA. 

Had something happen on the way back home from Fat Albert's.  An extremely disconcerting bout of vertigo while driving.  I was never so glad to be home.

Not doing anything for New Year's.  Just a quiet evening at home as Maggie cowers from all the loud fireworks.  Glad to be sober today and to have somewhat good mental health. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

H-e-e-elp!

I picked up the phone a while ago to call mom.  

"You can't call and bother her!" I exclaimed and slammed down the phone after dialing just a few numbers.

Maybe I wanted someone to talk to.   Maybe I wanted mom to drive down to the drugstore and get some of my "happy" pills, the Klonopin.  All I knew was that I wanted relief from today's feelings.  This knot in my stomach that feels like anxiety will get out of control.  My father is useless in such matters except for administering pills. 

I refrained from calling and got to watching "The Worlds Worst Jails."  I was lying on the bed and watching these people made me feel better.  It was almost like I was benefiting from other's suffering.  I should be in jail.  I had so many DUI's over the years it is amazing I am not in lockup.

"You're not in jail.  You're not in jail," I kept repeating to myself as I watched.  "You could be in far worse shape!"

I feel better now.  The anxiety has somewhat melted away and my mind is clear again of unseemly thoughts.  I realized that this would be prime drinking time for me.  The alcohol would chase away my blues, the anxiety would disappear, and I wouldn't have a care in the world.  Thankfully, I have a choice today and will just lie down and rest.  All things must pass.... 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Pay Packet...

Me and mom's little 3 dollar a day monetary arrangement has proved interesting for the holidays.  My father has been off of work for over a week.  If he were to find out my mother is giving me money, he would go bananas.  Mom has been making what I call little pay packets and she will drive by and stick it in my mailbox and blow her horn.  It never ceases to make me smile.  You know?  She could come inside and say hello, but she is a woman on a mission. 

I asked mom why she doesn't just give me money for a week and stop these daily visits. 

"I don't want you to get drunk," she replied. 

It's not like I can just save up the money and buy a twelve pack of beer.  That's my family, though.  There is nothing uncomplicated about my mother. 

Dear George...

George was in a surly mood on this morning's jaunt for coffee.

"It must be nice having a father who takes care of everything," George told me sounding really spiteful. 

"George, you shit.  That is rich coming from you.  Your mother takes care of everything for you.  You don't even have to pay a bill," I replied scoffing. 

George grinned devilishly and asked me if I wanted another refill on my coffee trying to play it off.

I then swung by mom and dad's house.  They were taking down their Christmas decorations.  It made me feel sad.  Often, when I was a child my mother would yank down the decorations a day after Christmas.  It would usually end up in a screaming match between us. 

"You going to take down your tree soon?" dad asked.

"I am keeping it up till after New Years," I replied. 

I came home and sat down on my sofa watching my beautifully lit tree.  "You're not coming down so soon," I mumbled to myself. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

So what did you get for Christmas?

I had a blessed Christmas this year.  Dad and mom got me a Nintendo Wii which thrilled me to death.  Charlie got me a game for the Wii, Legend of Zelda, and so did my brother and his family, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.  My sister and her husband got me a new Auburn baseball cap which I will wear incessantly just like the one before.

I still haven't checked the comments on yesterday's post.  I fear there is some pretty scathing stuff written there.  I should have turned comments off.  It is far too easy to come vent on this blog than with another person in real life.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.  Blogs sure have been silent and that must mean people are busy enjoying their gifts and time with their family.  I feel so lucky to be around for yet another magical time of the year.       

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blow 'em out of the water...

"You know your dad is gay and he is drugging your mother to keep her complacent,"  my uncle told me over the phone this morning after wishing me a merry Christmas. 

"Roger, don't go spreading that rumor around, okay?" I replied with a tone of utmost seriousness.

The damage was done, though.  He had already called my mother and told her that as well.  Merry effing Christmas. 

I've known for years that dad is gay.  Him and Charlie have been inseparable for the past 30 years.  It is obvious they are a couple.

Mom called me later asking for my opinion.

"Do you think your father is gay?" she asked.

"Rachel always swore he was," I replied of my ex-wife.

I didn't outright say it myself.  I wished mom a merry Christmas and told her not to worry too much about it.  I love my parents just the same. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bitterly Cold...

My car barely cranked this morning at 5:00 AM in the dark.  It was 19 degrees outside. Don't ask me why I was up at such an ungodly hour.  I couldn't sleep and I was out of cigarettes.  I asked mom to put my cigarettes on the back porch the night before so I wouldn't wake them when I arrived. 

It barely climbed above freezing today for the rest of the day.  I so wanted to go watch trains, but was only down there for 30 minutes before the cold and chill chased me back to my car.  I saw one mixed freight come rumbling by and that was it.

I did swing by Fat Albert's to see George and for coffee early this morning.  He was all disgruntled to have to work on Christmas day. "Effing slave drivers," was today's catch phrase.  Convenience stores seem to close for no one or anything.  I spent a Christmas working at a convenience store once upon a time. 

Dad's already asked me if I've received money in any of my Christmas cards yet.   So far, I've received $40 dollars and I sure as hell ain't telling him.  That is none of his business.  He can't control everything in my life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Big Christmas was Today...

 

Dad watching over the stove and all the goodies. 
My little niece, Lilly, butter basting the yeast biscuits.

The table all set and ready.  The candles need to be lit.


The Christmas tree covered in presents.


My two nieces getting into a Cheezit box before lunch.




My brother bottle feeding his daughter, Olivia. 




The food all ready to be plated up.  Looks so pretty and scrumptious. 



The meal at last as we sat down to laugh, eat, and enjoy each other's company.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Bringer of Sanity, I Speaketh of Thee...

Behold, the little pills that fill my gullet.  Arleen had asked me what anti-depressants I am on.  I am on Luvox used primarily to treat obsessive compulsiveness.  And Lexapro for depression.  I don't think the Luvox is working so well for the obsessive compulsiveness, but great as an anti-depressant.  I can still drink a 12-pack of cokes in two hours and smoke 3 packs of cigarettes in 12 hours so the obsessive compulsiveness is still there. 

If you are a consumer of psychiatric care, what medications are you on and what works for you?  It is a painstaking trial and error process to find the right combination of medications.  It took me and my doctors years.  And there is still room for improvement. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Magic...

Were you one of those children who could never sleep on Christmas Eve?  I was and I remember my disappointment when I realized Santa wasn't real.  Santa's sleigh was a 1976 Ford Ranger Custom.  It was sitting in the front yard as Charlie and my father unloaded our gifts.  I walked out of my bedroom crying to find my mother standing in the hall in her pajamas.

"What's wrong honey?" My mom asked.

"Santa's not real.  There is no Santa. Dad and Charlie are Santa," I replied.

"Santa's sleigh broke down and your father and Charlie are helping him get his presents around town," I remember my mom saying.

I was placated somewhat, but still had suspicions. 

Now that I am grown, I realize Santa is alive and well in all our hearts.  The gift giving.  The wonderful food.  The decorations.  All things that prove to me that Santa is still working his magic.  I think this Christmas is going to be truly magical for me this year.  I can't wait to share it with you all on my blog.  Merry Christmas! 

Silly Billy...

I've been so silly and giddy all day.  I saw this and just laughed and laughed.  Tis the season to be festive me thinks. 

Christmas Chewbacca

******

Mom and dad were busy cooking a coconut cake for Christmas this afternoon.  I hate I didn't bring my camera for pictures.  Preparing the cake was so elaborate.  I got a taste of the scrumptious icing and it was delicious. 

Hey, from that crazy guy in Alabama...

I woke up this morning feeling giddy.  Maggie actually woke me up digging at her cooties.  I fell asleep again and woke up to Maggie licking my head.  What a way to start the day!

"Can I come and get my cokes?" I asked mom in a phone call.

"Okay," mom said. "I will open the back door."

My father was there when I arrived.

"This is a surprise!" I told him excited.

We went ahead and took my medications for the day.  I felt even giddier on the drive home.  I tell ya, these two anti-depressants I am taking are working well. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Can Now Say it is Christmas...


Tree Acquired...

Mom fully instigated today's trip to get me a Christmas tree. We hopped in my car and headed to a local town with a nursery renowned for their beautiful spruces.  I knew which tree I wanted when I pulled up in the lot.  Mom paid and the attendant loaded the tree in my car.  I will post pictures when I get it up and decorated.  It is still in the car at this moment. 

Going Back to School...

I've thought of this often over the past few weeks.  I have decided I want to go back to school to be a car mechanic.  I am going to ask dad tonight about it and see what he thinks.  I've always had a knack with working on cars.  My first car was a '72 Chevelle and I pampered it.  The major hurdle to doing this is the cost of a tool set and tool box.  Rachel got all my tools in the divorce. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

She's Not Hard to Please...

I am almost too pooped to blog tonight.  I spent the day with my great aunt.  I took her to Auburn to buy her groceries and then we swung by McDonald's to get a hamburger.  I owed my father a big favor and he gave me the day off from work.

Talked to mom tonight about my groceries tomorrow.

"Oatmeal cookies!" I exclaimed as my mind got caught up with my body.

"Milk, too?" mom asked.

Remember when I was at the hospital cafeteria last week?  Well, they had awesome corn dogs and that has stuck in my mind.  I told mom to get me two packages to deep fry.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magic Porn Machines...

No matter what your stance on G.W. Bush, you have to admit he has been some Internet comedy gold.  I thought this was just hilarious. 


Monday, December 15, 2008

Gratitude...

Gratitude... I've got it.  I worry about being all pollyannaish on this blog.  I have so much gratitude lately, though.  Just a moment ago, I was laying in bed resting with Maggie and I felt giddy.  I keep saying, "If you were homeless then you couldn't have this."  Maggie.  My warm bed. My TV.  Internet on demand.  Warm and dry clothes.  Central heating and air.  I really owe my father so much.

Earlier in the day, I went over for my two Cokes.  Dad surprised me by being there and not at work.

"Help me with some lights outside," he told me.

We got out and finished stringing the rest of his Christmas lights on his front hedge.  I love these times with my father.  He sure had a dry humor about him today. I laughed and laughed and we had a good time. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

"We've got to get you a tree!" Dad exclaimed when I walked through the kitchen door this evening.

"I know," I replied. "I am really late this year."

Mom and dad were doing their Christmas cards for this year. There was a big stack to mail out. I sat down and took all this in. I love this time of year. The decorations. The lights. The ornamental trees in everyone's windows.

"Your father stood in line till midnight to get your present last night," my mother told me.

I looked at dad with a grin to ask, "Really?"

"Yeah," he said excited. "You're going to be so surprised."

My parents aren't known for "cool" presents. I can only begin to imagine what was so enticing that people stood in a line until midnight to buy. I'm gonna have dreams of Ipods and Iphones tonight while I go to sleep. It sure will be better than that prison camp I dreamed about last night.

Merry Christmas

The Stomach Growls...

I just drove over for my customary two Coca-Colas.  Dad was in the kitchen cooking for Christmas.  Remember that frou frou dressing my cousin made for Thanksgiving?  Dad was making sure we had a traditional (for us) dressing this Christmas. 

"Corn bread. A whole chicken.  It is going to be tasty," Dad told me as I stood in the kitchen door. 

It smelled wonderful.  When my mother came down with her late onset schizophrenia, my father had to learn to cook.  And cook he did.  

We went ahead and took my medications while I was there.  I hate to wait until dad arrives at my home so I was happy to oblige. 

It is cold today.  A blustery, thoroughly winter-like day. A good day for model railroading projects and listening to Internet radio.  I am off for some relaxing fun!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Today at Fat Albert's...

George was busy printing out lottery tickets as I walked in Fat's. 

"These lottery people are crazy!" he exclaimed to me after it had slowed down some. 

"Dad always says the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math," I replied.

George laughed and laughed.

"You know? That is kinda true!" he told me, grinning.

"Do you still see Pookie?" I asked George.

Pookie was George's long time girlfriend.  She is the only overweight crack addict I have ever met.

"She in jail," George replied and I felt terrible for asking.   

George continued on to tell me his mother has been asking about me.  Mrs. Jones, despite her age, is one of the best southern cooks I have ever encountered. 

"Tell her I send my love," I told George.

"She will love to hear that."

I finished my coffee and headed home.  I love these little routines like going to Fat's everyday.  I didn't realize how much I have missed George till we got reacquainted. 

Benadryl, it was good while it lasted...

Mom asked about my Benedryl addiction today. 

"You about drove me nuts with that Benedryl crap," she told me over the phone an hour ago.  "Every time I would turn around you were wanting two more dollars for Benedryl."

I can get addicted to anything and they say that Benedryl is non habit forming.  I was taking 12 pills a day at the end. 

"What did it do for you?" mom asked. "I would think it would make you all jittery and nervous."

"Au contraire," I replied. "It calmed me down.  Made me sleepy.  And I felt better.  Or so I thought."

I had to quit cold turkey.  I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms other than being psychologically addicted.  Dad still gives me 6 every night and I put them in a large ceramic container in my kitchen.   

Friday, December 12, 2008

Helen's Supper...

This meal hit the spot on today's cold evening. Helen cooked a ham steak, with rice pilaf and almonds, broccoli and cauliflower medley, fried okra, and yeast rolls. I am extremely grateful for these home cooked meals every Friday.

Bathroom Break!

I was getting a big laugh out of Maggie this morning.  It was cold and she so wanted to go outside.  She would stick her head out the dog door and then have second thoughts.  She turned to look at me like, "But I gotta pee!!!"  I was in the kitchen baking blueberry muffins for breakfast.

I swung by Fat Albert's for a cup of coffee again early this morning.  Mom's three dollars she gives me everyday is proving to be a blessing both mentally and physically.  

"Ride with me out to the lake when I get off," George said.

I knew any ride with George would involve drinking and driving. 

"Maybe some other time," I replied, drinking my coffee.

The alcoholic in me really wanted to go.   I wanted to get rip roaring drunk off of that cheap malt liquor George drinks.  Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.   

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog Beginnings and Looking Ahead...

One bitterly cold December night years ago I got on the web at my deceased grandmother's house and searched for information about homelessness.  I had been homeless for about 2 months, recently divorced.  I found The Homeless Guy blog.  Wow! Homeless people have websites and people are helping them too!  I quickly realized, though, that this "homeless guy" was a con.  There was nothing to help the homeless on his site.  Only him.  His gift bags for the homeless idea was something for Christian "do gooders" to do when a lot of the homeless wanted burgers, cigarettes, and beer. 

I did start my own blog.  It was called "Homeless and Disabled in Alabama."  Wasn't that just pretentious?  The Homeless Guy listed me on his blog as "The Grumpy Old Man" because I criticized his criticism of getting chicken everyday at the Rescue Mission.  At the time, I would have been so appreciative of any meal not cooked lukewarmly over a fire.  The Grumpy Old Man moniker stuck and I named my next blog after that just to spite the old curmudgeon and he was over a decade older than me. 

Years later, we are both still blogging.  He is about to be homeless again, failing to pay his $150 dollar a month rent.  I think I have grown immensely these past few years and haven't had to belabor my readership with needs and requests for money.  I am still overly dependant upon my parents, but not in a burdensome way.   I am happy most days, content to go about my simple life. I also realized with kindness that the least of "The Homeless Guy's" problems was not having a home.  He has some deep seated emotional problems that no drug or possibly only therapy can fix.  I had to become the better man and be less critical of him.   It was hard, and probably one of the hardest things I have done since writing this blog.  He invites criticism by the way he writes on his blog and interacts with others. 

I thought tonight what I want to be doing next year this time.   Another Christmas will be approaching and I will be going on 38 years old.   My main goal is to be independent and working for someone other than my father.   I realize social security disability can be willy nilly and I can't always rely on that being there.  I also want my schizophrenia to be in complete remission along with these anxiety attacks I am struggling with.  That might mean a second opinion from another doctor.  I will cross that bridge when I get there. 

At least he has cut down...

"How did you quit drinking?" I asked George down at Fat Albert's this morning.

I expected a long diatribe dissing AA as George thinks the people that go to AA are crazy, brain-washed, nuts.

"Oh, I still drink," George said with a grin. "I drink a six pack of malt liquor every afternoon when I get off of work."

"Your mom still won't let you drink inside, will she?" I asked.

George grinned and said, "I drink them in my Buick."

At least he has cut down.  I never could moderate my drinking.  I would always drink till I passed out or fell over.  This lessened drinking is the key to George holding his current job.

"You still drink?" George asked me.

"I haven't had a drink in over a year," I proudly reported back.

"Your life must be so boring," George replied with a look of distaste on his face. 

I let the snide remark slide down and off my back.  George will probably always drink.  Some find AA.  Many don't and spend their lives in drunken chaos.  George sure has seen his fair share of drinking related hardships.  I wish I could rescue my friend, but can only lead by example.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Times!!!

I was just laying in the bed, watching TV, and listening to the radio.  Maggie was laying beside me doing her usual before slumber grooming.   The word snow is being bantered around by the various weather officials.  And my injection worked remarkably well yesterday to give me a wonderful rest of the day and week. 

This is the stuff legendary good times are made of in my life and on this blog.  Thank you all for reading and I hope these kinds of positive, life affirming blog posts outweigh all the others, and will be what you remember me by.  Not the sick, mentally ill drunkard who almost lost everything. But the upbeat, excitable, good natured fellow I know I can be if I just put in some minimal effort.  

You Just Gotta Do It!

Yesterday morning was not fun.  It was time for my injection and I was having a terrible anxiety attack.  Mom called first.

"I am coming to get you," she said. 

"Mom, I can't," I told her. "I am having a terrible attack."

Mom called dad and dad sent Tim to pick me up in the company van.  Tim brought pills for me to take to stop the attacks.  I greedily took them as he stood in my den and Maggie gave him the twice over. 

Well, we got there and my nurse wasn't there.  She had her finals yesterday.  I already felt bad and was just about beside myself when they told me to come back at 4:00.  Tim was so kind and we drove around for awhile waiting for 4:00 PM to arrive.  An hour after my injection I was feeling normal again. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Odds and Ends...

Tonight is nice.  It is raining pretty hard making wonderful noises as the rain drops splatter on my storm windows.  I will sleep well.

Maggie is out in the rain barking.  She is trying to thwart my attempts to put on her flea treatment.  It has been an all day battle.  I am sure Maggie's muddy feet will come flying up on the bed pretty soon.

Spent two hours at work discussing ice hockey with one of dad's employees.   And I don't even like sports.  I raced tonight to finish the deliveries before dark fell.  I hate to drive after dark as my eyesight is poor. 

Grocery day is tomorrow.  Another lemon meringue pie is on the agenda.  I special requested two gallons of milk as well.  Yum! Milk!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Parents have their tree up...

I get mine on Tuesday when I get my injection in the derrière.


Everything's Fine, Mostly...

I always erroneously think my brother and sister have wonderful, magical, perfect lives.  They don't.  I just drove over to my parents house for some Diet Dr. Pepper.  My sister was in the den, crying.  Her daughter was crawling all over her.

"I'm sorry," my sister said wiping the snot from her nose. "I had a moment of weakness."

"What's wrong?" I asked sitting down next to her.

"Being a parent.  Being a doctor.  It is all too stressful for me.  I can't take it anymore," my sister sobbed. 

"What would dad's mother say?" I asked her.

"To drink some sweet tea, eat a good lunch, take a nap, and sit on the back porch till you get to feeling better," my sister said smiling.

I'm not particularly close to my sister, but I hope I helped.  I often think of what dad's deceased mother would say on such occasions.  It helps.  

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wonderful Hospital Food...

Memaw came through her surgery okay.  Mom said she was asking about something to eat as they wheeled her to intensive care.  All my mother's family is in town.  It took a calamity to bring them together.  My aunt Pam is staying at my parent's house.  Have I told you how gorgeous she is?  She doesn't age at all. 

I discovered the hospital cafeteria yesterday.  I have never eaten better food in a hospital.  They had macaroni and cheese that was to die for.  I also ate my first corn dog in years.   The even had turnip greens with fatback.  

My sister came last night with her daughter to see Maggie.  Maggie put on a grand show.  It was the first time my sister had been in my house since dad bought it for me.  My little niece would squeal with glee and Maggie barked exuberantly.

Getting a Christmas tree is on the agenda today.  I can't wait to smell that smell of evergreen in my house.   

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poor Memaw...

My 83 year old grandmother fell and broke her hip tonight.  Surgery is tomorrow at 1:30 PM.  The prospects are grim.  If I am not posting for a few days then you know I am dealing with issues surrounding my grandmother. 

Thanks Mom. You're a Sweetheart...

I just wanted to thank my mom who reads this blog from time to time.  Thank you for the bounty that was grocery shopping day today.  Don't fret if dad gets on to you about what you spent.  It is my money after all.  Thank you for the five dollars today to get a burger and fries.  They were delicious.  Thank you most of all for being you.  I love you and you enhance my life ten-fold. 

Bad Omen...

This morning started with my 5 AM Fat Albert's cup of .99 cent coffee. 

"Where's George?" I asked the other George working there.

"He called in sick," the other George said looking surly.

I know this George's daughter.  Her name is Heidi and she works for Disney.  We went to high school together and she worked for my father for years. 

The rumor is that this George is crazy.  Always bouncing from one job to another.  Kinda like me.  I noticed today he was still wearing his wedding band and he has been divorced for dozens of years. 

"Your John's son," The other George then said getting a clue. "I thought you looked familiar."

"Yeah," I said. "John is my pop."

I drank my cup of strong coffee standing in the overly warm convenience store.  My George usually gives me free refills, but I was required to pay .25 cents today.  That was too rich for my blood so I left. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sleeping Cherub...

I've had a tough day and Maggie always helps me put things into perspective.  She seems to be telling me in this photo to slow down, get some rest, and go to sleep.  Tomorrow will be a brighter day.  The light of a warm lamp can chase away the blues.  And the 3 Tenors on PBS are okay and cool if the volume is low.  Good night sweetheart.  Your daddy loves you.  Enjoy the 3 tenors and come to bed soon.


Come In and Turn up the TV, LOUD!

I had one of those shaky days today.  I was about beside myself when dad arrived tonight with my medications.  I wanted to take my Klonopin and go to bed.   Dad then proceeded to turn on the TV to PBS.  The "3 Tenors" were on singing Christmas tunes and dad cranked up the volume LOUD.  I thought my head would explode. "Oh dear God help me," I muttered under my breath.

"I am driving you crazy, aren't I?" dad said, getting a clue.

"Just a tad," I said at my best effort in understatement as I shook my head meaning yes.

I think dad left with his feelings hurt.  I feel like a schmuck now.  I am going to bed and pray for a better tomorrow.  I am tired of this anxiety attack shit.  I would sell my soul to an astute doctor who would try to alleviate what is wrong instead of medicating the problem like they all do.    

Hey Ed. Bye Ed...

I keep telling myself that I am going to start walking or riding my bike every day.  I get to the end of my street and turn around to come back.  My elderly neighbor, Ed, was standing out in his yard today looking nosey. 

"Going for a walk?" he asked.

"To the end of the street and back," I replied.

He looked confused and I couldn't help but laugh inwardly at the world's shortest jaunt.  I just feel entirely too lazy to walk or do any amount of exercise. 

I awoke this morning feeling shaky like my anxiety attacks were going to plague me today.  What did I do?  I drove over to my parent's house to get four caffeine loaded drinks.

"Isn't that caffeine going to make your attacks worse?" Mrs. Obvious, mom, asked me.

"I will only drink two an hour," I told her.

That is two people I have exasperated today.  Mom was standing in her pajamas at the back door looking confused as I left.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rosa? Where Art Thou?

I was down at Fat Albert's this morning as soon as they opened at 5 AM.  George was standing behind the counter looking asleep.

"What'cha need?" he asked me with that sly grin of his.

"Oh, just a cup of coffee," I replied.

A cup of coffee was all I could afford. 

We spent the next hour talking about Rosa.  Where she is and how she is doing.  She still does occasionally call me.

"She still have her Toyota?" George then asked me.

"Yeap," I replied. "Despite pawning the title twice."

George chuckled. 

It was freezing cold this morning as I left Fat's to drive home.  Maggie greeted me in her usual exuberant way.  I miss Rosa sometimes, but I don't miss the emotional games she would play. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Great Thanksgiving Had By All...

We had a great Thanksgiving.  All of my family and Charlie's family joined together for a meal.  My favorite part was my father's homemade yeast biscuits.  I could eat twenty of those things.  The turkey was so moist and tender and not at all dry.  And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving if it wasn't for lots of delicious casseroles.  

Dad was ready for me, as well, with lots of drugs. 

"You sure you won't take your Klonopin?" he asked me. "You will be less nervous."

"I am okay," I replied, feigning resilience.

Dad kept seeing my hands shaking nervously. I didn't want to take any drugs to mar the experience.  It was the first Thanksgiving I had attended in a long time.  Previous years I would stay home due to my social anxieties and wait for my mother to bring me a plate of food. 

My sister's daughter will soon be two years old.  She took the cake as the cutest member of our little entourage.  She would run and grab a toy to bring to me with the biggest, shyest smile.

Now, it is late Saturday afternoon and getting darker by the moment on this overcast day.   Football is on to capture most other's attention.  The much ballyhooed Auburn vs. Alabama game is on -- the big rivalry.  I am home wasting time on the Internet trying to avoid football if at all possible.  Hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving as well.     

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Stuffing that Wasn't

We all gathered around the table in the dining room for our thanksgiving meal.  Mom sat next to me with Al, Charlie's son, to my left.

"Is this supposed to be stuffing?" mom asked with her nose turned up high as she chased a morsel around her plate with her fork.

"It has sausage in it I think," I replied.

"Sure wish we had you father's stuffing."

My cousin Johnny insisted on making the stuffing from some frou frou French cookbook. 

"You will all love it!" he decreed. 

I just got off the phone tonight and me and mom were heartily laughing.  My father has joined the bandwagon. 

"Next year we are having mother's stuffing southern style."

I started clapping and mom did as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dope Man...

The phone rang at 7:30 AM.

"I am coming to get you to get your shot," my mother said on the other end of the line.

I hung up the phone after saying thanks for the call and muttered under my breath, "It's too damn early for this."

Once again, I put my life in my mother's hands and let her drive.  She was still asleep as well.

"How did you get harangued into doing this?" I asked her.

"Your father," mom replied. "He is afraid you won't go."

I chuckled.  I have been amusingly calling my father "the dope man" lately.  The amount of pills he wants me to take keep increasing.

"Don't you get tired of taking all these pills as well?" I asked mom.

"Your father would kill me if I even mentioned going off some," she replied.

"The dope man" was glad to see me when I walked into the pharmacy.  He pushed the green box of Risperdal Consta across the counter towards me with a devious smile.  Medicare part D was billed $524 dollars for this one injection. 

"You will feel better in a few hours," he told me. 

My shoulders slumped as dragged myself out of the pharmacy, into mom's car, and down to my doctor's office.  The good thing is that I am feeling better already.  I struggled with my anxiety attacks all weekend thus the lack of writing.  I have a love/hate relationship with all the medications I am on.  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mrs. Complicated...

Mom has called three times this afternoon.

"I'll be there at five with your cigarettes," she said on the last call.

This lack of money I am forced to endure extremely complicates my life.  You don't realize how nice it is to just hop in your car to go buy something until you no longer have that option for a few years.  I try not to complain, though.  I have a pretty good life.  And the three dollars mom has been giving me is such a blessing. 

Mom came over yesterday and stayed for hours.  We had a good talk and at times I felt like her therapist.  She has been upset that my brother and sister never call her. 

"They only call your father and that makes me feel terrible."

"Well, they don't call me either if that makes you feel better," I replied.

******

"Isn't that the black man you used to hang out all the time with?"  mom asked me Saturday on a trip to Fat Albert's.

"Sure is," I said grinning.  "That is George."

George is now working at Fat Albert's selling lottery tickets.  He looked really good sobered up and dressed nicely.  Somehow, I just can't picture George working for someone else, though.  He is so fiercely independent.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

3 Dollars Richer...

Mom decided today that she will give me 3 dollars a day spending money.

"Don't you dare tell your father!" she told me scoldingly. 

The three dollars is to buy me two regular 20 oz Coca-Colas a day.  I was just glad for something, anything.  It will be fun to drive down to Fat Albert's everyday, see George, and to buy my Cokes.  I will have a new ritual.  

Helen took it upon herself to clean today.  She was worried my father was going to notice the lack of cleaning since he is over here every night.

"He's paying me to clean as you know," Helen told me this morning. 

Helen is cooking a chicken, cheddar, and egg noodle casserole for supper.  Mom has already been by twice hoping the casserole was finished baking.  Helen had asked me the other day what I like the most and I told her casseroles.   They are pretty easy to fix as well.   

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spontaneous Journeys...

"I really would like something good to eat," mom said this morning as I drove us back from Fat Albert's. 

My mother loves a good hotdog more than anything.

"Let's go to the Dairy Dee!" I said excitedly. "They have the best slaw dawgs I have ever eaten."

"Where is it?" mom asked.

"In Opelika," I replied.

It was a long, long drive, but well worth it.  Mom and I both got foot long slaw dogs and chocolate shakes.   It was a delicious treat.

*****

I really appreciated all the kind and supportive comments yesterday on my sobriety birthday.  You people rock!  I couldn't have made it this far without your help, the supportive comments, and all the blogs I like to read.  There are tons of good AA blogs out there and I found most through Google Reader.    

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quiet Sobriety Birthday...

Mom and dad wanted to take me out to eat for my sobriety birthday.   My sponsor is mad at me for not letting myself have a birthday party at AA with the almost gold medallion.   I have decided just to stay in and do what I love most.  Having quiet time with Maggie and the Internet.  Mom did just go and buy me supper.  A Wendy's double with cheese and a large fry.   I am full and set for the evening.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Late Bloomers Literally!

It is Nov. 18 and we still have dandelions blooming.  Today is a cold and blustery day as well and it just looks odd and out of place. 

Bedtime Last Night!

Of All She has Going On...

Mom's been in the hospital with her mother these past few days.  Memaw thinks she is having strokes, but they can't find anything wrong.  I was sitting in my den this morning waking up when the phone rang.  It was mom on her cellphone.

"I miss coming to see you," she said. "I am stuck with mother and I miss Maggie and you."

This did my heart so good.  I was so supremely lonely this morning. 

"When will she get out of the hospital?" I asked.

"Don't know," mom said. "But your uncle is with me. He's been a big help."

There was a awkward quiet moment.

"I need to go, but I will come see you soon," mom said breaking the silence. 

"I love you," I told her. "I can't wait to see you over here."

"Love you back," mom said and she hung up the phone.

I am missing my normal rituals badly.  Things have been out of whack ever since my parents went to Washington D.C.  Like an autistic child, I am beginning to balk.  Let's hope things return to normalcy soon.   

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tony, A Voice that Needs to be Heard More Often...


Tony doesn't write often on his blog, but when he does, it is powerful prose. Tonight he wrote of his journey out of addiction and schizophrenia. Powerful stuff for those of us, like me, who are walking the walk.


Tony's Schizophrenia Corner

Through the Leaves of Fall...

The Home Guard is Recruiting...

Major Maggie in some patriotic poses. So far today we have staved off unrelenting attacks of pedestrians. Corralled one squirrel in the backyard. And dutifully gone on our rounds through the wild yonder behind the house.




The So-Called Sick Son...

My father swears something's wrong with me lately.

"For months you were quiet and now you are all needy! You came over to the house three times yesterday for diet Dr. Pepper! You usually stay at your house!  Are you taking something?  You haven't even asked for your Klonopin in days.  That worries me!"

Here's the part where he attempts to medicate me with one Risperidone and two Klonopin.  I took the pills with a swallow of delicious, wonderful, regular Coca-Cola.  

I have learned to stay quiet during these little interrogations.  I realize I am feeling better and more self assured and this confounds my family.  I am no longer playing that mentally ill, sick, confused son.  The role I have to play in my mixed up family to support the status quo.

I am feeling better!   

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Self Portrait #2

Winter-Like Sun. Goodbye Sun for Another Day...

Sunday Morning Rituals...

I walked into my parent's house this morning to the smell of baking biscuits and frying bacon. It has become a ritual for us to eat together every week. We fixed our plates full of biscuits, bacon, and strawberry preserves and sat down to eat.

"Joyce's camellia is blooming," I told my father in between bites of wonderful breakfast food.

Dad walked over to stand at the backdoor to see if his, too, were blooming.

"Mother always liked camellias," dad said. "She would always keep a bowl of blooms on her dining room table."

Dad talked a lot of football this morning which didn't interest me. I barely kept up with the Auburn game yesterday. I realize I would have a stronger bond with my father if I took some interest in sports. It all seems rather silly to me, though.

I left to drive home just as the hordes of church goers were leaving church at noon. Car after expensive car paraded by the front of my parent's house as I tried to get out in the road. It didn't perturb me. I thought wistfully of the quaintness of small southern town life and how much religion is important to that existence. I've thought often of if you can't beat them then join them. My thoughts on organized religion are an entirely different blog post and would violate one of my cardinal rules of blogging, though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Don't Tango. I Don't Waltz...

Charlie's son, Alan, came to see me tonight.  It was a surprise visit and set my social anxieties into overdrive.   "What will I say?  I am not dressed for this.  Dog hair is every where," all raced through my mind.  Luckily, Al took the lead in this little social waltz or tango.   Gregarious as ever, he laughed and talked and I soon felt at ease. 

Maggie, on the other hand, thought little of this strange human with many muted barks and uneasy walks to try and sniff Al.  I had never seen her act so peculiar.  It was almost comical.

Al left and I sighed with relief.  I felt as if I had been on stage for 30 minutes performing.  I called Dad knowing he probably encouraged this to happen.

"Why didn't you tell me he was coming?!?" I blurted out over the phone.

"I knew you would back out," dad replied. "You need friends your age and Alan likes you."

I sighed as I hung up the phone and slumped down into my lazy boy as a Saturday night college game played on the TV.  I just wish these things came easier for me.  The anxiety is nerve wracking.      

Fall Arrives in the South...

Fall arrives with a flourish in the South.  In a matter of days, the leaves have turned color and begun to fall.  It always seems later every year.  I keep thinking October, but it is the mid of November.


A Pleasanter Moment with Mi Familia...

My father kindly brought me a plate of Helen's home cooking during our medication ritual last night.  Three fried fish fillets, lemon wedges, hushpuppies, cole slaw, and potato wedges.  We sat at my kitchen table as I ate and took my pills.

"You seem good today," dad said genuinely interested.

"I feel great!" I replied very exuberantly.  "I treasure nights like tonight."

I told him of watching the shuttle lift off earlier in the evening and how emotional it still makes me.

"Remember Challenger?" dad asked solemnly. 

"I was home from school after getting my tonsils out eating strawberry ice cream.  You were home from work.  We watched it on TV stunned."

Dad left after hugging me and kissing me on my cheek.  That's something that doesn't happen often.  I curled up in the bed with Maggie as I listened to Coast to Coast AM and watched Tru TV on mute.  I wasn't long before I was sound asleep to vivid dreams.  Dreams of past lives when I was still married.  I awoke to feel as if Rachel was in the bed with me.  I almost reached out for her to find only Maggie. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sunshine for the First Time Today. It has been dreary and overcast...

Vampire Romance + Teen Angst...

"Twilight!" mom explained after a temporary lapse of memory when I asked her what books she had bought today.

I had just driven over to get some soft drinks for my daily caffeine fix.  From what I've heard online, these should be some interesting books for mom to read.  I am wondering if she will like them.  She disliked Harry Potter.

Mom then asked me about my magazine on tropical fish.

"I always pick the most expensive hobbies to be a poor man," I told her chuckling.

"Well, maybe you will get an aquarium for Christmas," mom told me.

I wasn't going to get my hopes up.  Last year, I wanted curtains for my house for Christmas and they never materialized.  I never did get a Christmas present from my parents.  I just chalked it up to how much they do for me year round.  I really couldn't complain. 

As I was leaving, I walked downstairs into the foyer and then into the basement.  Inside the fridge was ANOTHER gigantic bottle of wine.  I muttered obscenities under my breath as I grabbed three Diet Dr. Peppers.  It had been almost a whole year and the desire to drink is still there.  Albeit muted.   A year ago, I would have drank the whole bottle as I stood there without a care in the world.  Is this some sign from above that I am getting better?  I do know that I will always be an alcoholic though.  There is no cure.  The obsession just lessens over the years I hope.   

Manning the Command Post as Maggie Yawns During a Lull...

Fish Supper, Anyone?

Helen cooked at my parent's house today.  Dad is having his cousins over tonight so she fixed a big meal for them.  She fixed her special fried fish supper which is delicious.  I hope to be the benefactor of some of her melt-in-your-mouth hushpuppies. 

Mom and I went to the book store down in Auburn today.  My mother is a voracious reader and constantly needs to resupply her books.  I was mainly interested in the magazines and specifically Tropical Fish Hobbyist.  I let my mother drive the whole way which would greatly interest my father.  It can really get your adrenaline pumping for all you thrill seekers.  

After a lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches, I settled in front of my hobby desk and worked on some projects.  I need to get to the hobby shop soon as I am running out of things to do.  I noticed I chain smoke while working on model railroading.  Lots of cigs just burn up without me smoking them all the way. 

Maggie has alternated from laying outside to manning her command center on the back of the couch.  It always intrigues me how she knows the nefarious pedestrians from the good ones.  A hearty barking session is given at the bad ones. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Circle Goes Round and Round...

Step 13 : Rid yourself of relatives with pill fetishes.

I am so obsessive compulsive, and I take a pill for that, too!  It makes me uncomfortable when my father foists pills upon like he did yesterday.  It plays into that old alcoholic mind set that everything is better after a few drinks.  I am so weak of will that I will gladly take them in the hopes of feeling anything extraordinary.  I realize I am replacing drink with pills.  And the pills are coy and subversive.   My sponsor might just shit in his pants when I call him about this tonight.  We have talked of it often with me being not very open about it.   I don't want to go through another withdrawal like I did with alcohol.  It was terrible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In One Ear, and Out the Other...

I was sitting this morning in my psychiatrist's office.  He was blathering on and on about my cholesterol levels and exercise.   It was getting to be grueling to sit through.  Finally, he moved on to my present problems.  I sighed with relief.

We kept my medications the same.  I weighed on his scales and am down to 205 pounds.  I have lost 52 pounds by just not drinking sugary soda.  My doctor and my father were very pleased.

As we were leaving the doctor's office, Dad placed two pills in my hand.

"Take these," he said. "You are going to need them.  We are going to see your great aunty Myrtis."

I smiled and took the pills with a gulp of diet Dr. Pepper.  All the pills did was make me drowsy and it was hard having conversations.  My aunt was in fine form for 92 years young making many racist comments about that "colored man in the White House."  She always makes me cringe doing that.  I have to remind myself that she grew up in a different time and place.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It Never Fails...

Just before my injection, I become an emotional basket case and make a fool of myself on my blog.  I get all sentimental, weepy, and whiney.   I should have titled this blog:  Ode to the Missing Parental Units. 

A new nurse gave me my injection today.  Rebecca, my old nurse, had her baby yesterday.  Luckily, it went without a hitch, the baby and the injection.

"You're done!" my nurse exclaimed.

I sheepishly pulled up my pants and ushered mom out the door. 

"I'm glad that's done," I told mom walking to the reception desk. "I will feel so much better today."

"Maybe, I need to be taking this shot as well?" mom replied always hoping to feel better.

The biggest smile broke out upon my face.  "That's my mother," I thought.  It is so good to have them home.    

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maggie and Sunshine!

Valleys and Hills...

I was lying on the floor a moment ago putting together a little bird feeder my mother had gotten me months ago.  Maggie did something very uncharacteristic of her as she walked over and started to lick me on my face vigorously.  "But Dad! You need a bath!" she seemed to be saying.  I giggled and swooned and cried, "Yuck!"  But I let her do it.  It was a special moment between me and my best friend. 

I realized I am suffering from a depression while my parents were gone.  I am so dependant upon them for everything.  I am out of gas.  Out of meds for my toothache.  And several other things.  I am also noticeably missing the socialization and social comfort I get so much from them.  Mom calls me several times a day many days and often comes over.  I count on dad coming every night with my medications.  This has been noticeably lacking from my life.  

I was reading "The Homeless Guy" today.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.  What is noticeably lacking from his life is any family support.  That must be such a lonely and depressing existence.  The more I read, the more depressed I grew until I left to read Upsy-Downsy's Blog.  I was immediately perked up by the suggestion to go out and get fresh air and sunshine.  And you know what?  It worked.  Me and Maggins headed outside for a little camera time.  I'll post that video in a moment.  Hope you all are well today!  I miss you all! 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Say Goodnight, Gracie!

Waiting on More Company...


Beyond Lucky...

I keep telling myself today that I am beyond lucky.  I feel down today and lonely for some reason.  I should have died that cold and icy February night I was drunk and wrecked my motorcycle.  That has been today's theme.  Trying to stay upbeat and happy.  I am incredibly lucky!

Maggie brings me no end to joy.  We were just laying on the bed and I thought about how lucky I am to share these times with her.  Yeah, my life could be better, but there was no better moment between dog and man just then. 

Things to be thankful for:

  • Always reliable and fast Internet.
  • Plenty of nutritious food and drink.
  • A home that's paid for.
  • A car that's paid for.
  • A family that, even though I've put them through hell, still loves me.
  • The programs of NA and AA that got me through so many dark times in my life.  Times I almost gave up hope and started to drink again.

I have a speaker's meeting only a fifteen minute walk from my house at 7 PM.  Maybe that's where I need to be tonight.  Even though I don't like the groups in town, they should have something to offer me tonight if just another AA goer's struggle with alcohol.   

Closeness... We Haz It!

A moment ago was one of the weird and odd times that Maggie was practically in my lap.  I was petting her and she was trying to sleep and listen for visitors at the same time.  Soon, a car door shut and she bolted into action.  It was Charlie. 

Maggie goes bananas at the sight of Charlie's, my mom's, or my father's cars.  It is the highlight of her day.  Kinda like Santa coming for small kids.

"Hey Maggie darling," Charlie said as if he was talking to a baby.

This encouraged Maggie to wiggle and whine even more vigorously. 

"I know I am early, but take your medications," Charlie said, handing me my pill pack.

I needed them badly.  We took my medications so early yesterday that they had worn off over night.

"How are you feeling?" Charlie asked.

"Bored and listless," I replied.

"I'm sorry," Charlie said, trying to think of things I could do.

I am pretty much stuck at the house since I am out of gas.  I didn't tell Charlie that or he would have filled my car up.

Charlie left and I felt really sad.  I didn't realize how lonely Maggie and I were until he left.  Hopefully, I can find something interesting to do online today.  I would go crazy without the Internet.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Charlie, the Bringer of little yellow pills...

Charlie's been taking good care of me while my parents are gone.  He keeps bringing me more Klonopin.  I am usually only allowed two a week.

"Dad is going to shit in his britches when he finds out how much Klonopin you've given me," I told Charlie.

"I don't want you to get all crazy on me," Charlie said laughing.

We both then burst out laughing.

Charlie brings me gifts.  Yesterday, I ate entirely too much.  Helen's wonderful meal and then Charlie brought me a Wendy's double with cheese and a Biggie Fries.  My favorite part was the coke.  I don't get caffeine drinks very often.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flat Out Tired...

Had my first flat in my new car today.  I had to work this morning.  I was heading home when I heard a strange noise and the car started to pull to the right. I pulled over to get out and look and it was a massive flat.

Luckily, I have a mechanical aptitude for these sorts of things.  I had the spare on in about ten minutes.  I used to go to school to be a automotive mechanic.

*******

I was very pleased with the election results.  Let's see if we can all do great things these next four years.  

********

Helen called me a moment ago.

"Where have you been?" she asked worried. "Your father told me to check in with you while he is gone."

"I had to deliver a hospital bed," I replied.

"What do you want for supper tomorrow night?" Helen asked.

"Something fall-like," I replied. "Lets have turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, and that macaroni casserole you make so well."

"Oh, you gonna put me to work, eh?" Helen said laughing. "No easy meal for tomorrow."

"Helen, you could cook a dish rag and I would find it appetizing."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama's My Man!

"Obama's my man!" Helen said exuberantly as she was pulling clothes out of the washing machine and into the dryer.  "I'm voting as soon as I get off."

I smiled.  I didn't tell her who I voted for.  She didn't ask.  I've learned... don't ask, don't tell.  Politics are so personal and polarizing.

Mom was still in the bed at 10:30 PM.  They leave tomorrow for Washington D.C. to see my brother and his family.  I wasn't asked to go.  Such trips exasperate my mother causing much time in bed.

"Are you going to get groceries?" I asked as I sat down next to her on the bed.

"Noon," mom said with her cat, Muffin, laying on her hip. 

I walked in the bathroom to get my two Tylenol PM to take and today's dosages of regular Tylenol and aspirin.  That is my day so far.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!

Maggie in Lamp Light...

Maggie has the right idea.  Bedtime!  I will be so glad tonight at midnight when I fall asleep.  Gonna find something on the Internet to do till then.


Trying not to be Bitter. Trying to be Positive...

I just drove to my parent's house to take my daily medications.  I was reeling in emotions on the short drive.   Dad also gave me my Klonopin which he so fears I will become addicted to.  I only take around two a week.  It is hard not to become bitter at all this and how I am treated.  My brother and sister are both Oncologists.  My father runs his own very successful business.  My mother is retired from teaching school 30 years.  Me?  My claim to fame was being the mentally ill drunkard son who lived in the woods, homeless.

My positive side is smiling today, though, in juxtaposition.   I have so much to be thankful for than to become mired in the negatives of my life.  I have a house and car that are paid for thanks to my parents.  I have an income.  I have extremely expensive medications that without, I wouldn't have any quality of life.  My schizophrenia is, for the most part, in remission. 

"You do so well these days," my father told me calmly a moment ago as I started to cry sitting in the chair next to him.

"I have so many regrets," I responded. "It is like a constant knife in my heart."

Dad held my hand, told me to dry my tears, and to take my medications.  I drove home wiping tears, but with a smile on my face.  I am still alive.  And there is always hope.  Keep hope eternal.   

My Favorite Animal...


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunset from my side yard...


Lean Times in Andrew-ville...

For the longest time, mom would clandestinely give me twenty bucks or so feeling sorry for me never having any money.  It really made my living situation much more doable as I could get coffee, breakfast, or a burger when I wanted it. 

"I can't give you any more money," my mother told me today out of the blue, "Your father almost found out."

It felt like someone had hit me on the back of the head with a sledgehammer.  I didn't realize how much I leaned on mom doing that every week. 

"Are you mad at me?" she then asked.

"No," I replied. "It worried me, too.  I didn't want you to get in trouble with dad as well."

"What are you gonna do?" mom then asked me.

"I guess I will try to use my one year sobriety point as leverage to start getting money again."

"Sorry," mom said and she hung up.

You know what I felt?  So lonely.  Like the last person I could count on in life had given up on me.  I also felt helpless having little control over my own finances.  It can be a blessing and a curse.

Me in the Sunny Bathroom...

Here's me with my new glasses on. I also cut myself on the chin shaving this morning.



Saturday, November 1, 2008

2 Votes for 1...

"Who should I vote for?" mom asked me this morning.

"Haven't you watched any of the debates?" I asked.

"You know I don't watch TV anymore."

"I'm probably voting Democrat because I don't want the Republicans to privatize Social Security," I told her. 

"I will just ride with you and let you fill out my ballot," mom said still looking confused. 

I laughed jovially. 

"Mom, I can't do that," I replied. "It is probably illegal."

"Well, I will just vote Democrat," mom said looking pleased with herself.

"Okay," I replied shaking my head. 

I almost got two votes for the price of one. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Horror of Horrors...

I had my first anxiety attack at work yesterday.  I quickly escaped to the store's basement and lay down on an old hospital bed where it was dark and quiet.  Veronica came down to check on me.

"Is this part of your mental illness?" she asked me.

"Yeah," I replied. "I will be better in about thirty minutes."

When I wanted to work for McDonald's, this was my biggest fear.  That I would have one of these around lots of people with no where to lie down.  Luckily, my father is much more forgiving of this.

******  

I'm off today and was sleeping in. I was half asleep when Helen let herself in. 

"God! It is freezing in here!" I heard her exclaim as she went straight to my thermostat to turn up the heat.  I quickly pulled on some clothes to see if she needed help carrying in the groceries.  She didn't. 

"What's for supper?" I asked inquisitively. 

"It is a surprise, baby," she replied with a grin. 

No doubt, It will be something fried and I am not complaining.  What is it about southern cooking were everything is fried?  I did see a box of frozen broccoli in Helen's grocery bag. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Eight Hour Tour...

Dad needed extra help so I have spent the last three days working all day with overtime.  I am not used to standing up that long and had to take frequent breaks.  I was so tired after work every day that I would put on my sleeping wear, grab a magazine, and hit the covers.  Even when it was still light outside! I did it though.  It makes me feel better about giving vocational rehabilitation a try soon.  I can do it (work) with practice.

Tonight, I felt more spirited than most nights.  I got in the kitchen and made breakfast for supper with Maggie watching my every move.  I was humming loudly as I stirred some scrambled eggs when there was a knock upon my door.

"I can't stay long," mom said upon opening the door. "I just wanted to see how you are doing."

"You're just in time for supper," I replied.

Mom said she wasn't going to eat, but she ended up eating a plate full of eggs, bacon, cheese, and toast.

"Food just tastes better when someone else cooks it," mom told me.

Tonight, I feel a certain sense of contemplative pride over this week so far.  It has probably been one of the most normal and mainstream weeks I've experienced since I got a home out of homelessness or quit drinking.   

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Errand of Mercy...

The last time I got a haircut was August of '07. My family rallied around me today in an intervention of sorts. You see, I have this terrible phobia about getting my haircut.

"I'll give you two of your Klonopin tonight if you get your haircut," Dad said bribing me.

Charlie was waiting in my father's bathroom with a chair, scissors, and towels.

Afterwards, Dad washed my hair and helped me to get to looking better. He then made me shave my neck, sideburns, and mustache. I felt like a better and newer man afterwards.

Now, I am going to enjoy those two Klonopin with a night of armchair model railroading.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baked and Barbecued...

Yesterday, I made it another "no clean" day for Helen and I.  I also let her pick the menu and it wasn't long until I was following her around a supermarket.  Helen showed me the finer art of buying chicken for baking.

"You don't want boneless breasts, baby," she told me. "The chicken will be dry and rubbery. The bones keep the chicken moist."

A few hours later, mom and I were sitting down to a supper of baked barbeque chicken and macaroni and cheese.  I am starting to really like having Helen pick the menu.  It is like a grab bag of meals. 

This morning, I went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  I practically drove almost to Atlanta to attend.   I felt out of place.  I was the only guy there and the only one that wasn't terribly obese.  When I got home, I weighed on my scales and am down to 210 pounds.  At one time I weighed 257.   I will probably go back again as I did like the more congenial and personal atmosphere.  

Best Political Ad...

I'm not really getting political here.  I just really like this video and song.  Some talented souls are working for Obama. 


Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Long Day Ends...

We are experiencing a cold rain tonight.  It so evokes memories of winter in the South. 

"It even smells like winter," I told my father standing out at his car a moment ago. 

Today started out interesting.  I needed twenty dollars to pay for my and Wanda's lunch.  I headed over to find mom still in the bed.

"Can I get twenty dollars?" I pleaded. 

"No!" my mother said point blankly.  

I put on my best whiny teenager persona and voice.

"Please? Please? I want to take Wanda out to eat."

Mom usually gives in if I pester her enough.  She rolled over, pulled the covers over her head, and told me to get it out of her purse. 

It was a standard AA meeting.  Wanda I both talked of how AA in the Valley has just about died due to one very overbearing and patriarchal man who thinks he runs the program.  They used to have meetings every night,  Now, it is down to two times a week.

Wanda, as I had expected, was tired and didn't eat much.  I pigged out with two quarter pounders w/cheese and a large fries. 

"You remind me of my son in Germany," Wanda told me. "Now, he was a bottomless pit and still is."

I took Wanda home and then had to come home and get ready for work.  We've bought a new building next door to the pharmacy that is going to be for our home healthcare operations.   It is my job to get my office moved and set up.  That is what I did today.

Have I told you how glad I am to be home with my Maggins, my tobacco pipe, and mugs of sweet, milky coffee?  I hear raindrops pitter pattering on my window sill.  Gonna sleep nice tonight.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Frantic and Harried...

My special AA friend, Wanda, called me tonight.

"Where have you been?  You haven't been going to AA!"

I have spurts of activity as far as AA goes.  I will get really interested for awhile then they start that higher power stuff and totally lose me.  I've been using the AA group as a whole as my higher power.

"You only have to stay sober today!" Wanda exclaimed and then hung up.  She sounded so frantic and harried.  I then got to worrying about her so I called her back.

"Go with me tomorrow to the lunch meeting, please?" I asked her.  "I will drive and then we will get lunch at McDonalds."

"It's a date," Wanda then said and we hung up our phones.   

Wanda sounded like my mother tonight when she was on one of her manic highs.  I'm worried about her.  She has to work all night and will be tired tomorrow for a meeting.  I look forward to seeing her, though. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Be Careful What You Ask For...

"Dad?  What is something I could do for you today?" I asked my father over the phone a moment ago. 

I've been trying to do little things to help my parents out.  They do so much for me. 

"Trim the back hedge in the backyard and I would forever be indebted to you," Dad said over the bustling din of his drug store.

"Shit!" I muttered under my breath.  Not the dreaded back hedge.  Of all things I could have done, that would be the one dad picked. 

"Okay," I said none too enthusiastically.

"Love you son," Dad said as he hung up the phone the valiant victor. 

Well, I better go get to trimming.  It is a two hour job on spindly step ladders.  I will be sore for a week.  :-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Shout Out!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank Jiggins for the kind things he wrote about this blog on his own.  I've had the pleasure to meet and befriend some of the kindest and coolest people in the blogging world.  Thank you, Jiggins!

A Cure for the Lonesomes...

Do you ever just get lonesome?  I woke up lonesome this morning.  I drove over to hang out with Helen at my parent's house.  Helen was folding laundry when I walked in.  Dad and mom were still in the bed. 

"I took my husband that Model Railroader you gave me," Helen told me.

Helen's husband is paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheel chair.  I thought he might like the hobby. 

"What did he think?" I asked excited.

"He read the whole thing and now wants me to order stuff," Helen replied.

I was so excited.  I love to share the hobby and love it even more when someone joins in.  

"What are you doing up so early baby?" Helen then asked me.

"I was lonesome," I told her honestly.  "That little house can grow lonesome at times."

Helen got in the kitchen and cooked me some toast with preserves.  We sat at the table and gabbed a while longer.  I then headed on home with plans to get up Helen's husband more magazines.  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Peddling Drugs...

One of the girls called in sick this morning and I had to go into work on a Saturday.  I manned a register and checked people out.  We have a new system were everyone must sign on an electronic pad for their prescriptions.  It is rather convoluted.  

"You sure are groggy this morning," dad said when I first walked in.

"It is my medications," I told him.

He smelled my breath for alcohol anyway.

It took till noon for my grogginess to wear off.  The empty chair in front of the store looked so inviting for nap.   I was really dragging my feet today.  I felt better, though.  Better than I have all week and was pleased to be able to have something to do that was productive.

As I was leaving to escape to my car, dad grabbed my shoulder and said, "Your utility bill was only $125 this month.  I am very proud of you for keeping costs down."  I beamed with pride.  As old as I am, anything positive as in a positive affirmation from my father means so much to me.    

Friday, October 17, 2008

She called me Santa...

I was in the bathroom shaving this morning when Helen let herself in.  I poked my head out the door to say, "hello!"

"You look like Santa with all that on your face," Helen replied  chuckling.

I didn't shave yesterday and Helen made a big fuss about how much better I look when I do.  It is one of my father's major pet peeves about my personal hygiene habits. 

I let Helen pick the menu this week.  She ran by the drug store to get money from dad to buy the groceries.  The weeks menu was pork cutlets fried, squash casserole, green beans, and biscuits.  I kept walking in the kitchen underfoot to sniff deeply and tell Helen how good it smells.

Mom is coming over to eat in a moment.  I hope dad comes too.  He is off today and doing whatever he does on a day off.  Helen fixed her a big plate to carry home to her husband.  We are ready for a feast.  I needed this today as I feel kind of shaky today.  Feeling weird.   

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dear Helen...

"I'm tired and I want to go home," Helen whispered to me while mom was in her bathroom getting my Tylenol and aspirin.

"Friday, we are going to just cook and eat at my house," I told her back. "No cleaning."

Helen just grinned and shook her head in agreement as she went back to vacuuming my mother's rug.  "Love you, baby," she mouthed. 

Mom is not having a good day.  Today she goes and buys both household's groceries.  It was after noon and she was still in her pajamas.

"I'll go buy the groceries," I told her.

"You will?" mom asked, sounding excited.

"But your father would kill me if he found out," mom then replied looking deflated.  "I can't give you that much money."

Oh well.  I tried.  I got in my car and headed home.  I feel good today and I hope it stays that way.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Benches No More...

Feeling much better today.  I felt well enough to ride my bike down to the tracks to do some rail fanning.   There weren't many trains, but I got some good photos of odd motive power.  I also got a lot of sun this gorgeous day. 

Right up the street from the tracks is the shopping center.  I noticed today that they have removed all the benches for people to sit upon.  Big S and the gang must be livid.  I wonder if they will move to restaurant row to do their panhandling. 

I finally left the tracks and rode up to my parent's house to get some Tylenol and aspirin.  The hill to my parent's house about killed me and I had to get off and walk.  Mom was sitting in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal.  Helen had the day off.  I told mom how strange I've felt lately as if everything is being experienced in the third person.

"You need to call your doctor," Mom said keenly. "You may need a higher dosage of something ."

I don't want to feel drugged though as is often the case with psychiatric medications.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On the Downhill Slide...

Let's not talk about yesterday.  I had a tough day mentally and barely made it.  Mom arrived around 7 PM with some medicine and saved the day.  I finally could get some rest. 

This morning I sat in my doctor's waiting room watching the fish in the huge aquarium in there.  The fish were so calm inducing.  Soon, my doctor's nurse called me back for my injection. 

"I read online where some mental health nurses just won't give this shot due to it's size," I told Rebecca.  "They are intimidated by it."

"It is the largest injection needle I have ever seen," Rebecca replied.

I got my shot and mom was waiting outside in her car reading a book.

"Everything come out okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, I am fine," I replied already feeling better.

The rest of the day has been quiet with a long nap and some magazine reading time. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Silence at Last...

I drove over to my parent's house this morning.  Dad had cooked bacon and biscuits.  I realized today how much he is like his mother.  Breakfast was the bonding agent in her family and she never let a day pass without preparing it.

"Did you listen to the game last night?" my father asked me as we sat and ate. 

Auburn lost badly.  I lied and said I did.  Actually, I could care less about football this year.  I never was a big sports fan.

All during our meal, dad's cellphone rang.  He would mutter damn it and would look to see who was calling.  They were all business related calls.

"I wouldn't want people to be able to contact me anywhere," I told him about his cellphone. "You know my phobia of the phone."

Dad reached over and turned the phone off and we both erupted in smiles as we finished our breakfast.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I love my father.  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Partisan Poop...

What do you do when your favorite blog on homelessness gets hijacked by the author's brash opinions on partisan politics?  I wrote a kind request to the author hoping he would move such material to a separate blog.  The sad thing is that he usually does the opposite of what people ask him to do.

I try not to write about politics and religion.  They are just too polarizing.  I once made some snide remarks about conservative talk radio hosts and how stupid they are.  I ran off several valued readers doing so.  It seems the country is neatly divided into two camps: democrat and republican.   I call myself a moderate that falls in the middle of the spectrum of the two partisan groups. 

******

Dad left mom forty dollars for us to eat on tonight.  Mom and I both agreed that a fried catfish plate from Rodger's Barbecue would be delicious.  We weren't disappointed.  Mom stayed for several hours as we watched old episodes of Forensic Files.   

Dad also left my medications with mom for her to give them to me.  That was a shocking first.  It was nice not having to wait until bedtime to take my medications.

******

Dealing with a lot of schizophrenia related paranoia today.  I am scared to look at my comments for fear of being berated.    I got it into my head earlier today that Social Security was reading my blog and I almost deleted it.  I came so very close. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pill Poppers Anonymous...

Mom and I were sitting at a red light in my car a moment ago.  Mom reaches into her purse to pull out three Xanax and pops them in her mouth.

"Is my driving making you nervous?" I asked truly concerned.

"No," mom said putting her hand to her forehead. "I've got to go see mother when you drive me home."

I smiled.  My grandmother is a hellion.  Two of her children aren't speaking to her right now.  The one in town needs to pop pills to go see her.

"Do you want me to go with you?" I asked.

"I think I am going to call her and tell her I have a stomach virus," mom replied. 

Mom is still sitting in my den and watching TV as Maggie sits by her side.  As the day grows shorter, there is less of a chance she will visit the nursing home.    

This Just Cracks Me Up!!!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Sentinel...

I took this photo a moment ago.  Maggie was calming down after a furious barking session provoked by a pedestrian on a bike.  She looks so regal in this photo.