Monday, March 31, 2008

Extended Tour of Duty

"Will you wait two more weeks for the money?" my father asked me tonight.

"Why two weeks?" I asked.

"I am going to Houston for a wedding and want to be home to see how you do," Dad replied. 

"I would love nothing more than to go eat lunch tomorrow.  Or drive to Auburn to buy a trains magazine," I said. 

"I know," Dad replied. "But you would be doing me a favor.  I just want you to be okay."

"Well, my brother and sister always listened to you and your advice and they turned out to be doctors.  I am going to listen to you as well."

"Love you, son," Dad said as he hugged me.  "Love you so much."

Green...

Tomorrow is the big day.  I will have a steady supply of cash for the first time in many months.  I've gone over and over in my head what I am going to buy.  A bought cup of coffee in the morning would be a luxury unheard of before this.   Simply driving to McDonalds and buying a dollar double cheeseburger would be heavenly.  The jingle jangle of change in my pocket -- a sound I haven't heard in forever.

Temperance is the key.  Twenty dollars has got to last me for a week.  How will I handle the sudden impulse to drink?  Will I succumb and prove my father right?  Will the call of alcohol be all encompassing?  I pray I keep a level head on my shoulders as I begin this new chapter in my life.  I am almost giddy with excitement and anticipation.   

Good Deeds Done Cheap...

Helen was surly this morning when I swung by my parent's house to get some Tylenol.  She only said two words to me.  I broke a tooth this morning eating my cereal and it was oh so sensitive. Mom was still in the bed as I walked down that long hall to her bedroom. 

"I don't want to go buy groceries and get my hair fixed," she told me with the covers still over her head.

"I'll go get you and dad's groceries, but I can't do anything about your hair appointment," I told her.

"Really?" Mom asked jubilantly as she threw the covers off her head.  "You don't mind?"

"It means you will have to give me a check though.  I don't think dad would approve."

"I am not worried about that," Mom said as she jumped out of bed so spritely I almost didn't recognize her. 

An hour later, I had returned with a Honda CR-V full of groceries.  Mom was so appreciative and I had done my good deed for the day.  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New to Homelessness?

 

When You Fall...You Fall to the Bottom

Every few days, we get a call at the office from people who are new to homelessness, and they cannot believe that they have to go to a shelter. They are losing their home or their apartment, and are calling around a long list of numbers hoping for some help. There are some who had no idea that their landlord was being foreclosed on, and were told that they had to find some other place to live. The middle class has shrunk over the last 25 years, and there are many more people who are in danger of being homeless. Here are a few things that you need to know in order to prepare for the "Brave New World" without a safety net:

When You Fall...You Fall to the Bottom

This is the kind of altruistic information on homelessness that you never get to read at The Homeless Guy.  Practical advice for when you find yourself at the bottom of the heap. 

The Winds of Change...

Our warm 80 degree day yesterday turned into a 48 degree day today.  It is overcast and murky looking outside. 

"It's cold!" Charlie exclaimed, walking into my house with goodies.  "I brought you a fish dinner that you may not like."

I assured Charlie I was just glad to get a hot cooked meal.  I was going to have leftover chicken pot pie.  Charlie also brought a bag of sliced smoked ham for Maggie.  I am doling it out to her so she won't eat too much at one time. 

"What are you going to do with your day?" Charlie asked me as he sat on my couch.

"Most likely read and listen to the radio today," I replied. 

"I'm doing yard work which I hate," Charlie told me.

It is a joke in the family that when Charlie does yard work the result is "The Desert Look."  Charlie doesn't have a green thumb.  My father, who is gifted with a green thumb, cajoles Charlie about this. 

"Your mom and dad should be home soon," Charlie said as he was leaving. 

I had wanted to ask Charlie for my medications early, but resisted.  I have to be very careful not to do anything out of the ordinary until after Tuesday -- the day I am supposed to get my disability money again.  I feel like I am walking on eggshells in anticipation.  Tuesday can't get here quickly enough.  I am driving to a local college town to buy some magazines with the first twenty dollars of my long lamented disability money. 

A Clean Fridge...

I was sitting at my kitchen table last night eating the spaghetti supper Charlie's wife had brought me.  Charlie begins to clean out my fridge on a whim.

"You've got four bottles of mayonnaise in here!" he exclaimed.

"I like mayonnaise," I replied.

Charlie is such a busy body -- always having to stay active.  I watched as he took everything out and put it on my kitchen counters, and then wiped all the shelves with paper towel and Formula 409.

"What else can I do?" he asked as he finished.

"I didn't want you to do that," I told him. 

"Let's change the filter on your central heating and air!"

Charlie took the filter outside along with a broom and swept it clean. 

"Are your medications making you sleepy yet?" he asked, coming in. "Your father says they put you to sleep."

"They will soon," I replied, and I could just feel the first calming effects of my psychiatric medications. 

Charlie soon left and I realized I hated to see him go.  He was my only company all day except for a strange conversation with Joyce about ear drops and doctor visits.  Joyce is still not doing well -- getting confused over simple matters.  I waved to Charlie as he and his son pulled away as Maggie stood in the window wagging her tail vigorously.  It was the end of a quiet Saturday -- a Saturday I should be thankful for after all the chaotic ones in my life.  C'est Le Vie.   

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Doors Wide Open...


Railroad Dreams...


Chicken Tango...

Helen's chicken pot pie was delicious.  I had never had it this way before, but Helen put sliced boiled eggs in her pie.  It was delicious.  Me and Maggie had some more warmed up for lunch today along with a slice of lemon meringue pie.

I was talking to Dad last night about Helen.

"I just feel uncomfortable about this," I told him. "I don't want her to go to too much trouble."

"It's only one day a week," Dad told me. "Helen needs the extra money.  You would be doing her a favor by letting her work."

"I never thought of it that way," I replied which made me feel better about the whole situation.

Today is going to be a railroad day.  I am fixing to drive down to the railyard and do some railfanning.  Only two more days till I get money again as well.  I am worried Dad is going to renege on his word and say I am not ready for that yet.  I would be devastated if he does.  

Friday, March 28, 2008

Crimson Bright!


Unsure...

Today was Helen's first day of cooking and cleaning at my house.  This was completely my father's idea.  I feel kind of uncomfortable about it.  Helen is now in the kitchen cooking a homemade chicken pot pie and biscuits.  I had to ride with her to get groceries this morning. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love Helen and she is like one of the family.  I just feel uncomfortable with someone in my "space."  I never was good at having someone underfoot.  I guess I should just be grateful of this gift my father is bestowing upon me. 

One thing I did get excited about was Helen started to read one of my Model Railroaders as she was dusting and cleaning in my den.

"Can I take this to my husband?" she asked. "He would love this hobby. He loves trains."

I smiled and said, "sure" always glad to bring someone new into the hobby.  I told Helen to have him call me if he ever wanted to talk "shop" or Model Railroading.

Oh, if you could only smell the wonderful aromas coming out of my kitchen.  It is driving Maggie crazy.  I can't wait to eat in a few hours.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Harkens...

What a gorgeous day!  Blues skies and sunshine is the focal point today.  They say we may even get up into the seventies. 

Nengaku wrote in his blog yesterday something that really touched a chord with me...

One line in the movie that I had a very strong reaction to - "Happiness is never real unless it is shared." My first reaction was "what a load of crap - I'm happy as a clam and I'm living all alone...." and then suddenly it occurred to me that I'm sharing my happiness every day with all my (blog) readers!

What has been so joyful and meaningful lately is to share with you on this blog my recovery from alcoholism and mental illness.  Like Nengaku, I am sharing my happiness with you all.  There have been some days where I am almost giddy with joy and happiness.  This is not normal for me.  Normal was dour, drunk, and depressed. No wonder most people in my life had left me by the wayside seeking greener pastures.  If they could only see me now!

I've spent a lot of time this morning at my hobby desk.  I like nothing more than assembling and painting my rolling stock kits.   Little works of art get to grace my bookshelves until the day arrives that I erect some bench work and rails and get a railroad running.  Hobbies are made of dreams, and I dream everyday now. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Twit the Twitterer Tweets

Who would have thought that I would add a few new Internet lingo words to my vocabulary so soon this year. A co-worker of mine was in my office a few minutes ago as I was reading my Twitter updates.

"What's the deal with Twitter?" she asked me. "I've heard of it, but never tried it."

The best description I could come up with is that it is micro-blogging. Things you normally wouldn't share on a blog are now shared with twitter. People have a choice of reading the minutia or not. I have found it completely addicting. I love reading the people I am following. You get to share in their days.

_________________________________________

Earlier today they had to deliver a hospital bed when I wasn't available. They should have called me. They delivered a bed whose lift motors didn't work. I had it sitting in a corner waiting on the new motors I had ordered.

Well, Johnny Watts was pissed at me. Johnny is in his eighties and still working for my father. He does odd jobs for spare cash and has long been a customer of my father.

"Sorry," I told Johnny as he fumed. "I should have put a sign on the bed. Out of all the beds we have, I would have never thought y'all would pick that one."

It is so hard admitting you screwed up, though. I had to swallow my pride and be humble. Those beds are heavy to move. I also tend to be an incorrigible perfectionist. I am learning to be imperfect. You can't always bowl a strike!

Somnolence...

I've come to the realization that I need 12 hours of sleep every night.  I woke up the morning before dawn and felt tired for the rest of the day.  I think my psychiatric medications may have a part to play in this.  They are notorious for making you drowsy. 

Mom agreed to buy me a new pair of glasses.  Well... she has been shopping around for prices.  She came by this morning to tell me she's once again changed my appointment to another optometrist.  Mom will do what I would never do because of my social anxieties.  She will walk in a strange store and office and ask them a thousand questions about the services they offer and their prices.  I just want to look stylish -- my current glasses look like a fashion disaster out of eighties.  

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Talk in the Office...

I got to work this afternoon and there was another note on my computer.  "Come get me when you get in and let's talk in my office," my father had wrote.  Oh! Shit!

My biggest fears weren't realized, though.  I thought dad was going to tell me he didn't need me anymore, or that I haven't been doing my job. 

"I am proud of you son," he told me as I sat down. "You've done so well lately and it makes me proud."

I sighed with relief and grinned with glee.

"Y'all tell me when I am doing good," I told him. "I get a lot of attention when I am doing badly, but no one says a word when I doing fine."

I have seven more days until dad is supposed to give me my disability money again.  We are going to start small and only give me $20 dollars a week.  Still, I will feel rich having a regular income again.  The first thing I want to do is put a donated dollar in all the baskets of my AA meetings.  What a relief!

The Biggest Meal of the Day...

My grandmother's favorite meal was breakfast. On her farm, she would begin breakfast at daybreak usually by frying bacon or sausage made from the pigs my great uncle raised. I would be laying in bed and the smell of freshly percolating coffee and frying breakfast meats would come wafting in. It was like an olfactory alarm clock.

I thought of Memaw this morning as I sat drinking my coffee and eating my cheese eggs -- always a favorite thing she would fix me. I always remember her using sweetened condensed milk in her coffee. She would slurp it loudly, often letting out a loud sigh of joy and satisfaction.

Out of the fourteen children that was my grandmother's brothers and sisters, only one sibling is left living -- my great aunt Myrtis. She is ninety years old and still lives alone in a little house in God's country. We are wondering how long this will last though. She keeps saying she sees and talks to her sisters and father -- all dead for many years. Her father, Papa, died in 1954.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Bright, Sunshiny Day!

Maggie's had the right idea with staying outside all day.  I've kept a close eye on her -- the little Houdini.  The afternoon found me in the kitchen making my signature Chicken and Rice recipe.  It has lots of cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, whole milk, and butter. It is terribly rich and fattening.  My ex-wife used to love it when I fixed it and I can't help but think of Rachel when I do. 

I've waited all day for Mick Williams to update his webpage with last night's radio show.  I can't stay up that late and listen to it in the archives the next day.  I fear Easter has messed up our usual upload schedule.

Soon, it will be time to make the biscuits.  I've got some buttermilk, flour, and shortening all measured out.  This will go into a wooden bowl to then be rolled out on some wax paper.  The cut biscuits will be popped into a 500 degree oven until lightly brown.  I am also going to make some fruit salad which is basically assorted fruits, cherries, and bananas mixed lightly with mayonnaise and served on a bed of lettuce.  Delicious! 

Right!  All this talk of food has me hungry.  Let me get in the kitchen and get this show on the road.   

A Trainy Easter

It is Easter morning and I am hanging out at the railroad tracks.  I am sitting on the bench by the railroad museum.  Not one train has graced my presence since I've been down here.  The train crews must have Easter off.  Disappointed, I walk on up to the shopping center.  It is closed.   It reminds me of how disappointed I always was when I was homeless and holidays arrived. The holidays always left you with nothing to do and reminded you of how lonely you were. 

I walk on around the shopping center and pass by the spot where Clara used to sleep.  It makes me think of her and the fact that I haven't heard from her in months.  You can still see the remnants of her addictions.  Beer and liquor bottles, and old discarded and empty packs of cigarettes.

On up the street from the shopping center, I pass by Rosa's dilapidated home.  She is soon to move into another apartment when it gets ready.   Her new apartment is being quickly remodeled.  I entertain the thought that I will call her today and see how she is doing.  "Nah," I think when I muse over it.  I don't want to sound desperate.  I don't want to exhibit weakness.

A mile later and I am walking by Joyce's and Mr. Ed's house.  The sun is hanging high on the horizon and the once chilly morning has turned into a gorgeous day.  I see Maggie sitting in the fence and sigh with relief.  She hasn't gotten out again.  My little jaunt is over as I walk inside and pull off my pull-over.  Maggie comes tearing into the den to thoroughly sniff me -- the smells on my clothes being a roadmap to where I have been.  It is good to be home.       

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Big Blessings...

Wanda was telling me this morning on the drive back about her deepest regrets. 

"My children," she told me. "I put them through hell with my drinking."

She said her son was in the Army and stationed in Germany.  He will not talk to her.  Her daughter is also in AA and trying to stay sober with several young children of her own.

"I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Wanda told me. "You put some tequila in me and I turned into an abusive bitch of a mother.  I was mean, too, and would fight and abuse my family."

"It is a sickness," I replied. "I reckon it is very similar to insanity.  Believe me.  I know."

My ex-wife couldn't have children and I think that was a blessing in disguise.  I never put children of mine through the hell that can be mental illness and addiction. 

Will I ever have kids?  Hopefully, not until I have many years of sobriety and recovery from schizophrenia.  I am not heeding the alarm of my biological clock.  Maggie shall be my furkid.   Now, if I can just keep her from digging out of the fence.  It is like a teenage daughter sneaking out a window late at night to be with a boyfriend. 

Overeater's Anonymous...

At this morning's AA meeting, I noticed on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall that they had Overeater's Anonymous meetings once a week.  Visions of large, lonely ladies came to mind that I had to push out of the way.  I am thinking of going to such meetings, but I don't look like your stereotypical OA meeting goer.  I am not very overweight.  I am male.  My eating disorder is hidden from the viewing world.  I rarely, if ever, talk about it in real life or on this blog.  I think I will try a meeting this week and see how it goes.  

Dysfunctional Souls...

Went to another morning AA meeting.  Wanda had called me and asked me to go with her.  It was in a town with meetings I had never attended.  The Episcopal Church loomed large in my windshield as we pulled into the parking lot.  I had to ask a few passersby what room the meeting was in.

Inside the church smelled of burning candles and floral arrangements.  I grabbed Wanda's hand as we found the room and sat down.  Soon "Everybody ready for a meeting?" rang out in the fellowship hall. 

Wanda was excited and giddy today.  She kept telling me how good it was to be sober.  I responded by telling her my excitement as well.  To take joy out of life and to not have to have a drink to do it is amazing. 

We left and I drove Wanda back to her dilapidated single-wide trailer home.  Wanda's three big dogs jubilantly wagging their tails at her arrival. I realized how a lot alike me and Wanda are -- two dysfunctional souls whose lives hung on their dogs lives as we try to stay sober.   Two souls taking it one day at a time if only by the grace of God.       

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ahhh, Veronica!

One of my father's pharmacy techs at the drug store is gorgeous. She has short red hair and always wears the most carefully applied and attractive makeup. She is not married and all her children are grown. I often like to walk up front to see her smile and to start up a conversation.

"She's really crazy and anal," my father said of Veronica today. "You don't want to get mixed up with her."

I still can't help but be mesmerized. Too bad I told myself to wait a year after Rosa to start dating again. I don't take it lightly that in AA they say to have a year of sobriety under your belt before you start dating. The last thing I need is for my tender heart to get stomped upon. I am still reeling over Rosa leaving.

Enjoying the Sunshine!

This shot was a miracle!  Maggie is such a busybody that she will come check you out when you walk out the door -- just having to sniff you.  I snuck out the back door and caught her sleeping in the bright sunshine.  It is a beautiful day here in the Deep South. 


Breakfast with AA...

I keep telling myself that I am going to start going to more AA meetings.  In ten days Dad will start giving me money again and it is going to be a helluva temptation.  I need to be working my program and to be prepared.  I will be able to drink as long as I can hide it from my family.

This morning was a breakfast AA meeting.  The wives of many of our attendees brought breakfast casseroles, biscuits, and your staple breakfast foods.  Normally, I would shy from going to such a meeting as meetings out of the ordinary make me uncomfortable.  I went, though, and had a grand time.  I get lonesome and AA is the perfect cure for that condition.  On the whole,  AA members are so gregarious and social -- welcoming in any old wayward soul (as long as they are alcoholic).

We had a speaker for the meeting.  Some guy from near Chicago that cussed and cursed a lot.  Our rabidly conservative home AA group winced at every word.  I could feel it.  He was a bald fellow that had the exuberance of a southern Baptist preacher in the pulpit.  I enjoyed his message immensely.  It is amazing that people get sober with AA.  This guy's story reminded me that I was not alone.  That many people had struggled with the same addiction as I.  I left the meeting with a renewed fervor to stay sober, and that is always a miracle.  A day I decide to abstain and not drink is just another miracle of AA.   

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Unbridled Joy!

What I wrote a moment ago on Cheryl's blog

You just enjoy your show and get a good night's rest. I am having the best day of my life today, Cheryl. I haven't ever felt this good. I just wanted to share that with you because I know you care. Sleep tight!

I feel so good I don't want to go to bed and it is my bedtime (10:00 PM).  I don't want to miss out on this feeling of happiness that has so eluded me all my life.  I always drank trying to feel this way is what I told my father tonight. 

Starting to Look Like Spring...

On the drive home from work, everyone was out cutting their grass for the first time this spring.  It means I must get my mower out as well, soon.  Spring has just seemed to have exploded on the scene this year.

All the trees are already leafing out.  I got so excited when I saw this today!



No Norton for Me!

Today at work my father's co-pharmacist was going around to all the computers and installing an updated Norton Internet security suite.

"Don't install it on mine," I told her.

"Why?" she asked. "Aren't you worried about viruses?"

"I only use the computer to order supplies and parts," I told her.

Angie went and talked to my father about it. Dad sided with me. I didn't want my already slow computer to get slower. I only use the computer for the occasional blog post and to order stuff from our supplier's web page. You have to be visiting some pretty nefarious websites to get viruses and trojans. Like porn websites. As I had feared, we immediately started having problems with one of the computers used to fill prescriptions. Norton wasn't allowing a certain program access to the web. I had to call our tech support to get it fixed. Those anti-virus and anti-spyware programs cause almost as much trouble as they do good these days.

Just Like Defaming Christ...

Lunchtime found me in Lagrange at an AA meeting.  My friend Wanda was there and was so anxious for us to talk afterwards.  The thoroughly routine meeting ended and we left.  

"You've got a sponsor, right?" she asked me as we were walking to our cars.

"No," I replied sheepishly. "I have never managed to keep one."

"Wasn't Philip your temporary sponsor?" Wanda then asked.

"Yeah, but Philip is an AA asshole!" I quipped.

You should've seen the look on Wanda's face.  It looked almost as if I had defamed the name of Christ.

"He was just a little too AA for me," I said backpeddling with kinder words.

Wanda left and I got in my car to drive home.  I kept thinking why I had never gotten a sponsor.  I won't call them for one thing.  My social anxieties get in the way.  It would take a very forceful and forward sponsor to bring me out of my shell.    

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So Lonesome, It Hurts!

One of the elderly ladies I delivered to tonight was so starved for companionship.  She invited me in and started showing me pictures of her grandchildren.  She talked as if she hadn't talked to someone in days.   I feigned interest and stayed a good fifteen minutes.  I wanted to get home, though, to settle in my nightly routine of Bruce Williams' radio show.  How do you kindly leave someone who so needs you -- needs anyone?  Sadly, I know how she feels and should be more sympathetic and less selfish.   I vow on this blog to try and make more time for others like her at work.  That could be me some day and I have often felt to the point of being crazed I was so lonesome.  

We Don't Sell That!

I had a note on my computer at work to call a lady inquiring about our hospital beds.

"Hello?" she asked as she picked up the phone for my call.

"Yes ma'am.  I am returning your call about the hospital bed."

"Does it have a bed pan built in?" she asked. 

"Excuse me?" I asked flummoxed.

"You know!  Something to poop in!" The lady tersely responded.

"No ma'am.  We don't sell them like that."

"Well damn," The lady abruptly said and hung up the phone.

I burst out in a smile.  I wouldn't be surprised if you could find one like that, but we don't sell them.  Normally, phone calls send me in a tizzy, but one of the gals up front had wrote on the note "She's Flaky!"  I was interested in the call cause I am flaky, too!  I thought maybe I had found my soul mate.

Right!  I am off to do deliveries.   I have a grand total of two tonight.  That we can do!

DAD AND MOM GET HOME TONIGHT! WOO HOO!

BLISS!!!


A Rainy Day in the Valley...


video

Sunset A Few Days Ago...


The Rainy Dog Days of Winter...

Maggie amazes me with her ability to sleep around the clock and sleep on a whim.  We slept all night and she goes and crashes in the den on the couch.  When I am up, I am up, and there is no going back to sleep until nightfall. 


120 Days In...

It is hard to believe it has been a quarter of a year sober.  It seems like yesterday I was waking up overcoming a hangover.  My relationship with my family was in chaos.   And I could never imagine going more than a few days without a drink.  I hid my drinking for the longest time.   On this blog and in my real life.   It got to where I could no longer hide it, though. 

It is pouring rain here this morning and I find that oddly comforting.  I slept well last night with the TV on and my bedside lamp glaring all night.  Maggie stayed right with me.  The first thing I did when I got up was step on my scales.   I weighed 218 pounds.  That's a long way from the 257 I once weighed.  I contribute the weight loss to not drinking 20 calorie loaded beers a day and drinking diet Coke. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Royal Aromas...

I sat at a lady's kitchen table a moment ago as she wrote me a check made out to my father's store.  She was cooking supper and it smelled absolutely incredible.  I never did know what it was, but it smelled like an Italian dish.  I had to come home and eat a sandwich I was so hungry from that. 

Today was a good day at work.  Quiet and I like them like that.  The criticism I received at work yesterday was not about my job performance, but about how I handled a situation with Joyce.  Joyce's mental illness and it's reputation precedes her even at my father's store. 

Well, let me settle in and enjoy a quiet evening.  I have issue #2 of a new Model Railroader to read.  Let's see if I can cajole Maggie into sitting on the couch with me for an hour.  She's been awful antsy and bark-ish today.   I get lonesome and having Maggie with me feels like having your best friend along for the ride.  I sure have been missing Rosa today. 

More Joy...

I just wrote on The Homeless Guy's comments that I loved him and I hoped he was having a good day.  This is contagious.   He won't publish it though for fears of sending some of his readers my way.  That is just the way it is with him.  He'll have to read it to delete it, though. :-)

Spreading the Joy...

I just walked over to Joyce's house and knocked on the door.   She opened it and I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek.

"What was that for?" Joyce asked, smiling broadly.

"I feel good and I want to share it!" I replied as I hugged her once more. 

"Thank you," Joyce said, still smiling. "You made me feel better."

"That's the whole idea.  I haven't felt this good in days. I want you to feel good, too!"

I left with a spring in my step as Joyce stood at her door and watched me walk away.  I looked over my shoulder and winked at her.  It is just good to be alive.  I feel ecstatic!

The Amazing Multi-Personality Man

I feel so much better today.  I wish I could bottle this feeling and unleash it on the days I am struggling.  Yesterday was hell.  I wanted to get drunk or blitzed all day.  It was probably the closest I have come to drinking in all these one hundred days of sobriety.  I realize it is chemical and in my brain.

Bonus Round:  Two Model Railroaders were in the mail today.  It was like Christmas all over again.  I am fixing to curl up in my Lazy Boy with Nickelodeon on the TV and a Diet Coke in my hand and read for a few hours.  I need comfort -- soothing, calming comfort.   I am just so damned glad to be feeling better today!!!!!!!!!!

Remarkable...

I arrived home from work last night and collapsed in my Lazy Boy.  I was so tired and it had been my longest day at work yet.  12 deliveries was a record amount for me.  Soon, there was a knock on my door.  It was Charlie.

"Meals on wheels!" he exclaimed as I opened the door.

Charlie's wife had cooked a pot roast, potatoes, carrots, green beans, and cornbread.  I was so hungry for a home cooked meal and was overjoyed.

"Tell your wife she is a saint!" I exclaimed back.

Charlie gave me my medications and I immediately started to feel better.  I had struggled all day yesterday.  My anxieties and worries melted away.  I soon crawled into the bed watching TV for a few hours.  I actually managed to watch Court TV last night instead of cartoons.  I am getting better slowly, but surely. 

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Thinnest of Skins...

I got criticized tonight at work and it hit me so hard.  That happens often when you're an under-achiever in an over-achieving family.  I need to be a man and suck it up.  Why do I want to cry, though?  I am so wire thin sensitive even after all the recovery I've experienced. 

I've got 12 deliveries to do tonight.  The store is closing in ten minutes.  I better get on the road. 

You know what my first thought was, though?  I wanted a drink.  I wanted to buy a twelve pack of beer and drown my sorrows.  I've got to grow some thicker skin.  

Time for Work...

I always feel uneasy at work without Dad here.  As if the employees don't know what to do with me.   Dad and Mom are still in California. 

I came in to work saying hello to everyone and escaped to my office.  I have several notes of things needing doing waiting by my computer.  Right!  Let me get busy.  I have a lot of deliveries to do today.   I need this busy activity to take my mind off my addictions.  It has been one of those days.  

Inner Demons...

Joyce came over at lunch.  I fixed us some ham sandwiches and listened quietly as she talked.  She has just struggled so lately.  She emphatically replied that she had taken her medications, though.

"My mind seems to spin out of control," she told me. "I lose my grasp on reality."

I kind of felt like her psychiatrist as she talked.  Just nodding and saying, "yes" at opportune moments. 

I had woken up this morning struggling with my own inner demons.  I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to ask Joyce for five bucks.  I wanted to go get some Benadryl and sleep my day away not wanting to face it.  Joyce's own problems made me feel like a shill for thinking this.  Addictions can have such a sway over a rational mind.  

Joyce finally left and I felt so guiltily thankful for my own sane mind these days.  Unlike Joyce, my medications seem to be working.  I get bored and lonesome, but at least I am not struggling with mental illness these days.

They say the powers that be work in mysterious ways.  I found a 3mg Risperdal under the cushion of my Lazy Boy on a whimsical search.  I took it and hopefully will feel calmer in a few minutes.   I took it in the hopes that I will feel anything, but what is normal for me.  It is that old addictive personality rearing it's ugly head.    

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kicking a Dead Horse...

To borrow an old cowboy's euphemism.  Joyce asked me today if I hated anyone.  I thought long and hard, and finally told her I hated The Homeless Guy.  I hated the way he is using good and charitable people.  It bugged me for the rest of the day that I hated someone.  The Homeless Guy had taken the place of G.W. Bush in the annals of my most hated person.   Joyce also told me she hated my mother so we were a tough crowd to please today.  Joyce was very mentally ill, though.  I had no excuse. 

That bugged the shit out of me that I could harbor enough rancor to hate someone, though.   I decided that was the new thing to work on for me.  To forgive and to forget.   I deleted all the links and all the numerous blog posts and articles that had negatively been written about the guy.  I vowed that I had a choice in not bearing such malice for another human being.  They always say the best and hardest changes start at home.  I may even send the guy a few bucks when I start getting money again on April 1st, April Fool's Day.  I know he will laugh and see it as a joke.  

The Canine Versus My Sock



Signs of Spring...

My sweetheart rose leafing out....

An unknown shrub flowering...


The return of the dandelions...



The Cavalry has Arrived...

I took a shower, dressed, and stepped out my front door.  Joyce's pastor was in the driveway and standing by his car.

"Hello!" he said. "We are taking Joyce to lunch!"

Whew!  I shouldn't be relieved, but I was.  When Joyce refuses to take her medications, she gets completely irrational.  There is no talking sense into her.  It is a maddeningly frustrating situation.  I am hoping her pastor will have better luck.  The promise of returning to work at her church job should spur her to take her pills which means the return of sanity.

I wrote a twitter about watching television again.  My concentration is improving although it is only children's cartoons.  I've watched my fair share of SpongeBob Squarepants lately and Fairly Odd Parents on Nickelodeon.  I haven't been able to concentrate on TV in what has seemed like years.   I have actually felt giddy about this since yesterday and talk to myself.  "You're getting better!" I will say with a maniacal laugh.  I especially love that Canadian kid's show Mr. Meaty.   Simple pleasures for simple minds I might add. 

Computer woes continue to plague me.  My OTES fan that cools the capacitors on my motherboard is failing.  My computer is certainly showing it's age.  I need to figure out a way to jury rig a new fan.  This motherboard is so old that I could never find spare parts.   Wish me luck.    

Notes From a Neighbor...

It's no secret.  I haven't had my phone plugged in for weeks now.  Apparently, Joyce was trying to call me all night.  I just walked out to my car to make sure it was locked and found three notes stuck in my door.

Maggie's chewing up your underwear.  You're not going to have anything to wear.   I didn't take my medications.  Feel strange.  Will you come over?  I need you.  I've tried to call you all night. 

That's what one note said.  I am feeling completely impersonal today. I don't want to deal with my own mental illness let alone another's.  I better get in the shower and walk over.  A friend is there through thick and thin.  I just feel so agoraphobic today. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Third Shift...

I almost titled this "The Night Watch!" Ever vigilant is she!



Mechanical Behemoths...

I watched five trains this morning.  I figure that is a new record for trains coming through town on a Saturday morning.  Each would pass and I would write down the engine numbers and took photos.  My camera's batteries died on the third train. 

I left the tracks and walked past Merl's diner up to the shopping center.  None of the gang was out today.  We had a threat of storms that I was carelessly ignoring.  A threat that the gang must be heeding.  I walked into the grocery store and bought a pack of cheese and chives crackers and a chocolate milk. I spent the rest of the morning people watching. 

When I had arrived home, Joyce had called Charlie complaining about Maggie having my "underwear" outside.  Charlie was in my backyard picking up what were actually socks. 

"I can't help but laugh," Charlie told me smiling.  "Joyce said Maggie was taking all your underwear outside and chewing it up."

Maggie does have a bad habit of carrying my socks through the dog door and outside.  Nothing to merit a phone call to Charlie though.  It kind of got off with me and embarrassed me.  Busybody neighbors. 

"You ready for your meds?" Charlie asked me as we walked inside. 

"Yeah," I said, more interested in my Benadryl.

I took my medications and Charlie left.  They usually make me very drowsy and I normally take them closer to bed.  I think a nap is in my future.  That is all I have to write about.   

Friday, March 14, 2008

Special Delivery

One of my deliveries tonight was to Joyce... and she wasn't home! LOL  I put the prescription bag on my piano to take to her later. 

I am always intrigued by people's houses when I do deliveries.  People seem to be divided into two camps: neat as a pen and horribly messy.  One lady's house I delivered to tonight was filled with junk.  You almost couldn't get to the door so much junk was scattered about with countless cats sitting on everything.  The house reeked of a long unattended litter box, and I couldn't wait for her to pay me and get on my way.  I've owned cats before, but decided I never wanted to scoop or clean another litter box so abstained from getting another.

My final delivery was a younger African American lady who just didn't have a way to get to the drug store.  She turned out to be one of the nicest and most talkative persons I have delivered to since I started work.  "Thank you, baby," she told me even though I couldn't have been much younger than her. 

On the way home, I filled up the drug store's delivery van with gas.  It cost over fifty bucks.  Luckily, All I had to do was charge it to my father's account.  I am always uneasy when I do that fearing they will not know who I am and will want me to pay cash.  Can't squeeze blood out of this turnip as the old saying goes.  

Tough Love...

I was asked this morning if it was my father's "tough love" that ceased my drinking.  I smiled at the loaded question.  I long ago realized I was an alcoholic which is a big step to becoming sober.  When you first come into AA, you have to admit you're powerless over alcohol and that your life had become unmanageable.  It is one of the twelve steps.  I am also a timid creature at best and didn't have much gumption when it came to getting a drink and getting up money to drink.  My father cutting off my money allowed me to sober up enough to where I realized my life could be better and it was.  It probably wouldn't work for some of the more hardcore alcoholics I have known.  Strangely,  I was not a frequent visitor to pawn shops which would usually be the case.  I only pawned my expensive camera once and soon got it out of pawn. I escaped the getting sober process with most of my worldly possessions still in my house.  

Spring is in the Air...

Went for a long walk this morning.  I want to get back to walking several miles everyday.  The shopping center was deserted of the gang, but had no drought of shoppers.   I wondered what Ferret, Big S, and Dexter had been doing.  It has been so long since I've seen them. 

Down from the shopping center, I passed Merl's diner and ran across the highway to the railroad museum.  On the tracks was sitting a train waiting for the signal to turn green.  I was trespassing, but the engineer didn't seem to mind.  The Bulls (railroad police) rarely travel this far south from Atlanta.

"Are y'all going to do some switching in Lagrange?" I asked the Brakeman as he stepped out of the big GE diesel.

"No," he said. "We are heading straight to Atlanta."

On the walk home, I noticed beauty everywhere.  The buds on the trees are just about to burst open, and the daffodils had sprung up out of the ground and were blooming.  It the next week or so spring will be here in earnest.  I am ready for the change in seasons, and it will reinvigorate my camping urges.  I once camped out so often and fell out of the habit.  I need to rekindle that love affair of sleeping outdoors in a tent.    

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Working Man

Work has consumed me these past few days.  It so good to feel apart of something again.  I spent hours in the pharmacy's basement organizing all my home healthcare supplies lately.  Another nice thing about work is if I am not feeling well, I can shut the door to my office, and relax for awhile until I calm down. 

Yesterday, I went to see my psychiatrist.   I told him about how badly I feel every two weeks when my medication levels drop.  He prescribed me 36 3mg Risperdal to overcome this. I am to take them as needed. 

Rosa called early today just as I was leaving the house.  We talked for awhile.  I still have several bags of her stuff she needs to come pick up, but I don't want to face her just yet. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Small Town AA

Ran into another AA-goer this evening.  I was busy at Burger King buying me and Maggie a few cheeseburgers.  

"Why haven't we seen you?" they exclaimed loudly. 

"Shhh--," I shushed quietly as I looked around nervously.  They smiled.

"You still sober?"

"A hundred and something days strong," I told them not remembering the exact days.

"We would really like to see you coming again!"

I told them of seeing Philip and my recent vow to start going again in the Valley.  I just enjoy the familiarity of my meetings in Lagrange.  They are big groups and it is not so inconspicuous when I don't have a dollar to give as is often the case these days.  Nothing embarrasses me more than when that basket is passed around for donations and I have nothing to give.

On the drive home, I was thinking of what I get most out of AA these days, and it was the companionship.  I get lonesome and it is nice having a like minded group of people to sojourn with.  Getting sober can be a terribly lonesome ordeal without the help of a support group.   Most drunks have pretty much destroyed any friendships or familial relationships by the time they've gotten in to AA.  Drinking buddies don't stick around long when you have nothing to drink. 

The AA meeting hall is close to my home so I swung by there to see the meeting times.  They've canceled another nightly meeting leaving only three meetings a week -- one of which is a Big Book study and the other a speaker's meeting.  That leaves one traditional AA meeting left in the Valley.  Dour times indeed for AA in the Valley.  I will be up there Thursday night if I can stomach the attendees. 

It's a Big World Out There...


First Sign of Spring...


It's a Dog's Life...




Whereas A Smoker Talks...

I had to deliver an oxygen unit and a hospital bed this morning.  I stepped inside the elderly couple's home and it reeked of cigarette smoke.  Gross, I thought almost instinctively.  Adorning the dingy walls was pictures of a military man, most likely Army, and he looked so young and dapper -- so virile and fit.  The man that faced me in the bedroom looked like the shell of that once proud man.  He looked defeated and forlorn.  But he was still smoking. 

"Emphysema," The man told me as I was putting together the bed.

My beforehand desire for a cigarillo faded away.  I put together the bed and showed the elderly fellow how to use the oxygen unit. 

"Don't smoke while using the unit," I told the man. "It will blow up!"

As I was leaving his wife gave me a ten dollar tip.  "Thank you, ma'am," I told her.  I was overjoyed to get the money. 

It has been years since I've even entertained stopping smoking, but wanted to today.  It was hours later when I finally lit up a cigarillo knowing my fate would be similar to that elderly gentleman who could barely breathe without help.  Will I quit?  A few more deliveries like today and I just may.  

Monday, March 10, 2008

Charlie's Gift...

This is the wall hanging Charlie brought me the other night.  I hung it in my bathroom. 


The Professor...


Good Feel Monday

My mother just left after visiting for an hour.  I told her all about Rosa and I.  "You don't seem too upset," my mother told me.  I am just good at hiding the pain.  Actually, I feel pretty damned good today which is surprising.  It is as if a big weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Maggie's been outside all day.  We are having some gorgeous weather.  It truly feels like spring and all the mock pear trees are blooming.  Soon, pictures will start gracing my blog as things start to green up and bloom.

I started to put together that GP30 locomotive and realized I was out of liquid plastic cement.  I couldn't find a suitable replacement in town.  I will have to get Dad to order me some on the Internet.  We don't have a hobby shop in the nearby vicinity.  

I almost forgot to tell you all about Helen's fish fry last Friday.  It was delicious!  She fried the most tender and meaty fish fillets.  She also fried hushpuppies, french fries, and made some slaw. I was stuffed after eating the plate Helen sent to me.  Helen even fixed a small plate for Maggie.  Happy dog!   

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Awaitin' Assembly




But You're Miserable...

Ran into an old AA friend this morning as I was leaving the convenience store.  It was Phillip.  The local patriarch of our AA meetings.  He kept putting words in my mouth, though. 

"Your sober, but you're miserable," he kept saying of me only sparingly attending AA.

I've been going to AA, but just haven't written much about it.  You've been to one AA meeting -- you've been to them all.  I certainly wasn't miserable, though.  I have also been more mindful that I shouldn't betray the anonymity of the people in the meetings.  I can be a blather mouth and will write about it on my blog in an almost boasting fashion hoping people will think I am a cool guy and a guy everyone wants to befriend. 

"We could sure use you in the local meetings," Phillip finally told me. "AA is about dead in the Valley.  We just don't have enough drunks to support a lot of meetings."

I certainly don't want AA to die.  It is a long drive everyday to LaGrange to attend my favored meetings.  I agreed to start going in the Valley again.   I will just have to keep moaning "principles over personalities" as some of the regulars that go to AA in the Valley are unsavory characters.  Abrasive almost. 

The Short Goodbye

Joni Mitchell's Shine was playing in my computer room as me and Rosa sat in my den and discussed "things".  I've known this has been coming for awhile so was not surprised.

"Let's spend some time apart," Rosa told me sounding so cliched as we drank our coffee.

I watched longingly as she got in her car and left -- an empty coffee mug the only thing betraying her presence.  It was as if a vast gaping hole opened up in my heart.  I knew this was coming, though.  I am just too limited because of my station in life.  Mental illness.  No money to hardly do anything.  I don't blame her for spreading her wings and soaring to greener pastures. She has a car now.  A part time job.  She will soon have a new apartment.  I guess there was just no place to put the relic of a boyfriend that was me. 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bliss!


Riverdale Station

The closer we got to Atlanta today, the more Rosa sighed and grew anxious. 

"The last time I was up here was when I was staying with my daughter and her boyfriend," Rosa told me as I turned just south of Atlanta and headed for Riverdale Station. 

"Yeah, I remember that," I told her. "I was so glad to get you home."

We had a good time in the little Southern inspired model railroad shop.  I bought some undecorated engine kits that I wanted to decorate for the Chattahoochee Valley Railway. 

On the way home, we ate at Taco Hell.  Rosa had to literally pull me out of that train shop.  I started to have dreams of winning the lottery and buying the store. 

"I am sure glad you are so interested in trains instead of beer," Rosa told me on the way home. 

I smiled and agreed.  It sure was a big change for me although they are little toys for big boys.  I was just glad to spend time with Rosa today.  I've been worried we are drifting apart.  She has just seemed distant lately and not coming over near as much.   I couldn't convince her into staying tonight as well.  She is home most likely watching one of the six TV stations her antenna will pick up. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

Obsessive "R" Us...

I've been called obsessive/compulsive. I get it from my Mom.  Today we were buying groceries for me.  Mom put 10 12-packs of diet Cokes in my cart.  "Why ten?" I asked thinking that was obsessive.  "I don't want you to run out," my mother replied and she paid for them.

I was on a cereal kick today and bought two gallons of whole milk, and various boxes of cereals.  I especially like Raisin Bran Crunch. 

My brother's second daughter was born this morning.  Dad called me all excited and they are flying out to San Diego in a few days.  Dad offered to pay for me to go, but I decided to stay home.  I told them to email me pictures as soon as they can.

My father's maid and cook is preparing a special fried fish dinner tonight.  The way my parents are hyping this is that it is a big deal and the fish is delicious.  Helen had to go to some fish monger to have the fish especially prepared.  Mom is supposed to call me when supper is ready.  Helen has been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon.     

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Good Day, But Tired...

It takes about a day for my medication levels to get normalized again.   I felt better and better as the day wore on.  Me and mom went to the bookstore where she bought a hundred dollars in books and I got a Trains magazine and Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.

Me and mom went to eat at Red Lobster afterwards.  We both ate Walt's favorite fried shrimp.  Mom even ordered a piece of strawberry cheesecake which surprised me.  We had plenty of leftovers and Maggie got those.  I have never seen a dog so happy to get garlic/cheese biscuits and fried shrimp.  She even went and buried some outside for later.  I have never seen Maggie do that. 

Dog Stares in the AM...

I woke up this morning and found Maggie watching me.  She was sitting near my head on the bed and staring.   It usually means she needs food and she did.

Dad came by this morning.

"Don't forget your injection this morning!" He said with a chipper air.

I KNEW IT!  I knew there had to be a reason for me feeling so badly the past two days.  My Risperidone had run out.  That injection is like the miracle shot.  It is amazing the difference between me on it and off.

Me and Mom are going down to the bookstore in a local town.  It is a lengthy drive, but time with Mom is always fun.  I hope to get a Railroad Model Craftsman magazine, and hopefully will get a subscription as well.   

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Imposition...

I realized crying is such an imposition on someone else.  That's why we try to wipe away tears and hide it.  Especially in public.  At least I was only writing about it and it was past tense.   I hope that is less of an imposition and apologize for today.  Let's pray tomorrow is better. :-)

Emotional Day

I've been emotional all day.  It started with Joyce's and my hug and followed me into work.

"Will you carry that old computer down to the basement?"  My father's co-pharmacist asked me not long after arriving. 

"Sure," I said as I got busy and carried it down.

I started to cry walking down the steps and surprised myself.  It had been a rough day regarding my mental illness, and I guess I just needed to let something out. 

I wiped my tears away upon returning upstairs.  I grabbed my deliveries and headed out.  I cried again in the car being careful to wipe my tears with each delivery.   Lord knows we don't want to let anyone know we cried and I hesitated to write about it on here.  

Joyce was going to church when I arrived home.  She stopped her car just as I was pulling up.  "I love you and you come to me if you need someone to talk to," she told me.  "I love you like one of my children."  That caused me to burst out into tears again.  I was half crying and laughing as I wiped the tears from my eyes and told her to be careful driving to church.  This morning she was in no shape to drive.  The crazy have cars, I amused myself with thought, laughing as I walked home to greet Maggie and call Rosa.   I don't want to be alone tonight and the dog just isn't going to cut it.   

Group Hug...

Joyce just gave me the biggest hug. Y'all, it was so heartwarming. She got to crying and then I got to crying. You just don't know how lonely having a mental illness can be when you aren't feeling well. Joyce and I are two peas in a pod. It is amazing she just had to live next to the house I moved into.

Walking Man, Where Are You?

At one point in my mental illness career, I was a walking man.  I constantly walked.  The only way I could watch a movie or watch TV was to pace the floor in front of it.  I miss that.  I wanted to just walk my neighborhood today, but am afraid I will get to feeling unwell.  I would hate to have one of my "episodes" away from home.  I think I am off to pace the floor of my home.  Back and forth.  In my computer room and then into the den.  I know it looks crazy, but I am the only one home.  I feel I need this activity.   I feel so slovenly.  I need to feel like I am doing something good -- purposeful. 

Apprehensive

I feel apprehensive today.  Worried.  I am happy though.  I worry my mental illness will never allow me the amount of functioning I read on other's blogs.  I read Annabel and I am continually amazed at the amount of activity she is able to do.  I feel apprehensive in that I know I could never do that.  Be that active.  I hope to be that way someday.  My father is.  And so is Charlie.   They are twice my age and are constant whirs of motion and activity.  Sometimes, it is just hard for me to wake up, piddle around the house all afternoon, and then go into work.  I really feel like I've accomplished something then.  I want to be like them -- so active, so working, so vibrant.  I fear it is going to take some type of rehabilitation to get me back to that level. 

Of Service...

There is no greater joy than being of service or helping others to me.  I lament the fact that I wasn't born in in a large city so I could get involved with volunteering in soup kitchens and homeless shelters.  I could see getting lost in helping others.

Joyce was in bad shape this morning.  She was habitually counting her medications when I arrived. 

"Look at all these pills!" she exclaimed as I looked on.

"You need to take those!" I replied flabbergasted.

"Let's call Johnny (my Dad)," Joyce exclaimed once again.

I managed to get her to take her morning medications and waited until I thought they had taken effect.  Maggie dutifully explored Joyce's house while continually nuzzling her hand as she sat.

"Oh, they make me so sleepy," Joyce said, her head in her hand. 

I took that as my cue to leave and wrangled Maggie back on her leash.  Joyce sprawled out on the couch to take a nap.  I felt like we had diverted another mental illness storm this morning.   Joyce has this tendency to be suspicious of her medications, needing reassurance that they will not harm her.   I sighed with relief when I walked in my door letting Maggie loose to run.  I might just need a nap myself. 

A Day of Thanks...

I awoke again at lunchtime.  I was actually whistling joyfully as I pulled on my socks and pulled up my shorts.  Today was "thanks for not being homeless" day.  My usually negative demeanor must be combated with positive affirmations for the day.  And I am wonderfully blessed.  I am not sleeping in a tent like a was a few years ago in the woods -- homeless. 

Joyce left another note on my door this morning.  I hesitantly opened it to read.  "Help me!  I am not feeling well!  I need you today!" Joyce wrote on the crumpled piece of paper thrust into the corner of my closed door.  "Bring Maggie!" she also wrote after signing her name.  I smiled after reading that about Maggie.  What is it about pets that can soothe and comfort the troubled soul?  Now I have to wrangle Maggie into her leash and take her to Joyce's house.  It time to spread a little neighborly cheer.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Post Positive!

I really admire people that can work today -- that their body works so flawlessly as to be sold to someone else for a given time everyday. Most people take this for granted. Everyday I step out my front door and get in my car for work, and I pray a little prayer that mentally I will function at a level where someone wants to buy my time -- my body, and pay me for it. I so want to work and I think my good blogging friend Sharyna summed it up when she wrote on her blog that a man needs to work. It has been ingrained into me from an early age by family and societal conditioning that I must toil a certain amount to feed myself and to support myself. My esteemed scholarly friend Thoreau would argue....

"In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do."

Ah, but to sweat doing a labor of love, and to get paid for it. That is true passion -- a passion I would like to share with every soul burdened by the toil that is their job.

Day is Done...

The day is winding down.  Maggie is preening on the couch.   Rosa and I have had our last phone call for the day.  "I'm staying home again," she told me.  "I will miss you," I replied.  "Miss you, too!" she said and hung up.  It didn't rattle my cage, much, though.  

I am eagerly awaiting some blogs to update before retiring.  Dad will be here soon.   I will get six Benadryl and my medications.  Ask him for money, I just told myself out loud as I was writing this.  I've gotten in a habit of just conforming to a non-monetary status.  It has been so long that I can't remember the last time I got my usual $85 dollars a week.  There's a hell's chance of me getting any even though my mother swears he said he is going to start giving it to me again. 

Right.  I am off to curl up on the couch with a Model Railroader and a glass of water.  I've got to get my game face on.  Can I have one dolla, please? LOL

The Light Bulb that is my Brain!

I was just walking out my office door when a wave of relief washed over me.  I felt 100 percent better.  The best way to describe it as if someone flipped a light switch.  THANK GOD!  I am off to do deliveries and head home. 

To Cross The Line

Where do you cross the line?  I read a lot of blogs and have certain email friends that will disparage a certain blog I read for "always being so negative" and for "always bitching and moaning."  I also read certain blogs where the author's shit don't stink to use a crass phrase.   And we all know we have problems and crap happens in our daily lives.   Do you not write about the bad stuff and thus get an overly positive tone to your blog?  Or do you share the good with the bad and this take your readers on the full experience that is your life?  I don't know.  I am struggling with this today.  Things have been so damned good lately that I hated having to write about a bad day.  I kept thinking my readership would think "oh, not this shit again!"   It is a conundrum and feels odd. 

Hesitate To Post

I've had some really good days lately.  The good days can be coy and cunning in that they can trick you into thinking you are cured.  Today is a bad day.  I am struggling deeply.   My mind feels overly busy and discombobulated.  I walked into work and immediately shut the door to my office.  I didn't want anyone to know something is wrong.  I have a handful of deliveries to make and then I am headed home again. 

My addictive personality wants me to ask my father for some Benadryl, but I have already proved to myself that taking them was addictive to me.  I can't just take six and will take twelve so as to go to sleep until I awake feeling better.  Entirely too much to take. 

This will pass with some rest.  It always does -- at least I pray and hope so.  Nine times out of ten I will wake up at lunch tomorrow feeling renewed and refreshed.  Let's get it to where I can just lie down.  Five deliveries await. 

Go Slow Tuesday

I just walked over to Joyce's house.  I knocked on the door as I could hear her television playing loudly.  She opened it and the biggest grin formed on her face.

"I need you today," I told her. "I am having a rough go of it."

"What's wrong?" Joyce asked, looking pained.

"I can't motivate myself to do anything.  I feel stuck in the mud."

I walked inside and took a seat in her den as she turned down her TV. 

"Talk to me," she said.

"I feel slow, tired, as if any exertion will push me over the edge."

"What do you want to do?" Joyce asked.

"I want to curl up in my Lazy Boy and read magazines and smoke cigarettes.  I need to be cleaning house, though."

"Screw that!" Joyce said which surprised me coming from such a pious woman.  "Go kick your feet up and take the day off."

"Honey, we are not normal people and don't do normal well," Joyce told me as I was walking to her door to leave. "You go home and do what you need to do to get through this rough spell."

"Come over in a little bit and eat a piece of lemon meringue pie with me," I told her as I left.

She smiled and said she would be over after a shower.  I am going to take Joyce's advice and just veg, browsing blogs and reading magazines.  It is going to be a "go slow" day before work.  I will mosey on in for work this afternoon and come home to a long nap.  I feel so tired today.  Exhausted.     

Hair of the Dog

I woke up this morning at 12 PM, lunchtime.  I have resigned myself to the fact that my body needs this.  I am getting over 12 hours of sleep a night.  I was laying in the bed trying to get woken up when Maggie came in and rescued my socks from adorning my odorous feet.  She carried them into the den and has been very protective of them.  That always makes me smile.

Today NEEDS to be a cleaning day.   I can't see well and didn't notice how dirty my rug in the den was until I got on the floor to put on Maggie's flea medicine yesterday.  There is dog hair everywhere!   I was embarrassed when Charlie came over last night with my medications.  He brought me the coolest wall hanging, though.  A photograph of what I am not sure, but it looks cool. 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Stage Fright and the Flight Home

I was driving home this afternoon with my one delivery for the evening.  I felt tired.  I felt like I had been on stage for hours and I had.  Work is like a finely orchestrated play where all the participants must act out their part for the Grande finale which is closing time.  Luckily, I got to leave early with a light load to bear.  Today was an easy day. 

"You're John's son!" The elderly lady exclaimed as I handed over her blood pressure medication during my one delivery.  "I haven't seen you in years!"

A hug later, I was traipsing down her driveway headed for home.  "Thank God!" I muttered as I shut my car door and drove briskly off.   She lived in my neighborhood.  I wanted to get home and veg out in front of my computer with cigarillos and diet Cokes.  I wanted to see what the always interesting life of Maggie had been like in my absence.    

On top of the carefully orchestrated play that goes on at work, I also have a carefully orchestrated mental balancing act.  I felt mentally wonky today -- what I call a busy mind.  My brain seems to get ahead of my body and feels what only can be described as...  nervous.   I have to hide this and I have to take a lot of breaks for my body to catch up with my brain.  I am glad to be home.  I made it another day without a failure.  That is always a miracle in my book.   I want to climb the highest mountain and decree that there is recovery and there is hope from alcoholism and schizophrenia.  I am living proof.   I shy in saying that though for knocking on wood.  My ailments always lurk underneath that placid lake that is my calm and collected exterior.  

I will digress and say it does get easier.  Just today I heard rumors that my father is going to start giving me money again.  "Your Dad says he wants you to ask for the money.  You never ask anymore," Mom told me as she just ran by a Mrs. Edward's Lemon Meringue pie buying books at Krogers.   I am afraid to ask for being told no once more.   Could it be?  Could this long winter of doing without finally be coming to a close?  I can only hope.    

Too Trusting?

We had a very shabby, drug using looking lady come in the drug store this afternoon.  You could feel the tension in the air between the employees.  My father watched her warily as he filled her prescriptions.  

I went walking by and she asked, "Can you give me a ride just down from this store?"  "Sure!" I said, always too trusting of others.  My "nefarious" radar quit working years ago about the time I became an alcoholic.  I think all people have good intentions. 

Well... it turned out okay today, but I got a good ribbing from my father.  "You can't just give people rides like that," he told me.  It turned out she had cancer and that is why she looked so rough.  She looked like the poster child for a methamphetamine user, though.   My first inclination was to help her and not disdain her.  I, too, have looked pretty shabby during my homeless and alcoholic days.  All's well that ends well as the old saying goes. 

Sleeping Beauty

I am getting in the habit of sleeping for longer than normal periods.  I slept until 1:00 PM today.  I was asleep at midnight.  Very uncharacteristic of me.  I hope this is not a new trend. 

The whole afternoon will be spent with me gearing up for work.  Dad expects more out of me than his normal workforce.  I have to be johnny-on-the-spot. Nice clothes.  Neatly combed hair.  Teeth brushed.   Everything manicured to a T.   For the deliveries, I am the "spokesman" for the store and the only thing certain patrons see.  I want to portray a good visual for these people's only tangible link to my father's business.   Let me get in the shower and get busy.  

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Candle Flame and the Burned Finger...

It only takes once as a child to forever associate a burning open flame with pain by poking an exposed finger too near.  Then why can't I learn this simple lesson as an adult?  I keep looking in on the blog written by an arrogant ne'er do well that just happens to be homeless.  He consistently pisses me off with the misinformation he is spouting to his 300 something readers.   I should quit reading, right?  I should just be glad he is no longer writing to thousands.  I keep sticking my finger into the flame and getting burned again and again, though.  It brings out an ugly, mean side of me that I don't like to experience -- a virulent spiteful little petulant being intent on proving this voluntarily homeless person wrong.  Five long years I have been doing this with the same net result: I get burned and feel badly about it.  It ruins my evening and gives him all the power.  Who is the idiot here?  ME!  

Homelessness and Addiction

I was thinking about this after listening to Fresh Air on Tuesday on WCPN featuring a meth addict and his dad. David Sheff and his son Nic each wrote books about their experiences. I understand "tough love" and all that, but it does not seem to work. Addictive personalities must hit bottom and lose everything in order to get help.

http://clevelandhomeless.blogspot.com

Kevin, The Homeless Guy, Barbieux is advocating for alcohol to be illegal to known alcoholics.  Again, this serves to show his ignorance of addictions as it relates to homelessness and people in general.  He continually talks out his ass, but will allow no recourse on his blog.  I posted the above to his blog comments a moment ago after a very limited cursory search of homeless blogs.  He will not publish the comment, though.  Shame on him and shame on the continued gilding of the public when it comes to issues surrounding the homeless.  This is why he is sleeping in the shelters instead of running them with his "vast knowledge of homelessness."

My Last Life I was a Go-Getter!

I hate, hate, hate being lazy, but that sums me up today.  I slept until two.  I didn't change out of my pajamas until well after that.  A late meal of ham and cheese sandwiches was eaten.   I have continually watched outside to see what Joyce is doing, though.  She is loading things into the trunk of her car.  Knick-knacks and little forget-me-nots.  Right.  I better walk over and see if she is okay.  I don't want any mania induced road trips to occur on my watch today. 

Poor Joyce...

Joyce left the most pitiful note on my door last night basically lamenting the fact that her doctor is holding her out of work for two more months.  "What am I going to do?" she wrote in the letter. "I have always worked and it keeps my bi-polar in check.  It keeps me from being so hyper. Dear God, help me!!!!"

I've seen her driving some today and just saw her meddling around in her trunk.  I need to go talk to her, but I am having a hard time getting it together today.  I slept until two this afternoon.  Rosa left early this morning.  I need to go let her know she is not alone and that I understand.  I am afraid she thinks I am avoiding her because of the intimacy of the letter left on my door.  The letter was risky and very personal, characteristic of something somebody would write if they are mentally ill.  Personal boundaries tend to get muddled or forgotten when in the throes of a mental illness.  

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dreams, she said...

Rosa propped up on the edge of my couch as I was sitting in my lazy boy a moment ago.

"What would be your perfect life?" she asked out of the blue as a smile grew on my face.

"Me and you would run off, get married, and buy a big house with a big basement for my model railroad."

"I would like HDTV and a big screen TV," Rosa said, looking wistful as she habitually switched  TV channels. 

"We are so pedestrian," I told her as I chuckled. "We should be asking for world peace, fair play in politics,  and the cure for mental illness."

"We could have all that and more in my dreams," she replied.

I put my head back into the 2001 issue of Model Railroader I was reading. Big dreams went through my mind as I thought of all the wrongs that could be righted.  All the pain and suffering that could be abated.   Just by following the simple and altruistic dreams of a mentally ill dude in Alabama and his girlfriend.  Powerful dreams that if given the resources and the willpower could be brought to fruition.   I realized I am living some of the dream right now at this moment.  Feeling well.  Financially secure.  A warm and sheltering roof over my head to call home. It feels nice to be living a dream that so eluded me for most of my adult life.

"What would be Maggie's dreams?" Rosa asked of Maggie laying on the floor with her back legs stretched out behind her.  Maggie looked so comfortable. She seemed to be grinning herself. 

My smile doubled. "Cats to chase.  Pupperoni treats on the hour. And a furry companion about her size to harangue for attention."

"Ah, puppy love," Rosa said as I turned my attention back to my Model Railroader.

I then moaned as Rosa found one of the most boring and over-the-top television shows she could find and fixated on it.    "You like terrible TV," I thought.  I soon retired to my computer room to listen to the radio and blog some.  So much for dreams...

Confessions of a Working Man...

I really don't work that many hours per day.  Don't tell that to my brain though.  My brain feels mentally tired from all I have to do for the two or three hours I am in to work.   I had several people tell me I looked good today.  Just tired.  I admire my full-time working/blogging fiends like Cheryl and Annabel

One big bonus to stopping drinking was I cut out a huge portion of calories I was ingesting per day.  I was up to 256 pounds a few months ago, and I am down to 220 this morning.  My normal weight should be around 200 since I am 6'3".  Twenty more pounds to go and I will have rid myself of this beer belly.  It seems like the weight is just dropping off of me these days. 

It feels like spring outside here.  Things are blooming all over my neighborhood.  I've been meaning to take pictures of it all, but my camera batteries are dead. I am especially enjoying the longer days this far South.  The long shadows cast by a late winter sun are encouraging.