Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Photo From My Weather Blog…

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The Orange Drink Dilemma…

“Don’t leave all that orange drink where dad can see it!” Mom said forbiddingly this morning standing at my front door.  “Hide six in your cabinets.”

“Why?” I asked, confused.

It was just 12 cans of Wal-Mart early rise orange drink.  Innocuous at best.  It is sugar free, no caffeine, and has lots of vitamin C.

“Your father will act funny about it,” mom said assuredly. “I may get in trouble for you having so much at one time.”

I scoffed.  Surely dad wouldn’t say something about that!  I had to eat my own words, though.

“What are you doing with all that orange drink?” dad asked as he stood in my kitchen this morning after stopping by to see if I shaved and got myself cleaned up.

“Mom always buys them for me,” I replied, wary of what was about to unfold.

“Too many at one time,” he said gruffly.  “I will talk to your mother.  You will drink them all at one time.”

LOL!!!  Mom was right.  I will listen to her from now on.  I probably caused her more problems than needed.  I am sure I will get a call from her this afternoon. 

Sorry Readers…

I know many of you use Firefox and that the blog has been about impossible to read with the opacity and all.  Well, I finally got it fixed when I realized what was wrong.  I had to add separate opacity settings for Firefox.  I wish these browsers would be standardized!

Bliss!

Look what was in my mailbox this morning when I checked.  I never fails to excite me – the anticipation to see what each new issue brings.  I can’t wait to settle in my Lazy Boy and savor every page.  One of these days, I am going to have my own railroad empire.

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All Conked Out!

Me sleeping on the couch the past few days has gotten Maggie all mixed up.  She woke me during the night whimpering – wanting me to come to bed.  I don’t think she slept all night until I got up and we traded places.  She’s conked out now. 

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The Rigors of Facial Hair…

“You haven’t shaved in a few days,” dad stated last night during our medication ritual. “And you’ve been sleeping on the couch.  That is odd for you.”

I should’ve shaved before dad came over.  I knew this would happen.  Dad sees it as a sign I am not doing well mentally – not taking care of myself physically.  Frankly, I had just let my guard down while they were gone.  I was merely being lazy and I hate shaving.  I was just taking a few days off from “work”.

We walked into my kitchen and laundry room to do Maggie’s water and food routine.  Dad handed me the water bowl to pour out in the sink.  He then went to throw Maggie’s day old food out in the trash.

“Hmmm,” he muttered. “You’ve let your trash get full as well.  You never do that.”

“Just being lazy,” I replied defensively. “Nothing’s wrong I assure you.”

Dad then checked my bathroom toilet for any signs of bulimia.  There weren’t any and besides, I’m too crafty to ever let him find that again.  Dad also knows that Charlie can be lax when watching me take my medications.

“Have you been taking your meds?” he asked with a scornful look on his face.  “Have you been throwing them up while I was gone?”

I assured dad once again that everything was fine.

“I’ve been taking my meds, dad,” I replied as I crossed my arms in a defensive posture.

“Well, go eat your hamburger before it gets cold,” he told me kindly relaxing a bit as he was leaving. 

This kind of scrutiny I am so used to.  It is a common occurrence and something I must endure to keep a stable relationship between my father and I.  Dad just cares.  I am just glad things are back to normal.   I was oddly soothed by the “Fatherly Inquisition”.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Even More Fretting…

Mom called me as soon as they got home from Washington D.C.  I had left a message on her answering machine earlier in day telling her I loved her and how proud of her I was for doing all that for my brother and nieces. I also asked her to call as soon as they got in.   She didn’t say we’re home safe, I love you, or are you okay? She immediately asked, “Are you hungry?  I know you are out of groceries and today was grocery day.  I bet you are starving.”

“I ate my last can of Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee today,” I replied. “Charlie’s been feeding me well, though, at night.”

“But you’ve only had one can to eat all day!” She said with an emphasis on all day.

“I’m fine,” I tried to assure her. “I am actually not very hungry at the moment.”

“I am having your father bring you over something to eat,” she told me, ignoring my last statement.  “He won’t let me drive tonight.  He will bring you a hamburger and fries when he brings your medications.”

I chuckled.  I’m sure dad loved hearing that after spending all day traveling.

My thoughts turned to Diet Cokes.  Oh, how I just wanted 24 or more Diet Cokes to drink after going without them for four days.

“Can I come get some cokes?” I asked sheepishly, worried it would be too much on mom.

“You haven’t had your cokes this week?”

“No,” I replied.

“I told Charlie to bring them to you!” she said sounding frantic. “I can’t understand why he wouldn’t!”

“I guess he just forgot and I was too shy to press the issue.  I didn’t want to put him out,” I replied. 

“Come over now and get them,” mom then said. “I am giving you eight since you’ve been without.  Just don’t tell your father I gave you so much at one time.  He will jump all over me!”

I smiled as we said our goodbyes.  I never did get an I Love You out of mom.  The devil’s in the details for her.   It was good to have them home despite the complications that entail.  It’s been a quiet, too quiet, past four days.  I was overjoyed at mom’s fretting and to have them home safe and sound.  Let’s get things back to normal around here.

Sweet Pups Sleeping...

This is Maggie’s blanket you know? I just borrowed it.  It normally stays on the bed where she normally sleeps, but I slept on the couch last night so that’s where Maggie is today.  On her blankie getting 3 winks.  

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Back to the Old Running Mill...

Imagine Maggie’s shock when I pulled out the leash yesterday afternoon.  We haven’t walked since before Christmas I don’t think.   Well, Maggie went nuts.  I think she had given up on us ever walking again. 

It was cold yesterday afternoon – bitterly cold.  I had bundled up in layers and worried about Maggie, but she seemed to do fine.  She walks so fast on our little jaunts to keep up with my long gait that she must have warmed up quickly. 

Midway through the walk, I got to feeling ill, though.  A headache came upon me and I felt like I was coming down with a cold – my nose running uncontrollably.   We turned around at about the halfway point and headed home only walking three miles.  It was probably a good thing as I was out of shape and my legs are sore today.  Imagine me walking the full six miles. 

Charlie came last night bearing two 3 piece fish and chips plates from Captain D’s.  He also brought a big cup of sweet iced tea that was delicious.  Maggie and I sat in the den eating our plates as I watched TV. 

One of my biggest disappointments about Charlie coming this week is that he hasn’t been bringing my six Diet Cokes.  I guess mom and dad forgot to tell him.  I have sure missed those six cokes every day and can’t wait till mom gets home.

Mom and dad are taking an early flight home today by the way.

“Your mothers about had it,” dad said on the phone yesterday after calling me. “We’re coming home.”

“Has anything happened?” I asked, concerned.

“Well, your brother and Jennifer needed groceries.  Your mom volunteered to go get some to stock the fridge and their cabinets.  She bought $300 of groceries with her own money.  That is so out of character for her.  I knew then that it was time to come home and for your mother to get in her own bed.”

They get home around 5 PM this afternoon and I can’t wait to see them

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Working Man...

George has had his job at Wal-Mart distribution for over a year now.  Nobody could be more surprised than I.  I always worried he would get too drunk to make it in to work and get fired.  He’s been late a few times, but his supervisor lets him get away with it being kind and understanding.

George arrived in the dark this morning after getting off of work early with a 12 twelve pack of cheap beer and a bag from his mother to me.  He knew I would be up.  He had called on his cellphone to make sure. 

“It’s just some leftover fresh vegetables and ranch dip from Christmas,” George said. “I won’t eat that rabbit food and momma says she can’t chew them good with her dentures.”

“I sure wish I had some of your mother’s sweet tea,” I replied wistfully.

“I’ll go get you some after I drink my beer,” George told me with a grin.  “Momma would be thrilled to know you like her tea so much.”

“No, no, no,” I replied, worried about George driving drunk too much.  “She does make the best tea, though.”

George sat in my Lazy Boy and made himself comfortable.  I put on a DVD of season 6 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I navigated the DVD with the remote until we got to the point we left off before Christmas.  It was good to settle back into our routines.

“Workin’ for da man fuckin’ sucks,” George said grimly. “I miss my taxi service.”

“You’re lucky,” George furthered.  “You don’t have to work.  You have Daddy Warbucks to take care of you.”

The air of jealousy in George’s voice was unmistakable.  

“I’d like to work,” I replied.  “I’d like to just be able to buy a Diet Coke without it being monkeys in a barrel.”

George laughed at my monkeys in a barrel remark.

“I’ve told you many times to just leave,” he said.  “Take Maggie and move to Nashville and live in the Mission until you can get on your feet.  You have a car that can make it and you’re smart and cunning when you want to be.  You’re not as helpless as you put on.”

Yes, I’ve thought about doing that many times.  Mainly when I get mad at dad.  He would spare no expense to find me though.  He would come and get me, and force me home. 

George and I both got quiet as we sat and watched one of the better episodes of Deep Space Nine – an epic starship battle.  It was so nice to have company even if my company was getting three sheets to the wind.   The two hour episode was over in a flash and George had gotten his last beer out of the fridge.

“One for the road,” he said, slurring his words.

“I wish you’d let me drive you home,” I replied, worried.

George wouldn’t have any of that and I watched as he drove off.  Just another morning in the life of Andrew with unconventional George.  I do love that man deeply as a friend, though. 

Charlie's Here Part Two...

Again, Maggie was so excited to see Charlie last night.  Charlie surprised me and brought a plate of supper his wife had cooked.  Janice is an awesome cook and cooks some of the best cornbread I have ever eaten (even better than Helen’s).   I had pot roast, creamed corn, black eyed peas, fried okra, cornbread, and a piece of chocolate pie Charlie had made.    Sorry the video was so short.  I wasn’t sure if Charlie would like being put on the web so I cut it off when he was coming inside.  He’s funny about such things.  
 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Damn-it! I Hit Another Deer!

Well, I hit another deer this afternoon on the way to feed my parent's cats.  The last time I hit one a few months ago it cost $1900 dollars to get it fixed.  This is not near as bad, but it is sickening to look at and worry about.  My poor car! 

I went by the police station and got the correct form to fill out for my insurance.  The officer on duty asked me, "What about the deer?  Do we need to send someone out there to get it off the road?" "What about my poor car?" I thought aggravated.  I told the officer that the deer bounded off the road into the woods seemingly unscathed. 







Schizophrenia Be Gone...

It's been a good two weeks mentally.  How fortuitous that this would happen at the holidays.  It's as if some great kind hand swept me up from my mental pain and said, "Enough! You may rest now!"  The only symptom I am having these past few days is paranoia about the drug dealer next door.  I am constantly looking out the window as the multitude of strange cars come and go.  I check my locks in the house and on the car constantly.   I stay up all night and cars came and went until the wee hours of the morning like they do every night.  I wish George would have never brought it to my attention. 

I am enamored with the Twilight Saga of audiobooks.  I never thought I would be so enthralled by a strange vampire romance novel.  Werewolves and strange vampires abound in the books.  I have also never read the Harry Potter series of books and plan on doing that when mom gets home.  She has them in the garage.  All of them.  Unless I c0uld get the audiobooks which would be preferable.  I doubt our tiny library has them.

I've been trying to play video games lately for the first time in a very long time.  I received Dragon Age: Origins for Christmas.  It all feels so mindless and like work, though.  Go here, kill that, do this.  I am trying and we will see if I can finish the game.  Dad gave me a Nintendo Wii last Christmas and Charlie bought me several games he thought I would like.  I never played it more than a few times.  I just couldn't get interested in it and it was so wildly popular.  Why it was so popular escaped me.  What a waste of $300. 

Just what is an iTunes?

This is what Charlie wrote me in the Christmas card that contained my gift, the $50 iTunes gift card.  Me, dad and Charlie all got a good laugh out of it.  I have looked at it several times since then smiling.  


For Christina...

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

CHARLIE'S HERE!!!

It was a moment I had been waiting for all evening.  I was sitting on the couch longwise looking out the window wistfully as I listened to Twilight on my iPod.   Around the corner, down the street, turned a car on 13th Avenue passing the drug dealer's house to my right.  I waited a moment making sure it was Charlie before exuberantly crying loudly, "CHARLIE'S HERE!!!" for Maggie's sake.  I could hear Maggie bound off the bed whimpering as she turned the corner into the den - sliding as she quickly strode. 

"Uncle Charlie's here," I said again as Maggie looked out the window and yelped with glee and joy.

"Hey Andrew," Charlie said warmly as he walked across my yard after parking out front.  Charlie always calls me affectionately by my middle name and not my first name. 

I was standing at the door with the screen door closed so Maggie couldn't get out in her excitement.  Maggie barked the good bark uncontrollably at Charlie's arrival making Charlie smile broadly as he entered the door.

"Yes, I love you.  You are my special pups," Charlie told Maggie as he bent over and rubbed her neck and back vigorously.

We, all three, settled in on the couch.  Charlie turned to me to ask a question as he looked at my hair. 

"Your hair looks nice tonight," he said admiring his handiwork.  "We will cut it again soon, though."

Charlie went overboard tonight carrying on about Maggie.  Maggie ate up the attention. Charlie then looked at the TV and grimaced.  I knew what he was thinking. 

"What are you watching?" Charlie asked as if he didn't already know.

"The Weather Channel," I replied, waiting for his response.  Charlie hates the weather channel.

"Turn it to Home and Garden TV!"  he said as he laughed.  "I don't see how you and your father watch that damn channel all the time."

"Well, you know our fondness for the weather,"  I said with a quick smile and looking for approval. 

Charlie soon left.  He was in a hurry tonight and normally lingers.   It took Maggie a good thirty minutes to get over his absence.  She pined at the window hoping he would soon come back.   I settled in waiting to pass the hour until my  medications took effect.  I opened the box holding a Big Mac as I sipped on the big extra large cup of sweet tea Charlie had brought.  It was a pleasant evening after all.   I and Maggie both do so love Charlie's visits. 

Care Packages in the Dark of the Night...

It's 3 am.  Mom just came by here with a care package.  Completely odd and so ultimately characteristic of my mother to do such a thing. 

"It was just worrying me to death that you would do without while we were gone," she said. "Your father was getting all over me for doing this.  He said I was crazy to come over here and that you wouldn't be up."

I was certainly up as I am most of the time these days being a night owl.

My mother then handed me a bag filled with a carton of cigarettes, a package of four Bic lighters, six Diet Cokes, a $10 dollar iTunes gift card, a package of Oscar Mayer smoked ham, and a giant loaf of Sunbeam bread.  In another sack was a carefully wrapped half a coconut cake and some pork loin in aluminum foil.

"Well, we are headed for Atlanta and the airport as soon as I get home," mom told me. "I love you and be good while we are gone."

I gave mom a hug, thanked her profusely, and watched as she got in the car and drove off.   It wasn't until then that I realized how much I wanted to go with them.  I wanted to see my brother and his wife and kids.  I don't want to be alone for a week.  I am so dependent on my family.  At least I have Mrs. Florene, George, Charlie, and Maggie.  They will have to suffice.  Good company to say the least. 

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I didn't find out until last night, but mom and dad fly out at 5 am this morning to Washington D.C. to see my brother and his family. 

"I thought it would upset you not being able to go," dad told me last night as he was giving me my medications.  "I just didn't think you could make it so I didn't tell you."

"You don't have to hide such things from me," I replied, feeling uncomfortable and odd.

"Sorry," dad said, giving me a hug.  "We are flying first class, though.  Isn't that neat?  I thought it would be easier on your mother than to be crammed into coach.  She's getting a little wide for the seats.  First class will give us room to breathe."

I couldn't have gone anyway, but it did make me feel left out.  Airports?  Airplane flights?  The incessant waiting? The after Christmas crowds of people? Just getting my clothes and luggage together would be a major feat for me.  The one I am worried about is mom.  How can she do all that walking?  And the incontinence problem?  Mentally, she is very shaky these days.  Mom is already tired and worn out after Christmas day and dad said she didn't get out of the bed all day yesterday.

Charlie is taking good care of me while my family is gone.  Charlie will bring me a fast food supper every night, my Diet Cokes, and he doesn't dawdle over giving my medications.   He hands me little bitty envelopes of my pills and leaves.   It will also thrill Maggie to see him every night for a week.  Charlie is, after all, her favorite "dog" in her pack.  Her very most favorite of all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas with the Joneses...

"Merry Christmas baby!"  Mrs. Florene said as I stepped through her door to the warm and inviting inside of George's house this afternoon.   "We are having a simple Christmas today.  We are having hors d'oeuvres and we will open presents."

Mrs. Jones got busy in the kitchen preparing the food as I asked George, "What's wrong with your mother?  She was going to cook a big meal."

"She's not feeling well she says," George replied. "She says it's her nerves."

I guess I wasn't the only one letting Christmas get the better of them.  I was so worn out and tired mentally after yesterday.   Mrs. Florene had also cooked a huge meal Christmas day for lots of family members.   She is, I believe, 74 years old.   George had said his mother's sister came with all her brood.  No wonder her nerves were bad. 

We had those new flipside pretzel crackers with a dill and cream cheese spread.   Mrs. Florene had also bought some olives skewered with toothpicks knowing I love them.   We also had a platter of vegetables with ranch dressing to dip them in.  I was perfectly happy with such fare - hungrily eating as I drank some of the best sweet iced tea I had ever had.

"I've got some fresh mint for the tea," Mrs. Florene said as she whizzed by me to go use the bathroom. "Look in the fridge."

Delicious!

We opened our presents afterwards.  Mrs. Florene just loved her griddle I gave her.  

"Pancakes in the morning and you better be here!" she told me excitedly. 

George got his six pack of Heineken.  I almost couldn't come up with the money for it as it was $8 dollars - $8 dollars for a six pack of beer!  My God!  George was thrilled, though, and stuck them in the fridge to get cold much to Mrs. Florene's un-approving eye.  It was a nice Christmas spent with my black family - a family I feel much more comfortable with than my own flesh and blood.  

Bless Her! Into My Lap She Goes...

We left at eight in the morning Christmas day.  It was a long two and a half hour drive to my sister's house.   As soon as I got in the car, dad tried to hand me two Klonopin.

"I don't want to be drugged for this," I told him, pushing his hand away.

OMG!  I passed up feel good drugs!  I so surprised myself, but I didn't want to be in a fog as my medications can sometimes impart.  I wanted my mind to be clear and bright, and without a slurred voice.  

Y'all, I was so nervous, though.  My heart was beating a hundred miles per hour on the drive up there and I know my blood pressure had to be high.  I about panicked when dad said Eudell and Jan would be there.  My sister's in-laws.  I hadn't seen them since my sister got married and they are abrasive people.   I wanted a close family gathering to feel more comfortable.  I wanted things to go smoothly for my nerve's sake. 

My sister met us at the door with a glass of merlot in one hand and a baby on her other hip.

"I can't believe you made it!" she said excitedly to me as she gave me a hug. "You never come to family functions."

"Well, I feel mentally able to for the first time in years," I replied. "Merry Christmas."

Dad did all the cooking and brought it with us.   He cooked a huge pork loin with his special barbeque sauce, macaroni and cheese casserole which was to die for, yeast rolls, butter beans,  and asparagus with a lemon and mayonnaise sauce with boiled eggs on top. It was so delicious.   For dessert, dad cooked three cakes.  A coconut cake.  A red velvet cake. And another lane cake.  Mom hungrily ate a piece of all three after our meal which made my father roll his eyes at my sister.  Mom does need to lose weight, though.  She goes to Weight Watchers after New Year's.   She said she was going to eat everything in sight, though, before that.

Good news!  Mom wore Depends for our trip.  Dad ran by the pharmacy and opened up long enough to get her some.  

"You can't even see that I am wearing them," mom said happily as she looked in the bathroom mirror at my sister's house as I brushed my teeth next to her after lunch.  

"Any accidents yet?" I asked with a smile.

"NO!" mom said, laughing.  "I just can't bend over, though.  I will probably blow my Depends off!"

I died laughing and she did too.  It is good that we can laugh about it.

My sister got a new job much closer to us.  They are selling their home and buying a home on a local lake.  She will be head of oncology and hematology at a local hospital.  Dad is so excited!  He gave my brother-in-law a 14k gold money clip for Christmas, "You are going to need that!  Y'all are going to be rolling in money!"   My sister will be making five times more money than she did during her training and fellowship. 

It was an eight hour day and I was so glad to come home.  Charlie had been over and cleaned my house while we were gone.  All my dishes were washed and all my laundry was done and I had a pile of it.  I was on my last leg mentally by the time I walked through my door, though.  Bless Maggie, she had never been so glad to see me in her life.  She even jumped up into my lap and that is something she has never, ever done.  It warmed my heart and soon we were in the bed, Maggie and I, getting some much needed rest.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Interesting Christmas so Far...

We went to Charlie's last night for Christmas Eve dinner.  We had hot roast beef sandwiches with horseradish sauce his wife, Janice, had cooked.   I tell you, they were delicious.  Dad made a cake - a lane cake - which was also divine.   Charlie was supposed to go to Atlanta to his son's house for Christmas, but his son's wife left him on Christmas Eve, packed up their daughter, and headed to Tennessee - escaping to her family. 

As we were sitting at the table eating our desserts, mom said, "I think I just shit in my pants!"  Dad looked at me.  Charlie looked at dad.  Charlie's sometimes acerbic wife shook her head.  

"Well, go wipe your ass and we will go open presents real quick and I will take you home," dad said with an air of kindness.  "You need any help?"

Mom sheepishly left the table and went to take care of business and to clean herself up.  I opened my iPod and Charlie also went so far as to get me a $50 dollar iTunes gift card on top of the fireplace and aquarium DVD he gave me.   I've gotten over $200 so far in iTunes gift cards and already spent most of it on audiobooks like Stephenie Meyer's Twilight.  Audiobooks are expensive!  Twilight alone was $28.99!

We had driven over in dad's Honda CR-V.  As we were driving home, dad turned to me and said, "Let's get the big car out of the garage (the BMW X5) and go take it for a ride to look at the Christmas lights.  Let's go blow it out as my father would used to say.  That car will run like a scalded dog.  There's nothing like a big V8!"

"Can I drive it some?" I asked excitedly.

"It's Christmas," dad replied. "Sure you can!"

"I think I just shit in my pants again," mom said from the backseat.  

"Martha!  What's wrong with you?" my father asked as he looked at me and rolled his eyes.

We dropped mom off at home and the car reeked.  "Jesus!" dad said as mom escaped into the house.  Poor mom.  Bless her heart.  It must have been all so embarrassing.  I am glad dad didn't laugh like he normally does.  It was Christmas after all.

Today, I go to my sister's house. I am so nervous. The small talk.  The strange house. A sister I've been estranged to for years.   It is the first time in years I've felt mentally well enough to do all this, though.   Dad was worried about me last night and slipped me two Klonopin.  "I'll give you two more in a few hours," he said as we were standing outside in the rain at Charlie's house while I smoked.  It certainly has been an interesting Christmas so far. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nothing like Nat on Christmas Eve...

More Fretting...

"Is it going to freeze tonight?" mom asked me on the phone last night.

"No," I replied. "It will hover in the thirties.  It is cloudy."

"That's pretty cold," mom said. "I better not leave your Diet Cokes on the porch. They may burst."

Sigh!  One of my most favorite rituals these days is to drive over around five in the morning and get my cokes.  I am too impatient to wait until mom and dad get moving around nine.

"You can just get them later in the day," mom furthered. 

I sighed again.

"Mom you can't do that to me!" I pleaded. "It is not going to freeze!"

"You sure?  I would hate to ruin those cokes," she replied.  "Well, I guess I will leave them out."

I then sighed with relief.  It's Christmas and I want my comforting routines. 

Before mom hung up the phone, I asked, "Can I go ahead and get my I-Pod?"

I made up some lame excuse about it taking hours to transfer all the music and I wanted to take it with me on the trip to my sister's house Christmas Day.

"No! No! No!," mom replied, laughing.  "You are obsessed with that I-Pod.  You have asked that ten times this week.  You can open your present tomorrow!"

I sounded just like a kid and it was good to hear mom laugh.  She can be so serious and fretting all the time.   Today is the day and I am about to die.  I will have to wait until late evening when mom, dad, and I eat supper together tonight, though.  I am going to fly home, upload my music, and I-Pod away!

Maggie Yawns! Christmas Eve Dawns!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mom and I Live at Wal-Mart These Days...

It was lunch.  I was standing over my kitchen counter eating a bowl of corn flakes when the phone rang.

"Will you take me to Wal-Mart?" my mother asked. "I don't think I can drive today."

"Sure," I said apprehensively with my mouth still full of and chewing on milk and corn flakes. "I'll pick you up in a minute. I've already had a shower and am dressed."

As we were driving down, I asked mom what we needed.

"Coconut for ambrosia," she replied. "Your father is making it this afternoon for Christmas."

I don't get dad sometimes.  Here, lately, he has been saying my mother needs to slow down.  That she is on a high and spending lots of money.  On the other hand, he sends her on these Don Quixote like goose chases and she is shaky mentally.  She sure sounded shaky as we drove and talked - like she was manic and out of breath.

Well, we found the shredded frozen coconut.  Mom will just walk up to any old soul and ask, "Do you work here?"  It drives my social anxieties crazy and I will hang my head low and slowly pace trying to calm down.  Aren't we just the pair? Mom and I?

Wal-Mart was gang busters.  I thought we would never get out of there.  "I am never gonna get home," I thought as we stood in line to check out. "I am going to be dust and bones before all this is said and done."

Well, I made it home.  As I drove into mom and dad's driveway, I sighed and lit a cigarette.

"You okay?" mom asked. "I almost had an anxiety attack!"

"Me too," I replied. "Me too."

Mom thanked me and it was so good to come home to Maggie.  She was so glad to see me and made sure I was properly sniffed to see where I've been.  I wonder if some people thrive in such busy environs - the happy, social, maniacal people that so mystify me.  "Good to be home after all that," I thought again as I melted into the couch, turned on the weather channel, and lit another soothing smoke.  I was home....

The Plot Thickens...

"Your neighbor's dealing drugs," George told me this morning as he looked out my den window while gulping an ice cold Milwaukee's Best Ice beer.  "I just know these street kind of things."

"What makes you think so?" I then asked.

"I've counted ten cars that have come by and left this morning," he said. "A'int nobody so fuckin' popular as to have ten friends come by at 7:30 in the morning."

"And look at that Jaguar with the $2000 dollar chrome rims," George then said with a frown.  "That's a drug dealers car.  And his house sucks.  Nigga drug dealers always have crappy houses and nice cars."

"That explains the police detective's car sitting in the driveway for an hour yesterday," I replied back.  "It is all so strange."

"Watch your shit," George told me just making me worry.  "Crackheads are people of the most un-trustable sort - nasty people. They'll steal yo shit in a heartbeat."

"Great!" I thought as I sat there with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  All this on top of my car getting stolen Christmas day two years ago.   It was working wonders for my schizophrenia induced paranoia. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poked in the Arm...

I got my H1N1 swine flu shot today.  And now I have this strong craving for pork chops!  Pork roast anyone?  Seriously, though, I've heard so much propaganda on how it is going to make me sick - on how it is a secret government plot to genetically manipulate us.  I guess I've been listening to too much Coast to Coast AM.  They're rife with such conspiracy theories.   I will let you all know how I feel in a few days. 

You Can Almost Feel The Warmth...


Fret, Fret, Fretting...

I was standing over at the Apple I-pod display case in Wal-Mart this afternoon looking at the display models.  "It is so tiny to be 160 gigs," I thought of my I-Pod to myself as mom approached me from behind.  We were shopping for a new battery for mom's remote entry remote for her car.  I also got some socks, t-shirts, and blue jeans.

"Are you going to get an iTunes gift card?" she asked me as I turned to look for her coming.  "Don't get an expensive one.  And what if it doesn't work?  You know your father would never let you use his credit card to open an account."

"30 bucks," I replied.

"What?" mom asked. "I don't know what you mean."

"A 30 buck gift card is what I want," I told her. "That will be 3 albums to download."

We were driving to my father's pharmacy to pick up my next few weeks of Diet Cokes afterwards.  I was thinking of all the effort I was going to have to expend to get all those cases of cokes in the trunk.

"You sure you're going to be able to download music with those cards?" mom asked as I drove. "You may need a credit card and I would hate for your I-Pod to not have music. It was so expensive to be useless.   You know your father won't let me have credit cards anymore or I would help you.  He says I always spend too much."

I carefully assured mom I would be able to download music with the card and that I didn't need a credit card.  We drove home and I was just happy to have some ice cold 20 oz Diet Cokes to drink.  I was sort of lost in the moment.  I had other things on my mind other than music and iTunes. 

Well, mom wasn't happy until she physically was able to see me download some songs.  She stood over me as I sat at this computer.

"That was complicated," she said afterwards, sighing. "How do you know how to do all that?"

"I just have an intuition when it comes to computers," I replied.  "Too bad I can't get me a job working on them!"

In other news, I can now download movies legitimately using iTunes and the many gift cards I am getting for Christmas. 

Rewarding the Pirates: News and Commentary by James Berardinelli...

I read the following written piece this morning.  I love James' website Reelviews.  I have recently, for the first time, been downloading a lot of movies and burning them to DVD to watch on my TV in the den.  It is more comfortable there than sitting in front of my computer.   I saw this piece and read with interest.  Am I part of the problem or the solution?  It's interesting.  I could never afford to buy all these movies so I try to justify my piracy by saying the MPAA is not losing any money by me downloading and watching.  I just don't have any money.  A conundrum and I want to watch movies lately for the first time in years.   My new found attention span and mental wellness allows me to do so.  What do you think?  Am I wrong to think such a way?

The following applies specifically to the MPAA and the computer game industry, but it wouldn't take much imagination to extend it to the RIAA as well...

If we're going to face reality, which is something the MPAA religiously fails to do, it's necessary to acknowledge that piracy is here to stay. Someone likened going after piracy sites (like The Pirate Bay) to playing a game of "whack-a-mole" - when you knock one down, two will pop up in different places. Yet the MPAA doggedly continues to pursue the impossible-to-succeed "stamp out piracy" approach rather than trying something different, like changing their revenue model to reduce the appeal of obtaining pirated material. Why? Because such an approach flies in the face of the MPAA's current greed-above-all mantra.

I've presented this statistic before but it's worth repeating. The average cost (manufacturing, royalties, etc.) of one DVD is about $2. It's higher for some titles and lower for others, but all are in that range. So if it costs $2, why does a heavily discounted disc sell for around $17? The retailer purchases it from the distributor at about 50% of list price. So if a DVD lists at $25, Amazon.com is getting it for $12.50. If they sell it at 30% off, the consumer is paying $17.50 and Amazon is getting $5. The studio, however, is picking up about $10 in pure profit. Per disc. This isn't capitalism; it's highway robbery.

One obvious approach to making a dent in piracy (not wiping it out - that simply won't happen) is to stop looking at DVDs as opportunities to fleece movie-lovers. There's no reason a DVD can't be sold for $10. With that price, the studio and Amazon.com would both collect about $4 each. Or, when it comes to downloads with the middle man eliminated, $6 is reasonable. But we don't live in a world where "reasonable" is in the vocabulary of those who have been blinded by green. "Greed is good," said Gordon Gecko, and he was right - until that greed results in short-sighted decisions that lead down the road to potential ruination.

But price isn't even the most insidious thing at work here. If I buy a DVD, that's all I have - a DVD. It's in nice case so I can display it on a shelf alongside my other DVDs. But I get one copy and one copy only. What happens if I lose the disc in a move or if I take it with me on an airplane and it is damaged as a result of today's "security measures" (which apparently involve 400-pound guerillas jumping up and down on suitcases)? Tough luck. The disc is copy protected so I can't make a backup copy. If it's lost or damaged and I still want it in my library, I have to fork out another $17.

If, however, I download the same movie illegally via BitTorrent, I have a clean copy on my hard drive. I can copy it to a DVD and watch it on my TV or my laptop. I can make copies whenever I want. There are no restrictions. If my DVD is somehow destroyed, no problem - just burn another one. There are a lot of benefits to this kind of freedom, even if I'm not considering giving a copy to anyone else.

So here's the situation. If I steal the movie, complete freedom is conferred upon me. But if I do the right thing and buy it, I'm stuck with a single copy that I have to guard carefully lest it become lost or stolen and I'd have to re-purchase it at the same price. Is there something wrong with this picture? Am I missing something? How is it that the legitimate customer is being penalized but the pirate is being rewarded? The MPAA would smugly answer, "That's why we have to stamp out piracy" without thinking that the real solution might be to remove the copy protection and allow DVD buyers to make copies of their movies.

The argument against this used to be that copy protection was necessary to discourage piracy. That's actually funny when you think about it. All pirates have sophisticated equipment that makes a mockery of even the most complex anti-copy software. So what's the point? The only ones being penalized by copy protection are those who don't invest in illegal anti-copy software. Once again, the law abiding citizens are the ones being punished. And the pirates keep laughing.

It's a similar situation with computer gaming. I'm one of those straight arrows who pays the going rate for a game I like because I want to support the men and women who invested their time and effort into creating something I enjoy. But the distributors have thrown in an annoying wrinkle. Although I have spent $40 on the game and have loaded it onto my hard drive, I still have to put a damn disc in the DVD drive every time I want to play it. So what happens when I move and I can't locate the original disc? (It's in that one box way up in the attic that didn't get unpacked.) I now can't play a game I legitimately purchased. This has become so ubiquitous in the industry that when I find a user-friendly game like GALACTIC CIVILIZATION that allows me to play without inserting a disc that I want to jump for joy.

However, if I go on-line and pirate a game, I don't have to worry about these restrictions. I can play the game without having to hunt for the disc and stick it in my DVD drive (which isn't working consistently to begin with - it's a six-year old drive on a six-year old computer). There are times when I get so mad at some of these companies that I can understand why some people would steal from them. But not with the makers of GALACTIC CIVILIZATION. For their simple act of friendliness, they can have my money whenever they come out with something new.

This is the way it is. The MPAA, the computer gaming industry, and the RIAA are so out of touch with reality that they don't realize how badly they're screwing the consumers they're trying to keep from running to The Pirate Bay. Yes, a new revenue approach will make a big difference, but here's another suggestion: consumer friendliness. The idea is to make the customer like not only the product but the producer (rather than like the product and hate the producer). Do that, and the desire to pirate will decline. It's only one step but it's an important one. But, cynic that I am, I doubt it will happen any time soon.

I eagerly await the next GALACTIC CIVILIZATION expansion pack.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Quizzical Creature...

"I've got to go home and answer questions. It happens every night," dad told me of mom as he was walking out the door to head home tonight after our medication ritual.  "She won't let me get in the door good and there they go.  And they can be tough questions as well."

I watched as dad got in his BMW to drive the short distance to their house.  Maggie was standing at the screen door wagging her tail wildly, her nightly food and water ritual completed, sad to see him go.  I hadn't sat down for ten minutes when dad called me on his cellphone talking from his car in the garage.

"She was at the garage door when I pulled in," he said, laughing kindly.

"What did she ask you tonight?" I asked, intrigued immensely.

"It was a tough one about you," dad said.

"What? I am dying to know!" I asked and said.

"She asked what are we are going to do if you drink and eat after midnight," dad replied. "You know you have blood work in the morning and she's taking you to the hospital to get it done.  She's afraid you won't resist your Diet Cokes when you get them in the morning."

"Did you tell her just don't give them to me?  It's rather simple," I told him. 

"I did," dad replied.  "But she volleyed back with what if he eats a sandwich?"

I laughed and dad laughed, too!  My mother is so business-like about such matters.  And can be so anal it's aggravating as well.  We try our hardest to be kindhearted about it.  That's just the way mom ticks.  

Dad told me good night and I was in the bedroom putting on my pajamas when the phone rang again.   Maggie jumped off the bed to run into my computer room where the phone lies.  She can hear mom or dad talking on the other end and gets excited.  

"Andrew, don't eat and drink after midnight, okay?"  My mother said, worried.  "I know you and you can't resist.   Try your best to not do it."

"I promise," I replied.

"Promise?" mom asked.

"Yes, I will do my best.  Good night and I love you."

I hung up the phone and smiled.  I was sitting here a few minutes ago before I started writing and suddenly a sandwich and Diet Coke sounded awfully good!  Just not after midnight.

Mom Brought the Books!!!!! I am ready to read!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

We Lead Complicated Lives...

Have you realized from reading my blog how complicated my family's lives are with their efforts to keep me physically and mentally healthy? It really is amazing the lengths mom and dad will go to help me. I guess they really do love me. A list of things they do for me...

  • 2 cartons of cigarettes every ten days. I must call dad and he will go by Fat Albert's and get them. He pays for these out of his pocket and cigarettes are very expensive these days due to the state taxes imposed - the sin taxes. "You smoke too much," dad will tell me. "Smoke one every thirty minutes!" Dad is very forgiving of this addiction as he realizes a great deal of mentally ill people smoke due to the great deal of comfort it can give an unwell mind.


  • 6 diet cokes a day. Mom goes to great lengths with a Nazi like tenacity to assure I get these cokes every morning and only six at a time. Dad says I will get "high" off the caffeine and it will make me mentally sick. He doesn't want me to get "off." I have trouble with moderation. I will often call mom and ask for more and she will tell me dad would get on to her.


  • Mom buys my groceries every Wednesday because for a long time I couldn't go because of my panic attacks and social phobias. We try to stick with $40 dollars a week to help my disability allotment last through the month. I eat a lot of sandwiches, but dad, lately, has been helping me with eating healthier prepared foods.


  • Dad comes every night religiously to give me my medications. He waits thirty minutes watching The Weather Channel to make sure I don't throw them up as I have been known to do when I get paranoid they are harming me. This, after he worked ten hours all day.


  • Mom once was bad about giving me money from time to time. She once gave me three dollars a day, but I was using it to get high off Benadryl. A 48 pill count of Benadryl was only $1.99 at Fred's and I would take all of them in a day. She got scared that if Dad ever found out he would disown her.


  • I am given two restaurant meals a week to vary my diet and as a treat. Mom brings these by my house on Monday and Tuesday nights.


  • Helen cooks for me and mom on Fridays. Dad worries I don't eat enough vegetables and Helen ALWAYS cooks at least three wholesome vegetables every Friday along with a meat selection, salad, and baked bread such as biscuits. Helen's help is very expensive and she doesn't come cheap. Dad pays for this.

  • My life is carefully monitored to assure I don't get money so as not to be tempted to drink and thus defeat the purpose of my mental illness medications. Dad even goes to such lengths as keeping my driver's license from me to make sure I am not pawning all my nice belongings at the pawn shop. You can get a lot of drinking money from pawn shops with nice things such as Nintendo Wii's and Canon digital cameras. They even buy old DVDs and CDs and I have hundreds of these, but you need valid identification to sell them.

  • Every night, dad makes sure Maggie has fresh food and water. He will throw out the day old food Maggie doesn't eat and puts fresh food in the bowl. Maggie loves this little ritual of ours and will stand by and watch with anticipation of getting her fresh food stuff.

  • I am escorted by dad and mom to all medical appointments to make sure I go and that I am receiving the medical attention I need. Dad will use his day off to drive me all the way to Opelika for my psychiatrist's appointment. That can't be fun when he could be sleeping in. This week, it is blood work to check my Lithium levels which must be checked every two weeks. Mom is going to take me. I wouldn't go if were of my own volition. I could care less about my Lithium levels.

  • All my bills are paid by dad out of my checking account. There has never been a lapse in my utility bills such as power, water, or Internet due to lack of payment. Dad does this for my great aunt as well.

  • All the many paperwork sent by Social Security is handled by mom. She makes sure I fill out all forms correctly and really frets over it. She is so afraid I will write the wrong thing and lose my disability. And they send A LOT of paperwork to fill out and send back. Mom always makes sure the paperwork has postage and is mailed back.

  • Every two weeks, dad has a pharmacy employee of his pick me up at the house, pick up my injection, and drive me to Dr. Kamath's office to get my Risperdal Consta injection for my Schizophrenia. Tim, my father's home health care supervisor, does this and is always so kind to me about my limitations when it comes to small talk. He knows I can be awkward socially at times.

  • And finally, Dad bought me a nice remodeled house and car. This was to make sure Maggie and I always had a home and was part of my inheritance from my deceased grandmother. I will never be homeless again.

Overheard at my Parent's House Today...

I was just over getting my Diet Cokes.  I waited to later as it was so cold early this morning.  I usually go around five or six in the morning to get them off the porch where mom leaves them the night before.  Dad was talking on his cellphone in the bedroom.

"You can't get cash back with them, can you?" I overheard him asking. "He will buy beer if he can get cash back."

I smiled.  He was talking to my sister-in-law about those I-Tunes gift cards.  He asked the same thing last year about all the Red Lobster gift cards I was supposed to get for Christmas from my family - my favorite restaurant.  That idea was nixed when he found out I could order margaritas with the gift cards.  LOL Can you see me sitting down at the Red Lobster bar, swilling margaritas, and paying for them with my gift cards? He probably has a good point.  Sounds like a good idea to me! LOL  I could use a good Red Lobster Margarita right now.  Or five.  Mom always orders two with her meal every time we go and it puts a big smile on her face and makes her giddy! She gets so talkative.   It is the only time I have ever seen my mother drink.

No Bath for Maggie...


video

This is for the Birds!!!


Well, y'all, I tried. I tried to be frugal and turn my heat way down. This morning I woke up and the house was 52 degrees. "This is crazy!" I thought to myself. "I am miserable!" I walked into the hall and turned the thermostat up to 80, shed my clothes down to a pair of socks, a white cotton t-shirt, and my boxers. I sat basking in the heat in the den as I puffed on the most wonderful cigarette I've had in weeks. Just me and my underwear. I will try to justify this in that I spent THOUSANDS of dollars a year on booze when I was drinking. A $160 utility bill a month ain't that bad. It makes me feel better.
 
Ah, Warmth!!!!!
 

Maggie has a Fetish!

And it is for pecans.  She gathers them outside, brings them through the dog door, and crunches on them for what seems like hours in the den.  She actually eats them and that's why she hasn't been eating her dog food lately.  The crunching makes my own teeth hurt when I hear it!

Early this morning, I got up to take a whizz and I stepped on one in the hallway.   "@!#$%!" I screamed.  I hurt so badly on my sock covered feet and I almost busted my ass. 

You should see me getting out the vacuum to vacuum up the empty shells.  It is a labor of love.   I want her to be happy, though.  I don't protest too much.  Well, maybe a little.  It's a mess!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Christmas Redeemer...

"One year, when I was a child, mom and dad gave me a set of expensive luggage for Christmas.  I must have been about nine," my father told me as he handed me my handful of medications a moment ago.  "I bawled my eyes out saying Santa wouldn't bring that!"

"That's terrible for a child to bear," I replied. "Why would they get you luggage?"

"They were trying to be practical," he said. "The next week we were to leave on a cruise to Puerto Rico."

I looked at my watch to see what time I took my meds.  I know they take effect in about one hour.  I was on a countdown. 

"Momma redeemed herself, though," dad replied.  "She went out the next day and bought me a Howdy Doody puppet and a chemistry set. The chemistry set turned out to be my all time favorite Christmas gift.  I was thrilled.  All the stores were closed and she had to beg a store owner by phone to open up long enough for her to shop."

I smiled.  My grandmother was one of the most kindhearted women I have ever known.  It must have killed her to see my father cry on Christmas day.   She redeemed herself and it was a Merry Christmas after all even if it was a day late. 

Sleepy Maggins...

Re-Gifting...

Re-Gifting is pretty taboo and passe isn't it?  Well, I had nothing to get Mrs. Florene for Christmas and she has been so kind to me.  My sister gave me this GE griddle about five years ago for Christmas and I have never opened the box.  I just had no use for it.  Well, Mrs. Florene is getting it for Christmas from me.  Now, she can make four pancakes at a time instead of just one at a time!  I am getting George a six pack of Heineken, his favorite beer, for Christmas as well.   Aren't I terrible?  It would hurt my sister's feelings deeply to know I am doing this.  Oh, well.


Good Christmas Gifts!

Last night, dad brought my medications.  He was in an uncommonly good mood and it was a joy to see him in such a way.  Usually, he is so tired after working ten hours all day that he can be kind of dour.  Well, he was worried I was going to be disappointed with my Christmas gifts from my brother and sister.

"They're getting you something called I-tunes gift cards," he said. "I hope you won't be disappointed."

I was ecstatic.   It was the perfect gift for me and my new I-Pod.  I get to download music for Christmas.  I don't have a credit card. 

"I would love it," I told him.

"Just what is it anyway?" he asked.

"It is a way to download music off the Internet," I replied.

"Well, I guess you will like that then," he said with a smile.

It is going to be a good Christmas.  One of the better ones in years.  I hate to be so materialistic, though. 

Please Pray for Me...

It's that time in the two week cycle of my injected anti-psychotic that the medication levels slowly drop to zero before I get another shot.   I asked my psychiatrist about it the last time I saw him and he carefully explained the process to me.   He prescribed me extra Risperdal to get me through this tough time.   Well, dad is very leery of giving me extra medications these days so I probably won't get them this time.   Please pray for me as I am very scared right now.  I don't want to go back to that mental health hell that was my life a week ago.  I've done so well lately and I think you can see it on my blog.  I feel so very damn well right now and it is intoxicating.  I don't want to be in anguish or pain.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Freezing My Ass Off Over Here...


65.9 degrees is the temperature where I sit in the den right now. It is 36.9 outside. Not far away from each other, huh?


I really liked the latest blog poll. It was intriguing. I got to see what you all set your thermostats on. Me and only one other person sets theirs at the 80 to 85 degree range. I am so cold natured. I try to tell myself I have a tiny house, thus frugal to heat, and that justifies keeping it so high.

Well, today I turned over a new leaf. I set my thermostat to 66, a consensus poll temperature, and I AM FREEZING! I've got on two shirts, a hoodie, two pair of sweat pants, two pairs of socks, and I am still chilly. Dad's just gonna love this when he comes tonight. He pays my utility bill out of my checking account. He's been wanting me to turn it down for YEARS!

Let me ask you? How do you do it? How do you take showers and bathe in such frigid environs? Somebody mail me a Snuggie cause I am going to need it. I am going to stick with this, though. I need more cigarette money! hehe. (Don't chastise me! :-( )

Even poor Maggie is Freezing!

Maggie is Just Getting Up! Good Morning, Girl!

The Great Cirrhosis Boondoggle...

About 4 or 5 years ago, George was very, very sick.  He was telling everybody he had Cirrhosis of the liver.   I asked him about it yesterday and he hem hawed around the issue not telling me the truth - vaguely saying something about pain in his abdomen.  This morning, just a moment ago, Mrs. Florene called me about breakfast and the weather.

"George gets off at seven and we will eat about seven thirty. I am cooking pancakes and sausage," she told me over the phone.

"Sorry Mrs. Florene.  I can't come," I told her. "It is raining buckets and I don't have an umbrella."

She told me she was getting me an umbrella for Christmas.   I laughed jovially and thanked her.  She so wanted me to come for breakfast and told me so.  She likes cooking for her "boys."  I have adopted a black family.  My other family.

Well, I took the opportunity to ask Mrs. Florene about George's supposed cirrhosis scare.  Curiosity always killed the cat as they say.

"Baby, he had bad kidney stones when he was in the hospital!" she said.  "I got all over him for telling people that. He really was in terrible pain, though."

Finally, the truth revealed.  I am glad I asked.  George just wanted the death scare attention. That bastard!  I was worried sick and thought I was losing a friend!  I was mystified when he kept plodding along though and drinking like a fish like nothing ever happened.  I had always thought  he was in remission.  

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Good Day! A Happy Soul! A Well Mind!

A red headed Gomer Pyle: "Hey Y'all! Shazaam!"




A Well Mind Can Do Magical Things...


video

Nighttime Shot for PT...

Merry Christmas!!!


I am so proud of my Christmas Tree!

My Christmas card to you all!


Maggie Laughs at Your Silliness...


Throwing Caution to the Wind...

George is here sitting in "his" Lazy Boy.  I just heard him chuckling loudly at something on the TV.  I thought they saved the funny stuff for prime time?   George has a taste for very terrible television.  He is sipping on an ice cold Milwaukee's Best Ice beer and enjoying himself.

"I'm gonna let you drink inside," I told him sternly an hour ago with a worried look on my face.  "You just can't tempt me, though, man.  I can't stand it.  Any beer left in the fridge will drive me batty.  All alcohol is to leave with you when you head home."

"I'm cool, man," he replied happily with a Cheshire grin.

"Welcome home old friend," I thought as I escaped to my computer room to write about this excitedly.  It is good to settle back into our old routines.   I get so, so lonesome for company.  Now, let me go crack open an ice cold beer!  JUST KIDDING!  Now, I am going to go decorate my Christmas tree while George does his thing.

SNOW!

Any chance of snow, however small, can get me as excited as Maggie about to go on her walk!


The Difference is Dramatic!

I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). The long, dark winter nights can really get me down. Charlie bought me all fluorescent bulbs for the house a few years ago to help with my utility costs. I was never happy with the light they put out. They were dark and dingy. Yesterday, I bought a dozen 200 watt regular light bulbs. You can see the difference below. I am so happy. LET THERE BE LIGHT! Let's stave off the dark.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I-pods and Underwear...

"I am feeling panicky," mom told me this morning.  "I am supposed to go get your Christmas presents today, but don't think I can make it.  Your father told me to go."

"Don't worry about it," I replied. "We'll go together some other day."

I had asked dad for an Apple I-pod classic and a new harness and leash for Maggie for Christmas.  This was going to help keep me walking by having music on-the-go and I felt uncomfortable with Maggie wearing just her collar on the busy highway we walk next to.  The harness was supposed to be escape proof.  Maggie has been known to wiggle out of her collar and it is a frantic and frightening affair with heavy traffic just mere feet away.

"Come by the house and get $400," mom then said. "I have it in my closet."

My jaw dropped to the floor.  I never get to shop other than groceries and haven't in years.  I got so excited!  I was going shopping even if it was only Wal-Mart.  I still can't believe mom trusted me with such a large amount of money.  Dad would skin her hide if he knew.   He would be thinking about me having beer parties and lots of drugs!

Well, I bought my I-pod classic for $245.99 and then bought Maggie the cutest little harness that was fuscia with pink polka dots.   I also bought Maggie a new coordinating leash.  She is going to look so festive and cute!   I used the rest of the money to buy a few groceries that I normally can't afford and several packs of tighter fitting underwear.  I've lost so much weight that my current underwear is too large and my dangly bits hang out very uncomfortably.  I know. I know.  Too much information.  All-in-all it was a grand afternoon and I had so much fun spending lots of money.  

Mom called me when I got home.

"Bring me the change and the I-pod," she said.  "You can't have your big Christmas present until Christmas.  I want to wrap it and put it under the tree."

I laughed and drove right over to hand over the spoils.  Did I tell you I am grilling ribeyes for supper tonight?  I even splurged and got Maggie one as well.  We are going to eat like Kings and Queens tonight!  Now it's time to go get my Christmas tree dad supervised. Dad has gone to get his and Charlie's truck.  Boy, what a busy and eventful day!!!

Temptations I do not Need...

My only side effect from my medications and the schizophrenia these days is constant drooling like a baby.  I will be sitting at the computer and drool will just pour out of the corner of my  mouth and down my shirt.  I will quickly grab a tissue and wipe my face.  It can be very disconcerting and aggravating.   It is the lessor of other evils as far as my schizophrenia goes, though.

George stopped by yesterday for the first time in weeks.  He doesn't come by anymore cause I won't let him drink inside.  He asked me yesterday why I was so militant about it.  He loved to sit in my Lazy Boy and drink while watching TV until he was well oiled.

"I don't need the temptation," I told him yesterday.  "I would love nothing more than to just get fucked up with you.  Just yesterday I had ten dollars and it was all I could muster to not drive down to Fat Albert's and get a twelve pack."

"I want the old times back," George replied. "Those days where me and you would just sit and drink for hours and shoot the shit."

"That's what scares me," I said. "I do too!"

I told Charlie the other day that I needed new pillows for my bedroom and computer room.  He came last night bearing these memory foam monstrosities.  

"They were the best money can buy," he told me. "They're memory foam."

Last night, it was like sleeping on the great Giza Plateau Pyramid.  They were so poofy.  I found myself gravitating back to my old flat pillows late in the wee hours of the morning.  I didn't like sleeping on Mount Hood. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Filed Under: Don't Do That to Your Kid!

I burst out laughing when I saw #4 The Chia Hat!  Thanks Dooce for the laugh!

The Calm Before the Storm?

Y'all, I am feeling so well this week.  It reminds me of the post from yesterday that I titled "Hills and Valleys."  Mental illness is so up and down.   I'm walking with regularity. I'm taking my medications religiously.  I've gotten the bulimia under control.  I am so excited with what each new day may bring. 

Last night, mom called me. "I just want to talk," she said.

"You sound shaky," I told her.

"To be honest, I'm having a panic attack," she replied.

"I'm coming over asap!"

Mom and I talked for an hour as she lay in the bed until she got to feeling better. I sat in what I call the psychiatrist's chair next to the big flat screen television.  

"It's not fair," she told me. "This curse you and I bear."

A tear erupted from my eye.

"Are you crying?"  mom asked, worried.

"I just want peace for me and you," I solemnly replied as I wiped the tear from my eye.

I gave mom a hug, petted her cat Muffin, and left.

In brighter news, I get my Christmas tree tomorrow!  I can't wait to get it in the den and put on the string of lights.  I don't have many ornaments, though.  I have a few boxes of glass balls and some brass bells.  It still looks pretty, though.  I will get up some pictures when I get it decorated.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Ballad of Magdalene...

I will never forget sitting at my computer at my old house.  There was a knock on the door and dad was standing there at the glass with a puppy in his palm.

"She was left for dead," he told me. "She was thrown in a trash dumpster out at the rest area on the interstate.  I found her on my walk.  She was whimpering."

"Is she mine?" I asked excited.

Dad looked real serious.

"I'm entrusting you with another life.  If you treat her well, she will be your best friend for years."

Those were his exact words.  And so Maggie came to live with me and be my little sweetheart.  Or big sweetheart according to whom you ask.  She's getting a little swagger in the rump and the dog door is looking awfully small these days.

On a side note, when Maggie was found, she was just eaten up with fleas.  Dr. Thomas said he had never seen a dog with so many.  She was anemic and it took four visits to the veterinarian to get all the fleas off.  Can you imagine how miserable she must have been?  It was sad, but we emerged victorious. 

Just so you know...

I am trying really hard to give back to my commenters by commenting back.  Be advised that if I go through a rough patch with my schizophrenia, there will be a short interruption.  Thank you all for commenting.  You mean the world to me!  I have been so remiss in not doing this sooner!

Hills and Valleys...

I've felt so much better schizophrenia-wise lately.  This morning my head is so clear and keenly aware.  You don't know how lucky you are to have a well mind.  I feel so well that I am excited about the day to come.   Many days I can dread what may come mental health wise. 

Early this morning around five AM I went to get my Diet Cokes.  Mom leaves them on the back porch on days I feel I can drive.  I was so excited to get home and drink them!  The only mar was the one that was fizzed out.  That means I will get an extra one tomorrow!  Oh, the little joys in life.

Charlie came yesterday.  He is the only person that Maggie will lick on the face.  Maggie has boundaries you know, but not with Charlie.

"Were gonna let you have puppies and I want two or three!" Charlie told Maggie in baby talk.

Maggie squirmed and wiggled, and looked completely at bliss.  I didn't have the heart to tell Charlie Maggie was "fixed" at an early age.  

My walking campaign continues.  I told dad last night that I think the exercise is helping with my moods - making me more positive.  "You need something positive to look forward to and the exercise will do you good," he told me.  "Besides, it's good for Maggie, too!"

I get my Christmas tree this week.  I noticed my chicken bearing neighbors already have their's up and lit.  I am feeling left out.  Sniff, sniff!