Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dissociative Days…

“What in the holy hell is wrong with you?” George asked me last night worried.

George just got finished calling me a “space cadet”. We had just been to an all-you-can-eat catfish establishment. My treat as George sat in the car as I drove us home. We both ate our weight in fried catfish, hush puppies, fries, and slaw.  George had been wanting to go since he got out of jail – one of his favorite restaurants.

“Dissociative behavior,” I replied as George lit up a cigar and buckled his seat belt.

“Dissociative what???” George asked alarmed as he turned to glare at me.

“I feel like I am having an out of body experience,” I told George as I pulled into Mrs. Florene’s driveway. “It is like I am all not completely here in myself.”

George frowned and told me to go home and go to sleep.

“Take three or four of your Klonopin!” he told me as he got out of the car. “And get some rest. Your stressed out!”

I didn’t go home. My uncle recently gave me a Kim Richey compact disc Bitter Sweet and I have been obsessed with it – listening to it over and over. One of the best CDs I have heard in decades.  Every song on the CD has merit.  I drove way out Spring Road to just sit and look at the stars last night where it intersects with the dirt Smedley road. Far out from the glare of the city street lights. It was a surreal experience and it reminded me of all the lonesome nights I spent in college doing the same as I sat drinking beer and smoking cigarettes lost on the back roads of the outskirts of Montevallo, Alabama.

I finally did come home around midnight anxious to check our updated forecast. The weather has also been an all encompassing obsession with me lately with big changes in store for us finally.  I was also anxiously awaiting Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell tonight. Art is rarely on these days and it is treat for dyed in the wool Coast to Coast fans. He was having a psychic witch name Dr. Evelyn Paglini on to interview. I wasn’t disappointed.  It was like the Coast to Coast of old – the Coast to Coast I have so missed these days as it becomes more and more mainstream and milquetoast.

I don’t have any plans for today my day and night off. I will most likely spend it sleeping as usual to escape this dissociative feeling I am experiencing for the past two days. Sleep has become the great escape and I worry I am growing depressed. I have felt completely odd the whole week with each passing day growing easier and better. Last weekend was hard.  It was like those mental illness trials of old. George calling me a space cadet was an ample description of how I’ve been feeling lately – totally spaced out. 

Well, I am off to turn my air down to seventy, pull on a plethora of quilts atop me, and go to bed before dawn arrives.

Friday, September 24, 2010

High Strangeness…

I didn’t feel well yesterday. I slept well. I just woke up feeling mentally discombobulated – a high strangeness that is hard to put words to paper. Mom realized something was wrong when I didn’t come pick up my drinks for yesterday. She brought them by late in the afternoon along with Maggie’s and Caramel’s flea treatment and heartworm medications.

“Are you okay?” mom asked as I answered the door. “You have a strange look on your face.”

“I feel confused,” I told her as she came inside to sit down for a moment.

I haven’t quit taking my Risperdal. I still take 2mg in the mornings before bed. I am also still taking the Paxil. The only difference lately in my habits is that I have been drinking caffeinated drinks again for the first time in many weeks. I will just chalk it up to the mental strangeness I have always experienced from time to time over the years. It is kind of disconcerting in a way that I don’t want to be mentally ill and I don’t want to experience these kinds of symptoms. My first inclination is to stop taking the Risperdal feeling that is the culprit.

It is nothing of the high strangeness mentally I have experienced in the past, though. I could go for weeks and just barely function in some of the harder times of my life. I am still able to go about my day as usual. I have just been acting strangely lately.  Like sitting for hours on the couch just looking out the window. No TV. No music. The hours will just fly by.  For years, on all those medications I couldn’t sit still. Maybe I am still adjusting chemically to all the drastic changes my psychiatrist and I have made lately. I am set to see her next Wednesday and will discuss this sudden arise of strangeness with her. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Going Through the Motions…

I haven’t had much to say lately. Just going through the motions of life. Work. Occasional play in that I am obsessed with music these days with a passion. I’ve been sleeping much better without aid than I have in months. Too much sleep would be what my psychiatrist would tell me.  In my all or nothing fashion I tend to go from one extreme to the other.  

George was sitting in my den last night asking me if we could find a way on the Internet to take off his ankle monitoring device so he could have a drink. I smiled as George went on and on about how “uncomfortable” it is and that it is “embarrassing” to wear. George is still up to his usual antics. I told him he only has about five more months and then it will be off. Give his mother five months of peace. George went on to discuss how great the sex with Pookie has been lately. It made me throw up in my  mouth a little bit as he said it.  I’ve said this many times before, but Pookie is the only crack addict I have ever met that is a hundred pounds overweight. George calls most crack addict women “chickenheads” as they are so skinny and their adam’s apples are so pronounced as their heads bob as they walk.  Of all the women available in the world, George has to pick the only overweight crack addict in the state of Alabama to do the horizontal tango with on a regular basis.  They are like the Bonnie and Clyde of the netherworld.  

Stacey and I are pretty much over with. To be explicitly honest, I was tired of the constant badgering. She grew too codependent on me.  Also, the whole deal with her children made me uncomfortable. I know it will be hard to find a woman my age without children, but I am going to wait and try.  Stacey was also ten years my junior and she still has a lot of growing up to do.  Life still has a few more lessons for her to be even tempered and even keeled.  I grew tired of the constant drama and would rather be alone.  I have grown rather comfortable over these past few years since Rosa and I broke up – comfortable in my bachelorhood. 

Work is still going well. I have settled in this comfortable routine every night.  I couldn’t have found myself in a better shift as far as easing myself back into working with the public and working in retail. It is so quiet at night and I spend much of my time just doing busy work. Stocking shelves mainly. I only have just a handful of customers after midnight and these people tend to be people who either work third shift or sleep in the day.

My father and I rarely talk which is pretty normal. Mom and I talk everyday. Lately, mom has started adding two extra drinks such as diet Sunkist to the six diet Cokes I pick up every morning. She adds these along with a treat such as a snack for the dogs or a snack for me.  I go by after work to pick them up and bring them home to drink them before going to bed. The caffeine doesn’t faze me as far as being able to sleep goes. It never has.

I’ve struggled with that anxiety more lately than I have in months. I don’t know what has changed, but have had the occasional anxiety attack this week. Thankfully, none at work, but they always happen late in the evenings after I have slept all day. I just have to get really quiet and lay on the bed for about an hour until they pass.  Strangely, sometimes they can be almost intoxicating – this strange sensation my body is feeling. I have always enjoyed feeling out of the ordinary or abnormal.  Thus my dabbles with mind altering substances over the years.  It is when they get out of hand do I grow scared.  I have kind of learned to temper them in a way that they are not so severe.  They don’t halt life like they did many months ago when I could barely function.

Well, it is about time for my supervisor to show up for work. I am going to shut down this laptop and get ready to head home. I am looking forward to grabbing some breakfast at a fast food joint and a newspaper, and heading home to get my diet Cokes.  Then sleep will follow.  I will try to get back on a regular writing basis again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Starts With the Heart…

“How many loaves of bread are you getting today?” mom asked me when it started.

I had been feeling shaky all morning. I came home from work and took a 2 and 1/2 hour nap and woke up feeling panicked. I shouldn’t have gone. I clutched my chest as mom looked up at my lack of response.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I am starting to have an anxiety attack,” I told her, asking for the keys to her car.

The grocery store was very busy was part of it. I felt claustrophobic and closed in within the narrow, crowded aisles. Mom was also asking me a hundred questions today as is her custom and it wasn’t helping matters. I just felt totally overwhelmed.

“Go sit in the car and I will buy your groceries,” mom told me. “I pretty much know what you like.”

I raced out to the car at a furious pace, cranking it and turned on the A/C to high. I leaned back in the seat and began to breathe in and out deeply through my nose as my heart thumped in my chest.

“You’re going to be okay,” I told myself reassuringly. “Nobody ever died from a panic attack. This too shall pass.”

It didn’t take mom long to buy my groceries much to my relief. It is always interesting what whims motivate her in what she will buy me. It is kind of like a potluck supper in that you get some interesting surprises when you arrive home to unload. I think mom buys me what looks appetizing to her at the time.

I was so glad to arrive home to my Mag dawg and Caramel. I quickly unloaded my groceries. Put them away. Then I took a Klonopin and settled into my Laz-E-Boy for the pill to take effect. You can almost mark your watch as it will take exactly thirty minutes and then suddenly my heart will quit racing as the medication enters my bloodstream. It is such a feeling of calm and relief as if you just passed the finish line running a marathon. These anxiety attacks really take a lot out of you mentally and physically as your body struggles to cope with this odd and strange malfunction.     


Mom stayed over at my house all day Saturday. Dad went to the Auburn ballgame after watching football all morning. Mom cycles. She is on one of her low ebbs at the moment and is sleeping a lot. How she can just lie in the bed for hours all day after sleeping all night is beyond me. I kind of cycled myself and slept a lot as well – not leaving me with much to write about. It was the sleep of ages for me – having got caught up on some much needed and missed sleep after a few weeks of getting adjusted to working nights.

Work is very slow tonight. I’ve had one customer in hours and he was just a gawker, gawking at all our television display models. I hate to answer a hundred questions and not make a sale. It seems like such a waste of time, but maybe he will be back to buy a TV tomorrow sometime.  

The store is dead from midnight to about 6am. We close off the sundry side doors leaving only the grocery side doors open and I think this confuses people with them thinking we are closed. We only have one point of sale open tonight and it is a very big Wal-Mart so that shows you how slow we are tonight.

George told me yesterday that his job was the most boring, monotonous job he had ever had.

“Would you rather be sitting in jail?” I asked him, miffed.

“No,” George replied. “That puts things into perspective.” 

The Gossip Line…

“George is having sex with that Pookie again,” Mrs. Florene told me last night before work.

The way she said it made me choke back a laugh. She sounded as if George was cavorting with Satan and it is not far from the truth.

“She picked him up yesterday and they were gone for hours.”

I sighed and told Mrs. Florene that George was a grown man and must make these kinds of choices for himself. 

Mrs. Florene was also really upset that George chose to go to his usual Saturday night poker game where there would lots of drinking going on. George is playing with fire, but I can’t say much as I have often done so in my life as well. You live and you learn as they say.

Arise From the Dead and Go Forth My Minions…

“I am craving a hotdog and some tots,” I told mom late Saturday night, rousing her from the bed in my computer room. “Let’s go to Sonic.”

Mom immediately perked up at the prospect. Mom wanted a chocolate shake really badly foregoing her diet this weekend night.

“I would eat like this all the time,” mom told me as we sat in her car and ate. “I’d weigh 500 pounds, though.”

I smiled. Our meal was delicious and mom enjoyed getting out after being inside all day with me sleeping. She said she didn’t sleep, but just lay there all day. I have my suspicions we might have got a few naps in. :-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Neither a Borrower Nor Lender Be They Say…

“Can I borrow $20 bucks?” George asked me as he arrived at work this morning.

“What for?” I asked warily, sounding like my father.

“It’s for sodas and lunch,” George replied. “Momma is being chitzy with her money fearing I will drink on it. I can’t wait for payday.”

I pulled out my wallet and gave George $20 bucks. He thanked me profusely and headed back out to get busy bringing in the carts.

I think Mrs. Florene and I are both warily anticipating payday – fearing George will go back to his old ways. A pretty new liquor store opened up just a mile from Mrs. Florene’s house and it both worries us. George could easily walk down and get a drink. It would be a matter of days before his parole officer downloaded the data off his monitoring device and it would be a go back to jail free card for him – violating parole.

Video Game Mania…

I had a man walk in my department around midnight. He spent a long time surveying the video game cabinet.

“I hear the Wii is for kids,” he told me passingly.

I disagreed, telling him all about the Wii fit and other “party” games that were popular for adults.

“I like the Zelda games personally,” I told him. “And I am 38 years old.”

Halo Reach has been our biggest seller this week – causing a frenzy among Xbox 360 gamers. Just another first person shooter in a video game market glutted with them is my thoughts on the matter. What happened to flight simulators and strategy games? Games that made you think and learn? Not just “twitch” games as I call them.

The man purchased a Playstation 3 and about four games. I told him that soon Sony would be rolling out controllers and capabilities similar to Nintendo’s Wii. He was excited to get home to play. He must have been in his forties which surprised me. I am finding myself having to put in a concerted effort to keep up with video game technology and happenings with me not playing regularly, and they are a big part of our department. 

Sleep, Beautiful Sleep…

I unplugged my landline, turned off my cellphone and I curled up in the bed with Maggie and Caramel after lunch yesterday. It had been about an hour since I had taken the Percogesic dad gave me yesterday morning. I was soundly asleep for hours. I woke up only once when Maggie decided that the room had grown cold and she wanted up under the covers and against my warm back.  I smiled and told her, “Good girl!” and was soon back asleep. The Percogesic made me feel groggy for the rest of the day, though. I could have slept much longer if I wasn’t for my bladder and stomach protesting around 8pm.

I turned back on my cellphone and immediately within moments had a call. I am glad I had turned it off. It was mom.

“Did you get some sleep?” mom asked anxiously. “Helen told me not to bring your plate and it worried me.”

“I finally got a good seven hours of sleep,” I told her.

“I am going to drive over now and bring your supper and your cokes,” mom told me getting off the phone.

Helen’s Friday meal was delicious as I sat in the kitchen and ate as mom watched on and talked.   The meatloaf was especially flavorful – Helen having cooked it to perfection. It was a very nice treat after such a good day of rest. I was starving when I awoke.

“I dread tomorrow so much,” mom said with a very audible sigh.

“Why?” I asked, always amused at my mother’s antics and whims.

“Your father is off of work and will watch football ALL day!”

I laughed deeply, understanding how mom felt.

“It’s not funny!” mom exclaimed. “He will just obsess over it and the TV will be so loud it will drive me crazy. I am probably coming over here with you and the dogs to sleep.”

I smiled and told her we would be glad to have her. It would thrill Maggie’s little soul to lie in the bed all day with mom. Maggie loves mom’s visits more than any other person that visits the house.  Caramel is much more aloof about such matters.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sleep Overcome Me!

I just apprehensively drove to my father’s pharmacy feeling it was best to do what I was about to do face to face instead of on the phone. I needed relief and I needed it today. Friday’s are dad’s slow day with a co-pharmacist on duty. Mom says he sits in his office on the Internet and watching TV. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to ask for help in getting some sleep. The Ambien is just not working any longer and my Klonopin are like taking a placebo.

“Dad?” I asked as we walked out into the pharmacy away from the busy counter. “Do you have any thing over the counter I can take for sleep?”

“We both know you can’t take Benadryl,” dad replied as we surveyed all our options where the OTC medications are kept. “You’ve have addiction issues with it in the past. Tylenol PM and Advil PM all have Benadryl in them as the active sleep ingredient. 25mg of it.”

For years, dad gave me six Benadryl per night during our medication ritual. I would take all six and go to bed. It certainly did knock me out, but I don’t think taking six Benadryl at a time is such a good idea and not my most smartest of moments over the years.

“Let’s give you two Percogesic and take some Tylenol and aspirin,” dad finally said. “Now, the Percogesic is going to knock you out. Don’t take them and drive.”

I thanked dad profusely and gave him a hug. I would just about do anything for a full day’s sleep including going against my best inclinations and asking dad for help. Let’s hope the Percogesic do the trick.

Macaroni and Cheese Time…

I left the pharmacy and stopped by mom and dad’s to get my six diet Cokes for the day to put in the fridge for tonight at work. Helen was sitting out on the porch and drinking her a soda. It is Helen Fridays and i was anxious to find out just what Helen was cooking today.

“Your father surprised me,” Helen told me. “He wanted meat loaf, macaroni and cheese, fried okra, field peas and biscuits.”

Oh, my stomach started to grumble. I couldn’t wait for today’s meal to be ready this afternoon. Helen’s meat loaf and macaroni and cheese are divine!

“Tell mom not to wake me up!” I told Helen profusely. “Tell her I will pick up my plate when I wake up this afternoon.”

“I sure will, baby,” Helen replied. “Well, Mr. John will be home at three to eat so I better get cooking.”

Helen gave me a hug and told me to go home and get some good sleep. She said she would be thinking about me today. I told her I loved her and left to take my medications and go to bed. It is time to snuggle with my pups and go to sleep – the Percogesic I took thirty minutes ago already taking affect. I am about so sleepy I can barely stay awake.

I Guess It’s Over…

Stacey came storming into the house last night saying we needed to talk. I knew exactly what that meant when a woman says that.

“This is just not going to work,” she told me with a furious look on her face. “I never get to see you and when I do, you are sleepy and tired.”

“What can I do about it?” I asked, flummoxed. “I have to go to work! I have to support myself!”

“I think we need some time to just think about where YOU want to take things!”

“Fine,” I said complacently and she left after staying only a few moments.

I had already cooked supper and set the table. I sat and ate alone last night. I guess it’s over. I haven’t heard from her since. I am thinking I jumped into a relationship too soon into my recovery anyway. I felt an odd sense of relief last night at the possibility of no longer being badgered about our relationship for a change. I am just going to lie low and put the ball in Stacey’s court. Let her do what she will. Mentally and anxiety-wise, I can’t take any fights or arguments. I have enough on my plate at the moment for the time being with work.

Cellphones Galore…

I have to work again tonight and the overtime will be nice. I didn’t complain or balk when my supervisor asked me to work six days in a row once again. Nights are boring without work – with me just sitting at home alone all night with nothing to do, but use the Internet and watch TV.  Most of my Twitter friends are asleep and Facebook is a wasteland after midnight.

Cellphones kept me busy last night. Everyone was wanting our new low cost plans and phones. I am urged to sell the most cellphone for the most money, but I am like these people and realize I spent too much money on my Crackberry and an expensive data plan. I should’ve bought something more simple and economical. These new Wal-Mart branded phones we are selling have few bells and whistles, though, so are not for the tech savvy consumer. They are just for people who only casually and intermittently use their phones – not for the power user.  They are mainly for very frugal people and low income families. I think it is a good thing our company is doing and so good for competition in a cellphone market glutted with expensive phones and outrageous service plans.

A Political Animal…

“I am hoping we can get another tax cut,” Jim told me last night eating his turkey and Swiss on rye. “Be sure to vote coming up!”

“Oh, I am the kind of person you don’t want to vote,” I replied with a warm smile and laugh. “I believe in taxes and think we must pay our part to help the common good. I just wish the money was spent wisely and not on the military and wars. I think the tax system needs to be reformed, though. Our tax code is over 70,000 pages long! I would like to see a flat tax or a national sales tax.”

“What would you spend the money on if you were President?” Jim asked.

“Education and economic stimulus for family owned businesses,” I replied. “I would bolster the middle class and do away with welfare for corporations.”

“But you work for one of the biggest, most profitable corporations in our country,” Jim said contrarily.

“I know,” I replied. “It is a bit of irony with my unorthodox political and socioeconomically interesting leanings, but it was an economic necessary evil for me.”

Update on George…

George’s keen sense of humor has seemed to have returned after his long tenure in prison. This morning he was talking about all the women he was going to bed in the upcoming months before Christmas. I laughed as I walked alongside of him as he pushed in a long string of carts. I realize my best friend can be kind of simple minded at times – the most basic human needs and aspirations motivating him. 

“You need to experience a black woman at least once in your life,” George told me.

I smiled as I told him I think I was with a black woman once sexually, but was too drunk to remember it.

“That doesn’t count,” George said with a serious look on his face. “You would have remembered it as a good black woman would knock your socks off!”

I burst out laughing and told George I was always open to possibilities.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Look Out! It’s Mom on the Road!

“My new car is making a strange noise when I take the key out of the ignition to get out,” mom said on the phone last night worried, afraid to tell my father. “It’s a buzzing sound. It has been doing it all afternoon. I was almost afraid to drive it all day today.”

I was due for work in an hour, but decided to drive over anyway – worried something was bad wrong with mom’s new Civic. Mom had the garage door up and ready for me when I arrived. I immediately knew what the problem was when I pulled up behind mom’s parked car. Her parking lights were on and the buzzing sound was the car telling her she left her lights on when she took her key out.

“Don’t tell your father!” mom pleaded with me. “I feel so stupid! I can’t believe I had left the lights on. I don’t remember turning them on. They must have been on all day!”

Earlier in the day, mom and I took a long drive down through the Valley again as has become our daily custom after my therapy appointment. She came within inches of slamming into a big Dodge Ram truck. It would have been an airbag moment. 

“Holy Shit!” I exclaimed as mom swerved to miss it. “That was so close!”

My heart was just racing a hundred miles an hour after the incident.  Mom’s hands were shaking violently as she gripped the steering wheel. It seems mom is not going to be able to drive much longer – at least not extended visits through the traffic in town. She will be 66 this March. I am going to drive her to Connie’s down in Auburn next week fearing her driving that long drive down the interstate would prove disastrous. Hopefully, she will still be able to drive to her three hair appointments each week with them being just a half mile from home.  But dad and I are going to have to make a more concerted effort at getting her around. This means lots of doctor’s appointments and waiting in lobbies. I could always just drop her off and she could call me on her cellphone when she is ready to come home I guess. I am also going to do all the driving on our daily trips through the Valley from now on.

Getting Into My Mind…

“Today is the first day I have felt anxiety in over a week,” I told my Therapist somewhat proudly yesterday morning during our therapy session.

“What’s the big change today?” she asked as she studiously looked over my anxiety workbook carefully and all my short notations for this week and last.

“The stress of getting all the way down here,” I replied, feeling that was the most likely culprit. “It is a long drive and the traffic was just absolutely crazy coming down the interstate and within Auburn. I wish you were closer. I don’t much care for driving these days.”

“That’s understandable and normal,” she said as she closed my workbook and folded her hands in her lap.

“So, what else is going on with you?” she asked, trying to lead the conversation after a lull.

“Insomnia,” I replied, exasperated. “I am having the most awful and terrible time sleeping. I sleep in spurts for about three hours at a time, then I am up wide awake again. I repeat this throughout the day. I constantly feel tired not getting eight uninterrupted hours of sleep.”

I told her I am still taking my Ambien which makes me feel groggy somewhat, but I fear I have grown chemically resistant to the Klonopin – those pills doing nothing for me as far as rest goes. They used to make me feel so relaxed and comfortable.  I would enjoy lying in the bed as I felt them take effect. Now, I feel nothing when I take my three for the day as I go to bed. We both agreed to talk to my doctor at the end of September at my next appointment. It is common to grow resistant to benzodiazepines she told me.

“How is your new position going?” she then asked very inquisitively and eagerly after I told her about my new job.

“I love it!” I replied very honestly with much enthusiasm. “I love working nights. My job is very stress free. The night’s are so quiet. I have a passion for electronics and enjoy sharing it with my customers – the few I have.”

“Well, that certainly helps to love your job,” my therapist replied with a smile of encouragement. “You have come so far since our first visits. You’re one of my success stories.”

That made me feel so good with her saying that.

I left therapy for my usual custom of breakfast at Hardee’s as I browsed the web wirelessly with my iPad as I sat and ate – those two steak biscuits being a delicious treat. 

iPad Ruminations…

Don’t worry Apple fans, I am still enjoying my iPad as an internet browsing machine and a media server. I also use it a lot to keep up with the weather for which I am obsessed with, but it is no substitute for my laptop as far as computing at work goes. My favorite use for my iPad is to lay in bed and browse – it being so small, light and convenient. I can’t blog with it, though, I have found which is one of my primary computer uses these days. I realize it is just a very expensive toy. This is an observation and not a criticism mind you. It will never replace my desktop or my laptop for most of my daily computer uses since I am a power user as far as computers go.

Free HDTV!

I clocked in tonight and immediately made a purchase of my own. I purchased a digital optical toslink cable for my HDTV after learning last night I could still get my basic HDTV channels without my cable box. I was overjoyed last night when I reprogrammed my HDTV and it picked up many digital channels that the cable company must allow for free by law since they are available over the air with an antenna. I can’t wait to get home to see if I have Dolby digital surround sound with the channels and the digital optical hookup.

Work has been slow other than that. I’ve had a few people browsing cellphones tonight and asking lots of questions about service plans. These plans are commitments and can get expensive. That’s why the phones are so cheap to purchase. The cell companies make all their money on the service plans which subsidizes the cost of all but the most popular and expensive phones.

One man asked me a question that stumped me about his Charter digital cable service. I have Knology at home and have no idea about Charter. I told him to call his cable company when he got home. He wanted to know if his digital cable had Dolby digital surround sound. I told him I doubted it from my own experiences with Knology’s digital cable. Only the HDTV channels had true surround sound. The digital channels would be in stereo, but it would only be Dolby Pro Logic surround – a big difference from Dolby digital which is true 5.1 surround.

Dating and Women…

Jim showed up on his lunch break at three as usual.

“You always make me so hungry with those deli sandwiches,” I told him with a smile as I rung him up. “They look delicious!”

“What’s going on with you tonight?” Jim asked.

“The usual,” I replied. “Stocking items and cleaning and straightening shelves.”

“That’s my job,” Jim told me. “That’s what I do for eight hours every night in the grocery department. I loathe it!”

We didn’t discuss politics or religion tonight much to my relief. We talked about women for a change, and it was a nice change.

“I’ve never been married,” he told me. “But I’ve dated a lot of women.”

I can’t imagine a woman being interested in Jim. To be frank, he is quite frumpy and disheveled looking every night. I guess there is a woman for every man it seems. I smiled at the thought of some of the women Jim might have dated over the years.

My dating life has been put on hold for the time being with me working nights. Stacey is entirely not happy with it either. We do try to get together every night for supper which I prepare, but we don’t get to go out to eat which she so adores. She misses us sleeping nights together as well and our nightly ritual of lying in the bed as we browse the web. I don’t know much what to do about it, but hope for the best. Maybe a position in days will open up in the next few months, but I am not getting my hopes up. I doubt Derrick will be quitting soon. He has worked in electronics for years.

An Email from a Reader…

Hi Jonathon,
I've been a long-time reader but don't comment much.

I wonder if you can give me some advice?  It is computer/web-site related.

Recently my grandson stayed with me for about a month. While here, he found this website:

and he watched about 4 scary/zombie type movies on it and a couple new movies that are still in the theaters at this time.  He said he did not download anything, did not join names exchanged, no passwords required.....but he enjoyed the movies in their entirety, although some of them weren't the best quality. I have excellent virus protection as well as a firewall and it did permit him to go there.  I've scanned my system several times since and I did not pick up any viruses or spyware from the site.

My question is......Can this be legal?  My dad always told me "there is no free lunch" and I am suspicious. Remember all the trouble those people got into from songs on Napster?  My grandson says its "streaming" and since you're not downloading anything and only watching without keeping it, its not illegal.  Is this true?  Do you know?  I'm afraid to go back there.

Thanks for any help you can give me. I love reading your are such an inspiration to so many. Do you have any idea how many people look up to you?  God Bless you and yours.

Reader, your dad was right. There is no free lunch and this website is doing this illegally. If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.  Since it is streaming, you are less likely to get sued than the offending website. You just can’t own a copy of the movies in question. 

This brings me to something I have been saying for years – that these media companies have got to start making these movies and music easily available online for purchase to skirt piracy. I quit downloading music illegally when iTunes arrived on the scene. It was convenient and economical. Anytime I wanted an album or song, I could easily go to iTunes and download it. It was easier than searching on Pirate Bay and going through bittorrent to download it for free. That whole piracy process was a hassle and it stopped when I had an easily viable way to get music on the Internet at .99 cents per song.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Started Yesterday…

The beta for IE9 started yesterday. You can download it at Microsoft’s homepage. So far, I like it. It is a much quicker and more responsive browser than IE8 or IE7. Hopefully, Microsoft will be as adept at updating as Mozilla is about Firefox. I tried to like Firefox, but found the download manager entirely not to my liking. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Taste of Fall…

“It’s cold as a witches’ tit outside!” George was saying this morning as he walked into electronics.

I was busy putting away boxes of new DVDs and Blu-Rays that just had arrived. I pulled out my Crackberry and browsed to my favorite weather source and the temperature said 58 degrees.

“Ah fall,” I mused mainly to myself.

George was entirely not dressed for this weather – having on a t-shirt under his smock and some light pants. I gave him the keys to my car and told him to go get the pullover I had put in the trunk the previous evening just for such occasions. He thanked me and left.

It was slow night at work. I only had a handful of customers all night. I spent most of yesterday sleeping after working on the template for my blog for a few hours. I keep trying new templates hoping I will find one i will like – never being content with the status quo. 

Yesterday morning, mom and I went for another ride. She had yet another doctor’s appointment – one of the countless many she has every month. This got her out of the house early. We stopped by Fat Albert’s to get drinks and snacks – her having already been by my father’s pharmacy for certain items and she was afraid to make another visit for more drinks fearing it would upset my father.

“I know my driving scares you,” mom told me as we toodled down busy highway 29 at 25mph – cars whizzing past us at a furious pace.

I smiled, but didn’t share my most obvious thoughts that mom drives like she is eighty years old. I was just content to sit in the passenger’s seat as I drank my diet Mountain Dew and ate a mini pecan pie.

“Your therapy session is tomorrow,” mom then told me having checked my healthcare calendar before she left to pick me up.

I wonder what I will talk about at therapy today. I have been studiously keeping my anxiety workbook updated – my anxiety levels being almost nonexistent these days. I fear we won’t have much to talk about with things being very quiet lately mentally and both with my family. 


I found an awesome new program yesterday that helps organize all your social media outlets, IMs, and email. It is called Dixsby and so far it is working perfectly both on my laptop and my main computer. You can check it out here. I am connected to so much social media these days and Dixsby makes it easy to organize it all with a single program.

As far as social media goes, I still have misgivings about Facebook. It is just frankly boring. It seems out of the many friends I have most are gawking and not writing content. People spend more time changing their profile pictures than actually writing about their lives. My brother said when he was in town a few weeks ago the he was too shy to post to Facebook. Maybe this is how many feel. I am finding I had to change the way I used and viewed Facebook to make it a viable social media outlet for me. I have followed a lot of sites like Mashable and am mainly using it as a news aggregator and a way to let my friends know I have updated my two blogs. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Man of My Own Heart…

“Can I help you?” I asked enthusiastically as a young man walked into my department around midnight.

“I need help!” the young man said with a warm smile. “I want a small LCD television and want to hook up all my televisions and cable Internet in one room using the single cable line coming in from the floor.”

“I can help you with that!” I replied, getting to work.

We walked over to the aisle with all the cables. I got him a five way 2400 MHz cable splitter and plenty of RG-6 shielded cable line – perfect for keeping the integrity of his cable Internet signal.

“What kind of TV are you looking for?” I then asked as we walked over to all the display models.

“Something around 27 inches to 32 inches,” he said. “I don’t mind spending money. I want something nice with high definition capability.”

I explained to him the pros and cons of some of our models and we finally decided on a Sharp 32” model. He was pleased and so was I to be able to help. It is customers like this that make my job a joy – sharing my enthusiasm for all things electronic.

“Can I hook up my iPod to my home theater?” he then asked.

“That is easy!” I replied as we walked back over to the cable aisle and I showed him the cable he needed.

“I can’t wait to get home and get this all hooked up!” he replied with an enthusiasm that warmed my heart.

The sale was over $600 dollars and he put it on his Visa card.

A Moderate Am I…

“What are your political leanings?” Jim asked me tonight as he ate his sandwich at my counter.

I’ve been very obtuse about my politics with regards to Jim – choosing just to stay incognito.

“I am a moderate,” I finally replied.

“Is there even a moderate party?” Jim asked.

“If there are Libertarians, then I am sure there is a moderate party,” I replied.

“Why choose a party that will never get in office?” he asked. “It is a wasted vote.”

“No vote is ever wasted,” was my reply. “I believe in meeting in the middle in compromise. The extremes of our two party system are what is wrong with modern politics in America. We can never come to a consensus.”

I gave Jim much food for thought. He didn’t deride me very much as I was expecting. He is very outspoken and a staunch Republican with extremist leanings so I expected to get an ear full.

“Who did you vote for in the last election?” Jim then asked.

“I voted Democrat. Obama,” I replied. “I had great hopes for Obama changing the country for the better, but so far he has disappointed me. It is politics as usual on Capitol Hill.”

“That’s what you get for voting for a democrat,” Jim blurted with a smirk.

I just sighed and wished we could talk about the weather or work. Anything, but politics.

5am and Another Day of Gathering Carts has Started…

I just walked out to check on George. Mrs. Florene had just dropped him off and he clocked in. He was on his own today – left to his own devices.  He already had a long string of carts at the ready to bring in.

“Is this all there is to this job?” George asked me kind of miffed at the simplicity of the position.

“You aren’t tired of the job already, are you?” I asked warily.

“No,” George replied. “It is just kind of monotonous.”

I laughed. I reveled in the monotony of that job when I had it. I liked that fact that I had the same thing to do everyday with little deviation. It was very ritualistic and I revel in rituals which grok my obsessive compulsive tendencies.

“At least my boss is hot!” George exclaimed with a laugh. “She sure is a looker!”

She is a very pretty woman. I have no doubts that George would have her in bed at a moment’s notice – George having no qualms about such things. I took some solace in that my old supervisor is entirely not interested in George in a sexual manner.  She reserves that for me – with the advances still coming fast and furious. It drives Stacey crazy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Buying Time…

“Mom?” I asked at my mother’s disheveled appearance this morning. “Let’s go inside and fix your hair.”

Mom was very early today to buy groceries. She had basically just crawled out of the bed and into the car. She said she wanted to get it over with – that it had been worrying her all morning. Mom looked very amiss.

I helped mom fix her hair using lots of hairspray and we ironed her shirt. I then drove us to the grocery store. Sometimes mom just needs a little extra attention from her loved ones. 

“I am going to spend some money today,” she told me as if warning me. “I am out of books to read and I am going to buy me and you lots of books at the grocery store.”

I only spent $77 dollars today. I splurged and bought a rotisserie chicken for Maggie and Caramel as a treat. Mom thought I was crazy spending $3.99 on a chicken for the dogs.

Mom has a strong affinity for the grocery baggers at Kroger. Many of them have disabilities or mental deficiencies.

“Hey Chris,” she said very happily to our bagger today. “I will be by tomorrow to buy my husband’s and my groceries and will give you a big tip for helping me.”

Chris smiled vigorously, nodding his head and said something that mom and I both couldn’t decipher – his speech being garbled.

Mom bought a plethora of books from Sandra Brown to Anne Rice. I was very pleased when mom agreed to buy me a $50 dollar iTunes gift card instead of books – being more interested in music these days.

My Pantry Runneth Over…

My freezer and kitchen cabinets are now full of food. I just haven’t had an appetite after coming off all those medications. When I was on the high levels of Risperdal, I could eat you out of house and home. I eat a lot of simple cheese and turkey sandwiches these days.  I haven’t lost weight, though. My weight continues to hover from between 175 to 180 pounds.

It feels good to have so much food in the house. Often, I will go into the kitchen to open the freezer just to survey my bounty with much pleasure.  For so many years, it was a struggle keeping food in the house – me always feeling badly when I would run out and would have to ask my parents for more. It was an entirely demeaning and demoralizing process. Dad controlled my disability money with an iron fist and would howl in protest if I ever needed extra food.  

I told mom of all the food I have now on the drive home and she suggested we start buying groceries only every other week to please my father by spending less disability money.

“No way,” I replied with a scoff. “I am going to use that $85 dollars of grocery money dad gives me every week to my supreme advantage. I will start buying canned goods and non perishable items next week. I am going to continue to stock up!”

Surprise Visit…

Luckily, a moment ago I was standing in the aisle with the printers straightening all the expensive printer ink – gloating over the prices we charge.

“How are things going?” I heard a voice over my shoulder.

I turned to look and it was my new supervisor. A few minutes ago, he would have caught me on my iPad browsing comments on I will have to be more careful as the shift ends from now on.

“Your doing a good job,” he told me patronizingly. “The department always looks good every morning when I come in.”

He left to do what supervisors do on early morning arrivals – no doubt to go cohort with the other supervisors in the store – drinking coffee and reveling in their employee’s antics.

I was anxiously awaiting 5am to arrive this morning. George was set to show along with my old supervisor. The part-time guy was going to train him today. 5am rolled around and I walked outside to look and George was already busy bringing in carts with the part-time guy directing him.

“Hey sweetheart!” my old supervisor said as I was walking in the store and caught her near customer service.

I smiled vigorously – so glad to see her and so pleased with how things were going this morning.  We talked for a few moments until I had to get back to my department – me being the only person on duty this early in the morning.

Jim stopped by earlier in the night with his usual purchase. Jim and I are creatures of habit – having the same nightly routines. Jim is very mainstream, conservative and religious as far as a black man in the South goes. We would never be friends if it were not for our common cause of work. We talked this morning of him being born again in Christianity. I feigned interest as I am not a very religious man, although I am well versed in religious matters. The discussion turned to Easter and how Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I had to resist my inclination to be cynical and say it was holiday rooted in pagan origins – originating with spring and the renewal of the Earth after a winter bereft of growth. There are a lot of pagan correlations with Christianity and many of our holidays. Most of our conversations revolved around me listening and Jim preaching to his one man choir. I have learned with people like Jim that it is best not to blurt out my unorthodox beliefs on matters religious and political.  

Well, it is 6am. I have an hour to go and then I am going to check on George and head home. Today is grocery day and mom will be by around lunch before her hair appointment for us to go. I hope to get in a few hours of sleep before then.  I am already very sleepy this morning. Those warm covers are going to feel so good on this cool morning.  It was another good night of work. I am pleased.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Obsessive Auburn Fans…

“Your father has watched the Auburn game three times today over and over,” mom said as she walked in my house. “He is just obsessed!”

“What are you doing?” I asked, smiling at mom’s exasperation and also surprised at mom’s unannounced visit.

“I just couldn’t take it any more and came over here to be with you where it is quiet. Your father is going deaf and turns the TV up so loud it is maddening.”

I went back to toodling with my computers as mom lay on the bed in the computer room talking about all her problems which she seemingly has many.  Caramel was sleeping on the couch and Maggie jumped up on the bed to be with mom.

“I finally got my pain pills,” mom told me as she lay there on her side. “I was determined not to hurt anymore.”

“Have they helped?” I asked, intrigued.

“Immensely!” mom exclaimed. “I just took two before coming over here. I am waiting for them to take effect. My back and leg is killing me. I have found I have to take two pills to get the best effect.”

Things got quiet after awhile as I looked over at the bed and mom had fallen asleep. I turned down the Bjork CD I was listening to and settled in for a quiet and pleasant afternoon of browsing the web and blog writing.

George’s First Day of Work…

Tomorrow is the big day – a day of reckoning for me. Will George show up for work? Will he work hard and please my old supervisor? I have a friendship in my old supervisor riding on this. I am pretty content that George will do his best. He has always been a hard worker. 

I talked to George briefly on the phone this afternoon.

“Run me by the shot house,” he asked pleadingly.

“No way!” I said. “That is just too much temptation and you don’t need to be spending your mother’s Social Security money on prostitutes!”

George laughed goodheartedly acquiescing and agreed it would be a lot of temptation for just his second day home. I was relieved when he dropped the subject and we started to talk about work.

“What is my boss like?” George asked.

I thought for a long moment about how best to describe her.

“Sexual,” I finally said bluntly.

“Hot damn!!!” George said laughing. “I like a sexy boss!”

I laughed in turn.

I then asked George what Mrs. Florene cooked for Sunday dinner – glad that Mrs. Florene could settle back into her old routines she has performed for years.

“She cooked fried cubed steak, broccoli, rice and gravy, and biscuits,” he said. “You should’ve came and ate with us.”

It did sound wonderful, but I was soundly asleep around noon when Mrs. Florene would be getting out of church and cooking.

Looking Back on a Week in My New Position…

Well, I have now worked six days, eight days counting training, in my new position. I really like my job. I enjoy working at night – always having been a night owl. It is also pleasantly slow and stress free during the early hours of the morning. Derrick says days are gangbusters. My biggest fears were running the point of sale and handling money. I have never been good at math and making change, but the register does that for me thankfully.  Like Derrick said, “Even a monkey could run the point of sales.” Walmart makes it easy for even the most mentally deficient person.

Everynight is pretty much the same. I clock in around 10:50pm and put away my lunch, sodas and snacks, and put on my smock. 11pm to midnight is usually steady with the last customers of the day and then it settles into this quiet calm.  Much of my job is centered around stocking items for sale for the next day. I am also responsible for cleaning up the shelves, fronting the items, and getting things looking neat for the next day. I usually get caught up around 3am when Jim visits me on his lunch break and we talk for awhile.  Then, it is time to goof off and I get out my iPad or laptop. I am finding having the iPad at work to be much more stealthy – easily thrust under the counter when a customer or coworker approaches.  I am going to try blogging with it tonight with a new app Syd suggested. I am still getting used to the onscreen keyboard and the lack of tactile feedback.

I look forward to work tonight – having got lots of good sleep today. Before long, I will be cooking supper, ironing my clothes for work and will take a shower and shave. Just the mundane, daily rituals we all go through when working a job – rituals I didn’t have in my life for eight long years. It has been a pleasant and much needed change in my life – to have purpose and to be self supporting.

This and That…

  • Well, it is safe to say that most of you think anonymous comments are a bad idea. I will leave them off for most likely permanently. If you want to comment, then sign up for a Google account.

  • Stacey asked me to help her get out of debt last night. I was overjoyed to help – often worrying about her tendency to frivolously charge items on her many credit cards. She loves to shop for clothes and jewelry online. I told her it is going to take probably a year, but we could do it.

  • Mom called me last night complaining about dad’s obsessive football watching habits. I smiled. I don’t much care for watching the games, but I will keep up with the scores on  Dad and my brother are just fanatical about it, though.

  • I cooked mom’s spaghetti last night and it was delicious. I made a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette and toasted some barbecue bread. Stacey has decided this is her favorite recipe of mom’s.

  • Stacey is in the bed at the moment with Caramel and Sadie. Maggie got up with me and is lying on the bed in my computer room. She insists on staying in any room I am in. She is my constant companion with Caramel being more aloof about such things.

  • I was overjoyed tonight when I found out how to change the resolution on my HDTV to it’s non-native resolution. I have it hooked up to my computer as my main monitor and this gives me extremely much more screen real estate. I was so happy and it is like having a whole new computer.

  • I am passingly listening to Coast to Coast AM at the moment. They are talking about some “monkey virus” and the death of Sonny Bono not being an accident. I am not entirely interested in tonight’s program, but listen out of habit.

  • I am still enjoying my iPad. I had to yank it out of Stacey’s hands last night as we lay in the bed browsing. I am going to buy her one for Christmas. She loves it. It is really great for just browsing the web, which is mainly what I normally do. I use my laptop and main computer to update the blog.

  • I spent a long time yesterday putting together another second hand computer out of parts I had lying around. I’ve got it connected wirelessly in the den where I can stream the music off my 2 terabyte drive in my main computer to my surround system in that other room. Stacey says I am obsessed with computers just like my ex-wife always used to say. 

  • I am trying to decide what I want for Christmas. I have $500 dollars to spend. I am thinking a new digital surround system for my computer and a new sound card. I listen to most of my music through my computer these days.

  • I mowed two lawns for $50 dollars late yesterday afternoon. It was just sweltering, though. I was glad to finish and get home to start supper and see Stacey.

  • I am about to drive over to get my six diet Cokes for the day. This is one of the more pleasing ritruals I experience everyday. I love the early morning drive as I listen to the CD du jour.  

  • I was toying with the idea of quitting taking my Risperdal. I am on only 2mg per night now.  I was on 8 1/2 miligrams at one point. I feel it makes me feel tired and fatigued. I just want to be off all these medications. As my medication levels continue to drop, I feel better and better as each week passes. I can be so impatient.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Reunion…

Mrs. Florene cooked George’s favorite meal last night. Pot roast with potatoes and carrots, Southern style sticky rice and gravy, green beans, and biscuits. She also cooked a chocolate pie which is also one of George’s favorite desserts.

“You would think you were on death row and it was your last meal,” I told him laughing as I ate a piece of pie myself.

Mrs. Florene smiled so proudly as she cleaned up the kitchen after supper and George and I talked as we sat at the table drinking glasses of delightfully sweet tea.

“It is hard to describe,” George said. “This prison thing. I thought I would go crazy every day with nothing to do. I’ve been to county jail before, but state prison was a whole ‘nother world.”

“You wrote to me a lot about prison gangs,” I replied. “Was it that bad?”

“It was terrible,” George said. “They censored my letters to you so I couldn’t write the truth, but gangs were rampant. If you weren’t in a gang then you were ostracized by the prison community. You always had to watch out for shanks – toothbrushes filed to a sharp point used as weapons.”

I could only imagine what George had been through. It must have been terrible, and by what he was revealing to me, it was.

“Tell me about my job," George then asked excitedly changing the subject to more positive things.

“I worked it for two months,” I replied. “You will be gathering and bringing in all the carts every early morning till the afternoon. It is a simple job, but satisfying.  At least, it was for me.”

George thanked me for getting him the job. It was one of the prime deciding factors to him getting parole.

After dessert, George and I walked outside like old times so he could smoke.  Only now, I no longer smoke which surprised George.

“Cigarettes were worth their weight in gold in prison,” George told me wistfully as he drew on his Swisher’s Sweet. “Certain guards would smuggle them in and they made a mint off them. Guards would smuggle in drugs as well.”

George said cigarettes were like a currency in prison and could buy you great favor. They were illegal and highly coveted.

As I was leaving, I gave George a big hug and he didn’t act funny about it. George can be kind of homophobic.

“So glad to have you home, man,” I said as we clasped hands and shook.

George chomped on his cigar with a vigorous grin.

“Now, it is time for some pussy.  Just don’t tell momma.”

I burst out laughing. I was still smiling as I got in the car and drove off. Prison might have been hard, but George was still George. Some things will just never change.

I’m Fine With Overtime…

I left George’s last night to bring my cable box and digital video recorder to dad. He was happy.

“This will cut your cable bill in half,” he told me as we put the boxes into his car. “I will continue to let the pharmacy pay for it. I get a discount on my business plan for having my residential accounts on it as well.”

“I don’t watch much TV,” I replied. “Just let me keep my faster level of Internet service.”

He agreed.

I thought we had a no overtime policy at work. I guess it only applied to non-associates. They wanted me to work last night and I was happy to get the extra money. I am making more money than I know what to do with with my disability subsidizing all my living costs. I have a lot of expendable income these days and it is all getting squirreled away for a future possible emergency. I am following my psychiatrist’s and therapist’s advice about that.

Work was routine. I spent a lot of time stocking the shelves again last night.  We got a bunch of new video games in and I took a long time reading the boxes as I put them away curiously. I so wish I could play video games again. I used to play with a passion and could play for hours every day. I am still fascinated by them, but as soon as I start to play, I grow bored easily. I guess I am finally growing up.

Jim was off last night and I missed him. I did have one lady who runs one of the point of sales up front come back and buy a new cellphone. She was very nice and very pretty. I had to restrain myself from flirting.  

As soon as I walked into the house after work, my cellphone rang. It was mom. She was fretting over my diet sodas she gives me every day.

“I got Judy to order you cases of diet Coke now that you are drinking caffeine again,” she told me. “We had a hard time ordering the diet Sprite so that will work well.”

“Thank you,” I replied.

“What about your anxiety?” mom asked. “Doesn’t the caffeine affect you?”

“I haven’t had much anxiety for about a week now,” I told her.

“That is just wonderful, Jonathon,” mom replied. “I wish I could get my anxiety under control. I had the most awful panic attack yesterday.”

Mom has been putting little treats in my sack of cokes she gives me every day.  Yesterday, she put a box of Cheez-Its. My favorite snack. The day before was some beef jerky for Maggie and Caramel. Dad would never do these kinds of things and I appreciate it very much. Mom is so thoughtful. 

Well, I need to get out this afternoon and mow some lawns. It has been so dry lately that most of my business has dried up with it as well. I have a few clients that just want me to weed eat and do some general shaping up. My own lawn is just about dead from such a dry summer. It is brown and dormant. I am off tonight and look forward to a night of just goofing off and generally doing nothing, but staying on the Internet and listening to four hours of Coast to Coast AM. Stacey is also staying the night as well and I will get us up a good supper. She wanted to go out to eat, but I persuaded her into letting me defrost and for us to have mom’s spaghetti. I am so looking forward to that. I hope you all are having a great weekend and I will check in again tonight. I have lots of time to write tonight and it should prove interesting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Lazy Afternoon in the South…

I was just standing in mom and dad’s kitchen as Helen cooked supper.  We finally had something fried this evening much to my elation.  Helen was cooking English peas with carrots, fried Swiss steak, baked potatoes, fruit salad, and biscuits.  Dad had just arrived home and changed clothes into his pajamas.

“Mr. John?  Are you going to bed?” Helen asked as dad passed through the kitchen to survey Helen’s meal.

Dad laughed.

“I am going out on the porch to read for awhile until supper is ready. I am just getting ready to relax.”

Dad and I don’t say much to each other these days. We just chose to disagree about the course I am taking with my life. Dad worries about my retirement and disability ending in May. I finally got him to go online to read all the guidelines with disability and that diffused the situation some when he realized I wasn’t going to lose disability and Medicare any day now.

“Are you still feeling depressed?” mom asked from the den as she sat reading the fourth and final book of the Twilight series.

I had made a passing remark to her yesterday that I was sleeping a lot.  She took this as I was depressed as she often is when she sleeps all day.

“I am just tired,” I told her. “It has been a busy past few months. I am still getting used to working nights.”

“I think you are doing the right thing despite what Mr. John says,” Helen told me, never one to hold back “A grown man needs to work and support himself.”

I smiled and gave Helen a big hug as she giggled.

I looked on as Helen added mayonnaise to the fruit cocktail and began to mix.  She also started to cut up some bananas to add to the fruit salad.

“Tell me about your new job,” Helen said as she walked over to the stove to turn the frying steak.

“I work in electronics and love playing with all the gadgets we sell,” I replied. “It can be pretty slow customer-wise at night, though.”

Just then, Helen’s cellphone rang. It was her son who is a truck driver and on the road most of the time. I took this as my cue to leave with mom telling me she would bring me my plate later in the afternoon.  It was just one of those lazy and normal afternoons in the late summer of the South.  I enjoy these kinds of moments so much.

George is Home…

Mrs. Florene called me a moment ago.  They went and picked George up at the county jail. He is already complaining about how uncomfortable his monitoring device is she said.

“He’s lost a lot of weight,” Mrs. Florene told me. “He looks so skinny!”

“Put him on the phone,” I told her.

“What’s up you crazy motherfucker!!!!” George exclaimed laughing.

I could hear Mrs.Florene telling him not to talk like that in her house. It seems like he never left. I laughed.

“How does it feel to be a free man?” I asked him.

“I don’t know what to do with myself,” George told me. “I feel like a caged animal whose door just got opened and he is afraid to go out!”

“Take a long walk, smoke a bazillion cigars, and enjoy the fresh air!” I exclaimed.

“When are we getting together?” George asked.

“I will be over tonight before work,” I told him. “Be forewarned as I am going to give you a big bear hug!”

George laughed nervously.

“You haven’t turned gay on me, have you?”

“Only for you, you sexy thang!” I replied.

We got off the phone.  I still can’t believe he is home.  He sounded so good, as if he never left. We’ve all been waiting for this moment for a very long time. I thought September 9th would never get here.  Well, mom should be by soon with Helen’s Friday meal and my diet Sprite. I am going to eat and take a quick nap before going over to see George.

Free at last! Free at Last!

Well, I got a call late last night before work. I was fixing my lunch and had just finished ironing my khaki pants.  It was Mrs. Florene.  They had just arrived home from Atmore.  It was a long day she said fraught with worry and anticipation – a nerve wracking process that I was somewhat relieved that I didn’t have to experience.  It was the first time she had seen George in months.

“So, what’s the news?” I asked excitedly and with great trepidation.  I had been waiting all day.  I had trouble sleeping for worrying myself.  I am just exhausted tonight at work.

“George got parole!” Mrs. Florene exclaimed, almost starting to cry.

According to Mrs. Florene, George is to be transported to a county jail today to be fitted with an ankle alcohol monitoring device which he will have to wear for six months and to be set up with his parole officer, and then he will be set free on his own recognizance.  Monte and Mrs. Florene are going to drive to Lafayette to pick him up late this afternoon.

I know George, and the first thing he will want is a Swisher’s Sweet cigar.  He will also want his favorite meal cooked by his mother.  I can’t imagine being locked up so long and the elation he must feel at getting out.  It is going to be a long day today until they set him free. 

George is going to be thrown into the fray upon arriving home.  He starts work bright and early Monday morning.  I talked to my old supervisor last night on the phone before I left for work to give her the good news.  She needs him now and needs him badly – the part-time guy almost ready to quit who is working my old job.  I hope George doesn’t let me down.  I really went out on a limb with getting him my old position.

I can’t express the joy I am feeling right now in words on this blog.  We all here in the Valley have been waiting a long time for this moment.  It will be the first time I have seen George in going on a year it seems.  I am going to give him a big hug much to his chagrin and bring him a pack of his most favorite expensive cigars!

Busy Night at Work…

I clocked in at 10:50pm and immediately put on my smock.  It had been a busy day in electronics and all the shelves and displays were a mess much to my dismay.  I started to get to work getting everything neat and organized again.  I’ve also had a lot of stocking to do tonight and just have caught up. 

Jim stopped by as usual foregoing the registers upfront for my quiet little corner of Walmart.  He always buys the same deli sandwich and an orange juice. We got in a heated discussion over the burning of the Qur'an.  He felt it was in that crazy preacher’s first amendment rights to burn the holy text of Muslims.  I thought it was religious bigotry and the same small minded idiocy that blacks faced during the civil rights movement in the sixties. We just chose to disagree and I thought a black man would have a more open mind about such matters after the opposition blacks faced with integration in the South. I was surprised when Jim said Islam was a religion of violence.  I guess he has never read the Old Testament.

After about three, I could rest and relax some at work – my time to goof off.  The New Zealanders were busy on twitter posting lots of vapid stuff which Twitter is renowned for.  I also spent some time playing some Wii games at our Wii display.  I own a Wii, but would never pay $50 dollars for a game for which I maybe will only play a few times at most.  I am just not interested in video games these days to the point I would buy them.  I am mainly intrigued with the popular culture and fervor which surround these games lately – a multi-billion dollar industry.  We sell a lot of games and game systems at work – people, often adults, spending hundreds of dollars at a time on this stuff.

Well, it is after 5am and the early morning grocery crowd is already arriving.  I can hear the beep of the point of sales up front as items are being rung up.  Soon, a few will meander into my department and I will have to put on my working persona and greet the customers.  “How can I help you this morning?” I will say with my most earnest smile.        

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You Get What You Pay For…

I have a lot of misgivings about selling the eMachines computers at work.  And they are popular.  People think, “Hey! A $500 dollar computer! I am getting a bargain!”  You get what you pay for – a neutered machine that is only good for basically browsing the web.  I sold one tonight to a lady whose laptop had gone kaput.

“What kind of things do you do with your computer?” I asked her.

“Online banking, email, and FaceBook,” she told me.

I guess an eMachines computer will work for her, but I strongly suggest you spend the money and buy a much nicer computer from Dell or Gateway.

Tonight was a busier night with the video game cabinet keeping me busy.  We keep all our Wii, PS3 and XBox games locked behind a glass partition.  I have a key and have to go open it every time someone wants a game. One young man couldn’t decide if he wanted to spend the ridiculous price of $50 dollars on Call of Duty 4 or Bad Company 2.  He finally made his choice after thirty minutes of waffling and I rang him up.  My patience was growing thin.

Jim showed up as usual during his lunch break at 3am.  Thankfully, we didn’t talk about politics tonight.  He was complaining about his job and all the bending and lifting he has to do.  He said his back was killing him.  I looked on as he ate his sandwich from the deli and it looked delicious.  Moments after he left me, I headed back to the deli to grab one as well. I got a turkey and Swiss on a hoagie roll with tomatoes, onion and lettuce.  A little spicy mustard and some mayonnaise and the sandwich was delightful. The snack was complete with a bag of harvest cheddar Sun Chips and a Coke Zero.  

Parole Hearing at 1pm…

It’s 5am.  Mrs. Florene, Monte and crew should already be up to head to Atmore at 6am.  They are stopping in Montgomery to eat breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Mrs. Florene told me last night.  It is about a five hour drive to Atmore.  I told Mrs. Florene to eat lunch at the Creek Indian restaurant at the Holiday Inn in town.  It would be an eye opening experience.  I often ate there when I was working at the University.  We had a pine seedling nursery just miles down from the prison where George is incarcerated.  

Will George get parole?  All the pieces of the puzzle are in place.  He has a stable living environment set up with his mother.  I have him a job lined up.  Mrs. Florene will be driving him to work every morning.  He has been a model prisoner with no marks or write-ups on his record.  Only time will tell, and I will be anxiously awaiting that phone call from Monte late this afternoon.

Mom and Stacey’s Diets Aren’t Going So Well…

Mom pulled up in front of my house yesterday evening and honked her horn as she normally does. I walked out to see what she needed.

“I got you a fried shrimp plate from Merl’s Diner,” she said. “I thought it would be a nice treat.”

Mom had also gotten her a fried shrimp plate and a salad, and said she was going home to eat it right then. 

“I’m never going to lose weight,” she said begrudgingly as she rolled up her window and drove off.

I put the plate in my fridge to eat after work as breakfast. 

I cooked supper last night.  We finally had mom’s mushroom chicken which is extremely rich and fattening.  The recipe calls for lots of sour cream and real butter.  Stacey went back for thirds and I didn’t say anything.  She was just hungry and the food was good. Before the meal, Stacey watched as I made homemade biscuits. I’ve gotten it down to a fine art and can have the biscuits in the oven in a matter of minutes.  Last night, I tried butter flavored Crisco as the shortening instead of regular and it was quite good.  I will use it from now on. 

“What is the difference between Bavarian style buttermilk and regular?” Stacey asked as I poured a cup of the buttermilk to be mixed in with the flour and shortening.

“It is just richer and creamier,” I replied. “Mrs. Florene taught me that trick. It makes for decadent biscuits.”

Stacey agreed that my biscuits rivaled her grandmother’s in taste.  I am very happy that Stacey is a Southern girl at heart and loves Southern cookin’.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That Shifty Guy in Aisle Three…

I learned long ago working in convenience stores and in a retail pet store that if a customer is spending a lot of time watching the clerk, then he or she is most likely up to something no good.  A man was in my department early this morning and every time I looked up from my laptop he was watching me to see if I was watching him.  Fortunately, almost all items in the electronics department have RFID (radio frequency identification devices) chips in them.  Anything he would steal would set off the alarms at the front doors as he walked out.  This didn’t stop him from eyeing me closely, though.

“Do you need any help?” I finally asked him.

“Oh, I am  just browsing,” he told me looking passingly at all the cellphones we had on display.

I finally ignored him and would just let him do his worst – expecting the loud glaring noise of the alarms going off as he left which never happened.  I guess he got cold feet.  

Jim showed up again around 3am to purchase his deli sandwich and orange juice.  We talked a lot about reforming Social Security.  He said his worst fears were that a Republican administration would get in the next election cycle and privatize it.  I echoed his fears.  I assuaged his worries some telling him Social Security was solvent into the 2030’s.  We still have lots of time for reform.

It was another very slow night, but I didn’t mind.  I didn’t sleep very well yesterday and was groggy all night – drinking lots of diet sodas to stay awake. I spent much of my time this early morning learning all the myriad of cellphone service plans we have to offer – my weakest link to my job in electronics.

Mexican Tuesday’s…

Mom stopped by last night with two big containers of chicken fajitas, chips and salsa and two of the largest cups of sweet tea you have ever seen.  The hot and fresh fajitas smelled so good that I left the mushroom and chicken in the fridge choosing to save it for tonight.  Stacey and I ate our meals and soon curled up in the bed to “talk”.  It was a one sided conversation as just lay on the bed and listened to all of Stacey’s worries and fears – mainly about her children.  She doesn’t get to see them as often as she would like with her mom living near Atlanta.  She has to work all the time and it is hard to schedule visits. 

“I’ve been thinking of getting a vasectomy,” I told Stacy at one point getting in my two cents.  “I’ve been musing over this idea for many weeks now.  I don’t think I ever want children of my own.”

Stacey grew alarmed saying that if we were to get married then she would like to have a child by me.  She pleaded with me not to do anything rash that I would regret later.  We will just have to see how I feel about it in a few more months. 

Tomorrow is the Big Day…

“Monte is driving us down in my sister’s van Thursday,” Mrs. Florene told me on the phone last night. “I am so excited I am about beside myself.  I have just been so stir-crazy for many months without George home. I spent some time cleaning his room and washing his sheets today in preparation.  I also got his Internet service hooked back up.”

“Tell Monte the prison is easy to find,” I told Mrs. Florene. “Just take a right at the Atmore exit and the prison will be on the left a few miles down the road.”

“Do you think he will get parole?” Mrs. Florene asked me, wanting words of encouragement.

“Yeah,” I said. “I think he will.  I have the highest hopes that we will have him home this weekend.”

George’s letters from jail lately have been so optimistic.  He says he paces his jail cell passing his days in excitement and nervousness – loving the intermissions for meal call.  He wrote me yesterday saying that one of his biggest joys this past few months was getting my often daily blog posts I have been mailing him.  That made me feel so good. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sleep in the Day is Proving Difficult…

“Let’s go for a ride!” mom said sitting in her car after honking her horn several times as I walked out in the yard in my socks, t-shirt, and shorts. 

I still had on my sleeping gear and sleepily rubbed my eyes just moments after crawling out of the bed.

“Let me put on my clothes and shave,” I told her eager to go and so glad to see her.

Mom locked her car, came inside and plopped down on the couch with Maggie and Caramel – both so excited at her arrival.  Caramel brought mom one of her plush toys and put it at her feet.  Maggie looked on jealously.  Mom picked it up and made it squeak and told her what a pretty girl she was.   

“Are you ready yet?” mom asked impatiently with me trying hurriedly to get ready.

“I am just shaving off what would soon be a mustache,” I replied with a smile as I stood in front of the mirror in my bathroom.

We headed down the Valley both quiet today just enjoying each other’s company.  Mom stopped by dad’s pharmacy and got us lots of drinks and snacks for our trip – a packet of salted cashews being especially delicious.

“I noticed you bought the Kroger brand luncheon meat yesterday,” mom said ever obsessive compulsive as we once again passed Fairfax elementary school. “Don’t you want to go back to Kroger and get Butterball brand?  It tastes much, much better.  Put that other cheap luncheon meat in the freezer.”

We stopped by Kroger and did a little shopping.  I got three packs of Butterball honey roasted turkey and they had Coke Zero on sale for four 2-liters for $4 dollars.  I’ve given up on trying not to drink caffeinated drinks realizing I was going to have to lean on them for awhile to stay awake during nightshift. It is one of the few vices I have left these days.

“Let’s go get an ice cream,” mom then said.

“What about your diet?” I asked astonished.

“I am going to be bad today.”

We pulled into Sonic and ordered two banana splits as we both drank our colas from the pharmacy.  The ice cream was delicious and mom declared she wasn’t ready to go home just yet.

“I just can’t stand to go home and be alone for the rest of the afternoon,” mom told me.

We drove down through the Valley once again this time both of us being more talkative.  Each trip takes about thirty minutes at the speed at which mom drives.  Mom told me how strange it was for me to be working and to be so independent these days.

“Every time you get out your debit card to offer to pay for something, it surprises me,” mom said.  “Years went by and your father wouldn’t let you have any money.  It is going to take some getting used to.  He still grumbles about it saying you will start back drinking any day now.”

I scoffed at dad’s remark.  I haven’t had a drink in many, many weeks now.  I have no desire these days to go back to my old ways.  I realize I can’t drink and work, too.  I have too many goals and aspirations to go back to those terrible depressing years I spent drowning myself in alcohol. 

“Let’s drive through downtown West Point,” mom then said heading back up through the Valley.

We passed all the many shops that a year ago were vacant store fronts – the local Kia automobile plant working wonders for West Point’s economy.  Mom stared wistfully at the Sushi place and remarked about it as we passed.

“I don’t think I would like raw fish,” mom said, scrunching up her nose in distaste.

“You would like the California rolls,” I replied.

“What is that?” mom asked.

“It is similar to sushi, but it is vegetarian – vegetables rolled up in rice with a seaweed wrapper.  You dip it in wasabi or soy sauce.”

“That sounds delicious,” mom said. “You, Stacey and I will have to try it some night.”

We took the long way back to my house passing mom and dad’s house.  Dad’s automatic in-ground sprinkler system was running full tilt in the front yard wetting the road. A mile up the road the neighborhoods change in stark contrast going from $250,000 houses to $30,000 houses.

“There’s Edward,” mom said, waving vigorously at a black man moving a lawn in the impoverished neighborhood we were passing through.  “You know he mowed your grandmother’s grass for decades before she went into the nursing home.”

“Ah, my competition,” I said laughing.

“Just how is your lawn care business going?” mom asked inquisitively.

“I am making about $500 dollars a month now,” I replied. “It is slowly building up.”

“I don’t see how you do that and work, too!”

“Well, it is going to prove interesting, but I have my heart so strongly set on it.  I just want to be independent like dad.”

“Your father says you are going to get in trouble with the IRS,” mom said.

I wish mom wouldn’t tell me all the bad stuff dad says about me.  I would rather not know and told her so.

“I’m sorry,” she replied. 

We finally arrived home and I was wide awake now.  I immediately put two 2-liters of Coke Zero in the freezer to get cold quickly.  Mom lingered for awhile asking me questions about the Internet and my new position at Walmart.

“Are you liking your new position?” mom asked.

“It is much slower than my old position,” I replied. “And I thought my old position was slow!”

We both laughed.

“I am lucky I can get on the Internet at night in electronics.  It helps pass the time and I do a lot of busy work as well.  We get the third shift working crowd also.  I had a man who works third shift at Kia come in and talk a long time about home theaters last night.”

“You got that from your grandfather,” mom said. “Your ability and like for all things computer and electronic related.  We were the first ones on our block to get a television.”

“Well,” mom then said. “I am going home to lie down awhile and then I have to go eat Mexican Tuesday’s with Sandra. I will bring you and Stacey by some chicken fajitas about eight.”

I had forgotten about Mexican Tuesday’s and already defrosted mom’s recipe mushroom and chicken for supper.  I didn’t tell her that, though, as it would have sent her into a stir.  The dogs will just get a very special treat tonight.   Stacey will be over soon and I look forward to seeing her.  We haven’t had much chance to see each other these past few days. 

A Piece of the Puzzle Falls Into Place…

“I called your best friend’s old supervisor at the distribution center in La Grange,” my former supervisor told me this morning as I was getting off. “He said he was one of his best workers until one night he just didn’t show up. He had never missed a night before.”

“That’s when he got his DUI,” I replied. “He worked for almost two years without any lapses.”

“I am going to go out on a limb hiring a convicted felon, but his old supervisor and you have swayed me,” my previous supervisor told me. “When do you think he will be able to start work?”

“I am hoping next Monday if he gets parole,” I replied now grinning vigorously so excited.

“You better not let me down,” she said giving me a big hug. “I don’t want another disaster like I often have trying to fill this job.  I have the part-time guy working your old position and he is not happy about the hours at all, threatening to quit.”

I immediately drove home and called Mrs. Florene.  I was bursting at the seams to tell her of the good news.

“George has a job!” I told her excitedly.  “He will be working my old position from 5am to 1pm.  Do you think you can drive him to work?”

“Oh, sweetheart!” Mrs. Florene exclaimed. “That is wonderful news.  I sure will give it my best try.  I don’t like driving in the dark, but I can do it if I have to.”

I long ago realized it was going to take a very concerted and family effort to get George back on his feet.  He is going to need all the support we can give him.  Now, we just have to wait until Thursday to find out the final results.  I will be anxiously waiting all day for that call from Monte telling me if George got parole or not.

And Then There Was Jim…

I know him only by Jim. The past two nights he has stopped in my department to pay for a deli sandwich and an orange juice around 3am foregoing the busier point of sales up front.  He is a heavyset and portly black man who spends his nights stocking the shelves in the grocery department.  Small talk comes easily with him.  He does most of the talking as I nod in agreement.  He mainly discusses politics – a topic I am not too altogether interested in, but I kindly lend him an ear.  He is a staunch democrat and Obama fan.  I hate to tell him this, but the Obama administration is not much different from the administration before it.  It is politics and business as usual. I hate politics, though, and often try to change the subject asking him questions about his job and life.

Tonight was very, very slow.  I assume everyone was tired after their Labor Day holiday foregoing any shopping at Wal-Mart after midnight.  I only had eight customers for the whole night after midnight.  I spent my time cleaning shelves and fronting the products.  Did quite a bit a stocking as well – working on getting our audio/visual cables organized and neat.  One fellow came in around three.  He works the night shift at the local Kia automobile plant and had the night off.  He asked me many questions about setting up a home theater.  He had recently bought an HDTV and ordered the HDTV channels from our local cable company.

“You need a home theater receiver with toslink optical digital inputs and you will get Dolby digital surround sound with all your HDTV channels,” I told him.

“How much will that cost?” he asked.

I told him not to skimp.  The cheaper options usually don’t have very good sound and the results are lackluster.  He looked at some of our options and said he would probably be back later after deciding if he wanted to spend that much money.  I was overjoyed to help and to have something for which to pass the time.  I refrained from telling him his better bet would be to go to Best Buy or to purchase a surround system.

Well, it is about time for my supervisor to arrive so I better stuff this laptop under the counter until my shift ends.  It has been another good, if slow, night.  I am slowly growing to like this – my job having very little stress involved.  I still suffered from some sleepiness around midnight when I would usually be sound asleep, but it is passing and bearable.  I am anxiously awaiting my old supervisor to arrive to find out about George getting a job. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kroger Was Crazy!

I am now glad I didn’t take the job at Kroger I was offered.  It was crazy today as mom and I toodled around the store buying our groceries.  Mom and I basically just crawled out of the bed to get this ordeal over with.  Mom’s hair was amiss and she didn’t have on any makeup.  I hadn’t shaved and just threw on the pair of shorts and shirts I wore yesterday.  We were the disheveled Kroger crew for the day.

“I hope I don’t see someone I know,” mom told me worriedly as we stood in line as they rang up our groceries.

I smiled not caring what people thought of me.  I have been so ensconced at home over the past many years and lost so much weight that most people in town don’t recognize me anymore.  I certainly had the homeless look going on today, though.

“You know?” mom said. I have only recently started to go with mom to buy groceries. “I know my favorite grocery baggers are missing their two dollar tip with you with me.”

I smiled again as Jeff, a grocery bagger, offered to carry out my groceries. Unfortunately, mom is too frugal to allow that with me in tow to do the work.

On the ride home mom said how much she dreaded the annual Labor Day cookout Charlie was hosting this evening.

“I don’t think I can even be bothered to get out of the bed again,” she said sounding so disparaged.  “Your father and Charlie can’t do anything small.  There will be a big crowd there and I abhor small talk.”

As usual, I wasn’t invited, but I didn’t mind much today – choosing to stay home and enjoy the Internet for the afternoon and two day’s worth of Coast to Coast AM I had downloaded.

Once again, I only spent $63 dollars this time.  I just haven’t had much of an appetite lately and already had much food left over from last week.  My freezer is full of food now and I am going to have to purchase a separate standalone freezer if this keeps up to store all my frozen meals.  It is comforting to know I have so much food, though. For years, I lived week to week as far as my groceries went – often running out a few day’s early and being afraid to call my parents for more.  They would act like the sky was falling when I did so.  Now, it is so nice to know I can just run to the grocery store and buy food when I need it on a whim.  The things we take for granted I often did without for a very long time. My adverse living conditions without money for years has made me appreciate my new found freedoms even more.  

A Second Chance for George…

My old supervisor arrived about as I was getting ready to leave. She was dressed very prettily this morning before putting on her Wal-Mart smock. The first shift had taken over and I caught her in customer service. We walked outside in the cool dawn air to talk for a moment as I told her I had something I wanted to discuss.

“How was your first night?” she asked me first very excitedly.

“It went fine,” I told her in reply. “I didn’t have any problems. Things went smoothly.  I was just extremely sleepy and nervous, though, all night.”

“You will adjust,” she said as she put her arm around me and gave me a strong hug – waves of her perfume wafting over me. “You were way too overqualified for the job you worked for me. It has been bananas trying to fill your position.  Nobody wants the hours or the pay.”

“I have a good worker in mind to fill my old shift,” I told her. “He is my best friend, but has a few marks on his record, though. He will be an ex-con.”

“What kind of marks?” my old supervisor asked apprehensively.

“He just got a DUI and lost his job working at the distribution center in LaGrange when he went to jail.”

“Do you think he will be on time and reliable?” she asked. “I have the hardest time filling your position with someone who will do the job well.”

“He will be like me,” I replied very optimistically and honestly. “He is a good worker with a strong work ethic.  He just made a stupid mistake. Please give him a second chance.  I am sure he won’t let you down.”

“I will talk to my big boss about it and let you know tomorrow morning.  It is ultimately up to me, but I want my big boss to know as well to cover my bases,” my supervisor said. “If you vouch for him, then I will vouch for him as well. Everybody deserves a second chance. You know I would do anything for you with all you did for me.”

I told her his parole hearing was this Thursday and it is extremely likely he will get parole with a 40 hour per week job lined up. I was so pleased with our talk.  I have high hopes for any news tomorrow morning.  It is not the perfect job for George with it being minimum wage and no benefits, but I have no doubts that he will work hard – just excited to have a job after sitting in a jail cell for so long with nothing to do.

My First Night in Electronics…

Things went very well with no problems and I didn’t experience much anxiety. I didn’t even have to take any Klonopin.  Just a little bit of nervousness as the shift started.  I was so sleepy all night, though.  I usually don’t drink caffeine laden sodas and drank many last night just to stay awake heavily leaning on my Mountain Dew. I sold two big ticket items for which my supervisor was pleased when he arrived around 6:30 – a 52” Sony LCD television and an eMachines computer.  Most of the night was spent stocking shelves and fronting them – getting them ready for the start of another day. I already know where everything is in the department so stocking was easy.  I can be a perfectionist at heart and the shelves looked pristine by the time 7am rolled around.  Most of the night was very quiet, though, with few customers.  I tried to stay off the Internet with it being my first night.  I didn’t want to get caught goofing off.

I am going to have to get used to being a salesman, though.  We are heavily encouraged to push certain high profit items and all the cables and accruements involved.  I tend to be shy and will have to learn to be more aggressive.  I lost a few sales to not being more assertive and enthusiastic about the product. Cellphones and their service plans are another big ticket item we are pushed to sell. I sold one cellphone, but didn’t push the customer to buy a more expensive and full featured model.  I will have to work on this.  I am going to feel like a used car salesman it seems.    

It was so strange walking out of work this morning and it still being almost dark – dawn just on the horizon.  The days are certainly getting shorter with Fall on the way.  It was also very chilly this morning and I was kind of relieved I hadn’t had to spend my usual early hours between 5am to 7am gathering carts when it is the coldest before dawn.  I am so cold natured. There are going to be perks with working this new position.  Especially with winter on the way.  I went from a very physical job to a very non taxing job.  It is going to take some getting used to.

Getting Work Done…

I awoke after several naps yesterday afternoon, and got busy mowing a few lawns.  I called first and my customers were home and eager for me to mow their lawns saying they needed it.  It doesn’t take me but about 30 minutes to mow each lawn with my riding lawn mower.  It was dark when I finished, though, and I was just famished. I headed home to eat “breakfast” and get ready for work.

A Visit From Charlie…

“I have my other son and his crazy wife staying with me this weekend,” Charlie told me laughing goodheartedly yesterday evening.  “I love them, but they can make things interesting.  They always bring their six dogs.”

“Six dogs?!” I asked and exclaimed.

“Let’s not even go there,” Charlie replied.

“I will have a surprise for you tomorrow night,” Charlie then told me.

“Steaks?” I asked.

Charlie laughed.

“How did you know?” he said. “I also want to pay you to trim the shrubbery back some more at my new house.  Just chop it all down.”

I said I would when I got time.  Charlie always pays me well so I couldn’t pass up that opportunity.  Charlie also checked Horsefly’s old television he gave me to see if the sound was working.  Luckily, it still wasn’t.  Charlie would be so pissed at me if I told him the TV was broken and it was not – forcing him to buy a new TV for Horsefly. 

As usual, Charlie left in a hurry to carry Horsefly around on his rounds.  I look forward to one of his steak dinners for breakfast and will anxiously wait all day.  He grills a mean steak to perfection – old style on a charcoal grill.