Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A Year Later…

03/02/2015 Comments off

Entry 03/01/2015 08:53:39 AM – Mentat 893

It’s hard to imagine that more than a year has passed since that cold (and snowless) day when I moved out of the Valley and a mile up the road to the Hill. Federal Hill that is. The move itself was relatively painless and drama free. There had been no sight of the douchebag ex-landlord. The drunken ex-roommate was probably sleeping through most of it in his typically alcoholic catatonic stupor. The only two that might have seen the move were the two Guatemalans living on the third floor; and I think at one point I stumbled across one of the two of them in the process. The weird one on the third floor (above me) probably hid like a conspiracy theorist… I never did figure out whether his favorite headwear was tinfoil or was simply one of those functional agoraphobics that enjoyed his own company than the company of others. And the artist below me? Bless her heart, I’m still rather amazed she stayed in spite of the lack of storm windows and constant drafts cutting through her apartment.

There of course had been other drama going on… My mother had slipped on the ice when she had been walking her Monster Child (her 140+ pound very spoiled Chocolate Labrador Retriever) and had to spend a month in the hospital and then another 5½ months housebound and hobbling around her house with the Zimmer frame I often joked about needing sometime in the near future as I’m getting up in the years. I was there helping her through her various chores around the house, meeting her visiting nurses at the door and escorting them up and down the two flights of stairs from the outside door to her apartment. I was wrangling that spoiled trouble child during those visits to ensure he doesn’t try licking the nurses to death while they were helping my mother going through her various physical therapy exercises to strengthening her leg and to get used to the pins in her hip. And walking him at the assigned times that he often didn’t like as they were an hour later than the times he thought he should be going out.

In that time, I was getting used to my own little all-black hellion on four legs in the new environment and learning how a change of environment changed several of the habits he had into something between annoyances and health concerns. But any crises I might have been feeling when it came to Moe were quickly abated when I adjusted to those new habits he was demonstrating. Like the fact that the water bowl and the food bowl can’t be near each other in this house like they were for the house in the Valley. Heh, the food bowl is fine near to the door to the apartment, but water needs to be in the bathroom near to the bathtub and opposite to the litter box location. Like the food bags needs to be out of his reach. Like the doors to the cabinet need to be tied closed or else he’ll get in there and snap the mouse traps in there because he thinks they’re toys to play chicken with. Like the top of the fridge is a perfect place to lay down on during the winter because he likes the heat and likes being out of the way when I’m doing the weekly house-cleaning. Like looking out the windows at 2 in the morning during the summer (which he avoids during the day because people seeing him scares him to hide). But I digress; the bottom line is that my cat’s content, well-fed and well-watered.

I know that it took me several emotional purges and a serious voodoo-like ceremony for Emancipation Day (June 25) for me to exorcise the anger and pent-up rage I had been feeling because of the years of working/living under the douchebag ex-landlord. I might still maintain my complete refusal to use his name in any references to him because using his name is deferring respect of some sort in his direction: respect that he most assuredly doesn’t deserve. And the drunken ex-roommate? Pfft, forgotten.

Along the way, I realized I couldn’t have people in my life that were depressed, in ruts of their own (and refused to shake out of it) or were the sort of crotchety that came off as arbitrary or negatively capricious. And so it was the mid-year sort of purge that so many other people do at the beginning of their years. After all, nothing I could do to suggest change was going to change them; and their attitude while not being labeled “toxic” were the wrong sort of energy I needed during my healing process for dragging myself out of the hole I had dug for myself. And like a woman breaking up with boyfriend; I washed them right out of my hair. I haven’t looked back at them or tried to look them up — they are behind me, and I don’t need their negativity in my life anymore.

Things for July and the beginning of August were looking up. I decided on pulling my journal/blogging offline except for when I had some issue that was working my nerves and then I would be off to blasting to my heart’s content. Local government, local attitudes even clear wastes of energy and effort were the targets of that passion. I went at the old mayor (and now the new mayor) with passionate fervor. I went after thoughtforms that were generated by lack of sense, experience or sensibility.

On the other hand, I kept up with my learning and whimsical randomness with Mandelbulb and for the new year J-Wildfire; posting fractals on Mondays (almost religiously) and other times in the week depending on love, pride or “feel the want to share” of whatever it was I produced. I had in that time got back in touch with the Mad Scientist™ within creating the sort of weirdness I could in mathematics and losing the writer’s block in being able to sit down and write to myself without self-consciousness nor the pressure of entertaining people. Sure many times my entries are banal, frivolous, even vapid… But the writer in me is happy to let the words flow. The thoughts run stampede and my feelings to take wing as free and carefree as the local birds in the summer. As you can see here:


Quite the change from the end of July which was 10% at best just over 75,000 (or so) words.

There was another dramatic moment at about this time. I was getting seriously tired of walking my mother’s dog — mostly because it’s not my dog and he has serious obedience issues when it comes to anyone not my mother nor her husband. The weather was also getting into the humid times of August and while I didn’t mind the walks, his constantly pulling and my needing to be mindful of other dogs was getting on my nerves. It’s my mother dog after all, and as she always told the three boys — “your pet, your responsibility.” It was also a sort of way to getting my mother to walk more for exercise as for the last months was doing nothing more than hobbling about. The walk started off sort of all right — her Monster Child was pulling as always and excited to be walking to the vacant lot.

I didn’t see the man walking his dog in the vacant lot. The Monster Child did first. And that’s when he pulled like he always does. So hard and so fast that he pulled my mother off her feet. She tried bracing and failed; getting her first experience of asphalt surfing on Adams Street toward Marcello Street and breaking her ankle in the process: the same ankle that she broke her hip. This meant for the next 6’ish months more hospital visits, more pins and a plate (since removed because of issues with the thin skin around her ankle), a skin graft, more hobbling around the house for months at a time, more visiting nurses visits, and more of my having to help her with the chores around the house.

When it comes to injury and illness, my mother and I truck along the best we can. We might whinge a bit here and there when it comes to pain, we sometimes even get a bit alarmist if it’s taking too long and we sort of clam up when it’s something that might be frightening but on the whole all we do is keep going and let the body heal according to its own schedule. My mother’s husband on the other hand… Well let’s just say his over-protectiveness got on my mother’s nerves constantly and his issuing orders were often disregarded the instant he was out of eyesight and earshot for the betterment of the situation and the often frayed sanity.

And there was still more drama around September. A flare-up between my mother’s husband and myself. One that I recall distinctly writing about. While I won’t recant the story about this, I can tell you that because of the promise I made to my mother, I have avoided creating any drama against him in the time that she was healing and the couple of months since his recovery. Unlike other parts of my family who always apologize for their transgressions — he refuses. I had a chat with the son that positively hates him and from what I’ve collected from him he a “…narcissistic bastard… that thinks he does no wrong…” So I keep this in mind when avoiding dealing with him. He was also able to confirm that with the amount of whinging he does with his job, his life and frail ego, he’s not the Commissioned Marine that he tries to paint himself as, but instead is part of the armed forces that he constantly derides: an air force officer. I know there’s only matter of time when the opportunity will present itself and I will face off against him again with the energy of taking back what he took when he physically attacked me. Promise or no promise, I refuse to be cowed by acts of a bully.

More drama for the coming winter too… End of October to be exact. Though not so much the negative drama that comes with family, illness, dating or whatever. More like the comedy of errors and over-caution that’s the product of a litigious society. There had been a gas leak in the house — a very small one — caused probably a combination of events between my moving the stove to light the pilot on the space heater and the gas pressure of an added unit to the gas main into the apartment. It was enough to give the place the wrong odor of leaking gas, but not enough to actually be a threat to life, property and well being. I called the utility company to ask them if their checking service was free and they confirmed it was. Stressing it was a gas leak that didn’t involve an emergency call to the local fire department, I told them to send a technician to confirm where the gas was leaking out of. I remember telling the call representative that it’s not an emergency and that it’s a very small leak as it took almost 8 hours to get the whiff of it in my house, he told me that someone was going to be over in less than thirty minutes.

Turns out that I happened to look out the window when I heard sirens racing up Atwells Avenue to see that the full fire company was trying to get up my street as well as parked in front of my house. Seeing the Department’s chief, I quickly sorted out what happened and tried to explain to them that it wasn’t that much of an emergency, and ask that the Chief and one other come upstairs to investigate while I explained to them why the call and what happened.

Two men turned into the whole of the Company, which friends ribbed me about it being a “gay man’s dream” with that many firemen in my house. Sure, it might have been — if my apartment were bigger. It’s roomy for one man and a cat, and perhaps comfortable with a couple and a pet or two… But 12 men in a 20′ x 20′ kitchen all firing questions at me scattershot trouncing upstairs (to the vacant apartment), downstairs to my neighbor’s place (also a quiet person that doesn’t make all that much noise even when her adult children are over), into and out of the basement; it was the sort of chaos I would have rather liked keeping out of the homestead and spending some time with my terrified cat in the closet in the bedroom. After the utility technician showed up and confirmed a small leak in the distributor and one of the non-lighting pilots on the stove — they all filed out of my place with almost a look of disappointment (coupled with relief) it wasn’t as bad as they were expecting.

Since then it’s been pretty uneventful and a hell of a lot more peaceful. I’ve been getting back onto the socializing wagon, trying to be the charming curmudgeon I was known for before my relationship with the psycho-ex (pre-2000). While I haven’t really met anyone to try to shatter the commandments with, I’ve been more friendly with strangers than I have in a long time. Old friends spotted the change with time, new friends and acquaintances don’t understand the teeter-totter between snarkish, helpful and the overly-opinionated perspective I share with them… Some find it simply funny, others are more to take the ‘respective distance’ until they can figure out that I’m (very) vocal but otherwise harmless. I might still have issues with the way local government is run and take them to task verbally in either a blog entry or with the assistants that answer the phone at the Mayor’s office at least it’s more snarkish rather than vitriolic. I seem to remember days where it didn’t matter whether one was a pedestrian or not: walkways and sidewalks were always shoveled. Days long since passed where pedestrians now are nothing more than second-class citizens… But again, I digress.

I’ve also been doing daily exercises since the beginning of October and couple this with the rather surprisingly gross amount of water I drink (7 or more cups) and more than 7½ hours of sleep at night, I find myself better able to handle whatever stresses that come my way on a day to day basis. I still have some obsessive-compulsive habits; but at least those habits don’t consume hours of my time and energy in the process as they used to in the past. Oh, I’m definitely not buff, or lean… But instead maintain the illusion of a teddy bear; but with a little more bite (and strength) than before.

And that’s it for this year on the Hill. Now it’s time for me to do the dishes I used for lunch and perhaps work out playing a game or three with my very verbal hellion on four legs wanting “lap time”. In the end I know, I am back. Even if not everyone sees (or fully understands) it. Until the next time.


Final Update

10/28/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/28/2014 09:00:00 AM – Mentat 775

Getting up to my mother’s house a bit earlier than expected because the visiting nurse happened to have been earlier than scheduled, I was greeted by my mother proclaiming to the visiting nurse that the results for her biopsy from last week had come in (not sure whether it was last night or this morning after we finished our weekly laundry)…

**Drum roll**

It’s benign.   So now that’s out of the way the next thing on her wellness agenda is continuing to heal up from the ankle…  Which seems to be going well… slow…  but well.

Tomorrow. it’s artwork and curtain ironing & hanging…  Oh the joys of a house controlled by the seasons…  At least it’s not mine.  I couldn’t care less.  Curtains are curtains…  Doesn’t matter to me if it’s summer or winter.  They block sun, I’m happy they’re hanging.

Until the next time.

That Good Old (half-)Frenchman Magic

10/27/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/24/2014 05:44:16 PM – Mentat 771

…Or “Hello Gas Company? I would like a heaping side of drama with your free service.

Thursday night, when the weather was gloomy and the temperatures in the mid 50s F (10s C) with the weekend looking more and more like the sort of thing we see frost in the morning, I had decided to tackle getting the space heater in the apartment re-lit. I had turned it off and the end of last winter because unlike the old gas-on-gas which was a pain in the ass to find the pilot, this one was clearly and easily spotted on the other side of the door. Of course, that door is also on the right side of the heater and can only be reached when I move the stove away to be able to reach it and reach around to the control valve. I know it’s an old space heater as I can barely read the tag on the backside of it and if the water heater in the basement is an indication of the age of things in the house; the space heater is as old if not older than I am.

All right not older than me. It has a pilot primer (press down the knob/valve in order to light the pilot), it’s an early stage of this safety feature as you press and hold it down for 30 seconds, then you light the pilot and the voila, it’s lit. I can tell it’s up there in age…

It took a little of a struggle, a pen light held in my mouth all cat burglar-style, ensure I can reach both inside the door to the pilot and reach around to the valve controls, try to light it and all that… In about 20 minutes of grunting, swearing and taking breaks, it was lit and a quick test of turning up the thermostat proved to me it was working properly.

Later on in the evening when I was hankering down to sleep, I wandered over to the sink in the pantry area and could have sworn I was smelling the faint odor of natural gas. Getting a bit paranoid I sniffed around the space heater which was where I thought I had smelled it and sure enough there a little there. Turning up the thermostat on the space heater to ensure the pilot didn’t blow out when I shut the heat off earlier, I heard it kick on and stay lit after several attempts of turning it on and off.

Shrugging it off to my inherent paranoia and coupled with the possibility it was a bit of lingering gas from the struggle I went through, I opened one of the windows in the kitchen to air the house out and get some sleep.

The next morning, after shutting the window and confirming I couldn’t smell any gas from the space heater, I had to rush over to my mother’s house because I missed the call that the visiting nurse was over early, and thought she was still there at 9:20 as my uncle was supposed to be coming over to pick her up for her biopsy appointment at 9:30. Fortunately for me, the visiting nurse was long since gone and my mother let her in by throwing the keys out the window to open the door on the street. Helping my mother downstairs and into uncle’s truck, she was off to the hospital for her biopsy, leaving me there for a couple of hours while I watched her Monster Child…

The day went as expected. I took care of her needs while she sat down, ran a couple of errands (bank and Walgreen’s to pick up her prescription). Realizing I didn’t have my wind breaker, I headed back to the house to pick it up and realized that I smelled the faint odor of gas again as I walked in the door to my apartment.

I did the errands, came back to my mother’s house, told her about it and then called the gas company (here in Rhode Island, Gas & Electricity are the same company). I spoke with James in customer service and asked him about the free service when gas is being turned on at an apartment. I remembered when I moved into my apartment in the Valley, during the visit the Service man check the various equipment: Water Heater, Stove, Space Heater/Heating service if it’s gas and ensure there’s no leaks. I asked him whether it’s a free service for someone hat already has their service up and running.

He told me it was free and asked why. I explained to him that since turning on the space heater and lighting the pilot there was a faint odor of gas and I thought that perhaps there might be a problem.

He started the speech not turning any of the lights or electrical appliances and getting out of the house immediately not to re-enter until the service man was there.

I told him I’m aware of this, but assured him that it wasn’t that bad, as my computer had been running the entire time and re-affirmed the odor in the house was faint, not overpowering. I explained I’ve been in a house where a gas feed had broken and knew the difference between a potential calamity and a small issue. This was the small issue.

He told me that someone from the gas company would be there in half hour.

I told him that there’s no way for who they’re sending to ring doorbells to gain entry (there are none on the doors to the house) and gave him a number to call as I was across the street taking care of my mother and could be out there when they arrive. I stressed again it wasn’t an emergency, as it’s only a faint odor.

And what follows is the result of that call…

I’m sitting there at my mother’s seeing that the clock reading was close to the time the gas company is supposed to show up. I also heard the sounds of sirens as they’re screaming up the street and seeming to stop near to where I am at my mother’s. Looking out the window I see this big-assed paramedic’s truck blocking up Piedmont St. I then look around outside and saw several firemen in full gear including oxygen tanks walking around outside of my house.

“Jesus, the whole of the fire department is here and at my house. Something’s up. I’ll check what’s going on and walk Jack when I get back.”

“We’ll be here,” my mother says to me as I’m putting a windbreaker and hat on and rushing down the stairs.”

I get outside and halfway to the door to my apartment, I say loudly, “Is there something I can help you with, Gentlemen?”

Someone dressed as the Fire Marshall says, “the gas company called us of a report of a gas leak at this house, did you report it?”

“I did! Though I assure you it’s not as bad as needing the whole of your firehouse here on my front door step. If one or two of you gentlemen will please follow me, I’ll lead you up and explain the situation to you while you check what’s wrong.”

Four come up — the Captain (he had the bars to prove it) and three of his men with various gas detection equipment in hand. One of them was complaining about the obstructions with the cleaning supplies on the first floor landing… Yeah, good luck getting those moved, I mumbled.

This is the only apartment with closets, the others had been boarded up years ago and the only reason why I have them is because the last tenant ripped those boards out gashing the frames and the floor in the process. My first floor neighbor not having the luxury of strength or help doesn’t and has had whatever can’t fit in a closet out in the hallway for longer than I’ve been living in the apartment.

I stressed to them this wasn’t that big an emergency as it was a light odor and only happened after six and a half hours while I was over my mother’s house caring for her.

A minute after that there were 8 men in the house.

Soon after that there was all 12 loitering in my 15′ x 15′ kitchen firing various questions at me scatter shot. There’s two trucks and the paramedic van all blocking most of Atwells Ave and mouth of Piedmont St to Atwells and only the Fire Marshall outside standing by car at Piedmont and Adams Sts. And of course, the rubberneckers wondering what’s going on…

“Can you verify that there are two active gas meters?” One of the last to come into my house asked. Yes, just me and my downstairs neighbor live in this house, the rest is unoccupied. The other apartments haven’t been occupied in more than 10 years.

“When did you notice the smell?” At first last night when I lit the space heater, but after that, only when I came back to the house to pick up a windbreaker to walk the dog a short time ago. The apartment has been unoccupied the last six and a half hours.

“The pilots on this stove aren’t lit,” the Captain said like he suddenly discovered the problem. No, they never worked. This stove was kludged in a way that the stove top and oven only light when turned on and a match is set to them. You know like a camper (propane) stove…

“We’re going to check the downstairs (with the first floor neighbor).” Gentlemen, I guarantee you, she smokes like a chimney and if the leak was from downstairs she’d know about it. We all would, in fact.”

There was a lot of repeat questions, and a lot more repeat answers. Apparently I was Speaking in Tongues or my experience in living in apartments for more than 30 years meant nothing.

No I’ve been here 8 months and while I thought I smelled it toward the end of last winter, I didn’t run the heat much since the end of February and shut off the space heater in the middle of March.

No, the stove has never given me problems in the 8 months I’ve been living here.

Yes, the stove is lit by match and later on with a barbecue lighter (showing them as it rests on the fireplace mantel in the kitchen). If you look carefully you’ll see this oven is kludged having a secondary gas level for the oven under the stove top. Pulled up the stove top to point it out to the Captain.

Yes, I’ve worked with ovens from the very modern with induction technology to the old kerosene ovens of the early 20s and can pretty much know the difference between a proper working stove and one that’s kludged together to make it work. If you think this one’s bad, you should have seen the beat up piece of shit at my apartment on Tuxedo Ave.

No, I never smelled gas from the spring through summer up until lighting the space heater for the coming winter last night. In fact, having been here 8 months I don’t recall there ever being a gas smell when the windows had been closed or the air conditioner was running during those times. It only seemed to have happened within the last 24 hours and even then it’s just mildly annoying.

There were a couple of other questions, all of which I stated it only started when I re-lit the pilot on the space heater last night.

When they were done asking me questions, I asked, “So gentlemen did any of those meters you brought with you find anything?”

“No. We did smell something when we came into the house, but the meters show nothing.”

I was about to open the window in the kitchen when the Captain said, “keep that window closed.”

Keeping the window shut, I turned on the captain and said with a smile, “Oh I should listen like when I asked you for one or two men to check this all out instead of all of the firehouse in my kitchen?” I looked around everyone in a mildly accusing manner loitering in my kitchen. Pointing to bedroom and office, I continued, “Besides, two windows are already open and have been since I left to care for my mother this morning. One there and the other there.”

At this point they had check everywhere they could when the Captain said, “Where’s the Gas Company?” Actually I think he said, “where the hell is the Gas Company?”

Almost on cue he comes up the stairs and hearing that said, “my GPS sent me to Cranston instead of here.” I saw him at my open doorway coming in.

So I explained everything once again to the Utility man. The Captain said a couple of things to him as well, but I didn’t really listen to him at this point. Why should I? He wasn’t like he was listening to me.

As it turns out five minutes into the examination the service man’s equipment did find a leak. It was coming from the (right) pilot on the stove. Also a small leak from the regulator underneath the stove top.

While the Service Man double was checking the feeds into the apartment I remember him saying something about thinking he’d be in trouble with the Fire Department. I explained to him if anyone’s going to be in trouble, it should be the person that took the call (at National Grid). I told him repeatedly that this wasn’t an emergency and that all I was asking for was someone to use the equipment they have access to, to double check there was nothing wrong with the space heater. I reinforced that having lived at this place for 8 months, if I had smelled it sooner, I would have assuredly called someone to check it out (then and there). The fact that it only happened now indicated something was different than the end of February/beginning of March and it involved the space heater.

Looking out the window, I saw all the trucks and the Fire Marshall were long gone. “Oh and besides, they’re all gone, I think you’re safe.” I told him.

Yeah, they left 10 minutes after the utility company showed up without so much as a “bye” or “is everything good?”.

After checking the feeds and everything else, the final conclusion based on my discussion with the service man was with the space heater being turned back on, it increased the pressure for the gas feed and in doing so it was enough to cause the pilots to partially leak from the stove… It had to do with need and pressure to service that need. According to what I saw on the service man’s detection meter over his shoulder was that it was just hitting 1.

While the service man said it wasn’t enough to be a hazard, it was enough to smell up the place and only would be dangerous if the apartment was empty for longer than a day at a time. As a temporary fix he told me I need to shut off the gas main to the stove when I’m not using it. Basically one more lever to throw when I want to cook something.

He even got a smile out of it for the over-compensation of it all, given that he saw my computer (and network) was up and running through the entire thing..

After the gas man was finished here, I then went downstairs to my neighbor’s apartment to apologize for the intrusion from the fire department. That’s when I ran into her my neighbor’s daughter coming over to check her mother. I told her the whole sordid story about simply calling the utility company to check the gas stove.

She’s telling me that one of the neighbors called her to tell her the fire department was on the street at her mother’s place and when she got here to Piedmont there was no way for her drive into the driveway of her house across the street.

We all got a bit of a laugh out of it approaching the whole incident like Yankees would in “…it’s better to be safe than sorry.” She talked with her mother and told her of she needed anything to just go across the street to her place.

I walked my mother’s Monster Child (Jack) and when I came back, then came the real fun explaining it to my landlord Anthony as he came home toward the tail end of it.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an understanding albeit old-world Italian man who looks like he’s one step away from being homeless, but my family knows he’s got a lot of money and owns a lot more property on Federal Hill than he appears to.

After bringing my mother’s dog up to her, Anthony and I came up to the apartment and instead of trying to pantomime, use a bit of sign language and talking really slow (because he’s hard of hearing) to explain what happened, I decided writing the whole thing out in big, block-printed letters because it would be faster for the two of us. So about 45 minutes later, everything was explained as best as it could be. Well that and he explained what the gas service man already reinforced for the time being.

Of course during my explaining it to my landlord, there was the minor scare as the landlord was trying to prove the leak by using an open flame against the regulator and the pilot lights and then most of the pipes underneath the stove top. While I knew the leaks weren’t much and certainly weren’t enough to cause rogue flames from erupting, that didn’t stop me from having a moment or three of my life flashing before my eyes thinking about gas leaks and open flames… and explosions… or my death (and my landlord’s) caused by a man, hard of hearing, older than my mother.

So for right now, I’ve shut the main off to the stove, left the space heater on and will only turn on the main when I was going to cook something. Basically it’s very much like using a camp stove on a hitch trailer or an RV. I’ll have to do this, until such time I can get a repair man in or get the stove replaced. Whichever comes first.

Later on, I found myself laughing at the drama of it all during my afternoon walk (and making me look like a goofy madman to anyone walking by) as such a little problem turned into this insane — just on the safe side — over-done mess. It makes me wish there was some small utility store to come in and check it without charging outrageously for something done in less than 5 minutes. Or the Utility Company not being a bunch of over-compensating drama queens because of the general stupidity of people. Well that and the overall litigious nature of the American Public.

And that’s about it. I’m going to wander. Until the next time.

Updates and what not…

10/23/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/23/2014 06:01:47 AM – Mentat 770

So last night was the first night since I’ve been here that I had to shut the windows in the house.  I think it’s safe now to open a couple of windows as last night there was a hell of a lot of wind and rain.  Surprisingly also there was thunder & lightning.  It’s been a long while since we’ve had thunderstorms in the autumn.  And… Opening the windows right now, there’s still a hell of a lot of wind out there.  Sure it comes and it goes, but when it’s here it’s pretty damned gusty.  Hopefully it won’t be raining as it was last night and through the morning.  Because I don’t want to have to rush over here to shut the windows again.

I talked with my mother last night as she got home a bit later than I expected and during my usual exercise routine — namely the 2 mile (3.21 km) walk.  I saw the lights on in the house and no car in the driveway so I ventured up to make sure it wasn’t as worse as my imagination can be.  She was there, hobbling around the house.  She told me that the PICC line was removed and the clot that they found during yesterday’s visits and to the hospital were the cause of the clotting around the area of the PICC line in her arm…

She said she was fine and that tomorrow (today) I need to be over at around 8 AM so that we can get around to doing my favorite part of her fall cleaning spree:  ironing and hanging up the curtains around the house.  Yay….  fun times and all that.  At least I did the vacuuming yesterday while she was at her first appointment.  So that’s pretty much out of the way.   Well, until the Monster Child sheds himself another Chihuahua…  Or my mother sees a rogue lint ball rolling around the house and she thinks the whole house is positively filthy.  Whichever comes first.

[Last Edited: 10/23/2014 10:05:07 AM]

Getting over here for 8 in the morning and according to what she’s telling me, the punch biopsy (at least that’s what she calls it) that they were supposed to do to determine the mass in her right breast has been canceled because she’s currently on some sort of oral immunosuppressant that will interfere with the biopsy results.  So right now she’s woken up and going through the various calls to doctors, clinics and hospitals that she has appointments with to cancel and reschedule…  Heh, the funny part of this is that this is absolutely normal on my mother’s side of the family.  Routine doctor’s appointments until retirement and then it’s the metric shit-tons of them shortly after that for the gaggle of problems that crop up for being old.  And yes, this is something I definitely look forward to.  Joys, eh?

At least the good thing is that I don’t have to worry about starting the fall curtain change.  That’s going to wait until the weather and the wind calm down.  After all, it’s more than a little difficult to be cleaning the windows while we have strong gusts and the occasional rains.  And given that the NOAA reports severe wind advisories through to 11 PM, it looks like it’s going to be here for a while even if looking out the window at the moment it seems relatively calm.

Heh, sitting here at the moment she really hasn’t stopped.  The biopsy appointment got rescheduled again for the morning tomorrow (at a slightly respectable time) which means she’ll be there for a couple of hours.  Though during it her husband began working her nerves with his anger.  Of course the reason for his anger is because the man’s having problems processing all this scares with the blood clot, the endless batteries of visits and runs to the hospital,  the scare of the biopsy and the possibility the mass might be malignant.

In a way I’ve been fortunate.  On the one side I’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals when I was a child and again later on after the car accident that such visits don’t always end in terrible news and worst case scenarios.  More often times than naught, the doctors and staff often approach things with the attitude of a worst case while trying to prove there’s nothing to worry about.  On the other side, having spent so much time in the mid-80s through mid-90s and watching so many of my friends and supporting friends with their lovers in the hospitals succumbing to complications to AIDS I’ve learned to simply accept and support with compassion, understanding and sometimes even just listening.   After all, what’s the point of anger, rage or frustration?  It’s not going to change the inevitability of the situation.   I believe that’s the closest to Divine Apathy that I can come.

So I reaffirmed with her the reason for his anger and frustration and told her I could have a word with him about this anger issue of this…  Of course,  she vehemently forbade knowing that my words would be more forceful than she would want.  And they would be rather forceful because of the unfinished business from almost a month ago.  But I’ll abide for a while longer as the rancor’s not bad — and I’ve found that I don’t obsess about it half as much as I might have more than 18 months ago.

And that’s about it for the time being.  I decided on posting this because of the potential for bomb dropping from yesterday’s entry.  Off to take care of things with my mother and getting the Monster Child for the morning walk.  Until the next time.

My Usual Disgust with the Entertainment Industry

10/22/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/22/2014 06:43:43 AM – Mentat 769

The interesting thing about starting the slow cooker the first thing in the morning is that there’s no casualties or catastrophes while I cook.  Everything gets down without too much mess, spill and most of all: bloodshed. I seem to take my time, get everything prepared and of course Moe loves it as he tends to run around the house more than getting up under me curious as to what it is I’m doing.  I did this last week when I made the Sausage Stew and while I only began shedding tears after cooking (because I did the stupid thing of rubbing my eyes after preparing and didn’t wash my hands), there again was no scares from Moe and no bloodshed.  All in all, I’m definitely going to keep to this schedule for the safety of it all.

This is going to be an early morning for me.  My mother’s off to the doctor’s early this morning and now I need to get ready to watch the Monster Child until she gets home.

Heh, I get my cuppa in this morning and instead of finding myself happy, chipper and percolated — I find myself crotchety, curmudgeonly and just brimming with vitriol.   I admit it’s because of the shows that I had been watching last night during quiet time with Moe in the crook of my arm.  I mean I know I went into the shows that I was watching fully knowing that they had an entertainment half-life…  Hell most of the shows that I’ve been watching have been touched by who I like to call the Abrams’ Ass-Licking Crack Monkeys:  Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman…  So really, I should know what I’m in for given my experience with them having their hand on shows like Alias, Fringe, Lost (though truth be told, I avoided that one like the plague because it just wasn’t my cuppa from start to finish)…  Yet here I am feeling like the older ‘man’ in the YouTube video EA in a Nutshell exclaiming “why does this keep happening?!”  I mean sure, on the one side it’s not as though I’ve actually invested the time; I binged on one, and the other I gave the first five episode to get a feeling of it.

Sitting here thinking about it, I can only attribute it to the shock to just how unoriginal the episodes turned out to be.  With Scorpion I now know what it feels like to be either a doctor or nurse watching shows like Bones or Grey’s Anatomy in that the medical jargon is just over-glorified technobabble.   In this case the whole part of the “enabled” or otherwise known as the ultra-intelligent…  Only problem with this is that the actors and the writers aren’t that intelligent and are trying too hard to work with the stereotypes of that intelligence.  Basically they’re the nerd kids that had always been picked on in the schoolyard and keep to that mentality even as adults.  That and they hobbled the characters way too much — leaving even the one with the ability to read people through body language and nuance — a bunch of dysfunctional messes that can only be held together by Walter O’Brien.  What’s so uninspiring about this is also that it’s supposed to be based on the true-life person Walter O’Brien leaving the show feeling like a fantasy world much like Temperance Brennan in Bones.

In The Blacklist nothing like getting slammed in the brains with a MacGuffin while watching the recent episode called The Front that comes right out of the J.J. Abrams play book from a 2001 episode of Alias.  400 year old manufactured virus that was created by opposing forces for germ warfare…  ugh, I couldn’t listen and watch anymore after that.  Hell, I’m giving up on the show after horrendously over-used plot device…

People wonder why I haven’t owned a television since 2004.  This is why.  It’s easier to watch it in binge without commercials and give up the show when it’s reached the end of its entertainment value.  Treat it like a mindless diversion when Moe has decided that I had been away from the house long enough and with the colder weather on it’s way in, sitting with me in quiet contentment.  Heh, I love my cat, though it’s not possible that I can do much else with him when he’s sitting in the crook of my arm between me and the keyboard.

On the other hand, I know that there are no original stories, plots or writing ideas left in the world,  yet why is it with television recycles and regurgitates them  faster than you can say, “*sigh* really?”  It raises the questions, 1. are producers that scared of taking chances?  and 2. are they truly the uninspired and unoriginal hacks that everyone in the entertainment industry accuse them of being?

I understand time constraints…  You’re running a series on network (or even cable) television that spans 22 – 26 episodes a season (year) hoping it to be some sort of breakaway hit that will last 5 – 7 seasons (and sometimes even more).   I know that there are also certain constraints about what can and can’t be shown on television (which I see is still eroding slowly) as well as the routine requirement for one (or more) PSA-like episodes…  But do these writers and producers need to stick to the same predictable plots and performing the same things over and over not entirely unlike the old travelling swindler selling snake oil to cure everything one ails from?

It makes me wonder whether or not certain cable television shows as well as the BBC have it right in that (other than perhaps soap operas), they cut down the the season to 8 – 13 episodes instead of the full year.  I’m not even going to waste my time trying to figure out or even offer advice or suggestions on how to handle all the schmoozing (or what I’m more prone to call ass-kissing or ass-licking depending on the veracity of it) that seems to go on within Hollywood.  I see enough of this in my local politics and there it needs to definitely stop.

Ultimately I know the only possible way of controlling such entertainment is to vote with my remote:  change the channel, stop watching it, sometimes even writing the network if necessary…  And while I’ve done that, it makes me misanthropic wondering how my peers and others that watch television can put up with watching such shite and call it entertaining?    I’m going to chalk it up to one of those mysteries of the universe I might never truly fathom (even if I sometimes understand).

In other news, I just received a call from my mother after her doctor’s visit and then the hospital for another mammogram and now she’s off to Miriam Hospital for some sort of emergency surgery because of a blood clot.  I didn’t ask the details, though I suspect it might have to do with the occasional swelling she had in her left arm from the PICC line.  So I wished her good luck and will check with her again later on after the surgery when she’s conscious and talking to find out the details.

And that’s about it for the time being.  As the Monster Child went out early, I’m sure that the excitement he’s currently demonstrating is because he’s both bored and the fact that he had gone out earlier than usual this morning.  I’m off for that, have lunch and continue to watch the dog.  Until the next time.

For the Love of a Foul Mood

10/10/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/10/2014 12:31:42 PM – Mentat 757

I have been in a hell of  a foul mood since this morning when I received a call from my mother informing me that the reason why she had been pulled into surgery yesterday morning.  It wasn’t about the fact that I hadn’t been told that the reason why there was surgery yesterday for the skin grafting that they had performed to thicken up her thin skin around the ankle area.  Seriously that was to be expected.  The thinning skin around her ankle since the accident has been an issue of contention since they put the pins and plate to hold together her ankle some months ago after the accident with the Monster Child.  What set it off this morning was in fact the news of her coming home maybe on Sunday and that for a while afterwards, she’s going to be laid up and have to keep off her foot and have it elevated while she’s healing.  What set me off is the fact that this is going to put me in a difficult position with her husband.  Now this is why…  Three weeks ago this Sunday there was an incident between he and I.



It started with going over my mother’s for dinner.

I went a little bit earlier than usual, partially because I know how my mother has been since breaking her ankle and she usually ran dinner a bit earlier because of it.  So when I was over there, while my mother was finishing her cooking (boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes), I watched a few of the subscription videos in advanced.  By the time we sat down I was sort of confused about Twitter and the fact that my ADD was acting up (thanks largely to the various aches and pains in the back of my head and sinuses as well as the cramps from whatever I ate two or three days ago).  So I was trying to do a quick scan of the messages and why I received a notification and who it was from…  And was about to give up the search as dinner was about to be served, when my mother’s husband starts asking how big a piece of pork.

It’s the same question week to week to week…  How big do you want?  And unless I’m ill, ate really big for lunch or queasy, I have settled for the same amount and the same size of any cut of meat — be it meatloaf, pork, beef roast — it’s bigger than my mother’s but smaller than his.  So I just said, “use your best judgment..  You know how big I usually have…”

He asked again, I said the same thing…

Then he gave me a sliver of a slice from the end of the roast as I was putting the phone to the side.   He had a smug look on his face like, ‘this is what you get for not answering the question I asked.’

I looked at him, then my mother and instead of allowing myself to be ruffled by it because he had the scowl going when I didn’t react the way he wanted, and said something about being an asshole and having my nose in my phone.  So with a little drama and putting my hands in the air said I was going home and would be by the next day.

I remember hearing noise about it, and the next thing I know the serving fork and then the carving knife came at me.  They both hit the chair at the table and fortunately for me: they both missed.

He followed me to the door, and while I’m now hazy as to what happened at that point, remember saying I didn’t want to hit him, but he hit me.  At the back door he hit me…

He hit like a girl.  Or rather not like someone with so many years of military experience in the Marines.  But that didn’t mean I was just going to stand there and take it either.  So, I struck back.  It was damned sloppy though…  I was in sandals and couldn’t get a good stand or counter, but at least self-defensive.  I pushed him to the garbage bin, with a light choke hold and as there was another sloppy scuffle where he was holding me by the collar for a long time, but after my mother intervention and my warning him that I was left-handed and that hand was free to strike, he let me go and I left the house.



In hindsight, my attitude in this — with or without ADD — was bound to happen.  If I’m asked the same thing over and over for course of at least two years and my patterns are clearly defined, I get tired of answering the same question or saying the same thing ad nausea.  In the past I would have really had an explosive moment because such painstaking banality used to drive me to utter distraction.  After all how many times can you ask, “how big a piece do you want?” and not catch a pattern to it without the normal cues (to the exception)?  Now, I simply ignore it or brush it off.

I told my mother the next day I would give him a week’s time to apologize for his act of violence.  I went on to tell her that if he simply screamed at me, I probably would’ve apologized for me actions; but the instant he hit me and threw things at me — he wouldn’t get any respect from me until that action was apologized for.  My mother told me that it would be a cold day (in hell) before he would ever apologize for what he did.  That convinced me right then and there and confirmed it at a week’s time when he didn’t seek me out to apologize for this act of violence he was a bully (at best) or an abuser (at worst).

Since then, my mother has done her best to keep the two of us apart.  She’s pretty much told me that dinners with her and her husband are a thing of the past.  When it came to laundry up until this week she and I would be going instead of putting me in the car with him (and doing it alone at the laundromat).

She’s told me that the reason why she’s holding off is that she wants it to be at the “right time”.  She’s told me that she’s afraid that he might hit her if I confronts him.  She has put me in the right difficult position of trying to make me promise I won’t confront him while she’s currently in the hospital.  While I didn’t actually promise, I did say that I would do my best not to confront him during this time.

The problem with me is that this has gone on for too long.  I’m not about to let go of it.  It’s built up rancour and more anger than what I’ve dealt with dealing with the two ex-douche nozzles I used to deal with in Olneyville.  I’ve been in one too many abusive relationships and I refuse to sit idly by while a bully thinks he can get away with hitting me Scot-free without repercussion or apology.  And it’s only a matter of time before our paths cross, and it’s not going to be pretty;  particularly when I happened to have perused his coupon for Cialis…  Yeah, excuse me…  you have anger and violence issues, the last thing anyone would be worrying about is whether or not they can keep their penis erect…  But that’s just me, right?

Anyway, that’s what’s really set me off…  Because between my mother might be coming home Sunday (and having to watch the dog), coupled with my pussy-footing around my mother’s husband, coupled with the difficulties that will crop up next week with the laundry and everything else…  I just think it would be easier for everyone (or perhaps needs to come to a head) by confronting it, instead of ignoring it like the Pink Elephant in the room.

Well, I’m going to wander for the time being.  Mail to check, dog to walk, and listening to something that should sooth the savage nerves.  Until the next time.

Surprises, Bumps & Train Wrecks

10/09/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/09/2014 09:57:21 AM  – Mentat 756

Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.” – Carl Jung

Ah, what a train wreck yesterday turned out to be.

Things seemed to have been going remarkably well.  I started my morning with the extreme surprise of coming in contact with someone I hadn’t seen or even heard from in almost 30 years.  A bar-friend that I used to get together with that used to trawl the old bar, No Name — long since gone and replace with a state agency — and then afterwards head to the old Seaplane Diner for a late night breakfast to work the alcohol out of our systems.  While I didn’t remember him when he messaged me — getting confused with someone else from about that time — when he told me he was from North Providence, I remembered correctly and instantly.  I remember that he used to dress up like a hair-glam rocker; complete with clothes and hair.  I remember he was mostly a shy one when we were out.  I remember when we used to go out, he would order himself a plate of fries and then drench them in condiments.   I remember a couple of his friends.  Chris B who I tried to date and failed rather spectacularly.  And I think another Italian kid who I only remember his name as Dante.   And a woman name Lorna…  Heh, I couldn’t remember her name and Chris had to remind me; thought it started with an R…  But at least it has an R in it.

Interesting memories back then; some of which I’m rather surprised I can remember so clearly and so precisely being so close to the time of the car accident back when I was about 20 years old and somewhere between that time and when I had been raped 2 years later is a very messy time for me to try to remember through.  On the one side, I no longer had my journals for that time (destroyed in a flood) so it’s not like looking at 2004 – 2005 after my break up with Rick…  And reading into those journals seeing an entirely different person I don’t remotely recognize writing them…   On the other hand, sitting here — in the here and now — it’s rather surprising how clear those memories are in spite of the dire times back then.   Sure the memories seem to be darker than average — but it’s more about lighting (and the lack thereof) more than the mood.  Well that and the smells of cigarettes, bad smoke machines and spilled alcoholic drinks.  But those were the times outside of work…

Going on simultaneously was a rather surprising chat with someone — who’s name will be discretely omitted and referred to as C — on a chat/meeting site.  The fact that he admitted being able to sing gives him automatic respect (as I’ve said in the past — me singing produces the same sounds as torturing cats).  He was flirtatious, gregarious, he was keeping up with what was going on and most importantly I didn’t have to reiterate constantly what I was trying to say and perhaps even what I meant.  A definite plus and something that I find attractive.  He was even closer to my age than most of the men I’ve flirted with in the last couple of years.   It made the afternoon go well given I wasn’t at the Deskside, instead watching my mother’s Monster Child (stories to be told in a moment).

Then the train wreck.  As I was wrapping up my time at my mother’s during the last 45 minutes.  The conversation takes a turn into surprise.  C doesn’t want to chat anymore and wants to meet.  Given the intensity and the change of direction it had taken me completely be surprise.  In those moments, I didn’t know what or why, but I reacted hard.  I became brutally honest and in doing so pushed him away hard.  It fell apart after that…  C was distracted by driving…  I was flummoxed and having anxiety.

I can tell you that because of it, I had my first absence (petite mal) seizure since being back in the Tundras of New England.  It wasn’t long — longer than normally experienced.  A fact that if my mother were to hear about this would demand my going to a doctor pronto.

I can tell you that I fell immediately to sleep and slept uninterrupted through to the morning.

I can tell you I feel both embarassed and guilty because I didn’t handle the situation properly.  I apologized, but expect nothing in return.  Nor that he would return.

And this morning after meditating and beginning this journal entry, I can tell you precisely where the anxiety came from…  It started in the unconscious.  It came from seeing the similarities of C’s situation and the years of hell living with Rick a decade before.  It came from the emotional torment and blame that I had gone through at his hands.  And most importantly it came from the similarities I had been seeing.

– that C had a child
– that he was only recently out and not out to many people.
– that there was a travelable distance between where he was and where I am.  60 miles (96.5 km)  which compared from Atlanta to Dalton is close enough for government work.
– that I don’t drive and haven’t for 21 years now.

Combine this with the memories of constant incrimination and derision that I had gone through with Rick and it all came flooding back in flood and fear.

I know, I know…  they’re different people, different circumstances and on and on and on…  Consciously it makes perfect sense and is perfectly logical.  Unconsciously?  No matter what mastery one can have on conscious thought — it’s a dark place, full of emotions and deeply hidden problems that can creep up and pounce when you least expect it.  And that’s precisely what it did.

The best I can do at the moment is ride through the regrets that I had created and let them pass.  I regret bring such demons so early to the table.  I regret that I scared a good man with baggage I thought that I had gotten the best of.  And I regret how it’s ended.  But hey…  It’ll pass like it always does…  I just have to face what it was that scared me and handle it better.

As for what I mentioned earlier in this entry.  Earlier this week she was in for getting the plate removed from her ankle/foot because it was sticking too close to the surface and was interfering with the healing process.  So in the morning and through until about the time that her husband gets home, I stay over her place watching the dog and ensuring he doesn’t have any abandonment issues through that time.  Jack — her monster child — being a rescue still has it months later.

Further developments this afternoon comes from my aunt who received a voicemail from my mother telling her she’s going into surgery for it again this morning.  My aunt couldn’t hear her mostly because she’s going hard of hearing and won’t do anything about it… So I left a message on my mother’s cell with the hopes of finding out more news on this…

There’s more to this too.  My mother’s going to be going back to the hospital next week for a more detailed mammogram.  Last week when she went for her routine examinations — or as she’s fond of call them “breast squishings” — they reported finding a dark spot on her results from her other breast.  I can’t remember which one, just that it was the other one that had cancer in, in the past.

I’m not too worried about it.  It’s one of those wait and see what’s going to happen next with her.  I just wished she would stop smoking..  That would make it a bit easier.

Well that’s about it for the time being.  Until the next time.