This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Not really planning on talking about the weather, I just love that term 'polar vortex'.  I thought I would love to name my kid Polar Vortex, but when I mentioned it one time to a gal I was dating, she didn't like it; in fact, I think she dumped me not long afterwards.  Probably married someone else and named their kid Bradley or Contruse or some other name they thought was cool.  I'm sorry, nothing would be cooler than having a son name Polar Vortex and a daughter named Autumnal Equinox.

But I would never name a bar Polar Vortex, I'd be afraid it would become a gay bar.

But today I wish to talk about something I realized recently I have never talked much about; my mom.  I think she got two or three blogs in the old blog, now book which I will announce today I did sell my 25th copy in December, hold the applause, then it was returned, so I did not make the goal of 25 sales for the year.  Who the hell buys then returns a Kindle book when it has the option of that peak inside thing where you can read about 100 pages?  WTF?

And to think, in July, I was hoping for 25,000 sales.

But I realized I have neglected to tell the other half of the story, so since it is snowing outside, lunch is digesting, and I don't feel like reading, I will tell the story now.

My dad gave me many great life lessons, on being humble, praying, reading the Bible, and getting a job done.  From my mom, I learned strength, toughness, and suffering in silence.

Okay, maybe not the last one.

My mom grew up in Morgantown WV, one of 5 children.  She never went to college but as many HS grads back then, probably knew more than most college grads today.  And until she was in her late 80's, she could still recite about two dozen old poems she'd had to memorize.  It always bothered her she didn't go to college, her brothers got to go, even the one with the heart condition who would die in his early 20's.  So it always bothered her that they got to go and she worked as a legal secretary to help make expenses for the family.

But she was the athlete of my parents, by far.  Where as my dad couldn't throw a ball 5 feet, my mom played catch with me even when I was in high school.  Okay, she had problems catching a slider or knuckleball, which I guess I should probably confess as  a sin when I think about it.  Plus, she did crossword puzzles all the time, but not while we played catch.

But her body began to betray her around 1998.  She got the first couple of what would be a complete run of the table on compression fractures in her spine.  Horrible Osteoporosis.  From 1998 to 2008, that woman was always in pain and nothing could help.  In 2002, she was in the hospital with more compression fractures and when she got out she was home in a bed we'd setup in the family room for about three days when they found an intestinal blockage and it was back to the hospital and by the time they'd dicked around the intestines ruptured, she blew up to about 3 times her size and she went into surgery which they warned us was probably going to kill her.

And now we come to another thing I shared with her, some sort of spiritual sense of things.  We both claim it came from our Indian side, my great great great granddad married an Indian woman.  Anyways, during the surgery, I knew she was okay, hadn't died, so when they came to get the family and bring us into the room, others were nervous, crying and I was okay cause I knew she was okay.

But then, okay is a relative term.  From the hospital she went to a nursing home for rehab, otherwise known as soak Medicare for 100 days then kick them out.  Because she came out in worse shape than she went in.  So for the next six months, I hardly ever worked while my dad and I cared for her at home.  She needed to be lifted out of bed to be placed on a portable toilet we's tied next to the bed.

And for the next six years of her life, that was pretty much her life.  Now, there were times that a physical therapist would come in for a couple of months, we'd get her strength up to a point were she could start walking with a walker, then she kind of swung from furniture to furniture.  Her goal was alway to get back up to her bedroom, she loved her bedroom.  We had to put a gate at the top of the stairs to make sure when she was up there she couldn't accidentally take a dive down the steps, but I would gather over those six years, on and off, there were probably two years where she was upstairs and 4 years in the family room.

She did have some mental problems, nothing near what my dad would later go through, but the poems would not be recalled and the crosswords would go unsolved which was a clue.  But physically, she was always in tremendous pain and had no control of the evacuation parts, if you know what I mean.

And no, I'm not going to tell the Hatari story again, you have to read the book.

But my admiration for her grew over those years.  I know it embarrassed her mightily to have her son caring for her, cleaning her, showering her, etc.  And I know she was often in terrible pain, but she always maintained such a ornery attitude to continue on.  And many a time, she would look at me when I was done taking care of her, making her dinner, and those type of things and she'd say "someday, I'll do something nice for you"; and we'd smile at each other, knowing that day would never come, yet there is a lifetime of memories she gave me growing up that more than cover the debt.

I'm not sure what brought all this up last night.  I'm putting some more stuff on sale, hoping to sell some things to stay afloat another month, and I know she never wanted to see a lifetime of collections of things that meant so much to her just be sold off.  I put the cedar chest up for sale; my granddad made that chest and it still has that deep smell of cedar nearly one hundred years later.  I hate doing it, I priced it pretty high almost hoping it won't sell, but then it won't fit in the car, so what do I do with it?

People spend a lifetime collecting 'stuff' and when they die, what becomes of it?  What was really important becomes a cheap commodity on the want ads.  Books they held for 60 years are worthless.  It really affects a brain's thinking, why spend lots of money on stuff when it is worthless afterwards.  Maybe it would have been wiser for her to give all that stuff away while she was alive to family and friends.

She had a green afghan that she always used in the living room to cover herself up with, I remember that thing from when I was a child.  I gave it to our neighbor before with left Palos, the gal next door was like a daughter to her so I thought she would like it.  Who knows, the moment meant something to her, but did the afghan?

I still have a couple of quilts my mom made, and that is where I draw the line.  I don't care where the road leads, those quilts stay with me even if I end up on a park bench.  She made those quilts with her own hands, it's all I have left of her, well except her ashes.

What an odd homeless man I will make.  Living in a car with a dog, three quilts, ashes, a small library in the trunk, and a lever action rifle.

Somehow, I don't think this is what my parents envisioned for my future.  Neither did I, but at least I know I will survive, I will endure, and for that I can thank my mom.

My mom, my dead dog Barkley, and one of the quilts.

Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb
Mother do you think they'll like the song
Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls
Ooooh aah, Mother should I build a wall

Mother should I run for president
Mother should I trust the government
Mother will they put me in the firing line
Ooooh aah, is it just a waste of time

Hush now baby don't you cry
Mama's gonna make all of your
Nightmares come true
Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama's gonna keep you right here
Under her wing, she won't let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe
Of course Mama's gonna help build the wall

Pink Floyd