Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Endless Summer and Derek Winter, parts 1 and 2

Endless Summer & Derek Winter

©2012, JCT

Love Letters

"Are you listening to me?" The veins in Max Valentine's square head were throbbing as he asked the question, his perfectly coiffed white hair a calming contrast to the red in his face.  Considering Max is my boss and that he was chewing me out, it was to be expected.

As to the answer to that question, it was 'No.'  I was not listening to him, because 1. there was someplace else I wanted to be and 2. he was chewing me out for doing my job.

My job has no exact title and just a few specific parameters.  They are "Figure out what's going wrong" and "Fix it."  The reason my job description is so roomy is because Max owns many different enterprises of varying states of legality and I am the caretaker of all of them where those two questions are concerned.

The most recent job involved someone using Max's business to smuggle drugs.  To solve the problem I had to bring in the authorities.  The problem with that is that the business involved was a strip club and John Law is bad for the booby-shaking business.

"If this is how you're going to do your job now, then maybe I should reconsider having you on my payroll!"  Later, after he'd had drinks with Evelyn Dusenberry, his secretary, and listened to that 40s music he loved so much, he'd realize that if I could have fixed the problem any other way I would have.

But right now he was having none of it and frankly, neither was I.  I walked out of his office in mid scream, nodded to the long-legged Ms. Dusenberry in the anteroom, and rode my Yamaha Striker back to my condo.  Max wanted us to have some time apart and I was going to take it.

Identity Crisis

He could have seen that the frustration in my face matched that of my voice, if he had, in fact, been looking at me instead of staring at Jill's breasts.

To be fair, Gillian Sweeney's breasts commanded attention. They were dramatically large, an asset in her earlier career as a stripper (Gigi Chesterson) turned house mother at the self-same club that Max V. was so angry about. And even though she was not dressed to highlight them, in a modest, pale blue blouse with a high neckline, they still had the effect that the Good Lord intended them to.

She and I were in the lobby of the Sea Breeze Hotel in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, trying to check in for an impromptu summer vacation in a quest to keep from punching my boss in the face. However there was a problem, as the hotel was insisting that I had, in fact, already checked in.

"Mr. Winter, our records show that you changed your room to one with handicapped access and checked in a few hours ago."

I leaned across the counter. "Do I look like I need handicapped access?" At this point he actually looked at me.

"No. You don't. There must be some mistake. Mary!" A hotel employee came in with an unfolded towel in her hands. "It says here you checked in Mr. Winter"

She snapped her chewing gum. "Yeah. I did."

"Well, this is Mr. Winter."

"No, it's not."

"I ought to know who I am, ma'am."

"Well, you might be a Mr. Winter, but the Mr. Winter I checked in is a black guy in a wheelchair."

"Did he show you ID?"

"Yeah, but he had a different credit card than on the reservation."

"So there must be two of us booked for this weekend."

"That's what it's looking like, Mr. Winter."

Just then two young men in their early twenties walked in. One was a short, elf-like white guy and one was a taller, square black guy. "Excuse me," he said, "but there are people in my room."

"And you are, sir?"

"Derek Winter."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

National Story Noodling Month

November is National Novel Writing Month and if you were reading this blog last year, you may recall that I did, in fact, write a novel during said month (by Thanksgiving no less).  I wanted to do it again this year, but I just couldn't bring myself to block off the time for it.  But I still wanted to write something.  So I am taking a character and a situation that I have had around for years that I wanted to write either a movie or novel about and am going to write it in snatches here.  I will post blog entries about being an adult child of an alcoholic here as they occur to me during this period as well.

Endless Summer & Derek Winter

©2012, JCT

"Are you listening to me?" The veins in Max Valentine's square head were throbbing as he asked the question, his perfectly coiffed white hair a calming contrast to the red in his face.  Considering Max is my boss and that he was chewing me out, it was to be expected.

As to the answer to that question, it was 'No.'  I was not listening to him, because 1. there was someplace else I wanted to be and 2. he was chewing me out for doing my job.

My job has no exact title and just a few specific parameters.  They are "Figure out what's going wrong" and "Fix it."  The reason my job description is so roomy is because Max owns many different enterprises of varying states of legality and I am the caretaker of all of them where those two questions are concerned.

The most recent job involved someone using Max's business to smuggle drugs.  To solve the problem I had to bring in the authorities.  The problem with that is that the business involved was a strip club and John Law is bad for the booby-shaking business.

"If this is how you're going to do your job now, then maybe I should reconsider having you on my payroll!"  Later, after he'd had drinks with Evelyn Dusenberry, his secretary, and listened to that 40s music he loved so much, he'd realize that if I could have fixed the problem any other way I would have.

But right now he was having none of it and frankly, neither was I.  I walked out of his office in mid scream, nodded to the long-legged Ms. Dusenberry in the anteroom, and rode my Yamaha Striker back to my condo.  Max wanted us to have some time apart and I was going to take it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do you really want to hurt me?

A charge of the religious-based retreat I went on a few weeks back is to go out into the world and share your faith. In the context of that, I have been thinking a lot about my people problem. That is to say, I dislike lots of contact with people. And in reflecting on it I have gotten some insights as to why I have the problem.

Part of the reason I have this problem is that I find contact with people fatiguing. And that's because there are few people with whom I feel I can truly be myself. A lot of people can relax when they are around other people. That actually makes me tense. I have to do the social thing as an active pursuit. It's work. It's not unlike people's problem with public speaking, only all the time on everything.

Where that falls into the realm of ACoA is secret-keeping. I feel like I'm putting on a false front, because if I acted as a felt, no one would want to be around. Or at least that's what I think or feel. But another thing I have realized about people is that for me for the most part people equal pain.

People hurt my feelings, even the people who are supposed to care about me. People tease even when it's no longer amusing to me. People let me down. People basically suck. I have also realized that this is really a child's view and experience of people, socialization, and companionship.

There are many positive benefits to hanging out with other people. There are a lot of joys and laughs. There is support, if you think people's assertions of support are valid. But for me, I am still in the nascent stages of emotional development, where the pain is much stronger in effect or importance than the pleasure.

The equation is still in imbalance. I need for people letting me down to not hurt so much, for it not to count so much. In a different context, I have told people "Don't say 'Don't take it personally', because I take everything personally." That's ACoA traits at work.

But what I have to figure out, if it is able to be figured out, is how to lessen how much something hurts. But now at least, I have a better understanding of my condition. I doubt I will ever be an extrovert. But perhaps being so introverted won't be as debilitating anymore.

Culture Club

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?

Apparently, I am some really powerful stuff, because here we are more than a year past when she dumped me, and yet I am still the subject of Stella's blog. I had pretty much given up reading her blog, as the person that I am now is so far removed from the person who would have been in a relationship with her.

However, she has maintained relationships with other people that I know, so it came to my attention that yet again I was the subject of her blog. It's basically just more of the same: exaggerations, mischaracterizations, and absolute lies about me. She topped this by branding me with the epithet of "Loser". She is a fan of Glee, so I guess that's where she gets it from. Or maybe it's indicative of her maturity level. She even threw in a shot at Kathy.

How crazy was it? So crazy that even Portia couldn't believe Stella had written it. Kathy was a bit concerned that I would be bothered by the blog post, but it really doesn't bother me that much. I'm writing this blog post mostly as catharsis to get it all out of my system, because she isn't worth me spending any more time on it from this point forward.

I have said to Kathy more than once that I wish I knew what I did to cause Stella to hate me so. But now I don't even care. Because, frankly, anyone who is still this fixated on someone she dropped is, well, a loser.

Soy un perdedor!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm not quite sure if this fits in at all with being an adult child of an alcoholic, but I thought I would share with you a mysterious thing that happens to me from time to time, this time involving the song Ciribiribin.

Ciribiribin is a ballad by Italian songwriter Alberto Pestalozza. It was a standard of the big band era, recorded by a number of people including Frank Sinatra. How I came to focus on it was through a recent listening to the song Java Jive by the Ink Spots.

In the song at one point whomever is the lead sings
You know, well I'm not keen about a bean,
Unless it is a cheery cheery bean.
As it turns out, that line was supposed to be a pun and should have been sung
You know, well I'm not keen about a bean,
Unless it is a cheery beery bean.
This is roughly how the song name is pronounced in Italian.

Spurred on by reading how the lyric was supposed to go, I found a copy of Benny Goodman's band with Harry James on lead trumpet doing this song. I found it familiar and then remembered that I had heard it before for many many years as part of Glenn Miller's Jukebox Saturday Night. Since the Ink Spots section of JSN is a faux Ink Spots tune, I had always assumed the Harry James section was just a generic song to show off trumpet playing.

I also came to find that it was Harry James's signature song. I was aware who Harry James was of course, but only as a name in jazz history just as J.E.B. Stuart is only a name in American history to me (and war comic books, but I digress).

Well, and this is where my personality if not being an ACoA came in, I began listening to the song a lot. I mean obsessively. I found many different recordings of it, including several by James himself. There was a point were I "had" to listen to it at least once a day.

It was not long after I decided that I would write about the song that it finally stopped being a haunting presence in my life. I have no idea why I was drawn to the song and I will probably be drawn to it from this point forward. I say this because a similar thing happened with the song Perfidia many years before and it hasn't abated.

But, as I said, these things sometimes come over me out of nowhere and I just have to ride them out and deal. The joys of being me.

Harry James

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


But in the grey of the morning
My mind becomes confused
Between the dead and the sleeping
And the road that I must choose.

— Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues
I have warned most of the people I am close to that if you find me listening to the Moody Blues then it's best if you just leave me alone because I am in a bad place. Well since I am opening with a Moody Blues lyric, consider yourself warned.

A few days ago I sold the car I drove down here in. It's now something like 16 years old and it was time for it to go. But it bothered me to sell it because of links to two friends. Because of a problem with my finances, I had to borrow money from one of my friends to pay for it. But the part germane to today's post is that I bought it off of another friend.

I worked with him in radio and in an effort to feed his children he also started working as a sales rep for an automobile dealership. I have no idea if he gave me a good deal or a bad deal. I needed a car and he sold me one. He was a man of faith who walked his talk.

Oddly, he was a lot like Job in that he just kept getting crappy thing after crappy thing thrown at him, but he never once renounced God, even after his step children had scrapes with the law, even after his wife left him after an affair with a church official, even after he suffered a devastating physical illness that eventually cost him his life.

Because it was a tangible link to my late friend, I hated to get rid of the car. It did not rest easy with me, even though I know it was the right decision. However, he came to me in a dream and assured me that it was all right and so was he.

Dead people have come to me in dreams before to tell me things. And they are usually also a portent of a shift in my life paradigm. So what comes next? Watch this space.

And when you stop and think about it
You won't believe it's true
That all the love you've been giving
Has all been meant for you.

— Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues

To learn as we grow old
The secrets of our souls.

— Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sadness of Soul

Cleveland Browns Stadium, the current home of the Cleveland Browns football team, has developed a nickname over its existence, the House of Sadness. And it was in the wake of another Browns loss that I realized something about me and sadness that, well, made me sad: sadness is my default emotion.

It seems like if I am not feeling something else specifically regarding my immediate circumstances, I feel sad. I feel there is at the core of my being a palpable sadness, a profound lack.

As to what I am lacking, I cannot say. My life, while not perfect, is actually rather good. My current thought is that it is a reflection of my continued reluctance to accept myself as I am. I am taking the desire to be more, do more, and have more as an indictment of who I am and what I have done.

This is an old program that needs to be overwritten with zeroes, the idea that if I am not where I would like to be that somehow where I am, what I am, who I am is wrong. It comes from dealing with fulfilling the expectations of others and apparently something I have internalized.

From other things I have worked on in my life, I know that awareness is the first piece. But, as I am also fond of saying: I've identified the problem. Now what?

Felix Mendelssohn

Monday, August 27, 2012

Well, I think it's going to be all right.

I heard on the news this morning that it was just about a year ago that Hurricane Irene came through the North Carolina community in which I live. The hurricane was the marker of an important change in my life.

Right before the hurricane, I had to put down my dog who had been with me for all but a few months of my entire time living here. And then, during the hurricane, my now ex-girlfriend Stella took the decision of ending our relationship out of my hands when she dropped me via text message.

That was my high bottom for being an adult child of an alcoholic and I started working the steps in earnest and started writing this blog. Since that time I have written a novel, had my new girlfriend Kathy move in with me, and gotten divorced from Portia.

There are some adjustments going on dealing with my living with another human being, but things are a lot better for me than they were a year ago. I'm often happy and even more often content.

I'm sorry that I haven't been updating this regularly, but my life is very full at the moment. I'm trying to come up with a frequency I can sustain but that allows me to do the many other things in life I love. I'll see if I can figure out.

Oddly, even a year later, Stella still talks about me in her blog, although thankfully less frequently. Portia is still being as demented regarding Tina as she was in the spring, so I may have to consider other options where that is concerned.

But as for me, I have moved on and life is good.

Yeah, the worst is over now. The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Well, just as I had gotten back on track, the last few days of my Easter trip derailed me from posting here. It was a good time and worth the sacrifice, but I still wish I had written.

Elton John

Friday, April 06, 2012

I need a hero

Last night, traveling from one side of Ohio to the other, I got caught in a very large, very slow moving (as in stopped) traffic jam. And I was still trying to deal emotionally with having accidentally had my girlfriend's jewelry thrown away. And my baseball team had lost the game. And I needed a sponsor.

And that is problem with having had to take myself through the program, is that in times where I can feel the old feelings and old programming creeping in, I have no one to call to help boost me back to my new behaviors. It is hard being your own hero.

Bonnie Tyler

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Because sometimes there's not plenty of time.

His name was Frank. He was a lover of the English language, good writing, science fiction, and comic books. And he loved Deep Space Nine. He and I got along wonderfully in the comic book forum where we met. We always talked about meeting each other, but never did anything about it. I wasn't worried. There was plenty of time.

And then one day, as a complication from a recent medical procedure, he died. There was not plenty of time. I thought of him as I met with others from the comic book forum today. Connect with someone today.

For Frank

So you had a bad day...

Weeks ago I found out the Cleveland Indians were going to play their High-A affiliate the Carolina Mudcats, so I bought tickets and planned to take Kathy and Tina as part of my meandering sojourn north to visit Ohio.

Well, because of how Kathy had to come to where I live, she was unable to go. And because Portia is withholding Tina right now, she was unable to go. So with these strikes already against me, I ventured out to watch the game alone. I get to the intersection right outside the ball park and the car just dies.

So I walk to the ballpark to watch some of the game while I wait for the tow truck to arrive. I get back and I have to be towed to a town a half an hour away. I have to rent a car. And on the way out with the rental car, I get a ticket for speeding.

Today, as I am wending my way further north, I find out it's the timing belt, which is not a cheap repair. But the wonderful thing is that I didn't freak out about any of it. I wasn't stress and took it all in stride. It all doesn't ride on one roll of the dice anymore. And I am happy for that.

Daniel Powter. See, I have heard of music past 1985.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Beautiful Ohio

I'm going home for a few days. Normally that would suggest that I wouldn't be able to post, but these days, it more likely means I will. Kathy's not going with me though. *sigh*

Connie Francis.

Waiting is the hardest part.

I accidentally rose to the bait of message board drama Monday. Identifying behaviors is easy. Changing them is hard. And waiting for that change to stick is the hardest part.

Tom Petty.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What a fool believes

Somewhere in my youth I got rather tired of April Fool's pranks. So other than participating in a few things while I was in radio (because that's what you do in radio), I gave them up. I think it's because I already have enough of an issue deciding what is real and what is not and what to trust and believe in. So no pranks today. Everything I posted today is what I meant and how I feel. No fooling.

As she rises through her apology, anybody else would surely know he's watching her go.

Games People Play (redux)

One thing Portia promised when we were trying to negotiate our divorce was that she wouldn't use Tina as a pawn, and that is exactly what she has done and continues to do.

I love sports and bought tickets to several different sporting events with the thought that I would take Tina. She doesn't really like watching sports, but she loves the spectacle of it, and the food, and horsing around with the mascots, and things of that nature. These tickets were bought in advance, because often that is how you have to do it.

Well, Portia is refusing to let her go to these under the pretext of protecting her from me because I have an anger problem. The only anger problem I have is an annoyance with her. Seriously. I asked my therapist just to be sure about it.

It is my belief that Portia will eventually get over being a sorehead because I managed to get divorced without her, but for now, the games go on.

The Alan Parsons Project, showing a little bit of the people who actually sang the song.

"Am I the same girl you used to know?"

Early on, I told Kathy that our relationship has been much different than it was with women prior. She later asked about that when Portia told her about something that superficially was like how she and I have done things. I assured her (and I assure you) that things are a lot different.

In my relationships with both Portia and Stella, there was a point where I needed to say how I felt and get my issues and concerns addressed. I needed to assert and have them honor that I was an equal in the relationship. In the case of Portia, I didn't do it when I should have and by the time I actually did, just the very act of speaking my mind destroyed the relationship.

By that point with Stella, I realized that the conversation needed to happen and if it did end the relationship, then there was something wrong with the relationship in the first place. It was the right time to have the conversation, but before I could, she ended the relationship.

So when it seemed like Kathy and I were headed down the same road, I carefully wrote an e-mail (as she was out of town and I wanted to make sure I said everything I wanted to say and said it in the best way possible). I sent it to Kathy with fears that this was the beginning of the end, but secure in the knowledge that if this ended the relationship, it was supposed to end.

It didn't. She and I discussed what I wrote on the phone. Some of what I perceived / felt was a misunderstanding and some of it she understands how I work and we're working on it and around it. It was calm, rational, and loving. And believe me, that is not at all the same.

Swing Out Sister

I know you want to leave me, but I refuse to let you go.

This isn't about me and Kathy. Oh, well, it sort of is, but not the way you might expect.

With Kathy living here with me every day, we're spending a lot of time together. And this time has to come from somewhere. So many things I used to do are getting squeezed out or lost altogether. One of the things that has been suffering, of course, has been this blog.

But much like the ACA activities I have been doing, this blog has been a big help to me, so I refuse to let it go by the wayside. I have known for a while that I couldn't keep up daily posts forever, but I had hoped to keep up the daily pace for a year. I am about half-way there and I intend to finish.

The Temptations

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Give me some water

I have not been respecting Water Wednesdays the past few weeks. I need to get back to that.

Right on the money. Eddie Money.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'll take what I can get.

After being characterized unkindly on her blog for months now, Stella unknowingly offered me vindication of sorts today. Not directly, mind you, but she admitted that something I suggested to her about her personal situation could possibly be true. It's not much, but I'll take what I can get.

So I took what I could get. And then she looked at me with big brown eyes and said...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleepy time

I had started a different post about a deep subject, then my computer went stupid. So, after hours of trying to get it to stop being stupid, I am finally going to sleep. Nighty night.

Brahms's Lullaby.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

No soap.

One facet of modern serial writing is that characters undergo development arcs. This was the hallmark of soap opera writing and it spread into other areas of periodic entertainment. However it is not something that I am a fan of because what it eventually leads to is characters behaving out of character simply for the sake of having something.

This has nothing to do with anything, really, but it's been on my mind. So here it is.

General Hospi-Tale.


I read an interesting article about the marketing of the product Febreeze. This stuff can really neutralize odors in a revolutionary way and yet they couldn't get people to start buying it and find that out.

In trying to solve the puzzle, they went to houses that really could use Febreezing (such as ones with incontinent animals) and found a puzzling thing: the people who lived in these homes had become inured to the smells and no longer recognized them as bad.

This is very similar to something else I see with great regularity, watching Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant: Impossible. On these shows, failing restaurants get help and a make over from Gordon Ramsey and Robert Irvine respectively. And invariably these people are mystified why their restaurants are failing while everyone else thinks their food sucks.

In both cases the people in question have a personal validation issue in not being receptive to the truth. The animal people want their animals so they learn to not smell it and the restaurant people so want to avoid failure they refuse to admit their taste or lack thereof is a problem.

You may wonder where this is going as far as being an adult child of an alcoholic is concerned. Well, being horribly self-critical we examine unwelcome information about ourselves, but we have a hard time determining which is valid criticism and which is to be discarded without consideration. It's not denial, but it's just as much of a problem.

The solution as I see it (and how I have practiced it most of my life) is having trusted advisors who will tell me the truth and not sugar coat it and compare it against each other. So if you ask me to trust my gut and I tell you I can't, I hope you'll understand why.

King of denial?

Saturday, March 24, 2012


As I mentioned before, I used a tricky maneuver to get my divorce without Portia's cooperation. This, of course, led to more mature behavior on Portia's part (he said, sarcastically). Tina continues to be used as a pawn and money continues to be Portia's bone of contention. Apparently my actually having a divorce has changed the paradigm very little. I suggest you make double-dog sure before you marry someone. Remember, you have been warned.

Tammy Wynette

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Secret Love

I am so much enjoying having Kathy here that I want to tell the world. I would love to take pictures of her as we do stuff and post them on Facebook. However, Kathy is a very private person and has put the kibosh on most of that kind of stuff. The only reason I can talk about her and post it as much here as I do is because Kathy's not her real name and I don't post any pictures.

I can respect this, but it brings up bad echoes of Wilma, who had me hiding at every turn, as if she was ashamed to be seen with me. I know it is different with Kathy and it is her hang up, not mine. But it still bothers me nonetheless. However, it is a small price to pay for happiness.

Doris Day

Honey, where's the money gone?

I bought my house last year and as the anniversary of doing so rolled up, I got a check from the mortgage company for extra escrow money. Well, I kept track of the check for a while, but with the bustle of going to get Kathy and then moving her into the house, the check got lost.

I didn't realize I had lost the check until I examined my bank records and while it showed the disbursement from my escrow it never showed me depositing it into my bank. So I did a hunt for the check and the panic struck. Losing things has always been a personal bĂȘte noire. My parents were very, very hard on me about losing stuff and when I lose or misplace stuff, I get in great panic as I hear the voices in my head. Their criticism was very harsh and I duplicate it and amplify it. Or rather, I used to.

As I felt myself lapse into my previous methods, I realized I needed to break the pattern and be both logical and gentle to myself. I realized that the missing money would not make me or break me and that the likelihood was high that if I simply called the lender they'd void the first check and issue a second.

And so I handed it off to my Higher Power and achieved a bit of serenity. Lo and behold, yesterday I got the urge to read a book that I had taken with me on the flight to Kathy's home and there, as a bookmark, was the check in question.

Lesson learned, I will again remind myself to leave things with my Higher Power.

Solomon Burke: "I don't care where the loving went, baby. But honey, where did the money go?"

Here's looking at you, kid.

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the movie Casablanca, the movie was screened in a theater, and it was my first time seeing it projected on a big screen. Because Kathy and I missed having a Valentine's Day date in February due to her moving, we made last night a date night and we had a wonderful time. Much like the first time I ever saw the Wizard of Oz in a movie theater, I will never see this movie quite the same way again.

You must remember this.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nyuck nyuck nyuck

There was a Three Stooges punching doll in the lobby of the theater the other day, which reminded me that Kathy bought me a set of Three Stooges shorts for Christmas, an impressive thing for a woman. She didn't let me punch the doll though.

Listen to the Mockingbird on a harpolin.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where is the love?

Kathy and I saw the movie "The Vow" tonight and it was rather well done but a rather hard movie for me, much to her surprise. If you have not yet seen the movie, I suggest you come back tomorrow and read the next day's blog. Remember, you have been warned.













As we go through the movie it was abundantly clear that while Channing Tatum still loved Rachel McAdams, she, due to her accident, did not love him. And he didn't know how to get her to love him again. It was a tough watch for me, because I have been there twice.

The most recent time was the end of my marriage where it just seemed that Portia could not remember why she married me. The pain had seemingly erased her memory of the good parts of who I was. And I was as mystified as to what to do about it as Tatum was in the movie.

But the other time was the very first time, when Wilma dropped me. I didn't know where the love went or why the love went. It hurt. It still hurts a little thinking about it.

I don't know why love fades, but I am aware now that it does. It doesn't mean I have to like it though.

Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

Good Bye, Mrs. Durkin. I'm sick and tired of working.

Kathy was kind enough to make a traditional Irish meal for me Saturday consisting of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and soda bread. It was quite tasty.

The Wolfe Tones

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Top of the morning to you. As I spend St. Patrick's Day with the very Irish Kathy, I thought I'd be the first to play for you the song you will hear all day long unless you know some traditional Irish tunes and places.

Dexy's Midnight Runners

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's a sad, sad situation

Well, I may have possibly ruined my relationship with Kathy. I hope not, but I can never tell about these things. And how I did it is that I got divorced.

As I mentioned previously, my agreement to divorce my ex-wife came unraveled. So I retained a lawyer. A strategy that was considered and ultimately decided upon was to use the rules and laws of the state to get divorced without the ex's cooperation.

Successful execution of this strategy required that the ex not know this was what we were going to do. However, Kathy and Portia had actually started to talk frequently. I didn't want to run the risk of Portia getting wind of the strategy. So I didn't tell her.

I wanted to tell her. I really did. But I wanted to be divorced from Portia even more and I wasn't sure that was going to happen if she (Portia) had gotten a whiff of the maneuver.

So it happened. And tonight I told her. And I didn't tell her the way that I wanted to. I told her while being aggravated because Portia was again telling mis-truths to people about me (not Kathy in this instance).

Kathy was hurt. We talked about it. I explained things. She says we are okay. I want to believe her, but my ACoA issues get in the way of that. I have told her I am sorry and hopefully that is enough. But sorry seems to be the hardest word.

Elton John

Bloody well right

Wednesday was Pi day (3.14). Thursday was the Ides of March. Saturday will be St. Patrick's Day.
Seems like today should be something. Freedom of Information Day and James Madison's Birthday just don't cut it.

Everything You Do Is Right Day is today. I'll go with that.

A band called the Logical Group covering Supertramp.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Look at what's happened to me. I can't believe it myself.

Well, a week ago tomorrow Kathy moved in with me, at least temporarily. And it's been a pretty great week. Yes, the drive was a challenge and yes, the packing and unpacking was physically hard on me and yes, my right leg is still not fully recovered from the ordeal, but...

Living with cats has been almost pleasant. I didn't realize how much I missed having a pet in the house. Cats aren't dogs, but they're all right, even if I have to scoop the litter.

And living with Kathy has been awesome. I know that it's only temporary and I didn't get the house to where she would have it, but she seems to be happy (for the most part) and I like having someone else in the house who might care if I live or die.

I never thought I would find someone who fit with me so well. I never thought I could make someone happy. I never knew I could be well enough to attract someone like her. But I have. Believe it or not.

I'm walking on air.

Today is the ides of March

So are these guys.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goober says "Hey."

Part of the long journey from her home to mine took us through North Carolina and that took us near Mount Airy, NC, which is better known by it's fictional name Mayberry, as in the home of the Andy Griffith Show.

The cats seemed to need a restroom break and so we used Kathy's GPS to try to find a pet store near us to get some litter for the small litter box we brought with us for the trip. And that had us drive through Mount Airy and into one of the strangest episodes ever.

We drove apparently from one side of Mount Airy to the other, finally arriving at the Flat Rock Pet Center. We'd just buy some litter and be on our way. Right? Wrong. I walk in and there is no one in the Flat Rock Pet Center. Eventually someone comes in from the outside only to inform me that he carries no dog and cat stuff and that the best he could sell us was gerbil pellets. We declined. He then proceeded to tell us how to get to another pet store, one that sold litter. Only he told directions the way that many folks do. I learned of a lot of places along the way, as well as how long they were in business and whether they were going to stay that way, but not a lot of streets and where to turn.

At any rate, I got the name of the place and we set out starting with the beginning of his directions. We asked the GPS and got a name that was similar. So we drive out to it and it is in the middle of nowhere. And it's a house. Just a regular old house. No sign out front. Nothing.

Not wanting to chance that strangers were not welcome, I get back in the car and I make an executive decision to just go to Walmart. I had been to Mount Airy once before and I knew they had a Walmart. So the GPS pulls up Walmart and tries to advise us on how to get there. At one point it has us turn on a street I will call Orchid Street. Only Orchid Street has all the appearances of a shared driveway. We travel through a few backyards, Kathy and I incredulous at the sight. And then we get to a sign stating what we already knew, that Orchid Street was a private drive and please get off of it.

So I turned around and left and forced the GPS to calculate a new route. Eventually we got on Andy Griffith Highway and to Walmart. As we were trying to park, the people of Mayberry showed they lost some of their fabled friendliness over the years, at least when it came to parking spaces. But eventually we got some litter, too late for the one poor cat who was peed on by one of the others. Soon (like two hours later from when we first got the idea), we were back on our way.

I eventually found the other pet store the Flat Rock Pet Center tried to send me to on a map. But I still believe you can't get there from here.

The theme you cannot get out of your head.

You rang?

Where have I been? I've been acclimating myself to living with one woman and three cats. And I have been on the disabled list with a bum leg. I have had a lot going on and have neglected this in the process.

But life is starting to lurch toward something that can be called normal. So updates will return.

You rang?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Tonight's the night she's moving in and I can hardly wait!

If everything has gone according to plan, tonight is Kathy's first night in official residence in my house. Our house I guess it is now. And I'm a happy man.

Tonight's the night she's moving in! It's time to celebrate!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Nowhere, man.

We're neither where Kathy used to live nor are we where she's going to live. So we're really nowhere, man.

Sitting in a nowhere land.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Moving out

Today I am helping Kathy pack things up for the trip. Moving is always a hard thing for me, even when it is someone else moving. But we'll get through it.

You ought to know by now...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Up! Up and away!

The punctuation is the way that Bud Collyer used to say it as Superman. But at any rate, by the time you read this I should be aboard an airplane headed to Kathy for the long drive back.

The Fifth Dimension (the singing group, not where Mr. Mxyzptlk is from).

Monday, March 05, 2012

Do It Again

What am I doing again? Living with a woman. Makes me happy.

The Beach Boys, fifty years later, also doing it again.

Finishing touches

Fly Lady Update:

Last one, as Kathy is coming this week.

After recovering from lack of sleep and a headache on Saturday, I looked at the house and even though I know I did a whole lot of stuff, it wasn't looking like it. So I did what I called finishing work, clearing the last few things off, putting things away, acquiring a couple of litter boxes for the cats.

Even though it was finishing work, it was a lot and I had to push to do it. And the voices came back into my head. I touched many of the demons that go with cleaning. It was very hard. At one point I made myself take a break because otherwise it was going to break down.

The house looks better and I think she'll be okay here for the time that she will be staying. But it's been a bit of an ordeal. There are a lot of things still working underneath the surface and dealing with them will be a work in progress.

But Kathy's coming, so it's worth it.

Not really related, but here is someone called WS64 playing the Beatles on a ukulele

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Short, sweet, and to the point

Someone at the ACA forum I go to said something very profound, which I will share:

Expectations are premeditated resentments.

Fly Lady Update:

I got battered around by a computer I was repairing and didn't get to do anything Saturday, but I made up for it Sunday. Boy, did I make up for it.

Sweet and innocent.

Friday, March 02, 2012

And now here's something we hope you'll really like.

Today I decided to visit a psychology forum I recently signed up for in addition to the ACA forum that I regularly frequent. At the forum there was an entire section on divorce and separation. I saw a thread there titled "Still Angry at My Spouse" (paraphrased) and decided to read it, since I believe my current problems with my Not-Yet-Ex-Wife are because she is still very, very angry with me.

In it the woman complained about her husband. A lot. He looked at pictures of naked women and this angered her. They went to counseling and in her description turned things around where it was her problem. She's annoyed now that he's talking a lot to a woman he works with and not to her.

The very first responder to this thread suggested to her that instead of vesting her energy in getting him to change that she look at herself, not that she was the cause of the issue but that she was the cause of her unhappiness.

She pretty much ignored this person and listed more things her husband was doing wrong. She eventually got what she sought, which was validation that her husband had the problem and they were scheming ways on how to fix him.

Well, from my ACA perspective, her husband didn't have a problem at all. He liked looking at pictures of naked women and he liked talking to this other woman more than he liked talking to his wife. Should he? That's a moral question.

In my thinking the wife was the one with the problem, in that the husband was not behaving as she wished he would. The problem was that she was wishing for something that she had no means to create or leverage to help make it come about. She couldn't stop him from these things and because she was so hateful, he really didn't want to not do these other things.

I don't know what happens in a person's mind where they figure being angry, mean, and hurtful to someone will dispose that someone toward doing what they want them to do, but it seems to happen a lot. Rather than being nice to me to get what she wants, my NYEW seems to think that being mean to me is a way to make it happen. But, as Rocky said to Bullwinkle "That trick never works."

Fly Lady Update:

Packing up my dead dog's stuff today.

Nothing up my sleeve. Presto! (Note that for some reason I cannot find the one where Rocky actually says "That trick never works.")

Thursday, March 01, 2012

We're too busy singing to put anybody down.

Yesterday, Davy Jones of the Monkees died at age 66. Celebrity deaths sadden me not because I imagine myself in some sort of relationship with the late celebrity but because it reminds me of my own mortality and it in a way steals another piece of my past.

I watched the Monkees on television as a kid and I enjoyed their music. They were not my favorite, but their music was enjoyable, and given the songwriters and musicians employed by the producers, this was to be expected.

Since Mickey Dolenz sang lead on the early songs, I considered Davy (who played no instrument, unlike Peter Tork or Michael Neismith) to be merely eye candy for the girls who watched the show. (And judging by Facebook yesterday, he played that part well).

But Davy's popularity with the women ended up increasing his position on the music and so, toward the end, he got a number of leads. He wasn't anything particularly special (unlike Dolenz's weird voice), but he was good. It's also very funny to me that while I prefer Dolenz's leads overall, Davy sang lead on my single favorite Monkees song.

At any rate, time is once again reminding me how briefly we get to grace this stage. So make the most of it.

Fly Lady Update:

This was written early, so I don't know what I am going to do tonight. But I'm going to do something. I don't have much choice; Kathy is on her way.

She sure looks different than the way she looked before.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

To "Sir", with love.

Today on my way into work, I shared the elevator with two thirty-somethings and as they departed on different floors, they both told me to "Have a good day, sir." I know I am no spring chicken. I stopped getting carded a long time ago. But I apparently have reached the age where it is just expected that I be treated with respect.

I mean, as far as the organization I work for goes, my elevator mates are peers. I am not management. But by virtue of either my age, demeanor, or both, I am not coming across that way. It's good as far as it goes, but I sort of always want to be respected for who I am as a person and what I do, my efficacy and knowledge, not my trips around the sun.

That said, I do have to say that being respected does feel kind of nice, especially because in my intimate relationships pre-Kathy there wasn't a lot of respect happening.

Fly Lady Update:

Loaded up the spice rack I got today and sorted through some clutter in my computer room. Things are getting done...eventually.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you'll have to deal with

— Billy Joel

Portia has been steadily making things harder and harder for me as we try to get this divorce thing behind us. Without going into specifics, just when it seems she couldn't do anything more to make things more difficult than they already are, she finds a way to make things more difficult.

The funny thing is, I am handling this a lot better than I would have previously. Make no mistake; I am not dancing around like Gene Kelly in the rain over the proceedings. But I know that just a few months ago I would have been losing my mind over this.

One of the things that ACA teaches you is to let go and let God. And sometimes that's easier than others. But if you get yourself in the habit of doing that on the smaller stuff then you can begin to do that with the larger stuff. My relative serenity is scary to me at times. But it's welcome nonetheless.

And besides, from watching The Adventures of Superman I know that if you can endure enough pressure you turn into diamond. I don't think that show was scientifically approved, though.

Fly Lady Update:

I got my spice rack organizer today and my packet organizer for the kitchen. Circumstances conspired to keep me from loading them tonight, but I am excited. I am sure the spice rack won't hold all my spices, but it's a start.

The above-mentioned Mr. Joel.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What I feel like.

Fly Lady Update:

One of the things that makes cleaning hard for me is that it's something that I cannot force myself to do and power through like work. I have to feel like it. So if I am sick or tired, I usually don't feel like it. This is one of the many reasons that working overtime for me is a mixed blessing at best.

I wish I knew what allows me to get into the mood for doing this stuff, because when I try to force myself to do it when I don't feel like it, that's when accidents happen. So with a near crushing injury and a near electrocution, just imagine what my weekend would have turned out like if I wasn't in the mood for doing what I did.

Roberta Flack.

You won't see me.

Fly Lady Update:

I was cleaning the floors in the kitchen Sunday when I suddenly realized that my refrigerator door was dirty. I am sure this sounds strange to you, that it had to dawn on my that my refrigerator door was dirty and needed cleaning. But in order to not drive myself crazy seeing everything I have to do or would want to do and overwhelming myself, I stop seeing things. Then, as I can handle them, they "reappear".

I'm getting better one step at a time.

Anne Murray

Knock on wood.

Fly Lady Update:

Well, I nearly accidentally killed myself this weekend. Friday, I didn't get anything done except see Tina (as Portia relented enough to allow her to attend something we had previously planned). But Saturday and Sunday? Oh, Mama.

I mentioned that I bought a five-tier bookcase as part of my organization efforts at my house. However, when you buy it on line, such an item does not come assembled. So I spent the better part of Saturday assembling it.

Even thought it is particle board, it is still heavier than snot. And the instructions say it is a two man job. Yet, I lifted all the pieces and did all the assembly myself, with the help of a computer tower turned sawhorse. I tried a couple of times to drop the thing on myself, but I managed to fail. That was first near miss.

I then installed a motion-activated light switch in the laundry room. I had already done one prior in the hallway and was pretty positive that I knew everything I needed to do it again. However, in my zeal to just hurry up and do it, I neglected one thing I had remembered the first time I did it: turn the power off first.

Fortunately all I felt was a little current. However after that plus laundry, I was done for Saturday. On Sunday I cleaned the kitchen in the afternoon after spending the morning struck down by a headache and then afterward installed a timing switch for my front porch light, again almost forgetting to turn the power off. (What is with me and electricity these days?)

So, yes, Virginia, I didn't blog this weekend. But I did get a lot done without killing myself or shorting out my wiring, knock on wood.

Amii Stewart

The Case of the Blatherskite Blogger



Berger: Your witness, Mr. Mason.

Mason: You just heard Mr. Berger point out that you did not produce a blog for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, did you not?

Me: Yes. I did.

Mason: Furthermore, Mr. Berger suggested that because of that fact, you were in violation of the Laws of Blogging, specifically the one that says "Blog with reliable frequency."

Me: That is correct.

Berger: I object. If your honor wishes to have my examination of this witness repeated, I think the court reporter would be a better choice to do so than Mr. Mason.

Judge: I should think the prosecution would welcome having its points reinforced. Overruled. Continue, Mr. Mason.

Mason: Thank you, your honor. If it please the court, I'd like you to read the passage marked from the Laws of Blogging into the record.

Me: "Be interesting, creative, and real, but never let blogging become more important than real life."

Mason: I should like to present defense exhibit A, a copy of what the witness has been doing this whole weekend.

Berger: No objection.

Mason: If it please the court, take note of the volume and difficulty of the tasks performed by the defendant.

Berger: If the court also please, take note that there were several periods where the defendant rested, periods where he could have and should have blogged.

Mason: Could have? Yes. Should have? [pause] Your honor, by the very passage read by the defendant, given that he needed to rest from his labors, it was more important that he preserve his physical and mental well being than to blog. And with that, we move that all charges against the defendant be dropped.

Judge: I'm inclined to agree. Mr. Berger?

Berger: Your honor, the law clearly states blogging must be of a reliable frequency.

Judge: But when two aspects of law oppose each other, as they do in this case, it is my job to decide which one prevails and I believe Mr. Mason's argument is a sound one. I'm granting Mr. Mason's motion. The defendant is free to blog. Case dismissed.

Me: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mason. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go.

Mason: Go? Where?

Me: Home. I have to write my blog.

Music sting, fade to black

Mason: If you pick someone to lie to, Mrs. Granger, never choose your doctor or your lawyer. In both cases, it could be fatal.

Friday, February 24, 2012

All my exes

Both Stella and Portia have been in recent contact with Kathy. I think it a little strange that my exes keep talking to her. Perhaps they're trying to turn Kathy against me. Who knows? But Kathy is a different kind of woman than they are and I am different man than what I used to be, thanks to ACA.

But if Wilma or Winnie contact her, I quit.

Fly Lady Update:

I didn't even get to make potato encrusted flounder last night. Big weekend though this weekend. Building the shelves.  Finding a home for all the loose books. Getting rid of ones I don't want. Doing a big clean on the kitchen. Installing a programmable switch to turn the porch light on for me. Very excited. Let's see how I do.

♪ All my exes are infectious... ♫

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I had to eat with dignitaries from another branch of my company today, so instead of eating at my desk as I usually do, I ate down in the company cafeteria. As we were walking to our table, I noticed a smudge on a woman's forehead and for a brief moment did not realize why it was there.

Today, of course, is Ash Wednesday, which given that I remembered yesterday was Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday makes my forgetting bewildering, as I was trying to decide yesterday if I was going to sacrifice something for Lent.

I don't keep Lent every year, or even most years. But I have. And it has been interesting experiences when I have. The first time I kept Lent, I gave up red meat. I ate a lot of chicken and fish. I made it through with some strain. But trust me, I was ready for Easter dinner when it came. That Easter dinner was the last time I dined out anywhere with my mother, especially since some of the buffet made its way home. My mother tended to operate under the assumption that rules are for other people.

One year I gave up soda for Lent. That was a little harder. Everyone tells you when you give up soda that you'll feel better. Well, maybe they felt better when they gave up soda. I was miserable. And it isn't even caffeine withdrawal as most of my sodas don't contain caffeine, at least by the label.

One year I gave up going to my then favorite comic book related forum. It was for a one-time big name in the comic book field. And I really liked the place. But I found, oddly enough, that I did feel better not going there. Not participating there somehow improved my mood. It was not much longer after Easter that I decided to quit it of my own volition.

This leads me to this year. I was considering giving up cookies for Lent, but with the stress that I am under, I felt that I needed to hang onto my pre-sleep security blanket. So I will not be making a formal Lenten sacrifice this year. But I figure, with the changes Kathy and I will go through merging households, we'll both sacrifice plenty.

Fly Lady Update:

I worked late and so didn't get any decluttering of the house done but I did make potato encrusted flounder with horseradish using some fish in my freezer, as part of my eating out of my freezer this month. And even though I have been eating out of the freezer, I still have plenty in it. *sigh*

Here is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" otherwise known as the theme to Davey and Goliath.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

He has "issues".

It's all purple today.

Fly Lady Update:

My shelf and my CD rack came today. I racked the CDs that I had and for a second I must have felt what neat people feel. It actually sort of made me happy to be able to put them away.

I was trying to explain to Kathy about why making room for her is so hard for me and she guessed correctly that there are issues behind it. One thing that gets in the way is that nearly everything means something to me, so throwing things away is hard.

Also, being the son of a garbage man, I was raised that throwing away things that are still functional was regarded as wasteful. So I am trying to give things away as part of the decluttering.

But I am also learning that I am worth nicer things than hand-me-downs and rigged devices. Evolution isn't easy

This song has nothing to do with anything, but I like it and I can't think of anything that goes with today, so here it is. Kyu Sakamoto singing Ue o Muite Arukou (I refuse to call it Sukiyaki).

Monday, February 20, 2012

The birthday boy.

Today is my stepson Rick's birthday. Many happy returns of the day.

Fly Lady Update:

Going to stop at the comic book store for a longbox and then work on the couch and table, which are perennial catch-alls.

Greetings from space!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I don't believe in curses.

Coming from Cleveland, I suppose I should. Cleveland sports history over the last fifty years or so is littered with unmet expectations and heartbreak. Red Right 88, the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, Game 7 versus the Marlins, the Decision, Willie Mays's catch... You get the idea.

Well, I have experienced enough of life to know that curses are simply the by-product of suggestion plus selective perception of events. To apply this to the Cleveland sports list I just gave you:
The Cardiac Kids (who were fortunate to even be in the playoffs that year) were playing on one of the coldest days ever for a Browns game, John Elway is John Elway, football drives of over eleven plays often end with a turnover, Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan, Jose Mesa had pitched a lot of baseball by game 7, LeBron James is an ego-maniacal jerk, Willie Mays is Willie Mays.

And so, it is with this in mind that I say my laptop is cursed.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that Stella gave me something that she demanded be returned. That something was my laptop. While the laptop has been good to me, shortly after Stella demanded it back, I broke several keys on it. I recently got it repaired, only to spill something on the keyboard yesterday and break it again.

Now mind you I use a laptop every single day for work, as I have for years. I have eaten in front of the work laptop and traveled hither and thither. I have never once harmed a key or spilled anything on it. And yet, in less than a month I have killed the keyboard of my personal laptop twice. Twice.

And so, I have decided that, despite the non-existence of same, this laptop is cursed. I am going to have the keyboard replaced again and then give the laptop to my sister, as I think the curse is not on the machine but on the combination of me and the machine. All of this leads me to one conclusion: in my heart, I'm still from Cleveland.

Fly Lady Update:

I said I would try to make up for days of inactivity on this front and I did. There is a papasan chair in my bedroom that, like most surfaces other than the bed became a collector of stuff. I went through it and mostly cleaned it. I need the bookshelf that I ordered and a longbox from the comic book store to finish it off, but that was a major step forward. But wait! There's more!

As I said, I was trying to make up for not doing any work on any of this, so I also thinned out my dresser. That may not sound like much until I tell you that I am giving away about thirty t-shirts to charity and I still have an almost full dresser. This was an enormous task. And I have also ranked the shirts so that if I get new ones, I know from where to start to look to get rid of old ones. It's been a day.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins (also from Cleveland, or at least born there).

I love a rainy night

I was talking to Kathy this morning and I mentioned that it was a gray, drizzly day today after raining last night and she gave me her condolences. However, I told her that it was no problem at all. While I love living where it is warm and the sun shines more often than not, I grew up with overcast skies and plenty of rain. I am not only used to such weather, when it comes to rain, I actually like it.

Storms have always fascinated me. I like the electrical show of lightning. I like the rumble of thunder. I like hearing chimes dance in the wind. Lightning is a personal symbol of mine, raw natural energy. In a way, bad weather makes me feel good. So I guess I do love a rainy night.

Fly Lady Update:

Failed to do anything Saturday, but I have actually done something today (Sunday) and in my next post I'll tell you all about it.

Eddie Rabbit

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I've got work to do, part 2

I worked late at my job again Friday followed immediately by getting up early to ship said work to a client. So no blog yesterday.

Fly Lady Update:

Nothing got done because of work. Hopefully I can make up for it today and tomorrow.

Same song, different group. The Isley Brothers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I've got work to do.

I spent most of the day at work yesterday. It was probably the day I got more different things at least partly accomplished which, while a source of pride, is indicative of being an adult child of an alcoholic.

We tend to be hyper-responsible. This means we try to meet all commitments and take more commitments than is advisable. I feel pretty crappy today, and that is why. I could really use some rest, but duty calls again.

At one point when the Not Yet Ex Wife actually liked me, she called me Du, which everyone down here thought was after Loretta Lynn but was (at least according to what she told people) because I was dutiful.

Fly Lady Update:

Got my new rack for DVDs in the mail Thursday. I didn't have a chance to load it, but that progress. I also applied for a lost title so that I can sell the little red car. I won't get the new title before Kathy arrives, but I have done all that I could..

The Average White Band — Work to Do

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Accentuate the positive

Kathy and I came a little close to having a fight yesterday, which given that it was Valentine's Day is very very sad. Between my deal with my not-yet-ex-wife, a business deal, and other machinations at work, I'm having a rough time right now and I am being a little negative. This, in turn, is bringing Kathy down. Meanwhile I took umbrage at being called negative. In reflection, it's because it's true.

I don't think that I am a negative person, but it is fair to say that lately I am, in fact, negative. I could go into justifications for it and explanations of it, but they really don't matter. I just need to take a deep breath, relax, and let it go.

I'm writing this more as an apology to Kathy, because I am sorry.

Fly Lady Update:

Other than cleaning the toilets as part of the daily clean, nothing happened today. I stayed at work too long. But I just found out my safe for my important papers is on the way. So hooray for that.

Aretha Franklin showing her inner Ella Fitzgerald

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'd like to get to know you

In clearing out a bunch of old papers, I came across a personality test I was given by one of my employers. I read it through and found that even now, fifteen years or more later, it was spot on.

The first thing I found was that I was both very frank and very consistent. Somehow the test I took was geared to gauge how honestly I answered the questions. The other things it suggested was that I was not particularly receptive to change, that I am a bit anti-social, that I am an introvert, and that I am very, very sensitive.

I was surprised in fact to see how sensitive I am. However, given what I said earlier about taking everything personally, it really shouldn't have surprised me. In the end, I had the same dilemma with the personality test as I have with all metrics of self-awareness: "Okay, I know who I am; now what am I going to do about it?"

Fly Lady Update:

I changed the tack today and instead got rid of a bunch of extra plastic food keepers in the kitchen, paring it down to a usable number. I still don't like throwing perfectly good things away, but I have seen what a difference decluttering makes. Progress.

Spanky & Our Gang.

Monday, February 13, 2012

And the shoe drops

A few days ago you may recall that I mentioned my agreement with the not-yet-ex-wife had blown up in my face. After weighing my options, I decided to sue for divorce outright. She was served today and in response, she is keeping Tina, my granddaughter, from coming over. My hope is that she get over this pettiness, but I am prepared to live with the situation if she doesn't. I need to be divorced even more than I need to see my granddaughter.

Fly Lady Update:

I gathered many important papers and cleaned out the filing cabinet of detritus to house them. This also cleaned up part of the dining room as well. Progress.

Henry Gross. It's a song about losing a dog rather than a granddaughter, but it is sufficiently maudlin to fit the mood.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Little Band of Gold

Kathy and I were looking at wedding rings the other day. (Yes, we're that far along already). The place that we were looking at offers a service that will take your own old gold and incorporate it into your new jewelry. I thought about using my old wedding band to make my new one, but Kathy was not feeling it. Her reasoning is that my old ring is symbolic of a failed relationship. And I can see where it could be seen that way. But it isn't for me.

To me, that ring is a symbol of two things: my ability to achieve beyond my apparent capacity and the importance of love in my heart. I bought that ring on time payments over a year in a time where money was extremely tight. I sacrificed in order to buy that gold band and the diamond solitaire and wrap that went with it. I kept a promise by buying the ring even as the woman for whom I intended to wear it did not.

Yes, I bought the ring for Wilma and not Portia. Portia ended up resenting wearing "Wilma's" ring. Again I understand it. I don't subscribe to it, but I do understand it. I do wish that Portia had mentioned it before I married her rather than holding it over my head for many years afterward.

At any rate, I don't think about Portia leaving me when I think about the ring and for me I don't think it holds any bad luck. But I do understand Kathy wanting a clean slate, and so it too will be sent on its way.

Fly Lady Update:

Bought CD and DVD racks and a five tier bookshelf and did some cleaning and organizing in the kitchen. I also have been trying to eat out of the freezer this month to reduce the number of items in it. It appears, however, that I have purchased quite a few freezer items. I could probably do this for two months. Wow.

Went looking for a version of the song to put here and found that it was recorded once by the Bee Gees.

It was originally by James Gilreath, but the version I know was by Bill Anderson. However I can't find a video of that version. Sonny James's version sounds closest.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Let's Go To Heaven In My Car

Fly Lady Update:

Getting close to fifteen years ago I wrecked my car. My friend Fred loaned me the money to buy a new one with the car as collateral against the loan. I mentioned it in a previous post. The car has been sitting in my driveway for over two years, as it was very old and I had since purchased a different one.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, Kathy is going to move down here and she will need a space in my driveway. So I cleared the car out of any valuable items ahead of selling it. As with any decluttering exercise it was a bit of archeology and heartache.

I found a few things I didn't know where they were. I found the Bible my late friend Jim gave me when he sold me the car. I read that Bible a lot as my marriage was falling apart. I found printed copies of my scripts that I tried to sell (and came this close).

Much as with my late dog, this car has seen me through a very difficult time in my life. Good byes are hard, especially when it's forever. Even if it's just a car.

Brian Wilson


Let's just get this part out of the way first:

Fly Lady Update for Friday:

Zip. Zero. Nothing.

Now why. I had to work late. I worked until midnight. I was not happy about this. But tomorrow (or today) is another day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything's going my way

If you've read the blog recently, you will find the title of this post rather strange, but to recap, my not-yet-ex-wife blew up our agreement to divorce and I am having to change many things at my home including throwing many things out to allow Kathy to move into my life.

And yet, it's true. For a while now, it seems that things I initially find as setbacks end up being to my ultimate benefit. When I was trying to purchase my house, I agreed to a price that was higher than I wanted and I would have had to strain to pay. But what happened was that the financing I arranged would not pay a dime above appraisal and the appraisal came in at exactly the price point I had originally wanted. The seller, wanting to be rid of the property, came down to the appraisal.

Speaking of buying the house, I had originally wanted to wait a year before seeing if I could purchase a house, but the landlord wanted to sell and so since I hate moving, I applied to buy the house without any idea if I could. Turns out I could.

I mentioned in this previous post how my mother's death enabled me to have a relationship with my father and how my marriage failing and post-marriage relationship failing led me to ACA.

Well, this week I received some setbacks that I am not at liberty to discuss but I have just found that they too are leading to something better than I had originally planned myself. It's amazing what can happen for you if you just get out of your own way.

Fly Lady Update:

No excuse and no reason. I just didn't get anything done yesterday. I will need to definitely make up for this today and this weekend.

From Oklahoma.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Stop, children! What's that sound?

The Van Buren Sound.

No, it's not the band who sang Incense and Peppermints (which, by the way, was the Strawberry Alarm Clock). Nor is it a body of water near Kinderhook, New York, the birthplace of President Martin Van Buren. Nor was it the noise said president made when his finger was pulled. No, the Van Buren sound is an implement of torture disguised as a medical treatment and a part of my life for the last five or six years.

For someone my age I am blessedly relatively free of medical ailments. However at one point about five or six years ago I was having painful waste elimination. So I went to see a urologist. He stuck a scope up my business and determined that I had sustained an injury that was scarring up and narrowing my urethra. So I had an operation that amounted to a Roto-Rootering™ of my urethra.

Problem is, the repaired area would continue to scar until closed again unless something was put in place that would keep the scar tissue flat against the urethral wall. That something is a Van Buren sound. Basically, it's a long metal rod that is inserted in Mr. Happy, keeping the opening stretched open. The frequency of these insertions was every two months, then every three, eventually backing off to my current once a year. And today was my lucky day. Plus as an extra special bonus, I got a prostate exam. Yay, me.

Needless to say, this is not exactly my happy place.

Set of Van Buren sounds at

Fly Lady Update:

Nothing. I take the evening off after this procedure. Do you blame me?

Buffalo Springfield with the title song.

Special bonus song, Incense and Peppermints.