Archive for November, 2013

DSC08478Springfield, Illinois, USA — Sunday, November 24, 2013
. . . Pictured above is me about 11 this morning. as I prepared to catch up with friends and strangers. Four hours later, I’m getting around to it. That’s okay. It’s been a productive day .

I’ve not shared much here at Honey & Quinine for the same reason I seldom wrote to my mother after she retired and moved to be with her southern-born and bred kinfolk in central Florida. I’ve always considered writing about any sub-nominal circumstance in my life to be a shameful billboard of my incapacity to succeed, even though I know everyone makes mistakes.

Life has been crazy this year ever since June when the person living upstairs and paying me rent every month started being late with the rent. What was tolerable at first has become intolerable, but intolerable in words alone since I cannot remedy the circumstance. It’s like being tied, hands and feet, to a chair and being hit on the head with a club by a deviant sadist. I can shout “THIS IS INTOLERABLE!” and feel satisfaction that I hold the moral higher ground with my shouting, but “the hits just keep on a comin’.” I have no practical option. I will never again rent to any woman or man having trouble with their married spouses. The woman who hasn’t paid a penny of November’s rent was estranged from her husband, when her new lover, a friend of mine who lives down the street from me,  convinced me to rent the upper half of my duplex to her. It had been vacant less than a month, and it seemed like a good idea. Later, her lover down the street broke up with her, but she was paying rent on time, and I had no complaints. Her husband still sent her money to pay me for rent. Last summer — she says — when they finally went to divorce court, the husband’s payments stopped. Compounding the problem is that her new lover isn’t employed and his truck hasn’t moved from the front curb where he parked it two months ago.  She says when the divorce comes through — MAYBE by the end of this week — she’ll pay rent for November, December and late money.  I’ve not evicted them because no one is moving in or out over the winter. I can (try to) recover money owed in court. As long as she’s there, she pays the utilities; something I don’t have to do to keep the place warm up there and the pipes from freezing. I’ve been eating peanut  butter sandwiches and pre-packaged salads from the supermarket for 95 percent of my evening meals. Sometimes my employer buys me lunch from McDonalds. Otherwise my lunch is peanut butter on a table knife. It makes a fellow a mite glum. On the positive side, I have a few dollars I will spend on Thanksgiving food, fuel in my truck and groceries on hand (three more salads and 3/4 of a jar of Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter and bread to carry me through to the next paycheck on Saturday.

In the meantime, I am thankful that I own my house and that I’m okay with the monthly $300 home equity loan payments they will be automatically taking from my checking account for the forseeable future — YEARS, and I’m not kidding. Without that stupid loan for a computer I’m using not at home, but here at the aviation museum (see picture at top) I’d be okay. Word to the wise: avoid home equity loans if you possibly can I feel like my bank has a spigot on a main artery that drains $300 a month. Never again will I be so stupid!

Even so that account allowed me to buy a used pickup truck about a month ago (after the engine quit and I was told it would be $2,500 to replace the engine!!!!), and I was able to make it happen — despite late OCTOBER rent — with a loan from a friend and another $500 loan from my home equity account. I am incredibly happy with the replacement vehicle. I love every minute driving it.

Another positive for which to be thankful is my coming to terms with my employer. For most of my time  there I have allowed myself to be driven to near suicide several times by the way he treated me and the way he does business. I finally decided my reactions weren’t helping, I knew my reactions would not make HIM any better, so I would have to work with what I could change: MYSELF. I’ve decided to stop making unflattering observations about him and never again raise my voice to him. It’s working. I will make it work. He doesn’t control how I react to him; I control how I react to him. I’m much calmer at work, though still horribly depressed, and I’m finding a modicum of pride in how I work there and how I react to him.

I have lost my connection to my occasional employer, Springfield Business Journal. The burden of taking time off from work to freelance write for the excellent publication and excellent publisher became too much. To call myself an active writer, while engaging the process of interviewing people, taking pictures, and writing stories, I made less per hour than I did as showroom manager for my full-time employer. I could not afford to write for a living for that publication. I am DETERMINED to FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL HIRE ME TO WRITE, and/or TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS, and or ENGAGE in LIGHT MANAGEMENT and/or EDITING so I can part company with my current employer. When I find what I need, I will give appropriate notice to my very patient current employer, and probably create a sonic boom from the speed with which I leave for the last time.

For the first time since last spring when I vowed not to play and sing in public for a year, I AM GOING TO SHARE MY SONGS at a downtown Springfield event December 6. I was ASKED TO PLAY. If ANYONE ASKS me to play, I WILL PLAY. I’m practicing nightly to get my music together again. I will announce where and when after Thanksgiving. I am absolutely delighted that there is someone who wants me to play. I promised to bring three of my guitars, and I shall be as good as my word, maybe better.

I also vow to spend more time writing poetry, songs and posting here at Honey & Quinine.

If you are reading my blog for the first time or the thousandth time, I wish for you a warm and reverent Thanksgiving. Count your blessings. Everything you have is more valuable to you than what you don’t have. You can’t value what you don’t possess. Despite my share of “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune which flesh is heir to” — thank you Willie Shake’ — I consider myself one married mother’s lucky son now. I wish for you nothing but the best or better as we embrace the chill and the thrill of being who we are deciding to be.

Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.


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November 13 Meeting Pictures

The first meeting in November was a field trip for attendees to visit Hobby Lobby at its new location in the building formerly occupied by Menards on Springfield’s far south side. Those who we knew had expressed interest in being a part of the trip had arrived at the AeroKnow Museum office by 6:15, rarin’ to put the rubber to the road. Job posted a note advising anyone who might have been interested in coming along but had not contacted us on Facebook regarding that interest or had not been able to travel to our trip staging location that we were leaving early.
DSC08393Mark Houpt drove his wife’s van, containing him (above left), Eric Dellaquila (right) and Job Conger (behind the camera) to the store in surprisingly heavy traffic.
DSC08394Chuck Beuscher (left) greeted us as we approached the model kits area. Chuck is an airline pilot and a regular attendee at CIPM meetings.
DSC08395I was impressed to find the new Minicraft 1/72 kit of the Martin PBM-5A Mariner on the shelves. Member Mark Houpt already has one and reports it is an excellent kit.
DSC08396Chuck shows off an AMT kit that was a major collectors’ item for decades. It was great to see it re-released.

DSC08397Every time  another member of our club arrived I took another picture and was happy to do it. That’s Brian Wilburn, second from left along with Mark and Eric.
DSC08400But wait, there were more: Dan Bacon, AFV modeler extraordinaire (second from left) and his young son also dropped by to chat and check things out. Dan lives reasonably close to Hobby Lobby, and this was probably his third or fourth visit since the relocation. While there we introduced ourselves to the store’s co-manager and gave him some flyers about Central Illinois Plastic Modelers and AeroKnow Museum. He said he would display them in the employee lounge. Corporate policy forbids sharing such exciting news with the customers.

We visited the two “Clearance” displays and art supply areas. I am probably the only modeler who ever visited a Hobby Lobby to purchase an airplane kit and came home with a new desk lamp instead; also some white poster board for model photography and some paint for my Mach 2 PBM model now under construction.

After we paid for our purchases, Eric Mark and I also visited Michaels, a hobby & craft store near Springfield’s Barnes & Noble. Then we returned to where we started and discussed what to do regarding the second November meeting which is slated to take place the night before Thanksgiving. At least a few of our members are planning to be out of town that night, so we’re considering just calling off the meeting for November 27. What do YOU think? If we planned the meeting, would YOU attend? You can make a difference. Tell us what you think in the COMMENTS area that follows this post.

Just for the fun of it, here are some pictures I took of aircraft visiting Springfield in the last few weeks. Comment if you don’t recognize them and have questions.
DSC08389DSC08352 DSC08363DSC08365 DSC08366IMG_7732IMG_7747Thanks for visiting!




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My Chevy Anne

The dust is settling around here. It’s been a ragged month in Raggedland. One bright spot occurred in mid-October when the engine of the pickup truck I’d been driving for the last four years overheated beyond repair.

I knew there was a problem with the vehicle for about a month: the engine was getting louder for one thing. Not a big issue since everyone drives with their windows up and the heater on around here until late April. I’d have six months to fix that. Then I began having trouble keeping it running when I’d return after a quick visit to the supermarket or . . . well that’s the only place I visit these days. . . and while stopped at a stop light. I had to keep the revs up, or it would quit, and it would take fast, delicate action with clutch and gas pedal to get rolling again. The transmission didn’t seem to be a problem.

When I left home to make an early start at the aviation museum at a few minutes after 5 am, I really had trouble keeping the engine going and was lucky that I had only a few red lights on the way to the airport. When it was time to leave for my regular employer about 9, I had serious reservations about taking the once-dependable machine, so I had it towed to a repair shop. The prospect of the engine quitting in rush hour traffic bothered the bejeebers out of me. My employer directed a fellow employee to pick me up on his way in, and my friend Al did; happy to help.

The news from the repair shop was that the engine could not be fixed. They had found not one drop of coolant in the radiator and not one drop of oil in the tank. I needed a replacement engine, and it would cost at least $2,600 to make it happen.

It helped that the truck wasn’t mine. Since my last “ride” — an ’86 Ford Escort I inherited from my dad after he died in 1994 — had become SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS with horrible brakes and a litany of other “squawks” my employer had let me drive a the black Chevy S10 pickup truck he had seldom used since IT began to go to Helena Handbasket. Driving that, and the tomato picker’s wages I’ve been earning there prevented any HOPE of buying another car to replace the Escort, and it was pure luck and the extraordinary kindness of my employer that I had dependable “wheels” I could drive at all. My employer — I’ll call him George — had the un-driveable black Chevy towed to his personal maintenance guy who will either repair it for a cost he can recoup by selling it or sell it as is to a junkyard.

In the meantime, it was a Thursday, and I was suddenly sans wheels. George didn’t have anymore cars or trucks to loan me. so it was OBVIOUS as UPPER CASE  TIMES NEW ROMAN that I WOULD HAVE TO BUY A TRUCK OF MY OWN.

Less than two hours after arriving at work, I found the truck I would purchase: a 1995 Chevy S10 with a slightly larger cabin. It was offered on Craig’s List by a vehicle maintenance shop wh0se name is GOLDEN in Springfield, Illinois: Jack Stoldt Auto Service Center on the corner of Fifth at Lawrence. My friend Al took me by to see it before lunch, and I committed to purchasing it no later than next Tuesday. I didn’t even test drive it (There were no license plates on it, though I’m sure they could have mounted some dealer plates.), but Al and I listened to the engine. It sounded okay.

I picked it up and paid for it Monday on the way home from work. It’s a larger truck than I was used to, but it is perfect for me. It was obviously well taken care of by the previous owner. Unlike “Old Black Truck” which had manual transmission, this has automatic, and what appears to be a working air conditioner and an interior that looks like it rolled out of the factory! It took some getting used to, but I actually look forward to driving it, even if I have to drive it to work. And yes, I am particularly happy to have a job at all these days, and I’m trying, damn near desperately, to get along with George who lets me do the show room manager thing. I so appreciated the white truck that for the first time in my life, I decided to give it a name.

FLASHBACK — the year was 1955 and I was seven or eight when the mother of a girl my age, two lived three door north of my family on Whittier Avenue . . . the mother’s name was Anne. I won’t name last names. Anne was the second woman I fell in love with. The first was Miss Allen, my second grade teacher at Lawrence School, but that another story. I didn’t know what sex appeal and SEX were at the time; I simply thought Anne was beautiful. I would have married her then IF she would have married me and her husband didn’t mind.
Later, I fell in love with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a fine poet, essayist and wife of Charles Lindbergh who flew to Paris in 1927. I decided sometime between high school and the approach of aged decrepitude, about age 50 for me, that I would marry Anne SOMEBODY. Later I met an Anne-with-an-e who was my younger brother’s second or third wife. She was the daughter of a college English professor, bright, easy on the eyes,  She and my brother created two children who are absolute delights. Earlier this year when I announced on Facebook I was going to name my truck Anne-with-an-e, I confessed (though I met her only once) that I thought she had married the wrong brother.  I should have tried harder to marry an English professor’s daughter even if she wasn’t named Anne. I would have become a hellofalot better hummin’ bean  than I’ve turned out to be. Aaaaaaaand I’ve dated and loved a few terrific, patient. women on this life. But I had to MARRY — I thought — a woman named Anne . . . . . and it just didn’t happen that way.

So friends, Romulans and countrypersons, meet Anne, christened in the tradition of “nose art” on airplanes. It was most often applied in front of the airplane canopy’s windshield and slightly below. The pilot of the B-29 that dropped the first atom bomb used in war named is airplane “Enola Gay” after his mother.  Often the nose art included a bawdy painting of someone. I don’t need a bawdy painting. My friend Chuck who owns Parkway Printing on North Dirksen Parkway here in Springfield made the name from red vinyl sign material and applied it himself last Friday.
Every time I approach Anne, I admire the four red letters and briefly thank God for the good ride I’m getting to know intimately. She is sweet of voice with a stereo AM/FM with speakers behind me and a heart and transmission that are smooth as silk.  Like a namesake I’ve not met, Anne lets me go where I want to go. That’s all I’ve ever asked of anything or anyone: Linda, Janet, Joyce, JoAnn, Carole, Mary Ann, Penney, Ellen.  I believe if I had connected, just for a few good years, with an Anne, any Anne, I would not be the rusty bucket of woe in Raggedland that I have become.

And so it goes in ebbs and flows.
One never knows.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.


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